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February 19, 2017

CALL THE MIDWIFE 6 - Episode 5

Episode 5 puts the spotlight on Fred and Violet

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review by www.cultbox.co.uk
While the end of the previous episode would have you expecting that this one would be all about welcoming Valerie into the community at Nonnatus House, her character surprisingly takes a backseat in an episode that is much more focused on Fred and Violet.

When Fred’s distant cousin Reggie (Daniel Laurie) with Down’s Syndrome is left without his doting mother after she suddenly dies, Fred takes him in to support him and help him come to terms with the loss of his mother. This is heartbreaking stuff. When Reggie gestures to the clock and asks “where will the little hand be when my mum comes back from seeing God?”, you’d almost need a heart of stone to be unaffected.
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But it’s ultimately not a sad story. It’s one that looks at Fred and Violet and shows us the strength they have as a couple and the capacity that they have to care for and love Reggie when he’s all alone. He’s been sheltered for a long time and we soon find out that he’s too old for professional care and might be sent to an institution.
While it’s a fear for him, we also know Fred wouldn’t do that to someone so harmless and helpless. He does visit the cold and oppressive Linchmere Hospital to see if there’s any way it could be the right place for Reggie, and it’s unsurprising to us that it’s definitely not where he’s meant to be.

What’s surprising, though, is the discovery of Sister Mary Cynthia at the hospital. We know she needs help, but she’s hardly meant to be institutionalized. The direness of the situation is heightened when we find out that she’s being given electroconvulsive therapy against her wishes too.
The revelation of her whereabouts has a particularly strong effect on Sister Monica Joan, but it’s certain that Trixie and the others will be outraged when they find out in the next episode. This should also prompt some self-reflection for Sister Julienne, who has put her unwavering and unquestioning trust in the Mother House, and we’re now seeing the flaws in her faith be exposed.
Of course, there is still some time spent on Valerie’s first day on the job. The character fits into the core cast really effectively, and her arrival goes smoothly. Initially it seems like she might not get along quite so well with her new roommate Trixie, but we soon find that it’s likely she’ll fit in perfectly with all the other midwives. She’s not given one of the main stories this week, though, as most of the narrative is given over to Trixie and a patient of hers who is terrified of dentists but has a critical tooth infection that could put her pregnancy at risk.

It’s an interesting storyline, but the stakes do feel somewhat lower than they have in recent weeks. It’s mostly a way for Trixie to be introduced to handsome dentist and new suitor Christopher (Jack Hawkins) as he operates on the petrified patient and then continues to be on hand as she almost immediately goes into labour after her dental surgery! This is a decent but undemanding plotline, as this is a week where the show spends a little more time on developing its characters than it does its episodic story.
That’s highly worthwhile from time to time, especially for people like Fred and Violet who are so often on the sidelines but rarely in the limelight. Here, they get shades of complexity as the show explores Reggie’s predicament in a way that feels honest and moving without pretending that it has all the answers. That he eventually ends up in a community with other people who have Down’s Syndrome does feel like a positive development for him, but it certainly doesn’t feel like the right way for people with disabilities to be treated.
This is still the ‘60s, though, and it’s not like there are a wide array of options for him. There certainly weren’t for Sister Mary Cynthia. But she’s not beyond help, and we’ll hopefully see Nonnatus House mobilise to rescue her from the institution in the next episode.


February 12, 2017

Call the Midwife 6 - Episode 4

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The hollow pain of loss hangs heavily over an episode where two pregnant women face the loneliness of empty arms. Not to mention the jaw-dropping casual cruelty women in their different positions had to put up with in the early 1960s.

Shelagh is bored and anxious while on extended bed-rest in the maternity home, but at least she makes a friend as they share a laugh over Woman’s Realm. And nice Tom the vicar helps a penniless mum driven to desperate measures to keep her little family together. 
Image result for Call the Midwife 6 - Episode 4Back at Nonnatus House the midwives are overworked. Trixie has made a welcome return but Sister Mary Cynthia has vanished and is spoken of in sad, hushed tones. Where IS she?

SUMMARY

A woman expecting her third child realizes she cannot afford to care for her baby, so makes the painful decision to give it away to her wealthy but childless cousin. Shelagh befriends the woman in the next hospital bed and Dr Turner confides in Timothy about his worst fears. Sister Julienne looks for a new recruit to join the midwives, and the community prepares to celebrate the opening of a new park.


February 10, 2017

The Gift-Wrap & the Jewel


What would you say as you look back on your life? 
Are there lessons learned that you would want to pass on to to future generations? At 92 years old, this sweet lady offers words of hope for all of us.



Wanda shared these great words in the video:
"I looked in the mirror and what did I see, but a little old lady peering back at me. With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair, and I asked my reflection, how did you get there? You once were straight and vigorous and now you're stooped and weak. When I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique. My reflection's eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied, you're looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside. A living gem and precious of unimagined worth. Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth. The years that spoil your gift wrap with other things more cruel, should purify and strengthen and polish up that jewel. So focus your attention on the inside, not the out, on being kinder, wiser, more content, and more devout. Then when your gift wrap is stripped away, your jewel will be set free to radiate God's glory throughout eternity."


February 05, 2017

CALL THE MIDWIFE 6 - Episode 3

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Culture clash. That was one of the themes of this weekend’s new episode of “Call the Midwife,” as we saw Barbara Gilbert doing everything that she could in order to prepare a young mother for the arrival of her child. Unfortunately, at the same time she struggled with trying to comfort to both British and Chinese traditions at the same time. She in particular had to deal with a family member intent on controlling everything, included what the child was called. Barbara, in turn, wanted to do everything that she could in order to help her.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, this young mother’s story eventually became all about “how hard it was for the older generation.” It’s too bad that many of these words were prophetic, given that our young mother woke to find her baby not breathing. The mother rushed the child into the hospital, and this story started to bleed into what we’re about to explain in the paragraphs to come.
Efficiency struggles – Sister Ursula, over the past few episodes, has shown herself to be somewhat of a tyrant. She’s enforced hard rules on Nonnatus, and specifically wants to ensure that the midwives don’t spent an extreme amount of time with any particular patient.
Through this episode, however, we started to get more and more of an idea as to why exactly she was like this. After all, Ursula is someone who’s been through a good bit of the course of her career, and one of the things in particular that we learned is that she is someone who has been through a great deal over the course of her career, and she is strictly trying to make Nonnatus House competitive in an era where general hospitals are starting to take over. This is something that we started to see more with Dr. Turner and the tour that he gave to someone who could be looking to consolidate everything.
In getting back to Barbara’s delivery, the time constraints put on her by Ursula caused her to not have the time necessary to give the child the proper checks; luckily, Turner was able to make a quick diagnosis and get the baby over to a local hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Shelagh’s heartbreak – Clearly, someone over at the BBC wanted to rip out our heart and stomp on it with what they wanted to do here. After all, what we saw here can be best described as happiness careening off a cliff. She was happy, and doing her best to plan for her future as a mother. Unfortunately, by the end of the episode what we saw instead for her was her preparing for the possibility of a miscarriage.
When Shelagh first realized that she was in need of additional care at the hospital, Dr. Turner stopped his tour of the hospital and left it over to Nurse Crane. Given that Trixie had also just returned to Nonnatus, she was able to lend a helping hand, as well. The bad news is that despite everything that Dr. Turner and Nurse Crane did, it does still appear as though Nonnatus is going to be doomed over the course of the next decade or so. These sort of specialty hospitals are a dinosaur in an era where they are simply not that convenient anymore.
Tying up loose ends – Sister Ursula was ready to come down hard on Barbara over the child suffering monoxide poisoning; however, it was also her rules that put her in this situation. Nurse Crane pleaded with her to not come down horribly hard on her in considering the proper punishment. Eventually, Ursula decided to not punish Barbara and would “review” her 20-minute rule.
In the end, what happened tonight led to Ursula deciding to leave Nonnatus for the Mother House, feeling as though this was not her place anymore. In a way, we do very much feel for her far more than we thought that we would going into this episode; she’s someone who simply was doing what she thought was best, even though her methods were wrong.
Overall – Another emotional episode of the show, and certainly one that contained a rather important sea change to go along with it. Nonnatus has new leadership again, and that may be for the best. Unfortunately, we’re still worried for Shelagh’s future.