Diff'rent Strokes

Season 1 Episode 3

Mother's Last Visit

Aired Unknown Nov 17, 1978 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
25 votes
  • When Mr. Drummond's socialite mother pays a flying, unexpected visit, he introduces her to his two new adopted sons. But Mother's snobbish and prejudiced ways soon rear their head. Reasonable I suppose, but never a particular favourite of mine...

    This review contains spoilers.

    'Mother's Last Visit' is a decent enough third episode of the series, but for whatever reason, this has never particularly been a favourite of mine, especially not from the first couple of seasons.

    The opening scenes, such as the family squabbling around the breakfast table (a setting that would be used to open many future stories too) are pretty good, if slightly "run of the mill".
    And indeed the main plot, of Mr. Drummond's mother (we never learn her first name) paying a visit is fair enough, but considering it is Mr. D's own mother we are meeting, it just doesn't feel… "special" enough.

    I'm not that familiar with Irene Tedrow's other work, but reading up on her credits, I see that much of her work, particularly later in her career, was playing awkward older women. I'm not knocking her for one second here, but the character of Mother just doesn't feel to completely work. As Mr. D's Aunt or something, it could have easily been pulled off, and Tedrow would have been perfect, but I just didn't feel that the relationship between Phillip and his mother was believable at all, feeling a lot of the episode feeling a bit "hollow" as a result.
    (Also, am I the only one who didn't quite buy that Mr. D had two new sons in his life, yet hadn't even bothered to contact his own mother to tell her? Ahh… such are the conventions of sit-com I suppose!)

    At this stage, after the first two episodes, the series really feels to be settling down, having found it's footing. As per usual, there are some great lines, especially from Gary Coleman, but the general story just didn't really pull me in. I also felt that the ultimate confrontation from Mr. Drummond about his mother's snobbish and possibly prejudiced ways, came a little too late on and was resolved too quickly.

    Maybe I wasn't alone in feeling that the character of Mother never really worked, as this was her sole appearance in the show's eight season run (she didn't even appear when Mr. D finally remarried during the sixth season). Drummond would sometimes mention her in passing when referring to his growing up, but this is the only time we ever actually see her.

    In all, I suppose it's an amusing way to spend half an hour (shorter if you're watching on DVD without commercials), but of the early days of DS, this isn't really one of the better episodes. It's far from being the show's worst episode (I can recall a number of weaker instalments, particularly from the last couple of seasons), but at most, this is a "watch once" ep, not one that will have you rushing back to see it again. For its reasonable lines here and there, and some good Arnold moments, I give 'Mother's Last Visit' an 8 out of 10, a still reasonable score, but below my average scoring for this period of the show.