Holby City: From the head down

hanssen-holby(Series 19, ep. 3) That was such a dense episode – “dense” in the sense of there was a lot packed into it, rather than it was stupid, which it certainly wasn’t.

Much of it centred on Henrik Hanssen, which is always a marvellous thing. In this case, though, it led to him taking a period of “gardening leave,” which isn’t a good thing, because it means he won’t be around for a while. He’s drafted in Ric Griffin to deputise, because Holby needs its moral compass. “When will you be back?” Ric asked Hanssen. “When you most need me, I imagine,” was the response, which was a fabulous reply because it already has me thinking of some future episode when everything is looking dire and dreadful, and suddenly – there he’ll be, looming and magnificent in a nice suit, to save the day. I also loved what Simon Harper said on Twitter: “Hanssen is Aslan to Holby’s Narnia, he comes and goes and sometimes has other lands to attend to.” 

tristan-hanssen-holbyThe other land he’s currently attending to is Sweden, where the man who brought his son Fredrik up (Fredrik’s stepfather, if you will) has just died, leaving Fredrik as grieving CEO of his company. I had the impression that Hanssen and Fredrik were all reconciled now, after he went to visit last time, but apparently more has been going on that we’re not aware of. That’s Hanssen for you, though – there’s always more going on that you’re not aware of. It took a patient who was also a psychiatrist (Jeff Rawle) to identify that Hanssen was suffering from depression and OCD, and also to tell him it was okay to let go of the hospital for a while to sort his personal stuff out. “It’s just a hospital, it’s not Ragnarok,” he said, a beautiful line which made Hanssen smile.

So Hanssen (temporarily) bowed out, but not before pulling the rug from beneath Slimy Tristan’s shiny shoes by taking responsibility for the whole Jasmine/Ric business, and making sure Ric was poised to take over.

imelda-serena-jason-holbyHe also had time to pass on Bernie Wolfe’s email address to Serena. She wasn’t having a great shift, what with having to cope with no Bernie and no Raf or Fletch. Instead she had the presence of former CEO Imelda Cousins, who’d been brought back by Slimy Tristan as part of an audit of the hospital. Jason was also on hand to provide his own particular brand of truth-saying (“Do you kiss girls now?”).

ollie-holbyOn Darwin, the reappearance of patient Alex Lambert (Jack Hawkins) made Ollie reassess how he feels about Zosia. He loves her, he told almost everyone apart from Zosia. He doesn’t love Jasmine, he told almost everyone apart from Jasmine. This made me want to give Ollie a bit of a shake, because there’s nothing more frustrating than a situation which would sort itself out if only people spoke honestly to each other.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Holby City: From the head down

  1. ” This made me want to give Ollie a bit of a shake, because there’s nothing more frustrating than a situation which would sort itself out if only people spoke honestly to each other.”

    I do agree but it won’t happen because it would mean that the scriptwriters would have to think of an original plot.

    On the other hand, I have loved watching the progressive unfolding of Hanssen’s character over these past months. It really has been done very congruently.

  2. mrssatan

    I spent the entire episode wishing that someone would look at Henrik, see the pain he was in, take him somewhere quiet, let him unload and give him a hug. His anguish when he spoke to Zosia really tugged at my heartstrings and I was in tears by the end of the episode.

  3. Sarah

    We wait forever for another Serena and Hanssen scene and then we get THAT piece of nothingness! Was I the only one who felt this episode was a bit rushed?

    The pencil thing was overdone and within ten minutes was grating on my nerves. What’s happened to the beautiful subtlety we used to get with Hanssen centred stories? There was oh so much brainspeak going on and clunking big hints that Hanssen was depressed – how did no one other than the alcoholic patient notice?

    Not one of their best episodes. Thank goodness for Jasmine and Jac – the only two who weren’t overacting.

  4. Pat Smart

    He has an endless supply of freshly laundered white hankies for mopping up tears, or wiping them off his jacket!

  5. Rose

    Dear god the pencil thing! Enough! And the fish metaphor? Effing hell! I was almost glad to see Hanssen go by the end of it. And can we possibly send Serena off to Sweden too to find herself? Between Hanssen tapping his pencils and dolefully talking about rotting fish and Jason back to screeching “Auntie Serena” across the ward at a self-obsessed Serena the whole episode got on my nerves.

    Am I the only one who thought the performances were all a little over-egged? And I’m afraid I found Hanssen’s final statement cheesey beyond belief and the final straw in turning the character into a caricature.

  6. Donnty

    Am I the only one who found the pencil thing really irritating? It used to be a subtle indicator of Hanssen’s mood but they’ve overdone it lately. And actually, a doctor filling in patient notes in pencil is a bit of a no no isn’t it? And as for the rotting fish metaphor – we got it the first time! They didn’t need to keep hammering the point.

    Jac was right – Ollie needs to leave Zosia alone.

    And perhaps Serena is so inept at managing AAU because she clearly has a drink problem.

  7. Amef

    Oh I like nasty Tristan! It’s been ages since we’ve had a good villain. I wish Hanssen was going to be around to lock horns with him though rather than boring old Ric. And Serena is too far gone to la la land to deal with hospital politics anymore. Does anyone else think her drinking on the ward has gone too far? And why does everyone else act like it’s normal for a consultant to have a bottle of Shiraz and wine glasses in her office at the end of every shift?

    Maybe Jac will be the one to see off Tristan! She’s the only BAMF left in the show now!

  8. Priscilla Breakspear

    I hope Hanson can return he plays his part well. But, I love Rick Griffin he can sort my back out anytime.x

  9. Interesting that there was so much agreement in the above batch of comments about the pencil and about Serena’s drinking. I moderated the comments in a batch, so it wasn’t like people were just agreeing with a previous comment. I did think the pencil-tapping thing was a tad annoying, too.

    • mrssatan

      I’ve obviously sat through far too many mandatory training courses with bored attendees – the tapping didn’t grate on me 😉

      • Nothing Hanssen could do would grate on you, mrssatan 😀

      • mrssatan

        Unless he got in a fight with Inspector Lynley… then my loyalties would be severely tested! 😂

      • holbybunners

        Nor me … sigh …

        For Guy Henry fans– he is in “The Moonstone” 2.15 pm every weekday ..
        JPBS

      • Sarah

        It wasn’t just the tapping in and of itself (though it was extremely annoying), it was the laziness of the writing that relied too heavily on it to get across the message of Hanssen’s OCD. I thought the whole episode was a waste of Guy Henry’s talent, other than the scene with Zosia, he seemed to be doing a paint by numbers portrayal of Hanssen having a breakdown. He can do better, and they used to have writers who could do better.

    • Donnty

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only one irritated by the pencil tapping!

      And I do think there is too much of Serena drinking on the ward. Are we going to see a storyline where we see her deal with alcohol dependency? We were told Edward was an alcoholic without a fraction as many scene of him boozing.

  10. HolbyNut

    I too loved the comparison to Aslan, brilliant!
    Also Jac’s looking-out-for Zosia.
    It’s just great Tuesday-night viewing, full of wonderful characters we really care about (#stillmissarthur). Let’s not bash it too much 🙂

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