Oh, boy! It’s one of those episodes where people try to excuse their horrible behaviour! And they get away with it!
So, remember how Shelagh was leading the charge to raise funds for an incubator? They still don’t have enough money, so the midwives decide to stage a charity fashion show, making the clothes by repurposing donations. They then sell the clothes afterwards. This is all notable for two reasons: Doctor Turner shows up at the show wearing a tie made from the same material as his daughters’ dresses, which is adorable, and Trixie’s closing go-go booted, mini-skirted ‘haute couture’ offering is so shocking people actually get up and leave. I just wonder if there are going to be some repurcussions down the line for that.
For the most part, this fashion show is all most of the cast is given to do, and I feel like the scenes of them gathering to sew at the Turner home got pretty repetitive and filler-y after a while, if I’m being honest.
Also, since fashion is something of a focus this week, I’d just like to say that CtM is definitely committed to somewhat accurately showing the period, warts and all, because good God, the clothes are UGLY now. Mad Men made the mid-60s look so nice, from a clothes point of view, but then Mad Men was all about rich, fairly conservative white people. The folks on CtM don’t nearly have the same level of disposable income and the eye-searing polyester on most of the main cast really attests to that. Not a criticism, just an observation. Way to lean into the realism, show. Also, the midwives are still wearing those stockings they won in the season opener, which is nice continuity.
Otherwise, we just had two storylines this week, focusing on Crane and Lucille.
Lucille is sent to the hospital to cover for a chief midwife, who’s off sick. This follows a lot of hand-wringing over the fact that a lot of mothers are having their babies in hospital and I guess this is a bad thing? The hospitals are delivering the babies, stitching the mothers up and…sending them home. Which is kind of how it should be, right? They can’t stay in hospital for weeks, waiting for stitches to heal. One mother got an infection, which the midwives dump at the hospital’s door, but I feel like this is a bit more on them, because the midwives are still responsible for follow-up care, just as they are if a mother gives birth at home or at the maternity home. This felt like an odd argument in the show, to be honest. Are we all hating hospitals now?
Anyhow, Lucille goes to the hospital and soothes one nervous young mother who’s struggling a bit with breastfeeding and panicking about being sent home soon. But then Trixie comes around to check up on her and helps her out and everything is fine, so there we are, that’s pretty much how this system is meant to work.
Another mother, Connie, gives Lucille a faceful of racism and is just generally a slovenly bitch, leaving all her crap lying around on the floor. But then she goes into labour and she and Lucille get stuck in the lift on the way to delivery, of course. So, Lucille has to deliver this baby in the lift, which she does, and everyone’s fine. Congratulations, Connie.
Connie kind of apologises for having been so awful, saying it was just because she was unhappy at having to be in hospital in the first place. K, but the thing is, being unhappy or upset does not make you racist, it just exacerbates it. You were already kind of terrible, Connie, and maybe instead of offering excuses, you should work on that.
All this hospital time means Lucille has had far less time to go out with Cyril. Poor guy twice shows up for dates, only to find Lucille out working. He and Sister MJ end up hanging out both times. The first time he tells her all about cricket, and the second they end up watching one of Sister MJ’s TV shows (bonus points to whomever can identify the show. I don’t think it’s Doctor Who or The Saint.). When they finally do get together, Cyril takes Lucille to an authentic Caribbean restaurant and tells her he feels called to preach at their church, which makes her very proud.
On to Crane! She discovers two newcomers to the school: a pair of brothers recently arrived from East Pakistan. They mention their mother, but apparently no one else has seen or heard anything about this woman, which concerns Crane. She goes to the family’s flat and finds a woman who’s seriously in distress, though trying to hide it. The poor lady’s incontinent, and her husband just up and left because of it. Apparently the smell was too much (and considering both Turner and Crane, who have worked in some really grim surroundings, can’t hide their reactions to the smell, it must be REALLY bad.).
I’d like to point out that this husband took himself away from this situation because he thought it was too disgusting to bear, but left his two children in it. Not going for father or husband of the year, I see.
Crane and Turner try to talk the woman, Mrs Mohammed, into getting some treatment, or at least letting them have a look at her, but she freaks out and keeps saying that she’s dirty and shouldn’t be examined. Crane does manage to find out that this happened after Mrs M gave birth to a daughter a few months back, and that the child died. When Mrs M first said she’s been like this since the baby, I thought she meant since her younger son was born, and that kid’s, like, ten years old! Even so, three months like this would be horrifying.
The next step is to track down her husband, which proves easy to do since the kids know where he lives. Handy. Crane manages to persuade him to accompany her and Turner to the flat, to try and talk his wife into being examined and treated.
Once there, he immediately starts berating her for how bad the place smells. What a keeper this guy is. Crane and Turner shut him down and then start telling Mrs M (but, really, him) that she’s been through a terrible trauma, both physically and emotionally, and she’s been dealing with this with NO SUPPORT.
At this point, Mrs M lights into her husband, yelling at him for just leaving. He’s all, ‘Hey! I bring you food!’
She shouts that she is NOT an animal in a cage. Seriously, man.
Crane and Turner step back in and manage to talk Mrs M into letting Crane examine her and report her findings to Turner. Crane finds a tear between her vagina and bladder, which is causing the incontinence. Mrs M is sent to the hospital for surgery, and the horrible sores that have developed all down her legs from the constantly leaking urine are attended to.
Mr M sadsacks into Turner’s office all, ‘I didn’t know she was sick.’ Really? Did you think she was peeing all over herself for fun? Please. I’m not letting him off the hook any more than I am Connie. They already weren’t great people; adversity just brought out the extra-worst in them.
But it looks like Mrs M will be ok, after all. And Crane gifts her with a pretty new sari and the look on Mrs M’s face when she receives it is kind of heartbreaking. But that’s CtM for you.