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Tear Jerker / The Waltons

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  • The two-part episode "The Burn-Out" is this in spades. The house burns, and while they don't lose everything, they lose quite a bit. Both John-Boy and Grandpa blame themselves because they each suspect they are at fault for the fire - Grandpa left his space heater running in the bathroom, and John-Boy had been smoking a pipe. All of the children except John-Boy are sent to stay with various neighbors while the reconstruction takes place, leaving Olivia depressed because she misses her family. Erin feels guilty for saving her favorite party dress, because she fell in the process and John-Boy was unable to save his novel because he saved her; she overcompensates for what she feels is her sinful vanity, turning preachy and solemn. Jason stays with the Baldwin sisters, who dote on him and give him fine clothes, and Olivia is upset because she feels like they're changing her son. Elizabeth, whose pet butterfly died the morning of the fire, believes that everything she loves eventually gets destroyed. It takes a long time for them to come together again and move forward.
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  • The season 6 episode "Grandma Comes Home" combines this with Harsher in Hindsight: It's Grandma Walton's first episode back after Ellen Corby's stroke, but it also ends up being Grandpa's last because Will Geer died during the show's hiatus. The season 7 premiere "The Empty Nest" deals not only with the loss of Grandpa, but also Flossie Brimmer (whose actress had also died).
  • Tthe episode "The Long Night" is an utter heartbreaker because Zeb goes off the deep end waiting for Esther to come out of the hospital and gets the false hope that she'll be released. The fact that it was written by the most people ever working in collaboration on a single story on the show is a testament to how difficult and intense it was to produce this one episodenote , and the Bittersweet Ending doesn't really help. We don't see Esther at all except for a brief Imagine Spot, in which Zeb remembers dancing with her after rescuing a stained glass window she treasured from the Whitley House (from the Season 4 episode "The House"), because her actor is still recuperating from her stroke.
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  • Pretty much everything about the episode "The Violated," in which Olivia and Mary Ellen discover that one of their neighbors, a young woman whose husband is serving in the military, has been raped. The poor girl is too ashamed to go to the sheriff (who doesn't really believe Olivia when she does) or to answer any of her increasingly worried husband's letters. There is so much pain for so many characters.
  • "Day of Infamy" shows the family reacting to the attack on Pearl Harbor. When they get the word that Curt was killed in the attack, Mary Ellen is naturally rocked, more so by his last letter talking of how knowing her and the rest of the family made his life worthwhile.
    • Becomes a bigger tearjerker later when, after the war, Mary Ellen discovers Curt is alive but a broken drunk who took advantage of the Pearl Harbor attack to fake his death and "escape" the responsibilities of being a husband and father, leading her to lose all her feelings for him and divorce him and remarry.

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