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S08.E08: Episode 8

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Shelagh organises a ballroom dance to raise money for the maternity home, in the hope of taking her mind off May's impending adoption. A terminally ill patient laments that she will not get the chance to dance one last time, but Sister Hilda is determined to make sure she does. Fred suffers an embarrassing condition, and cannot bring himself to see Dr Turner, while Nurse Crane is discharged from hospital and tries to play matchmaker between Sgt Woolf and Miss Higgins. Valerie and Trixie are called to testify in a court case. Last in the series.

Airs March 3, 2019.

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Well, kudos for the unexpected twist: they finally made good use of Sister Frances and Sister Monica Joan. I felt for Sister Frances when she had been assigned bathroom cleaning duties as one of her very first tasks at Nonnatus House. To hear her finally express her feelings (incl. anger) was quite a surprise. I think the show took some risks in tackling this issue and pulled it off. There were no easy answers and there was no room for sugar-coating. Also: Jennifer Kirby was great in all her scenes and we finally got to learn more about Valerie even if it was rather heart-breaking.

Sister Hilda finally got a good plot too - I love how much she enjoys fashion. I've noticed that she's made more than one comment about it throughout the season. I wonder if she'll ever get a backstory, apparently she's lived for a while a secular life and did not join as young as Sister Frances so there's definitely some narrative potential.

Best moment of the episode was seeing the gazillion of light-bulbs going on over Nurse Crane's head when Sergeant Wolf got into raptures about Miss Hill's poem LOL!

Some very cute gowns at that ball. Reggie's girlfriend won 'Best Dressed' for me.

And of course Mei's adoption fell apart. She and Angela are very sweet together but I'm not quite sure why that plot was there in the first place.

Sister Julienne definitely took a back-seat this season. I hope that'll change next season. I also hope we get to see Mother Mildred again (who of course had plenty to say on the phone LOL).

And now to wait until Christmas!

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They lost and regained Mei all without the involvement or sidelooks of Tim Turner.    But I'm glad Mei got to go home.  No real conflict for the family but I think as the show has 3 more seasons coming there are plenty of time to do stories with a slightly older Mei and Angela.  Angela and Mei are both adopted but Angela less obviously so.  It could be an interesting dynamic for how the public interacts with them (clearly it would never be an issue for any member of the exceedingly adorable Turner family)

I wonder if there was some doubt in renewal when this episode was written as this episode didn't seem as needlessly tragic as some of the prior finales.   

Yes, you have the dying girl and Val's grandmother being sent to prison but the dying girl's step father decided she had value in the last seconds of her life and she got to twirl under disco ball.  

And Val's grandmother was killing the women of Poplar.  Sure it was inadvertant.  But something had to be done there.  I thought it was a look at the subject that pulled very few punches. 

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The abortion storyline was well done, and Valerie has been around for a while now, so good to see her get focused on.

Mei is cute, but yeah I thought it was going in direction of the Turners coping with her leaving, no problem with her staying around. Them trying to cover up Tim being missing, made it more blatant, it was very odd that "Tim" was at dance with his hand covering his face all the time!

I was happy with how the Nurse Crane/ Sergeant Wolfe romance was resolved, that was unexpected and I'm glad that Phyllis didn't just get worn down and just settle for him.

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Reggie has a love!  The Sarge is certainly fickle, isn't he?  

Such a sweet episode.  And no one died!  But still... I cried. 

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Very timely considering recent events in North America...women will try & get an abortion no matter what.   Lovely positive end with the daughter who only has months to live with her dad.  Sorry the Turner adoption tale was a bit too obvious.

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I knew the Mae story line would go that way but I wish they didn't build that up with obvious ending. I thought if she left and they visited her to see she was happy would have been nice too.

I enjoyed all the stories and was glad to see Sgt Wolf find someone who enjoys the attention. 😉

I'm sure the abortion story will come back and with new laws starting in the states and will spark more intelligent conversation.

Edited by debraran
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On 3/5/2019 at 2:58 PM, peace355 said:

The abortion storyline was well done, and Valerie has been around for a while now, so good to see her get focused on.

Mei is cute, but yeah I thought it was going in direction of the Turners coping with her leaving, no problem with her staying around. Them trying to cover up Tim being missing, made it more blatant, it was very odd that "Tim" was at dance with his hand covering his face all the time!

I was happy with how the Nurse Crane/ Sergeant Wolfe romance was resolved, that was unexpected and I'm glad that Phyllis didn't just get worn down and just settle for him.

Why was the actor playing Tim missing this episode? Didn't notice until you mentioned it.

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A satisfying ending with some food for thought especially with what is happening in the US right now.  Poor Val, how difficult that whole thing was for her.  I'm glad she didn't have to testify.  And how torn she must have been to have Gran locked up at the same time as hating the harm she'd caused.

I'm not really sure the point of the whole Mai arc - kind of a waste of a story line.  

The girl dying of Hodgkins was so sad but I'm glad her stepfather stepped up and made her happy.  As soon as I heard he was a glazier I knew he'd fix the disco ball.

Great costuming, as always.

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The conclusion of Mei's adoption was a bit too tidy, but I'm not sure how else it could have happened.  Shelagh's "keep busy and don't think of it" routine was a bit heartbreaking, though...

All of the abortion storyline was intense.  So many emotions played through, especially when Trixie testified.  It may open up a new storyline next season (when was abortion decriminalized in England?), and that will be a new can of worms, especially with the sisters.

Speaking of which, how thrilled was I that they gave Sisters Hilda, Frances, and my girl Monica Joan something to do?  Hilda treated the ill girl with the respect and dignity she was wanting, and Frances and MJ helped bring things together.

On a shallow note, Val and Lucille should have switched dresses, I'm glad Sgt. Woolfe didn't wear Nurse Crane down, and Reggie's girlfriend is beautiful.

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As much as I wanted to see what happened in this season's finale, I am sad that there will be no new CTM episodes until Christmas evening. I always enjoy the time I spend watching the episodes on Sunday evening--whether or not I agree with the plotlines and stories.

Tonight's episode was quite touching in many parts.  The story about young Julie particularly hit home with me. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease (now generally called Hodgkin's lymphoma) in October of 1986.  It is amazing to think of the advances made in treating this disease during the 1960's until 1986..Although Hodgkin's is a relatively rare cancer, and affects young adults mainly in their teens and early 20's, it is one of the most treatable of the blood cancers.  It is not totally unusual to see patients surviving thirty years or more after diagnosis.  

I did enjoy seeing Officer Woolf and Miss Higgins 'connect'.  The courtroom scenes with Val's grandma certainly gave the viewers much to think about.  But  my favorite part was seeing Mei coming back to the Turner family.

How many days until Christmas?   I guess I'll just have to co 

All in all, a lovely ending to the season. I guess I'll just have to content myself watching my dvd's.

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Could they put any more storylines into one episode??  With all the highly emotional storylines to finish up did we really need to see Fred getting a "prostrate" prostate exam?? I swear the editor of this show deserves an award for splicing together the most scenes of 2 seconds or less.  And then with the usual terrible PBS editing, the is no time for an emotional build-up /release.  I used to cry regulariy watching this show, and I loved it, now I am just whiplashed from one scene to the next. 

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On 3/5/2019 at 3:58 PM, peace355 said:

 Them trying to cover up Tim being missing, made it more blatant, it was very odd that "Tim" was at dance with his hand covering his face all the time!

That was a real misstep for this show - seems like it would have been much easier to cover it up with better camera work.

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39 minutes ago, marypat57 said:

Tonight's episode was quite touching in many parts.  The story about young Julie particularly hit home with me. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease (now generally called Hodgkin's lymphoma) in October of 1986.  It is amazing to think of the advances made in treating this disease during the 1960's until 1986..Although Hodgkin's is a relatively rare cancer, and affects young adults mainly in their teens and early 20's, it is one of the most treatable of the blood cancers.  It is not totally unusual to see patients surviving thirty years or more after diagnosis.  

Thank you for sharing your story.  My 25-year-old brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in 1967.  A few months later, he was hospitalized and told he probably had less than six months to live.  His response to the doctors was, "I know there's not much you can do for me, but I'm willing to be a guinea pig for you to see if there's something you can learn that will help others."

I have read other articles that have mentioned this 1960s time frame as a time when serious advances began to be made in the treatment of Hodgkins, and it always is a blessing for me to know that my brother may have been part of it.  

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Julie's dress was exquisite. I wish we had seen more of it. Her sweaters were great, too!

I loved Sister Monica Joan tonight!

Does Sister Hilda have a posh accent? It's not like what Trixie has adopted (we know she wasn't posh); hers is like RP. Sister Hilda's does sound upper class, though.

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I love this show.  Does anyone know--is there any way to see the original, unedited version in the US?  Does any British TV subscription service show it?

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1 hour ago, CalicoKitty said:

I love this show.  Does anyone know--is there any way to see the original, unedited version in the US?  Does any British TV subscription service show it?

The first 7 seasons are out on DVD, so I would think this season will be out also, plus Netflix already has the Christmas episodes from this season, so the rest of the episodes should be coming.

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50 minutes ago, GaT said:

The first 7 seasons are out on DVD, so I would think this season will be out also, plus Netflix already has the Christmas episodes from this season, so the rest of the episodes should be coming.

The DVDs are usually available concurrent with the PBS broadcast. As far as I know, that’s the only way to see the original edit on this side of the pond. Netflix has the PBS edit. 

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13 minutes ago, caitmcg said:

Netflix has the PBS edit. 

Oh yeah, that would make sense. Crap.

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2 hours ago, GaT said:

Oh yeah, that would make sense. Crap.

You don't know what you are missing at times but things will seem off or rushed. One scene with Trixie at the end of the show seeming depressed, I was told, tied in with one in their bedroom we never saw and sometimes scenes with the Turners are missing. I don't know why that happens but even with American shows, as commercials got longer, old shows get shorter and shorter.

I think also that they put too much in sometimes, the prostate exam could have been with another story one larger, 2 smaller, but it's the way they are doing it now. What I never felt before, was the scenes being "fillers". They seemed more natural to me.  Occasionally that happens but the writers are still top notch overall.

I'm glad they brought the teacher back and although they can't do it with all the past characters of course, it's nice to see a full circle at times.

Sr Julienne, whom I love, I hope has more air time next season. She seemed pale to me lately, I wondered if the actress wasn't feeling up to par (but it also could have been my TV) ; )

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  They managed to cover the abortion story over this whole season without one single word from the sisters about their side of the issue.  The writer's message,  "Women will always seek abortions, so it should be made legal," was demonstrated and repeated throughout, while the other side, "Abortion is the murder of an innocent baby, so should never be legal," wasn't so much as whispered by any of the nuns.  

I know they aren't Catholic, but it was, and still is, the position of many religious people, that abortion is murder and even if some people will always commit murder and sometimes get themselves killed in the process, we still don't make murder legal. 

Even though I'm Pro-choice and agree with the side that was shown, I thought the issue was one-sided, preachy,  overly political, and very heavy handed.

I love British television and all their shows that  PBS buys and brings to us, but its patronizing tendency to try to  teach us things is their biggest fault, left over from the days when the BBC was an arm of the government.

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11 hours ago, marypat57 said:

I did enjoy seeing Officer Woolf and Miss Higgins 'connect'.  The courtroom scenes with Val's grandma certainly gave the viewers much to think about.  But  my favorite part was seeing Mei coming back to the Turner family.

How many days until Christmas?   I guess I'll just have to co 

All in all, a lovely ending to the season. I guess I'll just have to content myself watching my dvd's.

I liked that too. She seemed very happy..... great for Officer Woolf. 

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10 hours ago, jschoolgirl said:

Does Sister Hilda have a posh accent? It's not like what Trixie has adopted (we know she wasn't posh); hers is like RP. Sister Hilda's does sound upper class, though.

I would love more of a story on Sister Hilda. 

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On 3/4/2019 at 11:53 AM, bybrandy said:

Yes, you have the dying girl and Val's grandmother being sent to prison but the dying girl's step father decided she had value in the last seconds of her life and she got to twirl under disco ball.  

I don't think the stepfather thought that the girl's life didn't have value, I think he was heartbroken knowing that she was dying, and wanted her to save her strength to live a little longer.  It was nice that he accepted what was coming and did his best to make her last days happy.  I sobbed.

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44 minutes ago, MartyQui said:

I don't think the stepfather thought that the girl's life didn't have value, I think he was heartbroken knowing that she was dying, and wanted her to save her strength to live a little longer.  It was nice that he accepted what was coming and did his best to make her last days happy.  I sobbed.

I also think he was afraid to love her and be close to her after he told the story of his sister dying with her head on his shoulder. 

Edited by libgirl2
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Did we hear what they named the baby girl?  Since his other children were boys, I wondered if they might name her after his little sister who died (Bertha?).

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So, is Miss Higgins the author of that book of verses, under a pen name?  Was that supposed to be the takeaway from that Get Well card interaction?

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1 hour ago, MartyQui said:

think he was heartbroken knowing that she was dying, and wanted her to save her strength to live a little longer. 

I mean that goes against the actual words he said but...

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14 hours ago, AZChristian said:

Thank you for sharing your story.  My 25-year-old brother was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease in 1967.  A few months later, he was hospitalized and told he probably had less than six months to live.  His response to the doctors was, "I know there's not much you can do for me, but I'm willing to be a guinea pig for you to see if there's something you can learn that will help others."

I have read other articles that have mentioned this 1960s time frame as a time when serious advances began to be made in the treatment of Hodgkins, and it always is a blessing for me to know that my brother may have been part of it.  

I had Hodgkins as well, diagnosed in 1978, and have survived (considered cured) to this day.  A couple of years ago my current doctor told me that when he started medical school in the early 1970s, 70% of Hodgkins patients didn't survive, while by the end of the 70s 70% were surviving. A dramatic change in a short time. As you did, I obviously related to this storyline.

Edited by willowk · Reason: correct spelling
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20 minutes ago, geauxaway said:

So, is Miss Higgins the author of that book of verses, under a pen name?  Was that supposed to be the takeaway from that Get Well card interaction?

I think the point was simply that she was writing a similar verse, or one of similar style (whatever one makes of it), and Sgt. Woolf admired her for it.

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1 minute ago, caitmcg said:

I think the point was simply that she was writing a similar verse, or one of similar style (whatever one makes of it), and Sgt. Woolf admired her for it.

And Phyllis can breathe a little easier! 

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1 hour ago, geauxaway said:

So, is Miss Higgins the author of that book of verses, under a pen name?  Was that supposed to be the takeaway from that Get Well card interaction?

I thought the point was Phyllis seems to find both him and her insufferable so maybe they'd be better paired with each other and leaving her alone.

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2 minutes ago, theatremouse said:

I thought the point was Phyllis seems to find both him and her insufferable so maybe they'd be better paired with each other and leaving her alone.

I have to admit that last line in the card about Phyllis being "frail" made me lol! 

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1 hour ago, theatremouse said:

I thought the point was Phyllis seems to find both him and her insufferable so maybe they'd be better paired with each other and leaving her alone.

I looked it up, and Prudence Strong was an actual British "poetess."  I gather she was kind of like Helen Steiner Rice.

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I thought the courtroom scene was really strong, although from an American point of view was odd to see a prosecutor chide Trixie as "not being objective".  I'm glad the other woman decided to testify so Val didn't have to. I thought for a few minutes they might be setting the scene for Granny to go free due to lack of evidence as they discounted Trixie's testimony and could have found a way to explain Val's testimony away. The reconciliation between Val and Gran in the jail cell was heartwarming but a little forced to me. One minute they are not talking, next Gran is taking her into her arms saying its not Val's fault (true but a fast turnaround for Granny).  6 years in prison, means she may die there.

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On 3/3/2019 at 7:41 PM, MissLucas said:

Best moment of the episode was seeing the gazillion of light-bulbs going on over Nurse Crane's head when Sergeant Wolf got into raptures about Miss Hill's poem LOL!

I agree. I'm glad he was interested in her. Nurse Crane can now enjoy her life without worrying about how to let him down easy.

On 5/19/2019 at 8:58 PM, anna0852 said:

I thought Trixie was about to spit nails in the courtroom. Not a woman I'd care to cross!

Yes. I think it's easy for someone on the outside to dimiss Trixie as frivilous and a clotheshorse, but she is a force to reckon with and not someone you want to cross. 

On 5/19/2019 at 9:32 PM, Kohola3 said:

Poor Val, how difficult that whole thing was for her.  I'm glad she didn't have to testify.  And how torn she must have been to have Gran locked up at the same time as hating the harm she'd caused.

I don't understand why Val had to testify at all (aside from it's TV and makes for good drama). Trixie saw everything that Val did. You only needed one to testify, because there is little to nothing one could add to the other's account, unless I'm missing something. 

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8 minutes ago, Sarah 103 said:

I don't understand why Val had to testify at all (aside from it's TV and makes for good drama). Trixie saw everything that Val did. You only needed one to testify, because there is little to nothing one could add to the other's account, unless I'm missing something. 

Perhaps the idea was to have a second person corroborate witnessing evidence that Grandma Dyer performed abortions, so Kath testifying provided that.

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7 minutes ago, caitmcg said:

Perhaps the idea was to have a second person corroborate witnessing evidence that Grandma Dyer performed abortions, so Kath testifying provided that.

That makes perfect sense. Thank you! 

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Talking about PBS cutting parts of the BBC shows: I remember when BBC America first came out, they would end the shows at odd times, to broadcast it like they do in England.  I remember especially with Ab Fab and Changing Rooms.  Instead of 30 and 60 minutes they would be something like 40 minutes.  I remember watching a garden show I just loved.   Victory Garden?   And the original What Not to Wear with Trinny and Susanne.

I wish PBS would do the same thing. It's not like they  would run out of time, there are at least 10 mintues of filler commercials or shorts after all their programs. Of course then we'd might miss the inevitable umpteenth commercial for Viking River Cruise or Farmers Insurance.

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2 hours ago, caitmcg said:

Perhaps the idea was to have a second person corroborate witnessing evidence that Grandma Dyer performed abortions, so Kath testifying provided that.

No way in an US court would a surprise witness like that be allowed to testify like that. Also, Trixie’s testimony about her friend who died would be objected to immediately.

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8 minutes ago, LittleIggy said:

No way in an US court would a surprise witness like that be allowed to testify like that. Also, Trixie’s testimony about her friend who died would be objected to immediately.

Well, except on television, where surprise witnesses pop up all the time. I imagine reality is different than TV in British courts, as well. Although, in this case, Trixie's testimony about Jeannie was shut down and discounted pretty quickly. 

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I kept wondering if Kath was putting herself in some kind of legal jeopardy by testifying about obtaining an abortion.

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Historically, most laws against abortion criminalize performing the procedure, so it is the provider breaking the law, not the patient. 

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1 hour ago, rhys said:

I kept wondering if Kath was putting herself in some kind of legal jeopardy by testifying about obtaining an abortion.

Technically yes, she could have been charged. But the police would have been more interested then in prosecuting the abortionist rather than her clients. 

A few seasons back they had the single schoolteacher use a coat hanger on herself and the police were more concerned with finding out whether somebody had done it to her. They used their discretion and didn’t charge her, but a less sympathetic officer could have charged her. 

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Praise to whoever decided to keep Valerie in minimal to no makeup for the majority of the episode.  It really highlighted her feelings and made her look even more vulnerable.  That (cousin?) laying into her during clinic was terrible.   And they got me again; I always figure there'll be a tear up moment during the show and I thought I was holding strong on this one up until Sister Julienne said she was going to court with them, Valerie's face realizing all her friends have her back, Sister J's quiet "Where else would I be" (might not be the exact quote, sorry).  That was just perfect.

Good call getting Miss Higgins and the Sargent together, Phyllis doesn't dislike the guy but he's obviously not for her.  A little rushed, maybe but you could see the light bulb go off over Phyllis' head the minute the other two bonded over poetry.  And it's nice that little by little Miss Higgins has turned out to not quite be the Secretary Ratchet we thought she was when she started.

On 5/19/2019 at 9:45 PM, marypat57 said:

As much as I wanted to see what happened in this season's finale, I am sad that there will be no new CTM episodes until Christmas evening. I always enjoy the time I spend watching the episodes on Sunday evening--whether or not I agree with the plotlines and stories.

Yes!  The minute it was over I was saying no, too short, I want more.  I just try to remind myself in a way we do get more, it's a solid no commercial 45-50 minutes (which could be longer if PBS would quit monkeying around with editing out bits!) where the normal US drama's with commercials clock in at 30-35 min.  So we only get 8 episodes but to me each is like a mini movie.  And even after typing that I have to admit it doesn't totally placate me...I still want more show, the Christmas episode is too far away!!!

On 3/5/2019 at 3:58 PM, peace355 said:

 Them trying to cover up Tim being missing, made it more blatant, it was very odd that "Tim" was at dance with his hand covering his face all the time!

The weird thing is that made it worse - I didn't even notice Tim was missing until then.  A few scenes of the Turners at home and he wasn't there but it doesn't strike as odd because of his age there's a dozen reason he'd be out.  If they'd just left it alone and not done anything or had two quick lines at the dance like:  Where's Tim?  He's at the punch table with the other boys..... it would have been fine.  That "boy who is obviously not Tim/Max" sitting with his back to Dad and a big palm over his face was pretty badly done.

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5 hours ago, sigmaforce86 said:

Praise to whoever decided to keep Valerie in minimal to no makeup for the majority of the episode.  It really highlighted her feelings and made her look even more vulnerable.  That (cousin?) laying into her during clinic was terrible.   And they got me again; I always figure there'll be a tear up moment during the show and I thought I was holding strong on this one up until Sister Julienne said she was going to court with them, Valerie's face realizing all her friends have her back, Sister J's quiet "Where else would I be" (might not be the exact quote, sorry).  That was just perfect.

Good call getting Miss Higgins and the Sargent together, Phyllis doesn't dislike the guy but he's obviously not for her.  A little rushed, maybe but you could see the light bulb go off over Phyllis' head the minute the other two bonded over poetry.  And it's nice that little by little Miss Higgins has turned out to not quite be the Secretary Ratchet we thought she was when she started.

Yes, that was my teary moment too. I've wondered -will Val end up becoming a nun? I know they've done that storyline already, but she seems more interested in the religious life than the other midwives, even Lucille. I know Val grew up in Poplar, but are her parents around? siblings? I wonder if she is drawn to the community the nuns have at Nonatus House.

Loved Phyllis playing matchmaker for the Sergeant and Miss Higgins -was so cute with Phyllis looking from one to the other realizing two difficult situations might be solved at once.

I think this was the 1st season Trixie did not have any beaus, I wonder if they are going to try to have her reconnect with Tom next season? I actually think she fit best with the one that was divorced with the little girl.

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5 hours ago, sigmaforce86 said:

Good call getting Miss Higgins and the Sargent together, Phyllis doesn't dislike the guy but he's obviously not for her.  A little rushed, maybe but you could see the light bulb go off over Phyllis' head the minute the other two bonded over poetry.  And it's nice that little by little Miss Higgins has turned out to not quite be the Secretary Ratchet we thought she was when she started.

Yes, I like all three characters and didn't want to see the Sargent hurt.  I expect maybe Phyllis   prefers a gentleman who looks more like he does the Royal Canadian Air Force exercises every day.

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32 minutes ago, willowk said:

I've wondered -will Val end up becoming a nun?

Perhaps I am not remembering correctly but didn't Val indicate she is an atheist at some point?

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