Crisis on the Mountain
It was a typical Sunday in the Walton household, the whole family was heading for church with the usual exception of John (Ralph Waite) who as usual promises Olivia (Michel Learned) that maybe he will go next time. But by the time they return home from church it is anything but typical as Olivia is taken ill and when John-Boy (Richard Thomas) gets the doctor he declares that she has been stricken down with polio and is going to have to accept that not only will she be in splints for now but is going to end up paralysed. As John initially keeps the family away from Olivia John-Boy finds himself having to take on more responsibility including researching alternative treatments leading to him heading to the University of Virginia where a doctor has a revolutionary treatment which John-Boy is keen for his mother to try. But with there seeming to be no progress he finds himself questioning God for making his mother sick.
"The Waltons: The Easter Story" was originally aired as a two part episode at the end of season one but now is sometimes shown under the title of "A Walton Crisis" and packaged as a TV movie although it isn't one of the official TV movies as they came after the series finished. But I am not going to let technicalities like that prevent me from reviewing it because as a fan of "The Waltons" I can't think of anything better than spending 101 minutes in the company of this wonderful TV family.
Now because "The Waltons: The Easter Story" was really a two part episode we do have an extremely typical set up. We have the central drama which sees Olivia bed ridden and whether or not she will heal in time for Easter Sunday but we also have the minor subplots and they range from John-Boy teaching his sister to dance, taking Jason to a talent show contest and trying to help Erin as she struggles with her mum being ill whilst himself struggling with believing in God when his mum is so ill. And it all works well together and delivers exactly what fans of The Waltons want, the wholesome, message orientated entertainment combined with each of the family having their slice of drama to contend with. Plus with this coming at the end of the first season we have all the original characters and the freshness which made it so good.
What this all boils down to is that whilst technically not an official TV movie "The Waltons: The Easter Story" is as good as one and delivers everything you expect from The Waltons just double the usual length.