The Waltons: Season 3, Episode 20

The Choice (6 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama | Family | Romance
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 19 users  
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John wants to expand the mill and call it Walton and Sons, but Jason wants to study music. He tries to get a scholarship. John-Boy is told he should write a novel.

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Title: The Choice (06 Feb 1975)

The Choice (06 Feb 1975) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Episode credited cast:
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Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
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Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
Eric Scott ...
David W. Harper ...
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Earl Hamner Jr. ...
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Mans Kjellin ...
Boy
Adrienne Marden ...
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Storyline

John wants to expand the mill and call it Walton and Sons, but Jason wants to study music. He tries to get a scholarship. John-Boy is told he should write a novel.

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Drama | Family | Romance

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6 February 1975 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Narrator: [narration as John 'John Boy' Walton, Jr. reading from his journal] One of the things that I find distressing about life today is that people don't really seem to enjoy their work anymore. When I was growing up on Waltons Mountain, my father and my grandfather loved their work and they instilled a respect for work in each of us. But I recall one time when my brother Jason had to make a choice, a choice that was difficult for him, but even more difficult for my father.
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The Maiden and the Soldier
Written and Performed by Jon Walmsley
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Three great scenes highlight a brilliant episode
20 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just as John and Zeb have decided to take out a bank loan to invest on new equipment and a whole new sawmill, with the capacity to make quality furniture, setting up a trade for Jason to learn, as he is about to graduate high school, Jason has started taking music lessons and has decided to try for a scholarship to study music at the Kleinberg Conservatory of Music. We see from a letterhead that Kleinberg is located in Westham, which sets up the likelihood of Jason and John-Boy sharing rides to that city, as it is also the home of John-Boy's Boatwright University.

This causes some intense friction between Jason and John, who believes that Jason will not be able to earn a living and support a family with this endeavor. He explains to Jason that John-Boy can be a journalist or a teacher, but he doesn't Jason pursuing something that will be fruitful.

This episode examines how John and Zeb loved working with their hands, feeling the wood and the dirt, and how much John's two oldest sons were bent toward artistic endeavors. John-Boy has a nice scene talking with his father about Jason's yearnings.

The minor plot is about John-Boy being advised by Miss Hunter to try to solve his big assignment for school by writing a novel. John-Boy does not believe he has lived enough, nor seen enough of the world to try such a thing. He struggles with the idea, unable to even conceive of what to write about. I don't think this a spoiler to reveal that he later realizes that he could adapt the short stories about his family and make them the subject of his first novel.

Indeed, there were three scenes that I think represent the best this series has to offer. One was a short, serious scene between John and Jason. They talked, came to an agreement, and, realistically representing the way millions of people in this situation would handle it, there were no "I love you"s and no hugging. One of the great things about The Waltons is that the characters, particularly the younger ones, bickered, insulted, and argued with each other, and made up in realistic ways, without exchanging a lot of sappy sentences that tend to ruin other series. They had some "heartwarming" conversations but they did not routinely say how much they love each other.

Another scene that stood out was a quiet conversation between Zeb and Esther, remembering what it was like when John was starting to make his own way in the world, how he didn't seem to want to be anywhere near his own father (Zeb) and how similar that seemed to be to Jason's present situation.

To me, the scene in this episode where Jason wanders into John-Boy's room as his older brother is struggling with his writing. They find the similarity in each of their desires—John-Boy to be a writer, Jason a composer, and agree that their father has struggled to understand how they cannot be happy with a career doing what he has done.

They have a very funny fantasy about "the whole family dressed in their overalls, traipsing into Carnegie Hall to hear 'Rhapsody of the Blue Ridge' by Jason Walton" with Jason conducting the orchestra. I think this might have been the finest scene in the entire series between John-Boy and Jason.

In other reviews I have written here, I have mentioned that I understand how some people might dislike that episode even though I thought it excellent. To me, I find it hard to believe how a real fan of this series would not find this episode to be, at least, fairly good. I rank it a 10 out of 10.


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