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Call the Midwife recap: Episode 8

The fourth season comes to a close as Trixie spearheads change in both her personal life and in traditional childbirth practices.

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Des Willie

Call the Midwife

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:

So, who’s started counting the days until Christmas?

(Psst! Seven months and eight days to go!)

That’s how long we’ll have to wait to find out if things have turned a corner for our beloved Nonnatus House residents after tonight’s rather dismal season finale. The Christmas Special is currently filming across the pond, which we can only hope will bring happier days for Trixie, Patsy, and, frankly, anyone who isn’t the new Mr. and Mrs. Fred Buckle (that’s Fred and Violet Gee, to you)—who closed out Call the Midwife season 4 with a jolly good wedding.

As I have mentioned in previous recaps, CTM continues to succeed in drawing us in week after week through our unwavering love for the characters—we are given zero reason to ever want to turn our backs on any of them. However, the overly depressing, shock-value level of the story lines is on a dangerous trajectory toward Jump-the-Shark Land (case in point, one pregnant woman is prescribed thalidomide), which is the last place CTM wants to be. While I applaud how well the show addressed Trixie’s drinking problem, at the same time, her personal issues overshadowed the quiet child-birthing revolution she helped to usher into Poplar this episode.

But the worst plotline offender here is the Delia and Patsy romance, which came to a devastating conclusion tonight. Now, given what we know of the time period and poor Tony Amos, no one expected Deils and Pats to move into a flat together and become openly accepted members of the community—but, come on, Call the Midwife, brain damage? It felt lazy and clichéd. (Right after they get a flat together, Delia is hit by an oncoming car while riding Patsy’s bike. She conveniently forgets who she is, who Patsy is—or even who her mother is—and is taken back home to Wales to recuperate with her family, with no guarantee of ever regaining her memory.) I think a much more realistic—and interesting—take on this subject would have been to see how long the young couple could keep up the ruse that they were “just flatmates.” What sort of lengths would they have to go to in order to evade the law (and neighborhood gossips)? It seemed like that was the route CTM was going, at least at first, with the latest in their clever fake-out lines: “I have a dark secret,” Patsy confesses to Sister Julienne when she announces her decision to vacate Nonnatus. “I’ve never lived independently.”

Nope. Instead, after spending one delicious night together in their new home, complete with an indoor picnic, Delia is ripped from Patsy’s life in the span of a few seconds. I was pleased, though, with how CTM acknowledged the second-class treatment same-sex partners received (for far too long) when it came to things like medical emergencies and emotional support: Patsy, not being a Busby family member, was denied information on Delia’s condition at first. And because Mrs. Busby is oblivious to the truth about her daughter’s romantic leanings, Patsy is relegated to the status of “the lady [Delia] helps at [Cub Scouts],” and is discouraged from coming to Wales to visit. The Busbys have no telephone (seriously? In 1960?), so Patsy’s only option is to write.

NEXT: Revolution in the delivery room