Call the Midwife S05E01 recap
This season kicks off with a totally adorable aerobics class being held in the Poplar community centre. And guess who’s there? That’s right, it’s East London’s most glamorous midwife, Beatrice Franklin. After her traumatic Season 4 split with Reverend Tom Hereward and becoming an alcoholic, Trixie has put aside the Pimms and decided to channel her angst into something called “Keep Fit”. The Keep Fit classes seems to consist of a few leg lifts and turning one’s head from side to side, but everybody who does it has a perfect figure and not a spot of cellulite. Trixie’s even become an instructor! I am so delighted the old Trixie is back this season. I was rather alarmed by actress Helen George’s sudden weight loss last season, but this year Trixie has grown her hair long again and had a few more chocolate eclairs, so all is right in the world again.
This was an important scene because nobody has ever looked so fabulous riding a bicycle. Oh Trixie, you minx.
We meet the Pregnant Woman of the Episode chugging milk of magnesia on the street outside her flat and looking rather flustered. CTM has really nailed this formula and doesn’t ever feel the need to divert from the setup of a heavily pregnant woman doing housework and panting alarmingly. Definitely a sign of trouble to come.
Things take a rather racy turn when the nurses try on their new uniforms! Barbara suggests they could soon be wearing slacks like midwives in Scandinavia, and the girls quickly laugh off such a stupid idea. Barbara doesn’t like slacks because they make her thighs look weird, which is a perfect opportunity for Trixie to tell her to come to her Keep Fit class. Nurse Crane knocks on the door and Trixie asks her if she’d like to come to Keep Fit too? Nurse Crane says no because she’s content to perform her Canadian Airforce Routine every other morning. (Can BBC1 please, PLEASE, create a web series showing Nurse Crane’s Canadian Airforce Routine?) Nurse Crane then strips down to her scanties, and hilarity ensues because who doesn’t look like a sack of garbage next to Helen George?
At Nonnatus House, the midwives come to lunch in their new uniforms, which look suspiciously like the old uniforms with belts added. Sister Evangeline does not approve of the belts because a) she doesn’t approve of anything, and b) how could anybody be expected to bend in a belt?! Delivering babies in a nun’s robe and habit is far more practical! Sister Monica Joan has no opinion on the belts because she’s too pissed off that the nuns have given up sweets for Lent. She asks to be exempt because she’s old and a nun and eating cake is the only good thing left in her life. Sister Julienne and Sister Evangeline say no because they’re awful.
Pregnant Woman of the Episode is in labour t the maternity home. She wants to call the baby Jonquil, and what does her husband think? (Spoiler alert: it’s the sixties, he doesn’t give a shit and he’s off to the pub.) As her contractions really kick in, Pregnant Woman asks for a nun rather than a nurse because she doesn’t want young Patsy to see her bum. Patsy says not to worry because she’s seen it all before, both as a midwife and a lesbian.
The baby is born with malformed limbs and Patsy and Shelagh whisk her away before her mother can see. Pregnant Woman, who is no longer pregnant and just called Mrs Mullucks now, asks to see her baby and Shelagh keeps making up weird excuses like “baby’s a bit chilly” which Mrs Mullucks seems to accept without question. Doctor Turner predicts the baby will die overnight so there’s no point upsetting her parents by showing them her missing arms and legs. He then stays at the maternity home all night to cuddle the baby next to his smouldering ashtray because smoking is fine in the sixties! The baby doesn’t die, which is a problem because now they’ll have to show her to Mr and Mrs Mullucks.
Let’s be honest, Barbara is nerdy and boring compared to Trixie and Patsy but I’ve included this screenshot because you have to admit she is actually pretty adorable. You may recall from the Christmas special that Barabara and the Reverend dabbled in a brief flirtation over sherbet lollies on the bus. In this episode, Poplar’s most wholesome couple bonds over the saucy business of organising hats for the children’s Easter parade. This is actually a great match because Barbara’s father is a vicar and she obviously likes religious men, plus the Reverend is more suited to girl-next-doorsy types like Barbara than stone-cold-fox types like Trixie.
Back at the maternity ward, Shelagh lets Mrs Mullucks smoke a delicious healing cigarette while she breaks the news about the baby’s lack of arms and legs. But suddenly, Mr Mullucks shows up and discovers the deformed baby before anyone can warn him! He tells his wife there ain’t no way that thing is coming back to their house, because it’s the sixties and dads were the best then. Mrs Mullucks admits the baby is a mess but decides to keep it, even if she and the baby have to move out of the family home. She names the baby Susan because the name Belinda is obviously too fancy. Shelagh and Sister Mary Cynthia want to send the baby to the London hospital for tests but Mrs Mullucks refuses so they give her a sedative and she settles down.
Patsy is actually a complete babe when she wants to be, and the show’s costume designer has really been stepping it up for Pats in recent episodes. This green floral dress is perfect and I love how a bit of decolletage suddenly looks so daring compared to the fusty uniforms the nurses wear all the time. Anyway, in this episode Patsy meets her secret girlfriend Delia Busby for tea in London. It’s been months since Delia was knocked off her bike and suffered a head injury, but she’s been finally given a clean bill of health and offered her job back at the London hospital. Yay for Patsy! But then Delia’s mother shows up and says she won’t let Delia leave Wales again because London is too dangerous, so obviously she’ll have to turn down the job and Pats and Dee will have to have a long distance relationship instead. Boo for Patsy.
At the community centre, Trixie manages to coach her Keep Fit class through a series of complicated movements including walking on the spot and moving their arms back and forth. One of her older class members, Olive, wets her pants and runs out of the class. Trixie follows her to the toilets and discovers that poor Olive has been wetting herself for years and has never seen the doctor once. Trixie takes Olive to see Dr Turner who explains to her that her womb is falling through her vagina. She asks what’s a vagina because she’s always just called it her “down below”. Dr Turner says he can refer her for surgery at the London and the NHS will shout the bill. Trixie realises that Keep Fit can teach women about their vaginas and change the world.
Back at the maternity ward, Mrs Mullucks shows Susan to the rest of her children and explains that if anyone calls her names they will have to fight them. Mr Mullucks holds the baby and agrees to take her home even though she was an accident and has no arms or legs.
Delia and her mother come to Nonnatus House for Easter lunch. Mrs Busby says Delia must return to Wales because there is nowhere safe for her to live in London and Sister Julienne says well she can just live here at Nonnatus House? Patsy is rather excited to have her secret girlfriend right in the eagle’s nest.
The Easter Parade is a roaring success and everyone is smiling radiantly, except Trixie who is is too busy shooting filthy glances at Barbara and Reverend Hereward who are bonding over the Easter bonnet award ceremony. And honestly, who would ever waste eyeball energy looking at Barbara when Trixie is around? Nobody, that’s who.