After the drama that accompanied “Newcastle,” we not only return to our regularly scheduled insanity, but this episode is the first indication of the glorious new heights that the show can ascend to. This is one of those rare shows that gets better and better with each passing season, and s3 has some of the best, funniest, and brightest episodes of the entire series. This is one of them.
I don’t know where to start, whether it’s Carolyn and Herc arguing about everything from vegetarians to sheep to Snoopadoop, yellow car, the hundred otters, Douglas being the one to screw up by doing something dumb instead of Arthur, or the music.
Let’s start with the music: Roger Allam actually trained as an operatic baritone before he decided he would rather be an actor. This combination has served him well, most famously when he created the role of Inspector Javert in the Original London Cast of Les Miserables back in the Eighties (listen to the sped-up recording of “Confrontation” between him and Colm Wilkinson’s Jean Valjean on YouTube, or his recording of “Stars.” Go ahead. I’ll wait). He has a fine singing voice and John Finnemore takes full advantage, writing two scenes where Douglas plays the piano and sings.
I fully support all of Carolyn’s comments about vegetarianism. If I could live on red meat and chocolate alone, I would. I mean, if it’s based in religion or for health reasons (I actually have a coworker who can’t digest meat), I’m OK with it, but the rest of the time, I find vegetarians and vegans to be smug, self-righteous, pretentious, and ill-informed, like atheists, hipsters, or religious fundamentalists, and I love that Carolyn skewers that mindset. Carnivores unite!
So many fandot in-jokes can be traced back to this episode. “Snoopadoop the cockapoo, noblest of hounds!” ottery kisses, “I’m not flying with a live otter in the flight deck!” yellow car (of course), comparing Benedict Cumberbatch to otters (which has since spread to the rest of the Cumbercollective), and story-wise, we get more slow burn Hercolyn (very slow burn), Icarus Removals (“You named your company after the first bad pilot in history”), and Herc’s ovinophobia (“You are! You’re frightened of little woolly baa-lambs!”).
Tomorrow is the Downton Abbey s2 finale, followed by Gargoyles on Saturday, and Cabin Pressure on Sunday. Also, here’s a cute fan-made cartoon by @krispy-blogs, followed by art from @4excellentquestions. You’re welcome.