Wow. WOW. And we still have a whole other episode to go this season! What the hell are they going to reveal next week? That Sister MJ is actually a man? Or a visitor from outer space (which would actually be kinda charming and would explain a lot)?
Ok, I’ll back up.
So, let’s talk about the mums this week. There are two: neighbour ladies who are expecting babies at pretty much the same time. Connie is pretty easygoing, expecting her second and enjoying a very trouble-free pregnancy. That’s a sure sign something’s going to go sideways at the delivery, right? Her pal is Heather, who’s new to the neighbourhood and expecting her first. She’s a bit more anxious. We’ll circle back round to her.
Mother Mildred has decided it’s high time Sister Frances (the human embodiment of a little lost lamb) fly solo at a birth. When Connie goes into labour, she’s dispatched. All seems well for a while, despite Frances’s obvious nerves, but then they realise that baby’s presenting VERY awkwardly. Like, elbow-first awkwardly. Frances clearly panics for about .1 seconds, then pulls herself together, calls for some backup, and gets this baby delivered all by herself. Go Frances! And go Connie! Congrats on the new baby girl!
Shortly after the delivery, Frances is back for a checkup and discovers that Connie’s husband is throwing a full-on party, with the Kinks on the radio and everything. The baby’s being passed around like a parcel, and Connie has been forced to retreat to her bedroom for a good cry. Good lord, the poor woman just gave birth and had to have stitches, and now she’s being levered out of bed and made to dress up and play hostess? Her husband’s a clueless douche. He doesn’t mean to be, but he is.
Frances comforts her patient, then goes back into the sitting room and just throws everyone the hell out. This girl’s gonna be fine.
So, Heather. Maybe not so fine. During her routine prenatal checkup she tells Trixie that she’s been having some trouble with her waterworks. Turner takes some swabs and they come back positive for gonorrhoea. Oh dear. She insists that must be wrong, because she’s only been with one man in her whole life, and that’s her husband.
And, of course, right then is when her husband comes home and she demands he tell the doctor and Trixie that they’re wrong, because he’d totally never cheat on her, right? RIGHT?
He can’t even bring himself to try and lie about it. Just stands there kind of stupidly, ‘guilty’ stamped all over his face.
Heather, reeling from the realisation that her husband’s been screwing around on her while she’s pregnant with their child, also learns that she’s going to have to go to the maternity home for observation. STIs are really not good for babies, you see. Gonorrhoea can cause major eye infections. She’s going to need antibiotic treatments, and so will her husband. He has a name, but we’re ok just calling him Dickhead, right?
Turner asks DH for the name(s) of his partners and DH responds that this wasn’t really cheating, it was business. Oh, apparently if you pay for sex it’s not cheating at all! Good to know! Asshole. He gives up the name of the woman, who’s not pleased to see Turner on her doorstep, but at least does heed his advice and close up shop. And while Turner’s at her place, giving her the bad news, guess who shows up? That’s right! Dickhead! Jesus, man.
Turner has a man-to-man with this guy and learns that he seems to be suffering from some kind of sex addiction. He tried out prostitution while he was in the army and you know how it is: once you have that first hit, you can’t stop. Ok.
Heather goes into labour and delivers a daughter. The baby, fortunately, is fine. When Heather finally lets her husband in to see his daughter, she lays down the law: he is no longer to work nights, or even late evenings. He’ll be home at a normal hour and she’ll be keeping an eye on him. Totally reasonable, but I don’t give this relationship much hope. Anytime he steps out of the house she’s going to be suspicious, and that kind of stress is going to eat at her like hell. They may stay together, for the sake of the kid, but I don’t see this being a particularly happy family.
In news of other families…
Mae is going to her permanent home soon! And though the Turner parents try to dress that bombshell up with smiles and raspberry ripple ice cream, absolutely nobody is happy about this. Timothy especially seems quite upset. But there’s not much anyone can do except hope that Mae’s new parents will allow the Turners to stay in contact with her.
And then there’s Val’s family. Remember how I mentioned her gran last week? The lady who seemed pretty nice? Well…
Val’s gran, Elsie, has been suffering from a boil on her leg, and it gets so bad that Val orders her to go see Turner. Elsie goes, reluctantly, and learns it is not, in fact, just a boil but a collection of boils. That is known as a carbuncle. There, that’s a thing you know now. It’ll have to be dressed, and Turner swabs it to see if there’s any other infection there.
There is, as it turns out. A strep infection. She gets antibiotics as well and the show takes a moment to sing the praises of these wonderdrugs. I’m going to sing their praises as well, because I got a strep infection not long after having my second baby, and let me tell you, it was one of the most horrible things I’ve ever experienced. And those antibiotics were a GODSEND. Thanks, Fleming!
Elsie’s on the mend, Britain finally gets a gold medal in the Olympics, which Sister MJ was VERY tuned into, and all is right with the world.
Except… not. Val’s Aunt Flo (a name that would get a ‘heh’ if this wasn’t so dire) phones Nonnatus and urgently says that Val needs to come to her pub and bring her nurse’s bag. Now, this is one of those moments when you realise how unfortunate it is for actors to be filming separately and not properly playing off one another. Because Flo’s tone was definitely ‘something bad has happened. VERY bad,’ and yet Val’s response is a rather shrugging, ‘Eh, maybe someone fell down and got a scraped knee or something.’
Nevertheless, Val takes Trixie with her. When they arrive, Flo hustles the two girls upstairs to an absolutely filthy room, where they find Elsie and a young woman lying on a table, clearly in a very bad way.
Yes, that’s right, our deadly back-ally abortionist is none other than VALERIE’S GRANDMOTHER.
Val is so stunned by what she’s seeing she can’t even function, so it’s a good thing we have Trixie to step in and ensure the poor woman on the table doesn’t just die. Elsie seems confused and mutters that she’s never seen this before.
Of course you haven’t, Elsie! Do you do follow-up care? I highly doubt it! Is anyone leaving Yelp reviews for your illegal abortion services? These women are going home and how the hell do you know what happens to them after that?
Do you do follow-up care? Are people leaving Yelp reviews for your illegal abortion services?
Trixie orders up an ambulance, which Val’s bitch aunt is reluctant to send for. Jesus, lady, I know this is illegal and all, but do you really think a dead body is going to be any easier to explain than a woman in distress? Trixie threatens to call the police if they don’t get a move on, so the ambulance is summoned and it looks like this woman’s going to make it. Let’s hope so, at least.
Trixie goes along in the ambulance, leaving Val to confront her grandmother. Now, earlier in the episode Valerie talked about how her grandmother had seen some terrible things that come of unwanted pregnancies. Elsie’s mother died young from having too many babies on top of one another, and a sister who came home pregnant and unmarried received a severe beating from their father. So, it’s not exactly shocking that Elsie would be involved in something like this. It is a little odd that Valerie accuses her grandmother of not knowing the horrors at stake here, because she quite obviously does. Elsie does not, however, know a great deal about the fallout from her procedures–the women who die, or are left infertile from medical incompetence.
Valerie also briefly makes this all about her, by telling her grandmother that she could lose her job or get into trouble. I don’t really see why, since it’s not as if she’s trying to cover anything up here, but I guess she’s stressed and a lot of things are coming out that don’t necessarily make much sense. When Val accuses Elsie of profiting off of the misery of these women, Elsie straight up burns the fee she charged for this completely botched procedure. Jesus, Elsie, what are you doing? At least give the money back to the girl or something! Burning money? Who does that?
That’s pretty much where things are left. Val is enraged and conflicted, and things aren’t looking too good for her gran. It’s pretty lined up for a corker of a season finale!