Watership Down: “The Shadow of Efrafa”

It’s time for episode five. This is a very special episode. This is the episode I lost my virginity to. I was 24 and in a Greek jail for stealing fire from the gods. My cellmate and I watched this very episode on his hand held television while making passionate love. My cellmate’s name was John Stamos. He was in jail for the crime…of passion.

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Shit is going down son! This episode ain’t going to start out with any sort of rabbit non-action stuff like meetings or eating grass quietly. It starts with some rabbit on the fast track; running from Campion and Vervain. Those are two of the head rabbits from Efrafa right there so this mother fucker has gotta be in trouble. Why he be running? Maybe he is trying to escape from tyranny. Maybe he is a rapists. What I do know is that he will have his shit fucked up when he is caught because Campion and Vervain are two bad mother fuckers.

The rabbit, Blackavar as we soon learn, hides behind a tree. Keehar who saw the chase from the sky comes down to help Blackavar because as the saying goes “The rabbit enemy of my rabbit enemy is my rabbit friend, snootch,” Blackavar ignores Keehar’s attempts to give aid. He run s out of the bushes but is caught in exactly zero seconds. Campion and Vervain lay the smack down on Blackavar before escorting him away. Keehar blames himself.

Watership Down episode 5

Inside of Watership Down the rabbits declare that the warren is finished. They are all pumped except for Hazel who says they are like “walnuts rattling inside of a well.” He’s trying to say they need more rabbits in the warren, preferably some hot babes, but that analogy makes no sense. Why would walnuts live in a well? Even if you threw a walnut in a well it wouldn’t rattle because the well would be so much larger then the walnut that the walnut wouldn’t hit the sides of the well. Hazel sucks at making analogies. Dandelion observes that Hazel has been doing a lot of thinking, to which Hawkbit replies by saying that he thinks Hazel does too much thinking. Hawkbit is worried that Hazel is going to turn socialist.

Watership Down episode 5

After that last, dumb, conversation the main characters wander outside. Hazel is worried because Keehar hasn’t returned from scouting around Efrafa. Fiver says that Keehar is always “sky wandering.” Come on Fiver, you can’t just say flying like a normal person? Is “sky wandering” suppose to sound more intelligent or mysterious or something? Stop trying to impress everybody with funny words and the ability to tell the future. Nobody thinks you’re cool.

Bigwig is upset that Hazel sent Keehar to Efrafa. I’m not sure why, probably because somebody did something without him yelling at them to do it first. Hazel explains that they need more rabbits if they are ever going to start up an intramural flag football team and Efrafa is the only place to get rabbits from that they know of unless they go back to freaky deaky Cowslip’s warren of craziness. Not only will you end up snared but the one rabbit they got from that warren ended up being a huge disappointment.

Bigwig and Fiver both point out that Efrafa is violent and wants to kick their asses. Hazel feels that the fact that everybody they have met from Efrafa is violent and filled with rage that probably means there are reasonable folks living there who would like to move away but can’t because of all the violent and raged filled individuals that like to kick asses. Hazel wanders away after dropping this nugget of wisdom. I don’t think he has anywhere to go, he probably just left so that his statement would have more of an impact. He’s sitting behind a log five feet away watching Bigwig and Fiver to see if they talk about how awesome he is, which they do. Bigwig says “Always thinking your big brother,” to Fiver. The harp music makes end of this scene seem far more romantic then it should be.

Watership Down episode 5

Spying on Efrafa is easier then you would think. Keehar lands right behind a guard who doesn’t even flinch. Keehahr watches as Blackavar is dealt with by the law. Woundwort comes out. He is a scary looking mother fucker. I don’t even know what’s up with his eyes.

Watership Down episode 5

Look at that. Woundwort is suppose to be blind in one eye but I’m not sure if he’s blind in the eye that has no pupil or the one that is bizarrely red.

Blackavar is charged with attempted escape, Woundwort immediately sentences him to death. It may be harsh but the Efrafa law system is at least efficient. Blackavar calls for an appeal. The case goes all the way to the Efrafa Supreme Court which is just Woundwort wearing a black robe and powdered wig. The previous ruling is upheld.

Watership Down episode 5

Primrose, featured in the above photo, yells ‘no’ in a dramatic fashion. ‘No?’ Woundwort questions either shocked somebody would oppose his ruling or he isn’t sure what was said. Campion steps in to defend Primrose from a brutal Woundwort style murdering by saying the ancient law of Efrafa says the condemned gets a lawyer and she was just volunteering for that role. Primrose didn’t, she was just shocked and said ‘no’ but in order to not look like the kind of person who would just yell things out in a court proceeding she agrees with what Campion said. Woundwort agrees to this on the condition that he can kill Primrose if she doesn‘t convince him that Blackavar is innocent. Man, Sharia law is like Sharia love, deadly.

Just as Primrose is about to give her opening statement Keehar flies down and attacks random rabbits. Efrafa might have strict laws, but damn it, they have the highest rated shows on Court TV. Primrose says Blackavar ran to get away from the crazy seagull who is attacking people RIGHT NOW! This argument works pretty well and Woundwort finds in favor of the defendant. I’m sure those watching would have cheered at the conclusion of this exciting court battle if they weren’t being attacked.

Primrose thanks Campion who in response says she needs to watch herself. This sets up the “Campion has a thing for Primrose and isn’t a complete asshole” storyline which is important in future episodes. Keep it in mind.

Watership Down episode 5

Keehar relates the story of his day to the Watership Downers, although because it is Keehar I am sure it was told in a very confusing and hard to understand fashion, random screaming, odd sound effects, obscenities, the works. What Hazel does get from it is that there are rabbits in Efrafa who would like to leave and join people who are more laid back and cool. Rabbits who don’t mind having a few drinks after work. Rabbits who like to cut loose and swing a little, nothing too extreme. Just a little wife swapping in a party setting. Oh yeah, those are my kind of rabbits.

Hawkbit says they should forget the whole deal because he doesn’t want any of those rabbits living in his warren. Nobody pays attention to him though. They are no longer shocked by Hawkbit‘s racism. He just does it for attention anyways. Hazel decides the best courser of action is to go to Efrafa and get some rabbits to boost their ranks before Efrafa figures out where Watership Down is. Hazel, Bigwig, and Fiver are selected to take on this mission. Keehar is on air support.

Watership Down episode 5

Hazel’s plan is to scout around Efrafa, then either negotiate with Woundwort or trick him. He doesn’t have a specific plan for either of these options. Why is he the leader again? Hazel’s leadership skills are so great that he almost gets Fiver hit by a train. How do you get hit by a train? Its on tracks and is very noisy. Its not like the train can jump out from behind a bush or something. Hazel knocks Fiver out of the way and they continue on, assuming the train is some sort of dragon.

Watership Down the series only has like three songs in it. There’s a song for dramatic stuff or fighting, a song for traveling through the woods, and a third song. I must say the traveling through the woods song is great. Brings a person into a hopping through the woods kind of state of mind, which is wonderful since hopping is how rabbits travel. It is perfect hopping music. I think a video featuring this song and bullfrogs could be very entertaining. Maybe even something with a wallaby.

Watership Down episode 5

The Downers come across a scarecrow, are momentarily frightened as they think it is a real human.. Keehar lands on it and calls them a bunch of pussies. Keehar doesn’t know it isn’t a real person either but he is crazy and will just go and land on your head if you happen to be hanging out in the British countryside.

Watership Down episode 5

The only way across the river to Efrafa is by a small board bridge. The normal bridge is heavily guarded. I’m not sure why the smaller, out of the way, bridge is left unguarded and I don’t think there is an explanation. Fiver says “I’ll go first, I’m the smallest,” to which I shouted “That’s what he said!” The bridge is structurally sound and offers no problems, not that I think anybody but Fiver doubted the bridge in the first place. Keehar has no qualms about standing on it.

The Downers manage to make it to Efrafa without any problems. They are able to hide in the bushes and watch the proceedings, like a teenage male outside a girl’s slumber party. Woundwart should really be a little more concerned about people sneaking up on his dictatorship. Sure you have to make sure people don’t leave but you can’t have interlopers just waltzing up to your pad ready to wreak havoc. That just won’t do at all. Perhaps Woundwart doesn’t care about security as much as he wants to make it look like he has a ton of friends. Those aren’t guards, they’re standing there to make Woundwort look popular. If he had a Myspace he would have hundreds of friends whom he has never spoken to. They would all be the people who want a ton of friends on their myspace to prove they have a ton of friends. The alternative is that Woundwort has like five dozen guards on duty, none of which are very good at guarding.

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Hazel sees Primrose, which causes him to make a goofy face, and get a boner. Hazel is in love, or at least as much in love as you can be when you have never spoken to the person.

Watership Down episode 5

Primrose and Blackavar are going to try to escape. Here is their fool proof plan, they are going to go into the bushes, and leave. That’s it. As bad of a plan as that is it seemed to be working until Hazel ruined it. Before they could hide in the bush Hazel starts talking to them, explaining he is there to help them escape. He could help by letting them hide. Primrose and Blackavar get noticed sneaking off by the guards. They run in the opposite direction to draw attention away from the Downers and are quickly arrested. Bigwig seeing lawbreakers arrested determines it is impossible to reason with Efrafa.

Fiver starts shaking and says “The only way out is to go straight through. If two go in then out come two.” You may notice that if we take this prophecy at face value then two rabbits entering Efrafa means two rabbits will leave, with a net game of zero rabbits. Hazel decides that he and Fiver will go in to save Primrose and Blackavar. Fiver is going instead of Bigwig because Bigwig thinks this is a bunch of bullshit. Fiver is so confident in the situation that he says he wished either he didn’t have visions or that nobody took them seriously. Way to be positive little buddy.

Watership Down episode 5

Vervain wonders why rabbits are running away. Campion thinks its because they are unhappy. I’d say that’s a pretty safe guess.

Hazel goes up to them, apparently unnoticed by sentries because nobody sounded an alarm, and says “Take me to your leader.”

Watership Down episode 5

Instead of being brought to their leader Hazel and Fiver are brought to jail. That kind of sucks. The jail is a small burrow with a huge rock rolled in front of the only exit, which is pretty effective jail for rabbits. Primrose and Blackavar are in there, probably excited to find out that their arrest was pointless since Hazel gave himself up.

A guard comes and tells Primrose and Blackavar that they are being freed, which is pretty sweet. It becomes less sweet when it is revealed they are being freed because everybody in the warren is going to get together to watch Woundwort deal with Hazel and Fiver. Its assumed Woundwort wants an audience to witness how cruel he is, in order to instill order through fear. I don’t know though, maybe Woundwort just wants to show off how polite and political he can be. Its going to be a grandiose display of negotiating and treaty signing.

Outside Bigwig knows something is about to happen. I don’t know how he knows this. Everything is happening underground. I guess he has spider senses. Keehar comments that he is bored.

Watership Down episode 5

While going to meet Woundwort Hazel tells Primrose to hold on to hope and holds her paw in a way that would be extremely awkward, if not impossible for actual rabbits.

Watership Down episode 5

The touching moment is interrupted by Campion who jumps between them while screaming. Also the screen is slightly tinted red. I understand he has an attraction for Primrose but I’m not sure why the screen changed color. Maybe Campion is some sort of god and reality itself bends to his emotions. What I do know is that he is being a total cock block.

Earlier Hazel had sent a message to Woundwort asking him to choose between war and peace and between life or death. Woundwort chose war and death because Woundwort is a fucking nutcase psychopath. Who even put him in charge? Why do rabbits always elect the leader who want to crush the skulls of their enemies and then crush the skulls of people who aren’t their enemies.

Watership Down episode 5

Oh and Woundwort makes his address while standing on Pride Rock.

Hazel and Fiver, having their questions answered, are to be executed in the way most fitting rabbits; wood chipper.

Watership Down episode 5

Mother fuckers weren’t expecting that one.

Hazel and Fiver aren’t happy to hear this but there isn’t much they can do because all the rabbits who support Woundwort are huge tough bad asses. Fiver is a midget and Hazel is a bit of a dandy. The only person at Watership Down who can fight is Bigwig and he’s outside in the bushes. Bigwig can apparently tell what is happening despite this all happening far away from him and underground. He wants to run down there on a suicide mission even though Hazel and Fiver would still probably get killed. He just can’t let somebody else have all the attention.

Woundwort proposes an interesting alternative to the whole dying thing. If they tell him where their warren is he will not kill them. He’ll probably kill them in the future, but to be fair Woundwort plans on killing everybody at some point in the future. Hazel says he won’t do it. I bet Fiver would do it, most of the people at Watership Down are jerks to him anyways. Woundwort announces that he will find Hazel’s warren, destroy it, and kidnap the inhabitants so that they can live through him. I don’t know what he means by that living through him comment. It probably has something to do with sexing up the ladies. Jokes on him when he finds out the only girl over there is Blackberry and she is a total dyke.

Meanwhile Fiver has been having a seizure. As Woundwort is about to leave Fiver yells “Dark Haven is about to be destroyed,” which grabs the good general’s ear. Fiver goes on “The fire in the field, the man with the gun, save him Laurel. “My mother” Woundwort whispers to himself before yelling to clear the gathering place. Gathering place, by the way, is what they call the place that they gather.

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Bigwig wonders what is going on. Keehar’s like “fucked if I know.”

Fiver goes on, talking about a weasel and being too tired to run away. We flashback to watch the events happen. It appears to be the same weasel that was in the second episode. That weasel is a dick. Laurel attacks the weasel to protect young Woundwort, although it doesn’t end well since she is a rabbit and that is a weasel.

To sum it up, Woundwort is a violent, ill tempered rabbit, who acts in this manner because of insecurities he developed after being helpless to save his mother who was killed in front of his eyes. Send a message to Pete Abrahms. I know where you steal your stories from. Start sending me cash or I’ll spill the beans on a website people actually read.

Woundwort is thrown off his game due to Fiver being a witch, diving and all that. Hazel capitalizes be reiterating that he is the leader of a great warren, and saying his army is vast and silent and also right up there by the bushes right now. Bigwig, who apparently can do some diving himself, runs around shaking bushes making it look like there are a bunch of rabbits up there. Hazel says if he or Fiver is harmed then Fiver’s dark spirit will torment Woundwort forever. Fiver probably can’t actually do that, but if he could it would be pretty awesome.

Campion wants to kill Hazel and Fiver anyways because he is a bad ass. However Woundwort lets them go. Seconds later he gives the order to track them down, find their warren, and kill them. The order is important, if they kill them then find the warren and then finally track them down then it would just be silly.

Watership Down episode 5

The chase is on. Campion reports that he only found one set of rabbit tracks, they were tricked when they thought an army was hanging outside their home. Woundwort in furious. Now instead of just executing the interlopers Woundwort is going to rape them, execute them, and then rape them again just for good measure. The Downers make for a wheat field but are kind of easy to follow because Keehar is right above them and is not hidden in any way. Fiver is too tired to go on and says they should just leave him behind. Bigwig yells at Fiver until Fiver is able to move again. You know, I criticize Bigwig for yelling at everybody and being full of rage, but quite frankly it works, so I don’t see things changing anytime in the near future.

Keehar tries to create a diversion by sitting under the hat on the scarecrow we saw earlier and telling the Efrafarian rabbits to get out of the field. The rabbits are scared because they think it’s a person. This doesn’t make sense because Keehar would be communicating to them through seagull noises, not people speak.

Watership Down episode 5

Keehar is quickly found out and the pursuit continues, but not before Vervain takes off because he is a sissy. That little bridge breaks when Campion tries to cross it and he ends up in the river, again. He doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to chases near bodies of water. The Downers are finally saved when they cross the railroad track seconds before a train rolls by, blocking Woundwort from advancing. Woundwort no doubly swore to get revenge on the train.

Watership Down episode 5

Safe, even though Woundwort is only 15 feet away and the train is gone, the Downers go over the days events. Bigwig points at that the prophecy was right since it said only two people would come out. So really it was all an exercise in frivolity with the added bonus of Woundwort not only being aware of their existence, but wanting revenge against them.

There is a short montage of Hazel and Primrose moments. They only spent about a minute and a half on screen together so there are only two scenes. This is better then in later episodes where Hazel and Primrose montages are longer and get their own special music and also make me want to hang myself. it’s a good thing the montage is short. They shouldn’t spend too much time thinking about pootang right now. They are after all, still in the shadow of Efrafa.

Thank U Star’s Rating and My Rebuttal

 

Without a doubt, this has to be one of the best episodes of the series so far, and certainly ranks amongst the top episodes overall. After seeing the first signs of Efrafa in the last episode, with Campion and Vervain, we finally get to meet General Woundwort. For a first appearance, the dialogue and animation have been beautifully combined to instantly establish his evil character. We see him sentence an attempted escapee to death.

Rating

5 (Out of 6) – Good
A brilliant first appearance for General Woundwort, and fast-paced action involving Efrafa, give this episode a high score. It was very close to a 6, but that little mistake with the Railway keeps bugging me. More unforgivably, its the first appearance of my least favourite rabbit Primrose. For this reason, it only scored 5.

Thank U Stars really hates Primrose for some reason. On the internet fans of anything, video games, TV series, movies, novels, anything tend to hate female leads. Especially if that lead doesn’t bone the fan favorite (in this case Campion) In fact by falling in love with anybody but the fan favorite the female lead instantly become a slut. The kind of slut that is faithful to her lover. I think this has to do with the internet fans not being able to get women in real life and trying to live vicariously through the love lives of fictional characters. The fact that their favorite character doesn’t get laid gives them the vapors. I don’t want to get into personal attacks but I read Thank U Stars’ about me page. In addition to being obsessed with Watership Down he’s a furry and English so that’s like three strikes against him when it comes to getting ladies.

So the episode loses a point because it features Primrose, a main character who appears in nearly all the episodes. Like her or not she’s here to stay. I see nothing wrong with her. She isn’t particularly interesting but she is in no way offensive or upsetting. Her worst trait is being completely bland.

Other than Primrose, I think Thank U Stars is on the mark. The episode is full of excitement and Woundwort is the tits. He even has a back-story and personality. In the book he never got much further then being evil for evil‘s sake, so this is an improvement, which is pretty bizarre considering the book is a literary classic and the cartoon tends to be retarded most of the time. Wat up wit that?

Rating: 9.75 out of 10

Final Thoughts

If you read the about me page you would notice that the guy who does Thank U Stars isn’t actually named Thank U Stars like I imply. His name is Entei-rah, a combination of made up words from Watership Down and Pokemon. I will continue to refer to him as Thank U Stars because it is easier to spell. Also isn’t his collection of Watership Down stuffed animals rad? I wish I had those.