The Waltons

Season 4 Episode 20

The Big Brother

1
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 29, 1976 on CBS
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6.8
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25 votes
  • 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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