Call the Midwife: Season 4, Episode 3 (Mini Review)

Call the Midwife Season 4

Spoiler Warning

This episode of Call the Midwife is one of the most intense, and one of the most potentially controversial, since the show’s inception. Tony Amos is caught by the police engaging in “indecent acts” in a public men’s restroom (i.e. attempting to have sex with another man) and suffers from the fallout both at home from his pregnant wife Marie and in public from the Poplar community.

Although the episode’s persistence in drawing parallels between the treatment of homosexuals in the community and the treatment of disease-infested rats (i.e. extermination) is a bit heavy-handed, the show does attempt to add nuance to the situation. Reactions range from Tony’s wife’s simple refusal to acknowledge anything has changed, to some local women’s outright belittling and ostracizing, to Patsy’s righteous indignation at the prejudice. Trixie equivocates more than any other character, but also raises a pertinent point: this situation is not only about sexual preferences; it is about the fact a man cheated on his wife. No one in the show addresses the fact that the “indecent act” was not actually consensual; Tony was attempting to rape someone. (As far as I can tell, the undercover cop never used any type of signal he was in the restroom to find a hook-up; he was simply jumped while reaching for a paper towel.) The storyline thus introduces more problems than it is apparently invested in addressing.

The episode ends on a somewhat hopeful note as the community begins to behave more welcomingly, at least to Marie, who was never personally “at fault.” However, there is an underlying implication that Poplar is not ready for a major change in perspective, and the issue at stake is really left open-ended. It seems as though the show is leading towards Patsy’s revealing her own relationship with Delia, so this leaves a lot of questions about how the show will handle that. Because Patsy is a recurring character, her story will not be able to be boxed into a single episode and then shipped off; the writers will have to find ways to explore it across episodes.

What are your thoughts on this episode?  What did you think of the portrayal of Tony?  How will Patsy change from watching everything unfold?

2 thoughts on “Call the Midwife: Season 4, Episode 3 (Mini Review)

  1. Krysta says:

    This was a really difficult episode. It was hard, once again, to see a storyline that you knew just wasn’t going to end up well. Mrs. Amos didn’t want to talk to her husband about what he’d done or how that affected their marriage. She simply told him to pretend it never happened and that isn’t a happy ending, no matter how hard the story tried to make it look like Tony is at least going to try to find meaning in fatherhood.

    But that, of course, raises a lot of questions about what the attitudes of 1960s society will mean to Patsy when her secret is revealed. I’m afraid that her story won’t turn out happily,either. Poplar never accepted Tony–they were merely shamed into clapping for his wife during a public celebration. And you can bet they aren’t going to accept Patsy, even after all the help and care she’s given them. I’m so worried about where this is going.

    I’m with you on the glossing over of Tony’s actions, though. He was arrested for “indecency”–he should have been arrested for assault. I don’t think there was any signal because that would have been considered entrapment. Thus, I have to conclude that Tony simply grabbed another man and forced himself upon him. But no one ever mentioned that in the episode.


    • Briana says:

      Yes, I definitely felt the underlying tone that the Amos’ are still not going to be welcomed in Poplar society after this. People might stop yelling rude comments at them on the street, but they’re not going to be polite to them either, and they might not take their business wherever Tony works. So if Patsy ends up revealing her relationship with Delia, I have no idea where that story line would go, except having it lead to Patsy’s exit from the show. No one would want her as their midwife anymore.


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