Call the Midwife: The Undesirables

68478Previously on Call the Midwife: Sister Evangelina had to go have surgery, so no-nonsense Nurse Crane arrived to take over her duties.

The camera pans past a rat, then some broken-down barbed wire fence, and a sign for a public men’s bathroom before joining the local volunteers who’ll be the go-to folks in the case of a nuclear attack. Because despite the fact that they had direct evidence to the contrary, people at this time still believed you could actually flee a nuclear bomb blast before it melted your skin off. Fred’s the leader of this crew. One of the men, Tony, asks if there’ll be provisions in the shelters for babies and Fred tells him not to worry. A rat scurries through, and while the others panic, Tony stomps the thing to death, calling it a filthy thing, spreading disease.

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Call the Midwife: Love is All Around Us

p02f1tcqPreviously on Call the Midwife: Patsy joined the team, (former sister) Bernadette and Doc Turner adopted a baby girl, and Jenny decided to leave midwifery and Poplar behind.

It’s our first episode in a post-Jenny world and we start off with…Jenny? Yes, we’ve still got the JVO, which seems increasingly odd, since now she’s commenting on situations and events she wasn’t even privy to. We begin in 2005 with older Jenny (we get to see her at last!) decorating for Christmas and worrying about a missing ornament. Her house is something of a photographic shrine to her days in Poplar—aside from one or two pictures of, presumably, grandkids, every framed photo is one of her as a midwife, her with the other midwives, or the nuns, which kind of makes it seem like she never made any friends at her later jobs. Kinda sad, that.

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Call the Midwife: Alec Jesmond Had a Great Fall

45533Previously on Call the Midwife: Alec trotted out the ‘l’ word, prompting Jenny to completely freak out and Bernadette found out that motherhood isn’t in the cards for her.

JVO talks optimistically about how, when you’re young, it seems like everything’s possible. Jenny bikes through the neighbourhood, passing Alec, who waves and smiles at her.

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Call the Midwife: Ka-Boom

Screen-4770253Previously on Call the Midwife: Chummy came back to work part-time and the Nonnatuns moved into their new digs.

JVO talks about how birth is the most primal thing in a woman’s life. I’d argue that sex and eating are pretty high up there too, but I’m not going to sit here and quibble with a voiceover. While she chats about going with your instincts, we see a woman cutting men’s hair while her husband looks on from outside. She’s heavily pregnant, and Noakes, passing by, comments to the husband that she must be due any day. He wishes the man luck and continues on his way.

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Call the Midwife: Failure to Thrive

Call the MidwifePreviously on Call the Midwife: A leftover WWII bomb rendered Nonnatus House uninhabitable, Jenny had herself a proper boyfriend, and Chummy took up the SAHM role.

Jenny attends what sounds like a very long all-nighter delivery while the Nonnatuns, Trixie, and Cynthia pack up and get ready to move into their new home. JVO talks about all the dawns she saw in and how refreshing and new-lifey it all was. A neighbour stops by the labouring mother’s place with an iced bun, since the mum hasn’t eaten since supper the night before. Mid-contraction, the woman snaps that she hates iced buns (that’s just labour crazy talk—who hates iced buns?) and Jenny suggests the neighbour set it aside for later. Instead, the neighbour offers it to Jenny, who starts munching it right over the enlarged stomach of the labouring woman, which seems like a rather shitty thing to do even if she did turn it down.

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Call the Midwife: Barely Breathing

Call the Midwife series 2 episode 6, courtesy BBCPreviously on Call the Midwife: Kitchen table abortion. Enough said. Also, Bernadette had a bit of a thing going with Doctor Turner, though she was fighting it as much as she could.

Bernadette wakes early in the morning, rolls over, and stares at the ceiling, then at the cross on the opposite wall for a moment before checking out the scar on her palm and doubtless thinking of the stolen kiss of last week. JVO chimes in and says that, as midwives, they saw a lot, and they kept a lot of secrets, and who could they turn to when they needed to confide?

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Call the Midwife: The Broken Ones

Call the Midwife season 2, episode 4Previously on Call the Midwife: Chummy took off for Africa and was replaced by the seriously shy and awkward Jane. Jimmy got married, presumably leaving Jenny behind permanently.

Jenny cycles through the neighbourhood and receives some wolf whistles from a crew of older teen boys. JVO talks about how unintimidated she was by her surroundings after having been there for a year. It’s about time she acclimated. I will say, she hasn’t been as obnoxiously judgmental as she was last season. Fred and a man who’s such an absolute dead ringer for Hugh Dancy that I actually find it distracting are playing cards and talking about how Jenny’s teen admirers spend way too much time and money on Brylcreem. This guy is actually played by Jamie Thomas King, better known to us as Thomas Wyatt from The Tudors and possibly best known to the world at large as the guy who got his foot cut off by a lawnmower in Mad Men. Good to see him again! Fred asks his partner, Douglas, if his wife’s due soon and Doug says she is, and he’s sure that, after two girls, it’s going to be a boy. Fred asks if he wants to wager that and Doug agrees.

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Call the Midwife: Sister Wives

Call the Midwife, Episode 3Previously on Call the Midwife: Jenny reunited with Jimmy, as friends, though it seemed like she wanted a bit more. Too bad he’s gotten some other chick knocked up.

Unusually, we start off with Cynthia this week, walking her bike through the local market while JVO talks about what a close-knit community the East End was. Cynthia pauses next to a greengrocer’s stall, eyes some avocados, and asks if they’re avocado pears, which is apparently what they were called back then. The identical twins manning the stall make fun of her for having to check, with all her education, and Jesus, ladies, how are you still in business if this is how you treat your customers? And yes, she’s educated, but in medicine, not fruits and veg, so maybe dial down the condescension a bit?

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Call the Midwife: Sudden Death

Midwife season 2 episode 2Previously on Call the Midwife: A childhood friend of Jenny’s, Jimmy, declared his love for her and got turned down; Chummy decided she wanted to give the missionary life a try.

Jenny and Cynthia leave a home after a birth while JVO talks about how the mothers gave them their trust, which made the midwives brave. They weren’t invincible, of course, and faced challenges of their own.

Chummy and Noakes, meanwhile, are adorably dancing to You Are My Special Angel, dressed in their PJs and dressing gowns. God, how I love these two. So cute! Chummy can’t believe they’re actually going to be going to Africa and worries she might be making a mistake. He tells her he’s at her side, and that she can change her mind if she wants to, but he’ll support her no matter what she wants to do. So cute!

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Call the Midwife: Pimp Slap

call_the_midwife_4839028Previously on Call the Midwife: Women gave birth, Sister MJ was a bit out of it, Sister Evangelina was fabulous, Chummy got married.

To some strangely ominous sounding twangy guitar music that doesn’t quite jive with the usual soundtrack, Jenny bikes through the East End, along with some of the men on their way to work. JVO reflects that her journey to womanhood began with this job, which kept her very busy all the time. Jenny arrives at Nonnatus, where the nuns and other midwives surprise her with a birthday cake (Sister MJ swipes her finger right through the icing). Jenny thanks them and attempts to blow out the candles.

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