Call the Midwife: Ep. 4

“The present soon becomes the past and is gone.”

Robert Rankin

It’s been rather a long time since I saw this episode, which is always interesting when you’re trying to write about something. I do remember thinking that this series of Call the Midwife seems to be taking on the Great Isms with some gusto: if episode three was an exploration of 50s homophobia, then episode four takes a look at various facets of 50s sexism, from prostitution to wanting sons instead of daughters. Sister Monica Joan, feeling useless and extraneous, reminisces about marching for the vote in the days of her (relative) youth; Doctor Turner helps Sister Winifred educate prostitutes about syphilis; Trixie deals with the implications of imminently becoming a vicar’s wife. Now I think about it, the episode is actually very economically structured, each disparate storyline adding something to the conversation going on about women’s roles, and what can be done to escape or empower them. And though the show retains its essential fluffiness, I’m beginning to get more and more of a sense that the issues raised in each episode can’t actually be tied up neatly within the scope of one episode. The story ends with an acknowledgment that things get better, but not all the way better. People can help each other, but they can’t solve everything. Tea and lashings of ginger beer are incrementally cheering, but not solutions in themselves.

I wonder how that will resolve, eventually? I may have missed episode 5 on iPlayer (through being disorganised and LIFE), so I don’t know if I’ll find out, unfortunately. But there’ll be another series. There always is.

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