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S02E01 is the first episode of Series 2 and the eighth episode overall of Call the Midwife. It originally aired on 20 January 2013 in the UK and 31 March 2013 in the USA.

Overview[]

It's 1958 and the day after celebrating her birthday, Nurse Jenny Lee is assigned a patient who is trapped in an abusive marriage.

Plot[]

The episode opens with Jenny biking on a cobbled road amongst a crowd of cycling men as Older Jenny narrates.

Jenny enters Nonnatus house and is met with applause from all the nuns and midwives and a birthday cake. Sister Julienne wishes her “many happy returns". Jenny blows out the candles and the group sits down to eat.

Jenny, Trixie, and Cynthia leave Nonnatus house in their day clothes for a film. Chummy meets the group with Peter, citing her tardiness to a “most atrocious fitz with a steamed plum pudding.” The four midwives run off together to watch the film. In the theater, Cynthia and Chummy share a popcorn and all are transfixed on the screen except for Trixie, who eyes the man sitting next to her.

The next day, Chummy, Jenny, and Cynthia loudly hum the song played during the movie as they pack their bags for the day. Sister Evangelina declares that it's “all hands on deck” and notifies the group that Sister Julienne has already gone to another patient, Mrs. Hall, who went into labour a week early. Sister Evangelina informs them of the days tasks, that Sister Bernadette will stay at Nonnatus to answer calls, Jenny and Chummy are on the booking-in list for clinic that afternoon, and Sister Evangelina asks Cynthia to add Mrs. Mournsey to the morning calls. Trixie arrives late complaining about her hair pins and Sister Evangelina asks where they would be "without Nurse Franklin brining up the rear like a poodle at the circus” before sending her to Mafeking Buildings. Trixie complains about being sent alone because of the high workload of the area and the two have a small argument before Trixie huffs and leaves.

At clinic, Jenny calls for a patient named Molly Brignall but she does not appear. We then see Dr. Turner and Chummy giving a demonstration to a group of mothers about Nitrous Oxide, known as Gas and Air, as an alternative pain relief method to Pethidine. He tells them that it will be offered at the new maternity home, but a mother who would rather a home birth asks him if he can bring it in the boot of his car. Dr. Turner seems receptive to the idea, but Chummy is more hesitant about bringing the doctor to routine cases. Chummy then gives a practical demonstration of the gas and air, advising the women about how the gas will work and what they should do for best results. However, Chummy attempts to give some of the demonstration with the mask on, making her unintelligible, and she also inhales too much of the gas, making her so relaxed that she stops paying attention and reclines as though she were about to sleep. She describes the gas and air as “all in all, a thoroughly pleasant sensation,” and the women observing laugh.

Sister Evangelina tells Sister Bernadette that she views the gas and air demonstration to be cruel because they do not offer it in the home, so many of the women cannot have it. Sister Bernadette offers that the women do have access to it in the Maternity Home, but Sister Evangelina scoffs at the idea. Jenny notifies Sister Evangelina that Molly Brignall has not appeared at clinic for a month and is concerned because she is nearly at term. Sister Evangelina tells her that she must visit Molly at home.

Jenny arrives at the Brignall house to an argument between Molly and her husband, Ritchie, about their finances. The couple hesitate about letting her in, but Jenny’s threat of a more senior midwife attending the next day prompts them to let her enter. Molly’s husband acts very polite, but there is tension in the room as Jenny nervously waits for him to leave. Jenny expresses her concern to Molly about her missing clinic, and Molly responds that she cannot get there because it is on the wrong bus route. During her examination, Jenny sees a large, dark bruise on Molly’s arm and Molly claims she banged it on the handle of the wardrobe. Jenny confirms that Molly is down for a home delivery despite the mess, but Molly assures her that it will be clean by the time she goes into labour. Molly’s daughter, Lorraine, emerges from behind Molly’s chair and Molly introduces her to Jenny. She is very dirty and shy, and Molly assures her that “no one is going to hurt" her, which concerns Jenny.

At supper that evening, Jenny expresses disbelief that their home was deemed fit for home delivery and Cynthia defends herself that the flat was fit when she examined and cleared it 5 weeks ago. Sister Julienne implores them to speak to Molly’s mother and if the flat cannot be clean in time then Molly must deliver at the hospital.

During dinner, Chummy and Cynthia are called out to a patient, Bella Collins, who allegedly “pops them out as if she’s shelling peas” and Chummy assures Cynthia that they’ll be home in time for Horlicks. Chummy consoles Bella while Cynthia prepares the bed and praises Bella for preparing the mattress before their arrival. Cynthia offers Pethidine for pain relief, but Bella refuses because it makes her ill and demands the doctor. When Chummy assures her that Dr. Turner isn’t necessary, Bella grabs her collar and asks her, "Ain’t you ever heard of a mother’s instincts before?” and Chummy goes to call the doctor.

Jenny speaks to Molly’s mother about her concerns over the state of Molly’s home, and Molly’s mother reveals that Molly was a good child until she was around 14 years old, when she began complaining about being sent to the countryside during the blitz years before. She also reveals that Molly’s father went missing in action at El Alamein. Molly and her brother are inattentive to their mother and rarely speak to her. She reveals that Molly’s first child was conceived out of wedlock and though Molly’s mother never wanted her to marry Ritchie, she was worried he wouldn’t when Molly was pregnant with Lorraine.

Doctor Turner arrives and assures Bella Collins that there is nothing to worry about concerning her labour, but Bella demands the gas and air in his boot. Dr. Turner retrieves the case and operates the gas and air during the rest of Bella’s labour. Bella gives birth to a girl and tells Dr. Turner that she’ll “be spreading the news about that gas.” He chuckles at this, but ends up attending so many births that he refuses to bring gas and air to any more births.

Molly Brignall’s mother begins cleaning her apartment while Ritchie is at work. During Jenny’s examination, Ritchie returns home earlier than expected and is angry with Molly for bringing guests into the home. When Jenny leaves, Ritchie begins screaming at Molly’s mother and threatening to harm Molly if she doesn’t leave. Jenny returns to the apartment and Ritchie expresses the same threat to her. Jenny attempts to pull Molly away from him and Ritchie grabs Jenny and raises his hand to her. Ritchie storms to his room and Jenny comforts Molly.

Jenny and Sister Julienne meet with Constable Noakes to discuss the assault and Peter tells them he must speak with Molly but expresses doubt that she will press charges. Jenny offers to press charges, but Sister Julienne advises against it because it would mean that Ritchie would deny Molly from getting care from anyone at Nonnatus house.

At supper, Sister Evangelina announces that there will be no more gas and air at home deliveries and the other midwives express dismay because of its popularity. However, the only way to deliver it is in Dr. Turner’s car and he is too busy to attend every delivery. The group discuss Dr. Turner’s exhaustion since the death of his wife and Trixie remarks that he has no one to sew on the button that has fallen off his coat and that it doesn't doesn't inspire confidence. Sister Bernadette is particularly affected by the conversation.

That evening, Chummy and Peter are in bed and she remarks wistfully about her desire to go on a mission before her nursing and marriage. Peter asks her to test him on the prostitution laws because he is hoping for a promotion to Sergeant.

Jenny returns to Molly’s home, but Molly does not allow her in because Ritchie demands the door be bolted at all times. Jenny instructs Molly to telephone Nonnatus House when she begins labour and that she will be giving birth in the Maternity home. Jenny advises Molly to have her mother look after Lorraine when she is in labour, which startles Lorraine.

Jenny and Chummy listen to Compline, then get chips and sit together in the garden and discuss home and their concerns for Molly.

Peter calls Nonnatus house and notifies Chummy that there is a woman in labour on a cargo ship, despite the fact that women are not permitted on cargo ships. Trixie prepares to bring Jenny with her, but upon finding out that Molly has gone into labour she brings Sister Evangelina instead.

Molly goes into labour while Ritchie is out at the bar. Frantically, she brings Lorraine to her mother’s home, who calls Nonnatus house and lets Jenny know that she is bringing Molly to the Maternity Home.

Peter brings Trixie and Sister Evangelina to the port and introduces them to the ship’s captain, who alerted the night watchman about the woman in labour. The captain is Swedish and speaks limited English, but Sister Evangelina falsely identifies him as German and continues to intersperse German words when talking with him throughout the evening.

Upon arrival at the Maternity Home, Molly is surprised that it is not very similar to a hospital, and Jenny reassures her that her experience will be very similar to a home delivery.

Trixie and Sister Evangelina board the ship by ladder, and Sister Evangelina dislocates her shoulder during the climb. Trixie and Sister Evangelina meet their patient, Kirsten, in her very cramped quarters. Kirsten reveals that the Captain is her father and that he has been using her for his sailors to have sex with “for relief”. Sister Evangelina is very angry with this revelation and demands a larger room from the Captain. Trixie demands a bottle of brandy for Sister Evangelina because she refuses pethidine.

The men onboard the ship praise Kirsten as two of them carry her to the larger room. The Captain tells her that she deserves the room, but Kirsten asks why she was only given it now if that were true. Trixie identifies that the cord has prolapsed - it has been pushed into the vagina ahead of the baby - so Trixie elevates Kirsten’s hips with a chair to gain a better position to push the cord back in. She then removes the chair and Kirsten’s waters break.  Kirsten gives birth to a girl and the men on the ship sing to celebrate her, but the Captain abstains.

Molly discusses her time in the countryside Jenny while she is in labour and compares her labour to the foal she saw being born while she was there. She gives birth to a boy. When she pulls her gown down to have contact with her baby, a large wound is revealed on the right side of her chest. Molly leaves the Maternity Home that night with her baby without being discharged.

In the morning, Sister Evangelina is brought to an ambulance by a stretcher. The Captain pulls Trixie aside to thank her for her help, but Trixie is angry with him and demands to have transport to the boat daily for the next two weeks. Though he initially denies her request, he accepts when she scolds him for his exploitation and threatens to notify the police. Trixie accompanies Sister Evangelina in the ambulance, where Sister Evangelina indulges in the gas and air.

Molly’s mother brings Jenny to Molly’s apartment with Lorraine. Ritchie opens the door, brings Lorraine inside, then sneers and slams the door in the women’s faces. Jenny attempts to reach Molly daily with no success. However, Molly was out with Ritchie and had left the children alone in the flat and dosing them with milk and alcohol to prevent them from crying. Their neglect was revealed when there was a fire in their building and the children had to be evacuated. Molly and Ritchie were both incarcerated for child neglect and Molly’s mother receives sole custody of the children.

Trixie is now permitted to wear slacks when visiting Kirsten on the ship. She offers Kirsten a large pack of sheaths to protect her from pregnancy going forward, but Kirsten tells her that she told her father to bring her home and that she will no longer be living on the ship. Kirsten think that her father agreed to her return to Stockholm because of his shame rather than love for her. We last see Kirsten holding her daughter on the boat looking back at the English coast.

Dr. Turner is shown leaving his white coat at the clinic and Sister Bernadette repairs his button.

Main Characters[]

Midwives[]

Camilla "Chummy" Noakes
Cynthia Miller
Jenny Lee
Trixie Franklin

Nuns[]

Sister Bernadette
Sister Evangelina
Sister Julienne
Sister Monica Joan

Other[]

Fred Buckle
Patrick Turner
Peter Noakes


Guest Characters[]

Patients[]

Kirsten Bjorgsen
Molly Brignall

Other[]

Captain Bjorgsen
Marjorie Gray
Ritchie Brignall


Songs featured[]

Coming soon...

Trivia[]

  • From this episode upon till the 2023 Christmas Special Sister Bernadette now wears her Pink horn-rimmed glasses

Quotes[]

"My journey into womanhood began on the streets of East London, working as a midwife in the city’s poorest quarter. I never knew an idle day, a misspent hour, a single moment without some sense of purpose”

- Mature Jenny

“We strove to serve women, living alongside and amongst them”

-Mature Jenny

“Men were creatures that you married, or marveled at, yearned for, or found somehow perplexing. Mainly, they made work for us and we knew no rest.”

-Mature Jenny

“I have lived without friendship for so long, but today, you came. And she came, too, so now I have a friend forever. ”

-Kirsten Bjorgsen

Gallery[]

Coming soon...

References[]

Coming soon...

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