The Waltons

Season 4 Episode 16

The Secret

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Jan 08, 1976 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
66 votes
  • The Brother

    I don't know. You wait half a season for a Jim Bob episode, then two come along at once. Last week was Jim Bob the hero, saving his mum and his sister from a bear; this week is Jim Bob the victim, finding out the hard way that he has a twin who died at birth.

    Despite the strong premise, there's no clear story for the first fifteen minutes. First we see Jim Bob being teased even more than usual (for playing with a yo-yo), then we see him worry he is not a proper Walton. There's also a yawn-inducing subplot in which Jason persuades John-boy to write an essay for Mrs Breckenridge (though Jon does well with the lines he's given). It's only when Jim Bob finds out he was born not at home but in hospital that things begin to get interesting. I did feel sorry for the lad. While he is often teased by his elder siblings, Elizabeth usually stands up for him. This time, however, she is the worst of the lot. Lovely performance by Kami Cotler as the mean little sister.

    The big reveal at the record office is a series classic, of course, but the episode kind of peters out after this. It would have been nice to have had a bit of emotion from Olivia, but instead we skip straight to supper after no more than a silent hug.

    At least Jim Bob's age is now more realistic. In 'The Runaway', he gave his date of birth as 13th June 1924; in this episode it appears as 13th January 1923. With Mary Ellen still at school, the episode cannot be set any later than spring 1936, so this would make Jim Bob thirteen and a bit, rather than not quite twelve. David Harper would have just turned fourteen when this was filmed. No danger of yours truly overthinking this, of course!

    Pick of the bunch: Jason Walton (Jon Walmsley)

    Alternate title: The Family Tree

    Score: 9.1