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Worldly Distractions: Call the Midwife 4.7 - Episode Seven


crazyforkate

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patsy

So...return of Chummy? Please? Is that too much to ask for? I won't say Jenny because no one in the history of ever has cared about Jenny.  Okay, we can get on with the episode.

Jenny's narration talks about how busy the midwives are, because everyone was apparently fucking like rabbits in late 1959. London is in a giant smog. Shelagh is actually back to nursing now. Apparently, Nonnatus has totally taken over Dr. Turner's surgery, even delivering babies in the office. They welcome in a Mrs. Dent, who is friends with the other laboring mother. And get this - their original names are Gold and Copper. Bullshit. Apparently, the two used to be friends but now aren't.

Oh god, we're getting a bottle episode aren't we?

Timothy is into photography, because the writers of Call the Midwife have recently watched Boyhood. Fred is still dating Vi. She talks about how safe the neighbourhood is, which means ten minutes tops before she's murdered. Sr. Evangelina delivers a baby to the former Miss Copper, who has a healthy girl. Mrs Dent (ex-Miss Gold) is too focused on her friend to have her baby, but she manages to deliver a girl as well. I assume the two babies will be mortal enemies from now on.

Phyllis starts a laundry service for incontinence patients, which sounds positively riveting. Dr. Turner fives his son his old camera. Trixie and Evangelina examine the new baby girls. Oh my god, they're going to mix them up, aren't they?

Just then, a giant bang comes from the street. Shelagh tells them they need to evacuate. The mothers are all hysterical thinking it was the atomic bomb, though they wouldn't be around to think so if this were the case. Sister Mary Cynthia visits an old man, Mr. Mills, who appears to be dying. He has a wicked case of bedsores. Mrs Mills gets a visit from Barbara, who tells her about the laundry service. This mortally offends the old lady, who sees it as a criticism of the care of her husband. Clearly, Nurse Barbara has a lot to learn.

We still haven't figured out what happened to the maternity home, but the mothers are being sent home to be cared for. Two mothers clearly have the wrong babies but haven't figured it out. I mean, they do look like blobs at that stage. The blonde mother doesn't want to be friends with the brunette, which crushes the brunette immensely.

Mrs Mills goes shopping at Vi's. She doesn't pay for some reason. Trixie minds the fort while Patsy goes on a secret lesbian date. Patsy is clearly nervous at leaving her friend in the same room as alcohol. I fear this will come to a bad end. Why don't they just remove it from the room, you guys.

Patsy and Delia chat about life's goings-on. It's pretty obvious they're deeply in love. FINALLY, someone is exploring a same-sex relationship in detail on this show. Delia wants to move on and get married. Patsy isn't ready to let her go. It's heartbreaking. Fuck the past.

Again, my headcanon is that they're still together and married in 2015.

Trixie gets wasted, because duh. Again, keeping the vodka in her reach is not the greatest idea. Just wait until she decides to attend a birth. Patsy plans a Halloween party, which is baffling to everyone except Sr. MJ. The kids of Poplar are mostly confused. One of them has a dead mom. I'm sure she'll turn up again in a few more scenes. Kid, not mom.

Sr. Barbara feels guilty about botching the Mills situation. She brings Sr. Mary Cynthia a radical new treatment for bedsores, which is so standard today that it feels weird to hear them discussing it (turning them a lot). Sr. Mary Cynthia is skeptical but decides to give it a try. Trixie visits one of the parents of the new daughters, noting with surprise that one of them has gained weight very quickly. Fred goes to Vi talking about how he feels guilty for his dad's sick cousin, and guess what, it's Mr. Mills. The Millses talk about their golden days as a young couple in the postwar days. Barbara comes to describe the new treatment for bedsores. Mrs. Mills is delighted and they get straight to work. However, the sight of their turning him leaves her upset.

Sr. Evangelina thinks the blonde woman's baby, Deborah, looks a little blue and needs Dr. Turner to look at her. Vi and Fred come to visit. Mrs. Mills approves of Vi immensely. Mr. Mills goes on and on about their great marriage. It's clear they expect the same from Fred and Vi.

Baby Deborah has to go to the hospital, as they suspect a heart murmur. I'm guessing...coarctation of the aorta. Not coincidentally because that's what I have. Mrs. Mills has a horrible sore on her chest. However, she refuses her medical care because she feels it's taking from her husband. Afterward, Vi and Fred talk about how devoted the two are. This guarantees the imminent death of either Mills. Vi invites Fred in for a cup of tea, which warrants closing the store for half a day. Bow chicka wow wow.

Fred starts to pull back from his new girlfriend for no reason. She immediately cuts through the bullshit and tells him to define his terms. This turns into a long discussion of widowhood and its special sorrows. Apparently, Fred is hurt by the memory of the deceased Mr. Vi. Dumb sod.

Dr. Turner diagnoses baby Deborah with a heart murmur. He assures the parents that she's in good hands, though in 1960 this is not really much of a comfort. Timothy develops a lot of photographs, including one of him with his dad and the first Mrs. Turner. When the doctor knocks on the door, Timothy refuses to let him in. He says that the old pictures are of nothing.

Little Orphan whatsername shows up to ask if her mommy is coming for Halloween. She's even written a letter. It's all very saccharine. Sr. Winnifred and Sr. MJ wonder how the hell they're going to talk to the dead. Just then, Fred conveniently reveals that Mommy didn't die - she's probably in Liverpool.

The young mother won't listen to any of Dr. Turner's explanations about the heart. She's also conflating its physical purpose with its perceived emotional qualities. She also doesn't want an operation, scared at the prospect. The doctor gently insists. Sr. Winnifred approaches little Glenda's father, explaining the child's misconception. The father explains that the mother has left, and that he's not really the girl's father, but he loves her just the same - and will never reveal the truth.

Dr. Turner suspects cancer and sends Mrs. Mills to a doctor. She's immediately afraid for her husband, though Barbara assures her that Mr Mills will be safe in Sister Mary Cynthia's hands. Sr. Evangelina offers tea and sympathy to little Deborah's mother. Trixie has gone through the records, meanwhile, and finds that the other baby had a birthmark that is now on Deborah. A lightbulb goes off over Sr. Evangelina's head. She examines the records, concluding that it is the unthinkable.

Deeply shaken, she immediately runs to Sr. Julienne, who is unflappable as usual. They are completely at a loss. After a quick comparison of blood types, they confirm their suspicions. Little Jackie and little Debbie have to go back to their respective families - but how?

Mrs. Mills is diagnosed with a "fungating wound", which means a strange form of breast cancer. She has to undergo a mastectomy immediately. Of course, she's terrified. Barbara is her gentle advocate. However, even with the best of outcomes, she still doesn't have long.

Fred spends time with Mr. Mills. They talk about their respective partners with a bit of a giggle. Fred reveals his insecurities about Vi's first husband. Mr. Mills tells him (in slightly different terms) to stop being such a dumbass. Barbara looks after Mrs. Mills, who is overcome with the idea of dying and leaving her Tommy. God, this season is depressing.

Sr. Julienne has invited the parents, along with Sr. Evangelina and Shelagh, for a group truth-telling session. Wracked with guilt, Sr. Evangelina is convinced that she has destroyed the families. Sr. Julienne tries to convince her that there will be a solution. The parents arrive, and Shelagh and Evangelina break the news.  The Smiths and the Dents are all in denial, of course. Sr. Julienne tries to ease a situation that can't be more difficult. The two couples start to fight. Immediately, though, Mrs Deborah's-real-mother (I can't keep them straight) is concerned for the sick baby. Immediately, Deborah's-other-mother doubts the other woman's parenting skills. Shades of King Solomon, anyone?

NOTE: From now on, the mothers will be referred to by their biological children, just for simplicity.

Mrs. Mills can't handle the situation and doesn't want surgery, though her husband begs her to. He tells her that they're in it together, and he won't lose her as long as there's a chance. Deborah's parents, cut off from the baby, are absolutely bereft, but they also adore little Jackie. It's a conundrum. "It can't be made right, can it?" the young mother asks.

Jackie's actual parents, meanwhile, suffer over the child. The husband believes that they'll forget about it if they just get the right baby. Plus, he really wants the healthy one. His wife, already attached, is adamantly against it.

Sr. Evangelina is going through an existential crisis. Sr. MJ tries to comfort her. Shockingly, it works. A little. She also takes the chance to steal some cookies.

Mrs. Mills has finally agreed to have surgery. The nurses support her all the way. The Millses share a tearful goodbye. But that's not important - it's Halloween in Poplar!

And I have to say, Halloween in England in 1960 does feel the tiniest bit off. Glenda is still longing for her mother. It's so hokey. She believes her father doesn't love her, which is kind of ridiculous, as he's busy feeding her the most tactful lies about Mummy dearest. Meanwhile, Patsy promises Delia that they will find a way to be together, no matter what.

Barbara and Sr. Mary Cynthia are as good as their word when it comes to caring for Mr. Mills. Fred awkardly goes shopping at Vi's. He buys a padlock door, then closes the door and begs her to stay with him. And proposes. How...romantic?

Shelagh is still guilty about the mixed-up babies. Of course, this all goes back to their love for the adopted Angela and half-adopted Timothy. However, she does acknowledge that the situation is very different. Timothy, camera in hand, suggests that they photograph each baby at birth. But...but they all look the same! That won't work! Ah well, it allows the Turners to trake a family portrait, so I guess it's all good.

The two mothers meet at the hospital. The baby's life is hanging by a thread. Deborah's mother insists that she wants her, Jackie's insists that she can't care for a sick child. Jackie's mother just wants to stick with the babies they were given. Just then, Jackie starts to cry. Jackie's mother goes to her - but still insists that she won't give up Deborah. Everyone cries and the two mothers decide to switch the babies back. They even work out their schoolgirl issues.

Sr. Julienne tells Sr. Evangelina to move forward, with the support of the entire house behind her. Old Jenny narrates about humanity vs science. Mrs. Mills comes home, to her husband's great relief.

Next time: Trixie sees the curate again, CHUMMY'S BACK but apparently leaving again, a mother has HG just like Kate Middleton, Delia seems to be leaving Patsy, and Fred's daughter doesn't approve of the marriage.

Well, er. The orphan story was hokey as fuck, though the dad was admirable. I did find the story with the switched babies quite compelling, though. It raised a lot of questions, and never even tried to answer. On the whole, though, the episode felt a tad perfunctory - weird stories and sweetness just as a way to get to the ever-approaching finale. It was disjointed and a bit "off". The Millses are by far the most touching. All in all, I think we can write this one off.

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