Call the Midwife: A Dark and Stormy Night

Patsy and Winifred meet a patient in episode 7 of Call the MidwifePreviously on Call the Midwife: Evangelina went away to listen to the sound of silence for a while, Barbara and Tom began dating, Trixie started attending AA.

It’s very early in the morning. Julienne prays, Patsy wakes up in Delia’s bed and then sneaks back to her own, Barbara goes to the window to wave to Tom as he leaves for very early priestly duties. He looks up and waves back to her. Aww.

A heavily pregnant redheaded woman who looks super worn out goes to work the locks for the barge her family lives on. She faints and her husband calls into the cabin for his daughter, Lou, and tells her to go help her mum. The two of them hurry towards the woman, Daisy.

The midwives report for duty at eight AM and get an earful from Crane for not being early. Timothy swings by with an insulin delivery.

Julienne sits down with Cynthia and tells her how much she respects her for her strength and forbearance over the last few weeks since her attack. She wants to send her to the Mother House for a bit of a break, but they can’t spare her until Evangelina returns. It seems that return is rather up in the air: the date of her proposed return has passed and they’ve hardly heard a word from her. MJ interrupts by coming in to complain about the giant basket of apples that’s been left on their doorstep. Hey, MJ, if you don’t want them, I’ll take them. I’m kind of an apple addict.

Barbara goes to see her patient of the week, Mrs Matlin, who’s deep in the nesting phase and painting her flat. She seems like a pretty sweet, perky type. Her husband, Lesley, comes in and all I can say about him is that he seems polite, but pretty disengaged. His wife tries to draw him out, but nothing doing. Barbara notes the change in attitude in the room.

The Pill is coming to Poplar and Turner’s practically giddy about it. Julienne, not so much. He compares this breakthrough and people’s hesitant reaction to it to the introduction of antibiotics. Julienne says that antibiotics were a miracle. Believe me, Julienne, so is reliable birth control. She allows that this could be a miracle, but it also has moral implications because—wait for it—unmarried women would be allowed to take it. The horror! How awful would it be for unmarried ladies like that poor teacher from a few weeks ago to have a reliable method of keeping themselves safe while also exploring their sexuality like totally normal people?[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]The Pill is coming to Poplar and Turner’s practically giddy about it[/cryout-pullquote]

Turner reminds Julienne of the high proportion of babies born in their area without fathers, and all that that implies. Julienne agrees that’s a problem, but she has to adhere to the church’s teachings on this matter. She has some thinking to do. And she’s gotten so uptight about it she refuses to even have a decent biscuit.

Back home, she turns down tea so she can pray and ponder.

Later, Barbara welcomes Tom for a bit of a naughty visit. Everyone’s out and they have the house to themselves. She notes that he’s gone a bit heavy on the Brylcreem, but that’s not going to deter her, believe me. The put on a record and start dancing, and I just have to say, these two actors have some major chemistry. Even watching them dance is sort of hot. So it’s hardly surprising when they start making out like teenagers.

Winifred and Patsy swing by the barges to see Daisy, having been referred by the hospital she went to after she fainted. She tells them she’s feeling much better now. Her husband suggests she let Patsy check her out.

Belowdecks, Patsy says the baby seems good and invites Daisy down to the clinic the next day to get the results of her hospital blood tests, unless she prefers to have Patsy deliver them. Daisy thanks her but says she shouldn’t take up any more of Daisy’s time.

Tom and Barbara are getting hot and heavy when she calls a halt because people will be home soon. As he steps away, she sees that the Brylcreem has left a giant greasy patch on the wallpaper. Tom, clearly not the best liar, suggests she just tell everyone she tripped while carrying butter or something. And left a mark a few inches higher than her head? Try again, Tom. Julienne and Cynthia come in and cheerfully ask if Tom’s come to join them for prayers.

Patsy and Winifred talk about Daisy’s family. Winifred, of course, is a bit worried about the fact the kids don’t go to school and may be illiterate. Patsy’s concerned that Daisy won’t accept any help they can offer.

Over breakfast, Crane, of course, notices the stain on the wallpaper. MJ thinks it’s a manifestation from another realm. Crane can’t figure out what it is. Barbara tries not to freak out. Julienne joins them and says she’d like all the midwives to attend a seminar with Turner that evening about the new Pill. She’s also invited Tom to join them for a Christian perspective. Yeah, that usually helps move proceedings along.

Later, MJ notes that Julienne is sending Evangelina a letter and seems sad that they have to plead with her to return. She can’t imagine Evangelina, someone built for noise and motion, would thrive in silence. Julienne, too, is concerned.

Clinic! MJ leads the kids in autumnal crafts while the midwives check out mothers and babies. Barbara sees Mrs M, who comments that her husband barely even seems to notice there’s a baby on the way. Yeah, that’s not a great sign.

Daisy arrives just as Julienne’s being directed to sign some forms to send this week’s batch of unmarried mothers off to the Home of Shame. Shelagh greets Daisy, who only wants to see Patsy. Patsy checks her out and learns that Daisy birthed all her kids on her own. That is, with absolutely no one helping her. Daisy says she likes the quiet, but maybe she should have some help this time. Patsy notes that her blood pressure’s a bit low and her blood tests showed she’s a little anaemic. She suggests iron pills and Daisy worries a little about the cost. Turner comes by and recommends booking her into the maternity home for bed rest.

It’s up to Shelagh to talk Daisy into going to the maternity home. Daisy’s worried about being separated from her family, which she’s never been before, but Shelagh talks up visiting hours and Patsy brings her a cup of tea, and she starts to warm to the idea, a little. Winifred chimes in that the kids can attend school while they await the arrival of their new sibling. Daisy asks her eldest, daughter Lou, if she wants to go to school or hang with dad. Lou doesn’t even hesitate. School it is.

That evening, at Nonnatus, Trixie prepares to go to her AA meeting while the others sit down for their talk with Turner. He explains the history of the Pill and how effective it is. Shelagh adds that this puts contraception completely in the women’s control. Winifred notes that some men won’t like that, but Crane says she’s spent years and years trying to convince women to use condoms, which were pretty much the only reliable method available, only to hear that their husbands weren’t willing. I’ll bet they’d become willing if it was the only way they got laid, but then, I guess the concern is that if you start withholding, they might go elsewhere. Also, you’re kind of punishing yourself, too. Tom looks super uncomfortable.

Trixie takes her turn talking at AA and says that she didn’t expect life without a drink to be so boring. She waxes rhapsodic about maraschino cherries and cocktail recipes and the others smile knowingly. The camera lingers on one guy so much I figure he’s got to be important at some point. Trixie finishes up by saying that she knows the value of sobriety and now knows what real friendship is.

Back at Nonnatus, Julienne says she wants them to be clear they’re not recommending recreational sex. She calls on Tom to back her up and, put on the spot, he stammers about government guidelines and bible passages that recommend everyone just stick to one partner forever. Patsy points out that when the bible was written, contraception didn’t exist, so advice like that was more necessary. Delia pipes up with a hypothetical about two young people who suffer from completely normal desire, and are they to tell these two, ‘hey, sucks to be you! Cold showers for everyone!’? Tom says he’d counsel self-restraint. Julienne calls the meeting to a close.

Outside, Barbara calls Tom out on the hypocrisy of talking about self-restraint in a room that he’s literally marked with his horniness. He tells her that he was kind of on the spot and had to say something. She suggests he educate himself a bit before he starts spouting off (verbally).

Mrs M’s in labour and it’s a long, slow one. Barbara tends her and notices they’ve run out of gas. She calls for Lesley, who comes wandering in half asleep, and asks him to phone Nonnatus.

Crane arrives with some extra gas and offers to take over, since Barbara’s clearly tired.

Daisy arrives at the maternity home and is checked by Patsy. Shelagh arrives with a nightdress and slippers. Daisy’s not happy to see that they’re marked Property of Kenilworth Maternity Home.

Mrs M’s in the home stretch. She’s managed to stay pretty quiet until now, but she starts shrieking with the last push. Lesley, waiting in the sitting room, looks upset. She delivers a son and, as she holds him, tearfully tells the midwives that she doesn’t think Lesley wants any of this. Turns out they had to get married, after only dating three months. If only they had had the Pill! You know, I love this show, I really do, but sometimes they can get a little too heavy handed, driving their point home.

Crane and Barbara head out and talk about how rough it can be, having to get married. Crane says that being illegitimate certainly left its mark on her and made her scared enough of sex that she very nearly turned down a dirty weekend during the war. Nearly.

Patsy and Delia relax with some apples out in the garden and admire the full moon. Patsy says she heard Daisy’s kids didn’t get on well at school, because their clothes stick out and they kind of smell, although that’s not exactly unique in Poplar. Delia changes the subject and suggests the two of them go on a date to a lesbian club. Patsy’s not keen, because she’s not really interested in engaging with the larger lesbian culture, she just wants to be with Delia, but Delia wants to be able to act like a girlfriend with her girlfriend.

Patsy brings Daisy’s kids to Nonnatus for a good bath and some nice clothes. Lou’s delighted by this.

Shelagh checks Daisy and notes she’s doing really well. Daisy thinks today might be the day. The kids are brought in, all scrubbed and dressed nicely, and Daisy hugs the boys, and then starts melting down over their appearance. Her husband’s all, ‘what’s the problem, here?’ but his wife is not interested in being reasonable and hates that her children now smell clean and that Lou is happily dressed like the girl she is—in ankle socks!–which will be impractical on the barge, though these clothes aren’t for the barge, they’re for school. The boys aren’t exactly practically dressed either. Patsy tries to talk the woman down, but Daisy’s got a head of crazy on her and accuses Patsy of interfering before demanding her clothes back so she can go back to the barge.

That night, the wind starts kicking up something fierce. The TV aerial at Nonnatus comes crashing down, a sure portent of terrible things to come.

Shelagh calls and requests a midwife at the maternity home, since they have a woman there in labour and she and Turner are busy with someone else. Trixie gets ready to go, as Cynthia reports that there’s been a weather warning of gale force 9 winds on the wireless. Trixie heads out and meets another labouring woman making her way to the maternity home.

Daisy’s in labour too. One of those nights.

Lesley looks out at the weather while his wife, who’s looking like absolute hell, tries to feed the baby and says she has a headache and stomach pains. He’s pretty unconcerned. What a keeper.

Daisy’s husband offers to take her back to the maternity home, or fetch Patsy, but she doubts Patsy would come. She says it’ll be fine, because her 11-year-old daughter can help! The ‘oh, hell no!’ look on Lou’s face should have really twigged her to how terrible an idea that was, but then again, she’s in labour and that’s kind of distracting.

Trixie gets her two patients settled in the maternity home.

Lights are flickering all over. Lesley holds the baby. His wife mentions she’s seeing flashes of light. That’s not a good sign.

The first chance she gets, Lou runs for help. Smart girl.

Trixie is kind of awesomely hopping in between two patients. And then, of course, the lights go out.

Mrs M is in a seriously bad way, and finally her husband gets his ass to a phone and calls Nonnatus.

Timothy has been conscripted to run a generator at the maternity home while Turner and Trixie tend to their patients.

Patsy and Lou arrive at the barge and find two more bargee ladies already there. One of them cheerfully greets Patsy and tells her they’ve already got the water boiling. Belowdecks, the woman goes on to say that they heard Daisy screaming and knew what was going on, so they came over to see what they could do to help. Patsy asks Daisy if she wants her to stay, or if she’d be more comfortable with her friends. Daisy thanks her for coming, and thanks the other women too, whom she’d never met before then. The women are all, ‘hey, it’s what we do for each other, right?’ and take the kids and Daisy’s husband to the pub for the duration. Those women are pretty cool. I wished they were my neighbours, instead of the crazy woman downstairs who says the sound of my kid playing during the day is causing her psychological damage.

Lesley tells Crane what’s going on and she tells him she’s on her way. Before she leaves, she telephones for an ambulance, but the phone dies before she can give the flat number.

She goes to the flat and finds the electricity’s out, so she can’t use the lift and has to walk up eight flights (good thing they didn’t have the penthouse, right?) She bustles into the flat, checks Mrs M out, and realises this is a rare case of post-natal pre-eclampsia. She remains calm and tells Mrs M she’ll have to go to hospital. Lesley’s getting really upset and refuses to leave her side to go flag down the ambulance. Mrs M doesn’t want him to go either, so Crane gets her into a coat and shoes so they can all go down, Crane carrying the baby and Lesley helping his wife, who periodically stops to vomit over the stairwell.

Patsy assists Daisy through a fairly easy and successful birth. Daisy’s a pro. She has a daughter. She laughs and cuddles the baby happily.

Mrs M is taken into the ambulance, accompanied by her husband and baby. Crane reassures Mrs M she’ll be right behind, but it’ll be fine, because Mrs M has Lesley, and he’s finally starting to step up.

The following morning, everyone reports in. Babies were delivered successfully, despite the trouble and the weather, but the street outside is a complete mess. Crane says that Mrs M is poorly but stable, and her husband is camped outside her hospital room.

Julienne and Cynthia go outside and discover a giant pile of rubble almost on their doorstep. Fred, overseeing some cleanup crew, says a railway signal on the bridge above came down and brought most of the wall with it. And then we hear Evangelina pipe up from the other side of the mess, urging the cleanup crew to get a move on, because it’s not like this is the first time most of them have had to suddenly clear rubble, right? She cheerfully greets her two sisters, who beam at the sight of her. When she hears the telephone at Nonnatus is out, she finds one that’s still working in a nearby shop and requisitions it for the duration. Good to have her back.

Inside, she tells Julienne that she wants to do some district work for a while, instead of midwifery, to ease her way back in. Julienne tells her how happy they are to have her back. Evangelina says the time away was good, but too much silence is a bit much. MJ rushes in and practically weeps with joy at the sight of Evangelina.

Daisy and her family head off on their barge, waved by Winifred and Patsy. Winifred has arranged for the kids’ lessons to continue by post.

Lesley finally got it together and started being a really good dad and husband.

Julienne sits down with Evangelina and gently asks about her left hand, which she keeps curled in a fist and doesn’t seem to use. Evangelina admits she had a really bad stroke while she was away and had to re-teach herself to speak, which is a remarkable feat in a place where speaking isn’t permitted. She laughs that God really taught her a lesson about keeping her peace this time. But it’s reminded her that one needs to keep learning and adapting.

Delia and Patsy go to the club and get to hold hands and dance like a couple in public. Aww.

Evangelina sits down in the chapel and smiles, finally home.

Tom shows up and starts kissing Barbara.

Evangelina finds a bowl of apples in the hall and takes one, sniffing it deeply before taking a big bite.



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