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'All Creatures Great and Small' Recap: Season 4 Episode 6

Daniel Hautzinger
Richard Alderson bends towards a seated, blanketed, smiling Helen outside
Helen moves home to help on the family farm but her father won't let her. Credit: Playground Entertainment and Masterpiece

All Creatures Great and Small airs Sundays at 8:00 pm on WTTW is available to stream. Recap the previous and following episodes.
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Oscar the cat and a shirt of James’ that still carries his scent aren’t enough to replace him in bed. Hoping to help Helen cope with James’ absence as he trains for the air force, Mrs. Hall suggests that Helen go visit her father and sister at their farm.

Richard Alderson has twisted his knee, but refuses to get extra help or even to let Helen, pregnant as she is, do much work. He also won’t go to the doctor. Helen decides to move back to the family farm to help out. Maybe she’ll even have the baby there.

This decision makes Mrs. Hall feel even guiltier about leaving Darrowby to live with Gerald as he goes to take care of his ailing sister. She hasn’t told Siegfried yet, but promised Gerald she would do so that very day. She has written Siegfried a letter explaining her reasons, and finally rips off the bandage and tells him while he tries to fix a persistently leaking kitchen sink. She gives him the letter and they both awkwardly hold back emotions. Siegfried flatly tells her that one month’s notice is plenty of time.

When Gerald comes over afterwards, Mrs. Hall cries and hugs him.

Gerald is at Skeldale because his dog Rock has a tumor that has been affecting his walk – Mrs. Hall noticed it the previous night and urged him to have Siegfried examine Rock. Siegfried chastises Gerald for not bringing Rock in sooner – he has to take care of those he loves! But Gerald is scared of putting Rock through surgery and takes him away to think about it despite Siegfried’s recommendation.

Richard Alderson also resists a vet’s recommendation. Helen has noticed one of their calves won’t eat, so Richard Carmody comes out to examine it. He thinks one of its stomachs is blocked up, and Alderson insists that linseed oil will clear it out even though Carmody recommends bringing the more experienced Siegfried out to take a look.

The calf moves suddenly and knocks over Alderson and Helen. Alderson panics and insists that Helen stay away from any animals or strenuous work while she’s pregnant, after making sure that she’s all right. Helen is just like her mother, insisting on working despite her pregnancy – but that’s all Alderson will share about his wife’s pregnancies, despite Helen’s questions.

The calf’s health declines overnight, so Helen again calls Skeldale. Siegfried is in the middle of trying to fix the sink – he refuses to call anyone to do it – and rebuffs Helen’s specific request for him to come out; he’ll send Carmody instead. Carmody has already admitted to Mrs. Hall that he’s confused by Siegfried; she has advised him to stand up to Siegfried and earn his respect, just as Helen advised James years ago when he first arrived in the Dales.

When Carmody again examines the calf, he says it needs an operation to clear out the blockage, or it could be dead by tomorrow. Alderson doesn’t trust Carmody in his inexperience, but Siegfried agrees to come out anyway to operate on the calf – leaving the water turned off and the sink still broken at Skeldale. Alderson also yells at Helen, ordering her to stop doing any work. Upset, she heads back to Skeldale to find comfort in Mrs. Hall while Siegfried makes the opposite journey.

Siegfried finds the calf blocked up by undigested fruit, and saves it via surgery. Alderson apologizes to Carmody for not trusting him, then sets off for Skeldale to apologize to his daughter for shouting at her. Helen has found some comfort in Mrs. Hall, but also learned that Mrs. Hall is leaving Darrowby – and will thus miss Helen giving birth, although she promises to visit as soon as the baby is born.

Richard Alderson admits to Helen that he lost his temper because his wife had a miscarriage when Helen was young. He always blamed himself for not forcing her to rest more while she carried on doing farm work. Helen assures him there’s nothing he could have done, and admits to missing her mother. He tells her that he sees his wife in both her and her sister Jenny, so she’s not really gone.

After he leaves, Helen suddenly realizes she hasn’t felt her baby recently and panics. When Mrs. Hall can’t calm her, she drives her back to her family farm to see Siegfried, who is still cleaning up after the calf’s operation – the midwife is busy.

Siegfried nervously examines Helen in the barn – he cares about Helen and isn’t used to examining humans. After some horrible suspense, he finds the baby’s heartbeat and lets Helen listen to it. Everything is fine. Richard Alderson goes outside to take a deep breath.

That evening, Siegfried tries to write an ad for a new housekeeper. Asking for Mrs. Hall’s input, he realizes how much she does for him. He also tells her that he did finally read her letter after initially refusing to. What she said about him taking her in all those years ago after her troubles with her son and now ex-husband meant a great deal. She herself was a stalwart to him in that period, after his wife died.

The next morning, Mrs. Hall visits Gerald and tells him she’s not ready to leave yet. Siegfried, Helen, and Helen’s coming baby need her – just as Gerald’s sister needs him. Gerald should go take care of his sister; maybe Mrs. Hall will eventually join him. Gerald realizes that likely won’t happen, and asks to be on his own to absorb the news.

This time, Mrs. Hall goes to Helen for comfort, bringing a fresh loaf of bread. She tells Helen that she’s staying in Darrowby.

Helen has decided to return to Skeldale and have the baby there. She thought she would feel closer to her mother at the family farm, but she just feels even farther from James. Skeldale is her home now. Her father understands, and also agrees to have his knee examined.

While Mrs. Hall is out, Gerald visits Skeldale with Rock and finds Siegfried again trying to fix the sink. He tells Siegfried that Mrs. Hall is staying in Darrowby; they won’t be getting married after all. He has brought Rock to have his tumor removed.

The operation is successful, and the tumor probably benign. Mrs. Hall arrives home after it’s over, and Siegfried leaves her to talk to Gerald. He’s going to leave sooner rather than later, and tells Mrs. Hall goodbye. She thanks him – for everything.

Siegfried tells Mrs. Hall he’s sorry for everything, and reinstates her as housekeeper after making certain that she’s sure about her choice. He hopes he hasn’t taken her for granted all these years; she says he hasn’t. They find that the sink is working again – Gerald fixed it while Siegfried operated on Rock, a final gift.