Call the Midwife is Back: Season 4 Episode 1 Recap

This is a recap. There are major spoilers here.

Nurse Patsy Mount delivers a baby and returns to Nonnatus House early in the morning, while Trixie is getting ready. A call comes in, and Trixie takes it. A woman is giving birth in a car down by the docks, and Trixie gets a ride from the milkman to make it in time.

Once there, Trixie finds the mother is a woman named Sarah, who is a patient of hers. She delivers a girl, and while Trixie is wrapping things up she discovers she has been resting with her knee in a pile of vomit.

The birth is the subject of discussion at breakfast, as Trixie returns to the house. Evangelina blames the fact that more aren’t giving birth a home. They discuss the fact that a new midwife is coming that day, and Monica Joan laments that there is not cake to welcome her. Chummy is collecting items for the unwed mothers’ house, which she will be taking charge of for a little while.

Sister Evangelina is offered bacon, but refuses it.

Later, as Chummy is leaving, she has trouble with the car and ends up backing onto the curb. Her husband, Peter, intervenes and offers to drive her the first part of her journey into the country, and she accepts.

At the clinic, Shelagh is advising Sister Winifred when a boy comes in with a pram. His name is Gary Teamon, and he has his little sister, Coral, with him. He’s come to get milk tokens and orange juice. Shelagh gives the baby a cursory examination and finds she has a rash on her face. She hands the children off to Trixie, who has brought the milk tokens. Trixie tells Gary to wait to be called by the doctor, but once Trixie is gone he leaves in a hurry.

Back at Nonnatus house, the new midwife has arrived. Her name is Barbara Gilbert, and Monica Joan is the only one there to welcome her, and says she cannot come in because there’s no one else there. While they are talking, Barbara’s bike falls over and her luggage comes open and dogs carry away her clothes. She runs after them, trying to collect her things but has no luck until Monica Joan splashes water on the dogs and they run away.

After this, Monica Joan takes Barbara to the clinic, where they are welcomed by Sister Julienne.

Shelagh is giving a talk on the use of formula and the proper sterilization of bottles. She’s interrupted by Mrs. Wimbish, who is quoting Dr. Spock and Sister Evangelina and saying breast milk is the only thing babies should be given. She reveals that she’s lost three children so far and wants to get it right this time.

Gary is outside working when his mother comes by, leaving on her way to work. She says she’s bringing a treat when she comes back. She leaves him alone with his three sisters.

At Nonnatus House, Sister Julienne shows Barbara to her room. In the room is a note inviting Barbara to Trixie and Patsy’s room, where they are drinking and listening to music. They talk a bit, Trixie revealing that she hasn’t seen her boyfriend, the Reverend Tom, for 5 days. Barbara isn’t used to the alcohol and gets very sick.

Gary returns home to his sisters. The flat is very dark and dingy, with no electricity or running water. He gives the crying baby some of the syrup he received at the clinic and tries to soothe her.

The next morning, Trixie is in the shed looking for a milk crate to give to Gary. Fred intervenes and finds it for her. At breakfast, Patsy tells sister Julienne that Barbara is sick and blames it on food poisoning.

Trixie goes to Gary’s apartment to deliver the milk crate and finds it boarded up. The milkman tells her that the people who lived there were evicted. Later, Trixie runs into Tom and asks him if he knows of the family. She looks through the church records and can’t find them.

Meanwhile, Barbara is having a bad day. She’s having trouble controlling her bike, and when she’s cleaning the instruments with Sister Evangelina, she drops them and burns herself picking them up.

Gary returns to the clinic for more milk tokens. He’s given them and leaves, but Trixie sees that he’s come and gets angry because she wasn’t notified. She goes out to find him, but he is gone. When she sees Tom later, he tells her he can’t find records of Gary’s family in the church or at the school. Trixie surmises that he’s on his own with his siblings, and this reminds her of her own past.

Gary returns to the flat, where the baby is crying, but the key is gone so he can’t get in. He tells his other sister not to worry, that he will think of something, and sits down outside on the landing.

Sister Julienne and Sister Evangelina discuss Barbara. She’s trained, but inexperienced. She’ll be taking some shifts at the maternity home, and Evangelina will accompany her. Julienne also tells Evangelina that she’s noticed she’s sick, and wants to her go to the doctor. Evangelina responds angrily, saying she’s fine, and refuses.

In the morning, Gary is still sitting outside his flat when the milkman arrives. He takes the tokens down and gets milk, then summons his sister and tells her to get a cup. He pours the milk through the mail slot, losing much of it as he does.

Mrs. Wimbish, whose name is Colette, comes into the maternity home having contractions. Dr. Turner tells her they aren’t regular, but admits her anyway. Later, as Colette and Barbara are talking, her water breaks and she goes into labor for real. She’s only seven months along. Dr. Turner and Evangelina deliver the baby, a girl, and at first the baby is not breathing. Dr. Turner works with a mucus extractor, and soon she lets out a loud cry. Colette barely has time to hold her before the baby is taken off to the hospital to be placed in an incubator.

Gary goes into a shop and steals packages of crackers. The shopkeeper sees him and gives chase, catching him easily. The shopkeeper takes him to the police, where Peter Noakes is on duty. Gary reveals that the crackers were for his baby sisters, who are hungry. Peter asks him where his mother is and he says she’s out working and has been gone several days.

Alarmed, Peter takes the police to Gary’s flat and they break down the door. Inside, it is filthy, as are the children. They take the kids into protective custody.

At the clinic, Shelagh is examining them. She finds that one of the girls has been shaken, and another has a cigarette burn on her foot. She calls Trixie, and together they take the children to the cleansing station where they are given baths. The girls have nits in their hair and Monica Joan wants to shave them, but Gary and Trixie won’t hear of it.

Later, Shelagh is in bed recovering from the day. Her husband comes in and can tell something’s bothering her, and she tells him she misses being a nurse and a midwife. He thinks there’s a way she can be useful.

At the maternity home, Colette tells Barbara that she wants to breastfeed her daughter. Barbara comes up with a plan in which Colette will pump her milk, and Barbara will take it to the hospital, where it will be given to the baby. Evangelina is dubious of the plan, but agrees.

Gary and his sisters are getting ready to leave, to be taken to a foster home. Trixie refuses to see them off. She tells Tom that it reminds her to much of her own past, when she had to take care of things while her father had his breakdowns. Tom supports her, and she says that reminds her that she’s survived it.

Gary’s mother returns to find the police. She is arrested for abuse and neglect and taken into custody.

At the docks later, Tom and Trixie meet. He has a surprise. He’s brought his grandmother’s ring and proposes to her. She says yes.

Evangelina finds Shelagh at the clinic and asks her to make an appointment with a doctor, but not Dr. Turner. She wants a female doctor because she is having “women’s problems.”

In the episode ending voiceover, we find out that baby Coral was adopted, while the other three children were sent to Australia as part of the Child Migrant Program. It’s hinted that it didn’t end up happily, but they had each other, and they had hope, for a time.

Back at Nonnatus house, Trixie shows off her ring, while Monica Joan finds and eats the meringue Tom had given to Trixie.

Call the Midwife airs Sunday Nights at 8:00 starting March 29 on KIXE Channel 9.

Chad Grayson has been a gas station attendant, sold video games over the phone, and even was the person who cuts the mold off the cheese in the cheese factory, but spent most of his career as a middle school Language Arts and History teacher. He is now a full-time stay at home dad and writer. You can find him on twitter at @chadgrayson and on his blog at cegrayson.wordpress.com.

Chad Grayson
Chad Grayson has been a gas station attendant, sold video games over the phone, and even was the person who cuts the mold off the cheese in the cheese factory, but spent most of his career as a middle school Language Arts and History teacher. He is now a full-time stay at home dad and writer. You can find him on twitter at @chadgrayson and on his blog at cegrayson.wordpress.com.
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4 Responses

  1. Thank you, Chad, for these recaps. I LOVE this show!

  2. EasternCounty says:

    Who would have thought that a program about midwifery in London’s slums in the ’50’s would be so enjoyable. We, too, love it.

  3. EasternCounty says:

    But what happened to Jessica Raine (Jenny Lee)?

  4. EasternCounty says:

    I asked Google, and Jessica Raine said that she was “exploring new pastures.” I’m sure I’ll forget her in time, but she is missed.