Should You Even Call The Midwife If A Woman Is Refusing To Give Birth?
And: things get Biblical when the Nonnatans heal a leper in our latest EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP.
By way of beginning: am I crazy or did last week's episode give the very strong impression that Sister Monica Joan's surgery had been performed, and was successful? In fact, that didn't happen...? I want to mention it up front because I know I'm not the only one who thought we were done with that arc only to have it show up again as something that is still not even scheduled. I was confused by that -- and this is not a thing where PBS editing was a factor, since I am writing these from the U.K. broadcasts. I panicked thinking I had really misinterpreted the last episode, so I went back and watched the end of it again: a letter comes about the surgery; Sister Monica Joan talks to Fred; she then announces to Sister J that it's happening; and then the end shows her smiling beatifically in the sun at all the stuff in the garden as if her vision had been restored to full blast while Old Jenny waxes rhapsodic about how a single conversation can change your life. It wasn't spelled out -- and I guess I didn't spell it out in the recap, either, thank goodness -- but I really did believe that last part signaled a wrap on the cataracts thing. Now I'm wondering if scenes from these eps were retrofitted, and...not well. This brings up the larger point that Season 7, thus far, feels a bit wonky. Not that I'm not sobbing every single week, still; let's not be silly. I'm sobbing. I'm just saying, from a quality control perspective, something is not right. Let us hope that they're not falling apart and are merely juggling various elements and storylines week to week so that Helen George and Jack Ashton could have enough time off to take care of their tiny, beautiful newborn daughter, Wren Ivy, who showed up a bit prematurely. Look at the pictures and, like me, weep at their unbelievable sweetness AND at how much they made you, against your will, like Tom (for a minute).
Now. All of that was clearly to avoid the terrible agony of the following: Trixie is leaving. "Flight," Old Jenny tells us, "takes many forms." The form Trixie's is taking is that of a retreat. Is she running away from her troubles? Maybe, but who cares? She's going to Portofino! And, as her baggage can attest, she's going prepared. "My godmother made it very clear that if I turn up at her house with anything less than four changes of clothes per day, plus matching accessories, I'd be letting the side down," Trixie tells Christopher, who has come to Nonnatus House to squire her to the station. Since we know she has never once done that, ever in her life, we can assume she has packed only the most modern and appropriate fashions. Still, she tells Christopher, this is merely farewell, not goodbye. "I haven't packed any winter clothes. The wardrobe's still bulging with tweed and fur and gloves," she says. "I've even left behind my favourite beaded cashmere sweater. I've no intention of still being on the Italian Riviera by the time it's cold enough for that." Christopher clenches his manly jaw and says that whenever Trixie plans to return, he wants to know so he can be there to greet her. "As a friend?" she asks. This is a bit of a blow to Christopher, but he says yes, as a friend. They are about to zoom away when Val and Phyllis, both in their curlers, rush out to see Trixie off. Sad but encouraging hugs are exchanged, and I know Helen George MUST be coming back, because this is far less than Trixie deserves.
Elsewhere in the East End, a very smartly-dressed family is starting their day in their neat flat. The husband, Mr. Dobson, musses his son's hair and smiles at his pregnant wife, Eunice, asking when her next midwife appointment will be and if she'll find out soon about her due date so that they can get themselves ready. Um...Eunice is not smiling. Or looking at him. And she should know her due date by now, since she seems REAL pregnant, but she waves him off, very annoyed, saying there's plenty of time.
On the stairwell at Nonnatus, Sister Winifred delivers some mail personally addressed to Sister Monica Joan. It's the appointment info for the cataract surgery. Just how many letters were necessary to schedule an appointment? Am I dumb? Again, I was so convinced she had the surgery off-camera at the end of the last episode that I couldn't figure out what was up with this for a second. But then, as Sister Monica Joan now quotes aloud, the scales fell from my eyes forthwith and I received clarity. To make a long story short (too late), Sister MJ is still nervous about this whole enterprise.
Down at the docks, something bad is happening on board a Swedish merchant ship coming into harbor. The sailors are mobbing up, looking for one of their own, as the captain rants and raves, rallying them to "get him off my ship!" Turns out the sailor in question is a black man whose face is covered in lesions, and they drive him off the boat by shoving him with broom handles. There is no brotherhood at sea.
The aforementioned Mr. Dobson shows up at clinic looking to surprise his wife. Guess what? She's not there and has never been there. "Maybe with all this sun she decided to stay home," says Lucille, which has got to be the most English thing I have ever heard. Anyway, Lucille says she's sure there's some explanation, and says she will add Mrs. Dobson to her morning rounds. Mr. D looks concerned.
In the streets, the sailor is wandering lost, his face covered with what looks like an IKEA tea towel. He asks several men for directions to the Seaman's Mission. Everyone recoils. Eventually, he finds the place, though finally having shelter is surely a mixed blessing in this case, since this joint is disgusting. Think of all Sister Monica Joan's television had to endure during its imprisonment there! The poor sailor's eyes indicate that he is scared.
Later, the sailor shivers alone in the night, covered completely with a blanket, clutching a wooden cross and saying the Lord's Prayer. When a drunken sailor rolls in, the one chased off the ship becomes more afraid, and from beneath his shroud asks to be left alone.
Over at the Dobsons', Mr. D casually sets his wife up, asking how clinic went. Grim, she replies that the midwives said everything was fine. "No they didn't, Eun," says Mr. Dobson. "'Cos I went, and you weren't there." SNAP. Mr. Dobson doesn't understand why, since she was going every week at this stage when she was pregnant with their son, Michael. Eunice huffs that this time is not like it was before. After a tense silence, Mr. Dobson asks what she means. "I was happy," she says, leaving the room. "Because then I had no idea what was facing me, did I? Now I do." What is up with this family?
The next morning, Lucille arrives to survey the scene. The sour Mrs. Dobson could not be less interested in any pre-natal care. "This one kicks," she says. "It's obviously growing." She won't even let Lucille take her blood pressure, and becomes more and more irritated until she rudely tells Lucille not to touch her. When Mr. Dobson admonishes Eunice for her behavior, she storms out, telling him that if he thinks she's going anywhere near a hospital, he can forget it. Lucille calmly says she'll go now and come back after Eunice has rested so they can make plans for the birth. "Look, can you just go now, please!" Eunice snits. That's what she just said, biiiiiiiiitch, I think, which is why I'm not a nurse.
At Violet's shop, she is stressing to Fred about yet another civic duty she's taken on: she has to go through the old Alderman's files to locate the old fund for the Poplar Picnic, a social event for the whole community. "They've got to spend the money by the end of the month, so if I don't find the papers, then there's no money, and then there's no chance of a picnic," she says, harried. Fred, wisely seeking to avoid any extra work, leaves with a smile remembering the great Poplar Picnics of his youth -- including the pigtails of young Violet! -- and imagining the great memories to be created for Reggie should they get to have another one.
Lucille has solved the mystery of Eunice Dobson's aversion to any of this baby stuff: her labor with her son resulted in an assisted delivery with Simpsons Forceps -- basically a grabber tool used to pull a baby out of the birth canal. "That must have been very distressing," Lucille tells Shelagh at Dr. T's office. Whispering, Shelagh says yes, she can imagine it was. Lucille says she knows it won't be easy to gain Eunice's trust, but that she's going to go back later and start afresh. "God loves a trier," says Lucille, with a self-deprecating laugh. The Turners nod in agreement. "Spend as long as you can with her," Dr. T says. "Time isn't always a healer, but it can open doors."
The good news is that Violet has located the picnic account and has found it to contain a respectable 9 and 6. The bad news is that she's been so helpful and done such a good job with the beauty pageant, the Councillor now wants her to organize the picnic. When they say that no good deed goes unpunished, this is what they're talking about.
Back at the Dobson flat, Lucille is shown in by "our Kenny's" mother, who has just arrived on the Frinton train. With maximum snootiness, she tells Lucille that Eunice clearly needs some sense talked into her. "What is it this time?" Eunice asks when sees Lucille. Sympathetically, Lucille asks if they can start again, so that they can get these important checks done. Eunice reluctantly agrees.
That night, the midwives are in Phyllis and Lucille's room, trying to beat the heat with hot tea and licorice torpedoes. Lucille finds this crazy, but Phyllis insists that there is nothing better to cool you down in humidity. Ma'am, that is false, but I guess there is some science to it. Lucille -- who seemed to have my back on this practice -- adds that, back home, they would drink black coffee with a dash of salt to cool down. What are y'all doing? I'd like to buy the world a Coke, in 1963, damn. Fanning herself with her Myles Midwifery book, Lucille shares that she's worried about Mrs. Dobson. She's never met a woman so adamant that she can't, and won't, give birth. Val, ever practical, sighs: "If I had a penny for every woman who's shouted, 'I can't do this!' when she gets to the sharp end, I'd have 29 bob and 11 pence by now!" Phyllis agrees that it's very common during labor, but much more unusual to be so distressed about it beforehand. She tells Lucille to give Mrs. Dobson a good, reassuring sit-down, and to see if a home birth might sound better to her.
At the Seaman's Mission, the drunk guy has had enough of his quiet roomie. "Who do you think you are, the Invisible Man?!" he says, ripping off the poor dude's blanket. When he finally sees the man's face, he sobers up right quick. "Pox, pox!" he screams. The sailor runs away.
The next morning, Dr. T turns up at roll call to tell the whole story: the man is a Nigerian national named Ade Babayaro; he's now missing; and they think he's suffering from smallpox. The nurses are stunned. "There'll be rumours flying around before the bobbies even get their boots on," Valerie groans, knowing the Poplar locals better than anyone. Dr. Turner says that even though there is a vaccination for smallpox, they can't launch it until Ade is found and his illness confirmed. Why on Earth not, I have no idea, but he says they must all be vigilant for signs of the sailor, and of disease in others.
Back at Violet's, Reggie has come home for a visit! Violet tells him and Fred that they can only have a quick breakfast, because she needs them on publicity duty, hanging posters around the community to raise money for the picnic. "See you later!" she says, hurrying off, and is answered with a sassy "Alligator!" from the very cute Reggie.
At her flat, Eunice is moodily cleaning again when her mother-in-law comes in with Lucille. "Look, love," says the elder Mrs. Dobson, holding up a cute baby cardigan. "I've finished it!" Eunice immediately breaks down; her MIL, while not exactly the soul of compassion, at least leaves without ripping a strip off her. Sweet Lucille places a comforting hand on Eunice's shoulder and, nearly crying herself, says, "Eunice. Tell me how you really feel."
The citizens of Poplar are fired up and have stormed the surgery to demand smallpox vaccines for their kids. Shelagh says it's not as simple as that, and that the case must first be confirmed. "What's to confirm?" one mother asks. "There's smallpox in Sweden -- I read it in the paper. Ain't that where that sailor came from?" I mean, she's right. Shelagh tells them that smallpox doesn't even spread very easily or quickly by itself, and that unless they're very close to the sailor, they won't catch it. "Now," she yells, "unless you're here with a genuine condition, I suggest you go home."
Down underground, Ade hides, alone, and prays to Jesus to help him.
Eunice is giving Lucille the 411 on her overall situation. The forceps-assisted birth of her son was so traumatic and painful, she wouldn't let her husband touch her for two years. When she finally did, the "whatsit" split, leading to this very much unwanted pregnancy. "I even tried to get rid of it -- one of them dentists near Limehouse," she says. "But I couldn't let him near. Not after what happened last time at that hospital. I just couldn't!" Oh, dear. Recounting once again the horrors of her chaotic experience, during which she screamed for the doctor to stop, Eunice becomes so upset that she's yelling and hysterical. Her mother-in-law comes in to tell her that Eunice's son can hear her, and that she needs to calm down. "Why wouldn't he stop?!" Eunice cries. Her MIL can't take any more: "Maybe 'cos that's what happens, love!" Eunice flips and slings the baby cardigan away in disgust. Having eaten a bee, the MIL leaves as Eunice wails to Lucille that she loves the baby, but she can't have it. Lucille is firm, but so kind. "Now listen to me," she says. "As sure as night turns to day, your baby is going to be born -- right here, at home. And I will be there to support you the best I know how." This is not enough for poor Eunice. She says Lucille's going to have to think of something else, because Eunice literally ain't having it.
Val and Phyllis have stopped by the Black Sail to pick up some boxes of tin plates the wonderful Aunt Florrie promised to Violet for the picnic. The place is uncharacteristically empty: apparently, there have been rumors that the sailor slept rough out by the pub's trash cans last night, and Florrie's regulars are too afraid to come in. "Why?" Val asks. "The dockers were vaccinated because of that outbreak last year." Aunt Florrie says that the workers are worried about their wives and kids. Her one customer, overhearing, takes this moment to be a man and says yeah, and if the cops don't find the guy and take care of him, the workers will. Having intruded where he is not and never will be wanted -- into women's work -- he takes himself out, sparing himself a Boy, Bye. Phyllis kind of nervously says she thinks the police are handling it, but that the sailor needs to be found: "After all, the man is out there alone somewhere, sick, in pain and undoubtedly scared for his life."
While Fred and Reggie do their bit, Violet leads the picnic committee, organizing them to collect donations. She must be very brave, because she gives Fred a lot of jobs.
At the surgery, Lucille is reporting her experience with Mrs. Dobson to Dr. Turner. He shares her concerns and says he'll go with her on the next visit to make an assessment. "I dislike the notion of any patient being scared," says Lucille. Dr. T is like, "same," but unfortunately, he says, many people around them are scared right now with all this smallpox hullabaloo.
On a picnic committee mission for Vi, Reggie looks down through the sewer grate and sees Ade. Because he is a sweet, innocent person, Reggie goes down to speak to the guy. And, I suppose because Ade is equally kind, he immediately recognizes that Reggie will not hurt him. He warns Reggie not to come near, because he is sick. Reggie gives Ade his bread, and Ade thanks him. "You are a good man," he says. "But, please, you should go from me now. If they find you with me, they'll chase you too." Reggie's not worried about that, saying, "I get chased." Reggie introduces himself, and promises his new friend that he will keep his secret and help him.
Dr. Turner is using his most emotive, whispery cringe-voice to bring Mrs. Dobson around on this whole birth thing. "I know a forceps delivery can be very traumatic," he tells her. "But the chances of needing assistance with a second baby are far less." Eunice says she doesn't want to talk about it. Dr. Turner tries again, saying he really believes he and Lucille can make things better for Eunice this time around. Eunice flatly tells him that she doesn't. Her frank manner scandalizes her mother-in-law; Mr. D, seeing that things are about to go sideways again, wisely leads their son from the room. Eunice says she feels like she has a movie in her head, playing the same awful scene over and over again and that she can't switch it off. Dr. Turner -- himself a trauma survivor who has weathered PTSD -- is all empathy. Eunice says the movie goes like this: "I'm looking at the ceiling of the room. The lights are in my eyes. And I can't move. I can't move. I can't move. And they come at me and I hear the metal clanging!" Yiiiiiiiikes. Dr. Turner says it's all right -- they can help her -- but she doesn't want his sort of help. Mr. Dobson says he's about these "Caesar sections" some women have, but Dr. T says they can't do that unless there's a medical problem with the baby. It sounds like they needed to do one the first time, honestly. Anyway, Dr. Turner says the problem Eunice is having is not with the pregnancy; it's with her mind. Since tensions are at a maximum, the mother-in-law chooses this moment to make a glib generalization about how Eunice wasn't raised to have mind problems and will just have to "get on with it." Thanks for the input, hag! Dr. Turner can't deal with this lady right now. He explains through clenched teeth that Eunice can't just get on with it: she is sincerely suffering and will need an incredible amount of support.
Back in the sewers, Reggie has brought his new pal a Dundee cake he was supposed to be collecting for the picnic fundraiser. Ade eats it, having what is probably his first happy moment in years.
Of course, when Reggie arrives back at Picnic HQ, Violet and Fred ask where the cake is, and Reggie must tell them he's given it to his secret friend. Violet immediately goes still, no doubt imagining someone is taking advantage of Reggie for cakes or worse. Reggie, however, will not crack with the info on Ade's location -- not for them...
...nor for Dr. Turner at the surgery, where Violet and Fred take him straightaway for an exam. Dr. T promises Reggie he's not in trouble. "You were being kind," he says. "No one ever got in trouble for being kind." This is where Violet should pipe up about all her recent experiences being "volun-told" to help out, but she's too worried about Reggie for that right now. As they leave, they all run into Phyllis, who advises them again not to panic. "Well, you say that," says Violet. "But you weren't the one that set him up to be preyed on!" Aw.
At the Dobsons', the MIL is cleaning this spotless house -- AGAIN -- when she finds the baby cardigan she knitted in the trash. That tears it. "I knitted the same for Michael when he was born and that didn't end up in the bin!" she says. Mr. Dobson defends Eunice as being in no fit state right now. "Well, she needs to buck up, then, doesn't she?" his mother snits. "She's known for nine months this was going to happen and now she's expecting some sort of miracle. There's only one way in and one way out." Look, this lady is sort of awful, but really, she's just ignorant of how trauma can change a person, and scared about what's going to happen when her daughter-in-law's labor starts. I can sympathize with her while also giving her an honorary Boy, Bye. Eunice says she just wants to be left alone. Her husband, reading the room, tells his mom he'll take her to the first train tomorrow morning. She looks shocked, but girl, you gotta go.
Another night falls, and Ade again begs God not to forsake him alone, in this terrible place.
In the morning, Nurse Crane arrives at Violet's flat to check up on Reggie. Passing on a cup of tea with assurances that she is "sufficiently watered," she works her magic on Reggie as soon as Violet has left the room to see about a customer. "Right, lad, we're good pals, you and I," says Phyllis, putting it to him straight. "And if there's one thing neither of us like, it's a lot of fussing and fretting." Reggie, the soul of innocence, says that's two things. Burn on you, Crane! Phyllis tells him that the best way to get everyone to chill out is to give up the location of his friend. She knows it's a secret -- she's kept secrets herself -- but sometimes you have to do the hard thing and break a promise when it's right. "You can just whisper it," says Phyllis, "and I'll do the rest." Reggie tells her that Ade is underground. "Please help him," he adds.
And, naturally, Nurse Crane does help him. Going immediately to Ade's hideout, Phyllis calls for "Mr. Babayaro." She approaches him with great tenderness, saying she's there to help him and is on her own. Ade is afraid, but resigned that he has been found. He begs her not to touch him, saying he doesn't want her to catch smallpox, which he knows is a very bad illness. "Don't send me home," he cries as she shines her light to examine him. "I have no home, nowhere to go." Phyllis is not worried about that, though: upon examination, she's pretty sure he doesn't have smallpox at all!
Moments later, Nurse Crane calls Dr. Turner from the phone box, saying she's got Ade in her car, hidden under a blanket. Go, Phyllis Crane, you advanced motorist angel!
Dr. Turner gets the health officer and meets her right away at Nonnatus House, where they escort Ade through the hallowed halls. He receives a smile from Sister Julienne and, seeing Sister Monica Joan in devotion, says aloud that God has answered his prayers. Dr. Turner gives him the good (...?) news. What Ade has isn't smallpox: it's leprosy. This doesn't seem like an upgrade, sir! "In the Bible..." Ade begins to say, clearly still afraid. Dr. T shakes his head. "We've moved on since the Bible," he says, adding that leprosy -- now known as Hansen's Disease -- isn't nearly as contagious as once believed. And there actually is some good news: it's treatable and curable. "There's even a small specialty hospital called Jordan in Surrey." He can go there in a few days. Ade is shocked. He says that until he can go to the hospital, he'll go back underground, where he had been hiding. Phyllis interjects that, no, that wouldn't be wise. Sister Julienne -- finally acting like herself for the first time this season -- says that they have a spare room at Nonnatus House, where Ade is welcome to stay. Here's my nun at last!
Fred is pleased to inform Violet and Reggie of all of this at the sundries shop. "A leper!" gasps Vi. "Don't they send them to a colony?!" Fred explains that they don't do that anymore, and that Reggie was never in danger of any infection. Violet takes a moment to be relieved, and then puts them both back to work on the picnic planning. "Can Ade come on the picnic?" Reggie asks, and Fred says he'll have to skip this year, since he'll be working on getting well.
Later, Ade is in chapel, thanking God for protecting him and for bringing him to this place. He doesn't hear Sister Monica Joan come in, but when he sees her, he apologizes and tries to leave. Like Jesus, Sister Monica Joan is moved by compassion and, touching Ade's arm, dispenses some scriptural healing: "'There came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, "If thou wilt, thou can make me clean."'" She knows, she says, that Ade was cast out because of his infirmity. With sadness, Ade says that he was cast out before that: "It is my life to walk alone." He explains that, in Nigeria, oil was discovered in his village. His father was an elder, and when companies came for the oil, there was conflict. His father was killed, but Ade escaped to Lagos and to the sea: "So I lived, but I was cast adrift." Sister Monica Joan takes his hand and places it on the Bible: "We are none of us cast adrift if we have faith. In the cross, we find our anchor." Beautiful.
At tea, Sister Winifred (where has she been?) comes in with an empty tray, saying that Ade continues to have a good appetite. Sister J takes this moment to announce that a place for Ade has opened up at the hospital. Sister Monica Joan is disappointed: "The connection between our devotionals has been most uplifting, and in such a brief time." Sister Julienne says that Ade has to go, but that they should all be glad he'll likely make a full recovery after receiving "the treatment he so requires." She has the weirdest smile on her face when she says this very awkward line; it feels like a first take, seriously. What order was this stuff filmed? It's just a weird sequence of episodes, these last three. Anyway, everyone IS happy that Ade will recover (though he may be scarred), and they feel the need to celebrate with a second slice of Madeira cake. This, of course, immediately cures Sister Monica Joan of her melancholy.
Later, things are not going quite as sweetly at the Dobsons'. Mr. D wakes up to find that Eunice is not in bed. When he goes in search of her, he discovers that she's locked herself in the bathroom. She's in labor. Clamping her legs together, she presses her back against the door, groaning that she cannot and will not have the baby. Mr. Dobson, trying to stay calm, asks that she please not do anything stupid, and then calls Nonnatus House. Hearing him through the door, the poor, deluded Eunice yells that she's not going to need any help.
At Nonnatus, Lucille is hopping to. She runs out the door while Sister Julienne calls Dr. Turner. Shelagh says she'll come, too, in case extra help is needed.
Eunice is still in the bathroom while her husband talks through the door, telling her how much he and their son Michael love her. "You'll be better off without me!" she cries, as she eyes her husband's safety razor. Eunice!
Finally, Lucille arrives and, advising Mr. Dobson to take a break and let her try to talk to Eunice, she tells the woman she knows she loves the baby, that no matter what the baby will be coming out, and that if Eunice will let her help, she will make it easier for her. "And I'm sure your contractions are very painful," she adds as Eunice groans again. "If you come out, I'm here. I can help you cope with them." This does the trick, and Eunice opens the door so that Lucille can gently guide her into the bedroom. Shelagh and Dr. Turner arrive to be greeted by Mr. Dobson, who's taken his son to a neighbor and can do nothing now but pace. Dr. Turner wisely sends Shelagh in to help, saying that his presence might upset Eunice. Labor begins in earnest.
Back at Nonnatus, the rest of the gang is saying goodbye to their new friend Ade. Sister Monica Joan gives him her Bible, and says she will pray for him. "And I for you," he says, before giving her his wooden cross. "For your faith, Sister," he says. "Your prayers have set me on a firm path to wellness. May it be the same blessings for you." See, I wasn't crying before, but this is beautiful and here I go.
Later that morning, all of Poplar is loading into the charabanc to head out to the picnic grounds. Nurse Crane's cub pack has reported for duty, and it's a good thing. "I don't want to put a dampener on things, Nurse Crane," says Fred, looking around at all the kids boarding the bus. "But the law of averages says you'll get two vomits and three 'caught-shorts.'" Ah, but Phyllis Crane isn't worried. "Observe these buckets," she says, holding two aloft. "One empty, the other filled with sawdust. Thus equipped, I am prepared for most eventualities." #BePrepared. Sister Monica Joan approaches to take her place on the bus. "Up you get, Sister," says Fred, jovial. "And not too much singing, do you hear? We don't want it getting too rowdy." But Sister MJ will not have her spirits dampened. "I may not be able to refrain, Mr. Buckle," she says. "It is oft the journey that provides more delight than one's destination." Bringing up the rear, Timothy is trying to impress yet another fine-ass brunette -- Valerie -- with his brotherly talents. "I'm actually quite experienced when it comes to child care," he says, bouncing Teddy in his arms. "What about when it comes to changing nappies?" asks Val. "It could be hours before your mum and dad catch us up!" Nice try, son. Timothy almost manages a real flirtation as he says he's sure there'll be plenty of experts willing to advise him.
Everybody at the Dobsons' place is having a rough time. Eunice is at least in bed, with her leg up on Shelagh's shoulder, but she is still freaking out, saying she can't do it. At this point, Lucille doubles down. "You can. You can do it, Eunice," she says, with firm encouragement. "You can breathe this baby out." They go through a few breathing rounds and, in no time, it's time for the final push. "With your next breath, your baby's going to be born into this fine new day," says Shelagh, in tears as she guides the baby out, and wouldn't you know it? Shelagh's right. Eunice's perfect baby daughter is born to the joy of all, myself included.
At the picnic grounds, there is also joy all around, until Violet sees that men are going off into the bushes to pee. "You can't have them tiddling all over the place!" she tells Fred. "I mean, this picnic's got parish connections and it'll bring out the wasps!"
Speaking of WASPs, guess who's back at Nonnatus? Come on, that's a good joke. Okay, yes, they're Anglicans, whatever: it's Tom and Barbara! Yaaaay! I have missed Barbara. OKAY, YOU TOO, TOM. WHATEVER. She's surprised to find no one there. "You said you didn't want any balloons or a welcoming committee," Tom tells her. "That's why we didn't tell them we were coming home." Barbara says she still wanted to see everyone. "Besides," she adds. "I'm ravenous."
Moments later, the door is flung open by -- SERIOUSLY -- dumb ol' Sister Winifred, who's like "Oh, hi" as she rushes past to deliver a fifth baby, coming in hot. I mean, I know she's in a hurry, but there's literally zero emotion at seeing her old friends. You lived, worked, and traveled to another continent with these people! Come on! Anyway, Sister Winifred at least tells them where everyone is, and they head there with the Turners to be greeted as they deserve, with genuine warmth and love, especially by Phyllis. The Turners have also brought along some cream cakes. "I'm always rather uneasy when I see a shop open on a Sunday," says Shelagh, no doubt feeling the ghost of the old wimple, "but nobody's going to be clapped in irons for a few vanilla slices." Adorable. Phyllis, still beside herself at seeing Barbara and Tom, says she hopes not, as they don't want their visit home to be visited by a Black Mariah. This is slang for a paddy wagon, but I like to think she meant this. Ah, but Barbara and Tom have even better news than cream cakes! They're not home for a visit. They're home to stay!
Everybody is thrilled to pieces.
Also overjoyed: sweet Eunice and her now complete family of four. Her condition, Old Jenny tells us, is now known as tocophobia: the fear of childbirth. "Fear can keep us tethered, terror can clip our wings, but trust eases pain," she adds. "Hope can lighten the sky. Love makes us courageous. And what matters most is not whether we hide or fly or even where our journey takes us -- but what guides us home and where we come to land."