All Creatures Great and Small
This show. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten this up in my emotions in an extremely positive way about a TV show, and this extraordinarily innocuous fictitious veterinary program has done it. Every episode thus far has been a true delight, and it’s been a beloved part of the controlled exhale I and everyone I know has been performing since the turn of the year. Now let’s talk about the fair.
It’s time for the Darrowby Fair. Maybe it’s the months upon months of seclusion and separation from my dearest friends and acquaintances, but I feel like if I was able to attend a fair right now, I would lose my absolute shit. There is a PONY SHOW. And a cheese stand! And one of those things you hit with a hammer that goes ding! Can you imagine. Everyone is just walking around without a care in the world except for the devious lie they’re planning to tell about the height of their pony.
James is the fair vet, which he is excited for in a way that makes you think he was one of those kids who strutted around proudly in their hall monitor sash. What he does not know is that while the Darrowby Fair looks innocuous, in reality you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy; it is a place designed to crush the spirit of the most patient veterinarian, a place that all doubt he will survive. Except Mrs. Hall, who bets two bob he’ll make it until six o’clock. Tristan says noon and Siegfried is the compromise gambler at three.
The two threads of this episode are the tours of the veterinary practice that Siegfried has insisted on, and James being tested by the fair patrons as he tries to do his job and not lose his soul by bearing false witness in favor of a bull. There’s also something about Tristan and the barmaid Maggie, but I care 0 percent about their storyline. If I were Lucille Bluth, Tristan would be GOB. All I will say for Tristan this episode is that he has a very colorful sweater vest and I like it.
We see the return of Dorothy, Mrs. Hall’s old friend and fellow war nurse. I would like to take this moment to say that while Dorothy seems like a very lovely person, my intense shipping of Siegfried Farnon/Audrey Hall means that most of this episode involved me fiercely glaring at her any time she looked at Siegfried. I’m very sorry, Dorothy. #LadiesSupportingLadies, but also you cannot have him because he is Mrs. Hall’s, so put on your very fun hat and depart. It’s all very Doctor Who this-world-is-defended over here, only “this world” is two middle-aged people from Yorkshire, and their defender is a petite thirty-something lesbian.
Now, back to James’s soul. He is in a real PICKLE this episode. Helen wants to sell Clive (all my Clive fans say “nooooooo!”) because her family needs the money. If you remember, Clive had some issues with the lady cows last episode and required a shot of testosterone. Helen asks James if he’ll vouch for Clive with a buyer and James unthinkingly agrees, then immediately “I’ve made a huge mistake”s it and spends the rest of the time trying to find out if Clive is healthy. Turns out: no. Our beloved Clive has some swelling on his spine, which makes him unfit for breeding, though not unfit to live forever in our hearts. Hot Neville is extremely shady the whole episode; he not only tries to get James to keep quiet about Clive’s infirmity, but also tries to get him to throw a children’s pet contest. HOT NEVILLE. This is very untoward! Helen finds out and is angry and then doesn’t care. Such is the way of love!
I can’t even talk about the dachshund. I was so worried about him the entire time and then a pumpkin fell on him, justifying all the worrying. He has a tiny cast and he will be fine, because this is All Creatures Great and Small, one of the gentlest shows in the world.
Historical side note! When Mrs. Hall shows everyone how good she is at shooting cans and foiling ne’er-do-well fairmongers, she mentions the Wrens. What were the Wrens? They were the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in WWI. Women were in the Wrens until 1993, when they were finally allowed to serve as full members of the crew in the Royal Navy. Yes, I said 1993. They were able to join the Royal Marines Commandos in 2019-YES-I-SAID-2019. Mrs. Hall could’ve been a Royal Marines Commando. I’m just saying.
James makes it to 6 o’clock and Mrs. Hall wins the bet! James shouts at all the morally bankrupt fair entrants, and Siegfried notes that “the labors of Hercules pale in comparison to being a vet at the Darrowby Show.” Everyone cheers and I love everyone.
Items For Pondering
• That star tile in the supply closet. Did you see it? TELL ME YOU CLOCKED IT, IT’S SO GOOD.
• Why is Leopold such a good ferret name? The second she said its name was Leopold, I was like, “Huh. Yeah, that works really well.”
• Will these recaps just start being Siegfried/Mrs. Hall fanfic? Potentially titled “Old Friends and New Beginnings”?
• If I made T-shirts that said “Clive is the Bull of My Heart” with a bull inside a heart shape, would people buy them?