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S08.E07: Episode 7

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Sister Frances panics when Mother Mildred insists that she attend her first solo birth before Nurse Crane returns, and Trixie treats a pregnant woman who discovers that she has gonorrhoea, a condition that could have serious implications for the health of her baby. The Turners try to persuade Violet to approve the formation of a Brook Advisory Centre, and Lucille looks forward to a second date with Cyril.

Airs February 24, 2019.

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That was a tough watch. Poor Valerie. In hindsight, it seems obvious why they introduced Valerie's kindly grandmother. It is so difficult because I do believe she thinks she is helping these women. She doesn't see what happens to the women after and it probably wasn't talked about. She has killed women through. She has to be stopped. I feel so sorry for Valerie. She has some difficult choices to make.

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Well, I said it before - they're not throwing any punches with this plot and good for them. I dreaded something like this when gran with all her street-smart wisdom popped up last week. It was hard to watch but kudos all around - everyone brought their A-game: Val's horror as she started to realize the full impact of what she was seeing and her struggle to find composure while Trixie (more experience and no personal connection of course) managed to switch to emergency mode in the blink of an eye. That was really stellar acting and writing - as was gran's defiance in that last confrontation with the grand-daughter she clearly loved and who had become everything she had wanted to but wasn't allowed. So she followed her dream in her own way with all the horrifying consequences that entailed. 

As usual the episode was a bit too busy. I would have kept the Brooks Advisory Center plot as it was relevant to the A-plot. And Sister Frances first solo birth could have stayed too since we needed a bit of light (well until the postnatal depression set in I guess). Mother Mildred was great throughout and I hope we'll see her again some day. But they could have ditched the STD/sexual addiction plot. 

Edited by MissLucas
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Very powerful and moving. I loved the episode, and great work from everyone. The hard realities were not whitewashed and no tidy solution was presented. Valerie was wonderful and so was Gran.

I would like to see more of Sister Hilda. She intrigues me. 

Sister Frances baptism by fire proved to be a bit anticlimactic. What happened to going on your hands and knees to back in bed spit spot and here comes baby? The difficult birth just suddenly got easy. Weird. 

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I was surprised about the gran, I didn't connect the two stories at all, though in hindsight with what else we learned about her in the episode it made sense. The confrontation between Val and Gran was well done and well acted. I also liked the Gran and Sr Julianne's talk.

I agree that there was maybe a bit to much going on, I was glad to see Sr Francis get a win, but yeah lot of side plots, including more build up on Mai leaving. Next week seems like there'll be a lot heartbreak, hopefully they'll have something light to balance it out.

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My biggest issue with this show is it can forget the light moments.  Last season for me was a struggle because I found the whole of it so dark.  This season has had terribly dark stories but they have had a lot of fun to balance them out.   

I started getting suspicious when they were so direct about what kind of infection Valarie's grandmother had.   I knew there was too much focus there.   But this has been building all season and while lots of times plots come out of thin air but this one really has been built to.

I'm going to be sad for the Turners to give up Mai but with all the focus on how Angela's going to handle it I'm more worried about Mai.   

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Regarding Mai, I don't believe we'll have a resolution of her story in the finale.  I noticed that 

Spoiler

Max MacMillan, who plays Timothy Turner, is not in the cast list for the finale, and I can't imagine them doing a scene where Mai gets to stay permanently with the Turners that doesn't feature the entire family.  Or one where she leaves either.  

 

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Grandma's the abortionist!  Well, that wasn't what I expected when we started this season!  I really liked that neither Val or her grandmother backed down from their opinions.  But, Val kinda killed me standing outside trying to come to terms with the truth.  I didn't realize Trixie would be there, so I liked that she was a steady influence…keeping the young girl calm & Val on task.  I'm pretty excited for next week's finale, their convo should be quite good.

Poor clap lady.  Felt for her & even for her hubby.  We don't often get updates with the moms in later episodes, but I wouldn't mind seeing a hint that therapy helped them.

And yay for Sister Frances!  Definitely a small, but welcome, bright spot with Mother Mildred easing her baby bird out of the nest.  I didn't mind that the birth went from "Uh-oh" to "All's well", because sometimes that's how it works.  The change of position could have been enough to shift baby into a better birthing position.  Which I think was the intention--to show Sister Frances that she had the knowledge & skill to be successful, which just needed the confidence.  Reminds me of a bit Chummy's first delivery with the bride's mom in Season 1.

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I don't know why everybody talks about a suddenly easy birth in Sister Frances plot - have you guys seen the ginormous scissor she was wielding (not for the umbelical cord) ?!? I have to cross my legs just thinking about it 😲

Edited by MissLucas
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On 2/28/2019 at 10:55 AM, MissLucas said:

I don't know why everybody talks about a suddenly easy birth in Sister Frances plot - have you guys seen the ginormous scissor she was wielding (not for the umbelical cord) ?!? I have to cross my legs just thinking about it 😲

Better to get snipped by the ginormous scissor though than to tear a ginormous amount.    

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4 hours ago, bybrandy said:

Better to get snipped by the ginormous scissor though than to tear a ginormous amount.    

True but not a rousing endorsement for giving birth 😉

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I remember last season when they had the woman with the phobia of child birth. Every time they show another difficult birth i wonder why they don't have more patients with that issue. Even the so called straightforward births look horrifying to me.

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Did anybody else notice Val's Grandma was wearing mirroring shades of Val's uniform?  That spoke volumes...

I had a hard time feeling any kind of sympathy/empathy for Mr. Pugh.  I saved it for his poor wife and their (very pretty!) daughter.

I'm glad Sister Frances' first solo delivery was only a little bit traumatic.  From what I understand, the delivery is uncomfortable but not dire.  She did so well.  But I'm sorry it meant the departure of Mother Mildred.  She was a breath of Sister Evangeline.

Shallow bits: Lucille looks wonderful in orange, I am into the Olympics like Sister MJ is, and #TeamMayTurner!

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Glad that both sides were discussed...in 1960’s London those with money went to Harley street while those without went to people like Val’s gran...Harley street was where the private doctors practised.

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When Dr. Turner showed up at the prostitute's door and said "I'm here in a professional capacity," my heart sank thinking "Have you been there in some other capacity?" I swear if they turned Dr. Turner into a philanderer frequenting hookers I would never be able to watch the show again. I was very relieved when that didn't turn out to be the case.

ETA Mother Mildred's departure gave me strong Mary Poppins "I'll stay until the wind changes" vibes.

Edited by ombelico
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On 2/27/2019 at 8:15 PM, OnceSane said:

And yay for Sister Frances!  Definitely a small, but welcome, bright spot with Mother Mildred easing her baby bird out of the nest.  I didn't mind that the birth went from "Uh-oh" to "All's well", because sometimes that's how it works.  The change of position could have been enough to shift baby into a better birthing position.  Which I think was the intention--to show Sister Frances that she had the knowledge & skill to be successful, which just needed the confidence.  Reminds me of a bit Chummy's first delivery with the bride's mom in Season 1.

I seems like one of the places edited for PBS broadcast, because one minute Sr. Frances is saying she'll ask the husband to call for another midwife to assist and we see him hastening out of the flat to do so, and the next it's the following morning and she's still solo, delivering the baby on her own. 

10 minutes ago, ombelico said:

When Dr. Turner showed up at the prostitute's door and said "I'm here in a professional capacity," my heart sank thinking "Have you been there in some other capacity?" I swear if they turned Dr. Turner into a philanderer frequenting hookers I would never be able to watch the show again. I was very relieved when that didn't turn out to be the case.

He was responding to her saying (to paraphrase) that she wasn't expecting to get a house call, so it really seemed he was responding to her tone suggesting he might be there for other than medical purposes because it was out of the ordinary for her to see him at her home.

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One of the season's better episodes, I think.

I'm going to miss Mother Mildred. A lot. She brought a levity to the show amidst so many sad storylines.

I was impressed that the show wen t the sex addiction (I think) route with Mr. Pugh.

I really like the Granny Dyer storyline, and especially timely given what is happening in both the US and Canada these days.  Valerie was crushed (good job by the actress), and Trixie took charge.

I'm most bothered by the Mai arc though, and hoping that she doesn't leave the Turner home for her sake. That could be a permanent emotional scar.

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Well, that answers my question. They WERE going to reveal who the abortionist was. And Val's grandma totally did the abortion that killed that woman earlier in the season, didn't she? She said that she charges seven pounds, and I feel like the dead woman's husband said that all he knew was that the abortionist charges seven pounds because that's the only money that was missing from the money jar.

Oh, and I forgot to say that I really liked how the actress who plays Valerie played the whole thing, from the moment when she arrives and realizes what's happening, all the way to the very end of the episode with her crying. Kudos.

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Some of you guessed it beforehand, but the reveal of the abortionist's identity came as a massive shock to me. Jennifer Kirby's performance as Valerie throughout the episode was stellar. Helen George (Trixie) was great too.

Edited by purist
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Great acting in this episode.  As horrific as Gran's actions were, her stories could be taken from today except that, for the time being, abortion is legal.  Not sure that's going to be true much longer.  And poor Val!  Her reaction was heartbreaking.

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14 hours ago, natyxg said:

Well, that answers my question. They WERE going to reveal who the abortionist was. And Val's grandma totally did the abortion that killed that woman earlier in the season, didn't she? She said that she charges seven pounds, and I feel like the dead woman's husband said that all he knew was that the abortionist charges seven pounds because that's the only money that was missing from the money jar.

Oh, and I forgot to say that I really liked how the actress who plays Valerie played the whole thing, from the moment when she arrives and realizes what's happening, all the way to the very end of the episode with her crying. Kudos.

Remember how vehement Valerie was in saying she wished that woman would get what she was due for the toll her back-alley abortions took in that previous episode? Jennifer Kirby did a great job with Val's horror and grief at discovering her beloved Gran is that woman, and at being put in the position she was by their calling her.

Edited by caitmcg
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There is an excellent 2004 movie titled Vera Drake about a working class woman in 1950s London who performs abortions. Like Valerie’s gran, she sees it as a necessary service. Directed by Mike Leigh and starring Imelda Staunton.

How could anyone else see the TV screen with Sister Monica Joan sitting right in front of it like that?

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Sister Julienne mentioned women dying of that infection Gran had before antibiotics. It reminded me of when I recently watched The Danish Girl. Eddie Redmayne’s character got an infection after her second gender reassignment surgery. I was, like, she’ll be okay, until I remembered there were no antibiotics in 1930. 

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Jennifer Worth did a critique of "Vera Drake."  According to her, the abortion method used in the film always resulted in the death of the woman.

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Does anyone else  feel sorry for that poor girl having to go through life with the name AGNES PUGH?

What would've happened if Valerie had shown up by herself in response to Aunt Flo's phone call? I can't imagine her having the composure to handle it professionally like Trixie did.

They ran last week's closing credits instead of the correct ones (at least on PBS.) 

Edited by J-Man
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Granny being the abortionist caught me completely by surprise. Wow, I still can't believe it.

On 5/12/2019 at 9:28 PM, LittleIggy said:

How could anyone else see the TV screen with Sister Monica Joan sitting right in front of it like that?

I was wondering the same thing, she sits right in front of it up close & everybody else gets to see the back of her head.

I thought for sure somebody was going to die this episode.

Edited by GaT
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I feel bad they both have to go to court though. Trixie was brought there and poor Val. I can 't see them letting her Gram go but time will tell.

I don't know where they want the Mae story line to go, but would the adoptive family just change their minds? The poor guy got TB and I hope they are a loving family and it shows that Mae can still be loved and visit the Turners. Fostering can be hard but it doesn't mean Mae will be sad and mistreated with her new family. Maybe it will encourage them to do it again or maybe adopt as they did Andrea.

Love Sr Francis, I am anxious too and she did great and I like how the mom told her she didn't need help. She knew with the gas machine, she was nervous. I thought it was touching too how she thanked God for not leaving her alone. : )   I hope they show the mom at clinic again with a bit of a followup on her depression.

Edited by debraran
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Didn't see it coming - even after Grannies speech to Dr Turner how she would like to have been a nurse but couldn't in the time she was brought up still didn't see it coming.  Even when Auntie Fran called, thought it was just Grannie was visiting her and had gotten a fever from the infection or collapsed or something.  Of course the minute they walked into that room that all went out the window and it was holy crap adorable loving grannie is the abortionist, probably the one they've been hunting all season.

All credit to Jennifer/Valerie - her initial response of near tears quiet shaking, her argument with Grannie after Trixie and the ambulance left and her breakdown outside Nonnatus at the end; she nailed it.  Also points to Trixie for keeping it together and staying calm - it was never stated (maybe next week?) but in the back of her mind Trixie HAD to be thinking that this could be the same woman who caused the death of her good friend Jeannie.  If she was though she pushed it down and took care of the problem in front of her.  

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6 hours ago, LittleIggy said:

There is an excellent 2004 movie titled Vera Drake about a working class woman in 1950s London who performs abortions. Like Valerie’s gran, she sees it as a necessary service. Directed by Mike Leigh and starring Imelda Staunton.

How could anyone else see the TV screen with Sister Monica Joan sitting right in front of it like that?

that is an excellent movie.

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The look on Valerie's face when she realized what her grandmother was doing.... wow. 

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42 minutes ago, doodlebug said:

They cannot let the grandmother go.  She made it very clear to Val that she had no intention of stopping, even after Val told her that her infection had been spread to some of the women she treated.  If they don't go to the police, Gram will surely kill another woman and neither Trixie nor Val could live with themselves.  I guess they could help Gram by setting her up with the proper medical equipment and teaching her sterile technique, but then they risk their own licensure and could end up in prison themselves.  It would also completely alter the premise of the show.  Gram is going to jail and Trixie and Val are going to have to help put her there. 

I did think the show did a good job of demonstrating Gram's POV on the issue.  She'd seen a lot of poor women suffer from complications and even die from pregnancy after pregnancy and they didn't have the luxury of seeing a private physician for a discreet service like wealthier women did.  That's the thing, when abortion is illegal, women don't stop having them; they simply stop having them safely.

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10 minutes ago, libgirl2 said:
53 minutes ago, doodlebug said:

They cannot let the grandmother go.  She made it very clear to Val that she had no intention of stopping, even after Val told her that her infection had been spread to some of the women she treated.  If they don't go to the police, Gram will surely kill another woman and neither Trixie nor Val could live with themselves.  I guess they could help Gram by setting her up with the proper medical equipment and teaching her sterile technique, but then they risk their own licensure and could end up in prison themselves.  It would also completely alter the premise of the show.  Gram is going to jail and Trixie and Val are going to have to help put her there. 

I did think the show did a good job of demonstrating Gram's POV on the issue.  She'd seen a lot of poor women suffer from complications and even die from pregnancy after pregnancy and they didn't have the luxury of seeing a private physician for a discreet service like wealthier women did.  That's the thing, when abortion is illegal, women don't stop having them; they simply stop having them safely.

For some reason my comment didn't save. 

yes, its true..... abortion has been going on for centuries. I also think the show did a good job with the two points of view. 

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I just watched Revolutionary Road with a lot of Titanic stars.   It was from 50s I think and touches  on unsafe abortions.  Very sad . 

Edited by debraran
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On 2/24/2019 at 1:43 PM, snowwhyte said:

That was a tough watch. Poor Valerie. In hindsight, it seems obvious why they introduced Valerie's kindly grandmother. It is so difficult because I do believe she thinks she is helping these women. She doesn't see what happens to the women after and it probably wasn't talked about. She has killed women through. She has to be stopped. I feel so sorry for Valerie. She has some difficult choices to make.

I agree. This episode shows some of Poplar's rough edges that are often sanded out on the show. Valerie was crushed. I liked Trixie standing up to Val's aunt on calling the ambulance. She wasn't going to let anyone die on her watch. I'm glad Gran has been on the show long enough that we saw her fun side during Bingo so we can understand why Valerie and she are close, as well as her steely toughness. Gran may have once wanted to be a nurse, but she obviously doesn't even know the basics of how germs are passed on.

I agree that the Sister Frances story was a ray of light in a dark story, and know that PBS cut something there in the middle. Whoever does their edits is not good at it. And why the cuts anyway, they have time before the next show starts? I know, we've been over this many times, but PBS rolls on its merry way.

I had to look up what lumbago is to see what was keeping Nurse Crane in the hospital so long -it is an old term for lower back pain -have to say its handier to say/write than our current term. I hope she softens towards Sgt. Walrus, his writing her a note about what the scouts are doing was really sweet.

Edited by willowk · Reason: correct spelling
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I'm hoping Valerie and Trixie don't have to go to the police, but that the police come to them.  There should be questions at the hospital that would cause them to send for the police who would then question  the midwives who were present.  Or not?  I'm just trying to picture it all and hoping Valerie doesn't have to do anything, but answer questions honestly. 

Poor Valerie, she has worked so hard to rise from her humble beginnings and then to be caught up in such a sordid scandal.  I didn't like her grubby grandmother even before we found out the worst.

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On 2/24/2019 at 4:43 PM, snowwhyte said:

That was a tough watch. Poor Valerie. In hindsight, it seems obvious why they introduced Valerie's kindly grandmother. It is so difficult because I do believe she thinks she is helping these women. She doesn't see what happens to the women after and it probably wasn't talked about. She has killed women through. She has to be stopped. I feel so sorry for Valerie. She has some difficult choices to make.

I would not want to be in her position. I feel bad for Valerie.

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2 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

Poor Valerie, she has worked so hard to rise from her humble beginnings and then to be caught up in such a sordid scandal. 

Her face was a study when she was processing the situation.  Every emotion under the sun.  Beautiful piece of acting.

What a nightmare for Val to have to testify against someone she's loved her whole life.  I can't imagine having to do something like that.

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I gasped in shock when I realized Gran was the abortionist! What a rough episode to watch. Can’t believe the season is almost over, makes me want to go back and do a rewatch from the very beginning. 

I cant believe I didn’t realize until now that this site had a forum for CTM. 

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2 hours ago, Kohola3 said:

Her face was a study when she was processing the situation.  Every emotion under the sun.  Beautiful piece of acting.

What a nightmare for Val to have to testify against someone she's loved her whole life.  I can't imagine having to do something like that.

I thought her and Trixie did a good job and next week in court will be hard. I have a feeling the grandmother will make it easy and take it all on herself they way she should. It will be very emotional though. Maybe there wont be enough proof but I doubt it.

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Wow, what a great and emotional episode with Val and her gran. The actors did a fab job at the confrontation, so sad. Also very timely as the news from Georgia points back to. Women will have them no matter what and in the past it was usually the rich women who could go see the doctors while the poor had to make do with women like Val's gran.

I'm also glad that the writers didn't take the easy way out with the husband with the STD and have everyone happy at the end. But these stories always seem written by the NHS with the plug for the National Counseling Centers.

With the way they are milking the May storyline, I'm guessing at the last minute she'll stay with the Turners. Hopefully not, because while fostering is a wonderful thing, the most painful aspect is letting the children leave. Cyril must really like Lucille as going to a bingo hall is probably the most uncool thing a guy can do. 

Finally, I want Trixie's wardrobe. The leather hat, the dresses, the scarves, it's so mod!

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Terrific work, especially from Helen George and Jennifer Kirby. I wondered why Dr. Turner and Sister Julienne were going into so much detail about type of bacteria causing Gran’s infection, but the reason became horribly clear.

19 hours ago, J-Man said:

Does anyone else  feel sorry for that poor girl having to go through life with the name AGNES PUGH?

I did. And stop trying to make Sgt. Wolfe happen!

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I've got to give the show credit. They did a really good job building this story as a season-long arc. I had been thinking that the show was leaning in a little more on abortion stories this season but I just chalked that up to modern politics. I still didn't think much about it until I came here and saw the details that some of you noticed and remembered such as the money in Gran's cupboard or the fact that the "abortionist" charged 7 pounds. I give the writers credit for doing a subtle slow build.

That said, I also agree with those who said this episode was over stuffed. The abortion story, the gonorrhea story with the sex addiction angle, Sister Frances' first birth, the advisory board, Mai and the Turners, and Phyllis' recovery. There was a LOT crammed into this episode.

Also, add me to the list of people annoyed by Sister MJ sitting right in front of the TV.

ETA: Can anyone explain the expressions used during the bingo game? (5 and 6? Val and Gran say "Was she worth it?")

Edited by marceline
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14 minutes ago, honeywest said:

Terrific work, especially from Helen George and Jennifer Kirby. I wondered why Dr. Turner and Sister Julienne were going into so much detail about type of bacteria causing Gran’s infection, but the reason became horribly clear.

I did. And stop trying to make Sgt. Wolfe happen!

It does seem more and more awkward. I keep waiting for someone to mention her friends wife from class (Tommy?) died and her to send condolences.

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34 minutes ago, marceline said:

I've got to give the show credit. They did a really good job building this story as a season-long arc. I had been thinking that the show was leaning in a little more on abortion stories this season but I just chalked that up to modern politics. I still didn't think much about it until I came here and saw the details that some of you noticed and remembered such as the money in Gran's cupboard or the fact that the "abortionist" charged 7 pounds. I give the writers credit for doing a subtle slow build.

That said, I also agree with those who said this episode was over stuffed. The abortion story, the gonorrhea story with the sex addiction angle, Sister Frances' first birth, the advisory board, Mai and the Turners, and Phyllis' recovery. There was a LOT crammed into this episode.

Also, add me to the list of people annoyed by Sister MJ sitting right in front of the TV.

Eep when we were kids in the 70s, my sis and I sat literally right up next to the TV. Probably why we wear glasses but also because we wanted to see The Hardy Boys up close. LOL. It was definitely a thing in the 60-70s. I wonder if we have another arc coming with Sister MJ addicted to the telly. First it's Doctor Who, now she's obsessed with the Olympics. Can the sisters and Doctor Turner break her habit(get it!). Tune in next Sunday.

I'm guessing the advisory board and the cuts mentioned to the handicap services maybe will be in next weeks episode since Reggie is now "acting funny". Wondering if they will put him in a group home to be with others-were there such things in the 1960s?

Edited by Tardislass
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40 minutes ago, Tardislass said:

Wondering if they will put him in a group home to be with others-were there such things in the 1960s?

Reggie already lives in a group home/community…he was sent home due to an outbreak (whooping cough, IIRC).  

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Where was Mother Mildred heading off to?  Is there a bus at night that would take her to the Mother House?  I can understand her wanting to make her departure without any fuss, but that seemed unnecessarily dramatic.  

I liked Sr. Frances dealing with the delivery on her own, and especially liked her taking control and getting rid of all those people when the new mom was in such emotional and physical distress.  

I love Trixie.  When she took charge as she instantly realized Val wasn't capable of doing so, when she told Val's aunt they wouldn't use her dirty towels, insisting that an ambulance be called - she was just wonderful.  If I'm ever in distress, I hope I have someone like Trixie there for me.  

DId the grandmother realize that she had killed someone?  That there had been another near death that resulted in a young woman losing her ability to have a child?  She really doesn't understand Val's commitment to nursing, her dedication to caring for the people of Poplar if she thinks Val could overlook that.  And instead of burning the money, how about returning it to the young girl she had so grievously injured?

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23 minutes ago, Calvada said:

DId the grandmother realize that she had killed someone?  That there had been another near death that resulted in a young woman losing her ability to have a child?  She really doesn't understand Val's commitment to nursing, her dedication to caring for the people of Poplar if she thinks Val could overlook that.  And instead of burning the money, how about returning it to the young girl she had so grievously injured?

I get the feeling that she knows nothing about the women she might have harmed. After all, those complications happened after they went home and she wouldn't know the women or be in contact with them after they left. I do think we'll see her get the shock of her life, and the guilt of her life, when she learns that at least one woman has died.

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7 hours ago, natyxg said:

I get the feeling that she knows nothing about the women she might have harmed. After all, those complications happened after they went home and she wouldn't know the women or be in contact with them after they left. I do think we'll see her get the shock of her life, and the guilt of her life, when she learns that at least one woman has died.

I think she should have known dirt wasn't good, the place seemed filthy as Trixie commented on (but without too much judgement) She cared about her patient. I feel some ignorance on the grandmother's part entered into it but so were half the old wives tales my mom and grandma told me about Education is a blessing many take for granted.

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If the whispers around Poplar tell the girls where to go to "get rid of it," then whispers of young girls dying for "female" reasons, should have got back to the two old biddies.  I wont buy that they didn't know.  Some of the young women, would have returned to the scene of the operation, looking for help, when the horrible pain began.

I just can't excuse the filthiness of the room.  Cleanliness has been considered a good thing for centuries and germs as invisible causes of disease was discovered in 1864.  Formal education is not the only way to pass information, women who worked with Florence Nightingale would have learned about proper sick rooms and if you're going to practice medicine in your kitchen you could at least keep your eyes and ears open about the subject.

She makes me angry. I didn't like her bawdy humor and I thought asking her granddaughter to lance her boils when medical care was free wasn't  very nice either.  I hope she goes to prison for a bit.  The living conditions would be an improvement.

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