Farthing Watch – 1.12


Last Time: The animals reached a field full of cabbages which may or may not have been poisonous (they all acted like they were standing on Anthrax Island but then Fox and Owl, all wise and wiley, seemed to find it all quite comical). Kestrel actually SAW White Deer Park! It’s not far away, but the animals didn’t want to have to dodge crop-spraying machines, so decided to go the only other way available to them – straight through the nearby town! HA! WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?!

‘Nothing but fields stood between the animals of Farthing Wood and our goal, the nature reserve of White Deer Park’ Badger tells us. Well, fields and A TOWN. Pay attention Badger! He almost pronounces ‘White’ properly here, but then blows it by referring to our beloved heron as Hwhistler. Nul points.

It’s always odd to be in the midst of a town, but it makes a nice change from all the countryside and lone farmhouses. As the animals scurry through the town, they all marvel at how incredible it was that Toad managed to travel so far. Given that he is ludicrously incompetent, loves wandering in circles and started the series being buried alive, I agree that it is pretty bloody impressive!

There is a rumbling in the sky. ‘Oh no, not thunder, that’s all we need!’ says Fox. I don’t see why thunder should bother them – at least thunder isn’t going to squash them or impale their babies on spikes. To be fair, the thunder does signal the fact that there is lightning as well (even if the order is wrong!), and sure enough Weasel, whilst proclaiming herself to be ‘the luckiest Weasel in the whole wide world!’, does get struck. It’s very satisfying.

Rain starts to pour, which makes things difficult for the smaller animals. As usual Rabbit is mewling, and Hare is having none of it.

Owl takes shelter in a belltower, and Kestrel and Whistler criticise her. Whistler flaps down to guide the little ‘uns, fishing some of them out of the water coursing along the road.

Owl gets her comeuppance for watching the others struggle when the church bell rings and sends her flapping. Adder enjoys watching her squawk, but her glee is short lived as she almost gets swept down a drain. Luckily Whistler grabs her tail just in time. Seriously, first the road and now this – she owes him BIG.

The animals all laugh at poor Adder, as usual, and then Fox arrives to tell them he hasn’t found any shelter – their only hope is to head for the church. ‘Is this the sea?’ calls Mrs Vole, as the small animals struggle through a big puddle. Toad is loving it, but Toad is a complete moron. ‘Does he always have to be so cheerful?’ asks a vole. Maybe his constant cheerfulness is a result of getting smashed on the head with a boulder in episode one?

The church porch is gone! Not only are humans destroying woods to build their concrete and glass boxes, they aren’t even looking after their churches. Humans are the worst!

Owl has been deafened by the bell, making her even more annoying than usual. Mole gets off Badger’s back and goes on a little recce. Rabbit is moaning about the lack of shelter, and Mrs Vole doesn’t think she can stand much more. Whistler is sheltering them with his wing, the absolute hero.

Mole finally does something useful and finds them a hole in the wall. ‘Good old Moley!’ coos Badger, even though ten seconds previously he was annoyed that he had run off. Maybe Mole would learn some competence if they gave him some space!

‘Hear that, Owl?’ shouts Whistler, ‘Fox has found shelter after all!’. Well, he didn’t…but never mind. Owl can’t hear him anyway.

Inside the creepy church, Fox suggests that they get some sleep till the storm passes.

Surprisingly the church doesn’t get struck by lightning and the bell tower doesn’t cave in on their heads as they sleep, but obviously the animals are all still slumbering when the humans arrive in the morning. Luckily they don’t enter the church, but unfortunately they brick up the hole they used to get in! Owl was awake but the poor girl is still half deaf.

Owl can’t find a way out. ‘We’re trapped HAHAHAHAHA!’ shrieks Weasel. Rabbit blames Mole, say it’s all his fault. ‘At least it isn’t mine for a change, eh mateys?’ croaks Toad. Well, indirectly it still is, you hopping idiot. Vixen stands up for everybody, noting that they were happy enough to get out the rain last night. Toad is parched, so she asks him about White Deer Park. Apparently there’s a lake full of edible frogs. This grabs Adder’s attention.

‘And then, of course, there’s the Hwhite Deer’ says Badger. WHITE. Wwwwwwww. Apparently the beast in charge there is a beautiful fella by the name of the Great White Stag. ‘It sounds lovely’ says Vixen, even though all it sounds like at the moment is a frog pond and some deer. ‘All on our own’ replies Fox, giving her bedroom eyes. Vomit.

Luckily at that moment the humans arrive. The animals tuck themselves away to wait for an opportunity to escape. It looks like our gang have only gone and crashed a bloody wedding. Great going guys! Something about Whistler standing at the pulpit is brilliant.

Vixen suggests that they stay quiet till everyone leaves, but then the organ starts up and things fall apart. This’ll be that pandemonium the title was referring to, then! I hope the visual reference to The Rescuers was intentional – my absolute favourite Disney film.

With the mice all over the organ, Whistler flapping about and Weasel being Weasel, Owl suggests that they might as well all run for it. Fox agrees. Badger saves Mole from a human who at first seems not to notice the badger growling in this face. Whistler randomly nicks a woman’s hat which then ends up on Bagder’s head, while the poor bride’s perfect day is completely ruined as Weasel knocks her bouquet out her hands and runs off with it. As a final insult, Owl pinches her veil, which ends up on Adder.

Actually it’s okay – the couple are at the altar, the organ plays a lovely rendition of the theme tune and Adder breaks the fourth wall to note that ‘all’ssss well that endssss well I sssupposssse!’. Awwwww.

So that’s it, then! They’ve made it! White Deer Park was just the other side of that town, so they must have finally made it OH NO WAIT. ‘The mice and voles are being left behind!’ calls Kestrel. I mean, no great loss there but ‘where’s Badger? Weasel? The squirrels?’ asks Fox. The former two seems to be heading for a beer cellar, while the latter are up in a tree somewhere. A couple of rabbits are huddling in the woods. ‘We’ve lost them!’ cries Fox, as we get one of those pans over the countryside that suggests all is not well.

So near and yet so far! Which is conveniently the title of the next episode, the finale of the first series! Rendezvous next week to see if they finally manage to make it to White Deer Park!


Wild Wisdom of the Week – ‘He who distances himself from worldly concerns is blessed indeed, for distance renders him detached and detachment renders worldly suffering meaningless’ Owl, basically justifying her haughtiness and lack of empathy.

‘Humans have a proverb – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!’ Owl

Deaths – None – Weasel and Owl probably have massive internal bleeding but both seem to be dealing with it well.

Other musings – My brothers and I found it hilarious to say ‘the Great White Shag’ in Toad’s voice. Actually, I’m still chuckling now.

Once again we have the animals knowing what a church is – why should they? If a house is a concrete and glass box, why should a church not be a stone box with a spike?