Waltons, The: The Complete Fifth Season (DVD)
The Waltons: The Complete Fifth Season
finds the Depression-era, Blue Ridge Mountains family a little more in touch with the outside world, largely because of the aspirations of the growing Walton children. The most dramatic example, over numerous epsiodes, results from the assertiveness of professional journalist John-Boy (Richard Thomas) as he insists on publishing national and international news in the small-circulation Blue Ridge Chronicle he writes, edits, and publishes. A lot of people in the county are mystified as to why John-Boy would want to bring Walton's Mountain closer to epochal events in Germany, or why he would choose to provide coverage of the Hindenburg zeppelin's aerial triumphs despite its link to the Nazis. Yet John-Boy is just as interested in his backyard as the world stage: In season opener "The First Edition," he stands up to strong pressure to kill a story about a judge whose drunk-driving offense causes costly property damage. In "The Fire Storm," locals are appalled when he prints excerpts from Hitlers Mein Kampf
in order to make readers aware of what kind of madman the German chancellor is.
While John-Boy stands up to popular opinion, brother Jason (Jon Walmsley), a talented musician, has to take a job playing piano at a roadhouse to make up for the loss of his college scholarship. The decision doesn't go down too well with the Walton women, but Jason's presence at the Dew Drop Inn allows for some interesting scenes over the course of the season, none more so than the unexpected visit of a fire-and-brimstone evangelist in "The Baptism." In that same show, father John Walton, played by Ralph Waite, notorious in his Christian community for eschewing church services, faces renewed pressure from wife Olivia (Michael Learned) to accept her faith, making for one of the most interesting episodes of the season. Meanwhile, John-Boys sister, Mary Ellen (Judy Norton), is wooed by a couple of different men and hears wedding bells with one of them. She also pursues her nursing degree and misdiagnoses an ailment of Grandma Esther (Ellen Corby), resulting in long-term hospitalization and no end of grief for Grandpa Zeb (Will Geer). The other, increasingly restless Walton boys and girls grab their share of the spotlight, too, but The Complete Fifth Season is, once again, John-Boy's year, capped by dramatic developments in his career and vision of himself. --Tom Keogh