Ben packs his bags and leaves home just as a rival sawmill opens up and threatens to put John out of business. It's not quite a 9.5, but it's certainly one of the better episodes this season.
Last week we had one storyline which split into two; this week we have two strands which come together as one. Ben's story is a more grown-up version of Jim Bob's in 'The Runaway'. His reason for leaving actually makes a lot of sense, but it was a little worrying that only Olivia and Esther seemed to care. Could you imagine the fuss if a sixteen-year old boy went missing today?
As for the sawmill story, this is one of several episodes which could have been called 'The Competition'. Zeb's plan to float the timber downstream is excellent, and I didn't twig it was a ruse when he blurted it out in front of the Murdocks. Great fun seeing them stuck on a sandbank as he and John drove by. I'm glad the writers didn't portray the Murdocks as villains. It would have been all too easy to do this, but instead they're just workers doing their jobs. Well resisted!
It was a good twist to have Ben end up working for the Murdocks. Didn't see that coming. Of course, he quits the job as soon as he realises he is working against his own kin. This does imply, however, that Murdock Mills took him on without even knowing his surname. Seriously? I know this was the thirties but come on!