“Little House on the Prairie,” ran for nine seasons and almost two hundred episodes. Everyone who watched the show has a favorite episode or two. However, there is one episode that is consistently the top-rated of the show.
Many people remember “Little House on the Prairie” as a wholesome family show. However, things got downright bleak from time to time. There was usually a light at the end of the tunnel, though. These episodes that ventured deep into heartbreak before giving some hope to both the characters and viewers alike were always favorites. So, it is no surprise that the highest-rated episode on IMDb, and several other places around the web, is “I’ll Be Waving as You Drive Away: Part II.” the final episode of the show’s fourth season.
The fan-favorite episode is the conclusion of a two-parter. The main plot of the season four finale focuses on Mary Ingalls going blind. In the first part, she visits the eye doctor and is informed that her vision will only get worse. So, her family takes her to attend a school for the blind. This heartbreaking episode set up the season finale and fan-favorite.
The Best Episode of “Little House on the Prairie”
“I’ll Be Waving as You Drive Away: Part II” focuses on Mary’s frustration and sadness at her new location and predicament. She is far away from her family and home. She feels abandoned and angry. At the same time, she is processing the fact that her eyes are failing at a young age. It would be a heavy burden to bear for anyone.
However, in true “Little House on the Prairie” fashion, Mary Ingalls finds a bright spot in her life. She bonds with her new teacher, the young Adam Kendall. Even though Mary is heartbroken and angry, she finds comfort in Adam’s way of teaching and personality. They become friends after working through some difficulties and finding out just how much they have in common. Later in the series, Mary and Adam fall in love and get married. However, in this episode, he is her inspiration. He helps to set her on the path to deal with and later overcome her feeling about losing her vision.
It’s no wonder fans love this episode so much. It has everything that made “Little House on the Prairie” great. There is drama, heartache, and redemption. At the same time, the second half of two-part episodes of the classic series tend to draw large audiences.
Another Top-Notch Two Part Episode
“I’ll Be Waving as You Drive Away: Part II” has an 8.9 rating on IMDb, making it the site’s fan-favorite. Ranked just below that is “Sylvia: Part Two” with an 8.4. The saga of Sylvia is one of the darkest parts of “Little House on the Prairie.” In the two-part series, a teenage girl is attacked, impregnated, and almost killed by a masked assailant. The episodes are deeply influenced by bloody Italian horror films. They’re dark, violent, and heartbreaking. However, audiences loved them.
In fact, the conclusion of the “Sylvia” plotline brought in millions of viewers when it originally aired. It was the highest-rated episode of the seventh season of “Little House on the Prairie.” The only shows to top it that week were “Dallas” and “60 Minutes.”
While this plotline dealt with some seriously bleak and violent themes, it ended on a high note. Well, as high of a note as you can get in a story like this. The assailant is killed and life goes on. However, it still has all of the ingredients for a great “Little House on the Prairie” episode.
Fans of “Little House on the Prairie” love when story arcs move from darkness into light and these two fan-favorite episodes are a great example of how well the show did those kinds of stories.