blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

All Creatures Great and Small (2020) s03e02 – Honeymoon’s Over

Having returned from his honeymoon and discovering the pleasures of the flesh, Nicholas Ralph is no longer obsessed with enlisting in the Army to fight in World War II. There aren’t even any references to it in the episode. It’s just about the changes at the veterinary hospital, with Samuel West getting annoyed at there being so many people around. The title doesn’t refer to Ralph and Rachel Shenton, while, technically, Honeymoon’s Over, they’re still in the adorable canoodling salad days, their burnt attic breakfasts giving way to… well, you know.

Ralph also wants to understand more about this practice in which he’s now a partner, but West tries to shut down all the conversations. Thanks to some needling from housekeeper Anna Madeley, West sees an opportunity to make Ralph sorry he ever asked to know more. Except then, it turns out West never expected Ralph and Shenton to work together, and he gets even more upset about the new arrangements.

Meanwhile, now full vet Callum Woodhouse has more responsibilities but still takes a somewhat relaxed approach to his profession. At least until he meets new customer Sophie Khan Levy, the daughter of the rival vet, who needs help with her Dalmatian. Woodhouse and Levy have a delightful arc, gentle, smart barbs, subtle flirting, and a solid veterinary case.

The main vet case is Lynda Rooke’s calves, who have a mystery ailment, and Ralph discovers sometimes you’ve got to play people counselor to be the best animal doctor–really touching stuff between the two of them, with Rooke opening up to an unprepared Ralph. It’s got a nice echo against West’s arc, which the episode directly emphasizes a couple of times.

Then there’s a scene with Will Thorp coming to tea after he and Madeley go for their walk, so he’s still around. Not much time for them to be cute together, but some.

Chloë Mi Lin Ewart and Ben Vanstone get the writing credit (principally Ewart, but Vanstone did “additional material”). I remembered Ewart’s name from a somewhat disappointing episode last season, but once Over gets rolling, it’s all good. The show just needs to establish how cantankerous West will get in this new situation.

Besides Ralph not being obsessed with battle glory, the one oddity is Shenton’s new day-to-day. Last episode suggested she was going to be still working her family farm, which could be where she’s biking home from, but the timing never seems quite right. It’s also the first episode in ages not to have her family appearing.

That oddity’s more curiosity, though; she needs the time to be around the house to piss off West, after all.

The last episode’s season premiere seemed a little overcooked; this “All Creatures” is on firmer ground.

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