The Waltons

Season 8 Episode 4

The Diploma

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 04, 1979 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
21 votes
  • The Hillbillies

    Two plots this week, but little action in either. Both have potential, but there are none of the twists and surprises of the earlier seasons.

    John's plot sees the army threaten to cancel his contract if he cannot prove he graduated from high school. It's good to know box-ticking was as bad then as it is now. Top marks go to that joyless lieutenant. Imagine trying to win a war with him on your side! The bloke who plays him is called Leon Fricke. This is his only television appearance.

    Meanwhile, Mary Ellen takes a job tending to the local hillbillies. Again, it's a good idea but nothing really comes of it. She persuades a grouchy young woman to take better care of her kids, but that's about it. I'm liking Sweet Billy though. I see ME has some new jeans for her rounds. In fact, everyone seems to have new togs this season. About time!

    I'm not sure having John go back to school was really the right thing to do: it looked so strange seeing him take a test with a bunch of ten-year olds. Still, at least he gets some lines. Poor Jason doesn't get any. He appears only a minute from the end.

    Sadly, the show once again ignores its own canon. From earlier episodes, we know that John left school in 1911*, married in 1915** at the age of 22*** and became a father before he fought in the Great War (this was mentioned only two weeks ago). Now we are told he didn't leave school until 1917. Why do they keep doing this?

    * The Prophecy

    ** The Anniversary

    *** The Townie

    Pick of the bunch: Sweet Billy (Les Lannom)

    Alternate title: The Scholar

    Score: 8.1