Call The Midwife's Nurse Anderson Encounters Poplar's Racists
And one mother falls victim to a stroke of bad luck in our EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP of S07.E02!
Old Jenny tells us that, in 1963, people felt like the world was changing fast. Of course, we now know that it very definitely was, but was it changing fast enough to deal with the box of KNITTED BOOBS Sister Winifred has created for breastfeeding classes?
I really don't know. Even Sister Monica Joan, who must have delivered hundreds of babies over the years and should thus be capable of, uh, looking a boob in the face, seems unable to acknowledge these fuzzy bazooms directly. "Woolcrafts are the refuge of a dull mind," she says, demurring Sister Winifred's offer to pitch in on their manufacture, and whether or not it's because Sister MJ can no longer really knit (or see?), she has a point.
Over at Stanton Styles, where all of Poplar's ladies go to get coiffed, proprietress Mae nudges Val awake. Ol' girl is snoozing in her curlers, having been up all night on call. "Hear that, Marj?" Mae asks her pregnant daughter, who is working on a customer's 'do. "You'll have to wait 'til tomorrow if you want Val to deliver you."
Marj, casually spraying and primping her lady's hair, smirks and says she doesn't think she can wait that long. Val asks if Marj is starting to feel twinges that indicate her time is coming. Marj chuckles, STILL WORKING, and says it's a bit more than that. Val wakes all the way up: "You're in LABOR?" she asks. Marj reckons very cheerily that she can get through her afternoon ladies before things get real. This is her third baby, after all. "Anyway," she says, "Mum don't let you have a day off for a little thing like having a baby, do you, Mum?" Mae, your basic Bulldog with a Heart of Gold type, says that Marj would just be sitting around upstairs in their flat, which she can do just as well when the baby comes. Moments later, in the middle of a good-natured chortle about how her mother would probably have her back to work a week after the baby comes, Marj -- guess what? -- goes into labor for real. Val tells Mae to call Nonnatus and Marj to hang up her scissors, because this is happening.
Back at Nonnatus, Fred is helping Sister Winifred haul her boob box out the door on the way to breastfeeding night at mothercraft class. "Blimey," says Fred, trying to make sense of what he's seeing. "Iced buns?" Sister W says she had hoped to borrow Nurse Crane's car to transport her "props," but it's a no-go: "She's become rather protective of her clutch." Right on cue, Phyllis literally swoops in, cape and all, to head out on a call. Fred, similarly, is reluctant to hand over the keys to his van, saying that he can drop Sister Winifred off on his way to an errand. Why she would turn this down, I have no idea, but she appears to prefer hauling her knockers under her own power, and struggles like a ninny to get them on her bike.
Phyllis can't even let her foot off the brake before who should appear out of nowhere blowing his little whistle but Sgt. Walrus. (Whatever, his real name is Sgt. Woolf, I guess?) Rather than take this opportunity to run over his foot and speed away screaming "BOOOooyyy BYYEeeee" out the window as she goes, Phyllis is forced to sit there and have an exchange about the recent rash of car thefts in the neighborhood, so she should be careful. She's basically like "Keep it" in re: his advice, and drives on, leaving HIM to deal with Sister W and her "iced buns."
Mae is cracking a racist joke-- about a customer's curlers being left in too long and making her look like she "just got off the boat" -- juuuuust in time for Nurse Anderson to roll in to deliver Marj's baby. Nice. Lucille handles it with deadpan grace. My friend Pam and I refer to this look as "Atlanta Face," since nowhere else have African-American people so acutely perfected the passive rejection of Whitey Bullshit. Lucille coolly heads upstairs with Mae at her heels, and gets the brief from Val. "I've known Marjory since school," Val whispers about her sweet friend. "The biggest complication you're likely to encounter is the mother -- bit of a character." Yeah. It took Lucille about .003 seconds to suss that out. Professionally, Lucille starts going through what's about to happen with Marj, who can't even answer before Mae mutters of Lucille, "Who died and made her the boss?" OKAY, BITCH. Marj, laboring hard, openly admonishes her mum and tells her to clear off if she's going to be like that; Val smooths things over by getting Mae out of the room.
At mothercraft class, the ladies are figuring out breastfeeding with the help of woolen jugz, sock puppets, and a silly nun. In spite of all that, things seems to be going well. Wrapping up, Sister W says that, next week, they'll be covering nappies and what to expect in the immediate aftermath of the birth. One of the ladies giggles, asking if this will include instruction on how to get your husband out of the pub, which sets up local goodie-two-shoes Janet (there's one in every class) to smug out about how she never has that problem with her husband, Allan. Everyone instantly hates her, and it's her own dang fault. Pro tip to the world: sometimes, just don't talk. "Nothing wrong with being married to a man you can be proud of," Janet snits, leading one of her new mortal enemies to retort that if he's so great, she should get him down to the next class. "Maybe I will!" she says. "What's funny about a man wanting to be involved in raising his child?" Aha. Sister Winifred has a lightbulb moment.
Marj is still toughing it out, with Lucille's steadfast help. She insists, through groans, that the nurse call her "Marj," to which Lucille answers that they'll split the diff and go with Marjory. They are cute. Marj asks if her husband Dennis is home, saying she just needs to know that he's in the house, and then screams his name. Downstairs, Mae snidely tells Val that she doesn't know why Marj would be shouting for that "useless lump." Val, in Dennis's defense, says there's plenty worse than him. Mae, knowingly: "Tell me about it." She goes on to relate that, twenty-three years ago, Marj's dad went out to the second showing at the Palais Cinema and never came back. Val blanches: "Was it the Blitz that took him?" Mae laughs: "No, one of the usherettes. Leaving me with a toddler and a dose of summat itchy." She says she and Marj did all right, just the two of them.
Moments later, Dennis rushes in, looking for all the world like a working-class Bertie Wooster, and asks excitedly how things are going. "Going just fine without you," Mae snidely responds, and...this lady may have her reasons, but she can shut up.
Above, Marj and Lucille have indeed managed things quite well, and Dennis is thrilled to find out he is the father of a new son. Mae is, um, less so. "We don't do boys," she says. The little man's big sisters are smitten, as is the gormless but sweet Dennis.
Speaking of smitten, Christopher is still schmoozing hard in Trixie's direction, and she's loving it. Saying goodbye on the steps of Nonnatus as his daughter sleeps in the front seat of his convertible roadster -- which, I can tell you, would never, ever happen unless you straight-up drugged the child -- Christopher tells Trixie he can't wait until they get another chance to WIIIINK spend more time alone together. Trixie, who is wearing a wig so absurdly long it could only have been cosigned by a Kardashian, says she might be able to find a way tomorrow evening for them to NUDGE spend a little time together.
Upstairs, Val gives Trixie the lowdown about Marj's baby, and takes note of our girl's latest library acquisition: a door-stop-sized volume titled Home Management. Trixie says that though her parents tried their best, "domestic science was not exactly on the syllabus at casa mia." Val wonders cutely if Trixie has something to tell her. "I'm afraid you're getting rather ahead of yourself," Trixie says primly. "However, it is true that Mr. Dockerill and I are getting along splendidly, which is why I'm cooking for him tomorrow evening." Valerie sighs: "And it was all going so well." Smiling, she adds that she's very pleased for Trixie, and that Christopher is quite the catch. Trixie smiles back. "Not so long ago I thought I'd never be happy again, and yet, here I am. The human heart really is most resilient....Let's hope Mr. Dockerill's stomach is similarly robust." Y'all, if that dentist hurts Trixie, I will blow this place up. I WILL BLOW IT UP.
Later, around the table, Lucille is looking forlorn as the others discuss Sister Winifred's big new idea of inviting husbands to the mothercraft class. Sister J and Nurse Crane are initially against it, but are swayed by an unexpected voice of support. "There's much of value in the old ways," says Sister Monica Joan. "But one must not become like Lot's wife, frozen in the act of looking backwards." That's right, girl. With that contribution, the motion passes.
Like any working mother would, Shelagh can barely contain her excitement that the Turners' new au pair is arriving that evening at the railway station. She tells Dr. T that he should be able to recognize the woman when he goes to pick her up: "There won't be that many Hungarians arriving on the 5:15 at Victoria." Dr. Turner says he doesn't imagine she'll be wearing national dress (which is a shame, really). Shelagh produces an extremely stern, Communist-era photo of the lady. I'd say it was the world's worst passport photo, but mine -- in which I look like a member of the IRA in 1982 -- takes that honor. Dr. Turner says her uncheerful countenance should mean she'll get on well with Timothy, who has been acting very glum about having a stranger move in to the house.
Val rolls up to Stanton Styles with a little present for Marj and the baby. "One of your lot's already up there," says Mae. "The foreign one," she adds, with that particular tone all racists use juuuust before really showing their hand. "I've seen them on buses, but never seen one in a midwife's uniform." Val, as you would with your grandmother at the Christmas table, kills it with matter-of-fact kindness and points out that there are lots of Caribbean nurses in England now. "We didn't have enough," she adds with a pointed smile, "so the government asked them to come over to help us care for our own." She leaves Mae on the doorstep to stick that in her beehive and smoke it. Except, even though she has just been politely last-worded, Mae has to try to get in the last word! Ma'am, there's a social contract, come on. Following Val into the shop, Mae says -- in hearing of all her customers -- that she heard Lucille wasn't even a proper midwife, and that she used to work in a library before coming to England. Val take a deeper breath but is not quite as cheery about it this time. "That's right," she says. "Then she came to England, trained for four years, and passed all her nursing and midwifery exams with flying colors." TL;DR: in your face.
Mae seems to get the message, but then ten seconds later, when she overhears Lucille make a cute comment about how the baby looks so much like Dennis that no one could deny him as being Dennis's son, Mae flips. "You saying my daughter's been 'round the houses?" Marj is mortified and apologizes to Lucille for her mom. "It's not because you're colored," she says. "It's just that she's...just a bit of a cow to everyone." Mae must never get tired of getting faced in front of people, because she just keeps standing there until Val swoops in with the gift -- a baby cardigan, knitted by her mum! -- to change the tone. Marj dispatches Mae, and the nurses get about their business. All is going splendidly, until it's not. Marj suddenly grabs her head in agony, pitches forward, and goes stiff.
Leaping into action, Val descends to the salon below to call an ambulance. She tries to be surreptitious about it, but Mae catches wind of her tight tone and knows something is up: Mae dashes to Marj's room to find Lucille going through the stroke checklist with Marjory. Poor Marj's face is pulled down severely on one side, and she seems unable to move normally or speak. Mae, justifiably, FLIPS OUT. What's not justified is her hard-ass glaring at Lucille, as if she did something to make it happen.
The ambulance arrives and takes Marjory away, with Mae by her side. The poor nurses and salon customers stand grimly watching over Marj's other children.
At Nonnatus, Sister Monica Joan comes out to the garden, where Fred and Sister Julienne are working with what's there, which is not much after the Big Freeze. "Why is everything so faded?" Sister MJ asks, distressed. Y'all, it seems like they're setting us up for the final decline of Monica Joan and, if so, I WILL BLOW IT UP.
Dennis has arrived at St. Cuthbert's to see his beloved Marj, and can't believe she's had a stroke. "That's like old people get," he says. "I want to speak to someone." Mae squares herself between Dennis and her daughter and says the doctors will "only speak to the next of kin; I've told them that's me." DENNIS. Here's your chance to take a stand. But: he doesn't. Instead, he asks, "How'd this happen? Whose fault is it?" Mae doesn't answer, but you know what she's thinking.
Shelagh and the kids are all spiffed up in preparation to meet the new au pair. Well, almost everyone is spiffed. Timothy, previously a perfectly behaved young person, has decided this is his moment to rebel by defiantly insisting that the jam on his face is being saved for later. Shelagh, drawing upon the strength she no doubt gleaned from years as a bride of Christ, merely assures him that he'll never get into medical school with "cheek like that," and awaits the arrival of her stern Communist savior. Well, turns out, "Magda" is far less goulash than she is glam.
Like, she's basically Hungarian Barbie.
Shelagh's mind is so blown, she can only muster an "oh!" Even baby Teddy is like, "DAMN, GIRL." Magda says that their home is "very pleasink, and so is your husband." Timothy, speechless, hurriedly wipes the jam from his face and immediately volunteers to show Magda to her bedroom. Yeah, he does. Shelagh, still reeling, tells Dr. T that Magda wasn't exactly what she expected: "She's very...confident." Dr. T, with a dreamy smile: "We had the most interesting conversation in the car. It was quite refreshing!" ExCUSE me? Is there another doctor in the house who can take over when you get your ass handed to you by the mother of your three children who also works full-time as your nurse and has, multiple times, saved the community from its own filth during multiple health crises? Boooooyyyyyyy...you know what to do.
Speaking of dumb men who don't know when to keep their mouths shut: Christopher is caught off-guard by Trixie's surprise dinner -- not out at a swinging London hot spot, but in the Nonnatus dining room. He can't help his face falling flat, especially when Trixie serves up the first course: grapefruit surprise. The "soo-preese" is that Trixie, otherwise perfect, is no domestic goddess, though the real problem might be that she tried to broil a grapefruit? Oh, England. Christopher, now in control of his faculties, assures her that they'll never go hungry -- they can just have bread and jam. "I'll make it," he says. Trixies sighs and laughs, but is she disappointed at his reaction? Lady, he should BE so lucky to have a dime piece like you burn his citrus fruits.
And speaking of well turned out women who get the job done, Magda is now bringing the Turners up to speed on her credentials. Turns out she's been a mother's helper in every major European capital, most recently serving a family whose father was a professor at the Sorbonne. Ooh la la, indeed. Shelagh is still on the back foot with this hottie in her house, but trying to be gracious, even when Miss Thingska pours Dr. T a cup of her special brew. "Everyone knows English coffee is very bad," she says, shaking her head while Shelagh's eyes goggle. "It certainly beats the stuff I'm used to," Dr. T replies, causing his poor wife to goggle still further. Shelagh regains her composure, saying politely that they had no idea Magda would be so well-traveled. Timothy pipes up to say that he plans to travel himself, "extensively," and goes off to help her give Angela a bath. "Oh, Patrick," Shelagh whispers. "What have I done?" Dr. T, oblivious, says he doesn't know why they didn't get an au pair years ago. Surely they're not trying to paint Shelagh T as some jealous housewife? Surely that is not what's happening here, right now, on my screen?
Back at tea time at Nonnatus, the midwives are worrying about Marjory's stroke. "Life really can change in the blink of an eye," says Phyllis, and truer words have never been spoken.
Over at the community center, it's time for mothercraft. Janet has, to the multiple eye-rolls of her class nemesis, gotten her Allan down to learn all about childbirth, and "how to breathe." Allan: "In and out's always worked fine for me, Sister." OH, ALLAN, YOU CARD. Janet wonders aloud if, since Allan is about to pick up all this birth knowledge, he should be at the birth when it happens! It's hard to remember how things used to be when dads and all sorts of other family members didn't routinely file in to the birthing room and position themselves for the big event. Is it progress? I think so, but Allan...well, it's hard to know what he thinks, since Janet so quickly volunteers him to participate, declaring that he'd love to see his baby being born. Allan's eyes are saying NAW, but he nods nervously as Sister Winifred practically bursts into joyful tears at the very idea. Janet, not having Instagram to create her perfect life, is clearly trying to force it anyway, and as they leave the center, Allan finally boils over. He tells Janet that, you know, about the birth, he'll be busy that day -- whenEVER it is -- because he'll be coaching the school soccer team, soooo.... The bitchy mean girls overhear this and laugh at Janet's dudgeon, which is as high as it can get. When Allan admits that being there for the birth doesn't seem like something he would "enjoy," he's lucky to get out of there alive. Janet is asking a lot of a 1963 husband, but she just wants them to share the experience, like they do when she freezes her ass off at his stupid matches, chopping up the halftime oranges. She stomps out.
In her curlers and housecoat, Shelagh comes downstairs in the morning to find Magda, SLEEVELESS, making spicy eggs. "Everyone likes to try something new," says Magda. Look, it's too early for Shelagh to confront spicy eggs from a sexy Hungarian. She's been through a lot in her life; must she also deal with this? Flustered, she tells Magda she might want to put on a cardigan: "You're not on the continent now."
In the ready room, Phyllis tells the crew that Marjory will be discharged from the hospital that day: "There's little more the hospital can do for her. Her mother insisted she be at home with her family." She goes on to say that Lucille will stay on the case and will need to provide significant support. Lucille looks like she dreads it, but says, "Of course."
Turns out Marjory is in bad shape, for real. Carted back into the flat above the salon, Mae installs her in the bedroom and proceeds to attach a major chip to her shoulder. I can't blame her when Dr. Turner's advice is basically "keep her comfortable and look out for bedsores." Poor Dennis says he doesn't know how to do any of that, and Lucille assures him that she'll teach him what he needs to know. Mae pipes up -- because she's always going to pipe up, please believe it -- that it won't be necessary for anyone to do anything, because she is going to do everything. That includes disallowing Marjory to hold her baby son, when one of her arms clearly works just fine. Mae throws Dennis's pajamas in his face and sends him to the couch for the duration: Mae will be sleeping with Marj from now on. Marj, who hears and understands all, cries as her mother slams the door in her helpless husband's face.
The rumor mill is churning at Stanton Styles the next morning when Violet comes in to get her 'do did. Turns out, the scuttlebutt of the day is that Marj's stroke was caused by her work schedule. Mae had her up on her feet all hours, a fellow customer tells Violet, and that's what did her in. Of course Mae walks in with Marjory's adorable children right as this is being bandied about, and even Violet cannot fake her way through the awkward situation.
Janet is at clinic crying to Phyllis over her Allan's unwillingness to spend every waking moment with her, particularly those in which she'll be screaming and pushing out a human being. Nurse Crane tries to console her: "Not every husband has the stomach for childbirth. A man's job isn't to guide his child through the birth canal, but through life itself." Cute, but dammit, Janet, get it together.
In walks Mae with the baby and the girls. Lucille, cheerful and genuinely kind, goes over to greet Mae, reaching out to tickle the baby. Abruptly, Mae snaps at her: "Hands off!" At the desk, Shelagh is mortified and admonishes her, but Mae doubles down, telling Lucille, "You've already done for my daughter. You're not going to get your filthy hands on my grandson." Val bustles the girls away, but Mae's already going off on her racist shit. It wasn't that she worked Marj to the bone, she says: "It was everything to do with her not having a proper English midwife." Lucille's shoulders sink as her face goes blank and Mae goes on. "My daughter should be up and about, feeding her baby, changing his nappies," she cries. "Instead, I'm changing hers! If this is the National Health Service, then you can stick it! I don't want you lot anywhere near my family." To cap it off, she nods at Lucille again: "And especially not her." Lucille turns to look at the clinic's other patients, but none can face her.
The next morning, it gets worse. Phyllis tells Lucille, kindly, that though she has been providing exemplary care for Marj, Phyllis and Sister J have taken her off that case to spare her any more nonsense from that quarter. Lucille does not hesitate to go straight to the top. "With respect, Sister Julienne--" she starts, but you know nuns love to interrupt. "I am always wary of the phrase 'with respect,' Nurse Anderson," says Sister J. "I generally find it is a forerunner to candour, or possibly impertinence." Lord, let's not be impertinent. Nurse Anderson says she hopes she would not be impertinent to her superiors: "But I must be frank. It's not up to you, or to Nurse Crane, to decide how much unpleasantness I can bear. But if you stop sending me to Marjory, it will look as though Mrs. Stanton's slurs are justified. And as though you accept her attitude towards me." Sister Julienne does not mince words: she absolutely does not accept it. "Then, with respect," Lucille tells her, "you know what you should do."
Outside, Sister Winifred is upset that she got carried away with allowing dudes at the mothercraft class, thus giving false hope to Janet. I mean, whatever. This is a weak B-story, but I do feel for all involved. Anyway, Phyllis ties it in a neat bow: "It's easy to overburden a man. They think they must give the impression of being more substantial than they actually are." Oh, fragile white men. Have you ever not sucked? Anyway, Sister W asks if she can borrow Phyllis's car to head over to the school to talk to Allan, and receives a curt "no."
At the salon, Mae checks on Marj, momhandling and rolling her to avoid bedsores. Her duties done, she tells her daughter she'll be back at tea time, smacks her hip, and says that Marj will soon be on the mend. "M-mend," Marj answers, but Mae is already gone.
Sister Winifred appears to be taking a meeting with Allan in the boys' locker room? He gives it to her straight: he's the oldest of six kids and heard his mother yelling through the birth of every one of his siblings. He'd do anything for his wife except be by her side during all that screaming. "I do understand," says Sister W. "The fears we have in the present often lie in the experiences of the past. Now, why don't you go home and tell your wife what you just told me? I think she'll understand, too." It's the best advice she's given in her entire run on this show.
Lucille is having some lonely early-morning tea when Val come in chatting that they could have used her last night in the Scrabble game. It's all a lead-in to get the courage to say what she wants to say. "Lucille, what Mae Stanton said was unforgivable," she says. Lucille wants to know why she would apologize for Mae. "Because," Val says, "I'm from the East End, and I'm embarrassed and ashamed to think that one of mine would treat you in that way." She says she's been made the scapegoat before herself -- picked on and bullied for being lower-class when she was in the Army. When a soldier died in her care, some evil nurse spoke against her at the inquiry and, even though Val was shown to be without blame, she couldn't take any more and left. I mean, it's not about you, Val, but your heart's in the right place? "You shouldn't have felt you had to do that," says Lucille. "You are an excellent nurse." Val says she could say the same to her. "I've had patients who won't let me touch them because they think the black will rub off on their skin," Lucille answers. Val is ashamed. "I'm sorry," she says, holding back tears. "I know that's not enough." It really isn't.
Lucille, in a show of true grit, bikes to the salon to perform her duties. Mae plants her feet in the shop and takes a drag from her ever-present cigarette. Here's where I point out that secondhand smoke is linked to a higher risk of stroke. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Anyway, Lucille is here to take a stand and get about her business. She says she knows Mae is looking for someone to blame, but that Marj's stroke is not Lucille's fault, and it's not Mae's fault, either, despite whatever gossip is going around. "To think those silly gossiping women believe they know better than all the highly-trained doctors at the hospital," Lucille says, loudly enough for all the silly, gossiping women to hear. "Only the good Lord himself knows why she had that stroke." Mae has no comeback, because there is none, and Lucille heads upstairs to do her damn job.
In Marjory's room, Mae and Lucille work together, washing Marjory and getting her ready to brush her teeth and do her hair. Mae asks who does Lucille's hair. The nurse says she knows a lady who does hair in her home, which she likes: it reminds her of her mother doing her hair at home: "She made the braids so tight. I can still remember the pain." Mae asks if she misses her mother. "Of course," says Lucille sadly, bringing tears to my eyes with her sweet face. "But she writes with all the news."
Timothy comes home early from school and finds Magda looking smart and busy in the kitchen. "I haven't got many classes now," he brags. "It's mainly private study. After all, I'm practically at University." Okay, BMOC. Magda sets this lovable doof to work peeling potatoes and turns on the radio. "It's a shame it's a bit early for Radio Luxembourg," says Timothy. "It's a bit more groovy than the boring old BBC." NOT GROOVY. Would you be a teenager again? I would not.
Back in Marjory's room, the patient is doing her best trying to brush her own teeth. It is very hard for Mae to see her daughter like this, and Lucille kindly takes over. "On the m-mend," Marjory says, attempting to speak. "So you keep saying, darling," Mae sighs. "So you keep saying." On her way out, Lucille passes through the front room, where the world's best-behaved daughters are playing, the baby boy is squalling, and Dennis is doing...nothing. "Sounds like Baby needs something," says Lucille. "Maybe a cuddle with Mum?" Dennis says that will only end in upset, and anyway, Mae will be out in a minute. Lucille makes the radical suggestion that Dennis could see to the baby. "What, and get my head bitten off for not doing it right?" Dennis says, grimly trying not to cry. When Lucille picks up the baby, he breaks down. "I miss her, Nurse, I really do." Lucille insists that Marjory is in there; he just has to look a little harder to find her. Poor Dennis. "It's supposed to be a man's job looking after the family," he says. "Only I never had to do that, cos Marj, she kept things running lovely. Now, the way she is, I can't make things right. Not for her, not for any of us." Before Lucille can offer any comfort, Martyr Mae swoops in and takes the baby. Dennis, completely uncomfortable in his own house, says he's off down the pub. Mae: "No surprise there, then." This situation cannot continue...
...and Dr. T agrees. Later that day, he calls Lucille in to his office to tell her that he's found a place for Marj at an occupational therapy clinic. Lucille also believes this will really help her patient. "Marjory needs to believe that she has a future, and so do the people who love her most," says Dr. Turner. "Meanwhile, we must never say that there's nothing we can do." I think you're the one who said it in the first place, but okay.
Timothy is helping Magda wash the dinner dishes when Dr. Turner gets home. Shelagh tells him she'll warm up his supper: apparently, Magda did a coq au vin. "Ooh, delicious!" says Dr. Turner. Shelagh sighs and says, sure, "if you like that kind of thing." Dr. T finally seems to notice that Shelagh's concerned about something, and asks if he detects a tone. "Oh, no," Shelagh says. "But I can see why it wouldn't suit everyone." Dr. T: "Coq au vin?!" Shelagh means having an au pair: "There are challenges in having a young woman around the house, one who wanders around half dressed. Heads could be turned!" Dr. Turner is adamant that he's never looked at Magda that way. Shelagh sighs: "Not you! Timothy!" Okay, that's what she's been worried about all along. I am relieved. Anyway, as Dr. T points out, at least Magda has Tim doing the dishes.
Mae and Dennis have come out to the occupational therapy clinic with Dr. T and Lucille. Dennis seems ready to learn more, but Mae can't control her emotions seeing all the old people struggling to hold paintbrushes or whatever, and rushes out, saying that if this is what Dr. Turner considers "hope," she'd hate to see his despair.
Later, Lucille discusses things with the last real OG, Sister Monica Joan. "Mrs. Stanton glimpsed the future," says Sister MJ. "And she did not like what she saw." Frustrated, Lucille can't stand the thought that Marjory is going to be stuck within those four walls, unable to do anything. "What cannot be changed must be endured," says Sister MJ, taking a dark turn. She says she hasn't always felt this way about life, but "with experience, and age, hope dims." Lucille, seeing an opportunity to nurse her friend's spirit, asks if she can sit and read to Sister MJ for a while. "If you are lonely," the nun answers, almost killing me with pathos, "I can keep you company."
At the school, Janet is cutting the damn orange slices for the team's practice when her contractions start. The stupid teenaged boys he coaches stand around and laugh while Allan loads his wife, in agony, into the van.
Over at the factory where Dennis works, Lucille is lighting a fire under him: "Mr. Chivvers. You want to make things right for your family?" He says yeah, he does. "This is your chance," she tells him. "Your chance to build a proper future for your wife."
Head held high, with his non-existent chin thrust forward, Dennis Chivvers marches home. Violet is in the salon, helpfully rocking the baby, when he arrives. Like a boss, he takes the baby, marches upstairs, and starts getting Marjory ready to go. "Go where?" Mae asks, shocked but clearly thinking she's going to start throwing her weight around. Seems Dennis called Dr. T himself and has gotten these occupational therapy classes set up. Mae is having none of it and says Marj is going nowhere, angrily asking, "Do you think she wants people seeing her like that?" Dennis says he thinks Marj wants out of this room and to have some kind of life: "Look, I'm grateful for everything you've done, Mae, I really am, but I'm the man of the house. This is how it's going to be now. Me, Marj, the kids, and you, all working to get through this. And we will. We will get through it. And if she needs someone in the night, then I'll be here, cos I'm her husband." BOOOOM. Marjory could not look more proud. Mae, chastened, takes her nightgown and loses the battle. When she's ready, Dennis presents Marj with some pink carnations, which bring a smile to her face. "Wedding," she says, and Dennis and I both nearly cry hopeful tears.
Allan is speeding through Poplar, trying to get Janet to the hospital, when Janet can take no more. She feels the baby's head down there, she says, screeching while being flung around in back. He sees a phone box and jumps out to call Nonnatus, where Trixie talks him through the panting exercise while Sister W bustles around getting her bag together. "If you take your bike," Trixie tells her, "you should be there in no time." Except this nun right here doesn't want to be taking a bike. Rushing out the door, she takes Phyllis's car! Without permission! And tears down the road. Unfortch, there's a breakdown in the alley that Sister Winifred can't get around, and she is forced to get out and run.
You know would what would have easily made it through the alley? A bike, dummy.
Meanwhile, Janet is screaming and Allan is faced with every man's truest fear: looking at a woman's vagina while it does something other than what he wants. Still, he's being tough about it, barking out orders and trying to help his wife. In the nick of time, Sister Winifred arrives and delivers Janet and Allan's baby girl. Everyone's healthy and happy -- even Allan, who almost passes out when Sister W offers to let him cut the cord. When he's recovered, he promises to be by Janet's side next time, the whole way. "No, you're bloody not," she laughs.
All of that is fine, of course, but what about Nurse Crane's car?! Having found it missing when she returned from her constitutional, she is forced to undergo the ultimate embarrassment and report it stolen...to Sgt. Walrus. Ugggh. The good news: he's already found it. The weird news: whoever took it left the keys in it. Phyllis is utterly confused, but perhaps not as confused as Sister Winifred when she emerges from the alley having just delivered a baby to find the car...with Phyllis in it. "Oh, hello," says Sister W, busted. Phyllis, austerely: "Hello, indeed." Yikes.
At the salon, we see that Mae is happily fixing Marj's hair while Dennis smiles on and the customers coo over the children. "Marjory Chivvers faced her future with her family by her side. Her quest was not for novelty, but wholeness," says Old Jenny in voice-over. "Together, she and Dennis found new ways to care for each other and their children, and discovered reserves of strength that they never knew they had. The longest paths lead into sunlight when they are paved with love." Aw. I hope we see them again.
Speaking of family: over at Nonnatus House, Val welcomes some guests. Seems the crew asked one of the neighborhood ladies for some Caribbean recipes to make Lucille feel more at home, and instead received a whole spread. Lucille is deeply moved. When Sister Winifred tries to help herself before the blessing, Phyllis slaps her hand for once again filching something without asking. "I don't know how many more times I can apologize for borrowing your car," says Sister W, adhering to kind of a loose definition of the word "borrowing." Phyllis ponders, finally saying, "I'll let you know when you're done."