Holby City: Risky business

(Series 20, ep. 25 ‘Primum Non Nocere, Part Two’ by Patrick Homes 20.6.18) This episode started exactly where the last one left off, if we ignore a bit of preamble with Prof Gaskell muttering ominously to an unseen someone on a ventilator. Meena had just told the Prof of her worries about the trial, and Jac was just about to go into surgery.

Abi had found someone called Dr Philippe Duplessis (Wela Mbusi) who was keen to watch Jac’s op. He was in a similar line of research to the Prof, only his trials were confined to mice. He was excited to see a guinea pig instead, in the form of Holby’s top CT surgeon.

Jac was having a few pre-op worries – the anaesthetist had gone AWOL, the Prof kept wandering off, it was looking like a bit of a shambles – but she went ahead anyway. 

In another bout of mumbling to the person on the ventilator, the Prof talked about how the first ever heart transplant had only worked for a short time before it failed. There’ll always be “necessary martyrs” if progress is to be made, he said. “Progress requires sacrifice.”

Not the sacrifice of Our Jac it doesn’t, lad! Some uncharacteristic cautiousness made the Prof try to deal with her scar tissue without using the experimental neo-conduit. But when Jac woke up, she had no feeling in her left leg.

We were hearing reports that the patient in Morocco was getting worse, but faced with a useless leg Jac insisted on going back into theatre for the risky neo-conduit. “We are witnessing history,” gasped Dr Philippe Duplessis.

At the opposite end of the doctoring spectrum from the terrifyingly driven Prof Gaskell we have Sacha, a man who is all too aware of human frailty. And, in a brilliant scene, he told Fletch exactly why Jac would go through with such a risky procedure. She’d been in too much pain, both physically after the shooting and emotionally after Jasmine’s death. It was more than even Jac could cope with and she would do anything to get some of it to go away. Anything.

I was fully expecting the person on the ventilator that Prof Gaskell kept mumbling at to be Jac, left in a parlous post-op state. I don’t know who it was, but it wasn’t Jac. When we last saw her, she could feel her left leg again, and still feel her right leg as well, so she looked quite pleased.

She’s not out of the woods yet, though. “I know now that what killed Fiona Fawcett will kill Hisham El-Arawi [the Morocco patient] and might one day kill Jac Naylor,” the Prof mumbled to his unconscious chum. Yikes!

As the Prof contemplated “necessary” deaths, another little life came into the world on AAU, in the form of Serena’s grand-niece. The new arrival underlined for Serena that she really didn’t want to leave Holby – not even for the love of Bernie.

Serena and Bernie spent a lot of time quarreling about Greta’s care and about Serena’s reluctance to sign the contract for Nairobi. Quarreling generally, in fact, which I found totally realistic – when you’re in a long-distance relationship there’s the first rush of joy when you see each other, swiftly followed by a tetchy, niggly period as you get used to each other again after living apart.

Rather delightfully, Mr T’s replacement as head of Obs & Gynae is Fleur Fanshawe (Debbie Chazen), formerly general surgeon and the woman who once referred to Dominic, Digby and Zosia as “Doris, Digweed and The Girl With The Face-ache Tattoo.” She flirted outrageously with Serena (the “Holby too gay” brigade will have been having conniptions at the sight of at least three lesbians in one ward) and told Bernie, “She’s a warm, sexy, silver vixen,” to which Bernie replied, “I was in the army, you know. I know 13 different ways to kill you with my bare hands.” Who votes for a spin-off series in which Bernie demonstrates these?

She needn’t have worried, though. She really is the only woman for Serena, and though they had to sadly agree that at the moment Serena has to be in Holby and Bernie has to be in Nairobi, they’ll still be together. Bernie said she would wait for eternity. “I was thinking more like six months to a year,” Serena said.

The most beautiful scene between them was as they waited in the corridor for Greta’s baby to be born (sitting on the floor – a reminder of their first kiss, all those months ago). Serena talked about her daughter Elinor and how much she missed her, and broke down in tears. Wonderful work from Catherine Russell, and following that it was doubly touching that Greta and Jason decided to call their baby Guinevere Elinor.

In other news, Ric found himself in the middle of a meeting which was officially about Sacha and Nicky’s mouldy scotch eggs trial, but it wasn’t making a huge amount of sense to Ric. This was because he’d missed the beginning, in which Sacha had told Abi about Fletch’s hilarious predicament with the bunny-boiler woman who wanted him to go fell-walking. The rest of the meeting consisted of everyone pretending to talk about the trial, while actually talking about Fletch and Abi’s relationship. It left Ric all confused and cross, but Fletch is still going fell-walking and he even asked Abi out on a proper date, so #Flabi is still a Thing.

HOLBY CITY BEHIND THE SCREEN – The essential guide to how Holby City is made, in the words of the cast and crew.

HALF A WORLD AWAY – My new novel: “Marvellous, particularly if you enjoy a bit of (historical) totalitarianism with your literary love stories”

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Holby City: Risky business

  1. Jayne Lockwood

    I’m going to stick my neck out and say I’m GLAD Flabi is a thing. I like them together. Jac doesn’t need a man, so I hope the writers don’t portray her as perpetually miserable and unlucky in love. I want her to be a strong role model for women who don’t think it necessary to have a guy in tow to find happiness. She can still be acerbic and difficult. I wouldn’t have her any other way.

    And with Flabi, it’s possible that won’t work either, but I’m so glad it is at the moment. Fletch is punching way above his pay grade, but she’s treating him like an equal. I love the dynamic between them.

    Berena – sigh. No words. So glad they are still together.

    Gaskell – creepy as fuck. Is that his wife on the ventilator? Is that why he’s so driven, because he wants to save her? Booting Meena off the trial could be a fatal error, because now she’s free to voice her concerns. PLEASE let it be to Hanssen. It’s about time he did some more scene-munching.

    No shade, but I think Roxanna only has one facial expression – extreme anxiety. Someone buy her a Diptyque lavender candle. (Not Hanssen though. He’s mine…)

  2. Spud1972

    This was a brilliant episode. The meeting where Sasha put his foot in it was priceless. I wonder if Fleur will stay as a regular character? Also liked the reference to Mr T. And who will run the Connie Beauchamp ED trauma centre now that Berni has gone back to Nairobi?

  3. JennyBG

    Flabi!!!! 😂😂😂😂

  4. Andrew Porter

    Two really excellent episodes, watched back-to-back on iPlayer. Really great writing, loved the meeting where Ric was unaware of the subtext! I think

    Gaskill (!) is a brilliant character, so mercurial; at points I was thinking perhaps he really has missed the obvious here, at others I was wondering if he just didn’t want to see the truth, and again at other times that he was delibrately manipulating the situation and witholding information. Interaction with Meena is weird and creepy; he seemed genuine in commending her for spotting stuff, and then just as quickly boots her off the trial – not for undermining him but for breaking confidence in front of the outsider.

    Had me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen with Jac; but makes perfect sense that she would take the 50-50 option (even though she doesn’t know it’s quite that bad) given how desperate she’s feeling. Will be watching for signs of ‘flu’ or ‘pneumonia’ or whatever for the next few weeks…

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