Holby City: An out-of-control monster

(Series 19, ep. 26) It was one of those starts-at-(almost)-the-end episodes, and the start showed a panicking Bernie, flanked by Fletch and Jasmine, busting down the door to the roof (which was locked for the first time in its history)…

What had happened to Serena? Would we find her teetering on the edge of the parapet, or already in a messy mush in the car park? Would Bernie be in time?

Flashback twelve hours, which luckily for us had been condensed to just one hour. We found Serena “stuck on some hideous merry-go-round of blame and regret.” This could be construed as a general description of AAU on a good day, but it was all about Elinor’s death and Serena’s reaction to it, particularly in her treatment of Jasmine. It was also affecting her family – she said that even loving Bernie didn’t make her feel better, and she was so horrible to and around Jason that he wanted to move back in with his old carer, Alan. “I’m officially an out-of-control monster,” Serena said. She was still unable to address any of this properly until she almost hit Jasmine and Jac was there to (magnificently) intervene. Serena was summoned to see Hanssen, who was infinitely kind and understanding and said there was almost nothing he wouldn’t do to help her. 

So maybe there was hope for her? Maybe a corner had been turned? The day had a few more nasty twists, though. Jason told her she wasn’t the same Auntie Serena as before and he still wanted to live with Alan. Her patient ( who was gloriously played by Gwen Taylor as a woman who lived life to the full with no regrets) died on the operating table. And Serena headed for the roof.

Back to that scene with Bernie breaking the door down – to find Serena, in a deckchair in the dark with a glass of Shiraz in one hand and a ciggie in the other. “Campbell, are you drunk?” Bernie asked her. “I bloody hope so,” was the reply.

Jasmine very touchingly made her peace with Serena, then she and Fletch left, Bernie procured another deckchair and they had a talk. And Serena said she needed to go away for a bit to sort herself out. Will she ever come back? She hopes so. Will there be room for Bernie in her future plans? She hopes so. Which I took to mean “yes.” It was a beautiful end to what’s been a harrowing storyline.

One harrowing storyline ends but another very much continues. Zosia is now fully aware of Isaac’s violent behaviour to Dominic, but she’s so far fairly powerless to help him because Isaac is manipulating him so thoroughly that Dominic is blaming himself, or telling himself this is what love is like and he wants the “passion” of the relationship. Zosia told him they were “bosoms” (bosom buddies) and it’s what Arthur would have wanted, but it’s driving Isaac to distraction because he needs to cut Dominic off from his support systems to properly control him. So Zosia is inflaming the situation as much as she’s trying to help. “I want the old Dom, not the under-the-thumb one,” she said, and we can all agree on that, but what is it going to take to get Dominic free of Isaac’s grip?

The Darwin story was quite educational on the subject of crab potting – if you were paying attention you now know what a fid is, how to use it and why it isn’t a good idea to get one embedded in your buttock. If you want to know a lot more about crab potting, one of the writers of the episode, Nick Fisher, is quite the expert – have a look at his novel Pot Luck. Aside from crabs, the pregnant crab potter patient (Alexia Traverse-Healy) made Mo have a good think about how to combine motherhood and her career.

I’m writing the official BBC Holby City book! More info here


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6 responses to “Holby City: An out-of-control monster

  1. Thunderchild

    Great review! I do hope Serena comes back and that Catherine Russell’s ‘break’ isn’t permanent.

    Regarding the bullying issue someone should have reminded Jac about how she treated poor Tara Lo!

  2. Fantastic review, I loved the acting by Catherine and Jemma, and I thought the banter being Serena and Bernie on the roof when she asked if she was drunk was great! Going to miss seeing Catherine on Holby for a few weeks and hopefully she’ll be back

  3. HolbyNut

    Adorable episode. Hanssen so touching. Jack hilarious!

  4. Sirena

    Fantastic episode and fantastic temporary send off. I never bought that she would try and throw herself off the roof I’ve been watching way to long and though Serena was so devastated with grief It just didn’t sit with me that she would attempt it. When I saw her with the shiraz and fag in her hand that was Serena Campbell. I loved the loyalty shown amongst the staff that even when you hit rock bottom they are there, even Hanssen cause beneath that Icy demeanour he has such a soft heart and protective streak for his staff, when they deserve it,

    Can you clear something up for me I re watched the spring trailer and it dawned on me that Dom was talking to Nicky Van Barr (Poor pale Nicky Van Barr I’m sure that’s how you used to refer to him) any idea is he coming back or is it a one off is it even him cause I may be way out of the ball park here. keep up the good work love the reviews.

  5. Bernadette McHarry

    Understand that Serena has problems, and is grieving. Can’t help but wonder how long a real-life consultant would’ve got away with her behaviour; not just with Jasmine, but the drinking and the melt downs when doing surgery.
    Even though Jason has gone to live with his former carer, I hope he’s still av a regular in Holby. Fans attitudes towards him and his Aspergers have changed for the better since he’s been in the show.