S06.E03: Episode 3 2017.02.04

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The government plans to close down small hospitals in favour of larger establishments. Dr Turner and Shelagh prepare for an inspection that will decide the fate of Nonnatus House - but the staff is shocked to find Sister Ursula has no intention of helping to save the maternity home. Barbara comes to the aid of a woman from the Chinese community who is struggling to get on with her mother-in-law, and whose baby is seriously ill.

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I loved the Chinese MIL, even before she told her DIL about the daughter who died while on the run from the Japanese.  The look on her face when "Toad in a Hole" was served had me rolling.  And the new mom was adorable; I swear I've seen her elsewhere, but I don't know where.

I'm worried about Sister Mary Cynthia.  I really hope we don't find out she's been transferred to an asylum.

So happy Trixie is back!  I think Sister Ursula could have stayed, but I get why she didn't.

And I hope Shelagh isn't miscarrying, but I have a bad feeling that's what will happen.

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I guessed they were going for carbon monoxide poisoning as soon as the new mother mentioned a headache. Was afraid they'd lose at least one of them. 

Poor Shelagh, just when she'd started telling people. 

I wish they'd shown us more of an insight into Sister Ursula, instead of just telling us her history with the cottage hospital.  She must be the only medical character so far that we never saw in on a delivery. 

And is Delia doing her midwifery training? Phylis mentioned something about her studies but I didn't catch the medical term. 

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Delia is doing a revision -- which appears to be her retraining for midwifery. 

I agree with the prior post on Sister Ursula. Once Ursula had been deflated, it would have been interesting to see more of her. Her exit seemed a bit rushed. After all, who could have predicted that Phyllis Crane's transformation from stern taskmistress to heart of the staff, what with her standing up for Barbara and helping at the clinic. Sister Julienne always saw the best efforts, of course.

No Timothy the perfect teen this week, which is okay. My guess is we'll be seeing him soon, given the current Shelagh drama.

With everyone now in a position to get along so well, they need someone like the dear departed Sister Evangelina to provide a counterpoint, I think. From that standpoint, it would have been interesting for Ursula to stay.

Then again, I hope we get Patsy back soon, or at least hear word.

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Sister Monica Joan watching Steptoe & Son was a lovely scene. Glad she's got her telly back. And now Ursula has gone, she can eat her bonbons in peace, too.

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I do enjoy how this show refuses to completely demonize its antagonists. I wish that they would've let Sister Ursula stick around for a little while longer now that she isn't going to be so rigid, but it was nice to see Sister Julienne back in her role as showrunner of the house. I knew Sister Monica Joan had found the TV and was going off to watch her show, but the way she did it peering through the window was just adorable.

Similarly, I knew that the Chinese MIL was going to have a heartbreaking story about her daughter dying from the cold, but still having to hear her go through it made me, once again, cry buckets, especially with the DIL sharing in her misery. They way they kept showing a closeup of the...gas heater? Whatever it was? Made me think there was going to be another explosion or something.

Poor Shelagh. They've kept a lot of people alive without lasting heartbreak in the last few episodes, so I feel like it's all leading up to her losing her pregnancy, though that's such a wretched thing to do to these characters (who, admittedly, are almost saint level of perfect, but I don't care, I love the entire Turner family and want them happy).

It's so nice to get Trixie's frankness and cheeriness back; I didn't realize I'd miss her as much as I did. I'm guessing they're going to pull that nurse from the bar in as a new hire since we're dropping people left and right.    

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Since when does Barbara smoke????

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I thought I remembered Trixie teachinghow to smoke in a previous episode. Maybe in South Africa?

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The future of Poplar's maternity home may be in jeopardy, depending on how things go during a visit from a government inspector.

View the full article

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I knew the Chinese MIL was going to have a sad story about losing a baby and I cried right along with her hearing it. I was so relieved  baby Lin was ok in the end.

I wasn't sad to see the back of Sister Ursula, ok, I had a smudge of sympathy for her but that didn't last long after seeing how happy everyone was at end laughing and eating dinner together.

I hope Sister MJ gets her TV back. And it was nice to see Trixie back.

I hope Shelagh doesn't lose her baby.

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LOVED the shot of Phyllis walking down the corridor, keys in hand and on a mission after Shelagh phoned her; the way she comforted Barbara reminding her that she's an excellent midwife and how Lucy and Lin's condition was not her fault and that she would tackle Sister Ursula; and her immediate picking up the slack for when the Turners rushed to the hospital. She's firm but always fair and compassionate. I've always rolled my eyes when someone else says this phrase, but dammit I want Phyllis to be my spirit animal!

Please show, no more massive heartbreaks for the Turners. I did half expect Timothy to turn up at the beginning just to tell Shelagh and Patrick to get a room.

So, Trixie stayed at the Mother House when she got back, and Sister Mary Cynthia appeared to be absent. People with mental disorders back then were put through appalling torture if it wasn't something one just couldn't repress.

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Well done show - Sister Ursula leaves but it's not really a "win" for anyone and she snags our sympathy.  I thought for a minute Sister Julienne was going to ask her to stay as a regular nurse with the rest of the sisters but maybe it's better they didn't.  

I've been trying to find a link to this but couldn't - The real Sister Cynthia had a breakdown related (I think) to her vows - when the time came to take her final vows she had a crises and actually went through more than one electroshock session because of it.  So the show is at least mirroring part of Cynthia's real life story.

Shelagh's baby lives right?  Don't tell me - just let me pretend for now that's the outcome, with the maternity home in danger of eventual closure the Turners don't need another kick while they're down.

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10 minutes ago, Popples said:

 

LOVED the shot of Phyllis walking down the corridor, keys in hand and on a mission after Shelagh phoned her; the way she comforted Barbara reminding her that she's an excellent midwife

I also liked when she left Sister Ursula, she turned at the door and let her know that no one doubted her good intentions - "we all want a tight ship!" That was a kindness she didn't need to add, but she IS kind, so she did.

I don't know what I want to happen to the tv. I want Sister MJ to have it back, it is hers after all, but I'm sure the men appreciate it and they seemed to enjoy "sharing" it with MJ.

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CTW really does has an excellent writing staff.  For the past 2 episodes I've been wanting to see Sister Ursula leave, and now I'm sad to see her go.  It would have been nice to see her get the redemption she so wanted.  I also would have liked to have a few scenes with her working in the field.

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I knew from reading spoilers that Sister Ursula (hmmm . . . that was the witch in The Little Mermaid movie) was going to leave.  Mr. AZC cracked me up.  As she walked out the door, he waved his hand and said, "Bye, Felicia.  Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya."

Maybe the point of her being there was to remind the sisters and midwives how lucky they were before . . . and they'll REALLY appreciate it now.

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3 hours ago, anna0852 said:

I thought I remembered Trixie teachinghow to smoke in a previous episode. Maybe in South Africa?

She did teach Barbara how to in SA, but, good grief, I never expected Barbara to stick with it!

Glad Sister Julienne is back in charge and Trixie is back.

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Sister Ursula's departure seemed really abrupt to me, she hasn't shown any doubts before & then everything suddenly falls apart in one episode? I wonder if audiences in England didn't react well to the character & they were able to change the plot? Anyway, I'm glad she's gone & it might be nice if we could have one of those uplifting episodes next, OK?

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Sister Ursula relating to Trixie might have been a bit of fun.

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3 hours ago, GaT said:

Sister Ursula's departure seemed really abrupt to me, she hasn't shown any doubts before & then everything suddenly falls apart in one episode? I wonder if audiences in England didn't react well to the character & they were able to change the plot? Anyway, I'm glad she's gone & it might be nice if we could have one of those uplifting episodes next, OK?

AFAIK, the whole season was filmed before the first episode was broadcast, so her departure was always going to happen this way and in this episode. 

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Welcome home, Trixie!  I've always thought she was beautiful, but the sixties style, pale lipstick and up-do, suits her to perfection.   Now can we please get some body-skimming A-line dresses for the nurses.  Those cinch belts only work for women with tiny waists and look just awful if you don't.  Poor Barbara deserves something more flattering.

I'm hoping the show is just creating drama with the miscarriage-scare.    I can't take the Turners disappointment if it really happens.

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I really didn't like this Sister Ursula story. It made sense to have someone fill in while the rest of the crew was in Africa but it never made sense to me for them to demote Sr. Julienne. It's not like we seen past screw ups or clashes with authority. We saw nothing to indicate that the motherhouse was dissatisfied with her leadership. Then on top of that Sr. Ursula seems to perform no hands-on medical services. It's nice that we got a little backstory on her but it was too little too late.

Did they cut the budget for this show? I feel like they are cycling through the cast. Mary Cynthia leaves, then Patsy. Trixie returns and Sr. Ursula leaves. 

Edited by marceline.
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I agree that the Sister Ursula story was odd and unappealing.  So glad that's over.  Maybe, it was just a lesson that wanted to be taught. 

I do get frustrated with their handling of Sister Monica Joan too.  She is way past the stage of dementia to be allowed out alone, especially at night.  It's shocking that they just continue with this storyline.  Didn't she take off once before and go missing, only to be found in the nick of time to save her life?  If they don't want her to retire to a facility, fine, but, they have to take proper care of the woman for her own protection.

Someone remind me. Who cares for the Doctor and Shelagh's baby girl while they work?

Edited by SunnyBeBe.
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On February 11, 2017 at 0:24 AM, Steph01924 said:

It's so nice to get Trixie's frankness and cheeriness back; I didn't realize I'd miss her as much as I did. I'm guessing they're going to pull that nurse from the bar in as a new hire since we're dropping people left and right.    

Would that work? She isn't a trained midwife so she couldn't do maternal check-ups or deliveries, but she is a nurse so she could handle district rounds. It might work. I thought she was going to become a nurse for the docks. 

4 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

Welcome home, Trixie!  I've always thought she was beautiful, but the sixties style, pale lipstick and up-do, suits her to perfection.   Now can we please get some body-skimming A-line dresses for the nurses.  Those cinch belts only work for women with tiny waists and look just awful if you don't.  Poor Barbara deserves something more flattering.

Maybe there will be some sort of fancy event where everyone gets dressed up in wonderful clothes. It will be fun to see wedding plans/the actual wedding. 

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I agree about the (mis)handling of Sister Monica Joan.  They treat her like an impish five year old, instead of a woman with dementia who's a danger to herself, and possibly a danger to others if she accidentally starts a fire or does something else.    

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51 minutes ago, Ohwell said:

I agree about the (mis)handling of Sister Monica Joan.  They treat her like an impish five year old, instead of a woman with dementia who's a danger to herself, and possibly a danger to others if she accidentally starts a fire or does something else.    

True. I suppose that back in those days, not as much was known about dementia.  But, they certainly know that she's unpredictable and adventurous. More care and oversight seem like a no-brainer. 

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Poor Shelagh, just when she'd started telling people.

Just when she started admiring the rentals  :(

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I found the Chinese mother-in-law story line incredibly relatable. You can run into cultural differences even when both sides of the family are from the same country. And of course, even when there's no cross-cultural divide, there can be tremendous generational conflicts when it comes to the "best" way to care for a baby. When I was birthing my brood, I had a much more polite version of this clash with my own dear mother-in-law. Now my own daughter has a child, and we're not 100% on the same page on quite a few childcare issues. I'm guessing that most families run into this situation to one degree or another and have to learn how to express their differences in a balanced and respectful way.

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Where did Trixie go?  Did she leave in episode 1, which I missed, or at the end of the SA episode, which I forget.

Ah yes , M-I-L and the baby issues...can arise even when M-I-L didn't even seem like the M-I-L type  lol!!

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3 minutes ago, Blackie said:

Did she leave in episode 1, which I missed, or at the end of the SA episode, which I forget.

She stayed behind in SA to take care of things until the woman-in-charge who had the operation in the Christmas special was back on her feet. They mentioned it briefly in episode one.

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So Sister Ursula is gone; I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it.  On one hand I'm glad that she's gone, but on the other hand she could have been an interesting addition to the cast. With the series being renewed for 2-3 more seasons, I feel that they need to bring in some more characters. I'm getting the feeling that the regulars are getting tired and want time off to do other things. Trixie was in Africa for 2 1/2 episodes, Cynthia is at the motherhouse for an undisclosed amount time, Patsy is taking care of her dying father for who knows how long, and Shelagh is on bed rest so her absence from episodes won't be that big of a deal.  

On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 4:18 PM, Ceindreadh said:

I wish they'd shown us more of an insight into Sister Ursula, instead of just telling us her history with the cottage hospital.  

I also wish the history of Sister Ursula had been shown instead of told. Her exit felt rushed to me. I was left thinking what was the point of her? Oh I guess she was filler until Trixie gets back... Her story felt a bit forced to me. I understand why she would be filling in for Sister Julienne, but it didn't make sense why she was put in charge other then to create drama.

On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 10:14 PM, DropTheSoap said:

I agree with the prior post on Sister Ursula. Once Ursula had been deflated, it would have been interesting to see more of her. Her exit seemed a bit rushed. After all, who could have predicted that Phyllis Crane's transformation from stern taskmistress to heart of the staff, what with her standing up for Barbara and helping at the clinic. Sister Julienne always saw the best efforts, of course.

With everyone now in a position to get along so well, they need someone like the dear departed Sister Evangelina to provide a counterpoint, I think. From that standpoint, it would have been interesting for Ursula to stay.

I agree that it would have been interesting for Sister Ursula to stick around; I feel like the writers wouldn't have rushed the whole "this is why Sister Ursula" is the way the she is bit. Also like you said having someone be a counterpoint and maybe not get along with everyone would be interesting.

 

The rest of the episode felt a bit predictable to me.

Edited by Fireball.
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With the series being renewed for 2-3 more season, I feel that they need to bring in some more characters. I'm getting the feeling that the regulars are getting tired and want time off to do other things. Trixie was in Africa for 2 1/2 episodes, Cynthia is at the motherhouse for an undisclosed amount time, Patsy is taking care of her dying father for who knows how long, and Shelagh is on bed rest so her absence from episodes won't be that big of a deal.  

Not to mentioned our lovely (missing) sweet Chummy.

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52 minutes ago, MaryHedwig said:

Not to mentioned our lovely (missing) sweet Chummy.

I'm afraid that I'm annoyed with Chummy.  Her prolonged absence and inability to ever be available, even for major events on the show,  has left me not wanting to see her anymore. I wish they'd write her off and let her husband take a greater role, if the actor wishes.  I've always liked him and he might be suitable as a romantic interest. I can't see Trixie with him, but, who knows what might be possible.  She was previously my favorite character, but, I'm over it.  The actor is too busy for this show, so be off with her, imo. 

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15 hours ago, Lillybee said:

Sister Ursula relating to Trixie might have been a bit of fun.

I wish we could have seen that! I think Trixie would have told her off at the first turn and damned the consequences. Trixie has *never* allowed anyone, not even Sister Julienne, to potentially compromise the care of patients. I feel like Trixie would have told her exactly where Ursula could stick that 20 minute limit. Too bad we didn't get that little confrontation because it would have been epic.

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What did you make of the doctor's argument to keep the Maternity hospital open?  I wonder just how the figures looked.  Of course, the Doctor has a great argument, but, how does having that place, staff, overhead, few patients, make sense?  I always thought they had more patients than that.  Why couldn't they EXPAND the place to accommodate many more patients, so it would make sense on paper? I'm not familiar with England's socialized medicine, so, if anyone is, they can chime in. 

Edited by SunnyBeBe.
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I don't miss Chummy at all. To me, at times she came across as cartoonish.

I wish we could get an episode focusing on Sister Winifred.

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3 hours ago, MaryHedwig said:

Not to mentioned our lovely (missing) sweet Chummy.

True. I didn't include Chummy because I haven't thought of her as a regular in quite sometime.

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Well, I won't miss Sister Ursula-whatever-the-hell-she-was.  Not a spiritual person, not a nurse, not a midwife, just a harridan.  I MUCH prefer Sr Julienne in the leading role.  And I must comment that Trixie looks the epitome of the Swingin' Sixties!  Hair, makeup, dress and heels! 

This show, Home Fires and Wolf Hall are the best things on television, IMO.

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Maybe, I can resume my fondness for the show with Sister Ursula gone. She was such a turnoff.  She set the mood in a terrible way this season. I hope I can continue on with more enthusiasm now.

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While I didn't like Sister Ursula (although I wasn't supposed to), I do have to say that Harriet Walter is an amazing actress and played the hell out of that role.  

That being said, I'm glad she's gone....

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While I also didn't really like Ursula, I can't help but be a bit annoyed that all this time was spent on a character that wasn't sticking around. Not that I really wanted Ursula to stick around, but what really was the point of her? She was introduced, shown as not a nice person, given some quick background to make us a bit sympathetic, and then left. If the writers wanted some drama for the Nonnatus House, I'm sure there was other ways to go instead of introducing a character out of no where.

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1 minute ago, Fireball said:

While I also didn't really like Ursula, I can't help but be a bit annoyed that all this time was spent on a character that wasn't sticking around.

I agree there didn't seem to be a point in that whole arc.  She didn't really do much except send off Cynthia to the wrong place (although we don't know where the heck she ended up).  You had to know that the 20 minute rule would result in some sort of catastrophe. We already knew that Julienne is an inspirational and balanced leader so we didn't need Ursula to remind us of that.  Kind of wished she'd stayed around long enough for Trixie to give her some grief.

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1 minute ago, Fireball said:

While I also didn't really like Ursula, I can't help but be a bit annoyed that all this time was spent on a character that wasn't sticking around. Not that I really wanted Ursula to stick around, but what really was the point of her? She was introduced, shown as not a nice person, given some quick background to make us a bit sympathetic, and then left. If the writers wanted some drama for the Nonnatus House, I'm sure there was other ways to go instead of introducing a character out of no where.

I agree with this...almost.  I mean, yes, I agree that it was odd to introduce a character and spend so much time on her just to get rid of her in the 3rd episode of the season.  However, I don't know that there won't be lasting repercussions from her stay.  We found out during this episode that the whole system under which Nonnatus House (and the maternity house) operates is marching towards it end, even it was given a "stay of execution" for the time being.  

Now, if everything goes right back to normal now that Sister Julienne is back in charge then, yeah, I'm irritated with the whole Sister Ursula interlude.  However, if Sister Julienne now has deal with the fact that Sister Ursula was right in a few respects and, while her methods were not the best, her need to run a tight, or at least tighter, ship was well-founded...well, then I think the Sister Ursula days on this show would not be for naught.

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On ‎04‎/‎16‎/‎2017 at 9:05 PM, Straycat80 said:

I hope Sister MJ gets her TV back

I'd hope that too, except it's in a better place, really.  A retired seamen's home probably doesn't have a lot of visitors and not nearly as much to do as Nonnatus House.  It made me feel less angry at Sister Ursula for taking the tv away when I found out where it went.  And Sister Monica Joan can still watch it.

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1 hour ago, OtterMommy said:

However, I don't know that there won't be lasting repercussions from her stay.  We found out during this episode that the whole system under which Nonnatus House (and the maternity house) operates is marching towards it end, even it was given a "stay of execution" for the time being.  

Personally, I don't think having Sister Ursula around had much to do with us/them finding out that they were on borrowed time.  IMO I think we would have gotten the same story if Julienne was still in charge.

1 hour ago, OtterMommy said:

Now, if everything goes right back to normal now that Sister Julienne is back in charge then, yeah, I'm irritated with the whole Sister Ursula interlude.  However, if Sister Julienne now has deal with the fact that Sister Ursula was right in a few respects and, while her methods were not the best, her need to run a tight, or at least tighter, ship was well-founded...well, then I think the Sister Ursula days on this show would not be for naught.

If the writers show that Ursula was right then I will agree that she will have had a purpose. However, I viewed the whole we need to run a tight ship as Sister Ursula was just going overboard because of what happened at her last house and that the way Nonnatus House was run previously was fine.  Hopefully there will be some purpose to her introduction other then they needed something/someone to fill up the time until the regulars come back.

Edited by Fireball.
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I think the only thing I can ask is: Is there anyone who wasn't crying while watching the scene where the Chinese mother in law confesses that her baby died during a too cold night as she was fleeing the Japanese during the war?   

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Personally, I don't think having Sister Ursula around had much to do with us/them finding out that they were on borrowed time.  IMO I think we would have gotten the same story if Julienne was still in charge.

I agree.  That plotline would have happened regardless of Sister Ursula.  I almost wonder if the actress asked to be let go early?  Otherwise, I do wonder what the point of her character was. 

Edited by txhorns79.
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I agree that the actress who played Sister Ursula did her usual fabulous job in making you think she WAS that character. I hated her so much in Sense and Sensibility! But what was the point of having her there in this show? If she has messed up precious Sister Mary Cynthia by sending her to a mental ward, I will be royally pissed. I adore Sister MC and would welcome her back with open arms. Looks like Shelagh will be on extended bedrest, so there will be nurse staffing needs at the maternity hospital. Would have been nice for Chummy to come back briefly to help while Shelagh is confined. The whole Chummy storyline (or non-storyline) is so puzzling that even I am losing interest in her. Great to see Trixie back! Her make up and dress looked awesome on her.

Phyllis is a rock star in my book. She keeps confidences, she is a brilliant, caring nurse, and is no nonsense. No matter how distasteful a chore is, she'll do it. She's a real trooper who'd I want on my side. I'm ready for Violet, and not just her jams, to make an appearance soon. I love every character in this show now that Ursula is gone. 

The Chinese mother was so great in her role and had me bawling about her baby girl who died because it was too cold. I thInk she and her DIL will get along just fine now. Thank you, Heidi Thomas, for giving us this show!

I have to add that Chummy had long been my favorite character. I know that Miranda is very talented and has a lot going on career wise. But I suggest that she probably is not involved in anything as quality, classy and meaningful as CTM is. Yes, I have on my CTM colored glasses but can't help it. Would it kill her to show up for one episode and put closure on it for us? She was so integral to Nonnatus house for so long and her husband is still in the area. Just come put a nice big bow on it and then leave.

Edited by Spunkygal.
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On ‎4‎/‎17‎/‎2017 at 4:30 PM, SunnyBeBe said:

What did you make of the doctor's argument to keep the Maternity hospital open?  I wonder just how the figures looked.  Of course, the Doctor has a great argument, but, how does having that place, staff, overhead, few patients, make sense?  I always thought they had more patients than that.  Why couldn't they EXPAND the place to accommodate many more patients, so it would make sense on paper? I'm not familiar with England's socialized medicine, so, if anyone is, they can chime in. 

Since the goal of Nonnatus House was to provide maternity care for their own neighborhood, it appears that they are currently meeting that goal.  Expanding the hospital wouldn't help because there just aren't enough women needing inpatient low risk care to support it.  They'd just end up with a huge outlay of money to build and more empty beds. The only option to get more inpatients from the area would be for the midwives to discourage home births and have everyone come to the maternity home for delivery and that goes against their basic philosophy.  It's also far more expensive, although, we know, in time, most women will come to the hospital to deliver.

This is the same problem we see today in the US, smaller specialty hospitals are more expensive to run on a per patient basis, so they are the first to go when economics dictates changes.  The maternity home at Nonnatus needs a certain baseline level of staffing, even when they don't have any patients and those staff members have to be paid, even if they don't work or they will have to find other jobs where the money is steadier. There is also a need for the home to have baseline levels of heat and electricity, etc no matter how many patients are present. The patients get very personalized and attentive care, but it costs more than it would in a hospital with a large ward where the staff could take care of more people at once and where lower skilled/lower paid employees could be used to perform some of the tasks done by the professional staff at Nonnatus. Same thing with equipment; it's cheaper for a large hospital because they can buy in bulk and store equipment for use as needed.

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1 hour ago, txhorns79 said:

I think the only thing I can ask is: Is there anyone who wasn't crying while watching the scene where the Chinese mother in law confesses that her baby died during a too cold night as she was fleeing the Japanese during the war? 

"Raises hand" Yep me. Don't get me wrong the scene was sad, but it didn't make me cry.

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2 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I think the only thing I can ask is: Is there anyone who wasn't crying while watching the scene where the Chinese mother in law confesses that her baby died during a too cold night as she was fleeing the Japanese during the war?   

I did cry, but--surprisingly--what made me cry more was the scene with Sister Evangeline and Sister Ursula as SU was leaving.  (I should also note that this was an especially emotional day for me anyway, so the tears were never far away).

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