Progressively each season of BBC’s heartwarming series, based on the memoirs of midwife, Jennifer Worth, is easily better. Its character-building of the women who work in the East End is smashing, and that’s what endears their beautiful stories to us.
Christmas signals change for the residents of the East End and the household of Nonnatus House. The East End has to deal with evacuations of its residents when an unexploded bomb is discovered. Worry over safety concerns, the police order the residents to move which gives the midwives a dilemma, especially Trixie (Helen George) and Jenny (Jessica Raine). They have a patient nearly to her due date, but the woman’s husband suffers long-standing aftereffects of the war. This puts Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Sister Evangeline (Pam Ferris) in a tough place. But they try to move all their patients in the surrounding area out of their homes – and at Christmas, no less – who are always their first priority.
Since breaking her vows, Shelagh (Laura Main) has excitedly imagined her future with Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) but now her wedding date draws near, she experiences doubts and stays away from her friends at Nonnatus House. She believes that her choice to marry equates to her never again being welcomed by her former family. Now, with everyone scrambling to safely disarm the bomb – and tragedy within the Turner family, Shelagh’s new life is shattering. Then there’s Chummy (Miranda Hart) who attempts to settle into her busy life as a mother and wife to Peter (Ben Caplan). Even while lovingly creating a home, Chummy misses the call work as a midwife. The changes are just beginning for them all – including a move for Nonnatus House.
It’s a wonderful thing to watch a television show that doesn’t grow comfortable, and instead gets better. In its third season that is just what Heidi Thomas’ Call the Midwife does. I’ve already said all of this, I know, but when it’s true, it deserves repeating. There’s a really beautiful quality to this show. It reaches into our hearts (for good thing), and then other times those moments rip out our heart. If you’re like my mom, you’ll cry through every installment.
Of particular interest in this season is the character changes and in a sense, the growing up everyone does. There isn’t as much frivolity in season three (not that this show has ever been frivolous, but there is carefree fun). There is still joyful plot lines. (Like Fred being duped and putting it off on the girl’s or Chummy frantically trying to pull together an event fit for royalty.) If possible, it seems like there’s more depth to the characters. Shelagh tries to adapt to her decision and battling her self-doubt; Chummy navigating an upbringing that is less than loving; Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) unable to live in the present; Jenny finding out new things about herself; then there’s Trixie who gets a darling new storyline full of sass and personality. Into this mix of returning favorites are also newbies Patsy, Tom and Sister Winnifred.
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Never would I have expected appreciating this kind of series as much as I have. Thinking of the 60’s for a setting isn’t primarily my favorite. Since this isn’t afraid to pull some punches, this means that sometimes a happy ending is mutually exclusive with the ending the script needs rather than what our mind tells us we want to see. Some fans may be disappointed in how quickly the script moves a storyline in the final 2-3 episodes. However, given the need to wrap up a character’s story, I didn’t mind it since this gives the character a proper send-off. Otherwise, there is really no flaw in this season. The scripts are sensational; seriously, I adore the conversational dialogue in this series, everything about it perfectly fits the era, as do the costumes (check out Trixie’s elegantly stunning closet!) and the sets/ props.
With the promise of a series four leading the excitement, and even though it’ll be odd missing a familiar face, there’s so many wonderful new stories to come. No question, this series is cementing itself as timeless British drama.
Fellow fans, what’d you think of season three?
Content is on par with prior seasons. There are several scenes dealing with medical issues, mainly childbirth; the camera doesn’t shy away from showing what goes on in the delivery room either. One episode deals with a Down syndrome woman getting pregnant – the girls attempt to learn who assaulted her; another involves an unmarried couple, and also a pregnancy as the result of a one-night stand. Characters die, another is put into a mental home after attempting suicide.