The Nonnatuns, assisted by the Turners, host some sort of afternoon tea for the elderly folks of the neighbourhood. The girls complain about one totally gross old man who keeps sexually harassing them. A woman named Mrs Hills arrives with some cockles for everyone to share and the girls invite her to sit, noticing that she’s quite pregnant. Trixie’s surprised, since no word of any pregnancy had reached them, despite the fact they delivered the woman’s four other children. She says she’s going to have the baby in hospital, since she’s an older mother and they want to keep an eye on her.
Patsy hands Timothy a key and cryptically discusses some plan that he, she, and Shelagh have hatched together. He’s sent inside for more cream and finds his dad having a snooze on the sofa inside Nonnatus. He wakes his dad and tells the doctor he really needs to have a holiday.
Tom and Barbara come back from a movie date, talking about how awesome the Christian message in it was. He suggests they take the Sunday School with them the following week, then adorably gives her her favourite flavour of sherbet lolly. Just as they’re having a good romantic moment, a woman comes rushing out of an alleyway and begs for help. Barbara tells Tom to go for the police but the woman refuses to see any policeman.
They take her to Tom’s and Barbara treats the woman’s wounds (she’s clearly been pretty badly beaten up). Barbara finds a bite mark on the woman’s shoulder and is shocked. She and Tom again urge the woman, Lizzie, to speak to the police, but she’s afraid of getting into trouble for soliciting and rushes out, saying she has to get back to her kids.
Barbara tells Delia and Patsy what happened, as soon as she returns to Nonnatus. She bemoans the fact that there was nowhere and no one the woman could turn to. The girls suggest Barbara report it to the police herself. Trixie breezes in, claiming to have been at some Art History course and explaining away her runny mascara by saying the bus was really smoky.
Lizzie uses some makeup to cover her cuts and bruises.
Barbara goes to Mrs Hills’s fish stall to give her a thank you note for her contribution to the pensioners’ tea the other day. Mrs Hills’s daughter, Diane, is helping out and a customer tells Diane she should be doing more heavy lifting, instead of her mother, considering her condition. Mrs Hills says things are just fine the way they are.
Barbara next stops to report the attack to Noakes, but he says they can’t do anything unless Lizzie comes forward, which she won’t, because she’ll end up fined and in jail for soliciting.
Julienne finds Cynthia arranging flowers and asks her to sing more loudly in chapel. Cynthia explains that she was taught not to draw attention to herself because it’s a sign of pride. Julienne tells her not to worry about that, because she has a nice voice and they’d like to hear it.
At the Hills home, Diane tells her mother they really should get one of the midwives in. Mrs H tells her they’ve already discussed this. See, what’s happening here is that Diane is the one who’s pregnant, and the family’s trying to hide it because of course she’s unmarried and the boy ran off, so they’re making it seem like her mother’s the one expecting. Lots of unmarried/teen mothers this year. Poor Diane is clearly terrified, but this is the only way she gets to keep her baby and her good name.
A new mother, Mrs Coleman, goes to the clinic with her baby, who tends to scream incessantly. Julienne checks the baby out and thinks this is a touch of colic. She suggests a bedtime walk in the fresh air might help them both. The poor woman’s pretty much at the end of her tether and says she’ll try anything.
Shelagh serves up a super-special dinner so she and Tim can announce their surprise: they’re all going camping! Yay, my nightmare holiday! She’s gotten everything taken care of: another doctor’s going to cover the practice, and they’ve got permission to borrow equipment from the Cubs. They’re all really excited.
Cynthia presents MJ with a plate of snacks and asks her why she’s been off her feed lately. MJ tells her she’s fasting. Cynthia urges her to tell the other sisters what she’s doing, so they can help her remain strong.
The Turners stock up on Cubs supplies, which are all a bit gross. One of the tents has holes in it, and a billycan is mouldy. But Turner will not be deterred, because they’re all getting back to nature.
Mrs C walks her screaming baby through the streets, singing, not that any of it’s doing any good. As the baby wails, she begins to get teary and tells the baby she loves him, but he’s making her crazy.
Mrs Hills has all the equipment for a makeshift home birth laid out on the kitchen table, ready for when the time comes. Diane admits it makes her sick to see it.
Shelagh runs the replacement doctor, Dr Godfrey, through everything he needs to know. He’s an older man who apparently drifts in and out of retirement. He hits on Crane, who does not seem impressed. Turner bursts in and announces the car won’t fit everything and everyone, so they need to go to Nonnatus and get Crane’s roof rack.
While he loads the rack, Patsy, Winifred and Trixie watch and giggle over Turner’s ridiculous dad outfit of shorts, knee-socks, and sandals. Yeesh. They’re even more entertained when Barbara gives them an incontinence sheet to protect everything from the incoming rain.
Julienne goes to see Mrs C. For once, the baby’s not crying. Mrs C’s not looking too good, and Julienne notices that the woman has a cut on her face. She says she hit herself with a wardrobe door. Julienne gently tells her that they’re there to help. Mrs C bursts into tears and says she can’t tell Julienne what’s upset her so badly. Julienne notices a bite mark on her shoulder.
Julienne summons Noakes to her office and tells him she doesn’t know what’s happening here. Mrs C’s husband always seemed like a really good guy, but, you know, ‘I walked into a door’ is pretty much the oldest story in the book. Noakes says that the trick here is getting the woman to talk, because in this situation people rarely do. Julienne brings up the bite mark, which gets Noakes’s attention and he agrees to make some inquiries.
The Turners reach the campsite in driving rain and, naturally, shenanigans begin immediately. The camp stove won’t light, the tent is impossible to erect. When they finally get the smaller tent up, it immediately collapses.
Back at Nonnatus, Godfrey has tea with the ladies. Noakes arrives and floats the idea that Lizzie and Mrs C were both attacked by the same man. He wonders if it’s Mrs C’s husband, but Patsy seriously doubts it. Noakes then wonders if Mrs C was out soliciting as well. Julienne’s sure that’s not the case. Noakes wants to go talk to Lizzie and asks Barbara to come with him and try to get her to talk.
Turner delivers some spiked tea or something to Shelagh in their tent and admits he’s freezing in these shorts. He then upends the drink over his sleeping bag but refuses to get upset. Shelagh worries that the kids’ tent will fall down again, and Turner has barely reassured her it won’t when it does an the kids have to come in with them. Just before that happens, Turner thinks about work and worries that Godfrey’s not up to the task of general practice.
While they wait for Lizzie, Noakes tells Barbara that most of the real pros have been moved off the streets and into private premises, leaving the streets for the amateurs and the desperate. They finally spot her and catch her up. Barbara reassures her she’s not in trouble, they just need to ask a few questions. Noakes gently says he just wants to help. Lizzie asks him to find her missing husband, then, and refuses to say anything else.
Noakes calls in Fred and asks him to patrol the streets with the CDC. Fred’s only too happy to help.
Shelagh tries to remain cheerful as she attempts to cook over a campfire. Turner starts nattering on about work, despite the fact he’s not supposed to be doing so. Angela starts wailing, because apparently she saw a squirrel (in the woods!) and she’s petrified of squirrels. That’s a bizarre fear. What kid is scared of squirrels? Why? Also, who in their right mind takes a child who’s terrified of squirrels on a camping holiday in the woods?
While she and her mum are manning the stall, Diane’s water breaks. Her mother coaches her to press her legs together and not to let anything come out in a rush. Yeah, that’ll give away the game.
The Turners play I Spy in the tent. Saint Timothy’s patience is finally starting to wear thin (it’s raining again, and the tent is leaking). Turner’s clearly in agreement with his son and tells everyone to pack up, because they’re going to stay at a hotel down the road for the rest of the week.
Mrs Hills packs her three boys off to bed while Diane clutches the edges of the table and tries to act normal. Once the boys are out of the way, Mrs H locks the doors in the kitchen and pats her daughter’s head, ready to get down to business.
Fred tells the CDC about the two attacks and says they’ll be patrolling the streets every night until this is sorted.
Mrs H puts Diane in a bath and talks her through a contraction, encouraging her and giving her a towel to bite down on. Things are progressing, so Mrs H gets her out of the bath so she can have this kid.
Godfrey watches Juke Box Jury with Patsy, Delia and MJ, who clearly adores this show. Crane steams in and yells at Godfrey for forgetting to pay a house call on someone who’s in a huge amount of pain. He doesn’t seem at all bothered by this, which is sort of horrifying, and once again kind of hits on Crane, which grosses out everyone.
Diane delivers a son, but we all know this couldn’t possibly be over yet. Something’s going to go wrong.
Patsy goes to bed, all mussed, having come from Delia’s room where they were ‘learning a new card game’. Is that what the kids are calling it now?
Diane still hasn’t shed the placenta, which is a problem. Her mother goes out to call for help. She rings Nonnatus and gets Godfrey on the phone. She asks to speak to Trixie but Godfrey says he’s a doctor and he can handle this. He recommends a good tug on the cord and things should be fine. He hangs up as Trixie comes down and asks what’s up. He says one of Trixie’s colleagues phoned claiming to be having some trouble with a patient named Hills.
Mrs H returns home and tells Diane to lie back down.
Meanwhile, Trixie goes to summon Cynthia, who’s second on call, saying something strange is happening.
Mrs H pulls on the cord and Diane begins screaming in agony.
Trixie and Cynthia arrive and swiftly assess the situation. Cynthia checks the baby while Trixie looks after the mother. She quickly realises that Mrs H pulled too hard and actually managed to pull out her daughter’s womb. I struggle to keep food down while Mrs H just gives up that battle right then and there. Holy crap, how hard could that woman have possibly pulled? Cynthia rushes to call an ambulance, running into Fred and one of the other patrols on the way. They offer to escort her to the phone and back. Trixie, meanwhile, fixes things as much as they can.
Diane is taken to hospital and Trixie goes along, because they can’t really trust Mrs H to tell the whole truth. Cynthia stays behind to clean up the kitchen.
In the middle of the night, Turner wakes his wife so he can tell her he wants to call the surgery and put his mind at rest. Did you really need to wake her up for that? Just call, Turner, you’re a grown man!
Trixie reports to Mrs H that Diane is going into surgery and she should go home and get some rest. Mrs H says all she could think about was Diane’s reputation, and then she almost killed her. She’s a bit horrified by what she’s done. Trixie urges her to put all that behind her and move forward.
Trixie leaves the hospital and climbs onto her bike. It’s still dark out. Cynthia is also cycling home, and now we all start to freak out, wondering which one of them is about to be attacked. It’s Cynthia. She stops to watch the sun rise and a man comes up behind her and grabs her, dragging her away.
At daybreak, Turner calls Nonnatus and gets Trixie on the phone.
Cynthia comes to, stunned and very, very badly beaten. Her face is bloody and one eye is swollen shut. She slowly collects her wimple and painfully gets to her feet, cringing and confused.
Turner is horrified when he hears what Godfrey’s advice has wrought and decides to cut the holiday short.
As she hangs up with Turner, Trixie spots Cynthia coming in and rushes to help her, but Cynthia doesn’t want to be touched.
Julienne is summoned, and the first thing she does is to scold Cynthia for cycling home alone. Jesus, Julienne! A little sympathy and compassion, perhaps? Instead of victim blaming? Cynthia says they always do so, and she thought her habit would protect her, but that was her own arrogance and fault. Trixie firmly tells her not to even utter the word ‘fault’. Julienne softens and asks Cynthia what happened. Cynthia reassures them she wasn’t raped, at least. Julienne reaches for her and Cynthia bursts out of her chair, saying she doesn’t want to be touched. Barbara, hovering in the background, goes to call Noakes.
In her room, Cynthia tells Julienne that the worst part of this was that she’d stopped to pray, because it was time for one of the services, and she wanted to give thanks for Trixie’s skill. It was one of the most beautiful moments she’d ever known, and she felt so close to God. And then some horrible piece of shit came along and ruined all that. Julienne quietly asks if she wants to pray now. Cynthia—exhibiting a sort of simmering rage we’ve never, ever seen from this character—says it will not. She also won’t submit to being examined by a doctor. Julienne points out that if no one speaks out, this will just keep happening. Cynthia shouts for her to stop being kind, because she’s angry right now and can’t quite deal.
Julienne tells Noakes that Cynthia won’t talk, and they can’t force her to.
Cynthia staggers to the bathroom for a bath, despite both Patsy and Trixie urging her not to, because she hasn’t been examined yet. They both back down a few paces and just beg her not to lock the door, because she was knocked unconscious that morning and could drown.
Julienne goes to Mrs C and persuades her to speak up about what happened. Mrs C tearfully admits she’s a bad mother and was punished accordingly. The baby had been crying and she was starting to lose it, so she parked the pram and walked away from it and that’s when she was attacked. She apologises to her incredibly sweet husband, who says that he’s sorry for not having done more to help her. Julienne reassures her that she’s done nothing to be ashamed of and she won’t get into any trouble.
Cynthia stares at the rising bathwater, numb. MJ comes in and turns off the taps as Cynthia bursts into tears. MJ gently holds her, and then helps her wash. As she sponges the girl’s terribly bruised skin, she tells her that there’s a time to mortify the flesh, and a time to cherish it and marvel at its strength.
Everyone sits around the dining room table, looking terribly sad. Cynthia comes down, washed and more herself, and announces she’ll speak with the police, because she’s the only one not too afraid to come forward. She has pictures taken of her injuries, under Turner’s supervision, and gives an interview to Noakes in which, fortunately, she’s able to detail some very distinctive tattoos on her attacker. Noakes calls in a tattoo expert who describes what they mean and says he’s seen them on Soviet sailors who come in on the Merchant Marine.
Barbara delivers Cynthia’s tetanus shot and asks how she’s doing. Cynthia says she’s feeling lighter and realises this is a test of strength. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see Cynthia miserable, but I feel like this was tied up a little too quickly and easily. She was just having a serious crisis of faith, not to mention dealing with some very understandable rage, but in less than a day she’s just…over it? That disappoints me, there was some real meat here.
Diane’s recovering. Her mother brings the baby to see her and tells her they’re going to go ahead and acknowledge this is Diane’s son. She’s ready to come clean with everyone who asks. Diane sits up and asks to hold the baby. Her mother hands him over.
The police find the attacker and drag him off a ship in handcuffs. Wow, that was surprisingly easy.
JVO tells us that the Turners found a better cover and went back to that nice hotel for a real holiday, at the end of the summer.
At Nonnatus, Trixie, on her way out, tells Patsy and Delia that she’s not going to an art history lecture but to an AA meeting. They’re all, ‘good for you!’ because of course they are—would we have expected any different?
Next week, the Pill!