Farthing Watch – 1.06

Last Week: In a botched rescue attempt, Pheasant was confronted with his wife’s roasted corpse and then brutally murdered (just in case you had managed to forget!). Owl and Adder spent a night hunting and plotting, while the other animals got a bit misty-eyed over their lost home. In crossing a river, the panicking rabbits ended up getting Fox and Badger hit by a MASS OF DEBRIS. But what did Toad see?

First thing’s first – what an epic title! Seriously, it’s so wonderfully overblown and delicious. Thrones and dominations! After Owl and Adder’s little chat last episode, who knows what will happen!

Anyway, on to the episode. Badger, that is what Toad spotted. While Fox has disappeared completely, Badger is just half-drowned and tangled in reeds. Weasel and the others free him and help him to shore, but gosh they’re a mardy lot! They can barely save a friend from drowning without bitching and moaning about every little thing! Badger is a bit worse for wear, but Weasel gives him a helping foot to clear his lungs.

Once he’s recovered, he asks after Fox. ‘Drowned, I should think. HA-HAHAHAHA!’ squawks Weasel. The fact that Fox never named a successor becomes a bit of an issue. Moley automatically assumes that Badger will take his mantle. ‘Sssseems we have ssseveral pretendersss to the throne, eh Owl?’ hisses Adder. The predators compliment each other on their respective hunting techniques, but they don’t seem as in-cahoots as they were last week. Adder seems to be toying with Owl, angering her, rather than pushing her forward as a leadership candidate. When Owl suggests a bird to lead, Adder sarkily suggests Kestrel. In haughty Owl’s opinion, Kestrel ‘hasn’t the common touch’. Ha!

Hardworking, loyal Kestrel, meanwhile, spots a comatose Fox floating downstream on a log. Toad and Mole randomly decide that this is the moment to go for a little snack, followed by a swim. Mole enjoys his dip, until he is almost eaten by a pike. ‘Nasty things, pike’ says Toad, ‘Swallow you whole that could!’. A whole generation of children suddenly develop a morbid fear of paddling in rivers.

Fox floats under a bridge but is no longer on the log when it comes out the other side. He is clearly now on the boat that is weirdly moored under the bridge, but Kestrel does not seem to consider this really obvious hiding place. Everybody sleeps, and Adder curls up with the voles – ‘don’t mind if I sssnuggle down bessside you?’. They do mind, and race off. ‘Who needsss friendsss?’ asks Adder, in one of her to-camera asides. All these political machinations and breaking of the fourth wall – this is proper Shakespearean stuff!

Badger obviously becomes de facto leader (I mean, of course he does, what a boy!). Adder appears in a tree to talk to Owl. Can adders climb? Owl does seem pretty surprised! Toad’s homing instinct ends up getting the animals lost, so Badger asks Kestrel to scout ahead. We really don’t talk enough about Kestrel – yes, she is completely rubbish at properly looking for stuff, but she never complains and is always willing to help out. What a trooper!

Mrs Mouse experiences a ‘happy event’, and Hare and Hedgehog get annoyed when (obviously total bachelor) Badger does not understand what this means – the field mice have had babies. ‘Babies, how lovely!’ cries Mole, who clearly has yet to fully comprehend the true horror of existence. I had forgotten the fanfare this happy event receives…but I remember vividly where it leads. Some images are indelible. Brrrr. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Weasel and Adder make jokes about eating baby mice, so Badger and Owl remind them of the oath they took back in the first episode. It seems Owl isn’t all bad, then. ‘I think the mice might want to stay behind’ suggests Mole. ‘Well I’m not going to let them!’ snaps Badger, ‘Look what happened to the newts!’. They were boiled alive, for those of you with short memories or effective therapists.

Badger just doesn’t know what to do. Fox, meanwhile, awakens on the boat, which is now headed for a lock. ‘Luck! A fux!’ shouts a man with a weird accent. As other humans point him out, Fox looks up in terror.

Join us next week to see how Fox deals with locks!

Wild Wisdom of the Week – For the first time, no lines really stand out. Now that Owl is becoming involved in the politics, she apparently doesn’t have the time to spit out platitudes.

Deaths – Only a couple of near-misses this week. The producers probably felt that the kids needed a breather after the carnage of the past few episodes!

Other Musings –  No other musings this week, but let’s just have a look at Adder in the tree. I mean, who does she think she is? Kaa?

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