|Reviews for The Crittendon Chronicles|
| berryperson chapter 8 . 8/24/2020
I very rarely write a review but I just had to in this case. I absolutely loved this story! Amazing how you tied it all together and gave some depth to this character. I laughed out loud when Emily’s last name was revealed. Brilliant!
| Hiriser15 chapter 8 . 11/6/2017
I really loved all eight chapters of this terrific story. I used to dislike Col. Crittendon, but after reading some of your Crittendon stories, it has made me look at the character in a new way. It is clear you are an excellent writer who takes great care in crafting each story. I liked the Gilbert & Sullivan reference, too.
| Goldleaf83 chapter 8 . 8/15/2013
This story came out while I was away this past year, so I’m late getting to it for reading and review. As a result, rather like Pascal, I’m making this review longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter…. But it was a wonderful experience to read through the whole thing in one sitting, because it becomes clear how carefully crafted the structure is, with later parts of the story foreshadowed early on. And it’s brilliantly tied to canon throughout: just as one example, chapter 1 sets up Crittendon’s career arc, all derived from the canon comments in chapter 3, and beautifully contrasted with the aside on Hogan’s and Crittendon’s relative ages in chapter 2—which are cleverly based on the actors actual ages in real life. That one example shows the kind of care taken throughout the construction of the story.
The overall arc of characterization becomes clear as well, creating a depth of character absent in the original episodes that the story reworks. I have to admit that I’ve never liked Crittendon, or, as a result, most of the episodes he appeared in. But you’ve done a magnificent job in finding the humanity within the wooden, stock comic character of the episodes, as you did in your earlier short story “A Crittendon Christmas,” where the general characterization is similar to what this story develops at much greater length. He remains somewhat dim—which makes the achievement in writing him well all the more admirable, because it’s so easy to make a such a character two dimensional and, conversely, difficult to make him three dimensional. But you achieve this in part by making him self-aware of his abilities and lack thereof, starting in the first chapter and growing through disaster after disaster during his repeated visits to Stalag 13. The more aware and embarrassed he gets over it, the more the reader’s heart aches for him.
The repeated use of references to other texts of the interwar period sets up a terrific social context for Rodney, so that the caricature of the episodes can be softened and ripened into full characterization. Of *course* he’s related to the Woosters; he certainly needs a Jeeves, and it’s unfortunate for him (and others!) that he loses Fleming so early on. (Apparently not Ian, though I wondered for a bit.) You also make great use of the “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” references: that becomes both perfect background and perfect destiny for him at the beginning and end of the tale. A boy educated by Mr. Chipping would certainly know Keats (clever adaptation in Chapter 3) and Shakespeare; working in those references (the latter suggested by the episodes) is entirely natural for a man of Crittendon’s background. There are some other references throughout that I think I’m not getting—but I certainly enjoyed the nod to your own “Unsung Hero” in chapter 4 too.
The hallmarks of his character in the episodes—his reliance on military form, his patriotic devotion to duty, his sense of chivalry and honor—work here as well. I get the sense that Rodney turns to these fundamental values as a guide when he feels out of his depth—which is most of the time. They guide his behavior when he has no clear idea of what to do, and it’s that inflexibility that sometimes gets him in trouble, while at the same time they do make him into a good-hearted man. It’s for that reason that Hogan can’t trust him with the details of the operation on his first visit, yet can trust him later on when he does know about it, at least as far as to not deliberately reveal it to the Germans.
Rodney’s outsider’s view of Stalag 13 and its inhabitants works very well and shows he does have some insight, particularly for Klink. His dislike of the use to which Klink puts him, and his unexpected sympathy for Hogan’s position, make him appealing; he is less smug than he appears in the “The Flight of the Valkyrie” but still believably shocked by Hogan’s lack of military decorum. While Rodney never fully understands Hogan (the comment on how he sees Hogan as humorless is particularly apt—as well as hilarious), he comes to admire him and even makes that touching sacrifice in chapter 6 for him as a result of that admiration. His view of the others on Hogan’s team is good as well. Naturally, he likes Carter, who is also the only one of the heroes who likes and is patient with him. His interactions with Newkirk, as a fellow Englishman, are interesting, especially in chapter 6: in that moment in his quarters, you capture Newkirk’s disdain for a man he sees as everything he dislikes in officers, and right at a time when Newkirk’s feelings about Hogan have to be fairly ambivalent too.
I have to note some particularly nice touches throughout the story: Carter’s guerilla/gorilla mix-up is funny, especially with the implicit nod to the episode “Monkey Business” in the same line. Rodney’s continuing puzzlement over the kettle drums in Wagner, his bonding with Carter over a sense that they aren’t living up to their ancestors, his ambivalence over taking a life when he tries to be the assassin Hogan needs, his worrying over the issue of Hogan’s men wearing enemy uniforms that could get them shot as spies, his squirming over having to pose as a cuckolded husband (and of course he’d use that old-fashioned term), his sorrow over his oft-mentioned brother’s all-too-realistic fate, the hilarious running gag over his rank (and of course his future wife is the first one to get it right!)—all of these are deft and hilarious moments.
Chapter 6 deserves some particular praise, and not just for the nice shout-out to my story (though thanks for that!). You create a plausible reason for Crittendon being chosen as Hogan’s replacement because he knows the camp and the operation’s set up. The line, “I could only deplore the animosity Klink bore him, even as I acknowledged that this animosity had guaranteed my presence in the camp at this crucial juncture,” shows just how tightly plotted the story is, using the earlier components to guarantee Klink’s action here, while simultaneously expressing his sympathy and admiration for Hogan—and thereby leading to the explanation of why he puts on Hogan’s uniform shirt, which has always seemed like a particularly weird plot detail in the episode! This chapter also nicely sets up the next one for the “Lady Chitterly’s Lover” episode.
Finally, the women who come into the story are finely portrayed, particularly Lady Chitterly and her Lady Macbeth tendencies (from Rodney’s viewpoint), and the excellent depiction of a woman who could fall in love with and marry Rodney. At the end of chapter 4 I said to myself, “Oh don’t tell me she’s . . .”—but of course that’s who she turned out to be, because the idea is too, too perfect to resist! She also does the best job in summing up her husband, not just in that magnificent climactic description in the last chapter but in the rodeo clown analogy in chapter 2. That’s just genius!
To sum up, I’ll counter Rodney’s use of Shakespeare with a bit of my own: Touchstone, the fool in “As You Like It,” says “'The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.' (Act V, Scene i.). The first half of the quotation is how Crittendon is played in the series; the second half fits your version of Group Captain Rodney Crittendon to a T. The story is a fine addition to your many point of view re-visions of the series!
| SpaceEngineerPeanut chapter 8 . 2/27/2013
Once I started reading this, I couldn't stop until it was finished. Jolly good, indeed (and the ending was deliciously ironic), thank you very much!
By the way, did I detect a sneaky reference to Garrison's Gorillas?
| snooky-9093 chapter 5 . 2/11/2013
Brilliant, and hilarious. You really surprised me with the unexpected twist at the end. Oh, I'd hate to be at that Thanksgiving dinner table. LOL
I like how you portrayed Crittendon as one who kind of understands his limitations. I felt awful at the end. (Nice little bit about his brother...a sober reminder of the horrendous forced marches.) And his obvious care for Hogan. Great job as usual dealing with a canon extra!
| cdg12 chapter 8 . 1/6/2013
Well written, well crafted, and very well thought out!
I like how you gave us a brief look at Crittendon's future life after the war - it added much to the story.
The linking to the episodes was well done, as was the idea of showing more of his time between missions.
Overall a very well done!
| konarciq chapter 8 . 12/16/2012
A lovely ending to a most lovely story. This is certainly one to take for a reread every now and then. Thank you for sharing with us!
And the infinite humour of Emily's relation to Hogan, and his reaction to the news, was just the icing on the cake :-)
| Canadian Hogan's Fan chapter 8 . 12/14/2012
Awh, what a beautiful way to tie up all the loose ends. I'm truly touched by this look at dear old Crittendon. I laughed and cried.
This may very well be my favourite story of yours. I'm so glad you shared it.
| Trar chapter 8 . 12/14/2012
Quite the smashing story! Good show.
| Hildegaarde chapter 8 . 12/12/2012
What a touching end to a beautiful story! Of course Rodney couldn't help falling for Emily-she's the first and only person to get his rank correct.
I especially liked the part when he was cutting the lights in the hospital: "I flipped the left switch, and then, seized by a horrid suspicion that I had chosen the wrong one, flipped the middle switch as well". That is such an awful sensation and I fully sympathize with him (which isn't something I ever did with Crittendon until reading this story!).
My special thanks for a very enjoyable afternoon interlude!
| Binca chapter 8 . 12/11/2012
Oh gosh, I don't know where to start! Love it! Very well written, and it gave me some great laughs. You captured Crittendon so well, but I love that you put him in a bit of a different light than just a bumbling idiot.
| piceamariana chapter 8 . 12/11/2012
Well I haven't had time before now to review, but I will now.
I love your Crittendon,as I've said before, and what Emily said to him fits beautifully. So many Hogan's Heroes fans are quick to hate him (he is a little annoying at first!), but when explored he really is a good chap, and you worked wonders in this fic.
Nice touch, Hogan and Crittendon being brothers-in-law! And the bit about Nigel made the whole part about the end of the war beautifully bittersweet.
Congratulations on an excellent fanfiction.
| Jennaya chapter 8 . 12/11/2012
ROFL Rodney married Hogan's sister? I love it. Great story!
| Jinzle chapter 8 . 12/11/2012
I hate it when you make me cry. Loved the closure. Sorry abotu Nigel, sniff.
| Belphegor chapter 8 . 12/11/2012
"(...) a man who is sometimes foolish, sometimes wise, sometimes too quick to act; but always, always conscious of your duty and willing to do your part. And through it all, your kind heart and optimistic spirit just shine."
That's it - I give up - this story turned my soft spot for Crittendon into a giant gooey fluffy marshmallow. (Good God, what a mental image.) The way you write him highlights everything good (as well as unfortunate) about his character, his clumsiness, his obliviousness, how he fails and still tries and tries, is well aware of his shortcomings but doesn't lack for honour and (most times) courage.
His courting of Emily and the subsequent love story (love at first sight, eh? Rodney, you old romantic!) is very nicely told, amidst the bleak realities of war and the two's respective worry for their missing siblings. I LOVE (yep, capitals everywhere) how you handled Hogan's reaction to Crittendon's asking for permission to court his sister - the "Oh, hell, why not?" after the (admittedly understandable) shock is so true to the character! I laughed my head off :D Oh boy, were any of the guys present for this? I don't think so, given that we only hear Hogan's voice on the radio, but I bet their reactions were priceless!
Thank you for a wonderful, wonderful story, with delightful characterisation and lovely little Easter Eggs here and there in the narrative :o]