Going Home

The High-Waisted Horny Hustle; or

You’re the Main Character of the Show, You’re Not Going Anywhere

(a recap by Will Kaiser)

Title: Going Home

Airdate: March 31, 1976

Written and directed by Michael Landon

SUMMARY IN A NUTSHELL: Charles freaks when a tornado destroys his crops, but yet another Magical Old Man materializes to show him the way.

RECAP: Last episode of the season, let’s do it!

We open on a peaceful shot of the Little House at night. It’s VERY still – frog and cricket sounds only.

Inside the barn, a Chonky chomps.

Chompin’ Chonky

Then we see that the cow (does it have a name???) has had a calf. Not right this moment, I mean, but at some point.

DAGNY: Oh, is this a Mother’s Day special? Is that why you picked it this week?

WILL: Just going in order.

ROMAN: Tell the truth, you planned the whole project so we’d land here Mother’s Day week.

The stillness continues . . . to the point where we realize the mood is sinister, not peaceful. It’s more The Birds than “CBS Sunday Morning nature segment.” (Michael Landon wrote and directed this one.)

Suddenly a terrible wind blows up.

The Winds of Doom!

The cow starts bellowing, and soon the Chonkies are going crazy as well. 

OLIVE: Who is the father of that calf?

ROMAN: It can’t be one of the Chonkies.

Inside, Charles and Caroline wake up. As others have noted, it’s absurd they can hear the animals but not the wind.

Pa opens the front door and becomes aware of the storm. 

“Caroline!” he screams. “Take Carrie up to the sod house!”

ROMAN: Just Carrie?

Ultimately Pa decides Mary and Laura are worth saving as well. He rouses them, saying it’s a tornado.

Tornadoes are certainly a real and common danger in this part of the country. The “eerie stillness” preceding them isn’t a myth. We had several funnel clouds move through Minnesota this week, and Landon gets the feel pretty close, actually.

Funnel cloud photographed near St. Cloud, Minnesota, 2022

We didn’t have damage this time, but when I was a kid in Wisconsin my family’s barn was destroyed by a tornado. 

The old Kaiser barn (with my little sister in the foreground)
After the tornado

We were in the basement of the house, which was just missed.

We didn’t have any animals, but there were some cars and things in the barn that didn’t fare too well.

Thanks to my mom for scrounging up the photos

The Ingallses hustle out of the house. “I’ll take the baby!” Pa screams.

OLIVE: “The baby”?

DAGNY: Yeah. Like how we call Roman “the baby” when he’s not around.

Now, hindsight is 20/20, but PERHAPS Mary should have paid attention when Pa personally handled getting a baby out of danger. 

I’m just sayin’

Rolling Carrie in a blanket like a spider wraps a fly, the family rushes into the darkness. 

The chicken coop is rocking on its . . . legs (?). It goes over.

WILL/DAGNY/OLIVE/ROMAN: The chickens!

The Ingallses make it to the soddy, which is full of fruits and vegetables.

This includes a barrel of Granny Smith apples, which I don’t think grow here. However, of course, the Granny Smiths could be PLAYING our local Minnesota apples, of course.

Who knows? They may even get a statuette at this year’s Walnut Groovy Awards

OLIVE: If the sod house is above ground, why would it make any difference to be in there?

WILL: Well, the real ones were a little more built-in. Plus, if you got hit, at least you wouldn’t have timbers and stuff falling on you.

ROMAN: No, you’d just be buried alive. That’s infinitely preferable, Olive.

Pa rushes to release the animals in case the barn is destroyed. First, the Chonkies.

OLIVE: Is he going to ride one of them?

WILL: Yes, they fly away like winged Pegasus.

DAGNY: Yeah, like A Wrinkle in Time.

ROMAN: Wasn’t that a centaur?

WILL: Don’t you mean “An INGALL in Time”?

DAGNY: [laughing] “An Ingall in Time” . . . oh my God, that’s so funny! Seriously, that’s so great! That should be your title for this week’s recap!

WILL: I just used it as the title two weeks ago. Way to keep up with the blog.

DAGNY: Eh, the posts are so long.

Pa gets the cow and calf out, then grabs Jack, who’s just sitting in the doorway barking like an idiot.

DAGNY: Does Jack die? I hope so.

Ever one for the symbolic gesture, director Landon gives us a bushel of grain tipping over.

Suddenly, we cut to a shot of a headless chicken lying in the sunlight.

WILL: Oh, is this going to be the story of Mike the Headless Chicken?

Some of you may know the story of Mike, a rooster that was decapitated in 1945 but lived another two years. Interesting case.

Mike the Headless Chicken

At first there’s silence . . . but then a high lonely French horn starts playing. So I guess David Rose doesn’t have the week off after all.

The camera pans up. There’s debris all around, but the soddy still stands. 

The family emerges.

Others have argued tornadoes pass by in minutes, so it’s ridiculous for them to wait until morning to come out. Clearly they don’t live in Tornado Country. 

Tornadoes do pass over quickly, but the heavy storm systems they’re part of don’t. Tornadoes don’t literally come out of nowhere – the stillness I mentioned usually comes after hours of stormy weather . . . and the storms can continue all night. In fact, it’s not unusual for multiple funnel clouds to move through the same region over several hours.

In fact, here’s a news story about three tornadoes that touched down in southwestern Minnesota in a single night in 2019.

Tornado photographed in Redwood County, Minnesota (2019)

Certainly, the night the tornado destroyed our barn, we didn’t come up from the basement till the next morning. 

A portrait of the blogger as a young hayseed

That said, I do think Charles would likely have checked things out before full sunup.

Both the Little House and the barn still stand. Pa goes into the barn, getting hit by a falling board on the way in.

He looks up.

DAGNY: Caroline should be floating up there like in Hereditary.

There’s roof damage.

OLIVE: Doesn’t look so bad. The hole Mr. Edwards shot was worse.

Previously on Little House

The cow is back in the barn . . . as is the calf, which has been killed in the destruction.

OLIVE: OH MY GOD!

ROMAN: Is this one thirteen-plus?

DAGNY: It’s like the dead alpaca in The Stranger.

“Darn-fool cow,” says Charles. Explosively profane language, for him.

They’ve even put fake blood on him, which is perhaps gilding the lily

He adds, “She thought her baby would be safe in here.”

DAGNY: Well, cows ARE idiots.

ROMAN: Would they really be this depressed about it? It’s veal! 

The family’s followed him in, and we cut to Carrie, whose face, I think it’s fair to say, is caked with tears.

OLIVE: Oh, grow up, Carrie! Welcome to reality!

DAGNY: They got out the Elmer’s glue for her eyes again.

Face agonized and pecs a-bulgin’, Charles stands up.

Turning petulant, he says to Caroline, “See to the house. I’m gonna check the crop.”

Later, we see Caroline shaking debris out of Carrie’s bed.

WILL: Look at the wall, it’s totally ruined, oh wait it’s always like that.

Charles comes in, and Caroline gets her is-my-husband-in-a-shitty-mood-AGAIN face on.

Charles just stares at her.

DAGNY: Does he want sex?

ROMAN: Mom, we don’t say “sex,” we say “popcorn.”

Charles says the crop was destroyed by the storm. We’ve seen this happen before, of course; but that time it was hail, and anyways, it was two to eleven years ago, depending on how you’re counting.

DAGNY: Caroline looks dishy in this one.

The girls appear in their loft, their hair pulled back under kerchiefs.

DAGNY: Are they rehearsing for Fiddler on the Roof?

OLIVE [sings]: “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match. . . .”

Caroline follows Charles to the barn, accompanied by the saddest arrangement of the Little House theme yet (and that’s saying something).

Charles says the Chonkies are okay. Thank goodness!

We love the Chonkies

Charles cries and wonders why he has such bad luck. He says before the storm, his fields contained “corn higher than your head!” 

This means we’re probably in late summer of 1878 now, since “Soldier’s Return” took place in the fall of 1877 (in the post-“Centennial” “B” timeline). (Corn could still be standing in the fall, but tornadoes are rare indeed after August.)

(While we’re on the subject, it’s interesting he’s growing corn again now. The last time we saw him selling grain, it was wheat or oats.)

Charles’s eyes shine and Caroline’s got a trembly lip.

Charles starts ranting how God’s always punishing him, again and again. It’s a variation on speeches he, Laura, and Mr. Edwards have all made before. 

And not to be the pickle in the mint dish, but except for last week, every story after the pilot turned out fine for all concerned.

But whatever.

Even though it’s a theme we’ve had before, both Landon and Grassle really bring it in the acting department.

Tears streaming down his face, yet self-absorbed as ever, Charles says God is “telling me to go home.” (Emphasis mine.)

To clarify things, Charles says he wants to go “back to the Big Woods . . . back to where I was born.”

Now, the real Charles Ingalls was actually born in a place called Cuba, New York

Cuba, New York, pictured in 1914

While Charles’s family relocated to the Midwest when he was a small child, he didn’t wind up in the “Big Woods” region of southwestern Wisconsin until 1863 – three years after he and Caroline were married.

Modern photo of the “Big Woods” on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border

Anyways, Charles sobs, and Caroline wraps her arms around herself helplessly.

Not bothering to solicit Caroline’s opinion or concern himself with her feelings, Charles then says “I have to go to town” and leaves without looking at his wife.

Charles Ingalls, prince among men!

ROMAN: I wonder if they didn’t know it would be renewed, and ended with a big finale in case it was the last episode ever.

DAGNY: Maybe they thought if they gave it a big finale, it WOULD get renewed.

WILL: I’m not sure that’s how they decide to renew shows.

Charles arrives at the mill, where Mr. Edwards is already working. 

Charles ignores his friend’s merry japes and heads to the office to find Mr. Hanson.

Hanson starts to give him instructions on an order for someone named Benson, but Charles tells him about the tornado.

Now this is where the writers seem not to know much about the tornado phenomenon. If a storm strong enough to produce tornadoes blew through, there likely would be wind, rain, lightning, etc., around the whole region. Although Mr. Ed says he heard there were some tornadoes “up down east of here,” whatever that means, he and Hanson seem to have no other awareness of the inclement weather. 

Then Charles tells them he’s decided to go back to Wisconsin.

DAGNY [as MR. HANSON]: “Don’t be shilly, Sharles.”

Charles says spread the word, the Little House is for sale.

OLIVE: I’m glad we don’t live in a time when women can’t participate in decisions about their own lives.

WILL: Some people think it still should be that way.

DAGNY: Yeah, they rhyme with “the Mupreme Mourt.”

Charles says his asking price is $80 (about $1,600 today). This seems low by the standards of the time, since in “100 Mile Walk” Charles tells us he owns 100 acres of farmland. (In real life it was almost twice that much.) 

According to the invaluable Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest’s cost sheet telling us the price of goods in 1870, farmland usually could bring $5 an acre, meaning Charles could expect to get $500 ($10,000) for his property.

Hanson and Mr. Ed try to talk Charles off the ledge, but he explodes with frustration.

WILL: Someone’s got a case of the George Baileys.

That night, Charles is making a wagon wheel (of course), when Laura appears. She’s still wearing her Fiddler getup.

Pa is very grumpy, but Laura hugs him and says she wants to stay in Walnut Grove.

DAGNY: Oh, this is a nice scene. She’s like me when my parents wanted to move to Calgary.

Pa says he’s tried, but Laura points out he hasn’t, really. Crying bitter tears, she leaves him. Gilbert is good in this one too.

WILL: Nobody else could get away saying that to Pa.

DAGNY: Ma couldn’t. She wouldn’t even try.

ROMAN: No, she’s a lily-livered coward, like Granville Whipple on the battlefield!

Previously on Little House

Charles doesn’t even bother to stand up; he’s really struggling today. 

The music is nice, by the way.

The next day (?), Laura runs to the church, where Reverend Alden is wiping down the pews.

WILL: She always goes to Aldi.

ROMAN: Yeah, I don’t know why, he gives such bad advice.

I’ve said this before, but it’s funny how the Rev always seems to be in town, considering it’s established he only preaches there ONCE A MONTH. (Don’t worry, I won’t go back and figure out if multiple Alden stories ever happened within a single month. This time.) 

Anyways, Laura catches Aldi up on the plot, but the Whip’s already beaten her there.

The Rev asks her to sit down.

OLIVE: Can I tell you a secret? I don’t love Reverend Alden. He’s a little creepy and he’s a bit much.

Laura rats Pa out, saying he’s skipping church today because he’s in a snit and is mad at God. 

Alden says in his experience, Charles has “always been a god-fearing man.”

OLIVE: What does he mean, god-fearing? Shouldn’t God be nice?

DAGNY: Nah, this is Old Testament God. You’re afraid He will punish you.

OLIVE: I thought God was supposed to love you?

WILL: Well, it’s complicated.

Laura says her theory is God punished Pa by mistake, and that his wrath was intended for “somebody else.” (She doesn’t mention Nellie by name, but I think we can all agree she’s the elephant in the room.)

Previously on Little House

Aldi looks at her sympathetically and says, “You little idiot, don’t you remember the big talk we had about this when your brother died?”

Laura says Pa’s so stressed, he looks old for the first time.

DAGNY: He doesn’t look old. He looks great!

The Rev and Laura hold hands and pray silently for Pa’s welfare. At least, Laura does. Aldi could be thinking about pinochle night at Amy Hearn’s for all we know.

Then, a new development: A wagon with bonnie yellow wheels pulls up to the Little House. (Or a buckboard, or whatever. I realize I may not be using these terms consistently.)

In the wagon is a familiar-looking elderly couple. Very familiar-looking, actually, because we’ve met both actors before, this very season. 

The woman, Lurene Tuttle, played the amoral alcoholic Mrs. Molson in “The Gift.”

And the man is E.J. André, who was the traveling rifle salesman Amos Thoms in “His Father’s Son.”

But these are new characters, Matthew and Anna Simms. 

Mr. Simms says they’re interested in buying the farm. He appears to be approximately 8,000 years old.

DAGNY: Eyebrows.

WILL: Yeah, he totally could have an owl living in there.

Charles says yes, they’re selling, since they’re moving to Wisconsin, which “was my home.” (Emphasis mine again. It’s worth noting that, in real life, Caroline was the actual Wisconsin native in the family.)

Mumm-Ra, I mean Mr. Simms, says that “many years ago,” he and his wife owned this very farm.

(The history of the property before the Ingallses arrived is not clear from our saga. All we know is they bought it from Mr. Hanson, and Charles built the Little House; the soddy was already there.)

Mr. Simms, who’s folksier’n shit, calls his wife “Mama” and recalls the tornadoes of yesteryear.

OLIVE: Why does he call her “Mama”?

WILL: It’s an old-fashioned custom.

OLIVE: I don’t like it.

Charles takes Mr. Simms on a stroll. They marvel at an ancient tree that Simms remembers from the old days. It’s unclear if it’s the same one Charles fell out of.

Previously on Little House

Mr. Simms really rhapsodizes the hell out of the situation.

ROMAN: Does he even have eyes?

He says he’ll happily buy the place, provided Charles repairs the storm damage first.

Then we cut to Mary and Laura walking to school. (In August?)

Mary’s arm is a-swingin’, and Carl the Flunky is in the background.

The Ing-Gals appear to have come up the main road; this time the Sanderson kids join them via the shortcut behind the mill. 

They’ve already heard the news, and John hangs back to talk to Mary.

OLIVE: Who is that, a new character?

WILL: It’s John.

OLIVE: Really? He looks different.

They’re standing on a hill, so John looks enormously tall compared to Mary. (Must be a trick of Landon’s.)

John convinces Mary to skip school with him, since their time together is now limited.

DAGNY: John’s really high-waisted. It’s like he’s wearing mom jeans.

Once they’re alone, John pulls out a book.

OLIVE: Oh God, he’s reading to her. I recognize him now.

What he’s reading is Lord Byron’s “When We Two Parted” – a furiously bitter poem in which Byron shames a woman for leaving him.

He only reads the opening bit, but the full poem goes on to accuse the beloved of deceit and broken vows, and to say things like “Long, long shall I rue thee,/Too deeply to tell” and “I hear thy name spoken,/And share in its shame.”

Nice selection, John
Separation, by Edvard Munch

Fortunately, John stops before he gets to the mean part. Mary says she knows how fond he is of Byron, and John says, “I like Lord Byron. . . . I love you.”

WILL: IMDb TV is “Freevee” now? When the hell did that happen?

For this scene of high romance, David brings in his old chestnut “Do You Love Me?”, better known as “The Love of Johnny Johnson.”

John, whose moral decline begins in this episode, says the “only” way for Mary to tell if she reciprocates his feelings is to kiss him.

“I’ve never done that,” says Mary, exhibiting all the sexual curiosity of a bowl of oatmeal. (Melissa Sue Anderson’s discomfort with the Mary/John love story is well documented.)

Oatmeal Mary

 John pressures her, saying he’s also “afraid,” but pointing out, “We have to try.”

John Sanderson, Jr., smooth operator/depraved manipulator

Mary gives him a dubious look, but leans in anyway.

Dubious Mary

There’s barely a peck before Mary runs off, embarrassed.

Pecked Mary

John shouts apologies after her, but she turns and screams, “I love you, John Junior!”

Love-screaming Mary

Cut to the Simmses’ room over the Post Office. Mrs. S is holding a bottle, and at first I thought maybe she was the drunk lady from “The Gift” after all.

But it isn’t booze.

DAGNY: Oh my God, more massages? The old women are always massaging the old men on this show.

WILL: Last time was for the season finale, too.

Previously on Little House

Mr. Simms says it’s hard to believe 40 years have passed since they left the area. 

DAGNY: He looks like one of those little dried-apple creatures.

(In the real Minnesota in the 1830s, there were very few white settlers yet.)

Simms goes on about how great it’ll be to get the property back.

OLIVE: Are we supposed to like him? He gives me villain vibes.

He even gets a little frisky.

Then he suddenly goes silent and still.

DAGNY: Did he die? What’s wrong with him?

Mrs. Simms gets a look of worry or anguish on her face, then we cut away.

DAGNY: Seriously, what just happened?

In bed that night, Mary rolls over to talk to Laura.

WILL: If you set aside a dollar every time somebody on this show said “Are you asleep?” or “Are you awake?”, how much do you think you’d have at the end?

DAGNY: I’m going to say a thousand dollars.

Mary thanks Laura for not reporting her truancy.

WILL: I can’t believe Mary Ingalls skipped school just to make out.

ALEXANDER: Just like Roman.

ROMAN: Shut up, Alexander! You skipped math class just this week!

This irrelevant discussion continued for a few moments, so please excuse any mistakes I make summarizing the rest of this scene.

Mary tells Laura about the kiss. “What!” screams Laura.

Mary gives her some additional details, and Laura says “Yucky.”

OLIVE: Why would she say yuck? With all her boyfriends?

WILL: Yeah, Johnny, Henry Henderson.

ROMAN: Plus that gee-whiz-sis kid, the scientist.

After the break, we find ourselves in the schoolroom.

OLIVE: Mary’s glasses make her look so stupid.

In attendance today are the Ing-Gals, John, Not-Joni Mitchell, Nondescript Helen, an Ambiguously Ethnic Kid, Not-Carl Sanderson, the Non-Binary Kid, Sweet Colleen, Not-Linda Hunt, and the Smallest Nondescript Helen of Them All. 

In a piece of foreshadowing, we notice John is checking out Helen and Not-Joni as they do problems on the board.

Laura’s sticking her fingers in her eyes for some reason. 

She’s also licking her lips and muttering to herself.

Good old Laura

John leans forward and whispers to Mary, “I have to see you alone.”

Annoyed, Mary says no. Then John says he’ll sneak over that night and meet her in the barn. Laura’s sitting right there, obviously listening, in fact making hilarious faces, so he isn’t being very discreet.

Ha!

That night, the Simmses come hang out at the Little House, so I guess Matthew didn’t die in bed. 

Pa favors them with some fake fiddle music, then asks if there are any requests.

Mr. Simms says, “Let’s let Laura choose this time.”

WILL: [as LAURA, pissed] “Old Dan Tucker.”

Actually, Laura just rolls her eyes and says she’s going to bed.

Seizing her opportunity, Mary excuses herself to “use the privy.”

Bodily-function-fakin’ Mary

Pa is embarrassed everybody’s in bad moods. Ma indicates she’ll go up to talk to Laura, but Mr. Simms says, “Please, let me.” Seems a terrible idea, but Caroline doesn’t object.

WILL: Oh God, another old-man bestie for Laura.

Simms creeps up to Laura’s bed. 

WILL [as SIMMS]: “Have you seen my eyes?”

Laura is a brave kid, and so does not shriek when this nightmare figure looms over her, as you or I would have done. 

Rather, she explains the whole situation to him. 

DAGNY: If you smoked and had a beard, wouldn’t you dye your mustache?

WILL: Is that what that is?

DAGNY: Totally. That’s nicotine stain.

WILL: Gross.

Laura says she isn’t even going to bother praying about it anymore, since he and his stupid wife are already buying the place so clearly God is on Team Simms.

Besides, she says, she already prayed that Pa wouldn’t give up, but that failed.

Mr. Simms suddenly accuses Laura of just praying out of self-interest. Excuse me? What the fuck does he know about anything?

Back off, apple-face. What are you doing in a little girl’s bedroom anyway?

Simms lectures her on and on about God’s ways.

OLIVE: There are a lot of God-pushing old men in Laura’s life.

Previously on Little House

But Laura, ever a sucker for the oldsters, warms to him.

Eventually, Simms climbs back down.

WILL: He could fall and break his back.

DAGNY [as SIMMS]: “Mama, get the mineral oil!”

We see the lecture worked, and Laura’s back on the prayer-wagon.

WILL: Now will he go catch Mary making out with John?

ROMAN: That would be a twist. “Stop that, Jezebel!”

The next morning, Ma steps outside into the sunlight.

DAGNY: That blanket’s a nice complement to the Boo Berry bonnet.

WILL: Goes with her eyes, too.

Pa’s working on repairs, and there are chickens pecking in the farmyard. Did they not all die? Or did Doc come and drop some new ones off to pay for phaeton wheels, or something?

Previously on Little House

Caroline tells Charles they’re going to go visit the Edwardses. Charles says he’s going to finish up his work, since he and the Simmses will close the deal tomorrow.

He talks to Jack a bit.

WILL: Do you think Jack’s fur is that color ’cause HE smokes?

At the Old Sanderson Place, Grace greets the Ing-Gals warmly. 

WILL: She doesn’t get shit to do in this one.

The minute nobody’s paying attention, Mary and John run off together, to some weird bustling music from the Rose.

High-waisted horny hustle

“Mary,” says John, “I thought about it a lot, and there’s only one thing we can do.”

WILL [as MARY]: “I know. . . . Impregnate me!”

OLIVE: Then she’d HAVE to stay.

But no, of course he proposes. 

WILL: He sounds like he has a cold.

DAGNY: Maybe it’s cocaine. Do you think he hung out with the Brat Pack in real life?

WILL: Laura did.

Mary doesn’t exactly say yes, but she doesn’t say no either.

Then she gives him a peck on the cheek that makes their first kiss look pornographic by comparison.

That night, Caroline and Charles are hanging out in the yard. 

DAGNY: Here we go.

Charles is in better spirits, and they make small talk for a while.

OLIVE: I hate that Ma doesn’t want to go, but she won’t say it. He should notice that.

Then Charles says, “What’s happened to me? Why have I done it?”

DAGNY: He’s so introspective. He’s like Mandy Patinkin.

Charles then says he realizes he didn’t even ask Caroline’s opinion about the move.

WILL: Olive, you’re a soothsayer!

Then he starts yelling how stupid he’s been and how he wishes they could undo the deal.

OLIVE: Oh, good grief.

“It’s still not too late,” says Caroline.

WILL [as CAROLINE]: “We’ll kill them!”

ROMAN [as CHARLES]: “Yes, and dump their bodies in the creek!”

DAGNY: They could make them live UNDER the house, like The Sundowners or whatever that movie was.

Actually it was called The Visit – a horror movie about evil grandparents

But Caroline means they can just start over from nothing, maybe living in the soddy. She yells at him (well, as much as she ever does) about how she and the girls understand things better than him, as usual.

He agrees, and they embrace happily.

WILL: This is so ridiculous. They just lost their home, for nothing.

DAGNY: And Caroline’s doing Orgasm Laugh like it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

In the rented room, Mr. Simms is staring out into the night. He says he has an uneasy feeling about the deal.

MRS. SIMMS: It’s them, isn’t it?

WILL [as MR. SIMMS]: “Yes . . . those fucking people.”

Mrs. Simms says she doesn’t really care about moving back to the farm, as Simms gets into bed.

ROMAN [as MR. SIMMS]: “Then that’s it. We’ll go back to the North Pole, Mrs. Santa!”

The next morning, they arrive at the Little House. Charles tells them he’s decided to stay on in town, and asks if they could have time to find new lodgings.

Mr. Simms says that’s okay, they’ve changed their mind about the deal anyway.

Charles of course is thrilled. He notes that the Simmses were paying for the storm repairs, but Mr. Simms says don’t worry about it, they can just make a donation in their name to the church when it’s convenient, since he and Anna were married in it. 

DAGNY: God, this guy’s a worse businessman than Charles is.

(In real life, the church that stood while the Ingallses lived in Walnut Grove was built in 1866.)

Charles invites them inside, but they say they have a long drive back to wherever it is they came from.

OLIVE [as MRS. SIMMS]: “Gotta get home in time for popcorn.”

They drive off. Charles runs into the house, screaming the good news.

WILL: Do you think everyone in town will be annoyed at Charles?

OLIVE: Definitely. They’re like, you’re the main character of the show, we knew you weren’t going anywhere.

Finally, in a really Landony moment, the Simmses stop their wagon in a spot closely resembling the place where Charles and Caroline watch the kids in the opening credits. They smile down at the family.

DAGNY: Oh my God. THEY’RE Charles and Caroline.

WILL: You get it, huh?

DAGNY: It’s beautiful. I like it. Are they going to have a forty-year-old Carrie falling down the hill?

The two oldsters snuzzle each other, and off they go. Bum-Bum-Ba-Dum!

STYLE WATCH: Charles appears to go commando again.

THE VERDICT:

DAGNY: That one was pretty sweet.

WILL: You’re more impressed than I thought you’d be.

DAGNY: Prozac, man.

Indeed, despite the familiar emotional territory, strong performances by the principals make “Going Home” more or less successful. The direction’s good too, though the lighting is surely the dimmest of any episode so far.

And that’s it for Season Two! Thanks again for reading – we’ll see you, and Johnny Cash, in the very near future.

Published by willkaiser

I live in the Upper Midwest. My name's not really Will Kaiser, but he and I have essentially the same personality.

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