There are (at least) two ways to consider any story: on the emotional level or on the structural level. At any given time, I'm probably analyzing both. And with last night's episode of Call the Midwife, I set out to determine just how many heartbreaking storylines they can fit in 1 hour. Starting with the overall season arc, it goes as follow (spoilers):
The primary arc of Sister Ursula taking over Nonnatus was brought to a conclusion after the near-fatal accident that befell Lucy and Lin. I am always impressed by how the show develops one-episode characters, including backstory and the ongoing effects of said backstory. The backstory for Lucy's mother-in-law was well-done and realistically portrayed. Likewise, Sister Ursula's history explained her actions, but didn't excuse that. Also, I loved Nurse Crane's interaction with Sister Ursula, explaining Barbara's actions and the results....just, Nurse Crane seems to have taken over Sister Evangeline's role as resident hardliner.
The Turner's storyline about the mother and baby home was also well done, historical but relevant for many people. The ever-present trend of cutting local services can be seen in rural Midwest clinics as well as 1960s London.
Then you get the smaller, individual storylines: Trixie's return, Sister Monica Joan and the television, and Sheila's pregnancy. The later will continue into the next episode, from what I've seen online, but it's nice to have some lighter moments too. The moment when the man carries out the bench and pulls back the blinds for Sister Monica Joan....hilarious and heartwarming at the same time.