While in an out-of-town café, Harley foster is IDed as a man named Tyrone, who is an escaped convict from the South doing time for murder. John is outraged when Sheriff Bridges comes and investigates whether or not they one and the same, but Harley confesses that he is indeed the escapee – but that his charge was entirely self defense against a drunk white man who slipped and hit his head on a tire rim. The episode ends as John vows to set the matter straight and asks Bridges for one extra day before he arrests Harley.
Meanwhile, overseas: Ben is a Seabee in the Pacific, disgruntled at having to take orders from a by-the-books CPO; Jim-Bob is presumably training for the Air Force, somewhere in Virginia; and John-Boy is still writing for the Stars and Stripes in Paris, trying to locate Jason, who is somewhere south of Paris. Corabeth resolves to be a good say-at-home hausfrau, as she believes that’s what Ike wants, and Cindy resents her sisters-in-law doing all the manual labor because they feel she’s too dainty.
Excellent 9th season opener does a good job keeping up with the Walton in boys in their new locations while telling an engaging tale with strong social significance. The Fosters, Harley, Josh and especially Verdie, have been solid supporting players on the show for many years now, and it’s good to see them still, up until the end of the series.
Ad-lib alert: watch for the scene with John and John Curtis, whose baby-talk includes “Pat,” which John improvs as the woman “at the farm down the road.”
New opening credits are still fairly boring – all children are now listed individually over a sepia mountain backdrop, and the Godsey’s have their own listing over the general store – but Ralph Waite is still the only one with his picture!
This is listed as a two-parter, but again was originally broadcast as a two-hour episode. The airdate for this show was 11/27/80 – the reason for its late airing was the writers’ strike, which postponed all series for the 1980-81 season.
Casting curio: Bewitched’s Dick Sergeant plays the Naval CPO who has it out for Ben.