This episode was absolutely spectacular.
Sophie Hensser was easily the MVP of the episode, portraying the entire emotional spectrum. From fear when she saw Joan after witnessing Gail’s death in the previous episode, anxiety with her mother trying to take control over her & her baby to pain & determination during the birth scenes, as well as shock at the revelation that she was having twins. The highlight of the Viv subplot for me was the interaction she had with Matron, especially with Matron showing a clear soft spot for her due to Viv knowing her secret. I also enjoyed the scene with the four main girls at the beach, it was nice scenery as well as a great opportunity for the actors to get out of Stanton House. I also enjoyed the interaction between Viv and Pete at the end of the episode, clearly a sign for more to come between the two of them.
In contrast with the intensity of emotions in the Viv subplot, the subtle reveal of Johnny’s death was surprising and a ballsy choice. However I think the subtle reveal and Shirley’s reaction balanced each other out very well, Ella Scott Lynch’s performance was brilliant.
Other highlights for the episode for me were Martha and Simon Bowditch’s first meeting. Clearly their interaction is a set up for an unlikely friendship, but I enjoyed it nevertheless due to its humour, which was vital to balance out the intensity of the Viv and Shirley subplots.