Episode 24 - The Collision

(4 March 1976)

Writer: John McGreevey.

Director: Richard Thomas.

Music: Alexander Courage.


The Collision 96/4/24


John-Boy writes while sitting in a quiet place in the forest. Suddenly, a horse and rider rapidly approach. They jump the very log in which he is sitting, nearly colliding with him. They return and jump again. John-Boy doesn’t know what to think. He asks the woman what she thinks she is doing, not recognizing it is Selena Linville. She tells John-Boy that nothing ever happens around her. But, in Spain, Selena states that dramatic world events are occurring in a civil war. They agree to have dinner at her father’s home tomorrow night.


Mary Ellen and Erin walk home while waiting for Elizabeth and her friend Ariel to catch up. Elizabeth shows Ariel the aprons she made for Grandma and Momma. Ariel tells her that she also made aprons for her mother, making her aprons sound a lot more fancy than hers. Jim Bob and Jason race toys across the supper table, while the boys discuss Selena Linville. Grandma says no more gambling. The girls come in, and Elizabeth gives Olivia and Grandma the aprons she made. Grandma gives her a great big hug, and Olivia says it looks “just beautiful”. John invites Elizabeth to go with him to Staunton.


John-Boy drives up to the Linville mansion, and knocks on the door. Vesper, their maid, warmly shows her in. Colonel Linville comes to greet him, telling him that the grandfather clock came over from England with his grandfather. The Colonel offers him some sherry. Selena comes down in a military-type uniform. The Colonel says the outfit looks bizarre, but Selena says it is a copy of the ones worn by soldiers of the Lincoln Brigade in Spain. She toasts, “to Spain, to her brave republicans fighting for democracy and freedom; to the Lincoln Brigade fighting the common enemy, while most of us hide in the hollows.” John-Boy meekly responds, “cheers”.


Over diner, Selena talks incessantly over the world’s conflicts. John contradicts some of her remarks, thinking it is not that simple. They eat lobster, but John-Boy isn’t quite sure how to eat one. Selena watches as he clumsily eats. Selena says a person can’t be timid, but must be aggressive. John-Boy says he just wants to be sure he has all the facts before making a decision. Selena announces that she has found out that she can get herself into Spain, even though there is a blockade. Afterwards, the threesome plays cards, but the Colonel falls asleep. He shakes John-Boy’s hand and excuses himself. The clock chimes nine-thirty as he slowly walks up the steps. Selena thinks her grandfather has gotten much older in the few weeks she has been home.


Selena and John-Boy continue to argue about staying on Walton’s Mountain instead of running off to the hot spots of the world. They continue to argue, while John-Boy kisses her. She comments, “you’ve been practicing”. They kiss more, and she suddenly says it would be fantastic if they could go to Spain together, he do the writing while she does the illustrations. But, John-Boy says he has responsibilities and obligations with his printing press. He wants to see her again, but Selena says, “Is there any point?” She plays hard to get, and makes him kiss her on the cheek. She smiles broadly as he exits the house.


Elizabeth and Ariel talk by the water’s shore. Elizabeth tells her friend that her father is taking her on a trip. But, Ariel tells Elizabeth about her family’s trip to Europe. The boys ready Old Blue for John-Boy’s ride with Selena. John drives up with Elizabeth after their trip. He asks John-Boy if he knows anything about the Colonel having an auction in Staunton. He doesn’t, but promises to ask Selena. John tells Olivia that he had a good time, but is not sure about Elizabeth. John mentions a girl called Ariel, thinking they are being compared to Ariel’s parents, and they are losing the comparison.


While on their ride they argue more about John-Boy playing it safe, while Selena continuing to be compulsive. They agree that they are attracted to each other, and state that that they should share on every level. Selena says that they could be in Spain by the end of the month, saying that two hundred dollars will cover the costs of the trip. John-Boy says he can’t leave with all of his commitments. Selena is disgusted that he won’t go with him, and rides off. John-Boy tries to catch up, but Old Blue runs off without him.


At the Linville house, the Colonel supervises the removal of their furniture. He admits to Selena that the house and land has been sold to the bank, and everything else will be sold later. They will live in the tenant farmhouse; he has lost everything. John-Boy comes in, wanting to explain. But, she yells at him to leave, and the Colonel thinks it would be best if he would leave.


John-Boy comes home upset, not wanting to talk about Selena. He comments about all the wars and conflicts fought in Virginia. John says that John-Boy reminds him when he was growing up. John-Boy writes in his journal after looking up the word ‘courage’ and ‘recklessness’: “So, from her point of view I’m a coward. I don’t have to accept her definition. I’m a fool to be touched by it for one minute. Who is Selena Linville to tell me what I am and what I should be: philosopher, saint, an understanding and caring friend? None of the above. She’s spoiled, selfish, limited. And it is ridiculous to waste one second caring what she thinks of me…. I care.


Ben tells Elizabeth that he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with the prize he won: a pencil box. He gives it to Elizabeth, and she hugs him, so excited to have it. Later, at the store, Ike tells Elizabeth that she should get a pencil with an eraser for her pencil box. Just then Ariel comes in. Elizabeth shows Ariel her new pencil box, but she says that she already has a pencil box that was imported from Switzerland, with painted on flowers. Elizabeth decides not to buy a pencil, and Ariel tells Ike that she has plenty of pencils at home. Ike tells Ariel that it must be nice to be rich.


John-Boy tells Grandpa that he is sorry he’s been so grouchy lately. He’s been called a “scared rabbit” by Selena. John-Boy thinks Spain is awfully far away. Grandpa tells him about the war in Cuba, and John relates an experience in World War I. John-Boy says he doesn’t like to be called a coward when he feels the Spanish war is someone else’s war. Grandpa and John agree that there are plenty of things going on around here. John tells John-Boy that what he is saying makes sense, but (more importantly) will it make sense to Selena. John-Boy admits, “No!”


Olivia wants to know if something is troubling Elizabeth. She says she’s fine. But, Olivia knows that she might be upset because of her new friend, Ariel. Elizabeth says that whenever she does something, Ariel does it better. Even her name is better. Elizabeth thinks Ariel has never seen a fairy stone, and is anxious to show her one. The workers load furniture onto the truck with “Commonwealth Antiques” written on its side. John-Boy wonders why Selena didn’t tell him about their condition. Vesper tells him that Selena didn’t know about it. The Colonel is relieved to be finished with all of it. She intends to stay with the Colonel, because he is the only family she has. John-Boy is worried about Selena. Vesper suggests he wait a while before seeing Selena. But, John-Boy says he will, “out-stubborn her”. She listens on in the background.


Elizabeth visits Ariel’s home. Meg Phillips, Effie’s aunt, who says that Effie sometimes calls herself Ariel, greets her at the door. She tells Elizabeth that her mother died last year and her father the year before. Elizabeth walks into Ariel’s bedroom. She sees Ariel making believe with the catalog. Ariel says she is only visiting, doesn’t really live here. Elizabeth shows her the fairy stone she has. Elizabeth asks Ariel if she would like to have it. Ariel says yes. The two girls have a pretend tea party.


Selena rides her horse while John-Boy tries to catch up with her. He finds her horse running back to the Linville house. He finds her standing next to a log; she is unhurt. He says that she called him a coward for not going to Spain. But, he reminds her of a war right here in Virginia; the one called the depression. He asks, “Will we survive this war?” John-Boy tells Selena that for someone who cares so much, there are many wars and problems closer to home. He reminds her that a coward is someone who runs away from a battlefield. Selena admits she was running away from what happened. John-Boy says she’ll never go back to the fancy school up north, and will never go to Spain. He suggests she transfer to Boatwright, and help Vesper take care of her grandfather. He talks simply to her, using her own weapons against her. John-Boy says, “All’s fair…” and Selena completes, “… in love and war?” John-Boy remarks, “You said it!” She decides to stay, and they kiss passionately as the forest surrounds them.



Eduard Franz appeared previously as Cody Nelson in The Courtship (season one/episode eighteen).

The Colonel is Selena’s grandfather.

According to the introductory remarks, the year is 1936.

Staunton, Virginia is located at the intersection of Interstate 64 and Interstate 81 in west-central Virginia, just west of Waynesboro.

Information about the Lincoln Brigade in Spain can be found at: http://www.richeast.org/htwm/SCW/scw.html.


Also appearing:

Ike (Joe Conley); Selena Linville (Kathleen Quinlan); Colonel Linville (Eduard Franz); Meg Phillips (Doreen Lang), Ariel "Effie" Robins (Karen Teitelman), Vesper Oakes (Virginia Capers).