I've long said the final Christmas episode, "Bless All the Dear Children," is my least favorite Little House Christmas show. Recently, I watched this episode again. While my overall opinion hasn't changed, there are some good moments to celebrate or at least mention. Let's start with my nitpicks and then end with the positives.
- Pa's narration opens the episode by stating this story takes place in the winter of 1896. Rose Wilder was born in 1886. She would have been 10.
- Pa also says that while they were used to cold winters, the winter of 1896 brought with it warm temperatures (hence people walking around with no coats and their sleeves rolled up in December in Minnesota). That year, the Midwest had experienced a long Indian summer, but by Thanksgiving temperatures were well below average with some areas reporting record breaking cold (-50).
- Mr. Edwards gets into a bar fight, which is why Almanzo leaves Rose and she is abducted. Didn't he pretty much stop drinking after the whole incident with Albert?
- Somehow Samuel hid in the back of their wagon undetected even though they had to ride half a day to get to their first stop?
- Mr. Edwards doesn't apologize. Not when Almanzo feels guilty and breaks down or when Laura is upset they will never find Rose.
- The star in the sky leading them to Samuel after he runs away is just too corny for even me.
- The Carters living in the little house on Plum Creek will never sit right with me.
- Seeing the family together and happy. The Wilders endured Almanzo's illness and paralysis, a tornado destroying their first house, the loss of Royal Wilder, the loss of Baby Wilder and Rose contracting small pox, Jenny Wilder almost dying twice, and the death of Laura's beloved brother, Albert. Thank goodness we see some happy times, too.
- The way the actors portrayed a married couple in crisis. By now, they should be experts at it. We should remember, however, that neither was married and Melissa Gilbert was only 19 when this episode aired.
- Mr. Montague delivering presents to the Carters and Jenny Wilder dressed as Santa Claus. Though he rallied against the commercialization of Christmas--something I'm pretty sure never came up in the late 1800s, he puts aside his feelings when the Wilders are delayed and the Carters have nothing to give their boys.
- A strong Almanzo defending his family. When they find Rose, Patrick Norris still believes the story his wife has told him about the little girl she brought home belonging to them. It doesn't take long for him to grab his gun. Though Laura pleads with both men to stop it, Almanzo isn't about to back down from protecting his family. Seeing him so dedicated to his family is not new, but if you think to how despondent he was back when Rose was born and he thought he would never walk again, this strong protector is truly a different man.
- Sam being adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Norris. Not sure everything was legal, but they all ended up happy.
What do you think about this episode? Do you share any of my nitpicks or enjoyable moments? Were there any other things that make it or break it for this episode?