Hunderby: Baby Blues

Previously on Hunderby: Helene got a dog, Matilda died (with an assist from both Dorothy and Edmond), and Dorothy got her hands on Helene’s incriminating locket.

The funeral’s over and the family is sitting down for the reading of the will. Basically, Edmond will get everything if he and Helene have a child within the year. If there is no child, everything is to be sold and the money used to build an underwater memorial to those lost when the Bethany Rose sank. Dorothy isn’t mentioned at all. Ha!

At church that Sunday, Edmond reminds everyone that Dorothy will be holding her regular healing circle that day at noon. He then prays that he and Helene be blessed with a child, adding that all children are born filthy savages. Well, all right, then.

At home for lunch, Helene’s being made to eat bull’s testicles, I think. Needless to say, her appetite isn’t great. Edmond pointedly tells her he’ll be upstairs and leaves, giving Dorothy time to snipe at Helene for not eating enough. Edmond thankfully saves her by calling for her, so up she goes for more of the worst non-sex ever. Once again, Edmond hasn’t made it inside, apparently. Edmond looks out the window and spots shirtless Jeff, which gets him all excited. He finishes up and Dorothy comes right in to offer him some bubbly milk.

Later, Dorothy’s got her healing circle going. This must be a pretty healthy parish, because they’re focusing on trying to cure a man of baldness. Unsuccessfully, of course.

Edmond, meanwhile, has gone to pay a visit to Brother Joseph, who gives Edmond a massage and notes that he seems rather tense. Edmond confides that he’s noticed Helene has a clitoris, which he thinks is some sort of deformity. Oh, Victorians. Again, I’d think this was absurd if it wasn’t actually how people thought until shockingly recently. Joseph says his wife has mentioned such things, which are said to drive women mad. Edmond also admits that looking at Helene is something of a turnoff for him, so Joseph suggests he cover her face, as he does with his wife, and conjure up a “more stimulating scene.” For Joseph, that apparently means an altar boy, who comes in briefly and hastens out, probably sensing the creepy atmosphere.

Dorothy’s circle has turned its attention to Helene, who’s lying on her back while the others sing a strange song calling for a strong infant to, basically, explode from her thighs.

Afterwards, Helene’s weeping in the churchyard, where she’s found by Hester, a woman in a wheelchair. Hester’s sweet and comforts Helene, saying she felt like crying the first time she was in the healing circle too. Turns out the circle’s useless, to her, at least, but she’s sure Helene will be all right. Helene admits that she would really love to have a child, and then feels bad because obviously Hester can’t have one. Hester tells her not to worry about it, because she has a wonderful husband instead. And guess who that is? Dr. Fogarty! And he’s walking their way with a bouquet of flowers and a look on his face that says, “oh, crap, my crush is talking to my wife.” Yeah, that’s awkward for everyone involved.

Edmond comes over and tactlessly refers to Helene as “stout legs” before bundling her off for another fruitless coupling. As she goes, Helene drops her handkerchief, which Hester recognizes as belonging to her husband. Helene takes it from her and hurries away, while Dr. F presents his wife with her wildflower bouquet.

At Hunderby, Dorothy shows Helene and Edmond the nursery she’s created for the baby. It’s an almost empty, cell-like stone room with tiny slit windows and a cradle the Addams family would love. It’s all black, spiky, iron bars. Lovely. Dorothy tells the prospective parents that babies should sleep 14 hours straight, and if they do cry, it’s because the devil has gotten into them and they should be left to fight it out. Even Edmond seems a bit put off by this.

Later, Dorothy presents Helene with more balls and the locket. Helene lies pretty admirably and says the “Elizabeth” mentioned on the locket is her middle name, and the man inside is her late brother. She tries to take the locket, but Dorothy won’t give it up.

Helene heads to Edmond’s room, where she finds him dressed in a long nightdress and white wig. He explains that Joseph suggested some Biblical roleplaying to get them both in the mood, so Helene will be playing Job, while Edmond will be Jehovah, coming to rain down punishments. Kinky!

And useless, it seems. Though Edmond once again glimpses Jeff through the window and gets excited, when Helene looks up at him (still wearing her Job beard), he finds himself unable to finish.

Edmond presents Jeff with a footman’s livery and tries very hard not to check out Jeff’s bare bum while he changes. Later, Edmond’s enjoying the sight of some pictures of naked savages in some missionary tract when Dorothy comes in and shoves Helene’s bloody sheets in his face, informing him that “Satan’s jam has once again burst [Helene’s] bristled bun.” Wow. Where does Julia Davis come up with this stuff? In his annoyance, he throws a spoon across the room, accidentally hitting Helene in the face as she walks in.

Doc Fogarty is called for, and of course he immediately notices the bruise on her cheek. He’s concerned, but Edmond angrily tells him that Helene’s just clumsy and Fogarty’s there to inspect her womb, not her cheek.

Helene and the doctor repair to her bedroom for the exam, which shows she’s perfectly normal. Perfectly normal for a woman who’s already had a child, that is.

Helene, of course, freaks out, and begs Fogarty not to tell Edmond. He reassures her he won’t breathe a word but tells her she can certainly have more kids. Helene tells him the baby was the product of rape at the hands of the humpbacked man whose picture is in her locket, and that the baby died. Fogarty comforts her and makes a confession of his own: he was the one who crippled Hester. It was an accident, of course: he got drunk the night before their wedding, because he realized he didn’t love Hester, and then got on his horse to go home and accidentally ran her down. Somehow, she doesn’t know that it was Fogarty who did it, even though she was running outside to meet him at the time, so maybe she hit her head or something. Or she’s lying about not knowing it was him.

Fogarty next asks to examine Edmond, who agrees, but turns down Dorothy’s creepy offer of assistance. While he’s otherwise occupied, Helene runs to the kitchens in a panic, calling for Annie. When Annie appears, Helene tells her Fogarty knows about the baby she had. Annie tells her not to stress, because this “wouldn’t be the first queer child that’s haunted these walls.” Iiiiinteresting. Anyway, she’s sure Fogarty won’t tell, and anyway, it’s not as if Helene killed anyone. Well, except the father of her child, as Helene flashes back to her bashing the man’s head in. Annie suggests they go play with Susan, and once they’re gone, Dorothy emerges from a hiding place on the other side of the table.

Fogarty examines Edmond and…well, let’s just say that everything seems to be working as it should.

Dorothy, armed with some nasty looking shackles, lets herself into the room that’s always locked up, where the creepy wailing comes from.



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