Crimson Field (2014)

 

Reviewer: Charity Bishop

 

Since the BBC found success with Call the Midwife, war and nursing dramas have become more popular. This one has only one season, but does not end on a particularly cliffhanger note.

 

English forces in France need good nurses on the field to handle special cases and tend injured soldiers. Three new recruits arrive: Kitty (Oona Chaplin) is an emotionally withdrawn, secretive, semi-defiant-of-authority recruit. Rosalie (Marianne Oldham) likes to do things "by the book." And Flora (Alice St. Clair) is an enthusiastic, warm-hearted ray of sunshine that quickly gets on everyone else's nerves, much to her own distress. The Matron, Grace (Hermione Norris), is not about to put up with their shenanigans.

 

Nothing is as they expected. Men suffering from delusions, gaping war wounds, and puss-filled limbs demand attention. Many do not live through the night. Everyone has secrets. Some of them are downright dangerous. Sister Joan (Suranne Jones) in particular pines for a lost love -- a German soldier. Kitty is also on the run from her husband -- and we soon discover why. Romances, rivalries, and traumatic events unfold over ten hours.

 

The characters are engaging, and many tug on your heartstrings. Joan's arc is the most emotionally engaging, Flora's the most adorable. Emotions shift from dislike to empathy, as histories come to light... and some of these figures are just downright villainous. It's true to life in that the characters are nuanced, and sometimes surprise you in their decisions. Enemies become friends once in awhile! It's engaging and well written, but not as heartwarming as the series that arguably inspired its creation.

     
Sexual Content:
A woman mentions an adulterous past; a man's presence threatens a woman in a way that seems sexual; two episodes feature extended scenes of backside nudity; a woman shows another woman a man's penis (off screen) to try and help her overcome fear of seeing naked men; a married woman falls for a single man, and kisses him. She plans on spending the night with him, but events conspire against it. A nurse tells a man she knows he is gay, but she does't mind and won't tell (her brother is too).
 
Language:
Several abuses of Christ's name. General profanities.
 
Violence:
Gruesome war wounds. A man is shot in the head.

 
Other:
None.