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S05E08 is the eighth and last episode of the fifth series and the 42nd episode overall of Call the Midwife. It originally aired on 6 March 2016 in the UK.

Overview[]

The recently returned Sister Evangelina continues to deal with failing health, and Patrick is horrified to learn that thalidomide has been withdrawn due to a possible connection to a recent spate of babies being born deformed, and the nurses try to help him track down and warn the patients Patrick had prescribed the drug to to deal with severe morning sickness. Then a tragedy strikes which devastates the residents of Nonnatus House, and the people of Poplar at large.

Plot[]

Tessie Anselm wants Tom to arrange a wedding for her son Mitchell and his Australian fiancée Noelle who is heavily pregnant. Rhoda Mullucks is still quite wary about showing off baby Susan due to her malformed limbs. Barbara is tending to Tripti Valluk, an expectant Sylhetti mother, and asks Sister Evangelina to help her when the birth happens. Despite having limited movement in her left arm due to her recent stroke, Sister Evangelina agrees.

Sister Evangelina is out of the room when Tripti's baby is born. While Barbara tends to the new mother, Sister Evangelina gives the baby a bath. Afterwards, the pair return to Nonnatus House where Sister Evangelina sits down in front of the fireplace and drifts off to sleep. The next morning, Fred comes in to find Sister Evangelina still sitting in front of the fireplace. He apologizes after accidently knocks over the rack of pokers by the fireplace knowing Sister Evangelina hates loud noises, but she doesn't respond, and Fred realizes she has died.

Patrick is called out to Nonnatus House and he determines Sister Evangelina died in her sleep following a second stroke. When Patrick brings up the chance of a post-mortem, a devastated Sister Monica Joan wails that the procedure will maim Sister Evangelina for eternity. However, after Patrick speaks to the coroners office, they decide that a post-mortem isn't necessary due to Sister Evangelina's recent stroke and the impairment she was left with. When he returns home, Patrick is horrified to discover Distival is being withdrawn due to a possible connection with the recent spate of babies being born deformed. Patrick had prescribed the drug to dozens of patients, and the stress of this revelation causes him to start smoking again. The news of Sister Evangelina's death spreads quickly, and Shelagh rings Nonnatus House and asks Sister Julienne to come to the surgery. Phyllis drives her to the surgery, and Sister Julienne recalls the case of Baby Cottingham, the limbless baby who died in St. Cuthbert's, remembering when the baby was born in theatre, the surgeon said "Oh, my God. Another one!". Shelagh admits the first thing they thought of was Susan Mullucks, but her mother was only prescribed Distival quite recently.

Whilst checking on Noelle, Sister Mary Cynthia sees that she doesn't have a proper wedding dress. She tells Sister Julienne that she heard Sister Evangelina's voice telling her to give Noelle her wedding dress instead, so Trixie, Barbara, and Delia work on getting it ready for her. Mr. Crelin, a young undertaker, comes to Nonnatus House and offers his company's services free of charge, saying it's his way of repaying Sister Evangelina for nursing his mother back to health after she almost died giving birth to him.

Patsy helps Phyllis and Shelagh go through the files at the surgery. Shelagh determines they have seven women who were prescribed Distival to help with intractable morning sickness, but they all gave birth to normal, healthy babies. Phyllis finds that Patrick prescribed Distaval for Ruby Cottingham to help with anxiety, but she must have had some left and took them during her pregnancy. Patrick speaks with Dr. Jacques, GP for Rhoda Mullucks' sister Ava, and learns he had prescribed Distival for Ava for insomnia and she would've had the tablets in supply around the time Susan was conceived, and they realize Rhoda must have taken her sisters' tablets.

Patsy and Phyllis visit all the patients Patrick had prescribed Distival for and collect the tablets from them. Patrick knocks on Rhoda Mullucks' door, but there's no answer. Sister Julienne tracks down Ruby Cottingham and explains to her why her baby died and that the medication responsible is being withdrawn, and Ruby takes a bottle of pills out of her coat pocket and gives them to the Sister after taking one more. Seemingly all of Poplar goes to Nonnatus House to pay their respects to Sister Evangelina. As Shelagh and Timothy go to do the same, they meet Rhoda, who explains that they went to the seaside, but came back when they heard the news about Sister Evangelina. Shelagh asks Rhoda to come to the surgery, and she and Patrick explain why Susan was been born the way she was. A shocked Rhoda admits her sister sent her some pills in the mail, and she tearfully apologizes to Susan.

Mitchell and Noelle get married, and almost immediately she goes into labour, giving birth to a baby boy. As Sister Evangelina's funeral service begins, Sister Monica Joan emerges from Nonnatus House with Sister Evangelina's shoes for Mr. Crelin to place on the coffin, saying "They mark her spirit as well as any bloom, and deserve their rest as much as she".

Characters[]

Midwives[]

Nuns[]

Patients[]

Tripti Valluk
Noelle Anselm

Other[]

Songs featured[]

Till by Shirley Bassey

Trivia[]

  • Sister Monica Joan again recites the poem Heaven-Haven by Gerard Manley Hopkins in this episode. She had recited it previously in S02E08
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Sister Evangelina as actress Pam Ferris decided to leave the show.

Quotes[]

Women write their history in the words that pass between them. Too often, we leave no trace beyond the children born, the clothing stitched, the service given, the choices made - IF there was choice at all. But in 1961, we were choosing routes and taking byways never walked before. We did not hesitate or stumble because all roads were unexplored and everything was possible.

-Mature Jenny's opening narration

Sister Monica Joan: The Lord Himself assured us of the resurrection of the body. How is our Sister to rise again if her earthly form is not intact? (She starts sobbing) She will need eyes to see... a brain to think... a heart to love. If you mutilate her now, you maim her for eternity.

- Sister Monica Joan to Dr. Turner after Sister Evangelina's death.


Phyllis: Doctor, you're not to blame.

Patrick: I will be. If one more woman, pregnant or otherwise, swallows one more of those vile pills!


If she was looking down that day, she would have been surprised to see she was no longer there, and vexed that service had come to a standstill. The world was hers no longer and she wanted no memorial. But her work carried on in the love that lived beyond her and the hope that knew no end.

- Mature Jenny's closing narration about Sister Evangelina.

Gallery[]

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References[]

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