Our resident Holby City queen Sue Haasler gives the lowdown on the most recent episode in which Professor Gaskells trials came under the microscope, there were some visits from Ethan Hardy and Essie Di Lucca, and there was plenty of shouting in the shrubbery.
The episode started with Professor Gaskell contacting his inner beast in the Holby City garden – or Linden Cullen Memorial Shrubbery, as I like to call it. This took the form of loud shouting. Doesnt he know there are sick people in that hospital who could be traumatised by that sort of thing? He wanted Roxanna to have a go, but she came over all British and reticent. By the end, though, she was in the shrubbery shrieking her lungs out.
In between, Roxanna had discovered a lot of things that we already knew about the Profs trial. Hicham, the Morocco patient, had died. Roxanna found out that the neo conduit material that had been used on him and the other patients was contaminated with human cells, because the Prof was getting it cheap from somewhere or other.
She confronted the Prof, telling him it was time to shut the trial down. His attitude was that it was just a tiny error, and the important thing now was to find out what it was that made some patients, including Jac, survive while others didnt.
When they told Jac that Hicham had died, she said she didnt want to know any details. I have a daughter and I have my work, both maddening and beautifully challenging, she said. A month ago all I had was pain and pain and more pain. To be pain-free is enough for Jac – for now.
It mightnt have been enough to persuade Roxanna to stay on board with the trial, so the script threw in the presence of Dr Ethan Hardy, up from the ED (and Casualty) with a patient. Ethan has Huntingtons disease, and we learned that hed been considered for the Profs trial and rejected as unsuitable. Lucky him, you may say, but he didnt think so. He desperately wanted a life free from worrying about how disabled he might become in the future. He desperately needed Prof Gaskell to provide him with a solution.
So Roxanna decided she would stay on the trial, as long as Gaskell didnt keep any more secrets from her. After all that, she needed a good scream in the Shrubbery.
While she was bellowing in the bushes, Prof Gaskell was aiming his trademark lugubrious stare at an unconscious patient. The patient was someone we knew, someone whose career hed ruined. It was Essie Di Lucca.
Essie had arrived in AAU with two things: severe abdominal pain and Rafs father. Shed been staying with the remaining Di Luccas in Glasgow, getting to know her late husbands family, when she was struck down with a mystery illness.
Hanssen was the one to treat her, and this meant he had to deal with the wife and the father of the person his son had killed, a thing hes still struggling with.
Essie is a character you cant help but care about, and when tests showed she had ovarian cancer it was genuinely worrying and upsetting. She feared that the bad luck that seemed to follow her was karma because of her Nazi grandfather. Hanssen knows a thing or two about karma, and he also cares very deeply about Essie and has always respected her. I loved how he understood her need to retain some control by deciding to be given the news in the office rather than in the ward.
Hanssen operated on her and apparently got all of the cancer, although she also had to have a hysterectomy and her ovaries removed. For someone like Essie, who always held out the hope shed one day be a mother, that was devastating. When she woke up she was surrounded by so much goodwill, from Rafs father and Hanssen, Sacha of course, and – in a really touching scene – Dominic. Enzo Di Lucca told her that shes the light that comes after the darkness.
Down on AAU, Ric had offered to stump up the money for a deposit so Donna could rent a house for her and her daughters. Poor Ric, hes probably desperate to reclaim his house from being Girls World. Anyway, houses in Holby are apparently a bit pricey unless you want to live on the Farmead Estate. Donna realised shed need to earn more cash, and one option was to train in cosmetics procedures. But the training cost money she didnt have. I thought Zav was going to offer to lend her it like he did for Nicky, but instead he suggested she use Rics deposit money to pay for the course. Presumably this means that Ric will have his lodgers for a little while longer. Hell be thrilled.