The Waltons

Season 4 Episode 20

The Big Brother

1
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 1976 on CBS
6.6
out of 10
User Rating
25 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
John-Boy brings home a 12-year-old girl named Muffin who claims to be the victim of abuse.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • The Saint and the Sinner

    8.0
    Not for the first time, John-boy is taken in by a pretty girl who turns out to be rather uglier on the inside. In this case, the girl is called Muffin (!) and she claims to be running away from her wicked stepfather in Pennsylvania. In truth, she's a conman who uses her sob stories to wheedle money out of decent, hardworking folk. It's a subtle twist on a very familiar theme, only this time almost the whole family is taken in.

    The story would be far better if it didn't rely on some pretty far-fetched behaviour to push the plot along. First-up, why does Esther trust this girl? She has spent a lifetime being suspicious of every newcomer she meets, yet she treats young Muffin as if she were some kind of angel. The reverse is true of Zeb. We know John-boy is kind-hearted, but this week he may as well have 'gullible' written across his forehead. Same goes for Ike when Muffin 'loses' her (no doubt fake) ring. And when the little vixen is finally caught, Ep locks her in his cell then leaves the key within easy reach when he leaves the room.

    The stupidity isn't limited to the Virginians: Muffin sees John-boy chatting to the Baldwin sisters then decides to con them with a completely different sob story to the one she used on the Waltons. Did it never occur to her that they might see each other again? Just one of many times I was left yelling at the screen.

    Thankfully, John and Olivia aren't involved in all this. Instead, they go off to win work in Newport News. I'd like to have seen more of this, but the one scene they do show is excellent. In their hotel, away from the kids and the parents, they are like a pair of newlyweds. Ralph Waite directed this episode, so I'm sure all that kissing and romping around is no coincidence. Crafty bugger!

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Helen Kleeb

Helen Kleeb

Miss Mamie Baldwin

Joe Conley

Joe Conley

Ike Godsey

Ellen Corby

Ellen Corby

Grandma Esther Walton

Mary Jackson

Mary Jackson

Miss Emily Baldwin

Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas

John-Boy Walton

Judy Norton

Judy Norton

Mary Ellen Walton

Vicki Schreck

Vicki Schreck

Muffin Maloney

Guest Star

Bert Conway

Bert Conway

Nifty Mulligan

Guest Star

John Crawford

John Crawford

Sheriff Ep Bridges

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Opening Narration: Being the oldest in a large family was in many ways a blessing. In other ways it could be a burden. For one thing it meant I gave up earlier some of the carefree and irresponsible joys of being young. It wasn't until I was spending some extra time at home during a break between semesters that I realized that I was not only being big brother to my own family, but to the world at large.

    • Closing Narration: You would expect that after such an experience I would have given up trying to be a big brother to everyone I met. I did for a while, but it wasn't long until I had lapsed back into the comfortable and familiar role I had learned to play. In fact, I suspect that even today, if I found Muffin Maloney sitting on my running-board, I might say, 'Hi, there, you look like you need a friend...'

  • NOTES (1)

  • ALLUSIONS (0)

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