Watership Down: “Kidnapped”

Vervain has a patrol out in the rain. There’s this one rabbit in the background who doesn‘t say anything but you can tell that he is thinking “Man this sucks. Figures, I do Steve a favor and pick up his shift so he can watch his kid’s lacrosse game and it ends up raining. The only way this could get worse is if a seagull attacked us,” which then happens. Although, at this point you have to figure that they get attacked by Keehar so often that it only gets a passing mention when they write up the report on the patrol. Vervain’s entire reaction to the incident was saying “Ehuh.”

A hard days work accomplished Keehar heads back home to the hole he lives in. It would be pretty weird if you saw a seagull climb into a hole wouldn’t it? Most of the things that happen on this show would be weird to an observer. It is a good thing that the rural English are too busy shooting stray dogs to go for nature hikes.

Keehar reports that Efrafan patrols up the wazoo out there. This is bad for the Downers, if their home gets found out their goose is cooked. Efrafa has superior military experience and numbers. There are only like ten people living at Watership Down and the artists are too lazy to draw most of them during group shots.

Meanwhile the babies are playing soccer with a rock. That one just got hit in the nads.

Hazel thinks direct action needs to be taken and the best way to do so would be to have a man on the inside. Since Bigwig already snuck into there once, that probably won’t work again, not unless he had a fake mustache, but rabbits don’t have access to fake mustaches so they are better off trying to get Campion to help them out instead.

Hazel, Fiver, Primrose, Bigwig, and Pimpkin or as they are also known as, Infiltration Team Alpha, head to Efrafa using that underground tunnel that they discovered two episodes ago, or was it three, or the last one? I have no idea. I really need to do these in the right order. Hazel is there because he is the leader, Fiver has physic powers, Bigwig is the muscle, Primrose because Campion has a boner for her and Pimpkin because somebody needs to get kidnapped. Oops, spoiler alert.

In Efrafa Campion is having a meeting with Woundwort. He has a couple of concerns. The first one is that the area that the marks eat in is running out of grass, and that they will need to forge further away or starve. Woundwort says that if the rabbits die from not eating it is a sign that they are weak.

Next Campion brings up the fact that badgers and weasels keep eating the patrols and that they have lost rabbits while looking for Watership Down then they did when Watership Down raided them. Also the raid only occurred after Woundwort tried to murder Hazel and Fiver. Woundwort points out that no, this isn’t true, so that’s the end of that.

The plan is to sit under the bridge and when Campion comes by hopefully he will defect. Maybe the original plan was better, but they decided to sit under the bridge instead because it is raining. The guards who were on the bridge in previous episodes are gone, most likely eaten by a weasel.

Campion’s patrol comes by and Keehar attacks them, knocking two into the river and causing the rest to flee. You know a good way to get somebody to defect? You murder two of his comrades immediately before beginning negotiations. The Downer’s are soooooo lucky that he wants to bone Primrose soooooo badly that he would do anything to get into her burrow

Showing further expert negotiation skills Hazel and Bigwig attack Campion for no reason. Literally, he was standing their staring at Primrose, and suddenly out of the bushes these two come flying, tackling him to the ground, and then they have the audacity to tell him to settle down. You just blindsided him? While he was completely at ease and showing no aggression. Why don’t you two settle down? You could have just walked out of the bushes and been like “Chill dude, we gotta chat,” but instead you go all Reggie White on the guy.

You know what is kind of evil? Using Primrose to convince Campion to defect. They are openly manipulating his feelings for her by teasing the possibility that they will get together even thought Primrose has no intentions of that happening. That is some dark stuff right there for a kid’s cartoon No wonder Campion turns into a death obsessed murder machine later in the series. Spoilers alert.

And what part of this plan requires Pipkin to be there?

Campion gets brought into the bushes where, like a group of Ladder Day Saints, the Downers tell him that they know the secrets to happiness and a fulfilling life, however unlike Latter Day Saints they think it is freedom (America).

Campion doesn’t want to take their offer because he still holds loyalty to his chief, even if he disagrees with Woundwort’s actions. Primrose argues that he needs to be loyal to his ideals and Efrafa itself, not whoever happens to be the leader. Campion is told to meet them back that evening with his decision. They better hope his decision isn’t “No, and I brought an army with me to kill you” because that would be the end of the series.

The bunnies exit their cover and walk in the open with total disregard for the fact that they are deep in enemy territory. Vervain sees Campion parting ways with the Downers and sees this as his chance to seize power and glory.

Keehar sees the attackers advancing and tells his friends to “Run like bunnies” likely for them that is what they were born to do. They manage to make it to their hidden tunnel and despite being right outside it the Efrafan rabbits are unable to track them because the rain washed away their scent and they jumped on rocks to avoid leaving a trail.

When he returns Campion is brought into Woundwort’s chambers and questioned. Campion does not deny meeting with Hazel. He tells the entire story of Hazel’s offer and says he led them to believe he would join them so that he could find their warren. Woundwort shows why he is a badass by declaring “We will grind their bones”

Hazel, Bigwig, and Fiver go to the meeting place, leaving Primrose and Pipkin in the cave in case it’s a trap. I’m not making an Admiral Ackbar joke. Campion shows up and says that he will join Watership Down. Then Vervain comes out with some thugs. Bigwig swears death on Campion, but Campion says he had no idea about the ambush, and that he will fight at Bigwigs side.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Is this a ruse so Campion can earn the Downer’s trust? Did Vervain make another power play and Campion really knew nothing about the attack? Was Campion lying to Wounwort and actually planning to defect? Did he not plan to defect at all? So many questions and intrigue! If Watership Down had a movie poster they should put someplace on there “So Many Questions and Intrigue”

The Downers and Campion make the first move and manage to escape. The Efrafans are too tired to pursue properly, or are they? Campion says they need a place to hide, Fiver says the caverns but Bigwig says they need to go someplace. Obviously he still doesn’t trust Campion

Back in the cave the incompetent rabbits are worried since the others haven’t returned. Pipkin tries to check outside the cave but ends up getting swept away in the river which has been raising due to the rain.

The rabbits hide in a cow field. The cow is like “Hey, why you bringing this gang violence into my neighborhood?” He is the Gran Torino of cows.

Bigwig thinks it was a little too easy for them to get away, and Campion agrees, saying it was suppose to be harder. He comes clean that Woundwort knows that he met with them and planned the ambush but planned it so they would get away and Campion could find their warren. There are more levels of double crossing here I don’t even know what to call Campion, I’d say a quadruple agent but that makes it sound like he needs a wheel chair. The Downers don’t know if they can trust Campion or not. Campion isn’t even sure what he is doing.

Primrose finds the group and reports that Pipkin got swept away and she is too useless to do anything.

Hazel sends Keehar and Fiver to assist Primrose with finding Pipkin. After they leave Bigwig calmly suggests killing Campion just to be safe. This isn’t one of the times I make a joke over exaggerating his violence either, he totally says it. This episode is dark.

Campion ignores the murder threat and says he will return to Efrafa and work for Watership Down from the inside. He then has Bigwig beat the shit out of him so that it looks like the Downers saw through his ploy and he had to fight his way out.

Vervain found Pipkin and brought him to Efrafa. Pipkin tells Woundwort that he will die before giving up any information. Woundwort asks Pipkin what kind of stories he has been told about Efrafa before calling him a guest and giving him the best quarters and flarva. Woundwort plans on winning Pipkins trust in order to get the needed information.

Woundwort gets word that Campion has returned and oh shit, Bigwig wasn’t messing around was he. Woundwort tells Campion that he wouldn’t have believed the trick either, then leaves saying he has a new game to play.

The episode ends with Vervain on top of the broken bridge yelling a message to the Downers. They have until the full moon to surrender or they will never see Pipkin again.

Final Thoughts

You may have noticed I sort of stopped doing jokes after awhile. That’s because the episode was really good and I’m not funny enough to make jokes about well made things. Like, for real, this episode is awesome. I’d rather just watch it then review it. The Downers show a real shade of grey using Primrose to manipulate Campion, Campion struggles with his blind loyalty and doing what is right, we get a real taste of Vervain’s power lust, and Woundwort despite only being in the episode for about five minutes gets development. The fact that he disregards his top man, a man that just went deep undercover and was nearly killed for it, for what he sees as a new game shows how truly ruthless he is and that this isn’t war to him. He doesn’t want to win for the power or to protect Efrafa, he wants to win because he it’s a challenge for him to overcome. Just a few lines really cements a new dimension on Woundwort’s personality.

This also leads to another amazing episode. This was actually the last episode of the first season of Watership Down and they went out strong. Damn strong.