In this week’s episode, Nurse Jenny is given a district nursing assignment of caring for retired soldier Joe Collett. The ulcers on his legs keep him housebound in a tenement flat infested with bugs. Nurse Jenny befriends him and spends time with him after working hours, even though she is horrified by the infestation. Joe is the only remaining member of his family (his wife has passed on and his sons were killed in wartime), and his loneliness and charm touch Nurse Jenny.
When Joe is invited to a reunion of the Scots Guards, Nurse Jenny volunteers to take him, and is assisted by her very handsome childhood friend Jimmy, who has been secretly sleeping in the boiler room at Nonnatus House. Joe is toasted at the reunion as “an esteemed old soldier”, pleasing him immensely. Joe tries to tell Nurse Jenny that Jimmy is sweet on her, but she laughs and tells him that Jimmy is just an old friend.
When Nurse Jenny goes to visit Joe after the reunion, she finds his flat empty. He has been evicted (as is everyone else in the tenement) and has been moved to St. Mark’s, formerly a workhouse. Joe was dismayed to be evicted, since he’d lived in that flat for fifty years, and he and his wife had raised their family there. While living at St. Mark’s, he does not receive the same nursing care, and his legs have to be amputated; Joe dies shortly thereafter. Nurse Jenny, who has continued her friendship with him, is remembered in his will. Joe left her his two precious wine glasses and a bottle of wine; Jenny and Jimmy give him a final toast.
After spending several nights in the boiler room at Nonnatus (and providing some comic relief with his near-misses in the mornings while sneaking out), Jimmy is finally caught. Luckily, it is in a public area of the convent, and he is invited to lunch. Jimmy manages to charm the nuns and other nurses, but makes a bad joke about Nurse Jenny’s lack of a love life. Didn’t we learn in the first episode that Nurse Jenny is pining away for someone she can never be with? Hopefully we’ll learn more about that situation. Jimmy apologizes to Nurse Jenny a few days later and promises to not bother her again.
The only pregnancy we see this week is the pregnancy of Winnie Lawson. She is married to the much older Ted (who is about to burst at the seams, he is so excited about his first child). Winnie has three other children from a previous marriage, but seems to be dreading this baby. She ignored the pregnancy until she was 36 weeks along (meaning one month from her due date).
When Nurse Trixie visits Winnie at her home, Winnie is just about to reveal what she is so worried about, but is saved by proud father-to-be Ted’s arrival with several baby and birthing books. When Winnie goes into labor, Nurse Trixie and Nurse Cynthia are telling her it’s time to push, but Winnie doesn’t want to. Finally Winnie blurts out her fear, and it’s a doozie. Winnie is afraid that the baby is going to be black. That explains everything! No wonder she has been dreading the birth of this child. Nurse Trixie keeps her wits about her and tells Winnie she doesn’t care if it’s “green, red, or orange”, but the baby’s heart rate is dropping and Winnie needs to push. Winnie perseveres and her son is born; her totally adorable black son. Winnie explains to the nurses that she married Ted for security and didn’t love him until later. The baby is a result of one night out; Winnie thinks she is going to lose Ted after he sees her son and is terrified of that thought. When Ted sees the baby, he is taken aback, but asks to hold the baby. Ted looks down at the newborn and proclaims, “I can see how this is the most beautiful baby in the world”. They name the baby after Ted and the family is put back together. As usual, I cry.
Chummy and her crush, Constable Noakes are finally pushed together for a date by Sister Monica Joan, who has witnessed several awkward moments between the two. I hope we’ll get to see more of the couple next week!