Bernie Wolfe Appreciation, day 17
S18 E42 From Bournemouth with Love: Bernie is a kind and attentive human and boss to Morven in this episode. She starts by bringing her tea and a Napoleon cake. She listens to her, offers to tell Hugh Musgrove that Arthur has died. And later she goes to find her outside and talks with her, tries to help.
There were a few soldier references here that I found interesting.
The first thing she says to Morven is “Strong tea and sugar, what every good soldier needs to get them through the day.”
Outside they have this conversation:
M: I hope she doesn’t hurt him.
B: Why would she do that? Hugh was a soldier, he can handle anything.
M: Not all soldiers are strong.
B: No, that’s true. They’re not. I’ve seen lots fall apart when they saw their friends die. But the ones who manage to put themselves together they can get through anything. They wanted to make sense of the loss of all those young lives. They were soldiers with a job to do. They were going to make that job count.
It made me wonder how true this is for Bernie. Considering how sympathetic she is again and again, Bernie is not someone who has no feelings, or is out of touch with them. But I have wondered if she shuts her own feelings off when they overwhelm her / are bigger than she knows what to do with and instead focuses on “functioning.” I wonder if that’s a survival tactic. It would make sense for a soldier (especially one from a military family, if we go with JR’s headcanon). As long as you keep functioning at least you’ll survive, there isn’t always much room for anything else in the field.
It’s what she tries to do in this scene with Morven, to get Morven to focus on functioning, on doing her job, saving lives and making that job count.
It’s what she does with Raf outside too, she tries to make him focus on the job at hand, on functioning.
While there are definitely limits to the usefulness of this strategy, it is in itself not a bad one, and it’s the one she knows. She’s probably needed it herself as a soldier, as a frontline surgeon. And I have to admit that that’s also where I have a lot of sympathy for her.