The Waltons

Season 4 Episode 17

The Fox

0
Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 15, 1976 on CBS
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7.7
out of 10
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19 votes
  • Charge!

    8.5
    A slow-paced but rather charming instalment which focuses on Zeb and his part in the Spanish-American War of 1898. The episode is directed by the show's very own Richard Thomas, and the whole hour has a homely, informal feel to it, capturing many of the glances and expressions that would normally not make the cut. I have to say I do like this style. It wouldn't work on every show, but it fits the tone of this one perfectly. The scene where Zeb is telling his tale of the pivotal battle to the young 'uns is great to watch, and Ben's expression as the dying soldier is priceless.

    For all the gallant tales, it turns out Zeb's part in the charge was not quite as heroic as he makes out. When a local veteran proposes a reunion to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the war (you'd have thought he'd have waited another two years), Zeb goes AWOL and wants nothing to do with it. The reunion never happens, but it still brings out some wonderful emotion from Will and Ellen as their characters struggle to cope with their memories.

    Frustratingly, the ages of the characters once again fail to match the dates mentioned. We know from 'The Birthday' that Zeb celebrated his 73rd birthday in the spring of 1935, so he would have been 36 in the summer of 1898. Yet Esther says they were both 'so young' when Zeb went off to war. Also, if she had just fallen pregnant with John when the war broke out, then John would not have been born until late 1898, which would have meant he was only twelve years old at his high school graduation in 1911 and just seventeen when John-boy was born.

    For all the dodgy dates, there's some good continuity this week, from Jim Bob's yo-yo to the mention of John's school reunion (in an otherwise light week for him). The episode title comes from Ben's latest get-rich-quick scheme. Having failed to make his name selling pine trees, he decides to become a fur trapper (no, really!). He is thrilled when he catches a fox, but his mum persuades him to let it go. Not for the first time, The Waltons finds itself totally conflicted about wildlife.

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