Photo Courtesy of PBS/Masterpiece Classic

All Creatures Great and Small Season 3 Episode 5: “Edward”

**CONTENT WARNING: This review contains references to domestic violence. If you or someone you love are living in a DV situation, and you live in Canada, click here for resources.**

All Creatures Great and Small Season 3 Episode 5, “Edward,” brings back the unrelenting emotional damage. Really, we all should have seen this coming. The devastation leaves no less of an impact, however. Unlocking Mrs. H.’s (Anna Madeley) backstory was always going to be fraught. Who could possibly have imagined this?

Mrs. H., The O.G.

Mrs. Hall has always been the glue that holds this little chaotic family together. Literally, none of them could survive without her guidance. She has always had a steely resolve that is clearly borne of trauma. This has always been the undercurrent of the character. Now, we have more answers, and they’re frankly horrifying.

The fact that Mrs. H. is a survivor of domestic violence is sickening. It’s clear that every aspect of her life has been impacted by this. Watching her reconnect with her son is so full of pain. This is actually a heartbreakingly authentic way to show the cycle of violence. Children who grow up in such a home and witness this violence are impacted forever. 

In the end, it’s good to see that Siegfried (Samuel West) in particular does not take Mrs. H. for granted. Not that anyone should, however. Siegfried needs reminding, every once in a while, that his life isn’t really his own. He may think he has a nice little system for everything. He is definitely not the one who runs the show, however. While it’s nice to see him in the role of a father figure (kind of) to an actual child, he sometimes needs to be reminded of his place.

War on the Horizon

The war is starting to encroach on every part of these characters’ lives. James (Nicholas Ralph) is obviously growing more restless as time goes on. Tristan (Callum Woodhouse) is watching everything from a distance, while taking on the housekeeping responsibilities for a time. Helen (Rachel Shenton) also seems to see exactly what’s coming, even if she isn’t saying it out loud yet. In the meantime, she too is keeping everything afloat. 

It’s interesting to wonder how true to life this story is. How many small English towns like this one both kind of knew what was coming, but kept carrying on as usual regardless? Surely there were stories from folks like Mrs. H. and Siegfried, who were intimately familiar with the damage a world war was capable of. Perhaps they just weren’t listened to. 

If there’s any complaint to be made about All Creatures Great and Small Season 3 Episode 5, “Edward,”, it’s that there wasn’t more focus on the deaf characters. Lara Steward is a phenomenal actress who happens to be deaf. Yes, in fact, there were people who were deaf in this era. A period piece is never a reason for the exclusion of an entire group of people. 

All Creatures Great and Small is transforming this lovely little comfort show into an emotional meditation on the lead-up to, and the cost of World War II. It continues to be handled with grace. Viewers are asked to lean into these emotions, as uncomfortable as they might be. With two episodes remaining in the season, it’s hard to imagine the devastation letting up any time soon. 

All Creatures Great and Small airs Sundays at 9/8c on PBS. 


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