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S09.00: Christmas Special 2019

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Someone please explain to me why they even had all of the midwives sick at the beginning of the episode? It just seems weird. That said, I loved the location and all of the adventures, both in Scotland and back at NH. I’m not a traveler/tourist, but rough, wild, remote places like Scotland or Wales makes me want to be.

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On 12/26/2019 at 3:20 PM, caitmcg said:

Where are you? If in the US, you can stream the episode here.

 

Thank you so much. A very sweet Christmas special. The scenery was beautiful, as well as the multiple story lines.

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20 hours ago, StrictTime said:

Someone please explain to me why they even had all of the midwives sick at the beginning of the episode? It just seems weird. That said, I loved the location and all of the adventures, both in Scotland and back at NH. I’m not a traveler/tourist, but rough, wild, remote places like Scotland or Wales makes me want to be.

Having them all sick isn't strange since they all live together but sending them to a remote, cold and rainy area to "heal". Well that's another story. Could have used another reason I suppose.

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I heard mention of the flu, not just colds.  And I think it was just a way for Mother Mildred to introduce the idea of going to the Hebrides, since the nuns from the Mother House had Poplar under control.

I enjoyed the episode very much, but I was so distracted by Trixie's too short bangs.  I don't know if they were going for an Audrey Hepburn look, but super short bangs seem more 50's than mid 60's. 

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On 12/28/2019 at 3:13 AM, JudyObscure said:

He might also want to do something besides deliver babies for a change and he would be an all around general practitioner in Scotland. 

He already is a general practitioner in Poplar.  We see him mostly delivering babies because that's what this show is about.  Dr. Turner's random desire to stay made no sense to me.  I get he wanted to help, but it seemed like he was really gung-ho for someone not really knowing any details.  Maybe it was supposed to parallel when Shelagh wanted to go to South Africa?  IDK, but it didn't work for me.

This wasn't my fave Christmas special.  I think they were trying to recreate the magic of the South Africa CS, but they failed.  I wanted to see more of Effie and less of Sister Monica Joan.  The former could have had a more interesting arc if they'd cut the annoying, and unnecessary, antics of the latter.  I like SMJ, but her latest stunt is the kind of shit that drives me crazy; mainly because the next time she complains about "not being helpful", no one will remind her of her shitty behavior just to get her way.

Also, I didn't feel we spent enough time with anyone because too much was being shoehorned in.  The Reggie storyline felt a little rushed, another victim to "SMJ must see her white stag" nonsense.

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I love CTM and every episode brings me close to tears or to actual sobbing. However, this Christmas special fell way short for me. I am so disappointed. And what doesn’t help is that my PBS station is re-airing all the past holiday CTM specials back-to-back. I’ve just rewatched the 2015 special for the umpteenth time where the storylines are: Sister MJ is very ill and wanders away to her childhood home; grieving mother who lost her infant is surprised to learn she’s pregnant again (it’s a miracle!); BBC wants to film the Christmas concert at church and due to children’s measles outbreak, the nuns and midwives step in to perform. I teared up and was moved for 90% of this special. Not so for the most recent one. Let them all stay in Poplar next time and give us squishy, thoughtful storylines.

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I decided to view Sister Monica Joan's shenanigans as God's penance for Mother Mildred who in an act of extreme hubris decided she was on a mission from God (all she lacked were Ray-Bans).

She dragged a couple of convalescent women to a chilly damp place where they were not welcome; asked the Turners to leave their three toddlers in the middle of Christmas preparations (Doctor Turner also had to organize a replacement doctor for his surgery and I wonder who paid for that) and deprived Reggie of a good amount of time with Fred - not to mention all the pregnant ladies in Poplar who might have wished to give birth with the assistance of a familiar midwife.

The logistics behind the whole endeavor are mind-boggling. On closer looks she comes across as almost as crazy as Sister Monica Joan and her vexation at the later's actions was well deserved.

Of course it's all down to the decision to have another Christmas Special on a very special location. I'd rather have another Poplar Christmas episode.

 

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42 minutes ago, MissLucas said:

She dragged a couple of convalescent women to a chilly damp place where they were not welcome; asked the Turners to leave their three toddlers in the middle of Christmas preparations (Doctor Turner also had to organize a replacement doctor for his surgery and I wonder who paid for that) and deprived Reggie of a good amount of time with Fred - not to mention all the pregnant ladies in Poplar who might have wished to give birth with the assistance of a familiar midwife.

There was a great deal about this that made no sense. It's one thing to convalesce in a different environment (though the Outer Hebrides in December don't exactly seem salubrious), but yet another for nurses recovering from illness to treat patients who might be exposed to their viruses. Of course, by the time we see them en route, there's zero sign of any of them still feeling under the weather, so never mind. And they left behind what, two nun midwives (not counting SMJ), one of whom was almost too nervous to actually deliver a baby last season? And she's charged with 24/7 childcare of three youngsters, anyway. Never mind Dr Turner's surgery, who's answering the phone at Nonnatus House, running the midwifery clinic, and attending to the simultaneous or more complicated births? At least with the previous one with the SA plot, we saw that things were left to run decently back in Poplar.

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There was a throwaway line that Nonnatus House could function with some of the Sisters from the Mother House who had been there to help out during the flu anyway. Which begs the question why Mother Mildred did not drag those Sisters to the Hebrides - given that she wanted to open another house of her order there.

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There was some sloppy writing to be sure.  The flu story line was silly and had no purpose.  They could have shown a flashback to the fall with Mother Mildred proposing the trip and wanting her "A-Team" from Poplar to get the ball rolling. For a Mother Superior, she comes off as being very impulsive.

 

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2 hours ago, MissLucas said:

She dragged a couple of convalescent women to a chilly damp place where they were not welcome; asked the Turners to leave their three toddlers in the middle of Christmas preparations (Doctor Turner also had to organize a replacement doctor for his surgery and I wonder who paid for that) and deprived Reggie of a good amount of time with Fred - not to mention all the pregnant ladies in Poplar who might have wished to give birth with the assistance of a familiar midwife.

The logistics behind the whole endeavor are mind-boggling. On closer looks she comes across as almost as crazy as Sister Monica Joan and her vexation at the later's actions was well deserved.

 

 

 

I was so happy to watch a new episode that I enjoyed it in spite of the utter nonsense described above by @MissLucas.  It was ludicrous to drag convalescing women to a cold, damp, remote place.

Nevertheless, I loved the location shooting.  What a splendidly beautiful wild place.

The worst thing about the episode was not the ridiculous premise, but another major chunk of time devoted to more shenanigans by Sister Monica Joan.  They can never decide how impaired she is.  There are the times when she is too gaga to have much connection to reality and the times, like this one, when she is outwitting everyone for some little scheme or adventure.  It is several seasons past time to send her to the Mother House.  If they can't bring themselves to do that, then just let her be in the background with the occasional comment, but stop spending time or her that would be better for someone else.

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Watching those women peel potatoes, I'm surprised none of them lost a finger.  Have any of those actors ever peeled a potato?  Or even watched someone else do it?  I had to chuckle.  Lucille was the only one who knew what she was doing.

 

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48 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

Watching those women peel potatoes, I'm surprised none of them lost a finger.  Have any of those actors ever peeled a potato?  Or even watched someone else do it?  I had to chuckle.  Lucille was the only one who knew what she was doing.

 

I noticed that too! How could they not know how to peel a potato?  Someone should have shown them how, because it took me clear out of the scene.

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22 hours ago, Suzn said:

How could they not know how to peel a potato?  Someone should have shown them how, because it took me clear out of the scene.

Heh, I don't know that a lot of people know how to peel potatoes with a paring knife these days. I thought I only saw one peeler and the others were using knives.

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Under normal circumstances (by which I mean any other show), I would've thought the stag thing a preface to her dying. However, this show has essentially done variations on that before with her - and not killed her off. So at this point I basically never expect SMJ to be killed off, without it probably being spoiled in advance by news of the actor leaving the show. Whatever normal dramatic foreshadowing should indicate they're killing her off in any given episode will not result in her death. They've cried wolf too many times.

I do not find it cute or endearing when she basically steals, seems to be lucid and just talks her way out of it by implying she's not really lucid. If she were out of it enough to let the train thing go, it's not cute or prideworthy she got herself out there. If she were lucid enough that yay she made the trip successfully then she's a damn con artist.

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7 hours ago, CoyoteBlue said:

Heh, I don't know that a lot of people know how to peel potatoes with a paring knife these days. I thought I only saw one peeler and the others were using knives.

When my sister-in-law joined the family she was amazed that my mother and I never used peelers or cutting boards, we just peel and chop everything in our hands.  She was watching me mince a whole onion from my palm into the skillet.  On the other hand, I just about cut my thumb off while taking the can lid from the can opener.  New-fangled thing! 

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I enjoyed the episode for the scenery, but it always surprises me when a bit of pop culture (fashion or music) reminds me that this is the 1960s. The way the regular people live, the clothes, the attitudes - seems more like Little House on the Prairie, or maybe The Waltons. Meaning that they are living 30 years behind the times.

Add me to list of people who are tired of Monica Joan's shenanigans. Maybe because I'm manipulated by elderly people in real life, I don't find her ongoing "needs" to be endearing. So she can't rest until she sees a white stag? Great, now she has, she should be forever content. But no, next season she'll need to eat a persimmon, or meet Christopher Plummer, or visit Jamaica before her soul will settle. It's always something.

Glad to visit with these ladies again, though. It's tv comfort food.

Edited by Shermie
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2 hours ago, Shermie said:

meet Christopher Plummer

Hold on now!  If this means a trip to Austria with all the midwives running across a hilltop singing, "The Sound of Music,"  it could be the best episode ever.

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I looked forward to it, have watched it twice, still love it.  I am more than willing to put aside inconsistencies to see them all again! 

And the Eilean Glas lighthouse was just stunning.  It's one of the oldest in Scotland.  The whole episode was worth it just to see the views from the tower.

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My VCR failed to record, and since then FiOS has not scheduled another presentation. It's not showing On Demand. Very bizarre. Any suggestions where to view?

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Just now, pasdetrois said:

My VCR failed to record, and since then FiOS has not scheduled another presentation. It's not showing On Demand. Very bizarre. Any suggestions where to view?

You can download the PBS streaming app (it's free) and see it.  It will be removed at some point, but last I checked it was still listed.

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On 12/26/2019 at 1:03 PM, TVFAN said:

I was disappointed by the lack of at least a Tim reference, too.  He is one of my favorites!  I wish they would give him a good storyline for the upcoming season.  

I think it would be cute and fun to see him trying to earn money to buy tickets to a Rolling Stones concert to impress a girl. 

As for the actual episode, I thought it was okay. 

 

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On 12/25/2019 at 11:37 PM, Driad said:

Near the beginning the caption identified the music as Jingle Bells but it was actually Sleigh Ride.

The captions on this show always have odd mistakes. I noticed May being called Maeve.

Does anyone know if there were cut scenes as usual, or were we given a Christmas miracle?

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One thing I’m surprised they didn’t make more of. 
When Mother Mildred is telling the Turners about the island and the problem is that the nurses fall for the doctor and then get married and leave. She says that at least that wouldn’t be a problem with nuns. And I was wondering did she even know who she was talking to?  
There didn’t seem to be any sort of exchanges between the Turners to indicate that they were thinking of their own circumstances. I suppose it’s possible that with Mother Mildred having been out of the country, she may not have been aware of their history. 

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15 hours ago, Ceindreadh said:

When Mother Mildred is telling the Turners about the island and the problem is that the nurses fall for the doctor and then get married and leave. She says that at least that wouldn’t be a problem with nuns. And I was wondering did she even know who she was talking to?  
There didn’t seem to be any sort of exchanges between the Turners to indicate that they were thinking of their own circumstances.

I did think they kind of lingered on Shelagh's face after MM said that. It was very understated.

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Netflix has this at the end of season 9, but the numbering here and references to the year make me think it’s supposed to go at the beginning of season 9. Which is it? 

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7 hours ago, LeGrandElephant said:

Netflix has this at the end of season 9, but the numbering here and references to the year make me think it’s supposed to go at the beginning of season 9. Which is it? 

The Christmas specials always belong to the season that follows.  i.e. the beginning of season 9.

BBC usually air the Christmas special on or around Christmas and the next season starts a few weeks later in January.

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2 hours ago, Ceindreadh said:

The Christmas specials always belong to the season that follows.  i.e. the beginning of season 9.

BBC usually air the Christmas special on or around Christmas and the next season starts a few weeks later in January.

I wonder why Netflix has them out of order!

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2 minutes ago, LeGrandElephant said:

I wonder why Netflix has them out of order!

If you think CtM is bad, try watching Great British Bake-Off.

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Not gonna lie, I was bracing myself for seeing Sr. Monica Joan become a handsome laird's Sisternach when they had her standing with her hand on the stones. But I'm guessing the Scotland of Outlander isn't THIS one, to paraphrase Shelagh.

Image: Parody of an Outlander promo showing Sr. Monica Joan and Jamie Fraser on either side of a stone. "POPLANDER 9/10 Starz"

poplander.jpg

Edited by heavysnaxx
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