A young man receives a scholarship to attend university, but his dreams are jeopardized when his girlfriend reveals she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Sr. Julienne is called to the local hospital, where she struggles with the detached care expecting mothers received, and Barbara struggles with dating Tom, knowing that she is hurting Trixie.
Episode 4 was one of the best of the season, delivering a series of emotional of emotional punches as a young man wavered between his dreams of a better life and his duty to his girlfriend, Trixie struggled with releasing Tom a year after they ended their engagement, and Sr. Julienne witnessed the almost callous care given to young mothers at the local hospital. The fallout of the thalidomide prescriptions also continued, meaning that while Dr. Turner and Shelagh struggled to find the cause of the series of malformed babies being born, Sr. Julienne had to deal with the very real consequences–watching a limbless child die alone and exposed because the hospital decided it could not be saved. Call the Midwife has a track record of dealing with difficult topics sensitively and honestly. This episode continues in that tradition. While it was emotionally gutting to watch, it also felt worthwhile.
Left alone to monitor the phones, Delia finds herself coaching a Roseanne, a young first-time mother, through the delivery of her baby as Phyllis races to attend her after her car breaks down. Violet injures herself and must rely on Fred to run her shop. Timothy attempts to convince his father and Shelagh that cigarettes are linked to cancer.
Episode 5 felt a little more erratic than most installments. Typically the various plot threads interweave with each other to create what feels like a coherent whole, but here it seemed more like I was watching several different episodes. Dr. Turner was trying to get a new clinic, dealing with a patient who was refusing care, and being pressured by Tim to give up smoking. Fred was trying to run his wife’s shop while she was laid up in bed. Delia was coaching a mother over the phone. Then the mother went missing. For some reason, it felt like far too much was going on, and I didn’t feel very invested in much of it, though watching a mother give birth alone on the floor literally took my breath away, and it was about time we saw more of Fred–he’s hilarious. But the bright spots didn’t work together to create a whole. Hopefully next episode will be better.