Friday, April 19, 2013

Waltons 7.6: “The Portrait”

Airdate: 11/2/78

Restless Erin longs for more adventure when she sees a newcomer: Derek Pembroke, a talented but troubled painter who was in Paris when it fell to the Nazis. He wants Erin to sit for him so he can add her portrait to his mural, but, despite her extreme attraction to him, has needling misgivings too. Mary Ellen, working at the “psycho” ward in a nearby hospital, sees one of Pembroke’s paintings, and she figures out that he is patient who refused treatment and may be dangerous. Before the family runs to try and save Erin, we learn that Pembroke’s psychosis is a result of witnessing the horrors of war, and having his true love, Gabrielle, die in his arms.

Subplot: (and here’s a shift in tone): A canary Jim Bob buys for Grandma won’t sing. (Hasn’t he ever read Maya Angelou?)

Main story thread involving Pembroke is probably too intense for the show to handle; as such there are MANY unintentional laughs, most involving his over-the-top howlings about France and the pain of lost love. We know were off to a shaky start with his first scene, in which he stares at Erin interminably and awkwardly – he might as well carry a sign reading “I will become a mad wacko by the end of the show!” Best unintentional laugh: “Try to forget Paris.”

Pembroke portrayer Jared Martin was in many TV shows and movies of this period. Notable for guest spots on Dallas, Columbo, Logan’s Run, and in the movie Westworld.

Go Grandma: a great shot of her doing needlepoint single-handed!

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