The Waltons

Season 3 Episode 8

The System

Aired Thursday 8:00 PM Oct 24, 1974 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

John-Boy defends a fellow student against a charge of an honor system violation. Grandpa finds Ben smoking cigarettes.

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  • The Jock

    Another episode which challenges John-boy to think hard about his principles. This time, he sees a student cheat during an exam, forcing him to grass the bloke up to the university's honour council. Problem is, the student is a footballer whom John-boy has been helping through his classes. The story makes a valid point about the tug of war between honour and friendship, though it does nothing to dispel the 'all sportsmen are inherently dim' clich.

    I found the honour council rather sinister. All it takes to get somebody chucked out of college is for another student to say they saw them looking at somebody's paper? Surely that's open to abuse? Plus the council reminded me of the Volturi from Twilight - and I never like to be reminded of Twilight.

    Ben, Zeb and Jason get a subplot in which Ben takes up smoking, gets busted and gets made to smoke himself sick. As subplots go, this is one of the best, although I have to say Ben does get off far more lightly than Mary Ellen did in 1x12 when she was smoking with cousin Job.

    I absolutely love the scene where Zeb startles Esther and she drops the chicken. Will and Ellen are so good together. By contrast, it's a very quiet week for Olivia. She gets a total of five lines and twenty words.

    Lastly, do they have to show an establishing shot of the Boatwright University gatepost every time they show John-boy at a college lecture? It's pretty obvious where he is. Just sayin'.

Richard Masur

Richard Masur

Tom Povich

Guest Star

Jacques Aubuchon

Jacques Aubuchon

Victor Povich

Guest Star

Dennis Redfield

Dennis Redfield

Council President

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Opening Narration: When I was growing up on Walton's Mountain, the word "honor" was hardly ever used, but its meaning was well understood. Honorable behavior was something that was expected in my family. Therefore, I found it strange when, like every other freshman at school, I was told that honor was a tradition, and that the heart of it was to be found in a system that governed our lives as students, and one that if ignored could end our days as members of the student body.

    • Closing Narration: The experience with Tom Povich was one of many I was to encounter as my horizons widened beyond Walton's Mounain. They were to expand my own vision, and increase my understanding of what I'd already been taught from the time I'd been a child. And while I was a college man, and my horizons were expanding, it was still a comfort and a strength to return each night to that house, and to go to sleep to the sound of those voices whispering goodnight.

  • NOTES (1)