Holby City review with spoilers: A devastating blow for Essie & Fletch's setback

There was an ominous start to this week’s Holby City, setting the scene for what proved to be a worrying time for Nicky (Belinda Owusu), Fletch (Alex Walkinshaw), Essie (Kaye Wragg) and Guy Self (John Michie).

The action then went back to ‘Week 1,’ and events played out over a three or four week span at the end of which there was good news for some – and terrible news for others.

Nicky started the episode on Darwin, but as a patient. She was still recovering from her heart attack, but her main concern was whether Jac (Rosie Marcel) would ever let her return to work. So she went to see her, and Jac wasn’t encouraging, telling her to look at the stresses in her life and ask herself if it was worth it.

But was Jac talking about work stresses, or things closer to home? Or things actually at home, as Nicky’s mum Useless Tracey (Cathy Murphy) had moved into the flat Nicky shares with Cameron (Nic Jackman) and Chloe (Amy Lennox) to ‘look after her.’

And she’s got herself a job in Pulses, so there’s no escape from her. Tracey did seem genuinely worried about Nicky, trying to convince her to scale down her ambitions and live a ‘smaller life’ – maybe by joining the family business of petty crime and scrounging.

Eventually Nicky was allowed back to work and even managed to make a ninja-level diagnosis that impressed Jac. It was clear that Jac’s harsh words to Nicky were always designed to get her to be the best doctor she can be and when Nicky tried to resign Jac had no intention of accepting.

But Jac, herself the daughter of a useless mother, advised Nicky that she needed to stand on her own two feet – and Nicky told Tracey she was going to do just that. Her decision was also helped by Tracey having sub-let their family home to a man who’d accidentally set fire to it with a heater – but luckily his ensuing injuries had led to Nicky’s impressive diagnosis earlier so it wasn’t all bad.

As Nicky recovered from her heart attack, we had two other characters anxiously worrying about their own health.

Fletch discovered he wasn’t out of the woods yet following his cancer surgery and he had a stressful wait for some test results.

When Hanssen (Guy Henry) delivered the news that he was all clear there was massive relief – and Fletch even hugged Hanssen, he was so happy. It was just a shame that we didn’t get to see Hanssen’s face while this was going on.

We didn’t hear what oncologist Dr Nayam (Nicholas Khan) said to Essie and Sacha (Bob Barrett), but we saw the meeting through the window, and from everyone’s body language it looked like the news was even worse than they were expecting.

Barring a last minute miracle (which does happen quite regularly on Holby, after all), things are not looking good for Essie.

On AAU, Guy Self was on a mission to prove he’s still a brilliant neurosurgeon. When he decided that a patient needed a high-risk operation Max (Jo Martin) accused him of doing it just to show off.

‘I see things that other people miss,’ he said, showing off. The operation was one of those where the patient is awake as the surgeon prods about in his brain, which is a scary idea even when things go well. Sadly things didn’t go well and the patient died. ‘You did all you could,’ Donna (Jaye Jacobs) consoled Selfie.

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‘All I could? Not enough, then,’ he replied. At Albie’s he told Donna that she shouldn’t make a habit of having an after work large glass of red.

So despite Donna being strapped for cash since Zav died, she left the entire drink untouched and went home instead, leaving Selfie contemplating temptation – and Ric (Hugh Quarshie) contemplating Selfie with a big glass of wine in front of him.

Sue Haasler is the author of five novels and the official BBC Holby City book, which you can read about here.

Holby City continues Tuesday 21 July at 8pm on BBC One.

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