Previously on Call the Midwife: New midwife Patsy arrived, and she’s amazing but quite frank. Chummy’s also working more than Noakes would like.
Winifred and Patsy bike home in the early morning, exhausted. Patsy flops onto her bed, glances at a sweetly sleeping Trixie, and pulls out a small box with some trinkets inside. She lingers over one, a compact with a cracked mirror.
A little later, the girls are packing up their kits while Trixie tells them all about some dream she had, starring Rock Hudson. Oh, Trixie. Barking up the wrong tree there. Evangelina comes in just to exposit that there are a lot of women in the area due to give birth soon. The girls head out and check out Curate Cutie. They all think he’s interested in Trixie, who wonders if he’s her type. Don’t like the handsome, sweet ones, Trixie? Apparently she once dated a curate and it didn’t go well. CC, by the way, is working on some naff looking bus he’s got parked in pretty much the most inconvenient spot imaginable: blocking up almost the whole drive up to Newnattus. Very thoughtful there, CC. The girls say hi and he tells them the bus could be useful for the Girl Guides and Cub Scouts, once they get it running. He asks Trixie if she can give advice on paint options, because Fred’s offering up some cheapo paint (of course he is). Trixie warns CC to save his money.
It’s time for the antenatal clinic. One woman comes over to have her baby weighed and Patsy brightly greets her with: ‘Heavens, what a whopper! Easy to see who baby takes after!’ Ooof. Trixie’s patient is a very Irish woman named Mrs Doyle (Phoebe) who’s only recently moved to the area. Mrs D says she mentioned to Turner the baby doesn’t seem to be moving so much. Trixie tells her babies’ movements are pretty varied, but they’ll check the baby’s heart. Trixie starts to get a family medical history but Phoebe seems a little tight-lipped. And when she admits she doesn’t really know anyone in the area who can help her out after the birth, besides her husband, Trixie gives her a pitying look.
Patsy, in her no-nonsense voice, asks the waiting mothers to keep their kids under control and please make their way out once their exams are done. Evangelina comes over to scold her for shouting (though she wasn’t, really) and upsetting the mothers with unhelpful comments. Let’s take a moment to revel in the irony of Evangelina, of all people, calling someone out for saying something thoughtless and rude.
The result is that Patsy is put to work seeing district patients, though she came to Newnattus hoping to focus on midwifery. She’s not happy.
Phoebe and her husband, Declan, feel the baby kicking and cutely talk about how great their kid will be. Phoebe gets serious and wonders if it was the right thing to do, coming to London all on their own. He says they’re not alone, because they have each other, and shows her a receipt from the registry office, which he paid that day. Turns out these two aren’t married just yet, because she’s Protestant and he’s Catholic and neither church will have them. That’s Christian generosity and tolerance for you! She’s not pleased with the idea of being married in some room instead of at a proper church.
Patsy goes to see her patient, a man named Morris, who’s really hoping to get back to work. His wife hopes he’ll get back too and harps at him a bit about possibly losing his job and having trouble making ends meet. Their daughter lets Patsy in and she acquaints herself with his case, which was a fractured vertebra from a fall at work. They’ve been treating him with steroid injections and Patsy’s there to deliver the (hopefully) last one. As she goes to give the shot, she notices a nasty rash on his leg and asks how he got it. He says it’s a souvenir from his army days.
Back at Newnattus, Fred admires a celestial globe of Sister MJ’s. He comments that, with all the new scientific instruments and discoveries, such things will probably soon become obsolete, but MJ tells him that old instruments of good quality retain their value and purpose. Well, not typically if they’re maps, MJ. Just look at maps from a few hundred years ago and you’ll see that they weren’t exactly what one would call accurate.
Trixie runs into Curate Cutie in the hallway and he tells her about a harvest festival he’s organizing, complete with harvest boxes filled from donations. Trixie thinks he’s hitting her up for help, but he’s not, he’s just making actual conversation. And then he screws up his courage and invites her out to watch cricket with him on her day off. He makes it sound pretty great, so of course she accepts. He beams. Awww.
Later, she tells Cynthia and Winifred how exciting this is going to be, confusing cricket with both Ascot and the Henley Regatta, by the sound of it. Winifred’s working on a sheaf loaf, and it’s not going well. But her struggles with a massive piece of dough are nothing compared to the meager rations available at Morris’s house. His daughter Jillian manages to pull together a fairly decent lunch for her dad nonetheless.
Outside Newnattus, Noakes is writing up a ticket for the illegally parked bus, while Chummy tries to get him to take it easy. Noakes is in no mood and they get a bit bickery, which seems fairly common amongst these two lately.
Patsy goes to see Morris, who’s trying to get out of bed, but Patsy notes he’s running a high temperature and can’t go anywhere. He tries to go to work, insisting he needs to go, but he can barely stand. Patsy tells Jillian to go phone for Turner.
Trixie shows up the Doyles’ with the birthing kit just in time to hear one hell of a row between Phoebe and Declan over this marriage question. Pheobe’s digging in her heels about going to the registry office, insisting she’s thinking about the baby here, which isn’t actually true. She’s totally thinking about herself at this moment. The baby’s never going to care where its parents got married, but a child born in the late 50s, when there was still a significant stigma surrounding illegitimate children, will probably care whether its parents were married at all. And maybe it’s because I’m not at all religious, but what’s the big deal where you get married? I understand that people have really close ties to the church they belong to, but these two haven’t been in Poplar long enough to really get all that attached to any one house of worship. You want to get married, Phoebe? Get married. It’s not as if one of the churches is likely to change its mind all of a sudden. Sorry, but suck it up and get thee to a registry office.
Declan bursts out and accuses Trixie of listening in. She says she’s the midwife and he pushes past her. Inside, Trixie tries to explain some of the bits of the kit to a glum looking Phoebe. She finally reaches her by suggesting she come to some of the community classes, so she can meet some of the other mums. Phoebe finally perks up and says that would be nice. Then she apologises for the fight and says Declan’s not usually so unpleasant. Let’s hope not. She explains the whole Catholic/Protestant issue and says that back home someone like her, pregnant and unmarried, would be a disgrace to her whole family.
Morris is a mess. He’s feverish, his heart’s banging away, and Patsy has no idea why. Turner arrives and gets ready to do an exam.
Fred’s cleaning out a garden shed at Newnnatus and finds an old telescope.
Turner finishes his exam and finds another rash on Morris’s body, this time on his upper back. He prescribes some antibiotics for Morris’s crackly chest and regretfully tells him he won’t be going back to work anytime soon.
Trixie’s checking out clothes for her date and chattering about how she never understood the whole Catholic/Protestant issue, seeing as how they both worship the same God and all. Patsy, meanwhile, is complaining about being put on district nursing duty. While poking around, Trixie spots the compact in Patsy’s box and just grabs it, saying she has just the scarf to go with it. Patsy snatches it back and sharply tells Trixie not to touch her private things again. I’m on Patsy’s side here. What goes through Trixie’s head that she thinks she can just help herself to someone else’s stuff without even asking?
At the Turner household, there’s some talk about the postal strike and Timothy—who’s walking like he never had polio, which I didn’t even think was possible—mentions a new friend of his named Colin, who’s coming over later.
Trixie’s all ready for her date, in a super cute white dress and matching jacket with navy blue trim. I desperately want her entire outfit, including her handbag. CC shows up, dressed in civvies, to pick her up, and informs her there’s been a slight change of plans. They’re still going to see cricket, but they’re taking the bus. And all the cub scouts. Oh, Curate Cutie, you aren’t quite cute enough to make up for this.
Patsy’s back with Morris, who admits he’s getting pretty bad cabin fever. They talk a little bit about his job, and how he kind of liked being up on cranes, all peaceful and alone. She promises he’ll get back up there soon enough.
CC’s trying to entertain Trixie with talk about cricket, which she admits she doesn’t understand at all. Timothy comes over and tells her that Colin just ate his whole lunch and two spiders on a bet, and now he’s thrown up all over the place. She couldn’t hear or smell that? It’s not that big a bus. CC pulls over.
Phoebe’s at a nappy changing class being taught by Chummy.
CC’s tending to Colin, who’s still throwing up, while poor Trixie has to mop up the mess in the bus. This date sucks.
On her way out of the class, Phoebe meets up with Declan, who apologises for having been a jerk and brings her flowers. She smiles and tells him he’s forgiven.
Winifred and Julienne return to Newnattus and find that all the submissions to the harvest basket donation box have been pilfered. Inside, they find Sister MJ with all the stolen fruits and veggies spread out on the table in a mock-up of the solar system. She grabs one fruit and eats it. Sigh. Julienne and Winifred find her and Winifred gently informs her that these things were all donations. Sister MJ, useless and selfish as ever, says that’s really kind, but she probably shouldn’t hog them, so she invites the other two women to help themselves to Saturn or Jupiter.
Now, of course, the bus won’t start. Trixie is clearly over this day. CC tries to fix the engine, stripped down to his undershirt, which I guess is one bright spot. Still, Trixie is not happy. She gets stuck serving the kids orange squash by the side of the road. CC tells her he can’t fix the bus, so he’s going to go phone for a mechanic from a phone box he spotted a mile down the road. Timothy calls out that they just found the cricket game on the radio and CC gets a slightly pleading look. Trixie sighs and tells him she’ll go to the phone box and he can listen to the match. And he immediately agrees. Seriously? This guy doesn’t date much at all, does he? Because no man in his right mind would send his date off to walk a mile down the roadin heels so he could sit on his ass and listen to a cricket game. Certainly no gentleman would do such a thing. Curate Cutie, you disappoint me. Consider yourself on notice.
Meanwhile, Phoebe and Declan finally get to the registry office and get married. I know we were all waiting with bated breath for the resolution to that plotline.
Poor Trixie limps up to the phone box at last. And finally, that stupid bus gets going and they make it back to Newnattus. CC has the grace to apologise for taking Trixie on an epically bad date and wonders if maybe they can have a do-over at some point. Trixie asks for some time to recover from this awful night and walks away.
Fred presents the telescope to Sister MJ, who seems delighted.
Timothy and Colin play while Bernadette and Colin’s mum chat. They talk about raising only children and Colin’s mum mentions that Colin’s adopted. Wheels clearly start turning in Bernadette’s head, though I don’t know why she didn’t consider this earlier. Especially after briefly fostering that baby earlier in the season.
Jillian runs to Newnattus to fetch Patsy, telling her that her father’s doing really badly.
Trixie examines Phoebe, who shows off her wedding ring. Trixie congratulates her and asks how it feels to be a married woman. Phoebe admits it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. As Trixie’s leaving, she runs into Declan, who thanks her for inviting Phoebe to the antenatal classes, which seem to have distracted her a bit from the whole religious issue.
Patsy tends to Morris and notices more rash-like scars on his legs. She asks if he got them fighting in the far east. Once Jillian leaves the room, Patsy continues that those scars are from being treated for leg ulcers by doctors with no access to proper equipment. Morris tells her he was in a POW camp after being captured by the Japanese. He paints a fairly harrowing picture and Patsy, sounding like she knows what she’s talking about, guesses that he just wanted to pretend it never happened.
She bikes to Turner’s office and tells him Morris is worse and she thinks he’s suffering from some sort of tropical disease. Turner points out that 16 years is an awfully long incubation period.
Fred comes running over to MJ with a newspaper article about the Americans having taken the first ever photographs of earth from space. She doesn’t care, and then starts babbling nonsense about Lot’s wife and says this is all an abomination. I just can’t anymore with this character.
Turner gets off the phone with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in St Pancras, which has told him that Morris may have roundworms which he contracted in Burma and were awoken by the steroid injections he’s been taking lately. Turner asks what made Patsy think it was a tropical disease to begin with and she says she must have just read about it somewhere. Sure you did.
Oh, God. MJ’s hemming and hawing about looking at the newspaper article Fred left for her. This plotline is SO POINTLESS! Why is it taking up space in the show? It feels like filler, which is annoying.
Turner tells Morris, who’s looking like hell, that he picked up a disease in Burma and now has pneumonia, which means he’ll have to go to hospital. Meanwhile, Patsy’s sitting with his wife and Jillian, and the wife is seriously guilting herself for harping on him to go back to work ASAP. Morris never told her about his time in prison. Jillian reassures her mother that this isn’t her fault, and Patsy agrees, telling Jillian (who wants to be a nurse) that they’ll have to work together to get her dad well. She produces a nurse’s cap for Jillian to wear, which is really sweet of her.
Morris is loaded into an ambulance while his family watch and probably thank their lucky stars the NHS exists.
Bernadette brings up the notion of adoption with Turner, who’s all for it, because they both really want a baby. They decide to talk it out with Tim first, like he’ll have a problem with it.
At Newnattus, Julienne talks about how many donations they’ve gotten for the harvest boxes, and Evangelina bitches about Curate Cutie making more work for them, because now they have to load these boxes up. Always a ray of sunshine, that one.
Jillian bathes her father’s forehead as he lies in the hospital, his wife at his side.
In her room, Patsy pages through a child’s diary. She’s interrupted by Trixie and tells her Turner called and said the recovery rate for Morris’s disease is pretty dire. Trixie asks how she knew to consider something so exotic and Patsy admits she saw scars like his before. She then launches into a full Empire of the Sun backstory: she was living the high life in Singapore until she was nine, and then the war came and her father was carted away and she and her mother and sister were tossed in an internment camp to be tortured for several years. She got through it by helping out at the makeshift hospital, and by clinging to the few remnants of family life she has left. Trixie, who, as we know, has her own sad war-related backstory, starts to say that war seriously sucks for everyone but we have to overcome it. Wrong thing to say entirely. Patsy snaps that she saw her mother and sister die of disease and malnutrition. Ok, I think she wins the ‘I had a horrible war experience’ stakes. Trixie says she’s really sorry to hear that but Patsy bulldozes right over her and says she’s sorry if people think she’s brusque, but in the hell she came of age in, there wasn’t much emphasis on bedside manner. Fair enough, Pats, but that’s probably something you should work on a little bit, since you’re not operating in a war zone anymore. People just have different expectations, you know?
Turner and Bernadette have put the adoption question to Timothy, who responds pretty much as any other kid would. Will I have to share my bedroom? Will I get less pocket money? Can they play the piano for the choir so I can play cricket? No, no, and maybe? Sure, go ahead and adopt. Easy enough.
Early the next morning, Patsy gets up and heads out, passing right by Chummy without even noticing her. Chummy reports it to the girls later, adding that she’s been gone for hours without telling anyone or clearing her rota. Trixie goes straight to Julienne and Evangelina and tells them everything Patsy told her the night before. They are suitably horrified. Trixie adds that Patsy doesn’t feel that anyone understands her. She’s pretty sure Patsy hasn’t cleared out for good, though.
The phone rings and Cynthia picks up. It’s Declan, and Phoebe’s in labour. Trixie and Cynthia go to her and coach her through some breathing exercises while Declan waits and smokes nervously in the adjoining room. Phoebe starts pushing and delivers a little boy. Once he’s cleaned up, Cynthia invites Declan in to meet his son. In he comes, all pride and smiles. He checks out the baby and then goes to kiss his wife. The midwives are whispering over the baby, because he’s having a little trouble breathing. Phoebe starts to panic while they work on him, saying she’s scared for his soul. Declan comes to a decision and gets up and leaves, despite Cynthia calling after him, telling him his wife needs him. Phoebe begs to hold her baby and the girls wrap him warmly and hand him over. Cynthia tells her the baby may need a specialist baby unit and goes to ring for an ambulance.
Declan runs for Curate Cutie and asks him to come to Phoebe. Curate Cutie rushes after him and soon arrives at the Doyles’. He gently asks Phoebe if she wants him to christen the baby and she readily agrees, naming him James Declan. Curate Cutie quickly gets to work, baptizing the infant and praying over him as Trixie kneels on the other side of the bed and Phoebe starts calming down a little. Cynthia returns to tell them the ambulance has arrived. Phoebe hands the baby to Trixie.
Patsy’s still not back, and everyone’s worried. Evangelina checked at The London to see if she went to see Morris, but she didn’t. Noakes has made inquiries, but nothing’s turned up, and there have been no accidents reported involving nurses. Of course, she wasn’t in uniform, so nobody would know she was a nurse, but ok. Evangelina anxiously says Patsy has no right to make them worry and she’s totally ready to give her a slap when she shows back up. Yes, because that should make her feel more wanted in this place. Just then, Patsy comes rushing in and tells everyone she went to the Tropical Diseases Hospital, which put her onto a researcher looking into diseases like Morris’s, so she tracked him down, and he told her there was a new drug being tried out in Liverpool. Because of the postal strike, she figured she should go up there in person to get it, and now here she is, with the medicine. Winifred offers to deliver the medicine while Evangelina goes to draw Patsy a nice hot bath. Patsy seems so befuddled by everyone’s concern it’s actually kind of sad, because it suggests that the idea that anyone could be concerned about her is so foreign now she never even considered it.
Turner arrives home to find that Bernadette’s taken the initiative and made adoption inquiries at the Church of England Children’s Society, which was unsurprisingly keen to have a doctor and his perky stay-at-home-wife as potential adoptees. She shows him the paperwork they have to fill out and suddenly he’s not so excited by the prospect, seeming a little anxious about some of the questions that are being asked. He puts the kibosh on the Children’s Society and tells Bernadette to look into some others that have less stringent requirements. Bernadette won’t hear it and tells him they’re filling these in that very night.
CC and Trixie walk home, she filling him in on the baby’s possible situation. Sometimes they just need a bit of help getting breathing established, and sometimes there’s a heart defect, and sometimes there’s a minor heart defect that sorts itself out. This gives him an opening to trot out a terrible line about adults’ hearts fixing themselves. Ouch, CC. But it works and Trixie seems charmed. Also, CC has an actual name now: Tom. He looks up and notes that there’s a harvest moon that night.
Trixie finds Patsy in their room, all ready for bed, and asks if she’s forgiven. Patsy doesn’t know what for, because she feels like she was the one who was kind of a jerk. So, all is well.
Patsy heads to The London with a harvest box for Morris. He’s looking much better and warns her not to let what happened to her eat her up for the rest of her life. I think that’s kind of hard advice to take when you’ve lost your entire family like she has. I wonder what ever happened to her father. Dead as well, presumably.
Closing montage: baby James is home and squalling, so he’s good, and Declan’s adorable with his wife and child; Winifred has managed to produce a nice sheaf loaf.
Next week: Jenny’s back. Too bad, I haven’t missed her in the least. Also, Chummy’s bitch of a mother turns up and Curate Cutie starts playing the Newnattus field.
4 thoughts on “Call the Midwife: Prisoner of War”
“She then launches into a full Empire of the Sun backstory: she was living the high life in Singapore until she was nine, and then the war came and her father was carted away and she and her mother and sister were tossed in an internment camp to be tortured for several years. She got through it by helping out at the makeshift hospital, and by clinging to the few remnants of family life she has left.”
I immediately thought of the series, “Tenko”. Have you ever seen it? It was produced in the 80s and was shown on A&E in the US. I was hooked and have been watching British telly productions ever since. Even purchased a universal DVD player so that I could watch shows that were not released here.
Here’s a link:
I haven’t heard of that one–I’ll have to check it out!
“Pheobe’s digging in her heels about going to the registry office, insisting she’s thinking about the baby here, which isn’t actually true. She’s totally thinking about herself at this moment. The baby’s never going to care where its parents got married, but a child born in the late 50s, when there was still a significant stigma surrounding illegitimate children, will probably care whether its parents were married at all. And maybe it’s because I’m not at all religious, but what’s the big deal where you get married? I understand that people have really close ties to the church they belong to, but these two haven’t been in Poplar long enough to really get all that attached to any one house of worship. You want to get married, Phoebe? Get married. It’s not as if one of the churches is likely to change its mind all of a sudden. Sorry, but suck it up and get thee to a registry office.”
The whole Protestant vs Catholic thing was (and is) a very big deal in Ireland and most of GB. Kind of a huge point in UK history.