John Walton has one more bank payment on his lumber mill, so he takes on a mammoth fencepost order so he can be free and clear of all debt! The entire Walton clan chips in to help – even Elizabeth assumes the role of water girl – and soon enough the job is done and John throws a huge mortgage-burning celebration. His freedom of debt is short-lived though, when Ike Godsey arrives with the news that 50 refrigerators he had purchased at an auction are defective, and without money to pay back he could lose the store, which he had put up for collateral. John and Olivia mutually agree to co-sign for a loan to Ike, meaning John must now re-mortgage the mill.
Subplot: Reverend Buchannan causes a scandal, especially with Corabeth, when he brings “hussy” Marcia Woolery to the mortgage party. Erin says not to worry; she knows who will eventually marry the reverend: herself!
Above-average episode in terms of writing and directing. Director Gwen Arner has some creative camera shots, and an exceptional, unbroken long take of the family helping with the post order, focusing on each of their individual jobs. Writer Marion Hargrove keeps the dialogue true to character but also crisp and sharp, including two strong monologues: one by John’s friend, Joe Brendamore, about the social system of perpetual dependence, comparing people to fleas on a dog, and the other John’s speculation about what he would do with the extra money he would have after paying his debt.
Love the new musical theme that usually plays after commercials – it seems as though each season has its own distinct one (last year’s was the quaint and charming “John-Boy Theme”). Again, reminiscent of the more country-tinged works of Randy Newman.
Another TV trope at work again: nothing changes. John’s right back where he started from, “another day older and deeper in debt.”
Cold open goes back to being a teaser, not an entire scene from the show.