We begin with the star-crossed lovers discreetly making a phone call. Justin has ‘taken care’ of Stefan and an arrangement has been made which leaves Stefan “very happy”. Lillian is very pleased that the Evil One has gone. Justin has a secret ‘burner’ mobile with which to call his beloved. How very ‘The Wire.’

    Peggy hits the church with and finds Jill. They remember Phil and the passing of the generations by talking entirely in sentences torn from cheap greeting cards. Then it gets interesting as they want to lob a brick through the Grace Archer memorial window.

    Lillian is out riding with Shula who introduces her to Anisha (the new Scottish vet). There’s some dreary bolted-on horse chat and they trot off. Someone silent called Delia falls off and near-cripples her horse, luckily they have a vet with them. What are the chances? “It’s horrible to see a horse go down like that.” Maybe don’t make them jump over hedges, then.

    Justin meets Brian and lets him know that the Dark Lord is off. Justin’s story is that he’s been head-hunted. “That’s very sudden.”

    “It’s pouring,” moans Neil as Susan puts on the slap for some reason. After he leaves, Tracey calls Susan, sounding urgent. She runs round to discuss the on-going Roy situation, still upset about the “interfering cow”, Kirsty. The Susan portrait is haunting Susan herself, feeling she can’t live up to her own image. Should have stuck to “Yachts at Sunset”. Neil has to lay in on with a trowel to keep her calm. “I feel I’m the luckiest man in the world.” “Oh, Neil.” The solo portrait is being moved and the group shot will replace it. Susan hits the shop and immediately starts spreading the Dark Lord gossip. Helen comes in and Susan tells her about Rob’s departure. She didn’t know. Like Brian and Adam didn’t tell her the good news.

    Alastair swaps shifts with Anisha so she can go to the Bull for Burns Night. “So, are there any other Scots in the village?” Jazzer is referred to as a “local character.” Alastair and Anisha run off to look at the injured horse. “That looks infected, what do you think, Anisha?” “Looks that way to me.” Professional vet chat. Anisha wants to do something called a “joint flush”, saving a three grand bill from the vet hospital. She does it with Shula’s help and seems to be successful.

    Helen and Pat discuss the Dark Lord flapping away. Helen doesn’t think that he would scarper and leave Jack behind. ‘What if Rob hasn’t gone anywhere and just wants us to think he has?” The paranoid husband-stabber heads to the cheese room, worried. Later, Tony checks out the Evil One’s lair and its cleared out and empty. Helen, still not convinced, seems tense. Tom tells Pat and Tony about Kirsty being up the duff. Initially they are pleased and then they find out that Kirsty and Tom are not together. Then they are less pleased. Given the provenance of their other grandchildren, they should be happy about this one being near-normal.

    Roy drives past Tracey in the rain and stops to pick her up. She wants to go to a new boutique in Felbisham. “I didn’t recognise your car – I thought you’d have something better.” On the drive, Roy tries to come across as incredibly dull (or maybe he just is) and Tracey ditches him. Roy is relieved. After, Roy tells Kirsty, who seems to be more relaxed about the Tom thing, as he came to the latest ultrasound.

    Rex touts for work from David, but no dice – even at lambing. Then he calls Toby who hasn’t paid him for the vermin-proofing work he did last week. He promises that he’ll be paid at the Bull at seven. Rex is even considering minicabbing. The lack of paternal hand-outs is hitting the Fairborther brothers hard.

    Kenton is manning Burns Night at the Bull, Anisha meets Jazzer and, after slagging off his kilt and mouthing some special ‘Glaswegian’ dialogue, they seem to get on pretty well and then there’s a non-stereotypical shot-for-shot drinking game. Anisha makes a bee-line for Rex. Later, much later, Anisha and Jazzer seem to get utterly smashed until Jazzer collapses. Anisha wins, but Rex has spotted Anisha substituting water for vodka.

    Jill visits Toby. “I know we’ve not always seen eye-to-eye…” but Jill invites Pip and Toby for dinner. She is trying to reform. Toby agrees, but isn’t sure Pip will agree. He cons her into attending. Jill is delighted and the family have a lovely Walton-like dinner. Then, Jill thanks everyone especially Toby for “looking after me when I had my fall.” Pip and Jill make up – Jill has even made her some flapjacks. David and Ruth are very happy that the family war is over, although David still has doubts about Toby.

    David and Ruth are preparing the lambing shed. Josh has started a website selling second hand farm machinery. Ambridge e-Bay. Josh wants to see Brookfield’s bailer as a first item. Weirdly, David agrees.

    Helen is out with Jack for a walk in bad weather. The Synthetic Child had a disturbed night. Helen is still very paranoid about the Dark Lord’s sudden disappearance. “He just wouldn’t do that.”

    And…it turns out…maybe she’s right…Cruella sweeps back in to Ambridge. She heads to the church and sees Alan. She hasn’t heard from her evil spawn for a week. She didn’t even know the Evil One left Justin’s employ and appears to have left the village. What IS Rob up to? Alan heads to the farm shop and tells Pat that Cruella is in town “Just so you can be prepared.”

    Lillian then tells fretting Helen about the real reason the Evil One has left…about the flood, the culvert and about Stefan. She then swears Helen to secrecy. She only told her because “I want you to believe it – he’s gone.”

    Cruella visits Pat. “Where’s my son?” Pat gets all haughty. “Your family has obviously hounded him out of the village.” Pat lays it on thick and the two of them fire broadsides at each other and each other’s families. It’s like Godzilla verus Mechagodzilla. “When I look at you and Bruce, I almost feel sorry for Rob. Your son is a monster.” Cruella crumbles. “He could be anywhere. I’ve lost my son.” “Kindly leave the premises,” says Pat, throwing her out in the rain. “And never come back.”


The Week In Ambridge

The Week In Ambridge

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I am a new listener to The Archers - my Mother started me at birth, so I have only been listening for 46 years. Apologies if I get things wrong.

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