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Call the Midwife

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Wrapping Up and Letting Go

Nurse Jenny Lee is holding a newborn, wiping the little head clean. The voiceover is speaking of the beauty of newborns, then the beauty of older people. We see an older woman standing by the water, grey hair flowing in the breeze, barefoot, and in a long white nightgown. I don’t even catch that it’s Sister Monica Joan until Constable Noakes returns her to Nonnatus House. She has a terrible cough, so Dr. Turner is sent for. Sister Bernadette welcomes him and discusses the possibility of a diagnosis of dementia as well as the cough. She observes that the dementia has built up slowly, telling Dr. Turner “we don’t know whether she has dementia or whether she’s just willfully eccentric.” Dr. Turner points out that there has been much research on the subject, but he abides by one diagnostic rule, “if they’re brought back by a policeman in their nightie, then they’ve got it.” After seeing a relative sink into dementia, I heartily agreed with both statements. At first, the odd behavior does seem more “old person who does not care what anyone thinks”, but it will eventually lower to the level of “Grandma’s acting like a she’s a teenager on a bender, call the doctor”.

Dr. Turner examines her and determines that she also has pneumonia, and needs penicillin. Her condition is serious, and they have called Mother Jesu Emmanuel to come. She is the only family that Sister Monica Joan has, and there is uncertainty as to whether Sister Monica Joan will survive this illness. The nurses and nuns coax her back to health and soon she is tripping down the halls of Nonnatus House with a ribbon in her hand (no doubt pilfered). As she’s feeling better, she is soon out in the markets, where her magpie eye spies a lovely silver spoon and promptly hides it away in her robes. Sadly for her, the merchant catches her and produces the stolen piece in front of a crowd, calls the police, and they take her home. Sister Julienne is horrified at the charges, insists that they aren’t true, and offers to let the police search Sister Monica Joan’s room. Obviously, that is a bad move, since we’ve been seeing Sister Monica Joan tucking treasures away all season. The police find an assortment of goodies, and charges are filed. The nuns are hopeful that charges will be dismissed, since all of her thefts were of small dollar value. Nurse Jenny Lee comes across some fine jewelry in Sister Monica Joan’s room, decides not to say anything about it to protect Sister Monica Joan, but the jewelry is discovered by the other nuns and they report it to the police.

Sister Monica Joan goes to court, where it is obvious that she isn’t quite “all there” mentally, especially when she doesn’t recognize her own lawyer! Sister Monica Joan remembers that Mother Jesu can explain the jewelry, so Nurse Jenny Lee sets out with her handsome would-be beau Jimmy in the questionably named car (Lady Chatterley) to retrieve Mother Jesu to try to help Sister Monica Joan. As it turns out, Mother Jesu explains that the jewelry actually belongs to Sister Monica Joan, and the charges are dropped. While that does take care of Sister Monica Joan’s immediate problem, she and her housemates will be struggling with her dementia for the rest of Sister Monica Joan’s life.

In a lighter storyline, Chummy’s mother comes to town! I have been excited about the arrival of “Mater” since I first heard Chummy refer to her. Chummy quickly realizes that the reason for Mater’s visit is to scope out the man her daughter is involved with. At the end of her last letter to her mother, Chummy added, “walking out with a chap (in uniform)”. I think Chummy would be highly entertaining on Facebook, don’t you? Chummy’s beau, Constable Peter Noakes, is looking forward to meeting Chummy’s mother. He tells Chummy that right before he declares his love for her and kisses her in full view of the man in the whelk stall. I like Peter more every time I see him!

At last Chummy’s Mater arrives. She swans into Nonnatus House looking elegant, but it quickly becomes apparent that she is cloaked in a cloud of disdain for her daughter’s career, beau, living circumstances, and even the crimplene fabric Chummy uses to make her clothes. I looked up crimplene to better understand why Lady Browne would be so horrified by it, and learned that it’s a polyester wash and wear type of fabric. Oh, the humanity! Our poor Chummy is crushed by her mother’s universal disappointment in her and takes it out on poor Peter, breaking things off with him immediately, in spite of the fact he had just told her he wants to marry her.

Some days/weeks later Chummy and Nurse Jenny Lee find themselves being morose in the chapel, both upset with their love lives (I’ll get to Jenny in a moment). Jenny confesses that she came to London to escape a love affair with an unavailable man, and points out to Chummy that nothing is really standing in the way of her happiness with Peter. Chummy goes to see Peter after delivering triplets, and tells him she was a coward. Then she tells him that she’s practically naked under her raincoat (she had to donate her dress to the triplets so that they would have enough cloth to keep them warm) and they make up in a big way, so that when Chummy is telling her mother what the wedding plans are, and Mater asks if she can at least take Chummy to buy a wedding dress, Chummy feels the need to tell her it can’t be white! Peter and Chummy wed, looking happier than they’ve ever been, and ride off into the sunset.

Onto Jenny. We’ve known that she’s been harboring a mysterious love affair, and that he (Gerald) called her last week. This episode he sends her a letter, she calls him and hangs up, and he calls her and wants to pick up where they left off. Jenny is torn, but ultimately decides to write him back and break things off forever. She muses on her time in London, realizing she has seen and felt love in the most unexpected places. Jenny loves her job, and that will be enough for now.

So, end of series, or end of season? What do you think?