Jun 20, 2016

[TV] Call the Midwife: Season 2

Exploring the world of Call the Midwife is an interesting foray both into 1950's England and of the role of the midwife during that period. Thus it sort of becomes an exploration of the level of medicine at the time along with the beliefs and practices around childbirth including how babies should be aided into the world and who may or may not be present for such an intimate moment in a woman's life.

Call the Midwife is a complex period piece that is mostly drama but also with lighter comedic moments. And in that regard it feels a lot closer to real life as it's not like we can't laugh  at ourselves even during our darkest moments, of things of that nature. And I do enjoy the balance between the drama and the comedy to come up with something extraordinary.

In my review of the firsts season, I know I already touched on how much I love the writing behind the series and the resulting bits of narration that are just exquisite and almost poetic in form. And now we're back to discuss the second season.

Synopsis: Call the Midwife is a period drama series created by Heidi Thomas and roughly based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth. The series largely follows a group of midwives in the late 1950s in the Poplar district of London.

This second series starts off with some interesting cases such as the pregnant Russian sea captain's daughter in Episode 1 or the death of one of Cynthia's (Bryony Hannah) delivered babies that leads to a police investigation in Episode 2. Clearly some thought was being up into coming up with more unique scenarios and to explore different challenges faced by midwives (or maybe just women) during this period. And with a full series of 8 episodes instead of just 6, there's a lot more to be enjoyed.

One of the quirkier sub-plots this series was Chummy's (Miranda Hart) decision to become a Missionary, and thus she disappears for a good part of the season. And this was despite her budding relationship with the policeman Peter Noakes (Ben Caplan). But then she did eventually give us some sense of closure with Mirada, so I suppose it all makes sense in the long run. She does have quite the powerful continued arc when she does return towards the end of the series in a very grand way.

Another major character development this season involved the growing romance between Sister Bernadette (Laura Main) and Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) despite of course Sister Bernadette's vow of chastity. Instead of presenting it in a scandalous manner, instead we have what is clearly a growing romance between the two but also a significant dedication to their respective roles and the limitations between them. It's quite masterfully handled and was one of the more fulfilling aspects of the season.

And while Jenny (Jessica Raine) generally remains the lead character, they did a lot to further the character development of the rest of the cast, keeping the ensemble feel to the show. I was amused by the fact that it seems a  lot of the other characters end up having better luck at relationships than Jenny does, but I'm not entirely sure what sort of statement the writers were trying to make there.

Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris) remains to be one of my favorite characters on the show as she's very no-nonsense and is always determined to get the job done. She's clearly a highly experienced midwife and how the other nuns defer to her (or get bullied by her strong personality) are all part of the charm of seeing her on-screen.

Call the Midwife is a series that scratches a unique itch in terms of my pop culture consumption and I feel all the better for having watched an episode or two after a busy day. I enjoyed how the quality of the writing remained strong and the show just continued to push into interesting new territory with this season. Thus the season gets a solid 5 complex deliveries out of a possible 5.


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