Last Time on Holby City: Throughout 2017, Serena has been grieving the death of daughter Ellie, who died unexpectedly at Holby shortly after New Year. Understandably, this has caused her to lash out at co-workers and push away those closest to her, including partner Bernie.
On Valentine’s Day, Serena and Bernie reunited for good; understanding that life’s troubles are better faced together. Last month, she began proper counselling sessions and began to accept the idea that Ellie’s death was not the fault of junior doctor Jasmine, but how long can this last?
When this episode opens, Serena (Catherine Russell) is full of the joys of life; even teasing Jasmine (Lucinda Dryzek) for coming to work hungover and looking a bit worse for wear. Although, as a side note, Jasmine really shouldn’t be hungover at work, she’s a doctor, not a cashier.
It turns out Serena is trying to channel serenity, calm, and inner peace; probably at the request of her counsellor (and Bernie).
Serena: Take 10 to sort yourself out, slap some life into your face and go heavy on the concealer.
Serena meets Bernie (Jemma Redgrave) in her office, where she admits to her partner that she had the first good night’s sleep in ages. She even jokes to Bernie about mixing her sleeping tablets with wine in order to get some rest, something which Bernie does not find particularly funny.
Bernie: Lavender pillow working?
Serena: No, diazepam and shiraz…. Joking, I don’t need another lecture.
While the joke was a little dark for some, it is fairly standard for people who have suffered from addiction issues or who have a mental health issue, to joke about it; at least from personal experience. In all honesty, Serena has some incredible one-liners in this episode, including this gem once Jasmine had cleaned herself up.
Serena: Much better; less vagrant, more fragrant.
Serena opens a letter from the NHS Blood and Transplant Service, who are passing on an anonymous letter from the person who received Ellie’s, heart. The handwritten letter is very touching, bringing a tear to Serena’s eye but it also reminds her about Ellie.
Serena’s main patient in this episode is Jo (Cath Whitefield), a tattoo artist who received a heart transplant in January. Jo is a little abrasive, taking business calls while Serena and Jasmine attempt to assess her, snapping at questions about her lifestyle (like, are you keeping to the heart healthy diet and are you taking you anti-rejection drugs) and yelling at Serena that ‘everyone deserves a second chance’ across the ward.
What a delight. It seems Jo’s role in the episode is to test Serena’s commitment to a Zen outlook on life, as she would anyone’s.
Jason (Jules Robertson), Serena’s nephew, has finally come back to Holby after nearly 3 months off- he was accidentally run over by Ellie on the day that she died. He has created a tribute book for Ellie and asks Jasmine and Bernie to sign it, as Serena approaches them.
He then, asks Bernie a strange question about her relationship with Serena and their future deaths. It should be noted here that Jason has Asperger’s, so while this question seems really rude, he didn’t mean it that way.
Jason: You and Serena aren’t getting any younger and I was just wondering which one of you will die first?
Bernie: Well, hopefully, I won’t be popping my clogs any time soon Jason.
Jason asks Serena to take him to the cemetery to visit Ellie, as he was too unwell to go the funeral and it might help him get closure. He also tells Serena that his grief counsellor told him to concentrate on looking after Serena and Bernie now that he’s the man of the house. She remarks that the counsellor seemed a little misogynistic but that she understood his point.
Later, Serena and Bernie discuss how Jason is coping with the death of his cousin and Bernie encourages her partner to tell Jason about the letter from the recipient of Ellie’s heart.
Bernie: It’s your call, but I think that knowing that a little part of Elinor lives on in someone else, could help ease his pain.
Serena takes her partner’s advice and takes Jason to lunch to explain the procedure and show him the letter. As Jason reads the letter, a phrase catches Serena’s ear; “everyone deserves a second chance”, but where have we heard that before?
Wait, isn’t that what the transplant patient from hell yelled at Serena earlier? Oh damn, could Jo really be the recipient of Ellie’s heart?
Well, Serena looks up Jo’s medical records as soon as she can and finds out that the transplant took place at Holby on the day that Ellie died. How will this affect Serena’s recovery?
Shortly after this, Serena requests to listen to Jo’s heartbeat, despite no actual medical reason to do so. Jo asks her a question but Serena is so entranced that she can’t respond, so Jasmine has to. The look on Serena’s face as she listened to her daughter’s heart beat again, just kills me.
Jasmine, who has also searched the medical records, visits Serena to establish that they are both on the same page; that Ellie’s heart is now inside Jo.
Jasmine tries to explain that Jo had confessed to a new sense of life since the heart transplant and suggests that maybe some of Ellie’s life force has crossed over to Jo. Serena rejects that notion and asks Jasmine to get Bernie to take over the case, as she feels that she cannot be objective anymore.
However, when Jo loses consciousness later in the day and Jasmine calls the crash team in, Serena is heading it. She snaps at Jasmine about missing something, which Jasmine denies.
In surgery, when Jo/Ellie’s heart stops beating completely and Matteo (Christian Vit) tries to call the time of death, Serena attempts to restart the heart manually but is unable to. When it is clear that Jo cannot be saved, Serena runs out of surgery.
Later, Jasmine finds Serena sobbing in an empty stairwell in a closed-off part of the hospital and tries to comfort her, but Serena responds viciously.
Serena: I lost her all over again, on your watch again. I wish it was you in the morgue.
Woah, that was horrific. Serena might angry and upset but telling someone that they wish they were dead? That’s cold. Serena’s definitely not channeling the Zen feeling anymore. The worst part? That Jasmine still looks like she understands and refuses to call Serena on it.
At the end of the episode, Serena is drinking red wine alone in her office when Jason comes in with sushi, Ellie’s favorite meal. She apologizes for not taking him to the cemetery and is surprised to hear that he no longer wants to go.
Serena: Why don’t you want to go to the cemetery anymore?
Jason: Because somewhere, in someone, she’s alive.
She doesn’t have the heart to tell Jason the truth, but who could blame her? The poor man is already devastated by the loss of his cousin; it wouldn’t help to reveal that the heart donor had died, so soon after telling him that the donation had taken place.
Next time on Holby City: Serena realizes that she has made a mistake with Jasmine and Bernie attempts to offer support to her partner but has it come too late?
What did you think of this episode? Are you hoping that the Holby City writers are kinder to Serena in the coming weeks? Let us know in the comments below.