Remember how last week Ethan was stressing out because he didn’t keep Awful Nikki in her hospital bed and she caught fire as a result of being awful? Ethan is now beating himself up about that and setting the scene for a day of recriminations and overcaution.
Dr Lily is back this episode which is nice. If memory serves her last screen appearance involved the entire rest of the department finally telling her she was a jerk and that she had bullied one of her mentees. Holby and Casualty are full of strong women who occasionally tip into sociopathy. I salute them for it.
Anyway, Ethan is all I MUST NOT LET PEOPLE DOWN I MUST REMAIN VIGILANT AND DO ALL THE DOCTORING IN THE WORLD which is Casualty speak for “someone will die because of this”. Lily, who refused to take any time off following the death of her father, explains that staff welfare is important.
Oh lord. I had forgotten about Lofty wanting to get a promotion. Well, it’s interview day and A&E’s clumsiest, nicest nurse must convince everyone he is capable and not at all some kind of pudding in a man costume. Cue a guest appearance of the hospital CEO Henrik Hassen who is literally just there to arrange pencils and make Lofty nervous and remind people who stopped watching Holby City that he is still about.
I am annoyed about Lofty’s plotline. One, because it’s utterly obvious where this is going and that Lofty will rise to a challenge in some way and then get the job because SOAP OPERAS. Two, because back in the mists of time (last December or whenevs) peppy nurse Robyn Miller decided she was going to apply but also encouraged Lofty to go for it because she isn’t jealous etc etc. Her application instantly disappeared from the show’s consciousness and everything since has been about Lofty’s coming of professionalism story or whatever.
Spoiler: he rises to the challenge by manning an outdoor tent full of ill jerks because the hospital gets overloaded (the other local hospital has had to shut its doors). Lofty gets the job, Robyn hangs about trying to get people to put some money in a fund-raising bucket. She does, however, get a Taylor Swift reference into the episode.
In other irritations, Dixie is now getting flowers and longing looks from Jess [backstory for that here]. Jess is rebounding so hard from Awful Nikki that she might as well be on a relationship trampoline so the kiss they share at the end of the episode ends with Dixie saying “I can’t do this”. GOOD IDEA. STICK WITH THAT.
Back to Ethan. Charlie Fairhead is all “Well, he is probably reacting badly because of all that bad news you gave him about possibly having Huntington’s and also his mum not being his biological mum, isn’t he Cal?” Cal did not tell him any of these things.
YAY ZOE HANNA IS BACK! I love Zoe. She is a lovable mess who absolutely fucked her marriage to hospital porter Max into the bin what with sleeping with a rando on her hen night. Fun fact: The wedding then caught fire and exploded and Zoe nearly drowned in her own wedding dress (and also the local river) before Charlie saved her. Max is hanging about and is a bit jealous and exhibits clear symptoms of Maybe I Still Want You But I Am Not Sure And This Will Go On For A Long Time-Itis.
Cal eventually decides he must tell Ethan all of the bad news but not before Ethan has to provide care for a dying elderly lady (it’s actually a really moving part of the episode and I cried) and tries to be there for a suicidal patient. Unfortunately for the patient, “being there” involves having an audible conversation near the patient where he confesses that this diligence is because he still feels guilty over missing something with Awful Nikki.
The patient leaves and then accidentally causes a car crash involving some dithery guy who is having a major attack of MAYBE THE GRASS IS GREENER ELSEWHERE and his girlfriend (of whose grass he has grown weary). I do not have much sympathy for this dude. But it’s okay! Apparently his girlfriend being in a life-endangering situation means he has realised she is the one for him. Romance.
Actually, Ethan saves her so his day isn’t all bad. Alas he ruins it all by going to tell Lily she isn’t “the pariah of the department” as she contemplates a body. The body is that of the man from earlier and Ethan does not take this well.
In other news Louise has a go at a patient and sticks up for the NHS thus getting him to change his ways and donate to the hospital fund-raising effort.
Mr Hanssen must decide whether to fight for the CEO-ship of Holby or go see his family in Sweden. The choice comes about because Guy Self is a narcissistic maniac and wants the job back. He’s wandering round doing shady deals and offering Ric Griffin shiny new medical equipment to try and get the support he needs to stage a coup. He has also started parking in Hanssen’s space.
I really do feel like as hospital coups go this one has been kind of rushed. It only really picked up pace the last week or so and now it’s all THERE IS A FIGHT FOR THE HOSPITAL AND PROBABLY ALSO THE CORE VALUES OF THE NHS BECAUSE HANSSEN IS ACTUALLY NICE AND GUY SELF IS AWFUL.
The whole thing revolves around Hanssen deciding what his priorities are and he sort of nibbles away at a number of the sideplots, making appearances and dispensing advice or prompting shifts in other people’s behaviour. For example, the ridiculously awkward family party that Sacha is trying to get his fiance Essie to attend. It is awkward because Sacha’s family is Jewish and Essie’s grandad is an escaped Nazi war criminal.
He also tells Arthur to write a paper for publication, tells Jac Naylor to come up with an R&D proposal to rival Guy Self’s neuro-lab of coolness and gets deeply involved in the case of a guy he finds outside the hospital. “I reckon fifty people walked past me outside without even seeing I was there, so thanks,” says the guy. The guy also calls Hanssen the BFG for a while.
Here is Serena “enjoying” some shortbread made by Arthur Digby. Morven later puts the shortbread in the clinical waste disposal.
Morven spends the episode making up Shakespearean-inspired research paper puns. Did I mention that I love Morven?
Anyway, the return of a balloon model-making patient pisses Jac off. Jac hates balloons either because they’re fun and Jac is not into fun or because of her time in the children’s home. It could be either but she tells underling Olly Valentine the latter and he shuts up about it.
“If it comes near me I will stick a pin in it. And that goes for the balloon too,” she tells the patient. She does later stick a pin in each and every one of his balloon animals. After picking through Professor Elliot Hope’s old stent research and discovering that even tedious balloon men have feelings Jac decides to fight for that cardiothorassic R&D money using a balloon-based stent project inspired by the very thing she hates and using balloon man as a case study.
Hanssen has also remembered it’s the anniversary of Nurse Fletcher’s wife’s death, worked out the life history and medical and emotional sufferings of his patient, coached Sacha towards some kind of awful party resolution, prompted Arthur’s return to Keller Ward from AAU and decided to prioritise Holby over his family. So… yay? Yay for everyone except his Swedish family.
Serena takes great joy delivering this news to Guy Self. God, Serena is great. I’m so glad she’s the one wiping the smile of Guy Self’s smug face. SUCK IT, GUY.