When I was a kid my older sister was in charge of the television. That meant I had to sit through her shows. Little House On The Prairie was her favorite, and yes, it is possible to get Stockholme Syndrome for a tv show. This is the second in an occasional series discussing some of the best episodes. Find episode one here. I am not proud.
Episode Title: Blizzard (Season 3, Episode 11)
What They Should Have Called It: Geez We Haven't Killed Off Any Randos In A While, Huh?
Plot Synopsis: It's Christmas eve, babe, but alas Walnut Grove does not have a drunk tank. What they do have, however, is a teacher who thinks it's just peachy to force kids to come to school on goddamn Christmas Eve. Seriously, who does this? Miss Beadle, of course, who doesn't have any kids of her own, so she doesn't have any idea how keeping kids in school that late completely fucks with your travel plans.
As if that wasn't enough, Ms. Beadle was planning on keeping them in school for a full day. A full day! Gee Ms. Beadle, thanks to you we're really going to enjoy Christmas morning on the fucking red eye to Cancun.
But then, oh wonders! It starts snowing. Trying to convince the kids she's not an evil hag monster, she dismisses them early, so they can beat the storm home.
Now for those of you paying attention, there's a reason this episode wasn't titled Localized Squall That Blows Through In An Hour Or So. No, this is one big fat midwest blizzard. Winter is coming, and Ms. Beadle just sent those poor kids out to face the White Walkers without Samuel's handy obsidian knif... ahem.
So while the kids are all caught in a snowstorm, deciding today would be a grand day for ill-advised shortcuts, their parents have come to the school to take them home because hey, they've heard of weather before and know how a blizzard works. Ms. Beadle takes a pretty huge ration of shit for sending them off in the first place as the local fathers group up to go look for the kids. Charles Ingalls heads out. Good choice, he's skilled in the woods. Mr. Edwards heads out. Good choice, he's skilled in the woods. Ted McGinnis heads out. Good choice, he's skil- wait, who the hell is Ted McGinnis?
As you might expect, shit gets real. In a particularly heart-rending moment, the McGinnis boy makes it back safely while his father's still out searching. What happens to old Ted? Well, let's just say Ted... we miss Ted.
The ending is pretty much a downer. Some prayers are said to soothe things, but really, whenever someone dies on Christmas Eve it's pretty heavy. Plus, SONOFABITCH WE MISSED OUR CONNECTING FLIGHT!! I HATE YOU MS. BEADLE.
Episode Highlights: Umm... Christmas?
Episode Lowlights: Carrie Ingalls somehow doesn't get killed off; the Ingalls girls stumble across poor Ted's frozen corpse.
Not to be confused with: Survival, in which an Injun fugitive is on the loose during a different blizzard.
"Of course, the kids here are gonna have a bit of a hangover. I'm glad the Reverend ain't here, he'd give me a sermon for sure!"
- Isiah Edwards, on giving his kids brandy to keep them warm during the storm
Charles Ingalls' Righteous Justice Scale:
3/5 Fists of God. Nobody gets righteously punched by Charles, but Ms. Beadle better watch her damn back at the next barn raising.
Overt Christianity Shoved Down Your Throat Scale:
5/5 Sheaves Brought In. Dude. Wow. Charles closes out the episode with a Christmas morning reading of (a bastardized version of) the Book of Luke 2:1-20, which describes the birth of Jesus, all while staring the newly minted Widow McGinnis straight in the eye. Sorry Chuck, but the Holy Trinity just let a guy die on Christmas Eve. Nice try.
Clearly this episode stands as an indictment of our failing public school system. Without adequate training or support, what hope does one teacher have in the face of a rising tide of negative outside influences? Think about that next time the school budget comes up for a vote, and remember that sure, you might save half a penny off your property tax bill if you vote it down, but who will save the children?