|The Old Grist Mill|
|Season 1, Episode 1|
|Air Date||November 3rd 2014|
"Hard Times at the Huskin' Bee"
The Old Grist Mill is the first episode of Over the Garden Wall.
Two boys, Wirt and Gregory, find themselves lost in the woods. As they try to navigate their way home, an elderly woodsman takes them in. The man explains that a beast is roaming in the forest. When a strange creature shows up, the boys think they have come across The Beast and defeat it, while unintentionally destroying the mill that the Woodsman was living in.
It is then revealed that the beast is much more scary and hard to defeat than originally thought, and the boys, along with Greg's new pet frog, continue walking through the forest.
The episodes opens with a few strange silhouetted figures, followed by a camera entering some woods, and a narrator talking about "The Unknown".
Greg and Wirt are seen walking through the forest, with Greg dismissing names for a frog he is holding. Wirt suddenly realizes that they are lost, while Greg remains slightly oblivious and very unhelpful. Wirt begins to construct a poem about their predicament, but is interrupted by the sound of an axe chopping wood. Wirt wonders whether the man with the axe is dangerous, but Greg runs into the darkness toward the sound, followed reluctantly by Wirt.
They soon find a woodsman chopping sticks off a tree, using the light being given off by a lantern he has. Wirt and Greg argue shortly on whether or not they should ask for help. The man collects the sticks before walking off, removing any light for the area, making Wirt wonder whether they should have asked for his help. A bluebird appears from behind and states that she might be able to help, shocking Wirt. Greg is oblivious to Wirt's shock. Wirt informs Greg that a bird's brain isn't big enough to be able to form speech, which the bird takes offence to. Wirt tries to explain, but ends up calling her "weird" and "not normal" and then stops talking to the bird.
The woodsman from earlier appears and yells at them, questioning why they are here and the bird flies off. Wirt tells him that they just want to go home. The man mentions the beast and Wirt states that they do not know anything about the beast and that they are just lost. The man "welcomes" them to the unknown and tells them they're "more lost then they realize."
The man takes them to an abandoned mill that he has repurposed for his needs. He lights a fire and Wirt asks what he does. The woodsman reveals that his job is find Edelwood trees and use them to keep his lantern lit. Wirt assumes the man is crazy and whispers to Greg about a plan of escape, but soon realizes it's not a good idea and tells Greg to forget it. The man turns around and asks what the two are talking about. Greg reveals that they are thinking of a way to running away, and Wirt tries to shush him. The man says they are free to leave if they want, however he warns them that the beast is out there. The man goes out for work at the mill, leaving Wirt and Greg alone. Wirt realizes that they could just leave at any time, but is unsure. Greg begins to examine the man's things, swinging various items and throwing them to the ground. Wirt begins to talk about the woodsman and the beast, occasionally asking questions, all of which Greg distractedly answers yes to.
Wirt begins to accept the fact that there might be a beast and starts waxing poetic about how lost he feels. Greg tells Wirt a rock fact and Wirt says he should go play with his frog. Greg realizes his frog is gone and leaves the house to find it.
Greg searches for his frog and spies The Woodsman putting Edelwood sticks into a mill which turns them into oil which he stores in bottles. Then Greg falls into a barrel and on top of his frog. Greg hears sounds and calls out, thinking it may be Wirt or his frog. Instead, a strange dog-like monster sticks his head in, scaring Greg, who in his panic tells the monster "you have beautiful eyes."
Wirt is seen playing with a yo-yo inside the mill-house, when he hears a smashing sound coming from outside. The door to the mill swings open and The Woodsman frantically questions Wirt about the whereabouts of his brother and what is happening. Greg then walks in considerably dazed, but the creature immediately smashes the door open, sending Greg flying across the room. Wirt calls the dog "the beast" and The Woodsman exclaims the boys should stay back. Greg, who was thrown to the top of the stairs, slides down and tries to knock The Woodsman out with a board, but hits his hat instead. The Woodsman is surprised and steps backwards, slipping on items Greg had placed on the floor earlier, and falls, hitting his head on another item, knocking him out.
As the monster comes in, Wirt asks Greg why he tried to knock The Woodsman out, and Greg tells Wirt that it was all part of his plan from earlier. Wirt reminds him that he told Greg to forget about it, and then he uses a gate to shield himself from the monster. Wirt screams as the monster looks ready to consume him.
Greg then spanks the monster on the butt of the axe, providing a distraction for Wirt to drop the gate and run out, telling Greg to do the same. Greg throws candy from his pants on the floor dubbing it "camouflage" before running out, muttering the word "run" numerous times under his breath.
The two boys find themselves having to fight against the monster with objects around them, Greg throws out candy and the monster consumes it quickly, making Greg wonder whether he ate his whole candy trail, and Wirt quickly realizes that is how the monster found them, immediately blaming Greg for getting them into this situation.
Wirt grabs the axe Greg was holding, and exclaims that they must try and get out while the monster is trapped under some wood. Greg points to an escape route which leads them onto the roof, but the monster quickly bursts through the roof after them, trying to consume the two boys once more. Wirt demands Greg should give the monster the rest of his candy, but Greg has no more candy left, with the exception of one piece which he throws off of the roof. The monster leaps off to get it but gets stuck in the mill wheel, which starts to crush him as it turns. The monster coughs up Edelwood oil and a black turtle before his weight causes the wheel to break and the roof to collapse.
The boys manage to jump down and both land in the lake. Wirt watches the black turtle that the monster spit up walk off. Greg emerges from the water with a dog and states that they are new best friends, but the dog immediately walks away.
The Woodsman laments over the mill being destroyed. Wirt attempts to point out that at least the beast problem is solved, but the old man tells him that the dog was not the beast. The Woodsman goes on about the beast, while Wirt scolds Greg for messing up.
The Woodsman turns and tells Wirt he is the one responsible due to being the elder sibling. Wirt apologizes about the destruction of the mill and tells the Woodsman perhaps he can fix it, despite knowing he cannot at all. The Woodsman tells them they must go and that they must leave the woods if they can. The Woodsman tells Greg to give the frog a proper name and look after him.
Greg and Wirt walk off and discuss the frog's new name, Wirt, with the episode ending soon after Greg tells Wirt that he was complimenting Wirt, the frog and not him.
- This is the first episode in the series and the debut of all main characters.
- The mill itself was actually home to Beatrice and her family before they were all turned into bluebirds, as seen in the last episode of the series. The numerous statues of bluebirds in the house also hint at this. Plus, the dog that causes so much trouble at the mill is the same we see during the intro with Beatrice.
- The title is a reference to the 1937 Disney animated short film: The Old Mill. There is a musical riff toward the beginning of the episode after the Woodsman says the line "you're more lost than you realise." and the shot cuts to an Edelwood tree that directly mirrors a similar riff from the short.
The wheel of the grist mill turns the wrong may. It turns towards the camera. But there's a waterfall right behind it, which means that the water is running towards the camera, so the wheel of the grist mill should turn away from the camera. If that were the case, the dog would have to be squeezed on the other side of the wheel, which is probably why it was animated to turn that way after all.