The first episode of “Call the Midwife” season 5 aired on BBC One Sunday night, and if there was one thing that the show really wanted to throw at us over the course of the episode, it was the ever-present notion of change. This is something that the show has furthered along in some subtle ways over the course of its run, but this premiere was one of the first times they really pushed just how different Poplar is now from where they were during the very first episode.
In some ways, there is an interesting dichotomy between now much the midwives and sisters at Nonnatus House know, and how much they still have yet to learn. Specifically, thalidomide is an example of that. Having this story was an important one now, especially as a part of an era many have forgotten about at this point. The show continues to paint the dangers and the hardships of this world perfectly, and there were teary moments at the end.
As for some of the character stories, we did have some movement tonight on the Patsy / Delia front, and to go along with that we are getting to see the origins of Trixie, fitness instructor. This part of the story provided some levity to mix in with the tough times, especially seeing some of the nuns’ reactions to the workout clothes that a photographer captured for his piece on the ever-changing times in the East End.
Sure, “Call the Midwife” is still a flawed series; many of the deliveries blur together over the years, and it also tends to move at a somewhat-slow pace; still, this episode accomplished what it set out to do, and refocused us as viewers for the seven episodes to come. Episode Grade: B.
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