Farthing Watch – 1.13

‘So Near and Yet So Far…’

Last Time: Fox decided that the only way to get to White Deer Park was to go through a town. This went as well as you might expect – the animals got about four feet before a massive thunderstorm kicked up. Owl was deafened, Weasel was blinded and Adder nearly got washed away into the sewer. Class Farthing Wood night, really. After crashing, clawing and almost wrecking an innocent couple’s wedding, the animals got split up in the confusion. Fox despaired as we saw lots of animals heading for all sorts of scrapes. White Deer Park is so near and yet, one could say, so far.

We’re here! This is it! End of the first series!

‘In the chaos that followed, we all scattered to the four winds…which was the worst thing that could have happened’ says Badger in his voiceover. Actually I am pretty sure that far worse things could have happened – at least nobody died!

Toad and Mole are very down – ‘and only a couple of fields away, matey! How could it happen?’ bemoans the amphibian. Wait…is he replying to Badger’s narration? Is Badger’s narration actually just something he does for his pals every time they pause for breath? Vixen is blaming herself, but Fox tells her it isn’t her fault. He should follow that up by saying ‘it’s Toad’s!’ but sadly he doesn’t. There is a weird continuity error here – look at where Toad and Mole are sitting in the long-shot and then in the close-up. There’s another long-shot afterwards where they are in the same position, so either it’s a cock-up or they are randomly leaping apart between cuts.

Vixen claims she would have been proud to enter White Deer Park with all her friends, then foxsplains survival instinct to Owl when the latter uses this as an excuse to bitch about Fox. Not that Owl really needs an excuse.

Weasel and Badger take refuge in a beer cellar (from a bunch of humans who seem really desperate to catch them – I suppose there can’t be much to do in this town; they’re probably just glad of the distraction offered by pack of random animals scuttling down the high street).

The rabbits take shelter in some sort of construction site, while Vole is YET AGAIN using this as an occasion to call for a revolution or a rebellion or something.  They feel they have been abandoned by their protectors, which is a bit rich coming from Vole seeing as he has tried to leave their protection in pretty much every episode! The squirrels can’t offer an assistance as they’re up a pole.

Whistler suggests that the birds should go on a recce. Kestrel obviously agrees because she’s awesome. Owl needs a bit of an ego massage from Vixen but eventually goes along with the plan as well.

Toad tells Mole that Badger is probably tucked up somewhere nice and cosy. ‘Cosy?’ Fox asks wryly, ‘With Weasel?!’. Sure enough, Weasel is being annoying as hell. ‘I didn’t know humans lived underground’ says Badger, checking out their hidey-hole. Weasel just cackles away. Worse yet, she has a few sips of wine dripping from a barrel and immediately gets absolutely plastered. And we thought she was annoying sober…If I were Badger I’d just eat her. The protein would be useful.

They eventually escape just as the humans are pulling up the ramp they climbed down. Badger seems to change size between shots here too. Maybe the animators were drinking too?

The birds track down Badger, Weasel and the squirrels. Owl sits and judges Weasel, but tells Badger that she will take him back to their leader. She almost sounds sincere too! Owl does recommend leaving Weasel behind, and honestly can you blame her? ‘Can I ride on your back, Badger?’ asks the inebriated rodent, before leaping up without waiting for an answer.

Mole is crying and Toad is still trying to comfort him. ‘I know Badger’s alright, I feel it in me bones’. Give Toad’s track record, that probably means Badger is lying dead in a ditch somewhere. But hark – the herald Kestrel announces that the squirrels are back. Everyone seems thrilled, which is nice. Badger and Weasel turn up too, which makes Mole very happy indeed. They have their little reunion, and Toad says they can be on their way. ‘Don’t even THINK of waking her’ warns Badger, looking at the comatose Weasel.

The smaller animals are running away from Adder, fearing that lack of Fox will mean the breakdown of the oath. Adder’s just enjoying the chase! A lawnmower threatens the little creatures but Adder scares them away, narrowly avoiding getting mown down herself! ‘Sssssome game of hide and ssssseek that wasssss!’. It’s nice to see Kestrel sticking up for Adder – she sounds genuinely upset when she thinks Adder has been killed. Poor Kestrel is actually looking incredibly fraught.

With a bit of persuasion from Adder, the smaller animals decide to toe the line. A shrew corrects him when he refers to them as ‘brothers’ – quite honestly these guys are such minor beasts that I rarely remember which gender they are supposed to be!

Meanwhile, Whistler is having trouble rescuing the rabbits. He goes to get help, and Fox volunteers. Badger warns him about going, telling him to remember the river. Alright Badger, get over it! It isn’t like a FLOATING MASS OF DEBRIS could just appear on dry land! Fox points out that if it hadn’t been for Rabbit being useless, he’d never have met Vixen. True say, Fox.

‘Assss I ssssee it, the oath expiressss at journey’ssss end…and I can hardly wait to get my fangssss into thosssse mice!’ hisses Adder. Badger isn’t worried, though: ‘Adder may want to behave like any other snake but she can’t, not any more. This journey has changed all of us, even her’. I assume this change only applies to the Farthing Wood mob, though…otherwise most of them are going to die off pretty quickly!

Introspection is rife. Hare admits that he will miss Fox once they get there. ‘I don’t know, mother, now we’re nearly there I feel almost…sad’ says Vole. Mrs Vole starts to disagree, but even she thaws a little and admits that she knows what he means. AWWWWW.  She then gives a little speech which does address my sarky comment earlier about vegetarianism amongst the animals – it turns out the oath applies to them and their children’s children, but anything else is fair game. Including, we can only assume, their children?!

Fox returns with the rabbits, and they are all there. ‘Shall we go?’ he asks. Toad starts getting very excited, and a stag appears over the horizon. ‘Come, let me greet you’ he says, majestically. At this point everything seems too good to be true. We all remember what happens to Reepicheep when he reaches the end of his journey!

Fox lets Toad greet him first. ‘To have made the journey once, is remarkable,’ says the Stag, ‘To have made it twice is extraordinary’. You don’t bloody know the HALF of it, Stag! The fact Toad made it is an absolute fudging miracle, mate!

‘I only wish we could all have made it’ laments Fox. ‘But those of you who did have made history,’ replies the Stag. ‘Welcome to White Deer Park’.

We see the park stretching out into the distance, the setting sun bathing it in glorious ruddy hues. THE END.

How perfect an ending would that have been?! But, of course, there are TWO MORE SERIES TO GO! What adventures await in the park? Given their track record, I think we can expect at least a handful of gory impalings and a few gunshot victims, don’t you reckon?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I have, and I look forward to seeing you again in two weeks for the start of a new chapter in the incredible journey of those magnificent beasts, the animals of Farthing Wood.


Wild Wisdom of the Week – ‘Farthing Wood animals forever!’ – Weasel, absolutely smashed off her tits.

‘Apparently she drank some human stuff and turned as silly as they are!’ – Owl on Weasel

‘Rabbits can get you into all sorts of trouble!’ – Mole

‘Take comfort, for your dreams will never be the dreams of an ordinary vole, never again. Your dreams will be different till the day you die, and so will mine. For I am proud to be a Farthing Wood traveller, and as for that oath we made, well, we’ll keep it among ourselves and amongst our children’s children, so that the spirit of this journey will be kept alive forever’ – Mrs Vole

‘The last shall be first and the first shall be last’ – Owl

Deaths – NONE! The series unexpectedly moves away from terrible bloodshed to give us an upbeat ending.

Other musings – Mrs Vole’s speech is incredibly lovely, as is Ron Moody’s voicing of the Stag. It sounds like Badger’s heavenly cousin.