Thursday, April 25, 2013

Waltons 7.13: “The Conscience”

Airdate: 1/4/79

With war fever making the rounds with the Walton boys, only Jason has ambivalent feelings about the prospect of killing another man in combat. When he considers filing as a conscientious observer, he is chastised by everyone from drunk thugs at a bar to his own father and brother (Ben). After taking a sojourn on the top of Waltons Mountain to sort out his thoughts, he is greeted by apologetic family members, who promise to show greater tolerance. Jason has decided that he will enlist after college, believing that he should demonstrate the same call to duty practiced by his forefathers and fellow man.

Crisis of conscience exploration is reminiscent of Waltons 1.4, in which John-Boy
grapples with the killing of a deer. This time, there’s a bit more political baggage here, as we’re talking the justification of murder in war – clearly, you’ll either be satisfied or unsatisfied by the ending, depending on what your stripes are. I was a bit surprised myself, given the predominance of antiwar sentiment in the years following Vietnam; but truth be told The Waltons still swings conservative, and we were still years away from arguably the first popular antiwar film about WWII, Saving Private Ryan.

Subplot is another war related story: Jim-Bob gets an air-force tattoo, which he later regrets after realizing the wrath he must now face from his mother!

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