WarningMight contain spoilers.

A lovely second season that is recognizably the same show as before but with more confidence and experience. Everyone is just as you remember, exactly as you’d want. (Well, Helen could stand to be less insipid, but nothing’s perfect.) Once again, the main criticism I have is that the season has ended and I need more right away.

Some things bother me. The idea that it would have been okay to put the dog down in ‘Where the Heart Is’, or that Tristan might have swapped the dead budgie for another one, are both disturbing. The death of the dog in ‘Home Truths’ almost forced me to stop watching. There are also a couple of exceedingly graphic sequences, one of them being James putting his hands inside the horse in the same episode.

The fact that James doesn’t breathe one word to his parents about Helen or his intention to stay in Darrowby until they arrive, leading them to expect an enjoyable vacation before he returned home, is astonishing and incomprehensible to me—from their perspective, their son has been snatched away from them in an instant. My heart broke for his mother, and again for both his parents in that emotional phone conversation during the wonderful Christmas special.

It’s nice that while the comfort and warmth remain, time doesn’t stand still. James and Helen come together.[1] Siegfried and Tristan’s relationship moves on from mistrust at last, with many laughs, much trading of barbs, and a few too many twists and turns on the way thanks to all the lies they’ve told each other. Tristan finally clears his exams, much to Siegfried’s joy, though only after much pain: the devastation on his face when he finds out Siegfried lied about him passing is all the harder to see for how sweet and blithely cheerful he always is. I wonder what the plan is for Maggie and him—it often seems as if they’re about to pick up where they left off, but the moment is inevitably gone in a flash.

I’ve always found cricket a tad boring, and the first half of the match in ‘The Last Man In’ is no exception. Still, it provides more of Matthew Lewis as Hugh Hulton, whom I’ve rather come to like. You never know what he’s thinking, he isn’t a villain, and he doesn’t do what you expect.

Tricki Woo is as cute as ever. I wouldn’t have been able to take it if he had died in the Christmas special; I could barely watch when it seemed as if he would. The concern all three vets show for him is touching. It’s also moving to see them come together at Mrs. Pumphrey’s house in the end. No one can replace Dame Diana Rigg in that role but Patricia Hodge brings effortless dignity to a very different version of the character.

  1. And realize perhaps they might want different lives, almost as if people put absolutely no thought into what the future might hold before deciding to spend their entire lives together.