Call the Midwife Finale Recap: A Nurse Returns After Tragedy Strikes Poplar

The Call the Midwife Season 11 finale opened with the streets of Poplar resembling a war scene.

Smoke filled the air and train wreck debris was everywhere, as survivors either limped or were escorted to Nonnatus House for medical care. Fred directed police officials and the wounded to where they needed to go and tried to make sure people didn’t suffer more than they should. Somewhere along the way, a bloodied Nurse Nancy ran up to Fred and informed him that she’d been on the train with Sister Julienne and Dr. Patrick Turner, and didn’t know where they were or if they were still alive.

Nurse Shelagh, as if sensing that things were amiss, tried calling Nonnatus House to find out if the sisters and midwives had heard from Patrick, Sister Julienne and Nurse Nancy, but no one was picking up the phone. She became more concerned while listening to a news report on the radio about the wreck, but Tim reasoned that maybe it was a different train than the one their patriarch and the others were on.

The camera then cut to the train where Dr. Turner was lying unconscious on the floor of his railcar, and not too far away, Sister Julienne was lying slumped over a table, also knocked out. When Sister Julienne came to, her glasses were missing and so was her left shoe. She awakened Dr. Turner, who had suffered a head injury, and he said they had to get out. But Sister Julienne informed him that the door was blocked.

Mrs. Carnie, the tea server, awakened soon after and started screaming. Her arm had been scalded by the boiling water, and when Sister Julienne examined her more closely, she realized Mrs. Carnie was bleeding. Dr. Turner investigated and revealed that the blood was coming from the top of Mrs. Carnie’s leg, where her femoral artery was located.

Sister Julienne took off her habit — have we ever seen this nun’s hair? — and gave it to Dr. Turner to use as a pad so he could apply pressure, but it was too little too late. Mrs. Carnie, who asked that Sister Julienne call her Dorothy, died while Sister Julienne prayed and held her hand.

Outside of the train, officers asked Fred for a blanket to cover the dead body of Lionel, the train conductor. He hadn’t survived the crash, and even more tragically, his wife Edina was giving birth to their son Benedict and had no idea of her husband’s fate.

Miss Higgins told Sister Hilda the terrible news about Lionel, and Sister Hilda vowed not to say a word to Edina about being widowed until after Benedict was born.

Nurse Shelagh finally got through to Nonnatus House when Cyril answered and explained that the train in the wreckage was in fact the one Dr. Turner and his colleagues were on. Nurse Shelagh then came to Nonnatus House to wait for more information and pray, however, she was so distraught, she told Cyril she didn’t know how to direct her prayers. Cyril comforted Nurse Shelagh and encouraged her to help the injured as a much-needed distraction until she either figured out what to pray for, or learned more about her husband’s fate.

In the meantime, Tim climbed the ladder to the train tracks and began calling for his dad. Sister Julienne heard him and yelled for help, and upon hearing her, Tim alerted the officers to break into their railcar. The medical student made his way inside and Dr. Turner chastised him for wearing his doctor’s coat because Tim wasn’t officially a doctor yet.

Tim certainly behaved like a doctor. He gave Sister Julienne an aspirin, for what appeared to be a heart attack (based on her rapid pulse and blue lips), and he diagnosed his father with a concussion, adding that an X-ray would rule out a fracture. At the hospital, Dr. Turner informed Tim that his diagnosis was correct. When Tim apologized for the mean things he’d said when they’d argued before his dad’s medical conference, Dr. Turner jokingly replied that his concussion had made him forget all about it.

Sister Julienne had a rougher go, but thankfully, she hadn’t had a heart attack. Four of her ribs had been broken and the injury caused her to go into shock, which mimicked heart attack symptoms. Nurse Phyllis returned early from her vacation and got Nonnatus House back in working order. And when Sister Julienne got released from the hospital, it was Nurse Phyllis who drove her home.

As for Sister Frances and her patient Carole, she made peace with the heartbreaking death of her daughter when Sister Frances talked to Mrs. Carnie’s daughter and she agreed to let the baby be buried with her mother. Sweeter still, Mrs. Carnie’s daughter, Pauline, took Carole under her wing and invited her to hang out with Mrs. Carnie’s rather large and very welcoming family.

Edina Corbett also received a happy-ish ending of sorts when she learned that Lionel wasn’t a reckless conductor. He’d suffered a seizure caused by a brain tumor, and that’s why he’d lost consciousness and had an accident.

What did you think of the Call the Midwife Season 11 finale? Grade the installment in our poll and drop your thoughts in the comments. 

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