Previously on Call the Midwife: Evangelina returned from medical leave, Cynthia became a nun, and Bernadette started more actively nursing again.
A man brings his wife to the maternity home in a taxi. They’re welcomed by Evangelina, who dismisses the husband, gently reassuring him they have things in hand.
The woman, Mrs Dent, arrives on the ward and is settled. Trixie and Bernadette are on duty as well. Mrs D notices another woman, Marion, and recognizes her as an old school friend. Marion doesn’t recognize Mrs D at all, and when Mrs D reminds her of her name (Shirley), it becomes clear that Marion just doesn’t want to recognize her. Shirley is sweet and bubbly and doesn’t seem to notice Marion’s dismissive attitude.
Tim has a new hobby: photography. His dad marvels at his work, which he’s done with a crappy little camera he has.
Fred walks Mrs Gee home after their civil defense wardens meeting. He notices she doesn’t keep her door locked and tells her she really should. She shrugs that she knows everyone in the area and it’s not necessary. They bid each other good night and Fred does a cute little quick step as he walks away.
Evangelina coaches Marion through her labour. Marion delivers a daughter. Evangelina is so clearly delighted to be back at midwifery she’s practically gooey. Trixie and Bernadette, meanwhile, tend to Shirley, who also delivers a girl. The baby cries in that bewildered way of newborns and now I’m all gooey.
Crane gets ready to send Barbara out on the district rota, reminding her to tell everyone about the new complimentary bed linen laundry service Crane has set up. She wants everyone on her list signed up for it. Barbara promises to do her best.
Turner presents Tim with a gift: an old camera of his. Tim is delighted.
Trixie and Evangelina check out the two newborn girls. Evangelina adorably plays with one of them. Their lovely moment is interrupted by an explosion nearby and Bernadette rushes in and tells them there’s a fire in the laundry room and they need to evacuate. Evangelina grabs the two little girls while Bernadette gets the mums moving. Naturally, most of them are panicking about their babies. The nurses swear the babies are fine. Everyone clears out of the maternity home just as Turner arrives. Bernadette’s the last one out and he asks if she’s ok. She reassures him that she is. He tells everyone to go to Nonnatus and they’ll sort things out there.
Cynthia is at the home of Mr and Mrs Mills, an incredibly sweet elderly couple. Mr Mills is bedridden and has bedsores that need tending, and Mrs Mills is a really lovely lady who clearly ‘doesn’t want to be a bother’. Cynthia offers to help with a few things but Mrs Mills says she’s got it. Cynthia dresses Mr Mills’s sores. This is clearly something they do every day; they’ve got a routine. Mrs Mills comes in and tells Cynthia that there’s a new lady there who says Mrs M can’t do the washing for Mr M anymore. Cynthia goes downstairs and sees Barbara in the kitchen. Barbara starts in about the new laundry service and puts her foot in it by commenting that Mrs M can’t possibly manage at her age. Mrs M quietly says that they don’t need some sort of service. Cynthia hustles Barbara out of there and explains that the Millses are proud people. They’re also relatives of Fred’s.
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Delia says she does want to get married: to Patsy[/cryout-pullquote]Evangelina announces to the ladies from the maternity home that they’ll have to go home, where the midwives will tend to them daily. Shirley and Marion mutually admire each other’s babies. Marion’s husband arrives and sees his daughter for the first time. He’s sweetly gooshy. Marion introduces Shirley and bids her farewell. Shirley suggests a get-together someday, but Marion says they’re moving to Basildon soon, and anyway, schooldays were long ago. Ouch. She heads home.
Mrs Mills goes to Mrs Gee’s store and gets ‘her usual’: a package of sanitary napkins (I think). Interesting purchase for a woman her age.
Patsy’s getting ready to go out for the evening with Delia, but she offers to stay behind with Trixie. Trixie urges her to go, since she’s got a new copy of Vogue to read and a nice night in planned. Of course, Only the Lonely is playing on the radio. She eyes all the booze she has on the windowsill and flops down on the bed with her magazine.
Patsy and Delia go to some teashop and talk about their relationship, which is clearly causing quite a bit of stress. Delia says she feels like they’re ghosts, half with each other and half not, and she wonders if they should just do the conventional thing and get married and forget all about it. Patsy says this is rough on her too. A guy wanders over and offers to buy them some cake, but Delia snaps that they don’t like cake before grabbing her purse and heading out. Patsy follows her and asks if she really wants to get married. Delia says she does: to Patsy, but of course that’s impossible.
Trixie pours herself a drink.
Patsy, MJ and Winifred hang a poster announcing a Halloween turnip parade for the local kids. A little girl comes over and asks about ghosts. MJ says that Halloween is the night the dead walk amongst us. The little girl says she’d like to see her mother, who died when she was born, and asks if MJ can bring her back for Halloween. MJ looks sad. The little girl, Glenda, is called away.
Cynthia finds Fred and asks if he would mind going to see the Mills’, since they’re a little bit lonely and isolated. Barbara comes rushing in, apologizing for having offended Mrs Mills the day before. She’s gotten in touch with a friend of a friend who’s doing research into bedsores and found that turning the patients every two hours seems to help. She offers to switch off with Cynthia so they can get to Mr Mills throughout the day. Crane comes in and asks how the laundry takeup went and Barbara says they’re getting there. Crane tells them to keep at it.
Trixie, looking a bit depressed, cycles through the streets of Poplar. She goes to see Shirley and weigh the new baby, who’s coming along and putting on weight beautifully. Shirley and her husband are pleased. They’ve named her Jackie, though her father keeps calling her princess.
Fred goes to Mrs Gee’s shop to get some ribbon to hang these turnips from. Mrs Gee hands some over. He mentions Mr Mills, Fred’s dad’s cousin, and says he hasn’t visited as often as he should and now he’s not sure how to take back up with these people. She tells him to just go. He admits he’s not much good at small talk.
Mr and Mrs Mills talk about his return from the war and how happy she was. She suddenly starts whimpering in pain, and he’s concerned, naturally, but she brushes it off as just old bones. Cynthia and Barbara arrive and explain their turning plan. Barbara hopes it’ll make him more comfortable. Mr Mills tells them not to trouble themselves, but Mrs Mills begs them to make him more comfortable, if they can. They commence turning.
Evangelina goes to see Marion’s baby, Deborah, who’s fussy and has a slightly blue tinge to her lips. Evangelina calls Turner.
Mrs Gee goes to see the Mills’ along with Fred and chats sweetly with Mr Mills. He tells them he and his wife have been married 50 years and were hardly ever apart. Mrs Gee says she and her husband weren’t together that long, but they were just as happy as the Millses.
Mrs Gee brings the tea things down from Mr Mills’s room and finds Mrs Mills taking a pad off a really awful looking sore on her breast. Mrs Mills tries to hide it, but it’s too late. There’s a knock on the door and Mrs Mills says that must be Barbara, and she’s not to know about this because she has to take care of Mr Mills. Mrs Gee insists Barbara be told. Barbara comes in on the tail end of the conversation and asks what’s wrong. Mrs Gee urges her to show Barbara and Barbara gently asks to be allowed to help. She checks out the sore. Mrs Mills weeps.
Outside, Fred marvels that Mrs Mills kept all that worry to herself because she didn’t want to upset her husband. Mrs Gee says they clearly can’t live without each other and invites Fred in for a hot drink.
Inside her place, he checks out a photo of her husband while she whips up some Turkish coffee and serves it in espresso cups. She notes that he’s a bit down in the mouth and reassures him Mrs Mills will get good care and she and Fred will look in on them. He excuses himself and she stops him and says they’re too old to be silly. They should just come out with it: does he like her or not? He does, but he knows how hard it is to let go of loved ones past. She tells him her husband was a really important part of her life. Obviously she can’t just go forgetting him. He knows.
Marion and her husband take Deborah to the London. Turner tells them that Deborah’s in great hands. She has a heart murmur, but they don’t really know how bad it is just yet. She’s taken in an incubator to the specialist unit as her parents watch, arms around each other.
Tim develops the film that was in his dad’s old camera. It’s a picture of him, his dad, and his late mother on his second birthday. Awww. Turner knocks on the door and asks what was on the film, because he can’t remember. Tim lies that there was nothing. The kid they have in the photo as young Tim is super cute.
MJ and Winifred carve turnips. Glenda shows up at Nonnatus and asks if they can get her mother to come. MJ says that’s not really her area. Glenda hands over a letter she’s written her mum and asks them to give it to her. Winifred asks if her father knows she’s there and the girl heartbreakingly says he doesn’t care about her, he has a new wife and baby. After Glenda leaves, Fred, overhearing from the kitchen, tells the women the mother isn’t dead at all, she took off.
Turner tries to explain the heart murmur to Debora’s parents. It just upsets Marion. Marion’s having a seriously difficult time with this. Turner tells them Deborah would have to have a procedure, but she can’t have it until she’s 18 months at least, because her heart’s too small just now. Without the operation, she may not survive infancy.
Winifred goes to see Mr Severs, Glenda’s dad, and tells him about Glenda’s requests. She hands over the letter and the man sighs that his first wife is still wreaking havoc. Winifred says that Glenda really wants to see her mother. He tells her that his wife cheated on him, Glenda isn’t his, and then the woman took off and never even asked after her daughter. But he loves Glenda just as if she were actually his kid. He seems like a fairly nice guy.
Turner checks out Mrs Mills and says she has a nasty lesion that needs to be seen by a specialist. The poor woman says she just wants some cream for it. She panics at the idea of leaving her husband alone for any length of time but Barbara reassures her that, while Barbara accompanies her to the hospital, Cynthia will care for Mr Mills.
[cryout-pullquote align=”left” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]See Julian Fellowes? Characters over 30 can have happy and fulfilling relationships![/cryout-pullquote]Evangelina brings some tea to Marion, who’s standing outside the nursery, looking at her daughter. Marion points out a birthmark on her daughter’s leg, which her grandmother used to refer to as an angel’s kiss. According to granny legend, it was for protection.
Back at Nonnatus, Evangelina finds Trixie looking over some records on Shirley’s behalf. Trixie comments on the fact that Shirley’s baby had a really distinctive birthmark when she was born, but it seems to have faded now. She wanders out and Evangelina hastily looks up the baby’s records, her face swiftly going from ‘uh oh’ to ‘OH SHIT!’ in half a second flat.
She rushes to Julienne in a complete panic and confesses she mixed up Shirley’s and Marion’s babies, in the craziness during the fire. Turns out those two babies hadn’t been tagged yet. Evangelina sobs and wonders what she’s going to do.
Julienne, Evangelina, and Bernadette confirm the mix up using the parents’ medical records and blood types. Evangelina bursts into tears again but Bernadette firmly tells her that this isn’t her mistake alone and they’ll deal with this as a team.
Mrs Mills and Bernadette sit down with the specialist, who gently asks her if she’s in pain. She tries to tell him it’s not so bad, but Barbara says it’s super bad. The lesion has revealed a cancer and she’ll need a radical mastectomy, followed by radiotherapy. The woman looks completely freaked out. Barbara reaches over and squeezes her hand. Mrs Mills asks if she’s dying. ‘Without surgery, yes,’ he answers honestly. She asks if the surgery will fix it, but it sounds like the answer’s no. She’ll just have less pain and more time.
Fred sits with Mr Mills and they talk about the women in their lives. Mr Mills tells Fred that Mrs Gee’s great. Fred agrees, but says she can’t seem to forget her husband and he can’t compete with perfection. Mr Mills says nobody’s perfect, love just makes it seem that way.
Barbara tells Mrs Gee that they’ll have a nice cup of tea and think about what to do next. At any rate, Mrs Gee will be very well cared for by Barbara and the other nurses. Mrs Mills sadly says she thought her husband would go first, and that’s how she wanted it, so she could always be there for him and he’d never have to be alone. She wonders what she’ll say to him and Barbara urges her to think positively.
Julienne and Bernadette agree that they just need to be completely honest with the parents. Evangelina comes in and urges them to let her face the heat alone, because it’s her mistake. Julienne says that this isn’t her punishment; they need to focus on moving forward. Evangelina wails that she destroyed two families. I think that’s being a tiny bit dramatic. Yes, this is a terrible mistake, but these babies are, at most, just a few weeks old. It’s not as if these people have been raising the wrong child for years or anything. Of course there’s been quite a bit of bonding in the interim, but acting like everyone involved will never recover from this is a bit extreme. Julienne says they’ll all find a way through this.
The four parents—the Smiths and the Dents—arrive and Bernadette and Evangelina quickly explain what happened. Everyone takes this in, completely stunned, as you can imagine. Julienne apologises and hopes they can reestablish bonds with their actual child. Marion’s husband rails about having been to hell with someone else’s kid and Shirley begs to know what’s wrong with her baby. Bernadette tells her about the heart murmur. Furthermore, a decision will need to be made about Debora’s surgery. Marion angrily says the baby is very delicate and needs someone capable taking care of her, and frankly, Shirley’s always been a flake. Woah, Marion. Easy there. You’d think she’d be delighted to find out her actual child is fit and healthy. But it seems like she’s sticking with the child she took home with her. She and her husband stomp out.
Mrs Mills has told her husband about her diagnosis. They cuddle in bed and she says she doesn’t see the point in having the surgery. He tells her there’s totally a point and she should absolutely have it. He goes on to say that he doesn’t want to lose her, not without a fight. He begs her to be with him as long as she can and she embraces him. I love these two so very, very much.
Shirley and her husband look down at their not-baby, who smiles up at them adorably, and talk about their actual baby and her dysfunctional ticker. Her husband wonders how they can love this baby so much, when she’s not even theirs. Shirley says she keeps wondering if Marion and her husband would love her the way they do. But there’s nothing for it, right?
Marion and her husband discuss the situation as well. They talk about God and how he’s testing them, but maybe also sparing them, by giving them a healthy baby. Marion refuses to hand ‘her’ baby over to Shirley and her husband, but her husband isn’t interested in raising someone else’s child, particularly not a sickly one, so they’re at an impasse.
Evangelina washes some dishes and cries. She drops something and breaks it and starts verbally beating herself up. MJ wanders in and says the drainer really sucks, and also, she hates that china. But she loves Evangelina and they would be lost without her. Aww, I’m so loving MJ this series. She grabs a biscuit and goes back to bed.
Barbara helps Mrs Mills on with her coat so they can go back to the hospital for her surgery. She asks Cynthia to promise Mr Mills will be well taken care of. She promises. He reminds his wife that they live for each other and urges her to hurry back to him. Love them!
Children of the neighbourhood parade through the area with their lighted turnips, led by Delia and Patsy. Glenda goes and asks MJ where her mother is. MJ tells her regretfully that she can’t produce the girl’s mother. Her father steps forward and says he’s sorry she misses her mum, because her mum would have loved to see her in the parade. Glenda asks why he never talks about her mother. He tells her it hurts, but he’ll talk about her more when Glenda’s older. Meanwhile, he’ll watch over her, because he promised her mother he would. He gets teary and embraces her. Aww.
Patsy and Delia step aside and Patsy whispers that they’ll find a way to be together.
Barbara sits at Mr Mills’s bedside to keep him company until his wife comes back.
Fred goes to Mrs Gee’s and finds her packing up. She’s planning to move to Plymouth to live near her son, since there’s nothing much to keep her in Poplar. Fred asks for a padlock, and when she hands one over, he uses it to latch her door shut so they’re not interrupted while he tells her he wants her to stay put and marry him. Squee! Take note, Julian Fellowes, people older than 30 can have happy, fulfilling relationships! She says yes, and they kiss, and then she admits she doesn’t have the key to that padlock. Why, however will they fill the time?
Bernadette and Turner talk about the mix-up. She says they need to find a way to avoid this ever happening again. Tim overhears them. She goes on to say that she couldn’t love Angela more if she’d given birth to her. Same with Tim. Turner asks what she would do if she were in Marion or Shirley’s place. She says it’s a very different situation. Tim walks in with his camera and hands it over, suggesting they photograph all the babies as soon as they’re born as an extra bit of identification. Turner and Bernadette love the idea. Turner goes to set up the camera so they can take a family photo. Bernadette fetches Angela and they all pose on the sofa.
Shirley goes to visit her baby at the hospital, where Marion’s already lurking. Marion tells Shirley that the baby needs a lot of care. Shirley, in a ‘why the hell are you being so mean to me?’ voice reminds Marion that they used to be friends. Marion sighs that they aren’t kids anymore. Yeah, well, you can still act like a feeling human being, even as an adult, right? Marion asks why Shirley would want to take on a sickly child and Shirley says that it’s her child and she can’t bear to be without her. Jackie, in her pram, begins to fuss, and though Marion bizarrely tries to ignore her, she finally goes over to her and comforts the baby. She tells Shirley that she simply couldn’t manage little Deborah, but Shirley picks up Jackie and places her in Marion’s arms, telling her they both need to be with their babies. And just like that, Marion comes around. And apologises for being kind of a bitch.
Evangelina prays in the chapel, clearly still bowed down by guilt. Julienne joins her and tells her the only way is forward, together. Evangelina takes a deep breath. They leave the chapel together.
Mrs Mills returns home and is joyfully reunited with Mr Mills. True Love fittingly kicks up on the soundtrack.