Little Girl Lost

Caaaaarrriiiiiieeeeeeeee!; or

She’s Fine, She Can Barely Speak, Same as Always

(a recap by Will Kaiser)

Title: Little Girl Lost

Airdate: October 18, 1976

Written by Paul W. Cooper

Directed by Michael Landon

SUMMARY IN A NUTSHELL: It’s the one where Carrie falls in the well. Meanwhile, Mr. Hanson battles an old enemy for the love of a long-dead woman.

RECAP: Let’s skip the preambly crap this time around, and hop right in!

It’s another idyllic day in the sunlit Little House universe, where nothing bad ever happens – EVER.

Actually partly cloudy today, but whatever

Nondescript Helen (the Mona Lisa-looking one) is walking down the thoroughfare with the Kid with Very Red Hair. 

Love connection???

Johnny Cash Fusspot drives by in a wagon. 

Along come Mary, Laura, and Carl via the shortcut. (Carl Sanderson, not Carl the Flunky.)

They pass the pagan stone circle and are joined by Nellie and Willie.

There’s more new blood in the writers’ room this week, as we welcome Paul W. Cooper, a busy TV screenplay-ist who died recently, but who was still active as of just a couple years ago. 

Paul W. Cooper

His resume reads like a funhouse mirror reflection of Little House. He wrote for Highway to Heaven, and for the Merlin Oleson vehicle Father Murphy

Highway to Heaven

Additionally, he wrote a number of ABC Afterschool Specials featuring faces familiar to us, like Bonnie Bartlett (Grace), Wayne Heffley (Mr. Kennedy), Matt Clark (Eric Boulton from “Plague”), Olive Dunbar (the Hat Saleslady from “Ma’s Holiday”) and Moosie Drier (Not-Corey Feldman Two in “A Matter of Faith”). 

The ABC Afterschool Special

Cooper will also contribute a few more scripts to this series – including some big ones.

Coming soon on Little House

Finally, Cooper wrote for The Waltons (which nobody reading this cares about) and The Littlest Hobo (which Dagny cares about because she’s Canadian).

The camera zeroes in on a monarch butterfly, which isn’t super-helpful for establishing the season.

It’s not January, I guess

Inside the school, Miss Beadle announces a new unit: entomology.

She asks if anyone knows what that means, and Mary bombs, confusing it with geology.

OLIVE: How could Mary get that wrong? Isn’t she the second-smartest kid in the state?

ROMAN: That’s just in math. In everything else, she’s a moron.

Moronic Mary

The Bead says, “That was a good try,” but you can tell she’s irritated.

Marked “present” today are Not-Carl Sanderson, a regular-size Nondescript Helen and two small ones, Cloud City Princess Leia and Not-Joni Mitchell, an AEK . . . and oh dear, two boys that to this point I realize I’ve been counting as a single character, the Kid With Very Red Hair.

My oops

I may go back and revise the previous recaps to differentiate them. Eh, no, I won’t. Nobody’s perfect! 

Miss Beadle says “now that spring is here,” it’s a good time to study bugs in their natural habitats. (Still 1881, then.)

Carl pipes up and espouses strong anti-insect views, singling out bees and grasshoppers for criticism.

WILL: Where is John?

DAGNY: At home writing poetry.

Meanwhile

Carl’s comments are no doubt a nod to the real-life “grasshopper plagues” that Minnesota experienced throughout the late Nineteenth Century.

Minnesota Grasshopper Plague in Southwestern Minnesota 1874 (artist unknown)
Illustration from an 1888 edition of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper

The real Ingalls family lost at least one crop to the creatures. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote in On the Banks of Plum Creek how Pa had to walk hundreds of miles to find work in the aftermath of one such plague. 

Illustration by Garth Williams

The incident was loosely adapted for the show in “100 Mile Walk,” but with the grasshoppers changed to hail, likely for special-effects-budget reasons.

Realizing bug biases like Carl’s need to be strangled in the cradle, Miss Beadle notes insects are usually motivated by hunger, protecting the Royal Family in the case of bees, or similarly important things, either species-specific or no.

The Bead drones on (if I may be permitted a bee metaphor, ha ha) about pollination – a phenomenon that certainly was understood by this point in time.

Artist unknown

Then she goes through the names of insect body parts.

WILL: She should reveal her own thorax as a demonstration.

Willie refers to the insects’ abdomen as a “bee-hind,” saying he got stung on his own one in the outhouse at some point.

Miss Beadle sends him to the corner.

OLIVE: What? That wasn’t that bad!

Miss Beadle says they’ll be collecting bugs for a class project. This being a 7+ TV show, she omits the part about chloroforming and impaling them with pins. I remember that quite vividly, though; I don’t think they do it for science classes anymore, do they?

Owie

Nellie asks Miss Beadle to justify the existence of butterflies, but Laura, who you’ll recall believes in absurd shit like spiders playing music on their webs, says in their case, aesthetic qualities are justification enough.

Previously on Little House

WILL: Speaking of aesthetics, they’re overdoing Tartan Nellie. It’s the only outfit she’s worn the whole season.

Meanwhile, at the mill, Charles is again taking his hands in his own, well, hands as he saws some boards.

A man wanders nearby.

DAGNY: Is this guy a hobo?

(She wishes! Canadians love hoboes.) 

The man is a bit disheveled, though it’s hard to judge if he’s really a “hobo.” The standards of this community are somewhat relaxed where men’s dress and deportment are concerned.

He greets Charles, who addresses him as “Mr. Loudy.” Loudy asks where he can find Mr. Hanson.

Hanson’s ears must have been burning, because he suddenly appears and tells Loudy to piss off.

Loudy begs for a job, saying he’s quit drinking. Hanson just starts walking away.

Loudy says, “It’s been over twenty years!” Hanson replies, “I don’t care if it’s a hundred years!” . . . then Loudy grabs him and screams in his face, “It’s because she married me, isn’t it?”

OLIVE: Whoa!

Hanson turns, and, blinking with fury, screams, “BECAUSE YOU KILLED HER!” 

OLIVE: Oh my God, Mr. Hanson!

DAGNY: This is like Days of Our Lives.

Loudy snarls back, “You’re right, Hanson – look, nothing has changed!” and pulls a half-empty bottle of whiskey out of his pocket.

WILL: Is that Henry Blake?

No, it isn’t McLean Stevenson, but they are similar-looking.

The actor, John Ireland, was in a million movies and TV shows, from classics like Spartacus, All the King’s Men and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral; to Bonanza and Gunsmoke (those great western bookends); to junk like House of the 7 Corpses and something called Satan’s Cheerleaders. (Which he headlined! No, he didn’t play one of Satan’s cheerleaders.)

He was even on The Littlest Hobo, if you can believe that! (Canadian-born.)

Well, Hanson storms off, and Loudy is left panting with rage.

Charles, or Sharles I suppose, who has heard all, follows Hanson into the office, where he finds him weeping into the camera.

DAGNY: This is a Landony shot. Did Landon direct this one?

ROMAN: Yes, he did, I noticed at the beginning.

DAGNY: You can tell.

Mr. Hanson tells Sharles the scene he just witnessed wasn’t motivated by jealousy; but within seconds he’s talking about how beautiful the woman Loudy stole from him was.

OLIVE: Who was she?

WILL: Watch and find out.

OLIVE: Oh, just tell me.

ROMAN: And ruin the sophisticated storytelling???

DAGNY: Yeah. This one’s the Godfather of Little House episodes.

RIP James Caan, by the way

Sharles says, “Don’t you think he’s suffered enough?”

WILL: Oh, mind your own beeswax, Chuck.

It comes out that Hanson’s beloved died in a tragic fire, which Loudy and their daughter survived. 

Hanson says, “He saved himself . . . but not my Ellen.”

ALL: MY ELLEN!!!

My Ellen” is one of our favorite Little House stories.

Coming soon on Little House

Then Hanson, who’s had his face turned away the entire conversation, asks Sharles to leave.

DAGNY: Is this the backstory of what turned Mr. Hanson gay?

WILL: Yes.

After school, Laura and Mary arrive home and gather supplies for bug-catching.

OLIVE: How did they make cheesecloth in those days?

WILL: I don’t know.

DAGNY: They wove it.

WILL: Really?

DAGNY: Yes. What, do you think they picked it from the cheesecloth tree?

Ma tells them there’s some wire out in the barn they can use. One can understand why she doesn’t fetch it herself.

Previously on Little House

Carrie slurps, “I wanna go with them.”

Mary whines that Carrie will cramp their bug-collectin’ style.

Carrie slurps, “I’ll be quiet – I promise.”

Mary says they’re going “all the way” to Willow Lake. Willow Lake has been mentioned a couple times, but its exact location remains mysterious. We know it was one of the places where Pa searched for Laura when she ran away.

Previously on Little House

It was also Plague Central in Season One.

On the Banks of Willow Lake

Ma says Mary should do as she’s told. “I’m gonna catch bugs!” slurps Carrie.

OLIVE: That was cute.

Later, Caroline puts on Boo Berry and walks to town. She encounters Miss Beadle on the steps of the Mercantile.

DAGNY: Oh, I like the Ma and Bead friendship. You don’t see them chilling out together that much, but when they do, they have a connection. 

WILL: They used to carpool in real life, you know.

They chit-chat a little while.

DAGNY: The Bead looks tired.

WILL: Hangover.

With an anachronistic “have a nice day,” the ladies bid one another adieu.

Then Willie comes rushing out to show Miss Beadle his “collection” – a bunch of butterflies framed in glass, obviously a boughten good from the store.

Miss Beadle says the idea was to collect bugs from outside their homes, and Willie says the butterfly case was made in England, which is as far outside his home as it gets.

Ha!

Meanwhile, “all the way” out at Willow Lake, Mary and Laura find Carrie has released all the bugs they caught. (That was fast.)

ROMAN [as CARRIE]: “I ate them.”

Furious, Mary assigns Jack to babysit and she and Laura march back into the woods.

OLIVE: I like that they’re wearing opposite colors. Looks sharp.

Carrie stares insanely at a gray grasshopper in her hand, like Hamlet looking at Yorick.

That joke’s for Karen Grassle

WILL: So, this is a Carrie one.

ROMAN: I thought it might be. It’s her biggest part so far, and it’s only been on five minutes.

I’m no geologist, but Carrie’s grasshopper looks to me of the “gray bird” variety, which exists in California but not in Minnesota.

Schistocerca nitens, the “gray bird” grasshopper

Well, soon Carrie’s trundling after a monarch butterfly. David Rose gives us a very expressive flute solo that tells us in no uncertain terms that NOTHING BAD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.

Suddenly, Carrie falls screaming into an abyss.

OLIVE: Oh, it’s THIS ONE!!!

ROMAN: I knew it!

She’s fallen into a Carrie-sized hole that’s framed by a wooden, er, frame.

Quite weirdly, there’s a tiny watermelon growing right next to it. (One of Mr. Edwards’s experiments?)

DAGNY: What is that hole even doing there?

WILL: It’s to catch abusive husbands, like in Dolores Claiborne.

Jack, useful for perhaps the first time in his life, rushes off barking.

DAGNY: So this happened before Baby Jessica, right?

WILL: Yes, it was. Are you going to say that was probably a tribute to Little House on the Prairie?

DAGNY: I was, yes. I can see Landon staging a publicity stunt like that.

ROMAN: They should have reshot the opening credits so when Carrie falls down she disappears, just this one time.

Meanwhile, Caroline walks the thoroughfare happily.

DAGNY: She looks great.

WILL: She always does.

She stops by the mill.

CAROLINE: Charles?

DAGNY [as CAROLINE]: “Chaaaaaaaarles” . . . She draws it out into four syllables.

Whilst waiting for Chaaaaaaaarles, Caroline greets Mr. Hanson, but he walks by her like a zombie or mummy. More like a zombie, I suppose.

Charles brings Caroline up to speed on Hanson’s emotional problems. Then he makes kissy noise to the Chonkies and says, “Hyah, come on, Judy.”

ALL: JUDY!

Yes, one of the Chonkies is apparently named Judy.

WILL: If their first horses were Pat and Patty, do you suppose these are Jude and Judy?

DAGNY: Nah. Punch and Judy.

Back in the woods, Laura and Mary are still a-bug-harvestin’.

OLIVE: They have the dumbest assignments. Bug collecting, leaf collecting . . .

Jack comes clumping out of the trees.

He doesn’t seem to be in that much of a hurry, actually.

Laura screams at Jack that he was supposed to stay with Carrie. It’s not like it was a binding legal contract, Half-Pint.

They follow him back.

OLIVE: Look at that plastic clip in Mary’s hair!

WILL: Yeah, we’ve commented on that before.

OLIVE: I doubt they had hair clips in those days anyway. They just smeared their hair down with mud.

Back in town, Caroline and Charles find Loudy collapsed beside the road.

Charles climbs down and gently wakes him. His techniques for dealing with alcoholics vary quite widely, don’t they?

Previously on Little House

Loudy snarls, “Let me tell you something about your friend – the almighty Lars Hanson.”

DAGNY: “Almighty”?

WILL: Well, he did found the town.

Loudy says after he (Loudy) became an alcoholic years ago, Hanson led the legal charge to remove his (Loudy’s) daughter from his (Loudy’s) custody.

WILL: They should have a flashback.

ROMAN: Sure, I’d love to see the young Hanson arguing in front of a judge.

Charles invites Loudy to supper, but he replies, “Choke on your food!”

Not the nicest

Rather than kicking his ass for him, which a lot of people would have done, Charles shrugs and says, “Suit yourself.”

But Loudy immediately changes his mind, and starts gushing to Charles about how his daughter, now an adult, is coming to visit him. He says he’s ashamed for her to see him in his current state and says he wants to clean himself up.

“It’s no good for a man to look good on the outside when he’s rottin’ away on the inside,” says Charles. 

WILL: He comes up with the pithiest little quips, doesn’t he.

Loudy decides to join them, a development warmly embraced by Caroline, who’s witnessed the entire conversation.

WILL: Wouldn’t she be disgusted?

OLIVE: Yeah. She normally is. She hated that other drunk.

Previously on Little House

Back in the woods, Laura and Mary discover the hole with Carrie in it. Mary screams for Laura to go get Pa.

Laura in turn runs screaming out to the road and flags down the Chonkywagon.

OLIVE [as CHARLES]: “Whoa, Judy!”

Ma turns to Pa and says, “Charles, something’s wrong.”

ROMAN: What was your first clue? Laura screaming “Help, help”?

Laura brings them up to speed, identifying the location of Carrie’s disaster as “in the field, by Willow Lake.”

She jumps aboard. Pa screams “Hyah, hyah, hyah!” and the Chonkies off-road it.

OLIVE: Whoa! Did you see that? They went right up the hill!

Chonky Power!

To fantastic music, they charge through that wasteland area where Mary likes to pick up men.

Pick-up artist Mary

They arrive at the hole and start screaming into it.

CHARLES: Carrie!

CAROLINE: Carriiiiiieeeee!

DAGNY [as CAROLINE]: Caaaaarrriiiiiieeeeeeeee!

Carrie replies “Mama” in this spooky calm android voice.

WILL: Is she possessed by the Evil Dead?

ROMAN: Charles should say, “She’s fine. She can barely speak, same as always.”

Pa reaches down into the hole, with Loudy acting as his coach/spotter. 

Ma pants with terror.

DAGNY [as CAROLINE]: “Oh, CHARLES!”

ROMAN: She almost cut her own leg off, for crying out loud. She wouldn’t be frozen with fear.

Pa can’t reach Carrie. In fact, he even knocks her further down the hole. 

ROMAN: They should flood the hole, have her swim to the surface.

WILL: Yeah, and when they get her up, she should fake being paralyzed so she can get a new doll.

Previously on Little House

Loudy starts outlining how they can dig into the side of the well and rescue her.

WILL: He sobered up fast.

DAGNY: He’s an engineer. Didn’t you know engineering students at college? They’d get blitzed, then ace an exam at eight the next morning.

Loudy lists off the tools he’ll need, adding booze to Charles’s shopping list as a sort of finder’s fee.

At the Mercantile, Mr. Edwards is buying some provisions. Charles comes running in and explains the situation. Good ol’ Nels donates all the tools in the store, then yells for Willie.

OLIVE: What’s Willie going to do?

WILL: They’re going to lower him down to grab Carrie, like a claw machine.

But no, Nels actually screams at Willie to “sound the alarm bell!” 

DAGNY: This is getting serious.

Back at the well, Charles returns, to crazy-intense piano music.

Mr. Edwards, Grace, Carl the Flunky, and Mr. Nelson the Gray-Haired Dude have joined him.

Loudy starts explaining what to do, and they confirm Carrie’s still alive by having Ma talk to her and sticking a pipe down the well to listen for her responses.

DAGNY: They should play “telephone game” with what she says.

Everyone is anguished.

OLIVE: Wow, Pa’s hugging Mary hard.

WILL: He’s making up for not paying attention to her ninety percent of the time.

Overcompensated Mary

Ma continues talking to Carrie in weird drawn-out syllables.

OLIVE: Why is she talking like that?

Loudy hooks up a giant bellows to blow oxygen down the hole.

DAGNY: Where the hell did they get that from? 

WILL: The smithy. You know, they use it to stoke the fire for making horseshoes.

DAGNY: Why would they have one that big?

ROMAN: It’s for when the circus comes to town and they have to make shoes for the elephants.

Coming soon on Little House

Mustache Man arrives in a wagon that also carries Mr. Hanson and Doc.

Mr. Hanson is not happy when he finds out Loudy is calling the shots. 

Unhappy Hanson

Incidentally, we learn Loudy’s first name is Wendell.

Hanson takes charge of the operation, and Loudy grabs his bottle and moves off in a funk.

Funkin’ Loudy

That night, the rescue effort continues.

DAGNY: This is a dark one.

WILL: You mean the lighting, or thematically?

DAGNY: Both. Little House is on the nose that way.

Nels sends Mustache Man and the Gray-Haired Dude to run an errand. He calls Mustache Man “Jack” (which we established was his name last week) and the Dude “Ed” (which contradicts “Centennial,” where Grace addressed him as “Joe”).

Previously on Little House

Grace grabs Nels and tells him they’re running low on coffee.

WILL [as NELS]: “Oh, yes, your highness! Do you take cream and sugar with that?”

And now the Game of Blame begins. Mary kicks things off by whimpering to Carl S (still no sign of John or Alicia) that the whole business was her fault.

Whimperin’ Mary

Then she wanders off into the darkness.

WILL: And Mary Ingalls was never seen again.

AMELIA: No, they should find her on the side of the road with a liquor bottle.

Over at the well, Ma is still saying “Carrie, Carrie” over and over again. She looks like her nerves are shot. 

Mary reappears, and she and Ma start pumping the giant bellows.

WILL: It should make a big fart noise every time they use it.

Pa mentions they haven’t heard Carrie’s voice in two hours. 

Then Grace goes over to Caroline and tells her to take a break. Caroline responds by staring blindly ahead and muttering like a madwoman.

WILL: It’s like in the pilot where she thinks they’re going to die and she starts singing that crazy hymn.

Grace tries to move Caroline away from the bellows, but she screams “No!” (We all gasped.)

Knowing there’s nothing like the strong hand of a man for curing hysteria, Charles comes over and takes Caroline away.

But he immediately hands her off to Reverend Alden.

WILL: What’s he doing there? Must be a Saturday night.

Caroline starts freaking out, but Aldi grabs her firmly.

OLIVE: Is he gonna kiss her? He sees his chance, Charles is distracted. . . .

Caroline starts asking the Rev why God let such a thing happen, but she trails off suddenly and stares fiercely into the darkness, like some scary animal that stares fiercely into darkness.

Caro-lion Ingalls

Because who should materialize out of the shadows but the Bead!

“You,” Caroline hisses. “You did this. . . . You sent them out here. . . .”

DAGNY: It’s her Mrs. Kintner moment.

Aldi tries to rein her in. But Ma continues snarling at Miss Beadle in a gutteral voice.

OLIVE: This is very un-Caroline-like behavior.

Then suddenly she changes, blaming herself and croaking “Oh my God, oh my God!” (Her favorite profane expression.)

Miss Beadle, for her part, is paralyzed with horror.

DAGNY [sympathetically]: Oh, Bead!

Great acting from Miss Charlotte in this scene

ROMAN: Why is Aldi just standing there?

WILL: He’s afraid there’ll be a catfight.

OLIVE: He probably hopes there will be one.

At the end of the scene, Caroline throws her arms around Miss Beadle and begs her forgiveness. The Bead comforts her whilst she gasps and moans.

DAGNY: Ma’s always one breath away from an orgasm in scenes like this.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation continues.

We get a little montage of Mr. Edwards comforting Charles, the Bead making Caroline drink water, and Laura and Carl sitting in apparent boredom by the fire.

Doc calls from the rescue shaft that he’s broken through to the other side, but he needs more light.

DAGNY: Wow, this one’s intense. It’s like Chernobyl. Doc even looks like Jared Harris.

Grace and Mary stare from the sidelines.

WILL: How come we haven’t seen Grace deliver any more babies? They just dropped that, didn’t they?

DAGNY: She has kids of her own now. She’s retired from midwifery.

Nels, the Bead, and Loudy, who’s come back, look on.

Aldi stands with Laura, Carl, and some hick in dungarees we’ve never seen before.

(There are a lot of characters in this one, yet Mrs. Oleson is notably missing. There’s always someone, it seems.)

Doc reports Carrie is much farther down the well than they thought, perhaps irretrievably so.

ROMAN: She should fall through to the core of the planet.

OLIVE: Yah, or come out in the Labyrinth.

WILL: Or she could come out in a parallel universe, like the “Inferno” episode of Doctor Who.

ROMAN: Yeah, it would make a good two-parter. Carrie in a parallel universe where all the Walnut Grovesters are fascists. 

WILL: Some people would actually prefer that universe. . . .

It must be mentioned, everyone’s “horror acting” is good in this one.

Caroline moves past Grace to start working the bellows again. Mr. Hanson looks over at her in disbelief, but just when you think he’s going to say it’s now a recovery mission, he says, “All right . . . we’ve got lots of work to do!”

Rev. Alden raises his face to the heavens and quivers – thankful they’re not giving up, I guess?

Grace comforts the crying Miss Beadle.

DAGNY: Grace should whisper, “You know, it is your fault, kind of.”

The Freevee transcriptionist goes a little haywire at this point, attributing one of Nels’s lines to Mr. Hanson, one of Carl the Flunky’s to Doc, and one of Mr. Edwards’s to “Man.”

This was actually Nels

This was actually Carl

This was actually Mr. Edwards

Then we see Loudy sitting on the ground. 

OLIVE: Oh my God, nobody cares about this guy.

Loudy is reading a paper and actually chuckling.

WILL: The music sounds like “Maria” here. “Say it soft and it’s almost like praying . . .”

DAGNY: Yeah, it does. The score’s really good in this one.

Loudy must feel guilty about sneaking a peek at the funnies, though, because then he picks up his half-empty whiskey bottle and throws it away.

After he does so, his attention is drawn by a large black rock. “It’s coal,” he says to himself. (We’ll deal with that in a moment.)

Then Loudy runs to the others, but Hanson won’t listen to him. 

Loudy says, “Listen to me, you pigheaded fool!” (A pretty good zinger, I think. Direct, yet not inelegant.)

Then he outlines his theory that the hole Carrie fell into isn’t a well as they thought, but rather a disused coal mine!

Now, there isn’t any coal in Minnesota and never was

A map of U.S. coal deposits

If they’d made it a taconite mine, that’d be another story.

The “Thunderbird” taconite mine on Minnesota’s Iron Range

But we’ll let that pass. It’s fiction, you know.

Anyways, the upshot of this development is that the mine should contain other tunnels connecting to the one Carrie fell into.

Mr. Hanson accuses Loudy of drunkenness, but Carl pipes up and says he knows where the main entrance to the mine is. (Sanderson, that is, not the Flunky.)

DAGNY: Why don’t Carl and Laura ever go for each other? They’re the same age, have similar interests.

WILL: I think she feels he’s dumb.

Carl leads Loudy, Charles and Edwards to the mine, which apparently he sometimes explores in his down time.

DAGNY: Seriously, Carl is the only person in the entire town who knows about the existence of this mine?

It is strange, especially since Ma and Pa were headed home from town when Laura caught them by the roadside . . . suggesting Willow Lake is between Walnut Grove and the Little House.

The men go in, Loudy leading the way.

DAGNY [as MR. EDWARDS]: “Hey, I can store my moonshine down here!”

Up top, Hanson is still in nominal command, assisted by Johnny Cash Fusspot and, strangely, by the wagon driver who looks like Peter Schickele – the latter not seen since “Doctor’s Lady” two seasons ago.

Previously on Little House

Nels comes over to check on things.

ROMAN: Nels doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, does he. 

WILL: Neither do I.

Back in the mine, they locate the proper shaft when they find one of Carrie’s shoes. (Presumably the brand-new ones from last week.)

The fact that there’s shit falling from the ceiling is another clue.

Charles climbs up the shaft, but an ominous creaking suggests the whole place is likely to cave in.

Charles has just grabbed hold of Carrie when the roof gives in.

OLIVE: Oh my God, it’s The Descent.

Up top, they haul Doc out of the collapsing hole.

DAGNY: Oh, into the arms of Hanson!

Which is nice, isn’t it? They’ve kind of been neglecting the Doc/Hanson romance thread lately.

Doc says, “It’s no use,” Carrie must be dead.

ROMAN: Don’t listen to Doc. He never knows.

Caroline and Mary are stunned.

DAGNY: This is a great shot of them. They look similar.

And Laura cries.

OLIVE: Ope, she’s got her eye gel.

ROMAN: She should cry. Now she’s at fault for the death of TWO siblings.

Zombielike, Ma shambles forward towards the mine. (Pretty much everybody gets a turn to walk like a zombie in this one.)

DAGNY: Does she throw herself down the shaft?

WILL: Yeah, it’s like the end of Tosca.

Spoiler alert if you’ve never seen Tosca

But no, she just lies down on the ground in grief.

Grief-grounded Caroline

The Grovesters all stand still in an eerie tableau.

But then, we hear Charles’s voice out of the darkness! And he’s got Carrie!

She’s quite alive, and turns her foolish little face to her mother.

DAGNY: She should have gone feral! “Naw way tay vaw loo pay.” 

General rejoicing from the company!

AMELIA: Oh my God, do the women always flail their arms like that when they run on this show?

WILL/DAGNY/OLIVE/ROMAN: Yes.

Mr. Edwards, who doesn’t have much of a part in this one, tousles Carl’s hair in appreciation. (For his finding the mine, not in appreciation of his hair.)

Loudy stands apart from the crowd.

ROMAN: Now he should demand they kill Mr. Hanson.

But he doesn’t. What happens is, Hanson separates himself from the crowd, apologizes to Loudy for his years of mistreatment, and offers him a job. (The last time I checked, doing a good deed doesn’t magically cure alcoholism, but whatever.)

WILL: This is the best Mr. Hanson episode so far.

DAGNY: Yeah. Better than “Doctor’s Lady,” even. He’s doing a lot of eye acting.

Loudy accepts. Then, arm in arm (which is a bit much), the two rejoin the others. Bum-Bum-Bah-Dum!

STYLE WATCH: Cloud City Princess Leia and Not-Joni Mitchell have weird new hairdos.

Charles appears to go commando again.

THE VERDICT: This one’s fantastic. Horror, melodrama, brilliant photography, and an(other) over-the-top mad scene from Karen Grassle combine to make a perfect Little House recipe. Karl Swenson is marvelous, too. 

UP NEXT: The Monster of Walnut Grove

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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