The Waltons

Season 9 Episode 28

A Walton Easter

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Mar 31, 1997 on CBS
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  • A Walton Ending

    9.0
    Before we do anything, let's deal with the elephant in the room. This episode is set fourteen years too late. John and Olivia were married in 1915, so their fortieth anniversary would have come in 1955, not 1969. The timeline of this show has been stretching like elastic since the end of Season Five, and it reaches its madcap conclusion here.

    To take an example, Jim Bob was born in January 1923, so would have been forty-six when this story took place, yet David Harper was only thirty-three at the time of filming. In 1955, Jim Bob would have been thirty-two, which is a much better match. The same goes for the grandchildren, who have barely aged at all since we saw them in 1963.

    If you can see past the crazy timing, however, this is actually a pretty good story. It's fitting that a series about family should end with a birth, and having John-boy father twins is a neat touch. Richard Thomas is excellent in his farewell performance, and all the cast regulars get a decent number of scenes.

    I didn't see the point of the reporter John-boy brought with him from New York. I thought she might have some role in the plot, but after making a pratt of herself for an hour, she simply goes home. She does, however, give John-boy the chance to deliver possibly my favourite line of the series: "In these hills, you don't grow up: you get raised". I may have been born sixty years after John-boy, on the other side of the pond, but that line pretty much sums up my upbringing.

    There are subplots for some of the others. Olivia takes up teaching again, and takes a young lad named Jimmy under her wing. This is a repeat of the Sam Miller plot from 'The Emergence'. Drew and Elizabeth finally decide to get wed, but not before they have their customary falling-out. This means all the Walton children have now been engaged at some point. As for my favourite Walton, Ben, I have only four words. Get your hair cut!

    Unlike some of the earlier instalments, this was not written as a finale, so none of the characters gets any real closure. That said, they all end in a fairly positive place: Erin teaching, Jason with his ever-growing brood, John and Ben sort of getting along. The outdoor service is a nice way to end. For such a small congregation, Verdie's church has an outstanding choir. They couldn't be much better if they'd been hand picked in a Hollywood casting room.

    Whatever the intention, this did end up being the last chapter in a fantastically long saga, and I'm sad to be saying goodbye. It's a truly heartwarming show, and it's been fascinating seeing the characters develop over time. There have been a few bum episodes, and the continuity has blown hot and cold, but for the most part, it's been a really enjoyable ride. Earl and his production team have done what they set out to do: they've turned something plain and simple into something truly special.

    Goodnight to you all.

    Pick of the bunch: Olivia Walton (Michael Learned)

    Alternate title: An Easter Story

    Score: 9.0