The Waltons: Season 2, Episode 15

The Awakening (3 Jan. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Family | Romance
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Grandma is turning 68 and concerned about getting old. She may have a hearing loss. Mary Ellen is attracted to a college man.



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Title: The Awakening (03 Jan 1974)

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Episode credited cast:
Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Eric Scott ...
David W. Harper ...
Earl Hamner Jr. ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
David Doremus ...


Grandma is turning 68 and concerned about getting old. She may have a hearing loss. Mary Ellen is attracted to a college man.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

3 January 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mary Ellen Walton: [when Olivia asks how she met Kevin Sturgess] Well, I was wading in the lake, just cooling off. I turned around and there he was. Tall and handsome. Sun makin' his hair shine. It was just like a movie!
Olivia Walton: Sounds like it.
Mary Ellen Walton: And it all happened so fast! He thinks I'm lots older than I am.
Olivia Walton: And you didn't bother to correct the impression.
Mary Ellen Walton: Oh, Mama, I just couldn't! Well, when it was happening, I wasn't 14. 14 is just a kid. Well, I don't really know how to explain it. Well, lots of times lately, I just ...
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User Reviews

Many laughs with the children here
28 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Awakening is largely about Grandma Walton and Mary Ellen, but it really gave a lot of time to all the children, much of it in a humorous way.

There are a couple of chuckles from the children early as Grandma totally mishears things said one evening shortly before supper. Then Grandpa calls the children aside and explains that she is having lots of trouble hearing and he'd appreciate it if they'd not let her know what she missed.

Later, Grandma has a dizzy spell, and another time, collapses onto the ground. She hasn't been to a doctor in 10 years. Dr. Vance wants her to see a specialist in Charlottesville.. Grandma refuses to go, but Grandpa insists, and on Saturday, the day of her 68th birthday, he takes her there where the suspicion of an inner ear infection is confirmed, and we learn that she will soon have her regular hearing back and be in top health again.

Meanwhile Mary Ellen meets a college student from the University of Virginia who thinks she is 1) beautiful, and 2) 16 or 17 years old (she is 14). He asks to visit her the next day and she is all excited at being treated like a woman. She asks Olivia if she could have a private room and is given permission to use an unused tool shed beside the house.

Olivia says it will be alright, not knowing that the night before John had given John-Boy permission to fix it up to use as a study. Before John-Boy does much to it, Mary Ellen fixes it all up for herself and there is a sort-of funny scene where John-Boy blows up, with almost the whole family around listening, about how he is tired of having to understand how he has to be nice to all of his brothers and sisters and he wishes sometime he'd get a little understanding too.

Later, Grandpa explains to John-Boy some things about what Mary Ellen is feeling and he comes to understand that he needs to put aside his needs for the time being and be nice to his oldest sister.

To me, the strength of this episode, apart from the good dramatic parts, were the scenes involving all the children, particularly when they were getting ready for Grandma's birthday celebration. Erin knitted a muffler, but it was so oddly shaped that nobody could figure out what it was. Every guess brought more laughter from the various children, including John-Boy.

Although this counts as an inconsistency, I got a laugh out of Elizabeth's actions here. As two layers of a birthday cake are taken out of the oven, Elizabeth asks to help take them out of the pans. "No," she is told by Mary Ellen, they are too hot. She goes over and asks Erin if she can help frost the cake. "Not now, we have to wait until the cake cools off." She walks to the end of the table and asks John-Boy and Jason if she can draw on the birthday card they are making. "No, you'll mess it up." She walks back to the other end and asks if she can do "anything." Mary Ellen says she can lick the bowl after they ice the cake—which she starts doing. This is precisely 15 seconds after she was told the cake was too hot to have the icing put on it.

In my house, it takes a lot longer for a cake to cool.

There were a couple of other good scenes, involving people giving flowers to Mary Ellen, or in one case, trying to do just that. There was a gift from some of the children that would not have been a good choice for Grandma, but was funny for us viewers to see.

I always enjoyed the episodes that really shows the family doing things together, including arguing and insulting each other, and just being together. There is one other line that gave me a laugh. After listening to a radio speech from President Roosevelt, Grandma turns the radio off and explains her feelings with a sentence that, many will feel accurately described the 32nd president, and many others will say was a wonderful prophecy for years later when ______ was president. (I leave the name blank so you can fill in whichever more recent president you think fits.) She said, "If you ask me, we've got a crazy man in the White House." This is the first episode in Season 2 which I felt was deserving of a 10-star rating. Most got 6 or 7 stars from me, one 5, and a few 8s and 9s in what to me seems about the best season in the series.

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