Previously on Hunderby: Helene found out she was pregnant with Dr. Fogarty’s baby, Fogarty fell into an alcohol-fuelled depression, and Edmond got laid, which directly led to Jeff nearly getting hanged to death.
Edmond wakes and snuggles up to the life-size stuffed Jeff he’s created, using that awful portrait he painted as the face. He kind of made him look like Lenny Kravitz in that painting.
Helene, who’s now got a nice-sized belly on her, and Edmond are shown into the birthing chamber Dorothy’s created. It’s marginally more cheery than the nursery she fixed up, and Helene says she’d rather stay in her own room. They all hear that strange moaning from overhead and Dorothy says it’s just moths. Edmond suggests they get rid of the rags lying nearby, only to hear they’re clothes that icky townswoman knitted for the baby. Dorothy shows off the riding outfit she knitted for the kid. That’s actually kind of adorable.
Dorothy plays that oboe-like instrument while Edmond sings My Son John in front of the fire. Dorothy observes that it’s just like old times. She goes on to reassure him that, if Helene should die, Dorothy would be happy to bring the baby up as her own. I’ll bet she would. Helene’s potential death is news to Edmond but Dorothy says it happens. She then cheerfully offers him more bubbly milk, which he accepts. She reminds him that Helene needs to birth this kid soon to adhere to the terms of the will and hints there are ways to speed things along. She leaves him, and Edmond looks out the window, catching a fleeting glimpse of a young man he thinks is Jeff.
He rushes outside and finds a young man on his doorstep with a note from Brother Joseph: the young man is a native Fijian who answers to Ned and has been sent to keep Edmond company. Or, rather, ‘keep Edmond company,’ nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Ned immediately wraps his arms around Edmond’s legs, and Edmond does not respond favourably.
Chez Fogarty, Doc drinks and smells a pair of Helene’s knickers he’s somehow managed to get hold of. Hester comes in and IDs them as Helene’s, thanks to the ever-so-useful monogram on them. Fogarty offers to return them, but then remembers Helene’s in Fiji. Hold up—how out of it has Fogarty been? Because last episode Helene had just realised she was pregnant and wasn’t even showing, and now she’s six months gone, which means, at minimum, four months have passed. This is a small town: wouldn’t Fogarty have heard at some point, at least in passing, that Edmond and Helene had decided to stick around? And why? It’s not like they were keeping the pregnancy a secret or anything. Has Fogarty really just been living in his study, isolated from the world for months? And nobody else in this town thought to maybe check on their only doctor?
Whatever. Hester says Helene’s still in town (stupid) but that she’s too fat to receive visitors. He’ll have to burn the knickers. After some internal struggle, he tosses them on the fire, but they won’t burn, which freaks Hester out.
Dorothy and Icky Townswoman are in the kitchen at Hunderby, packing up a horrific basket to prepare for the birth. Annie comes silently down the stairs and listens in on their plans to induce labour early.
In the birthing room, Helene’s lying on the bed while IT and Dorothy sing another strange song about how it’s time for her to bust on open. Dorothy ties her down so Helene doesn’t punch the baby in the face when it appears. Or so she says. Helene weakly protests, but they force feed her something, as Annie pokes her head in and watches, unnoticed by the others.
Downstairs, Ned is trying to entice Edmond with his sexy tambourine playing, but it’s nothing to Jeff’s drumming. Jesus, what did Brother Joseph tell Ned before he sent him Edmond’s way?
Helene’s knickers still won’t burn, so Fogarty douses them with some booze and up they go. He looks over at Hester and falls to his knees, begging for her forgiveness and swearing anew to be a devoted husband. He picks her up to carry her to bed, but then Annie bursts in and tells him Helene’s giving birth to his child, and he drops Hester like a hot cannonball.
Helene’s foaming at the mouth, while Dorothy and IT stress out, because it’s obvious they’ve overdone it on the wormwood. Edmond comes in to ask when dinner will be and Dorothy tells him it’s on its way, as is the baby. Edmond asks about the foaming and IT says that’s just the ‘birthing froth.’ Helene starts to convulse, and Dorothy bundles Edmond out while IT urges her to call for the doctor.
Luckily, the doctor’s already on his way, galloping romantically along the shoreline on his white steed.
Edmond’s trying to scare up some dinner and invites Ned to have some cheese. Ned doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about.
Fogarty finally arrives at the birthing room and hammers on the door. Dorothy follows him out into the hall and locks the door behind her, hiding the key in her bodice and telling Fogarty he’ll have to come and get it. He’s grossed out but attempts to do so. She shoves him away, somehow tearing open his shirt and noting that collection of warts he showed Helene a few episodes back. She gasps and asks how he came by that mark, which she recognizes as very similar to her own. This isn’t the time to sort all that out. Fogarty dashes past her and revives Helene with a kiss. She weakly tells him she loves him. Dorothy’s still hung up on Fogarty’s warts and tells him she’s only seen that mark on another person before: a baby boy she birthed some thirty years ago. Fogarty immediately guesses she was raped, because surely no one else would want to sleep with her for any reason other than violence. Well, except for that guy running the freak show, I guess. Dorothy says she gave birth to twins: a boy and a girl. The boy was adopted out and the girl sent to an orphanage. Fogarty asks what happened to the man who assaulted her, as Edmond wanders back into the room. Dorothy turns some serious dagger eyes on Edmond and says he was never punished.
See, Dorothy was brought in as a sort of plaything by Edmond’s mother, who was a bit concerned about his sexual preferences. Mom gave Edmond a very powerful aphrodisiac which made him insane enough to rape a woman. Wow, this puts a whole new spin on Dorothy’s leaving mom out in the rain that one time and getting all upset over being left nothing in the will. I would have been upset by that too. It doesn’t really explain why she hated Helene so much, unless it’s because she resented the fact that Edmond married Helene but not Dorothy. Also: Edmond does, then, know how sex is supposed to work, so how is he actually believing that his non-sexing managed to get his wife pregnant? Because he really does seem to believe this kid is his.
Anyhow, Dorothy had the babies, but she wasn’t considered well-born enough to marry Edmond. So, she was taken on as housekeeper and the babies were given away. Edmond steps in to protest that the Digby-Chases were fine people who gave the son a chance at a better life. The name catches Fogarty’s attention, because his mother (or, rather, his adoptive mother) was a Digby-Chase before she was widowed and remarried a Fogarty. So, Fogarty is actually the son of Edmond, and therefore the heir to Hunderby. Helene rouses herself enough to ask where the girl child was sent. Turns out, she was sent to the same orphanage that Helene grew up in, which completely freaks her out because she thinks Fogarty’s her brother, even though she’s clearly not 30 years old yet. Edmond gets a brief moment of horror, thinking he’s married his own daughter. IT’s got a great look on her face that says, this is messed up! These people are right out of Grecian legend, aren’t they?
Helene suddenly doubles up in pain and Dorothy suddenly remembers that the girl child had a tiny tail, which is a feature Fogarty knows well, because Hester has just such a tail. And right on cue, she shows up and is told to show it to everyone. But then Helene starts screaming in real labour and all tail discussions are put on hold.
The baby is born, and Edmond can’t help but notice he’s the spitting image of someone else. I doubt it, Edmond. Newborns aren’t the spitting image of anything other than aliens. ET could be every baby’s dad. Dorothy busts in to say that a message must be sent to the notary public announcing the birth within the allotted time. Edmond says this isn’t right and wonders if this kid is his son, or his grandson, or what? The baby starts to fuss and Dorothy reaches for him so she can start nursing. Disturbing. Helene’s a bit horrified but, I think, too shocked to do anything about it. Dorothy explains that, ever since she had her babies, her milk has flowed freely. ”You always did like your bubbly milk,” she says to Edmond. Ha! Eww, definitely, but also, Ha! There’s some revenge for you. Edmond looks like he’s about to vomit, but then there’s that moaning sound again, and the ceiling over Edmond collapses, depositing a moaning…person on top of Edmond. Annie squeals that it’s Arabelle, and I don’t think any of us are surprised by that or by how horrible this woman looks. Dorothy says Arabelle was barren, so she and Edmond’s mother locked her away so Edmond could remarry. But the second marriage wouldn’t have been valid if the first wife was found to be living, and any child born of that second marriage would therefore have been illegitimate and unable to inherit without some kind of special stipulations, right? Why am I even trying to make sense of this anymore? Helene delicately says that Arabelle is not how she imagined her.
Fogarty, meanwhile, is attending to Edmond, whose condition, he reports, is grave.
Sometime later, Fogarty and Helene sit blissfully on the lawn with their baby, making out and generally being happy. They’re joined by Fogarty’s wife/sister, Hester, who wheels up the essentially comatose Edmond and cheerfully offers to join the lovebirds. Dorothy watches all this from her bedroom window, smoking a pipe, while Ned waits for her in bed. She turns to the camera and gives a wry, knowing smile. Well done, Julia Davis. I wasn’t sure about this show at first, but I have to say, bravo. You took these overwrought costume dramas we’re all silly about these days and stretched them just enough to make them ridiculous. I applaud your audacity.