Every January, America gets the latest season of All Creatures, and every mid-February, I am upset that it doesn’t last us the whole winter. February’s one of the worst winter months! I need my cozy show with its cows, knits, tweeds, snoods, galoshes, and more cows to get through it all. But I’ll take what I can get, and here we are at the season finale once more (the Christmas special airs next week).
James is now off our screens, hopefully to return soon. Everyone misses him, but this week does very well without him as we check in on Helen, her pregnancy, Mrs. Hall’s imminent departure, and Siegfried’s claim to be good with plumbing (false). We also have a cow in danger because where would we be without one?
Helen does seem to be very pregnant now. My wife was pregnant very recently, but everyone’s body is different, so I have no idea how far along Helen is. Six months? I know the 1940s were a different time; I know that. But seeing Helen pushing a wheelbarrow full of logs around in that state is still stressful. Stop it, Helen! Also, who is making sure you don’t get toxoplasmosis from Oscar? She and the baby are 99 percent going to be fine, but nevertheless. Also, Oscar remains very cute, by the way. I hope we get more close-ups of him next season.
Since James is gone and her dad has hurt his knee, Helen decides to stay at her father’s farm. Mr. Alderson insists he’s fine, but he is not. He wants Helen to take it easy, but she also insists she’s fine. You know, Northern Exposure recently came to streaming for the first time ever, and the second episode could teach the Aldersons about a little something called pride. They should watch it anyway; it’s critically acclaimed. Mr. Alderson’s cow Smoky isn’t eating, and Richard diagnoses a stomach blockage and recommends a rumenotomy, where basically they cut into one of the stomachs and yank out the blockage, which, in this case, is fruit. Amid all this cow diagnosis, Smoky kicks Alderson, who falls into Helen. Scary! So scary! There are so many Novels of the Past and historical references to pregnant people being kicked by cows and seriously injured! Helen is okay, but her dad is understandably freaked out and just wants her to relax in a nice chair outside. She finds this to be lazy-person behavior, which is hilarious because if I (not pregnant) were there, I’d be like, “So I can sit there then?”
After Alderson shouts at Helen, she returns to the practice (excellent boundary there, ma’am). Her dad comes to see her and apologizes by telling her that he and Helen’s mom lost a baby, and he blames himself for not making her stop working so hard. Reconciliation! This conversation makes Helen realize that she can’t remember the last time she felt the baby move, so she and Mrs. Hall see Siegfried at the Alderson farm, where he’s taking care of Smoky’s stomach. Helen lies down on some hay, and Siegfried uses a stethoscope to hear the baby’s heartbeat. Richard, Mrs. Hall, and Helen’s dad are all gathered around, and when Siegfried tells Richard to move the stethoscope to Helen’s ears, she hears the heartbeat and starts crying, and then I start crying.
I know it would be horrifying, but why can’t human abdomens turn clear during pregnancy so we can constantly make sure the baby is okay? This feels like an evolutionary defect. Remember those clear phones from the ’90s? It’d be like that but with organs. And then you’d be like, oh, great, yep, just being real sleepy today. Hearing a baby’s heartbeat when you’ve been worried about it is the biggest relief of all time. And it was beautifully captured in this episode! What a great show. Helen decides to move back to the practice so she can be there as soon as James returns. The practice is also easier for the midwife to get to, which seems important.
Mrs. Hall has been but a glancing figure in my recounting thus far, but she has her big story line with Gerald in the finale. Last week, they got engaged and were all set to move to the Lakes, breaking up the Darrowby family and ruining my life. Gerald tells her the timeline is somewhat pressing, as his sister is doing badly, and he asks her if she has told Siegfried yet. Mrs. Hall has not because she feels responsible for everyone at the practice and has a hard time thinking of her own happiness. I can admit that. I know it would possibly be a good move for her to move to the Lakes with Gerald. HOWEVER. They are also her family. The practice isn’t the usual job where you tell yourself they need you to forsake your personal life for the Company, and then one day they fire you because you feel like you’re indispensable, but you’re not (YOU ARE NOT — practice personal life boundaries!!). The veterinary practice is a weird-ass situation where they’re a found family, and they all love each other, and I won’t hear another word about it from you, a person who also loves the show and probably doesn’t disagree.
Mrs. Hall writes Siegfried a letter and, while he is working on the aforementioned leaky plumbing in the kitchen, hands it to him. “You’re leaving me,” Siegfried says, stabbing her and all watching right in the heart. Mrs. Hall offers him three months’ notice but says it can be longer, and she doesn’t want to inconvenience him. Siegfried is no other word than gobsmacked at the notion she would think of her leaving as a mere inconvenience but tells Mrs. Hall one month should be ample. My emotions.
In the midst of all this feeling, we get a reminder of why Siegfried and Mrs. Hall are the best when she recommends they call someone to fix the kitchen sink. Siegfried says he could train a monkey to fix it, and Mrs. Hall asks if there’s any chance this monkey could start immediately. Classic Siegs and Auds.
Siegfried tries to write a notice for a new housekeeper, which initially reads, “Housekeeper wanted to cook and clean in veterinary practice.” MEN. With Mrs. Hall’s help, he adds laundry, shopping, darning, walking the dogs, answering the phone, finding misplaced items, keeping the peace, and holding the fort to the list of duties, among others. Siegfried tells her she has her own life and must make the most of it, which is very nice, but noooooooo.
It’s all fine, though, because Mrs. Hall tells Gerald she’s not ready to go, by which he understands that she’ll never be ready to go. You know why? Her family needs her. By which I mean Helen and Siegfried. And eventually James and Tristan! And maybe Richard! He’s still on a trial basis! Also, we, the viewers in our self-insert fanfic, are new in town and need a place to stay, and the place across the street where Richard’s staying is unavailable for some reason.
Gerald comes by the practice post-breakup to have an operation on his dog, and while he’s waiting, he quietly fixes the sink. What a great way to go out, Gerald. Everything was higgledy-piggledy with Helen moving out and Mrs. Hall leaving, but by the end of the episode, we’re back to normal. Now we just need the boys back. See you next week when we celebrate Christmas in February.