As they say in England, this week’s episode is chockablock with everything we’ve come to expect from Call the Midwife. In fact, it features a virtual Poplar baby boom with ten children being delivered by our midwives in one day! Some of the characters who have been in the background for a few weeks (or more) were given the spotlight. And while one Nonnatus resident has her worth validated another sees her “perfect” life crumble before her eyes.
There is a definite focus on the worth of women in this installment. We encounter women who sell their bodies cheaply, a father who values a son over a daughter and women who lose purpose and are expected to fade into the background after a war, marriage or even when they’ve advanced in age.
As tonight’s episode begins, we are reminded that the sixties have well and truly arrived in Poplar. The threat of a nuclear attack is a very real fear and handyman Fred (Cliff Parisi) is leading up the local civil defense corps. His job is to train the other volunteers about emergency preparedness. He’s such a community-minded fellow, our Fred.
Other things that have arrived in the neighborhood recently are a rat infestation and an outbreak of dysentery, the latter being a more immediate concern to Dr. Turner and the midwives. Shelagh Turner even puts her exceptional powers of detection to work in an attempt to locate the source of the infection.
All right, this episode did get my tears flowing. I mean how could I not grab for the tissues? Barbara and Patsy were crying; new Poplar parents, the Bissettes, were crying; for heaven’s sake, Sister Julienne was crying. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to well up a bit. I believe one of the main reasons there was so much blubbering was because this episode had a theme of doubt and the melancholy of what might have been.
Welcome back to another series of Call the Midwife! The time has come to return to Poplar to share in the joys and sorrows of this working class community and cheer on their most dedicated altruists, the nuns and nurses of Nonnatus House.
It’s 1960 and just as we’ve come to expect, change is a constant at the convent, especially when it comes to the staffing situation. To refresh your memory, Nurse Miller (Bryony Hannah) has left Poplar for Chichester where she will undergo her postulate training to become a nun. Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) has reassured Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) – and the viewers – that Cynthia will return.
Previously, on Call the Midwife: You can catch up everything that happened during last week’s episode this way.
Okay, did everyone have their hankies ready for the finale of Call the Midwife Series 3? As the saying goes, I have good news, bad news and for lack of a better term, bittersweet news that in fact is a new beginning for one of our major characters. So I’ve decided to begin with the good news…
By virtue of what midwives do, every installment of Call the Midwife features some element of motherhood. However seeing as today is Mother’s Day in the US, the timing of this week’s episode is quite apropos considering it is almost exclusively about mothers and the burdens and struggles that they bear.
But before we get into the abundance of maternal storylines, let’s take care of other business.
If this week’s episode has a theme, it may be that when things don’t go the way you expected, there’s often something important to be gained from life’s little detours. Nurses Mount and Lee both experience the disappointment of a well laid plan – one career related the other romantic. And Shelagh Turner finally sees her way clear to pursue a different kind of motherhood.
Previously, on Call the Midwife: Last week's episode featured a five-Kleenex warning for angst, and ushered in some big changes for all the characters. Catch up on everything that happened in the Episode 4 recap post.
This week we find that Nonnatus House is severely understaffed. Besides Jenny taking her compassionate leave at the mother house, an exhausted Sister Julienne has a fainting spell which results in Dr. Turner sending her away to rest for a fortnight!
Reinforcements come in the form of Shelagh Turner who fills in for Sister Julienne as midwife administrator. This is actually perfect timing for the former nun who, at a loss for what to do with her time and talents, finds herself overprotectively smothering her polio-stricken step-son.
This week’s installment was rather eventful. Several residents of Poplar found new meaning in their work. One regained her freedom and another shockingly lost his life far too young. These stories intertwine to form a fabric of triumph and tragedy. I propose we begin our recap on a more inspiring note; the bad news can be put on hold for a little while.
WETA Television and Classical WETA 90.9 FM are community-based public broadcasting stations serving the Washington area and supported by listeners and viewers. WETA is also a major producing station for PBS.