Previously on Call the Midwife: Sister Evangelina went away to have surgery, Cynthia came back as a nun.
JVO talks about how she could never have been a nun. Cynthia studies and puts on her veil before heading out of her room for the day.
Julienne knocks and enters MJ’s room. MJ’s been sick and complains about her medicines—antibiotics, which she refers to as moulds that are disturbing her sleep. Julienne reminds her that they’re helping and goes to take MJ’s temperature.
Crane hands out tasks for the day, reminding everyone they have clinic that afternoon. Evangelina’s coming back that day. Tim comes in and Crane comments that he’s shooting up like forced rhubarb. He’s brought insulin for the district diabetics. Trixie complains about how much time it takes up to have to administer to the diabetics every day and Crane decides they’re all mollycoddled and need to be set straight.
Crane sets out and immediately notices that the hubcaps have been stolen off of her car. She spots Noakes nearby and brings his attention to the theft. She thinks they’ve probably found their way to a nearby gypsy camp.
She goes to the first home, where Mrs Roland lives with her teen daughter, Paulette. Mrs R’s kind of a bitch and gives Crane some crap for being slightly late. Crane ignores her and heads in to give Paulette her insulin and to get a urine sample. Mrs R says Paulette’s been sick overnight. The urine test is normal, so she’s fine. Crane tells the girl she’s going to teach her how to inject herself, so she doesn’t need daily visits or to worry about the nurse coming at half past on the dot. Both mother and daughter panic a bit but Crane reassures them that it’s really for the best that Paulette start taking care of herself.
Noakes goes to the gypsy camp with another policeman, telling the young man not to jump to conclusions or be a prat. They greet the first guy they find, who tries to put them off. Noakes mentions the missing hubcaps and the guy says his kids had nothing to do with it, because they’re too busy working. A baby in a pram nearby starts crying and the man calls for the boy’s mother, Breda, who’s very young indeed. The baby’s just three days old. She’s getting around pretty well for only being a couple of days postpartum. Noakes tries to make some connections, mentioning his own kid, by the man tells him to get lost.
Patsy hangs a poster for an upcoming square dance. She’s joined by Delia, who compliments the design of the poster (Winifred’s work, apparently). The dance is a fundraiser for the Cubs. Delia and Patsy have a little moment, which is interrupted by the arrival of Sister Evangelina, yelling about a baby with an infected pierced ear outside.
She bustles into the clinic and starts butting heads with Crane almost immediately. Fun.
Mrs Roland heads out, and once she’s gone, Paulette sneaks out of the house and meets her boyfriend around the corner. He tells her she looks beautiful and she asks him what his probation officer said that morning. He told the boy he’s doing a good job and he’s got an interview lined up for him, so things are looking up. He promises he’s done with his shady past.
Evangelina leads everyone in prayer at dinnertime. She then completely rejects the ‘cheese tart’ because it’s a quiche and I guess she objects to French food. Trixie asks about the inquiry at the campsite and Noakes mentions the baby and its young mother. Julienne suggests they make contact.
Paulette’s boyfriend finds his younger brother, Lenny, playing with Crane’s stolen hubcaps. He gives the boy a piece of his mind and takes them back.
Fred leads the Civil Defense folk through the area. They’re joined by Mrs Gee, the owner of the haberdashery shop, who apologises breathlessly for being late. Fred reassures her it’s ok. He stops to retie a lace and she recommends different laces.
Bernadette tries feeding Angela who, like my own child, is asserting her tastes by shoving away anything she doesn’t approve of. While she deals with the baby, she fires off orders for the day to Timothy and Turner. Turner checks out his wife, who’s decked out in her nurse’s uniform again. She goes to answer the phone and Tim takes the opportunity to beg his father for long trousers instead of shorts for school. Bernadette has already turned him down. Turner sighs.
Trixie and Cynthia go to the campsite and knock on Breda’s door. It’s pouring rain and the girls look miserable. Maria Doyle Kennedy appears and informs them that nobody goes into a caravan without being invited. Trixie politely inquires after the young lady with the baby. That’s MDK’s niece. Trixie asks if the baby’s in the pram.
MDK: Of course not, it’s pissing rain, woman, and we’re not idiots! He’s inside, of course.
Cynthia explains that they want to make sure Breda and the baby are comfortable and well. MDK swears that everything’s fine, and she delivered the baby herself. Trixie mentions Breda’s apparent youth and MDK says she’s 16, and married, like that makes it all better. Yikes. Breda appears at the door of her caravan and tells MDK (whose name is Attracta) that she wants them to see her baby.
Inside, they examine the baby and say he looks perfectly healthy. They reassure her about the baby’s slight jaundice and offer to look in again in a couple of days. Breda happily agrees. Attracta, who’s pregnant herself, offers them tea.
Back at Nonnatus, the girls talk about the square dance and what they should wear. Barbara wants to go for a poodle skirt, like the one the queen wore in Canada. Woah, hold on: Queen Elizabeth wore a poodle skirt?! Holy crap, she actually did! Trixie, wisely, warns Barbara that poodle skirts can only be worn with a hefty serving of irony nowadays. Crane knocks on the door to pay her half crown to attend the square dance. Patsy gives her a ticket. There’s an awkward moment, and then they usher her out. Crane hears them laughing as she walks away and looks a little sad. Aww.
The next day, Crane goes back to Paulette’s and wanders right in the middle of a mother/daughter spat over Paulette’s boyfriend, Vaughn. Paulette dashes into the bathroom to be sick and Crane follows to help her out.
Later, Crane goes to the surgery and hands over a pregnancy test to be sent away for Paulette. Uh oh.
Fred goes to Mrs Gee’s for new laces. They talk about Fred’s daughters and his late wife. It’s not as depressing as it sounds.
Cynthia returns to the gypsy camp and runs into Attracta, who tells her that Breda’s out with the baby, but Cynthia’s welcome to wait for her and have a cup of tea. She explains that her grandmother’s on her way out ‘with the tide’ and she’ll hardly take anything. Attracta serves her tea in a lovely Crown Derby cup to make it seem special. Cynthia offers to have Turner come visit but Attracta says that’s not their way. Breda returns and Cynthia goes over to the baby.
The phone rings at Nonnatus and Evangelina picks up, despite Crane telling her it’s probably for Crane. It is. Turner’s on the other end with the results of Paulette’s test. It’s positive. Turner reminds Crane, like she doesn’t already know, that diabetes plus pregnancy are bad. Yeah, they tend to be pretty careful with that. I have a friend who’s diabetic and had a baby not long ago, and she was constantly going to the hospital for scans and tests and things.
Crane takes the news to Paulette and her mother, who are shocked, to say the least. The mother flies off the handle and calls her daughter a stupid slut. Nice. Mrs R screams that her daughter can forget about any kind of wedding, because there’s no way they’re marrying into that family. Crane tries to talk everyone down and finally suggests Mrs R go have a cigarette and chill out.
Cynthia brings a sort of teapot soup-server for Attracta to use with her frail grandmother, who’s no longer able to take anything off a spoon. Attracta looks incredibly grateful.
Turner and Crane sit down with Paulette and Mrs Roland to explain that pregnancy can make diabetes much worse. They generally advise a medically necessary abortion in hospital. Paulette bursts into tears. Mrs Roland’s totally on board, of course. Paulette, not so much.
Attracta’s grandmother, Pegeen, is able to take some tea through the little teapot and perks up. Attracta tells Cynthia that Pegeen’s almost been a mother to her and taught her everything she knows about delivering babies. She also found Attracta a husband. Cynthia offers to give Attracta a break for a while, so she can sit down on a more comfortable chair. Attracta shows Cynthia the gold earrings Pegeen gave her when she was born, which she’s never had to barter or sell because of all the valuable skills Pegeen’s passed along.
Paulette tells Vaughn everything. They agree that they want to keep the baby but don’t really know what to do. He wants to marry her and is clearly in earnest. Aww, these two are actually really sweet. Also, Vaughn totally looks like he should be playing Peeta Mellark or something.
Cynthia checks out Attracta’s foetal heartbeat and is incredibly happy to hear it, because she’s missed midwifery. She gently suggests that Attracta consider going to the maternity home to deliver, since this is her 11th (!!) kid and all. Attracta shortly says that she doesn’t want charity and this isn’t the way they do things. Cynthia points out that Pegeen won’t be able to help, and she doesn’t think Attracta wants to give birth on her own. Attracta agrees that she does not.
Crane tells Mrs R and Paulette that Turner’s arranged for the pregnancy to be terminated. This is so awful. This poor girl, she gets absolutely no say in this, which is horrible, because this is definitely something she should have a say in. Can you imagine having an abortion forced on you?
The doorbell rings and Paulette goes and lets Vaughn in. Mrs R yells at him for being there, but he politely says he would like to speak to her. Paulette suggests he sit down, but he refuses, because he hasn’t been invited by her mother. Boy’s definitely got manners, I’ll give him that. Mrs R still refuses to see any good in him, but Nurse Crane suggests she at least hear the boy out. He says he wants to marry Paulette. Mrs R says that’s not going to happen, because Paulette’s not having this baby. She tells him to leave. He says he will leave her house, but not Paulette.
That night, Vaughn goes to Nonnatus and returns Crane’s hubcaps. She asks no questions but tells him to go ahead and reattach them. He gets to work, explaining that he did a bit of mechanics work in juvie. He tells Crane that people think he’s a baddie, but he’s fine, it’s his family that’s the problem. He goes on to say that he doesn’t want his baby to be got rid of or born outside marriage. Crane explains that that’s the least of everyone’s worries, it’s the diabetes they need to think about. He says that he and Paulette understand the risks. They love each other and her mother shouldn’t stand in their way. Crane says it’s not her place to comment, but in her experience, when people think the worst of someone because of their background, a lot of potential can be wasted. He asks if there was someone she thought was no good and she says no, she was the one who was considered ‘wrong’ because she was illegitimate. But look, she turned out just fine!
Fred screws up his courage and goes back to Mrs Gee’s to ask her to the dance. It’s actually totally adorable: ‘Mrs Gee, I wonder if you’d do me the kindness of accompanying me to a function next Saturday night?’ Trust me, it’s cuter on screen. She agrees. They smile cutely at each other.
Crane ushers Paulette into a room at the maternity home and tells her that she’s been admitted as a social case. Paulette asks how that’s supposed to help, considering Crane’s as eager for her to get rid of this baby as her mother is. Crane solemnly says that’s not true at all, but Paulette’s a minor and can’t make her own decisions. But in this case, she really should be able to at least have a say in the decision, say I. Paulette asks Crane if she would let her keep the baby, if she were Paulette’s mother. Crane says she might do some things differently, if she were Paulette’s mother, but she’d still be worried about Paulette’s health. Paulette apologises for putting her on the spot like that.
Bernadette sits down with a huge pile of sewing. Nametags need to be sewn into every piece of clothing Tim wears to school, including his socks. His socks? Why the hell would he need name tapes in those? Bernadette’s overwhelmed, so Turner urges her to ask for help. Listen to the man, Bernadette, he now knows how important asking for help is.
She takes the sewing to Nonnatus, and Winifred and Evangelina get started on it. MJ comes up with an excuse not to help and Evangelina reminds her that she’s always going on about wanting to be needed. She sits down, scowling at the needle and thread, and excuses herself to find a Latin dictionary to lend Cynthia. Once she’s gone, Evangelina admits that she was not excited to hear she had to nurse MJ, but thankfully she takes that vow of obedience seriously. Winifred asks if it took a long time to get to that point and Evangelina replies: ‘years!’ She still has some rough days with it. I can imagine.
Crane and turner see Paulette at the maternity home and tell her the procedure is going to be carried out in a day or two, and she’s to be transferred to the London that evening.
Cynthia arrives at the gypsy camp right in the middle of a heated argument between the gypsies and the police. She asks Noakes what’s happening and he tells her they’ve been served an eviction notice because they don’t have a license to run the place as a campsite. She asks if they can apply for such a license. Yes, but it’ll take time. She tells him there’s a new baby there, another due any minute, and an elderly woman who’s dying. Noakes helps her through the crowd and she goes to check on Attracta. She’s in labour, kneeling beside Pegeen’s bed. Pegeen tells Cynthia that Attracta’s time has come. Cynthia helps her to bed, promising Pegeen that she’ll take care of her.
Vaughn comes to visit Paulette and finds her dressed and packing up. She tells him she’s running away, with or without him.
As she helps Attracta to her caravan, Cynthia tells Noakes that the rioting has to stop, because this woman is about to give birth. She announces there aren’t going to be any evictions right now and everyone calms down.
Vaughn and Paulette walk down the street and he tells her they can go stay with some aunt of his. He’ll take her there, then come back for his interview the next day.
Mrs R arrives at the maternity home, only to find her daughter fled.
Cynthia and Breda coach Attracta through her birth. She delivers a son. Outside, everyone breaks into cheers at the sound of the infant’s cry. He’s wrapped up and handed to his mother. Attracta thanks Cynthia.
Pegeen somehow finds her last reserves of strength and comes to the door of her caravan. Breda’s dad goes to help her, but she waves him off and goes to Attracta’s caravan on her own to see her last great-grandchild. Cynthia reassures her that all is well and the baby is handed to her while Cynthia finishes up with Attracta.
The nuns, plus Bernadette, sing a hymn while Atttracta cuddles her new son in bed and Cynthia bathes Pegeen’s face. Pegeen smiles beautifully at her.
Bernadette returns home and finds a pile of Timothy’s clothes, all with labels sewn in. Turner appears with one last item: long trousers. He explains that he always wanted a pair when he was a kid, and he never got them.
Cynthia arrives at the campsite to tend to Pegeen, but the tide has finally taken the old lady out. She goes into the caravan and finds her lying on her bed, eyes still open. She gently closes them and prays at her bedside.
Vaughn builds a shelter out in the woods where he and Paulette can camp out before continuing on to his aunt’s the following day. Where the heck does this aunt live, Sussex? Paulette’s shaking. He thinks she’s cold and wraps his jacket around her, but it’s really that her blood sugar’s too low. Vaughn cradles her and looks tense.
The girls get ready for the dance. Crane and Delia arrive and Crane tells them there’s still no news of Paulette. Delia pours some drinks and Crane nervously watches Trixie drink hers.
Paulette’s not doing well. She’s run out of insulin and is feeling sick. She weakly tells him she doesn’t want anyone to know where they are, because they’d split them up and get rid of their baby. He tells her that sometimes, what’s best for you isn’t what you want. He then kisses her on the forehead and leaves her in their little shelter while he goes and hotwires a nearby car.
The square dance gets underway. Fred shows up with a rather hilarious fringe tacked across his chest and back. The scouts tease him and Mrs Gee scolds the boys for being so ungrateful. After all, this fundraiser’s to send them all on a holiday. Fred isn’t bothered. Inside, everyone’s having a good time.
Meanwhile, out in the woods, Vaughn helps Paulette into the car and races to the maternity home with her. There, Evangelina rubs some glucose on the inside of her cheek to bring her blood sugar up and sends Vaughn to the dance to fetch Turner.
At the dance, Delia tells Patsy he wants to dance with her. Like, properly dance—a waltz or a tango. Patsy sighs that there’s no place on earth they can do that. Delia’s sure there is, and until they find it., they’ll just have to fantasy dance.
Vaughn bursts in and calls for Turner. Turner and Crane rush out after him.
Pegeen’s caravan becomes her funeral pyre while one of the other gypsies sings The Girl I Left Behind Me and Attracta cradles her son and weeps.
A policeman has found Vaughn’s stolen car. Vaughn is arrested. He’s definitely missing that job interview now. He calls Crane, who comes to the jail to tell him Paulette’s going to be ok. He tells her that he never wanted any of this. She knows, and she promises to let the court know that he did the right thing. Vaughn asks her to tell Paulette he loves her. She will, of course.
Paulette’s at the London. Her mother signs some papers, looking pretty wrecked, and tells Paulette they’re going to bring her something to calm her down. Pauletee gently suggests her mother take it, since she seems more worked up. Her mother bursts into tears and says that Crane told her Paulette would have died if it weren’t for Vaughn. She realizes he must really love her daughter. She gos on to say that there are medical advances all the time, and some day Paulette might be able to safely have a baby. She promises to send a message to Vaughn, once Paulette’s out of the surgical theatre.
Cynthia goes to the camp, only to find the smoking remains of Pegeen’s caravan and Breda waiting for her. Breda rushes over and says Attracta asked her to give Cynthia the lovely Crown Derby cup. Cynthia explains that she’s not supposed to have personal possessions, but Breda says they’ll think of it as theirs still, just lending it to her. She hops in the truck with her husband and they leave.
Timothy goes to school, wearing his new trousers and an extremely purple jacket.