One thing leads to another on this week's Call the Midwife. Treating a maternity patient with serious dental issues results in romance for Nurse Franklin. The Buckles take in a young man with special needs who has nowhere to go and, in the process, we also discover that what the Mother House calls a “place of greater safety”, is nothing of the sort for Sister Mary Cynthia.
If you need to be reminded of all the painful events of last week first, however, take a look at our Episode Four recap here.
Crystal Williams and Mr. Dockerill
As Nurse Crane is passing out all the daily assignments, a call comes in for mother-to-be, Crystal Williams (Laura Elphinstone) who is reported to be in a great deal of pain. Though Mrs. Williams isn’t due for two weeks, Nurse Franklin is given the unhappy task of seeing to the “most miserable woman in Poplar.”
And no wonder she’s miserable. Upon arrival, Trixie finds the mother of four hasn’t gone into labor but is in just as much agony over a toothache. Nurse Franklin marches Crystal in to see Dr. Turner who diagnoses her problem as an abscess to be treated with painkillers and penicillin. When told she needs to follow up with a dentist right away, the patient expresses her trepidation about such “butchers.” Though a common fear, Dr. Turner insists on the referral as her infection is dangerous particularly in her condition.
Seeing Crystal apparently gives Dr. Turner a brainwave! He decides to arrange some dental health education for the community and recruits a very enthusiastic Sister Winifred to assist him. This project also involves a young dentist who comes to the community center/clinic to do dental exams and play musical brushing games with the children. Trixie gives the new arrival, Mr. Dockerill (Jack Hawkins) a piece of her mind about the noise and proceeds to examine Mrs. Williams who (surprise, surprise) skipped her appointment with the hospital dentist.
Nurse Franklin asks if Dockerill will come in to look at and reassure her nervous patient and he kindly obliges. He has a calming and friendly demeanor and even suggests Trixie hold Crystal’s hand while he looks in her mouth. Crystal trusts him enough to come to the hospital for a proper examination wherein the dentist strongly recommends that all her teeth should come out before the baby is born.
On the day of the procedure, Trixie again accompanies Mrs. Williams and helps soothe her as she goes under anesthesia. Shortly after Crystal comes to she goes into labor so it’s time for Nurse Franklin to take the lead and Mr. Dockerill to provide support. Crystal has a completely normal and rather quick delivery of her brand-new baby boy and our dentist seems quite elated to be present for the occasion and impressed with Nurse Franklin’s skills.
Finally, we see Crystal being fitted with dentures which makes her very happy indeed. And after all the flirtatious banter since they met, Christopher Dockerill asks Trixie Franklin out to dinner, ostensibly to celebrate a successful patient outcome. They do seem to make a good team and don’t you think a dentist with a sports car is more Trixie’s speed anyway?
Reggie Jackson, The Buckles and Sister Mary Cynthia
Ivy Jackson (Kate Williams)is by all accounts a talented seamstress and loving mother to Reggie (Daniel Laurie) a young man with Down’s Syndrome. When she must leave him at home, she shows him on the clock what time she will return. Then one Sunday, Ivy suddenly collapses and dies at church. Tom Hereward and Fred Buckle (who happens to be Ivy’s cousin) arrive at Jacksons’ door to let Reggie know that his mother has passed. Reggie seems to understand that she has gone to see God, but not the permanency of the situation.
Fred takes Reggie home with him until other arrangements can be made. Fred’s wife Violet isn’t too keen on this state of affairs mainly because she’s concerned about what he will do when they are away at work. Fred assures her he’ll be fine on his own and he’ll be sure to pop in on Reggie while she’s away at a corsetry exhibition.
The next day Fred goes to see Shelagh Turner to ask about options for Reggie. St. Gideon’s (which you may recall from season 3) has shut down. The only age appropriate place for the 21 year old apparently is Linchmere Hospital, a sanitarium for adults with mental illnesses. Fred doesn’t want to institutionalize Reggie so Shelagh says she will investigate alternative living arrangements.
Back at the Buckles’ house, Reggie is attempting to toast a sandwich on the gas range. You know that’s not going to end well. Reggie hears a knock at the door of Violet’s shop and goes downstairs to investigate. Upon retrieving a parcel left on the doorstep, the young man finds himself locked out. Being new to the neighborhood, Reggie appears to wander off. Meanwhile Fred has returned home to find the house smelling strongly of gas and Reggie nowhere in sight. Fred finds him knocking on his own front door, calling out for his mother.
Rather shaken by the potentially fatal mishap, Fred decides to take the lad along to work with him. Reggie takes rather well to gardening and makes a friend of Sister Monica Joan in the process. The young man also seems to be making headway with Violet. When Mrs. Buckle is hemming Reggie’s suit for the funeral, they have a little heart to heart. He enjoys going to work with Fred but worries his mom would be angry that he is happy even though she is gone. Violet tells him that his mother only ever wanted him to be happy. At the funeral, Reggie drops a handful of flower bulbs into Ivy’s grave then rests his head on Violet’s shoulder for comfort.
Soon afterwards, Fred receives a letter from Linchmere Hospital informing him they have an opening for Reggie. Fred is uneasy about this but knows Reggie can’t stay with them forever. He decides to keep an open mind and check the place out. Sister Monica Joan invites herself along with every intention of having her opinion on the matter heard.
At the hospital Sister Ramsey (Jemma Churchill) shows them around the facility. Sister Monica Joan is concerned there are no gardens and Fred is opposed the practice of locked wards. With his mind made up against this as a new home for Reggie, Fred is ready to leave Linchmere. That is until Monica Joan spies a familiar figure walking down the hall with a nurse. The nun follows this person to her cell (yes, cell!) and we discover this depressing place is where the Mother House has sent fragile Sister Mary Cynthia.
Back in the van Sister Monica Joan is distraught with the knowledge that one of their own is in danger at Linchmere. And in danger Sister Mary Cynthia is indeed. The nurse tells her she has made little progress since she came to them and the psychiatrist recommends ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Though she says she doesn’t want it, the young nun is obviously in no position to refuse since we witness her being ominously led to the door of the ECT room.
Meanwhile Fred and Sister Monica Joan return to Nonnatus House and report to Sister Julienne what they have seen. Julienne goes to Linchmere to ask them to release Sister Mary Cynthia into their care as she needs sympathy and understanding. Sister Ramsey tells her Cynthia has been very unwell for some time and refuses to let her visit without an appointment.
While Sister Mary Cynthia’s future is in question, Reggie’s story has a more hopeful ending. The Turners discover the Glasshouse Village Trust, a community for people with all sorts of disabilities who can live and work together under the care of a well-trained staff. This time it is Violet who is hesitant for she has grown very fond of Reggie, but Reggie tells her not to be sad. He can have a good life there working in the greenhouse and making lots of new friends.
Other Events of Note
Did anyone else sense there is a bit of mystery surrounding the new midwife Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby)? She asks Sister Julienne for her own room under the pretense that she snores. I don’t buy it. Then Sister Monica Joan recognizes her on first sight. MJ tells her that she (along with Sister Evangelina) delivered her during a snowstorm. As she walks off, Monica Joan seems confused or at least surprised to see Valerie there. Time will tell I'm sure.
With the new baby on the way, the Turners need more space. Patrick claims they just need more discipline but fifteen-year-old Tim is still sharing a room with Angela for heaven’s sake. Dr. Turner agrees to let Shelagh come back to work before finally acquiescing on the housing situation finding a spacious, modern home for his growing brood.
And finally watch out world, it’s Sister Winifred! First she’s giddy when asked to help with the dental clinic. You may recall she was a teacher earlier in her life. Then she requests permission to take driving lessons from Nurse Crane. We’re witnessing the blossoming of one motivated, independent nun.
The midwives are sure to encounter more crises with grace and calm - which is why we tune in anyway, right? Tune in next time as we hopefully witness some progress on the rescue of Sister Mary Cynthia and the courtship of Trixie and her dentist. Let's chat about what we've seen this week and what we anticipate for the rest of the series. For example, I really enjoyed seeing Fred and Violet in the spotlight this week. Did you?