Little House on the Prairie

Season 8 Episode 22

He Was Only Twelve (2)

0
Aired Wednesday 12:00 AM May 10, 1982 on NBC
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

3.3
out of 10
Average
172 votes
  • Interesting

    8.0
    The principle of faith is to recognize objective truth regardless of evidence to the contrary. The same goes for future events. If predictions do not come true, then they are not valid predictions. In this story, Charles had faith in God's power to heal and although he claimed to know this absolutely, there is an inconsistency in the story where he asks the old man whether or not his son will be healed, to which the old man replied that "only he knows". God needs people to trust him when he makes his promises, not to predict his personal future decisions. Still, even overlooking this, we can conclude that either nobody can actually have unwavering faith, or that Charles made the mistake of putting too much faith in the idea that the old man was a messenger from God and that such a messenger should be trusted to give answers when in fact such answers should be given and heard by God. The other possibility is that after James' instability, Charles became uncertain of his faith and asked for instructions on what to do and God sent a messenger. In either case, Michael Landon proves again that he is a master storyteller and he delivers happiness through a happy ending in the form of a miracle. The inconsistency with this episode and the other episodes in the series is a valid concern when evaluating this episode but when putting this into a historical point of view, the people who actually lived at this time during the late 19th century in small communities were in fact very religious and this episode may in fact accurately reflect the beliefs of the time. Finally, I can conclude that the real message from the story may in fact not be the miracle. The message may be that in the end, there is justice for all. Justice tempered by mercy and grace for those who believe.
  • Over The Top

    4.0
    This episode takes faith to unbelieable beliefs. Charles builds an altar to restore James from a coma from a possible angel in the guise of an old man which it does happen. But in about two years later Albert is dying of Leukemia and he is not saved.
  • Worst episode ever

    1.0
    Just the worst episode in the entire series.
  • Refusing to accept the impending death of his adopted son, Charles takes the comatose boy out into the wilderness, builds an altar and awaits the miracle that ultimately saves him.

    1.0
    I loved this show until this episode - at which point Michael Landon completely destroyed the show's credibility and I never watched another episode. I remember, the first time I saw it, wondering why Charles - who was never the religious rock of the Ingalls family in previous episodes - was suddenly willing to believe in miracles. Where was the altar when he was told his own daughter was going blind? This was completely out of character for Charles Ingalls.

    And, while I'm the first to admit that miracles DO occur, this one just wasn't plausible to me. This episode's second half would have been much more meaningful if the boy (who was shortly going to be off the show anyway) had died. Michael Landon (complete with the whole Moses beard and moustache look) really blew it with this one.
  • James, in a coma after being shot, hovers near death. Charles builds an alter, grows a beard and prays. Miracle of miracles, James lives.

    3.0
    This episode made me begin to question whether or not Michael Landon had lost his marbles.(Just check out the beard and you'll know what I mean) I still cannot accept that after all the adversity he had faced in the past (Mary went blind for crying out loud) he's going to fall apart now over a child that's not even his!! He's only known him for a year!
    OK, Freddie died, Laura ran away, Mary had an operation, Ma nearly died, Mary went blind, etc, etc, etc...And through it all Charles had his faith to comfort him. Think of the lovely scene in Part one of "The Lord is My Shepard" when he and Ma say the Lord's Prayer together. His faith was there to help him get through the tough times, not to circumvent them.
    I never liked the addition of James and Cassandra in the first place, so I don't think I would have cared for this episode even if Charles' behavior wasn't so radical. Why couldn't it have been Albert? There is nothing here that makes any sense or adds to the series as a whole.
    Dreadful.
  • Michael Landon revives his "I was a Teenage Werewolf" days by growing a beard and scaring audiences.

    3.0
    His character's facial growth isn't the only frightening thing about this episode. The plotline combined with Charles' slightly mystic religious connotations take the viewer on a surreal experience out of Walnut Grove and into The Twilight Zone. Charles professes that he's heard a message from God that his son, James - who is in a coma - will be healed. The whole family flips out under the stress of being told James is bound to die, but Charles' insistence that he'll live. In a bizarre coincidence, Doc Baker happens to have a buddy who is a psychologist who happens to be in Walnut Grove (even though personal psychology was a relatively new phenomenon in the United States in the 1800's) who stops by to psychoanalyze Charles after Doc Baker happens to overhear in the mercantile Charles' plans to take James away for a miraculous healing. Charles gives the docs the brush-off, packs up comatose James in his wagon, and goes off to set up camp, nurse James, and build an altar. In the process, he grows a beard that would terrorize small children, coaxes James into moving his eyes, and meets a strange man who is of course some sort of an angelic figure. Miracles do happen and people I know have been suddenly healed, but this plot was just too gimmicky. Charles' theology comes off more as quirky than touching, and that beard just enhanced the sentiment. Charles has never been known not to be perfectly clean-shaven throughout the worst of the prairie epidemcis. Couldn't he have packed a razor on this trip?
  • Charles hopes for a miracle to heal a comafied James and Shockingly succeds

    3.0
    James is in a coma and Charles keeps on insisting that he's going to live. Cassandra is hurt by seeing her brother like this and them hearing Charles talk anout it. She begs to go stay with Laura. Charles insists that god has told him that James will live/survive. He starts telling eople about it and Doctor Baker over hears charles talking and his coincdentally in town phsychaiatrist friend is in town. And then he tries to talk to charles about this. Charles then leaves with James and the family is at home with out those two. Mean while, while out with James in his camp, Charles adds new thingss An alter to heal James and a big ol'beard. (He looks as the real Charles would have.) The alter works as a "light beam" thing goes through the alter and heals James. Caroline Coincidently happens to be looking for them the same time and She sees them and that James actually survived. Wow that is A LOT of cheese.
  • Charles invokes the power of God to heal Justin Bateman.

    9.0
    Everyone else seems to hate this episeode, but for some reason I find these God episodes great. Im not religious by any means, but I enjoy watching Charles test his faith, esp when it pays off BIG TIME. Another great God episode was that one where their son dies and Laura goes to the mountain to talk with God and to trade her life for that of her brothers. I also like this episode because you get to see Charles dispense some "Prairie Justice" on the hooligans that shot up his son James. Charles nearly strangles the gunman to death, but comes to his senses without killing the man. Maybe that was in part one....
  • I thought Michael was very true to character in this episode, never waveringin his faith, against staggering odds.

    8.0
    The Engel's young son is shot accidentally in a hold-up. Though doctors can patch him up, it soon becomes evident that he may not survive.Michael, though, holds on to his faith when all around him have seemingly abandoned theirs in favor of more "in-the-worldly evidence.The family is in turmoil over the pending death of James, and equally concerned about Michael's refusal to realize that the boy is dying. There is an unexpected twist when Michael has a vision while he awaits the Miracle needed to cure his son....a vision soon shared by Mr. Edwards.This episode is true Little House at it's best!
  • Probably one of Landon's strongest statements on faith and spirituality before "Highway to Heaven" but too ham-handed for me.

    4.0
    After a serious gunshot wound, James Cooper (Ingalls) recovers from a coma-like state after Charles takes him to the wilderness and builds a monument to a higher power, and is guided by an angelic character.

    This episode is certainly memorable, especially coming on the heels of part 1, a story of Charles, Edwards, and Albert tracking the outlaws who had shot James in a very "western"-like story. Honestly, whether you believe in a higher power or not, Charles's actions are seemingly out of character for the eight year run on Little House episodes that preceed this episode. Many previous storylines focus on spiritual power being important for helping people find the inner strength to COPE with situations. Here, the focus is on the granting of a miraculous wish through single-minded faith and the direct intervention of a higher power to CHANGE a situation. It seemed specifically overdone when the angelic character appears to Edwards (after calming the wind) and warns him not to seek Charles until after the "miracle" has taken place. There are some similarities in this episode to "The Lord is My Shepard" (even down to re-cycled music scoring), but the strength in that episode lay in better ambiguity in the Jonathan character and the fact that the message focused more on learning one's worth through personal spiritual examination and strength.

    Little House on the Prairie never apologized for religious aspects during its run, and whether this appeals or not, I found the approach here too specific, too different, and too focused on a rather narrow view.
  • With Charles being the only one refusing to accept James' impending death, he takes the child away to the woods, builds an altar, and waits for a miracle with hope that nobody else can possess at this critical time.

    7.0
    This was a very powerful episode, although it crossed a line of surrealism that "Little House" never really went down before. Sure, this show has always exhibited a sense of faith and belief in good things happening--that is for certain. But this episode focuses on a specific lack of realism--almost like a fantasy that shows there is indeed a fine line between optimism and going overboard. Still, it is a fine episode, an indicator that God is out there and indeed performs miracles when the faith is strong enough to permit.
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