The Waltons

Season 4 Episode 3

The Fighter

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Sep 25, 1975 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
30 votes
  • The Call

    When John's new millhand turns out to be a prize fighter, tensions run high in the Walton household. Not for the first time, Esther and Olivia disapprove of their guest, while the rest of the family hangs off his every word, as does young Jody (Verdie's adopted son from 'The Roots').

    I really liked Olivia's anti-boxing stance. It was much more like the Olivia of old, and it made for some wonderful friction in the first part of the episode. It's slightly frustrating how she forgets her objection the instant she finds out James wants to be a preacher, but I suppose this is a fairly decent twist in itself.

    The boxing match itself feels a little out of place, but I did like how the whole family stayed up to listen - even Esther. On the other hand, the extras who make up the crowd seem to have been told to show no interest in the fight on any account. Half of them aren't even watching. Interestingly, while both Ike Godsey and Zack Roswell appear at the ringside, only Zack appears in the credits.

    It's nice to see Verdie again. Just as before, she is all sweetness and light until she gets on her high horse about something (this time, James teaching Jody to fight). This is excellent continuity of character. I also liked the bloke playing James. He created a very convincing character, despite being given some less than believable lines. Those of you who have seen 'The Homecoming' will recognise him as Rev Hawthorne Dooley.

    Faith has been a strong theme so far this season, with John-boy giving his sermon, then Lyle denouncing religion and now James wanting to build a church. Coincidence or intent? Probably too early to say.

    Pick of the bunch: James Trevis Clark (Cleavon Little)

    Alternate title: The Warrior

    Score: 8.9

  • Could have been something special but stilted writing and overacting deflated the significance of what was happening.

    The introduction of African Americans to Waltons Mountain is a welcome reprieve from the all white panorama of the show. Sadly dialogue gets in the way of character development. The character of James the boxer is compelling one but some of his dialogue sounds exactly like a writer penning a novel vs. an actual character. The focus on the episode is the evils of boxing and James and some of the situations are too campy. Parts of the episode get out of focus and the direction is terrible. James never has any nuiance and speaks like a preacher who never leaves the pulpit. It doesn't work. In short -- it was a great idea that was poorly executed and that happens. Too bad.