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'Call the Midwife' Recap: Season 12 Episode 8

Daniel Hautzinger
Matthew and Trixie kiss after their wedding as Reggie, Fred, the midwives, and others shower them with rice
Despite a myriad of snags, Trixie and Matthew's wedding is happy. Photo: BBC / Neal Street Productions / Laurence Cendrowicz

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How many things have to go wrong for a wedding to be ruined? If you have wonderful enough friends and family and are marrying purely for love like Trixie and Matthew, apparently nothing can devastate a wedding.

The trouble starts with the Aylward family tiara. Trixie is eager to wear the heirloom, not least because it will count for her something borrowed, something blue (it has sapphires), and something old. But when Matthew tries to retrieve it from the bank, he discovers that his mother sold it when his father first got sick to pay for a long cruise.

Trixie is incensed when she finds out—and Matthew is equally irate that she’s so upset, especially since he feels like Trixie thinks his family is just made of money.

After cooling down and speaking to Cyril, Matthew calls Trixie to apologize, admitting that he’s nervous about the wedding itself. Not the marriage; just the event. He then goes out, finds the tiara, and buys it back.

Unfortunately, he thinks it’s hideous, as he admits to Trixie when he gives it to her. She doesn’t love it either, but she has an out now: the midwives have already rescued her by making a pillbox hat out of extra fabric from her wedding dress (to hold her veil), loaning her a handkerchief (something borrowed), and giving her a twist of thread from the nuns’ habits as well as one of her old uniforms (something blue). Trixie tells Matthew she doesn’t need the tiara; she’s marrying him for love, not for money or a title.

But that’s just the beginning of the troubles. Sister Monica Joan will be doing one of the readings for the wedding now that she is mostly recovered from hepatitis, but the illness prevented her from choosing the reading itself—and she doesn’t like the selection.

Nancy doesn’t know what to do for Trixie’s hen night, since Trixie doesn’t drink. Luckily, Trixie’s brother Geoffrey has arrived—he’ll be walking her down the aisle—and has an idea: a spa day. But he can’t find a single place with openings on the one day when the midwives’ schedule allows them all to go.

But something can always be done. Geoffrey brings the spa to Nonnatus—a needed relaxation for everyone, including Violet, who is on edge about finishing the dresses.

At least Trixie doesn’t have any difficult patients right now. Estelle Hopkiss may be a little short on money, but her pregnancy is proceeding according to plan. She even offers to send her husband, a chimney sweep, to Trixie’s wedding for luck, for a small donation—but the wedding is across London, too far away.

Even beyond the wedding, Nonnatus House is suffering its share of trouble. Everyone fears that the Board of Health will close it down, beyond the constant financial struggles of the institution. Nancy has even applied for a position at a country hospital without telling anyone, partly out of fear that Nonnatus will shutter but also because the position comes with a house in which she could live with Colette. Sister Julienne only finds out about her application when the hospital asks for references.

She gets the job, as Trixie accidentally discovers and announces while she opens what she assumes is wedding mail and reads it aloud. Nancy says she’ll decide whether to take it after the wedding. She tells Trixie that Nonnatus and its family are the best things that have ever happened to her and Colette—but it also might be time to move on.

All this change is upsetting to Nurse Crane, who fears that Nonnatus will close and she will be left behind and irrelevant as Nancy leaves and Trixie moves out, even if Trixie will still be working for Nonnatus. But as Crane cries in front of Sister Julienne, the nun reveals big news.

She has restarted the hospital midwife training program that brought Nancy to Nonnatus, which will bring in more income—and the midwives no longer have to worry about rent either: Matthew has bought Nonnatus House outright. Cyril has confirmed that the building is structurally sound, in his role as an engineer for the local Council. Nonnatus is more secure in its future than it has been in years.

Lizzie Butler has an exciting future ahead of her. She has just married Arnold Yu, and is due to give birth any day. Her home life is a bit fraught, as her mother and her mother-in-law disagree on everything from baby names to favored types of food, a tension exacerbated by their differing backgrounds: Arnold is Chinese, Lizzie is British.

Shelagh and Lizzie bond over having a Chinese child: May, in the case of Shelagh, and Lizzie’s soon-to-be-born infant. Shelagh tells Lizzie that her peace of mind is the most important thing as she prepares to give birth, and advises her to come to the maternity clinic to get away from the warring mothers as soon as she feels the slightest hint of contractions.

Lizzie and Arnold put on a show for the mothers when contractions begin on the morning of Trixie’s wedding, laughing once they get away from them into the car. Lizzie tells Arnold to step on it, so that it looks like things are much more urgent than they are.

Estelle Hopkiss has also gone into labor; Nurse Crane delivers her baby overnight, and Dr. Turner comes to give her stitches. Crane goes off for espresso before the wedding while Turner rushes home to change into his tuxedo.

The flowers and cake have been delivered to Nonnatus instead of the posh hotel on the other side of town where the reception will take place; Miss Higgins rectifies things. Colette has a nosebleed and gets blood on her dress. Fred, Reggie, and Cyril all mix up their tuxedoes. Sister Monica Joan says she is too tired to attend and stays at Nonnatus with a disappointed Sister Veronica to watch her.

But the Turners will still make it in time—until they hear a car crash in Poplar. It’s Arnold and Lizzie—and Lizzie has died. Tim holds Arnold back while Shelagh and Dr. Turner cut open Lizzie in the street and deliver her baby safely. They decide that they must move forward in the wake of this tragedy, and go home to change and make it to the wedding. Arnold names the newborn Lizzie, and his sobbing mother and mother-in-law hug each other when they learn the news.

On the way to the wedding, the Turners learn that the hotel where the reception was to be held is on fire. They arrive at the church just as Sister Veronica does—she found Sister Monica Joan missing from Nonnatus, and suspected she had made her own way, as indeed she has. Sister Veronica tells Fred and Geoffrey the news about the hotel as she enters the ceremony, while Sister Monica Joan does her own choice of reading.

By some magic, everyone manages to organize a reception at Nonnatus House. And all of the community comes out to celebrate, too, bringing food and furniture into the street outside the house. The Hopkisses can attend after all. The reception is better than it ever could have been.