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'Call the Midwife' Recap: Season 13 Episode 5

Daniel Hautzinger
Lindy and Melvin sit on their bed in pajamas
Everyone underestimates Lindy and Melvin as parents, including themselves. Credit: BBC Studios/Neal Street Productions

Call the Midwife airs Sundays at 7:00 pm and is available to stream for a limited time. Recap the previous and following episodes and other seasons.
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Violet is planning an ambitious trip for her first event as mayor: an excursion to the beach, complete with a chartered bus to bring the mostly car-less denizens of Poplar there. Trixie doesn’t need to take the bus, to her delight: she has passed her driver’s test, and insists on driving Matthew and their son there. She even agrees to support the cost of the trip for Violet on behalf of Matthew, despite his quiet rumblings against it. And she’s eager to get a new car, as Matthew promised, while he doesn’t want to rush into such a big purchase. On the way to the beach, Matthew suddenly insists that Trixie pull over so he can use a phone on urgent business that he tells her is with a stockbroker.

Names are drawn to decide which student midwives can attend the beach outing, and Rosalind and Joyce are selected. Joyce rides with Nurse Crane to avoid the chaotic bus, while Rosalind is put on sick duty: they can’t afford to pay to clean the bus if someone vomits.

It’s Lindy Webber and her daughter Danielle’s first time at the seaside. Lindy is pregnant with another child, although she and her partner Melvin are not married. They planned to wed after Danielle’s birth, but separated for a time because they fought a lot. Both grew up with no parents but want to provide a better start to their own children. Still, Nurse Crane worries that they might replicate their own childhoods; Sister Veronica has visited their house and found it chaotic, and Miss Higgins has to reprimand Lindy for engaging in horseplay with some unruly boys on the bus to the beach.

While at the beach, Lindy goes into labor. Nurse Crane and Miss Higgins drive her and Danielle back to the maternity clinic, where Higgins entertains Danielle and Crane attends to Lindy, who requests a radio and sings along to music while in labor. Crane delivers a girl whom Lindy names Michelle or “Shell” for short, to reference her labor on the beach. Melvin arrives from the pub, where he can frequently be found, with a group of rowdy friends whom Crane immediately sends away.

Back at the beach, the Turner daughters wander off and May decides to go in the water. When the Turners notice that the girls are missing, everyone sets off looking for them. Joyce hears May cry for help from the ocean and jumps in to rescue her; Cyril soon follows. Dr. Turner immediately clears May’s airway of water when she’s carried to shore and all seems fine, despite the fright.

But May complains that her chest hurts that night; Dr. Turner can’t hear anything in her chest though. The next morning, her breathing is more labored. Dr. Turner is at work, but Timothy is at home and suspects that May might have water aspiration – akin to partial drowning. He and Shelagh rush May to the hospital, where Timothy’s suspicion is confirmed.

Dr. Turner blames himself for not guessing that May might be suffering, and Shelagh blames herself for taking her eyes off May at the beach. But May recovers and is soon back home after some time in the hospital.

That’s not the end of the trouble, though. The center through which May was adopted hears about the near drowning and sends someone to the Turner house to speak with May. The woman tells a nervous Shelagh that May clearly loves her life with the Turners, but that she still has to file a report. Later, the Turners receive a call asking them to come in for a meeting at the adoption center.

May’s mother occasionally calls the center for updates on her daughter, and the center was obliged to inform her about the near drowning on the most recent call. Now May’s mother has questions and is worried about May. A formal review will be opened into the Turner’s custody of May, and she might have to be removed to a home in which her mother has more confidence. The Turners will find out in three months.

Shelagh is distraught. She decides on sending a photo to May’s mother of May in the dress gifted her by her mother at Christmas – the one Shelagh had to remake because it was too small for May. She’s trying her best, and wants May’s mother to see that.

Lindy is also trying her best, despite other people’s doubts. Nurse Crane comes to think that everyone is underestimating what she and Melvin are capable of, especially when an issue is revealed with both their daughters’ eyes. Danielle used to complain about her eye hurting when she was younger, but a cause was never found and the pain went away. Now Dr. Turner sees a spot in Michelle’s eye. And then Crane notices an odd reflection of light in a photo she took at the beach of Danielle.

Dr. Turner sends the girls to a specialist, who uses scientific jargon that Lindy and Melvin don’t understand. Fortunately, Sister Veronica is there to advocate for them. Both girls have a genetic cancer in one of their eyes. Danielle will have to have an eye removed, while Michelle will undergo radiation. Melvin storms out at the news.

Cyril, who is now training as a child welfare officer and social worker, visits Lindy and Melvin – but Lindy fears he is there to take away her children and refuses any support or foster care while her daughters undergo medical treatment, insisting that she can take care of them despite lacking any family to help. She gives Melvin a pep talk when he blames him and her for the cancers.

But it takes Nurse Crane to get him to step up. She visits him at work and offers advice, assuring him he is up to the task of raising his girls if he loves them. He begins to help Lindy at home more and promises that things will change – and proposes to her, too.

When Nurse Crane and Sister Veronica next visit the family, they are impressed by how responsible they have become, and tell Lindy that they should be proud of themselves.

Trixie is proud of herself for getting her license, and eager to celebrate with a new car that’s all her own. She stops by a showroom without Matthew and takes a liking to a car that’s a bit on the expensive side. She also suggests starting their son in preschool, but Matthew calls it an unnecessary expense and upsets her by calling Jonty his son, instead of theirs.

Matthew is becoming more and more withdrawn. When Trixie arrives home one night with many shopping bags, he shudders.