‘Call the Midwife’, Series 4, Episode 2 (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

This isn’t what I would call a very uplifting ‘Call the Midwife’ episode. It’s very dramatic and it has great performances from the cast, but there’s a sense of tragedy and joy with the major subplot in it.

It makes the episode rather bittersweet in a way. In the episode, Charlotte Ritchie as Barbara faces her most challenging case yet. She has to treat a first-time mother who goes through a difficult birth.

The mother is a black woman, Cherrelle Skeete as Abigail Bissette and she lives with her husband who is a bus driver, Kadiff Kirwan as Terence. Both seem to be a very happy couple at the tale’s start.

Sadly, the birth doesn’t go according to plan. First, when the baby is delivered, it’s stillborn. This upsets Barbara and Emerald Fennell as Patsy greatly. It was really heartbreaking to watch in the tale.

Thankfully, Abigail ends up having another baby since it was twins she had. This baby survives and it happens to be a boy whilst the stillborn baby was a girl. I was so pleased Abigail had a baby after all.

But Abigail and Terence are still heartbroken with their loss of their girl whilst pleased to have their boy. I like how the emotional dilemmas handled as Abigail and Terence come to terms with the loss.

Barbara also continues to have inexperience when dealing with difficult cases like this. I like how her vulnerability gets shown in the episode. She’s clearly a lovely person when she attends to her job. 🙂

This episode also introduces us to a brand-new regular in the series. Pam Ferris as Sister Evangelina is due for sick leave and her replacement comes in the form of Linda Bassett as Nurse Phyllis Crane.

Crane is an older midwife who has a no-nonsense attitude and happens to be a vegetarian. I’ve seen Linda Bassett before since she was in ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ before this. I enjoyed her debut here.

There are times when Crane crosses swords with Sister Evangelina. Barbara also gets into trouble when she should be saying “Good morning” or “Good evening” rather than “Hello” to Nurse Crane. 🙂

Nurse Crane however does display a kinder side, especially when Barbara gets upset over the stillborn birth of Abigail’s child. I liked how Crane’s character shows her sides of kindness as well as sternness.

When she arrives, Nurse Crane is at Nonnatus House on the basis she’s temporary, not permanent. By 2020, Phyllis Crane has been in more seasons of ‘Call the Midwife’ than ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’. 😀

Meanwhile, Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne struggles with the increasing financial pressure on Nonnatus House. A mystery benefactor offers a bequest to the convent. Julienne knows who it is. 😀

It happens to be Nicholas Farrell as the dying Charles Newgarden. I have seen and heard Nicholas Farrell in plenty of things such as ‘Torchwood’s ‘Children of Earth’ and a few ‘Doctor Who’ audios. 🙂

It transpires that Charles Newsgarden dated Sister Julienne before she became a nun. This was fascinating to know and even more fascinating that Sister Julienne’s real name happens to be Louise.

Upon reuniting with Charles Newsgarden, Sister Julienne finds the meeting painful. There’s one stage where she leaves him in an emotional state. We even see her with her habit off in her room. 😐

This marks the first time that this has happened with Sister Julienne taking her habit off in ‘Call the Midwife’ and not later on in Series 9 as I assumed. It was very fascinating to see during the episode.

Yet, Nonnatus House needs the money to repair certain damages like the roof leaking and rats running about, I believe. Sister Julienne also makes up with Charles with a home cinema event here.

I liked it when Sister Julienne and Charles watched a Charlie Chaplin movie on a projector screen. It was rather sweet once they reconciled doing that, especially before Charles sadly passed away later.

There is an upset between Helen George as Trixie and Jack Ashton as Tom over their engagement plans, but thankfully it’s patched up. I also believe that Patsy is seeing a girlfriend of hers in this tale.

Meaning she’s a lesbian. Hmm! It seems subtle to start off with, doesn’t it? Anyway, this episode was well-made and well-written, despite a bittersweet emotional drama of a mother’s difficult birth.

‘Series 4, Episode 2’ rating – 7/10

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