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05 January 2016 @ 12:11 am
Defining Tom Hereward  
Yay weird google searching!

Basically I'm diagnosing him with persistent depression and claiming that this answers everything, fits with everything, and predicts his future story arc.

My train of logic, in brief, is that we can solve a lot of Tom's character inconsistencies, explain his traits, and set up his crisis opening - moment where he personally flounders and opens old wounds to someone - with a diagnosis of depression.

I'm not even 100% sure he believes in god, which could be highly interesting considering Trixie's athiesm.  He joined the church to achieve a "safe" purpose in life, easily hide behind his job/dog collar, achieve a sense of worth by helping others.  It would also explain his obsession with dying people.  Yes it comes up and is important, but most of the time he's organizing events and charities, running Men's groups and helping with the kids, he's there for the whole community so WHY does he latch on to death and the response to death?

When Trixie ran out after tea with the Bishop, his stupid argument continued to be in Vicar-form (focuses on her, not them) but it seemed important to him to communicate the story of the man who's wife had died, how he basically talked him into living, discover god's purpose and yada.  People have problems everywhere, the wife didn't die from poverty, so it wasn't making sense why this somehow means he'll go where the Church sends him unless letting the Church control him is the Church maintaining his own sense of purpose in life and reason to continue living.  If that string breaks, he can't "pass along" the aid.

There are a couple of weaknesses.  First, Turner's already had a depressive episode, but I think it's non-repetitive because his is a trauma induced condition and recurrantly acute, where I tag Tom with a persistent form that has at any rate shaped his personality and life choices from ground up, and the two situations are quite different.  Second that it makes the most obvious trigger for him a parishoner he was trying to help committing suicide.  On the bright side our ostracized gay guy and the woman with post-natal depression both lived and were talked down by other people without him being particularly involved first/knowing about it ahead of time.

Solution: we always have a few district patients sprinkled in anyway, and I don't recall Trixie particularly being involved with any, so if she's providing care to them/someone in the household, she'd be well positioned.  She's wiser now she's dealing with her alcoholism and childhood herself, she's always found it easier to bond with him and respect him while they're working, though never mistaking him for his job, and if they're playing out a crush Barbara has on him, at this point unknowingly returned?, then we have a reason for Trixie to at least convince herself she's stepped back emotionally and observe him objectively.  (When her own emotions are involved she is highly unobservant.)  Motive, means, opportunity, he can open up to Trixie, she can admit the alcoholism, turns out they both planned to enter marriage with a secret only Trixie balked first.

Which is awesome, because it provides a different explanation for why Tom proposed at that dumbass moment.  It wasn't that he suddenly saw her vulnerable and had a massive macho moment to protect her.  It's not that he'd been avoiding her for 5 days because he planned to propose anyway.  It's not because he realized he wanted to erase her pain and was invested rather than wanting to logically guide her through it and thus discovered Love.  It's because when she faltered on the stairs and told him her story, he saw and heard himself, and felt a deeper connection and sense of understanding with her: which okay is technically a different sort of Love, but also one that more sensically illuminates ALL Love to him much more than the implied romantic sense alone.

Problematically, and highlighed by "if you're surprised it means you probably don't want to be my wife as much as I want to be your husband."  Dude.  You did not share in return, this was a one-way connection.  A couple days previous she was a bit concerned ya'll were breaking up and the spark was fizzling.  How is she not surprised?  Though to be fair, Trixie has gender norms and a more forgiving profession going for her: men are meant to be non-emotional, lead a relationship and take the rejection risks, and Tom's position is rather a solitary one.*  Meanwhile girls are expected to be open and emotional, flirt, and the point of the show is that the midwives are a tight intra-supportive group.

*Tangential, but we have seen Tom reach out for assistance, just never for something character-defining.  Which I believe at this point every other character has had, in one form or another, with some wiggle room for other new characters not being at that narrative point yet either.  But with regard to him and his defnition, he goes to Sister Julienne for "professional" Church-stuff advice.  He trades favours with Shelagh.  He went to Fred once about Trixie, but a) couldn't even ask outright and b) revealed insecurities but not a deeper problem, at least not directly since they skimmed over "I thought you lot weren't supposed to lie."  I'm not adverse to him talking to any of these people, or Dr. Turner, but CtM does like to set men's crisis firmly in the hands of ther wives, apart from Fred who was having problems with the wedding itself+daughter so they slotted Chummy in.  I have lost the flow of this paragraph, but to finish the previous list Trixie is a candidate anyway since we've got some superficial insecurity stuff (which she handled perfectly anyway) and a scatter of times I think he was trying, but didn't feel safe enough to be explicit and she wasn't listening anyway.

This is entirely unscientific, but counts as potentially useful since Medical sites are not set up for the struggles of backwards diagnosing a fictional character who has been created by writers and actors by a selection of possible symptoms plus a dash of Writing A Story:
Familiar much?  XP

So also notably, this is both unfortunate, but also lovely in terms of Trixie.  On the one hand, she's marrying a milder version of her father, and seemingly fulfilling a similar role with Tom.  But this very similarity could help her understand that someone else's happiness can't be her responsibility, and so long as they're both open and educated, they're well suited to each other.  Especially since Trixie has her own depressive issues (complicated by alcohol, addiction being a common pairing with mental illness.)  Her coping mechanism of brightness and sunshine is self-therapeutic as well as ingrained in her personality and outlook as much as Tom's is.  Only I'm pretty sure Trixie is extroverted while Tom is introverted and this leads to a diagnostic distinction apparently but indicates they can fit like puzzle pieces rather than two sides of a see-saw.  We're well into Fictional Characters In TV Show territory anyway.

I might need a part 2 because I think I left a few points/counterpoints/other things behind, but my brain has been dumped and some combo of cig/coffee/sleep/long ponder first.

So this is useful because it contextualizes what we saw with Tom and Barbara (well, his attitudes) in the Christmas Special.  I'm not sure if he's really persuing her romantically, probably not yet, so much as trying to feel better and accepted, and they're already kinda friends, she's friendly and sweet and comforting.  Because while Trixie is beating herself up, Tom never actually rejected her, she preempted the possibility.  Meanwhile the result is he feels rejected, unaware of her other issues her explaination is she didn't love him enough.

PS I've seen notes that in the book "Trixie" marries a curate, or a politician.  Tom becoming a politician solves a lot of problems too...

I do have to revisit this paper because I know it's about something slightly different which is also useful but in a different way.  Which actually isn't my current note that Tom's less likely to be pursuing Barbara romantically because of Trixie's rejection, but contextually it makes sense he's pretty upbeat and active the whole show, and also has no direct contact with Trixie.  And in that one moment he's probably testing to see if he's over it, which is where actually this whole stupid multi-hour quest started because I can't figure out why he smiles the way he chooses to smile, because I'm fairly certain Jack Ashton doesn't hold his face the way Tom always does so these must be acting choices or nothing makes sense at all!