The Waltons

Season 5 Episode 4

The Baptism

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 14, 1976 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
36 votes
  • The Lost Sheep

    A thoughtful and well-written episode that goes to the heart of the one thing that still divides the Waltons: faith. Their belief in God is a given, but not every Walton sees eye to eye with the Baptist Church. When a fiery guest preacher drops by, the wounds are opened for all to see.

    Although it covers a lot of old ground, I found this quite a refreshing hour. We've seen John and Olivia squabble over faith before, but we haven't seen the children take sides. With John-boy, Erin and Jason already baptised, Ben and Mary Ellen must decide whether to do the same. But there's a twist. When Matthew catches Ben in the Dew Drop Inn, it seems baptism may be the only way for Little Red Walton to redeem himself. It's a clever use of the moral thumbscrews and it's presented very evenhandedly. I'm glad Ben takes the plunge in the end.

    The guest preacher is great fun. He's just zealous enough to appear menacing, but not so much that he looks deranged. It can't have been easy delivering those lines, so fair play to the guest actor. I'm not sure why the congregation were told to look so disinterested while he was speaking. It does spoil the effect a little.

    There's a very odd mistake in the baptism scene, where we see Erin towelling herself off when it should be Mary Ellen. How a goof like that slipped through we shall never know. There's also a lovely post-production moment where Jim Bob says "thanks" without moving his mouth.

    If you count the four feature-length episodes we've had so far as one episode each (as I do) then this is the one hundredth instalment. Amen to that!

    Pick of the bunch: Matt Fordwick (John Ritter)

    Alternate title: The Sermon

    Score: 9.0