Friday, January 17, 2014

The Waltons episode on Slavery

The other day I watched an episode of that had the Waltons deal with the issue of slavery. It was the episode where their black neighbor Verdie goes on a quest to find her ancestors. It was a very touching episode, and I think one of the best of the whole series. At one point, Verdie's husband tells her not to go hunting for answers because it will be too painful. But she keeps searching anyway, with the help of Jason Walton who drives to her to several towns and cities searching for public records, churches, and cemeteries.

Eventually they make their way to a plantation where her great grandfather once lived, and where an old woman now resides. The old woman tells  them to go away. But Grandpa Walton  - of her generation - persuades her to let Verdie look at some records in the house. Eventually Verdie and Jason find sketches of everyone that lived on the plantation including the slaves, one of them being Verdie's great-grandfather who came from Africa.

The way this whole sequence is filmed really makes you feel you're right there along with Verdie, Grandpa, and Jason. When they go into the attic, you get the feeling that no one has been there in years, and that they'll probably be the last people ever up there, until the old woman dies. 

At the end of the episode, there's a close up of Verdie praying that one day someone in her family's line will have an opportunity to travel to Africa and discover deeper roots. 

I wished the episode ended on that note, but there was the obligatory ending where everyone in the Walton house says "Goodnight" and I thought that sort of killed the mood. Otherwise, it's a great episode.