Holby City: Damage already done

(Series 19, ep. 63 ‘We Need To Talk About Fredrik’ by Patrick Homes 12.12.17) Three weeks have passed in Holby time since the events shown last week. The funerals of Raf, Fredrik and David have already happened (Fredrik in Stockholm, without Hanssen’s attendance) and the process of rebuilding has started.

Rebuilding lives shattered by recent events is not going to be quick or easy – we saw with the death of Digby that Holby takes the aftermath of huge events seriously and I expect the repercussions of the shooting will be felt for a long time.

Rebuilding staff numbers is simpler and came courtesy of The Mythical St Francis’s. Remember it’s merging with Holby? Three new doctors – or rather, two new doctors and one old friend – chose this week to merge in Holby’s direction. 

The two new F1’s, Meena Chowdhury (Salma Hoque) and Nicky (“Only my stepbrother calls me Nicola”) McKendrick (Belinda Owusu) were friends, and both were highly excited to be starting work at Holby, home of the feared and revered Henrik Hanssen and John Gaskell. Both of the new F1s seem to be clever, curious and fairly competent. Nicky got off to the better start, diagnosing someone who was in theory only a relative of a patient with a life-threatening condition. It’s never too early to learn about The Curse of the Holby Friend/Relative. Speaking of which, Nicky mentioned her stepbrother so often that I’m expecting to see him in the next few weeks, either as a patient or as yet another F1.

Meena, assigned to Keller, had the misfortune to get two lots of different bodily excrescences in her hair within the space of fifteen minutes, so she spent most of the time washing her hair and re-applying her makeup. She received an initially frosty reception from Dominic (struggling with recent events, on top of still struggling with previous events – he has a lot of struggling going on), but eventually and with Lofty’s help he realised he wasn’t being fair and apologised. And possibly he saw a bit of himself in Meena and the way she used her outward appearance to conceal her insecurities.

That reminds me of a time long ago, when a very wonderful nurse-then-doctor admitted that she too used her fierce warpaint to hide behind. Who was it now? Oh yes – it was Goth Dr Frieda. And here she was again, summoned to Holby by a worried Elliot Hope, to sort out Jac who was on Darwin being the worst patient ever. I’m very delighted to say that Frieda still has her very own sense of style (they called her ‘Freaky Frieda’ at St Francis’s, apparently), and she still has Attitude with a capital A. She needed it, too, what with Jac insisting that there was nothing much wrong with her, and then insisting on staying awake during her own procedure so she could supervise. Frieda ignored that, and saved Jac’s life, and of course Jac rewarded her by throwing her out of the ward.

It was adorable that when Jac woke up from her anaesthetic and saw Fletch perched on her bed she permitted herself a tiny little smile. And it was Fletch who persuaded Frieda not to quit. Frieda told Jac that she was there on Elliot’s insistence – he wants Jac to train Frieda to be a top CT surgeon. And I want to see that happening so much. Plus, there’s a bit of a surgeon deficit on Darwin at the moment, what with Ollie being in an induced coma and all.

There is hope for Ollie, I was very relieved to hear. I was also very relieved that the bullet wound he received had left his lovely face intact, although he has grown an elaborate moustache since he was shot. “Do you think he’s going to be okay?” Dominic asked Roxanna. She was cautiously optimistic, but he’s still going to need a shave urgently. Get him prepped for an emergency barber!

I realise I haven’t mentioned Hanssen yet, but the episode actually revolved around him and a visit to psychiatrist Jerry Clarke (Jeff Rawle), who we’ve previously seen as a patient in the episode where Hanssen admitted to suffering from depression and OCD. Hanssen wasn’t seeing Jerry for psychotherapy. Not officially, anyway. Officially, he was there to play chess. It was the nearest he could get to actually asking for help (“What would be the point? The damage has already been done, right?” Jerry said, because Jerry understands Hanssen quite well). We saw that Hanssen was desperately worried about his staff and particularly the two young new F1’s. He wants to protect his people from any more harm. He told Jerry a story about a viral video involving baby ducks, which he made sound like Silence of the Lambs: “I found it horrific.” Normally we see him being rather sweet and indulgent with children, but a lively boy running around the ward gave him a painful special-effects panic attack. On some level perhaps he worried that a boy who was “willful, lacking boundaries, control” could perhaps one day grow up to do something very, very bad indeed.

On the subject of which, Jerry pointed out right at the end that Hanssen hadn’t mentioned Fredrik once. Hanssen’s response was to knock his king over, conceding the game of chess and ending the conversation.

HOLBY CITY: BEHIND THE SCREEN, the official Holby book and your essential companion to the show, will be available in the new year. To be notified about the release date and where to buy it (and for a chance to win a signed copy), sign up for email updates here.



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5 responses to “Holby City: Damage already done

  1. I really enjoyed this episode. Just like the last 2 episodes, I was completely fascinated by what I was is seeing or hearing. Holby’s back on track for entertainment. Also, Holby’s winter trailer shows Catherine Russell returning to Holby. I have so missed her spirited, spunky, plucky, gutsy,and ballsy character, Serena Campbell.

  2. mrssatan

    Lovely to see Frieda back… she and Jac sparring was amusing.

    Fletch was adorable… I see a romance brewing between him and Jac

    HH – he hasn’t grieved, he hasn’t had counselling… his PTSD couldn’t have been more obvious… if he needs a shoulder, an ear and a hug then I am available!


  3. Ejection Fraction

    New F1s and old F1 – all good additions. Loved the new F1s reactions to the impromptu cranial nerve examination outside Pulses and the prospect of one of them scrubbing in with Professor Gaskell. He seems like an interesting and compelling character – thinks good and evil is too simplistic, tells Jac he knows what she’s going through (something to do with that picture, perhaps) and he’s a neurosurgeon who gives credit to others and isn’t a narcissist.