A lively script, an uplifting story and a fantastic guest actor make this a truly memorable hour. It's been an up and down season so far, but this is a definite highlight.
One thing the Walton children don't have a lot of is friends, so it's all the more special to see Jim Bob hanging out with his new mate, Joe Douglas, and doing all the things most of us got to do every week when we were his age. As ever, the newcomer comes with a twist. In this case, Joe has run away from an orphanage and is trying to smuggle himself and his little sister to Florida. The Waltons don't know this, though they suspect something may be up. Hunting Joe down is the manager of the orphanage, who chases him and Jim Bob all over Rockfish in the week's most entertaining scene.
Joe is very much the twin Jim Bob should have had. This isn't lost on the writers, who are only too happy to make the connection. As JB himself says, "Even his name is the same as my brother that died". The two young actors are brilliant together, and they come across as genuine friends, be they flying kites, chucking water at each other or simply chatting on the grass. It really is a privilege to watch.
It's not all Jim Bob and Joe. Elizabeth gets to hang out with Maude when her goat has a kid, while Ep and Sarah discuss having children. In the end, they decide to adopt Joe and his sister, though we never see either again.
David Harper does get to act alongside some exceptionally talented actors. First there was cute but cheeky Willie Aames in 'The Beguiled'; now we have the dashing, chisel-sharp Peter Miner. I looked Peter up on this website and was astonished to find this was his only TV appearance. His dad - also named Peter - was a TV producer and his much younger sister is still an actress, but this is Peter Jr's one and only performance. What a way to go out!