Culture clash. That was one of the themes of this weekend’s new episode of “Call the Midwife,” as we saw Barbara Gilbert doing everything that she could in order to prepare a young mother for the arrival of her child. Unfortunately, at the same time she struggled with trying to comfort to both British and Chinese traditions at the same time. She in particular had to deal with a family member intent on controlling everything, included what the child was called. Barbara, in turn, wanted to do everything that she could in order to help her.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, this young mother’s story eventually became all about “how hard it was for the older generation.” It’s too bad that many of these words were prophetic, given that our young mother woke to find her baby not breathing. The mother rushed the child into the hospital, and this story started to bleed into what we’re about to explain in the paragraphs to come.
Efficiency struggles – Sister Ursula, over the past few episodes, has shown herself to be somewhat of a tyrant. She’s enforced hard rules on Nonnatus, and specifically wants to ensure that the midwives don’t spent an extreme amount of time with any particular patient.
Through this episode, however, we started to get more and more of an idea as to why exactly she was like this. After all, Ursula is someone who’s been through a good bit of the course of her career, and one of the things in particular that we learned is that she is someone who has been through a great deal over the course of her career, and she is strictly trying to make Nonnatus House competitive in an era where general hospitals are starting to take over. This is something that we started to see more with Dr. Turner and the tour that he gave to someone who could be looking to consolidate everything.
In getting back to Barbara’s delivery, the time constraints put on her by Ursula caused her to not have the time necessary to give the child the proper checks; luckily, Turner was able to make a quick diagnosis and get the baby over to a local hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Shelagh’s heartbreak – Clearly, someone over at the BBC wanted to rip out our heart and stomp on it with what they wanted to do here. After all, what we saw here can be best described as happiness careening off a cliff. She was happy, and doing her best to plan for her future as a mother. Unfortunately, by the end of the episode what we saw instead for her was her preparing for the possibility of a miscarriage.
When Shelagh first realized that she was in need of additional care at the hospital, Dr. Turner stopped his tour of the hospital and left it over to Nurse Crane. Given that Trixie had also just returned to Nonnatus, she was able to lend a helping hand, as well. The bad news is that despite everything that Dr. Turner and Nurse Crane did, it does still appear as though Nonnatus is going to be doomed over the course of the next decade or so. These sort of specialty hospitals are a dinosaur in an era where they are simply not that convenient anymore.
Tying up loose ends – Sister Ursula was ready to come down hard on Barbara over the child suffering monoxide poisoning; however, it was also her rules that put her in this situation. Nurse Crane pleaded with her to not come down horribly hard on her in considering the proper punishment. Eventually, Ursula decided to not punish Barbara and would “review” her 20-minute rule.
In the end, what happened tonight led to Ursula deciding to leave Nonnatus for the Mother House, feeling as though this was not her place anymore. In a way, we do very much feel for her far more than we thought that we would going into this episode; she’s someone who simply was doing what she thought was best, even though her methods were wrong.
Overall – Another emotional episode of the show, and certainly one that contained a rather important sea change to go along with it. Nonnatus has new leadership again, and that may be for the best. Unfortunately, we’re still worried for Shelagh’s future. Grade: B+.
What did you think of all of the stories on “Call the Midwife” tonight? Share in the comments, and head over here to see a further preview for what is coming up next. (Photo: BBC.)