‘All Creatures Great and Small’ season 3 episode 1 recap: second time lucky

Every season, GBH Drama prepares to bring you coverage of the latest and greatest in British dramas. This month, we get the long awaited third season of MASTERPIECE’s remake of the classic series All Creatures Great and Small. Featuring eccentric characters, adorable animals, and the vast, rolling hills of Yorkshire, this series does not disappoint. GBH Drama contributor Amanda-Rae Prescott is here to recap the magic as it happens.

Everyone’s favorite veterinarians are back on MASTERPIECE! The Season 3 premiere of All Creatures Great and Small wastes no time setting up the plot for the rest of the season. James and Helen are finally ready to tie the knot, but do they get to the church on time? A lot of things happen on the journey toward walking down the aisle.

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Stag Night
The episode begins with James picking up Mama and Papa Herriot from the bus stop. On the way there he observes a warplane flying overhead. Papa Herriot mentions that the Glasgow dockyards are working overtime and politely declines the invite to James’ stag night (what the Brits call the bachelor party). This is a good idea because he gets a great night of sleep.

Tristan is James’ best man and Mrs. Hall of course advises him to prevent James from being hungover as he walks down the aisle. Siegfried is pressed that James is taking a week off of work for his honeymoon, and once again Mrs. Hall has to tell Siegfried that he’s wrong. Hasn’t James earned a holiday after all of the late nights and early mornings with sick goats?

All the men in Darrowby show up to the Drovers to celebrate James’ last night as a single man. Of course, Mrs. Hall’s sound advice about not getting wasted is thrown out the window as Tom Chapman and others encourage James to refill his glass. There’s of course a chugging contest and other shenanigans. Meanwhile, Maggie reminds Tristan that she’s still engaged and that he needs to pay his bar tab. Of course, this is one responsibility Tristan is not keen on because he’s broke. There’s also a discussion of a possible tuberculosis outbreak on one of the farms. The farmers know TB outbreaks are bad, but they also are reluctant to get their herds tested because an outbreak could cost them their livelihood. James promises to get to the bottom of the problem, but should he really be thinking about work right now?

On The Barn Roof
While the men are acting the fool, Helen spends her last night as a single woman reflecting on the past at home. She sits on the barn roof with Jenny reminiscing about their Mom and thinking about the future. Unfortunately, bachelorette parties seem not to exist in 1930s Yorkshire. Jenny of course wants to move into Helen’s old room but her expansion plans are dimmed by Helen telling her she will visit every day to help out on the farm.

The Workaholic Pt. 1
Tristan passes out on the couch at Skeldale House and wakes up panicking about where he placed the ring. Lucky for him, Mrs. Hall found it in Siegfried’s pocket and then placed it on the kitchen counter. Mrs. Hall also finds a rat in a cage which is clearly Siegfried’s new furbaby.

Samuel West made his Season 1 dream that he wanted a rat for Siegfried come true!

The ring might be secure but now neither Tristan nor Siegfried can account for James’ whereabouts. How did they lose the groom???!

James, meanwhile, is passed out in Mr. Henry’s straw patch because he drunkenly promised to TB test his herd before the wedding starts. It takes James a little bit to remember why he’s there but the workaholic instincts kick in. Mr. Henry is appreciative of James going the extra mile but he’s also concerned James is delaying his own preparations.

Back at Skeldale, the ring is once again in danger. Clancy the hellhound stayed the night after being treated for vomiting. Clancy ends up eating the ring box and now refuses to vomit it up despite vomiting a lot the day before. Yikes! In the process of cleaning up the bedsit (small studio) for James and Helen to move into, Mrs. Hall found an old twine ring Siegfried used for his rushed wedding to Evelyn during his leave from WWI. Can Clancy’s digestive tract save the day?

No Deja Vu
Helen spends her morning before the ceremony cleaning the stables and cooking breakfast instead of focusing on getting ready. Mr. Alderson is adamant that he’s not going to put up with Helen potentially bailing on another wedding. Helen is insistent that her heart is set on marrying James but she wants to take her mind off the pre-wedding jitters.

Mrs. Hall helps Helen with getting dressed. Helen’s dress could easily have been the same one her mother wore. Mrs. Hall tells Helen she never expected to fulfill the “mother of the bride” role because she never had a daughter. Helen asks if she was nervous about being a good wife. Mrs. Hall admits she was happy before PTSD changed her husband for the worse.

Outside of Helen’s house, there is another wedding guest waiting: Tricki Woo on a very comfy cushion. Mrs. Pumphrey’s butler apologizes for her inability to attend but the pampered Pekingese will fill her in on all of the events. This is King Tricki Woo’s world and we’re just living in it, TBH.

The Workaholic Pt. 2
Tristan arrives at Mr. Henry’s to persuade James to stop working. He also brings up that James may be hiding in the Dales over cold feet. James is not having second thoughts, he just wants to make sure no cows or humans die of TB. The one issue James is mulling over is the question of military service as Wilfred, Mr. Henry’s farmhand, has volunteered. Tristan is adamant that James will save more lives by keeping Britain’s meat supply free of disease. All of the herd is deemed healthy except for one that wandered off. It turns out this poor heifer has a broken foot. James tries splinting but she is still in pain. Siegfried arrives to offer a second opinion but it is not a good outlook. He recommends putting the heifer down. James at first offers to shoot but Tristan says he shouldn’t have to. Tristan tries with the rifle but loses his nerve. Wilfred ends up putting the heifer to sleep.

Get Me To The Church On Time
Mama and Papa Herriot are there long before everyone else is. That’s awkward. James changes into his suit while Siegfried is driving. James is confused about why Clancy is along for the ride but Siegfried doesn’t mention the ring fiasco. James only has just enough time to swap his work wellies with his father’s dress shoes before Helen begins her walk down the aisle.

The actual ceremony is the least chaotic portion of the episode. We find out James’ middle name is Alfred (the same as the real James, whose real name was James Alfred Wright) and Helen’s middle name is Rosemary.

Clancy meanwhile has brought up the ring box but the ring is not inside. James looks towards Tristan to have the ring safe but he’s empty-handed. Thankfully the old twine ring is ready to save the day. James and Helen kiss a bit before the priest officially declares them married, but let’s not hold it against the lovebirds! Everyone gathers outside the church and then there’s a small reception at Skeldale House before the newlyweds leave for their honeymoon.

Young, Horny, and Broke
On their way to their honeymoon hotel, James and Helen pull over by a large lake. Helen tells James that this was the furthest she’s ever traveled from home. He calms her nerves with a kiss… and the writers let us fill in the blanks on what happened during the rest of the trip. The Herriots return to Darrowby to see the army loading up a truck filled with volunteers and draftees. James is distracted by the activity but he quickly snaps out of it when he sees that he has a name to the door of the practice. Siegfried’s “welcome home present” is a share in the veterinary practice.

Helen meanwhile is eager to see their new room upstairs. Things get a little spicy as the newlyweds start making out. Unfortunately for the Herriots, the old bed collapses. There’s also a phone line in the room so it can ring right on time to interrupt their moment of passion. Thanks Siegfried for being a joy killer!

Will James get the 50% of the practice profits to spend at 1930’s Raymour & Flanagan? Is Siegfried ready to split responsibilities? Can Helen juggle both helping out on the farm and helping James? Find out next week on All Creatures Great and Small!