A bit of a strange episode, this, and not the most convincing, but I've seen worse.
The way the gypsies are portrayed is actually quite plausible, and the episode does at least avoid the usual Hollywood clichs, such as crystal balls and big, hoopy earrings. It's their behaviour that's so strange. If they only arrived from Bulgaria a few years ago, why do they all speak English to each other? And why refuse to accept anything from the Waltons when they are all too happy to steal from the Baldwins?
There's far too much time spent on them at the start of the episode with next to no dialogue. It really drags. And the way the Waltons welcome them with open arms seems far fetched to say the least. Even by their open-door standards, this is a step too far. Matt Beckwith's reaction, although harsh, is probably more true to life. I thought something might happen between Mary Ellen and the gypsy boy, but they never got beyond a couple of questions.
For once, I was with Grandma all the way through. Can influenza really be cured by holding a baby over a tub of water though? I doubt that very much.