Well, this is certainly a strange way to introduce John Curtis to the show. There were any number of ways the writers could have brought some drama to the birth, but having a creepy woman spouting prophecies of doom at Mary Ellen wouldn't have been my choice. That said, Cassie's warning had me in stitches: "Look upon the face of death; never feel your baby's breath". Did people actually say stuff like that?
I quite liked the character of Cassie. It was Mary Ellen's reaction that got me. She has always been the most scientific of the Waltons yet runs off screaming at the mention of a dead bird. And how fake did that thunderstorm look? I found myself laughing for all the wrong reasons.
This is a feature-length episode, so there's plenty of room for subplots. The best involves Jason getting a job at a theatre, only to find out it's basically a strip club. While I found the whole thing highly entertaining - especially the balloon-popping woman - I couldn't see this as a storyline in the earlier seasons. I also thought it was a bit rich how Ben, Zeb and Jim Bob were laughing at Jason in church. At least he was at the theatre for work. Why were you three there?
The episode does improve towards the end. The focus shifts to Mary Ellen, who gets more and more fed up as she gets increasingly overdue. I liked the false alarm. This is the kind of mundane realism you don't often get in TV shows. The birth itself is well handled, and captures the mood of everyone in the house. There's one final twist, as Cassie nicks the baby, then we're onto the home straight. Welcome to the world, John Curtis!