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'All Creatures Great and Small' Recap: Season 2 Episode 5

Daniel Hautzinger
Hugh and Helen in All Creatures Great and Small. Photo: Playground Television (UK) Ltd.
Helen is surprised that her interactions with Hugh are cordial and pleasant. Photo: Playground Television (UK) Ltd.

All Creatures Great and Small airs Sundays at 8:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.

Just in time to compete in Mrs. Pumphrey’s annual cricket match, Helen’s ex-fiancé Hugh has returned to Yorkshire from a hiatus in France. Good thing, too, as he’s the captain of the team that will oppose Helen’s father’s team of farmers and veterinarians. Since Tristan is neither, he refuses to play in a direct rebuke to Siegfried for lying about his test qualifications, even though he’s the best player on the team.

Hugh has a new bull that needs to be ringed and asks for James specifically to come do it. He politely chats with James, who is awkwardly vague when Hugh asks about Helen. He is startled by the bull and falls in the mud when Hugh mentions that he’s visiting the Aldersons that very day.

Mrs. Hall reassures James that Hugh’s return won’t affect his relationship with Helen, but Tristan teases him a bit more, asking if he’s worried that Hugh is going to see Helen. James excuses himself and sets off on an “errand.”

Helen worries that Hugh might not renew her family’s lease. But when he arrives to speak with the Aldersons, he’s nothing but kind. He’ll renew the lease, and add Helen and Jenny to it so that they can inherit it. Furthermore, he has brought them the bull James just ringed as an apology for the difficulties they encountered in part because of him while trying to sell their previous bull. He wants to make amends.

The Aldersons are stunned and say they can’t accept, but agree to think it over. James shows up on his “errand” soon after Hugh leaves. Jenny excitedly tells him about Hugh’s generosity and James quickly grows jealous, especially since the bull is a pedigree specimen. When he learns that Hugh is the star player on the cricket team playing against Mr. Alderson’s team, he offers to play in place of Tristan.

Turns out he has barely played before—and that he underestimated the seriousness of the match. Siegfried decides to coach him, ineffectively. Tristan eventually steps in with his own more helpful advice. He reminisces about his cricket feats in school, and how his father would watch him play—a fact Siegfried is surprised to learn.

Siegfried has been discreetly helping Mrs. Pumphrey with her dog Tricki-Woo on a matter of “utmost discretion.” Tricki has lately become “amorous,” taking a particular interest in the neighboring Handshaw farm’s terrier. Siegfried suggests an easy solution, but Mrs. Pumphrey doesn’t want to neuter Tricki.

Amidst the preparations for her cricket match, however, Tricki escapes. Siegfried retrieves him (with instructions from Mrs. Pumphrey not to embarrass the dog) from Handshaw, who suggests that he wouldn’t mind the puppies. Mrs. Pumphrey finally agrees to neuter her beloved dog. Siegfried has an opening Monday; in the meantime, he advises keeping Tricki on a leash.

Tricki is restless on the leash the day of the cricket match. Tristan is forced to step in on Alderson’s team, as one of the other farmers is busy rounding up his escaped sheep. Jenny helps Mrs. Hall keep score, and it proves a busy task as Hugh’s team bats—and racks up the points against the fumbling farmers.

As the match drags on, Gerald Hammond brings Mrs. Hall tea to keep her company and ends up taking over from Jenny—and learning how cricket works in the process. He and Mrs. Hall spent some time together earlier in the week when he came over to fix the hall clock.

Hugh finally stops the rout and voluntarily ends his team’s batting at a score of 138, and everyone breaks for tea. Mrs. Pumphrey has begun to rethink getting Tricki neutered and asks Siegfried for advice. If Handshaw is open to puppies, perhaps it will all be okay. Siegfried tells her she can let Tricki off the lead, and off he goes to the Handshaw farm.

Helen finds Hugh and apologizes to him in person for the pain she caused him for breaking off their engagement. He says he was initially devastated but that he has found it sort of freeing; anyway, he always knew deep down they weren’t right for each other. Helen also tells him that her family can’t accept the bull—her father left the decision up to her. You don’t have to make amends, she says. He teasingly brings up dating James, then tells her he hopes they can one day be pals again before kissing her goodbye.

James sees and jealously asks Helen what the kiss was about. She shrugs it off, and tells him the Aldersons aren’t taking the bull, before James has to get back to the match.

As a novice, he’s batting last. Tristan leads off and racks up the points, but the rest of the team strikes out quickly. Gerald enjoys learning about the game from Mrs. Hall, and mentions that he usually walks his dog in the evenings; perhaps Mrs. Hall and the practice’s dog Jess might see them sometime. She smiles and says perhaps they might.

The last batter before James gets hit in the face and has to step out, so it’s up to James to survive the last three balls of the match and bring it to a draw—as good as a win, in everyone’s eyes, given the imbalance in the teams.

Hugh is bowling. He accidentally hits James on the first ball and James taps the second. But Hugh is successful on the last. His team wins. Hugh congratulates James on the game, and James tells Helen that he felt he owed Hugh a win—he deliberately missed. “I know,” she says, “and I love you for it.”

Siegfried tells Tristan their father would have been proud of him, and apologizes to him for lying about his exams. “I may have been wrong,” he says, leaving the decision of whether to return to school up to Tristan. A happy Tristan spots Margot—but then he sees Hugh kiss her. Looks like his life is looking up as well.