Last Time on Holby City: Serena returned to work after three weeks’ compassionate leave following the death of her daughter Ellie, and she was determined to find out what could have caused Ellie’s death, specifically who could have caused it.
Serena kept this a closely guarded secret (not even telling Bernie) until Morven and Jasmine found the folder by accident. When Bernie found out, she tries to talk to Serena but it clear that the brunette is not coping- and who can blame her?
When Serena finally talks to Jasmine about Ellie, she asks the junior doctor what Ellie’s last words were. Jasmine notes that Ellie had redrafted an article about her time in the NHS and so technically, those are Ellie’s last words.
Ellie’s words inspire her mom to teach junior doctors like Jasmine and it seems that Serena may be on the mend.
The episode starts on Serena (Catherine Russell) sitting in silence tearing pages from her notepad, before being buzzed into surgery.
A few minutes later, we see Serena and Bernie (Jemma Redgrave) on the ward with Jasmine (Lucinda Dryzek) and Morven (Eleanor Fanyinka) as they try to decide what to do with their current patient.
Jasmine suggests an alternative surgery method, which she learnt on a TV show, which takes Serena and Bernie by complete surprise and the pair ask her to take the lead on the procedure.
Jasmine: You could try a REBOA. Flexible catheter inserted into the femoral artery and inflate the balloon. It’ll stop the blood flow distal to…
Bernie: Yes, I know what a REBOA is, Dr Burrow. How do you?
Jasmine: Late night reruns of America’s Bloodiest Traumas.
Serena and Bernie watch Jasmine operate but when she falters, Bernie must take over for her. However, Bernie does reassure Jasmine that she had actually done the surgery correctly, she just needed to have more faith in herself.
Following the surgery, Jasmine, yet again feeling that Serena had been too harsh on her, vents to Morven about it in Serena’s office. Granted, Jasmine does have a point, but after several instances of this semi-public venting blowing up in her face, you’d think she’d have learnt to close a door behind her.
Morven: No-one expects a [junior] to perform such a procedure.
Jasmine: Serena just did.
Serena: Is right behind you.
Serena, however, assures Jasmine that she is not in trouble and that she intends to help Jasmine raise her game and become a better doctor.
She sets a test up for Jasmine: diagnose a patient, Ella (Lorna Gayle), with only observations and clinical examinations; no tests, no looking at the patient history and no neglecting her other duties. Oh, and it has to be done before Ella goes into surgery at 3 pm.
Ella and Serena seem closer than the average doctor-patient relationship but although Jasmine presses the issue, Ella refuses to disclose. Instead, she talks about her job as a dinner lady (or midday assistant, if you want to be posh about it) at St. Winifred’s, an all-girls private school.
Jasmine does manage to trick Ella into discounting one possible condition. Jasmine, content that she’s found the right diagnoses after asking only a couple of questions, and listening to Ella’s chest once, skips over to tell Serena.
Serena tells her that not only is her diagnosis wrong but the procedure that Jasmine advocated would cause unnecessary pain to the patient when a further clinical test (feeling that abdomen) would have ruled the condition out.
Jasmine attempts to carry out the clinical test, but Serena reminds her that she has other patients to see as well. Bernie, who was been listening in, makes a somewhat cryptic remark, and Serena’s response makes it seem like she isn’t testing Jasmine to improve her skills as a doctor at all.
Bernie: Cruel. I know what you’re doing.
Serena: You wanted me to teach. I’m teaching Dr Burrows a lesson
Then Serena receives a call from her longtime friend and colleague, Henrik (Guy Henry), who she believed was still in Sweden, inviting her to lunch
During the lunch, Henrik apologises for not being in touch after Ellie’s death. Serena forgives him, noting that he had his own things going on in Sweden. She reveals that Ellie was found with cocaine in her system and she blames herself for not noticing her daughter’s addiction. She admits that she wants to hold someone responsible for Ellie’s death, even if that someone is herself.
Serena: I know it’s stupid but I want to hold someone accountable, even is that someone does turn out to be me.
Jasmine has continued to persist with her diagnosis of Ella, and when feeling the abdomen, finds a large scar. Jasmine asks if it’s from past surgery but Ella reveals that she fell in her garage and impaled herself on a fishing spear, owned by her ex; a move which earned her the nickname, the “human kebab” in the local paper.
Jasmine, thinking that the past injury could be the cause of Ella’s current condition, asks Serena if she can look at the notes surrounding this past operation. Serena denies the request but Bernie whispers that Jasmine could always use the internet.
After some cursory Googling, Jasmine finds out more about Ella’s condition and discovers how Serena and Ella, know each other. Ella worked at St Winfred’s when Serena was a pupil there. She impresses Serena with her diagnoses (which is still wrong but very close) but wrecks it all when she reveals that she searched for information on Serena.
Jasmine: When I get a hunch, I just have to…
Serena: Poke around in other people’s business?
Serena is so upset that Jasmine has been ‘digging into her past’ that she reschedules Ella’s operation, giving Jasmine less time to complete the test.
Later, Bernie comes to see Serena, to tell her that Jason has been calling. When she tried to find Serena’s phone, she found the screwed-up pages from Serena’s notepad piled up in the bag.
She questions Serena, who says that they help her to cope during counselling; something which she hadn’t mentioned to Bernie before.
Bernie: That’s where you went this morning?
Serena: Yeah, I like to get it out of the way.
Jasmine asks Jac (Rosie Marcel) for advice on her test, to which Jac reveals that Serena has been Harvey-ing her. What’s that, you might wonder? Well, it’s a method of testing junior doctors…possibly to their breaking points. There is no way to solve the problem; it’s impossible.
Jasmine asks Jac how she beat the test when she was a junior and Jac reveals that she cheated, which gives Jasmine the idea to cheat as well.
Jac: Either you’ve irritated her and she’s punishing you or you’ve impressed her. I’m going with option A.
Serena finally gets to phone her nephew Jason back and tries to get him to stop crying, noting that she misses Ellie too. Jason has been off work since getting run over by Ellie in early January.
When Serena and Bernie arrive to take Ella to theater, Ella asks after Jasmine. Serena notes that Jasmine’s time has run out so Ella takes the chance to remind the former head girl, that there are two different types of teachers Mr Kotter and Ms Trunchball.
Serena is upset to be compared to the Roald Dahl villain, even more so when Bernie agrees. When Jasmine comes on screen, Serena begins to apologize but the junior doctor pipes up with the correct diagnoses.
Later on, Morven is congratulating Jasmine on her successful diagnoses when Ella goes into respiratory distress. Jasmine, with the benefit of a little cheating, knows precisely how to treat this. Serena allows her to continue, realizing how the junior doctor came to her amazing diagnoses but asks Jasmine to return to her office.
Serena: You cheated.
Jasmine: You gave me no choice… You Harvey-d me.
In the middle of the heated argument, Jasmine reveals to Serena that she suspected Ellie had been taking cocaine. To this, Serena reacts surprisingly well, offering to mentor Jasmine again.
If I were Jasmine, however, I’d probably have switched to a different teacher, because Serena is not coping well and it’s unlikely to improve in the short-term. I don’t blame Serena but she really needs help.
At the end of the episode, it becomes clear that Serena has not been going to counselling; instead, she’s sitting on her own in silence, crying and tearing pages from a notepad.
Next time on Holby City: Serena keeps pretending that everything is fine but Bernie can see that through the façade. This becomes a make-or-break moment for the couple; can they survive this rocky patch or are we saying goodbye to our favorite couple?
What did you think of this episode? What do you think of Serena lying to Bernie?