Holby City: I can’t imagine life without her now

jac holby(Series 16, ep.13)  A few years ago, you wouldn’t have put money on Jac Naylor being the maternal type. Indeed I remember remarking on the trauma likely to be faced by Ric’s grandson Jake because the first face he saw was Jac’s. Not because it isn’t a beautiful face (it is), but because it has a default setting of Terrifying.

mo jac holbyIn this episode, in the final moments before Jac gave birth, we got to see what kind of mother she’s going to be, and it’s glorious. I’ll be honest and say I was primed to cry from the outset in this episode, but I became tearful very early at the sight of Jac’s face when she told Mo that the baby “likes lights.” It was like a little window into a whole relationship that she’s built up with the baby during the pregnancy. She talks to her, not in the “yummy mummy” way she despises, but in her own quirky way, telling her about the scientific reason for a red sky at night, educating her about the importance of numbers. I can imagine that Jaccy Maccy Junior’s life (if she gets to have much of one – and I’ll be devastated if she doesn’t) will be full of as many chemistry sets as dolls, as many trips to science museums as funfairs. It’ll be a no-bullshit upbringing, but one full of love and care. Jac might tell her child that a red sky is just caused by a refraction of the light, but they’ll both be up early the next morning to see how lovely the dawn is.  

kathy ric holbyThis was such a well-crafted episode. I wasn’t expecting secondary stories to be taking up much time and at first I thought the storyline involving Ric and Serena was going to be irritating and just make me want to be back in the labour ward with Jac, but as things went on I got more and more absorbed into the story of Ric and his former love, Kathy. Yes, it was a tad contrived – Kathy was the life and soul of the party until she told Ric she had cancer, and then poignantly died as he rowed them on the river  – but it was so beautifully acted, with Cherie Lunghi and Hugh Quarshie very touching as the former lovers reunited too late. There was a lot of comedy in it too, with Ric’s karaoke turn, Serena fabulously drunk and flirting with a man who’s previously been an Unblinking Canadian Paediatrician at Holby (though he was a different, very amusing, character here) and Edward trotting up at regular intervals with a bunch of flowers to try and win her back.

The second time I cried was after Kathy had died. Ric made a phone call, and there was only going to one person he’d call – Jess. Because the episode was all about parents and children – specifically daughters.

jac elliot holbyBack at Holby, Jac was trying to keep her daughter safe, by not letting her be born. It was the only way she could maintain any control over the situation. Wise old Elliot Hope sat with her in front of a print of The Lady of Shalott (I used to have that picture on the wall of my room at university) and explained how the story of it touched her own situation – that sometimes keeping safe is no substitute for the chance to really live. (The Lady of Shalott was also referenced in Ric’s story, in Kathy’s white dress and the early morning boat trip).

Where was Jonny Mac while all this was going on? He was right beside Jac as much as she would let him be, trying to be strong for her and feeling helpless, but the important thing was that he was there and she wanted him to be.

jonny jac holbyThe baby was eventually delivered by caesarean, and was rushed off to NICU looking apparently lifeless. Jac shut down her emotions to prepare for the worst, then Jonny came bursting in to tell her the baby was breathing. She’s “so tiny and so beautiful.” And ginger, apparently. Jonny was lovely – he’d brought a “wee piggy” called Ralph for the baby and was going to put it in the incubator “as soon as it’s been sterilised.” While Jonny was all optimism and happiness, Jac looked like she didn’t dare hope and you could see that in her thoughts she was far away from what was happening in the room. In an episode full of brilliant performances, Rosie Marcel’s was amazing. For a woman who’s been called Termi-Naylor and is often accused of being cold and unfeeling, at times in this episode it was like Jac had no skin at all, she was so vulnerable and emotional.

Mr T broke the good news to Mo and Elliot, and Mo kissed him. Lovely Mr T got a bit flustered and completely sidetracked, bless him. After this story is over, can we please find a way to bring Mr T in as a regular cast member? I want to see his face on those opening credits.

serena holbyI loved this episode so much. It was beautifully written, with lovely details like discovering that the midwife who’s formerly been Jac’s enemy has had some tragedy in her own life, and Serena necking a bottle of wine so she and Ric would have an excuse not to go back to Holby. Catherine Russell was marvellous in those comic scenes. She probably gets it from her dad.

Next time: Will Jaccy Maccy Junior make it? And will she get a name? What will it be? I can imagine Jonny plumping for “Morag,” but I’ve got no idea what name Jac would choose. Also next week, there’s a new Effanga at Holby, in the form of Mo’s li’l sister Adele. And a face from the past reappears. Sadly it’s not Joseph Byrne (I live in constant hope. Constant).


Filed under Holby City

10 responses to “Holby City: I can’t imagine life without her now

  1. Ladieu

    I live for the day Joseph Byrne comes back to get Jac ❤ Jonny, lovely guy as he is – just DOESN'T get Jac at all…still, some great moments and insights to Jac's maternal side finally!

    The substory with Ric was sweet, Hugh doesn't get enough scenes now, but I think its his choice, I'd rather have a few fantastic scenes with him than his character left to destroy itself like Chrissie and Michael, doing the same thing over and over

  2. thunderchild

    “Your five ex wives can poke you all at the same time”

  3. HolbyNut

    I cried at the bit where Elliot told Jac how he’d describe her….welling up just thinking about it.
    Beautiful episode.

  4. HolbyNut

    Poor old Bonnie though…but did we care? Nope!

  5. summer

    Really good ep so nice to c jac let Jonny care for her! And can’t believe it but they name their daughter *****

    (edited to take the name out for people who prefer to avoid spoilers)

  6. GetTaraBackFromTheDead

    I especially loved the moment when Jac suddenly remembered Tara dying young and she got tears in her eyes!

  7. holbylover819

    I thought this episode was going to be dominated by Jac’s story but then Ric’s was just as emotional. Poor him, Serena’s like let’s get drunk let your hair down forget the 7:30 meeting! (That’s far too early for a meeting anyway) then the night ends with his first love dying. It was completely unexpected, the only thing that happened that was related to previous episodes was the Edward thing but even him I didn’t expect to see again. That’s why I was surprised.
    And I laughed out loud at Serena stumbling out of a taxi the next morning with sunglasses and a bad hangover looking like the “batty aunt” she told Guy she wasn’t. It was hilarious.

  8. Rose

    Finally got to see the episode, I love HC standalone episodes but I have to admit I was dreading this one slightly as it involved “Janny” and the build up on Twitter and pretty much anywhere HC was mentioned online meant lot’s of overreacting teens being almost as over the top as Michael Thomson’s acting. Rosie Marcel is a beautiful actor and her performance was amazing. That scene with Elliot was fantastic and touching, as was the moment she shared with Mo. Her “I’m trying my best” nearly broke my heart! But Jonny really grates and I’m afraid I didn’t find him lovely at all. I can’t tell if the lack of subtlety is meant to be a characteristic of Jonny’s personality or if Michael Thomson’s acting only has one setting – full on, OTT. I know I’m being harsh, but he made me want to switch off from the hospital scenes.

    In “Cambridge” I thought everyone was pulling their acting weight! The whole Kathy thing was, as you’ve said, contrived but it didn’t matter because it was done so well. I liked Kathy and was disappointed we didn’t get to see more of her and Ric to really understand how significant their relationship had been. It was great to see a lighter side to Ric and Robert Daws and Joseph May were brilliantly funny. Serena definitely had the best one liners of the night. I agree she was marvelous in the humorous scenes but I thought she was equally marvelous in those little moments of uncertainty when we could see her doubting herself and her self-confidence slipping. I look forward more and more to Catherine Russell’s performances as each week passes. I’m glad we finally got a resolution/explanation for her relationship with Edward who turned out to be a right creepy twat!

  9. Dreamer

    God, I loved this episode, the tears I shed over it, man. No bueno.
    I wish Joseph would come back for Jac, they’re my OTP. Poor Bonnie, I didn’t want her sleeping with Jonny – I’ve gone back to being indifferent to him. Oh, well. But I hope Jac does get some happiness in her life with her daughter – she deserves it, especially after being with Mac.

    • Sue Haasler

      PLA Jr just told me the other day what “OTP” means (I rely on her to translate the modern world to me sometimes) and I agree with you. Though I think I said a while ago that Joseph was the right man for how Jac used to be and Jonny is the right man for how she is now, I think Joseph understood her in a way nobody else does.

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