March 03, 2017

Call the Midwife - Season 6 - Episode SIX

Call the Midwife: Scars

Two separate recaps listed below:

#1 - from
The moment that we saw the opening minutes of Sunday night’s new episode of Call the Midwife, there was immediately a sense of awareness that this would be a tear-jerker. Also, this would be a story that carried with it controversy just because of the difficult nature of what was being depicted.
Speaking, we are speaking of genital mutilation, a practice that unfortunately happened with certain cultures and still happens even today. It does not receive the exposure or the education it deserves, so like many other episodes over the years, the writers were doing a public service in bringing the subject to the table.
The focal point of the story was a pregnant Somali woman under the care of relative newcomer Valerie Dyer, who discovered along the way that her body had been altered as a result of this practice. This led to major complications during both the pregnancy and the birth, but she was able to operate around it and allowed the child to be born. The thing that about this poor woman’s condition is that unfortunately, she did not even realize that what was done to her was different. Therefore, the events to stitch her back up after the birth led to further questions about what was right.
Unfortunately, this story did not have the happiest of endings at first; however, you could say that only because we write this from a specific vantage point. Valerie realized via a tense, angry confrontation just how serious a subject this is, and how hard it can be for those of different cultures to understand. The happy ending may have come courtesy of Vanessa Redgrave’s narration in the closing seconds.

The struggle of Sister Mary Cynthia

If you are looking for another story to punch you in the guts (a.k.a. right in the feels), this one delivered it. Mary Cynthia is recovering still in the wake of the electroshock therapy, in particular when it comes to her memory, her pain, and her future. This is a process that could take some time to repair. Unfortunately, we’re not sure entirely what her future will hold, or even how much of it we will end up seeing.

Odds and ends

For those of you who do love romance, this story provided that courtesy of Trixie and, as we like to call him, Mr. Dentist. Even if things between her and Tom did not work out, we’re very much pleased that the show did figure out a way nonetheless to find Trixie love. She’s been through a lot, and deserves some happiness.
Meanwhile, Shelagh is planning a big move, and she and Dr. Turner are in the process of figuring out their future. It’s rather nice to see the two parties preparing to become parents, just as it’s also rather nice to see her free from the hospital.

Overall take

Call the Midwife is one of the best shows on television when it comes to presenting cultural differences, pain, and the changes that take place over time. Setting this story under the specter of the Cuban Missile Crisis gave it a distinct feel and flair, since it caused the Midwives and nuns to both deal with their day-to-day lives, and also suffer under the news that nuclear war could be occurring at any moment. This required prayer, and a hope for peace and understanding. Luckily, an answer came as the crisis was over by the episode’s end.Strap in, everyone, because this is the episode many of us have been dreading. But you know what? The writers did an excellent job, here. 
2nd online review:

‘Call the Midwife’ review: Season 6 Episode 6 tackles harrowing consequences of FGM


When headlines announced before this season that Call the Midwife would devote an episode to exploring the effects of female genital mutilation (FGM), many were sure to have been wondering how this issue would be handled.
With the assistance of anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali when writing this episode, the writers have been able to build a story that is important, sensitively conveyed, and sympathetic. It’s no surprise that this will rank as one of the saddest episodes of the show too, particularly because it’s all about cycles that are difficult to change and break out from.
Image result for call the midwife series 6 episode 6 recapThe hour also deals with the lingering impact of Sister Mary Cynthia’s electroconvulsive therapy and her stay at Linchmere Hospital, with Sister Monica Joan insisting that she will go on a hunger strike until Sister Mary Cynthia is released. While this episode does see Sister Julienne finally manage to get her colleague released from the institution, it’s made all too clear that it will take a long time for Sister Mary Cynthia to find a way to live with her depression.
And she needs to do so as her own person, asking to be called simply “Cynthia” at the end of the episode when she arrives at a new hospital that will help to get her the therapy she really requires. Call the Midwife refuses to provide an easy solution to her troubles, and it shows how this series is just as capable at handling mental health issues with nuance as it is other medical situations.
This episode’s main storyline is about young mother-to-be Nadifa (Yusra Warsama), who is pregnant with her first child. Her husband is adamant that she should return to Somaliland to have the baby, but it turns out her pregnancy is much further along than either of them had realised. It immediately becomes apparent to Valerie that Nadifa’s undergone a genital mutilation procedure when she sees her for the first time, and she and all the other nurses are visibly horrified at something they’ve never seen before.
Patrick, too, is left aghast because there’s no possible medical reason why this practice would be done. But Nadifa seems to think it’s normal, and Patrick investigates to find out more about what’s happened and the regions of the world where such a thing is more common. The nurses are still shocked they haven’t seen this happen to any other immigrant mothers, but he tells them that this pre-dates Islam and it’s clear that this is being noticed because the Somali community is only just beginning to settle in Poplar.
FGM is something that has affected an estimated 200 million women worldwide, and it continues to this day. It’s also under-discussed, even as it still afflicts countless women, so for such a popular mainstream show as Call the Midwife to include this storyline is striking and powerful. As with Sister Mary Cynthia’s depression, the script doesn’t leave us with any easy answers even after Nadifa’s painful, bloody and upsetting pregnancy, which is only resolved after Valerie performs emergency surgery to save the day even after horrific tearing during the birth.
Traditions like this are poisonous cycles, and that’s why it’s so heartbreaking to see Nadifa’s younger sister called back to Somaliland to undergo the exact same procedure, with Nadifa supporting and defending its importance even after everything she’s been through herself. Of course Valerie can’t contain her emotion and her sadness at this turn of events, but there’s also nothing she could hope to do to change it too. It may seem bleak, especially as we know that the practice still hasn’t ended all these years later, but the episode does leave us with some hope that things will be able to change through education and understanding.
Only adding to the feeling of tension and concern throughout the episode is how every character is left wondering what the outcome of the Cuban missile crisis will be. We get to see every kind of reaction: Phylis shows her concerns, Fred attempts to get ready for the impact of a bomb, Trixie remains convinced President Kennedy solve the situation, and Sister Winifred says she’d rather not think about it. Thinking about impending doom inspires some impulsiveness from Trixie, though, as she decides to go out with the dentist Christopher again, although her choice to lie about her alcoholism could be something she comes to regret.
This is one of Call the Midwife’s strongest episodes precisely because of how unafraid the writers are to look at issues that are difficult to talk about and approach them so frankly. It’s an episode that is even more emotional and tense than the show usually is, and it handles FGM in a way that is not only dramatically effective but well-researched and sure to help end the silence that has surrounded the practice.
The show is just as compelling when it comes to Cynthia’s depression and it shows us that she’s not just going to fixed in any clichéd or overly simple way. It also doesn’t shy away from showing the pressure that she feels in trying to find herself again, not only within the oppressive asylum but also at a time when she’s struggling to feel connected to her faith.
With all this heartbreak and sadness it can seem like a tough watch, but it’s a worthwhile one and it’s an episode that looks at difficult and important topics with more subtlety than viewers might expect.


  1. Thank you for posting S6E6! So much fear, so many struggles, questionable future. Looking forward to E7!

  2. why...why is it all about the man getting pleasure??!!!!!! the women work, toil in fields, bring water from long away, give birth, take care of children, while sit around barely doing anything compared to the woman...not really working...this is not religion...this is not culture...this is so the woman knows her place...a woman does the cutting because this is all she be under a mans foot but pseudo told that all (culture, religion) is about the is about control......the mans pleasure.......women who let this happen who are with a man who says that this will make him happy if she is like this it is all about him if this still goes on today.......then the woman (girl) who knows that this is happening or mother who lets this happen or older sister who lets this happen sorry you deserve it then and let me explain.........this older sister who just gave birth knowing the pain and knowing about it in her country of origin SENDS off her little sister to have this done to her.......she does NOT love her little sister and probably because of the little girls interest in science is jealous ......that is why the older sister deserves what has been done to her and for her comment that it is not what my husband will ENJOY after she has had the baby and is NOT sewn up in the tiny hole again........but then decides her daughter the baby she just had will not get cut..........i would rather ask for death then have this done to me.