This week on All Creatures Great and Small, Helen copes with James’ absence by deciding to move back to Heston Grange to help out, but a sick calf complicates her plan. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hall is looking for the right time to give Siegfried notice but questionable plumbing and Rock needing veterinary care throw a wrench into her announcement. Let’s discuss what happens in the penultimate episode of the season.
The episode begins with Oscar the cat curled up against Helen in her bed. She’s missing James and wants to be useful around Skeldale House. Once again she’s tired of being treated like she is fragile. Helen decides to visit Jenny and her dad at Heston Grange. Jenny jokes that James is going to come back from the RAF ripped. Helen laughs at Jenny’s thirsty comment, but then realizes there’s an upside to the hours of drilling. Richard, meanwhile, is concealing the fact his knee may be twisted, which causes him to walk funny. He refuses to go see a doctor and wants to push through the pain.
Meanwhile at Skeldale, Gerald and Rock stop by to see Mrs. Hall. She tells Gerald she’s going to give her notice tomorrow as Siegfried is out. Mrs. Hall says she’s been a housekeeper for over a decade and now is the time to change. Before she plans to give in her notice, she gives Carmody the same advice she gave James: to stand up for himself. The next day, as Siegfried is messing with the broken kitchen sink pipe, Mrs. Hall tells him she’s leaving with a month's notice. Everyone in the audience at this point will probably be screaming at their screens for her not to go.
Out of concern about her dad, Helen announces that she’s going to move back to Heston Grange to help out. It looks like Siegfried will only have Carmody for companionship soon. Helen tries to lift the firewood, but Richard stops her. Then, Smokey the calf refuses to eat. She calls for Siegfried to examine the calf, but Carmody ends up attending. He believes Smokey’s rumen, one of the 4 compartments of a cow’s stomach, is backed up and may need a procedure to unblock it. Richard believes all Smokey needs is linseed oil to reduce inflammation, and calls Carmody out for barely having any real experience. The calf ends up hitting him and knocking over Helen. Richard believes the call was a waste of time, and is also frustrated that Helen won’t listen to him. Helen refuses to be patronized, so she leaves for Skeldale House. Carmody ends up performing a rumenotomy (images of a medical procedure at the link) as the linseed oil failed to remove the blockage. Smokey ate way too much fruit from the orchard and the remains are what comes out. Richard ends up apologizing to Carmody as Smokey’s condition is worse than he initially believed.
After apologizing to Carmody, Richard drives to Skeldale to apologize to Helen. We find out a bit more about the Alderson family backstory. It turns out Helen and Jenny had another sibling. There was a baby boy but he passed away when Helen was 3 because one of his lungs collapsed. Richard still blames himself for not being able to help. Helen reassures him that he did everything he could have. Helen didn’t know about this, and now Richard’s prior behavior makes a lot more sense. We love to see father and daughter bonding!
After Richard leaves, Helen starts to panic that she can’t feel the baby moving around and can’t remember the last time she felt movement. Mrs. Hall drives Helen back to Heston Grange where Siegfried and Carmody are tending to Smokey. Siegfried examines Helen’s stomach and Carmody rightly feels that he’s seeing more of Helen than he has any right to, but Siegfried shushes him. Siegfried sees this as a learning opportunity. Carmody also observes Siegfried’s hands are shaking: it’s clear that he’s also worried about the baby and that this is his first human pregnancy exam. After a few stressful moments, he tells Carmody to pass Helen the stethoscope tubes. Helen hears the baby’s heartbeat! The baby may not be moving all the time but they’re alive. This is a huge sigh of relief!
In between dealing with Smokey’s blocked stomach, Siegfried reads Mrs. Hall’s resignation letter. He tells her that she should make the most of her life now after she helped him recover from losing his wife. After Helen’s scare, Mrs. Hall ends up having second thoughts about moving away and marrying Gerald. She now believes it’s the wrong time to leave, especially as Helen doesn’t have her mom to advise her on the remainder of her pregnancy. Mrs. Hall tells Gerald that she’s needed in Darrowby, and that they were never meant to be together. Gerald is sad, but he still trusts Siegfried to perform the surgery on Rock. He was initially resistant, but realized he could lose Rock if the condition went untreated. Helen also decides to return to Skeldale after Richard promises to see a doctor. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief that Mrs. Hall will still be the center of Skeldale House!
Will James be able to visit Helen before the baby is born? Can he attend the delivery? We’ll have to find out next week on All Creatures Great And Small!