An unashamedly dewy-eyed episode which sees John-boy fly the nest to fulfil his writing dream. It's a touching farewell for our hero, and a pivotal point in the series, and it's handled at just the right pace.
There are a lot of flashbacks, but they're all relevant to the plot. The clips from 'The Homecoming', with Ralph and Michael shown in place of the original actors, are great fun. Richard Thomas doesn't half look young! We also get flashbacks of Esther and Rosemary passing on their writing advice. I'm not sure John-boy's agent would really want to hear all this on a Friday afternoon, but she seems to take it well. The stock footage of New York is nicely spliced with the action, but is slightly spoilt by having Richard wander round sets that have doubled up as Charlottesville and Richmond several times already.
While the focus is rightly on John-boy, the others are not forgotten. Jim Bob finally gets his car on the road, while Mary Ellen announces she's pregnant. Elizabeth, meanwhile, gets drawn into a book about a girl spy, which ties into the main plot quite neatly.
It doesn't work out perfectly, of course: John-boy ends up penniless and portrayed by a far less talented actor. For now, however, our favourite country boy is going 'right far'.