‘Call the Midwife’, Series 5, Episode 8 (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The finale episode of Series 5 of ‘Call the Midwife’! In many ways, this is a rather sad episode featuring the departure of one of the main regulars. But it does tie up plot threads really satisfyingly.

As I gather, Jenny and Chummy were meant to return for this episode. That would’ve been nice to see them. Sadly Miranda Hart had scheduling issues, stopping her return, while Jessica Raine declined.

I did like it when I saw Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan playing with a Sooty puppet in the episode. What, no Sweep? I wonder if we’ll see Judy Parfitt watching a ‘Sooty’ episode with Harry Corbett. 😀

Anyway, in the episode, Stephen McGann as Dr. Turner is horrified to learn reading in ‘The Lancet’ that thalidomide has had a devastating effect on pregnant women’s babies. It is being withdrawn. 😐

Dr. Turner is upset that his own prescriptions have caused such tragedies in deformed babies. He needs the Nonnatus House midwives to help identify the patients he has prescribed thalidomide for.

This is so they can warn them to stop using thalidomide ever again. The episode features previous guests including Liz White as Rhoda Mullocks from Series 5, Episode 1 who had her little baby Susan.

There’s also Becci Gemmell as Ruby Cottingham from Series 5, Episode 4 who lost her baby through deformity. It was nice to have these characters reprise their roles to resolve the thalidomide plotline.

It’s interesting how the thalidomide plotline gets resolved since the usage of the ‘magic pills’ started at the end of Series 4. Now it’s being considered as a lethal substance for women who are pregnant.

Sadly, this episode features a death of another sort. Pam Ferris as Sister Evangelina is back at work, but it’s clear that her recent stroke has affected her badly. Her health problems are not over here. 😦

She wishes not to conduct any more baby deliveries, but she does help Charlotte Ritchie as Barbara with the delivery of a baby from an Indian woman. And to be fair, Sister Evangelina does it very well.

The next morning however, Cliff Parisi as Fred Buckle finds Sister Evangelina sitting by the fireside. Holding her hands, she finds she died in her sleep following an internal stroke. It is a sad scene here.

I wasn’t expecting Sister Evangelina to die halfway through the episode. Normally it would be at the end of an episode that a regular character dies. It’s interesting how the aftermath is handled here. 😐

Everyone is upset about Sister Evangelina’s passing, including Sister Monica Joan and Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne. Everyone pays tribute to Sister Evangelina since she was very well-loved in Poplar.

I like seeing how the characters coped with the passing of Sister Evangelina. Ben Caplan as Sgt. Peter Noakes makes an appearance to pay tribute to Sister Evangelina. He makes for Chummy’s absence. 🙂

I’m saddened that Sister Evangelina is gone and it’s good that the episode takes advantage of her passing. Also Pam Ferris deserves credit for playing the role so well in the five seasons she’s been in.

On a happier note, the episode does have a hastily arranged wedding. Rosie Cavaliero guest stars as Tessie Anselm, a Poplar matriarch who’s forced to accept her grandchild conceived out of wedlock.

I’ve seen Rosie Cavaliero in the first two ‘Nativity’ films. I’ve also heard her in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’. They include the tales ‘Project: Twilight’, ‘Project: Lazarus’ and ‘Infamy of the Zaross’.

Tessie’s son Will Brown as Mitchell Anselm is about to get married to an Australian girl Sheena May as Noelle. I liked how Tessie and Noelle got on with each other, though there was tension earlier on.

At the wedding celebrations itself, Noelle has her baby behind draped curtains in the community hall. The services of a midwife are called upon and Noelle gets to have her baby delivered safely. 🙂

I like how the romance between Barbara and Jack Ashton as Tom is developing in the series so far. I don’t know if they’ll get married at some point in the next season, but it would be very nice to see. 🙂

So, Series 5, Episode 8 ends the season on a satisfactory conclusion. It’s sad about Sister Evangelina’s passing but I liked the tribute given to her and I’m happy the thalidomide plotline has been resolved.

The DVD special features for Series 5 of ‘Call the Midwife’ are as follows. On Disc 3, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew.

‘Series 5, Episode 8’ rating – 8/10

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