Friday, May 31, 2013

Waltons 9.9: “The Whirlwind”

Airdate: 1/22/81

Arlington Westcott, a new character on Waltons Mountain, picks up Jim-Bob in his car, before finding out his brakes are shot. After overturning, he is placed under the nursing care of Mary Ellen, and the two develop a whirlwind romance. At issue are his free-spirited plans of “seeing the world” (he had just gotten home from the war) contrasting her plans to continue pre-med and stay on the mountain. Ultimately, agrees to put her plans on hold and go with him, but unexpected news arrives: a woman from Florida claims to have seen Curt Willard, Mary-Ellen’s “dead” husband. Riddled with anxiety and uncertainty, she goes down to see if it really is him. To be continued…

Another milestone: Jason buys the Dew Drop Inn (with what money?), but noone seems to be on his side. Only after guilt, and seeing a drunk Jason thrown in the towel, do they help him spruce the place up – in time for a gala reopening!

Curtis Willard still alive? Really? If nothing else displays how soapy, and desperate, the show had gotten in its last season, this would be it. Turning a poignant, memorable death into a ratings gimmick would unconscionable for any show, let alone The Waltons. It takes away a big part of Mary Ellen’s identity as well – now she’s not a widow, just an “I though I was” widow. Pretty lame.

We’re getting a lot of new, subordinate cast embers now, mostly in the form of Walton spouses/love interests –most of them will play big parts n the rest of the seasons and reunion movies. Westcott is affably portrayed by veteran actor Richard Gilliland – his and Mary Ellen’s “goodnight kiss” scene at the mill is both classy and sultry, and complemented will by a beautiful new score I’ll dub “Mary Ellen and Arlington’s Theme” (catchy, huh?). 

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