This episode was also spectacular, so far the season’s best.
I know this is a premature judgement due to it being only the third episode in the season, however the reason for the premature judgement is due to one choice by the writers—exploring unknown or rather previously unwritten territory.
So far, all angles of birth at Stanton House had been explored–Annie was the girl who wanted and eventually got her baby back, Martha was the girl who gave her baby up without resistance, Shirley almost experienced the pain of losing her baby and subsequently her baby coming back from the brink and Viv knew it was the best for the twins to be adopted out, despite the fact she would obviously miss them. One angle that had yet to be explored was stillbirth and in this episode it finally was with Patricia.
If viewers had to guess who would have to endure a stillbirth, I imagine their last guess would be Patricia. She would be the worst girl for it to happen to due to her doe-eyed, sweet nature which seemingly makes her appear weak. However I think the writers made the right choice as it provides both Harriet Dyer and Patricia the opportunity to show their strength and shine. To say Harriet Dyer’s performance was spectacular is a huge understatement. Her range from Patricia’s reaction to the news of her loss, to the anger of being lied to by Matron, to the pain and anguish of giving birth and holding her dead child, was spot on and heartbreaking. I have watched the scene where Patricia holds her daughter several times and each time I have bawled my eyes out. I also enjoyed Dyer’s performance in the lead-up to the birth scenes as for the first time, Patricia is portrayed as an angry and unsympathetic character, it was an interesting choice for the writers to present Patricia as an unsympathetic than sympathetic character in the same episode.
I didn’t know what to make of the Chris returning subplot. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the recast of Lincoln Younes as Chris was purely to make him an age appropriate love interest for Annie (Gracie Gilbert). The interaction between Chris and the Matron was the right amount of sweet and awkward. I didn’t hate Chris’ return, I just think it could have been done better.
I did enjoy the interaction between Joan and Jim, however I felt establishing him as the father of Gail’s baby was a little clunky. The revelation of Eva and Patrick separating didn’t surprise me, however the reason did, apparently cheating is a bigger deal breaker than adopting a child illegally….okay. It was also a sad but nice touch to have Johnny reappear, it’s always worrying when a ‘ghost’ appears in a non-supernatural TV show, however I think the fact that there was no dialogue and only lasted a moment, made it work.
Meanwhile, the humorous interaction between Martha and Bowditch continues. Martha going through the roof’s door made me laugh, however I couldn’t help but feel it was a little too slapsticky for my liking. However I did enjoy the interaction in itself as it was needed to balance out the intensity and dark emotions present throughout this episode.
Overall this episode was definitely spectacular and definitely the season’s best and so far the darkest episode of the show overall. I did enjoy it being dark, however I hope that further dark episodes are served in small doses.