Call the Midwife season 8 episode 7 was a reminder of the series’ unflinching nature. It pulls no punches and while there are moments of joy, they exist within a world full of darkness. The characters in this series face decisions that can define the remainder of their lives, and tonight we saw that within the story of Mr. and Mrs. Pugh.
While the era of Call the Midwife may not have as specific a term as sex addiction, it appears as though this is what the man was suffering from. In the midst of stressful situations, he compulsively looked towards sex to take his edge off, much in the same way others look to alcohol or drugs. The problems with this particular addiction are widespread — there is the heartbreak that it causes to your partner, and then also the dangerous medicinal side-effects. Both of these existed prominently within this episode, especially when it was revealed that Mrs. Pugh had gonorrhea, the end result of her husband sleeping with a prostitute.
Would this affliction doom their baby early in life? They were able to catch the diagnosis early enough to ensure the baby’s health, but for Dr. Turner, it was about more than that. Instead, he needed to find a way to get through to Mr. Pugh, realize the error of his ways, and also recognize why he was turning to brothels instead of finding a different coping mechanism for his anxiety. Mrs. Push showed a capacity to forgive and the baby is in fine health, but these are scars that may never fully heal. All they can do is make an effort to try, provided that this is what they want.
In the end, Dr. Turner offered Mrs. Hugh an opportunity to attend counseling to see if the relationship can be repaired; more than likely, this is not a story we will see.
Sister Frances finds her confidence
For Sister Frances, we had one of the more lighthearted stories of the season — but also one with a certain amount of personal significance. She was getting set to operate her first solo birth and dealing with a tremendous amount of anxiety because of that. This story, for her, was one of self-reliance, of finding herself and understanding how she needed to press onward and find her inner strength. (The more moments between her and Mother Mildred, the better off this series will be — it’s a shame that Mildred seems to be heading back to the mother House.)
Valerie vs. Gran
Complicated crisis for women are at the center of the series, and you did see that very much for Trixie and Valerie as they took on a case pertaining to abortion — one that also introduced us to some of Nurse Dyer’s family in a harrowing setting, and the end result put her in a precarious, challenging position. This is a story that showed you the horrors that exist within the underground abortion-clinic community and some of the terrible aftereffects. It would have been tough existing as-is; it was even tougher knowing that Valerie’s own Gran was running the backstreet clinic (if you want to even call it that).
This scene between Valerie and her Gran at the end of the episode may go down as some of Jennifer Kirby’s most painful work on the series — devastating, real, and difficult. The two women went at it over her actions and results, and the differences between what the two women do.
The real conclusion to draw here is that these two women will never see eye to eye. Valerie’s Gran may not be heading off to prison (at least not yet), but she does have to live with what she’s done.
Sometimes in life, there is a path forward. At other points, there is nothing left to do other than cry. Some decisions cannot be undone. Valerie experienced some of that within what happened with her Gran, and in the closing minutes, she had to determine what exactly she wants to do far here. That, per the preview (read more over here), could be carried over to the finale.
This Call the Midwife episode brought you another full picture of Poplar, its victories, and its failures. There is a beauty to this world, but also plenty of warts.
What did you think about Call the Midwife season 8 episode 7? What would you do if you were Valerie Dyer? Be sure to share some of your thoughts now in the comments. (Photo: BBC.)