4.3222891566265 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 4.32 (332 Votes)
Episode 4.2: Lady and the Blade - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

Hetty begins writing a pulp fiction romance and is infuriated when Olivia publishes it at the Chronicle. Clive Pettibone becomes the new school teacher, but his militant methods of teaching become too much for the town to tolerate.

Writer: Deborah Nathan 
Director: Otta Hanus 
Special Guest Star: Patricia Hamilton as Rachel Lynde 
With: Michael Mahonen as Gus Pike and David Fox as Clive Pettibone 
Original CBC Airdate: October 17, 1993 
Original Disney Airdate: March 15, 1993 
Run Time: 49 minutes

Highlights/Analysis

Hetty takes a sabbatical to care for Olivia's baby, leaving her position as school teacher vacant. The school board accepts former military Colonel, Clive Pettibone, to become the new teacher, but they soon realize that his intimidating method of teaching is too strict and militant for the children.

Hetty begins writing a pulp fiction romance called 'The Lady and the Blade' and Olivia secretly publishes her works under the pen name 'H. E. La Roi Esq.' in the Chronicle. Hetty is furious, until she realizes that her works have received international royalties.

During her trip home, Hetty swerves to miss Digger (who has a bad habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time) and drives off the road. She ventures into the former Tom Galan home for help, and ends up hitting a shadowy figure over the head with an iron skillet.

Hetty discovers that the figure was Clive Pettibone and that he is also the pulp fiction writer 'C. L. Small. After receiving pressure from the schoolboard, Clive becomes lenient in his teaching methods and retains his position as Avonlea school teacher.

Criticism

The ultimate transformation of Hetty's character takes shape in this episode. Sadly, the Hetty from the first two seasons that shunned dime store novels, considered Olivia's poem 'Season's End' to be rubish, and believed that poetry should only be an act of recitation is gone.

It's implied that Hetty has kept her interest in pulp fiction romances secret, but it doesn't become apparent until this season. It's also unlikely that Hetty would mellow with age, considering that she was still in her forties during the first two seasons and remained sharply cynical and defiant toward the arts.

In essence, Hetty becomes 'The Story Woman' and there is no convincing explanation why this drastic change in her character has occured. The dramatic shift in Hetty's character has a profound effect on Sara's character as well. Hetty's new role as romantic fiction writer strips away the importance of Sara Stanley and her unique qualities as the story girl.

Consequently, Sara no longer is the rebellious free spirit that strives for artistic freedom against a strict domineering Aunt. The former story girl simply stands in the shadow of her artistic Aunt with no obstacles to overcome and an uncertain future.

It's unbelievable that both Hetty and Clive would both be anonymous writers sharing their fame on the bookstand of the general store. This unbelievable type of story line harkens back to Duncan McTavish.

Rhetorical Questions

What has Digger ever been good for?

Memorable Quotes

"Those that can, do." -Olivia Dale

"I even have a friend-Felix. I socked him in the nose" -Izzy Pettibone

"I'm sorry children. This is entirely my own doing. You may give me demerits." -Clive Pettibone

Notes

(1) Clive, Izzy and Morgan Pettibone make their first appearance. 

(2) During AvCon 2007, Ilse Burnley discovered from Ian D. Clark (Simon Tremayne) that Clark was originally considered for the part of Clive Pettibone. 

(3) In a Summer 1995 interview for the Avonlea Traditions Chronicle, Heather Brown (Izzy Pettibone) talked about her character's first appearance and how she was shocked to find out how much of her hair they were going to cut off for her tom boy role.

"They said cut it," Heather recalled, "and I guess it didn't really kick in at the time that they were going to cut it that short... at the beginning they wanted to mistake Izzy for a boy in the first episode and so the first couple of episodes they slicked my hair back with gel and then from there they cut it a bit..."

Grade: B

The story line is a bit unbelievable, but the episode has it's moments.

 

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People in this conversation

  • Medusa

    The arrival of the Pettibones harkens a new era in RTA. I like the Pettibone family, but so much changes in the show after their arrival. Nothing like the first two or three seasons. I enjoyed rewatching the show, though.

  • Newbie

    I am watchung the series for the first time. The part where Izzy punches Felix is part of the opening credits but I do not see it in the actual show. When Alec threatens to fire Pettibone, Izzy says she made a friend and punched him in the nose. But I rewatched several times and never saw this. Did they cut it for the DVDs?

  • Hi Newbie, welcome to the 'Road to Avonlea' corner of the Avonleaverse! I think what you might be referring to is the season 4 opener where the character Jo Pitts, played by Sarah Polley, is punching Felix in the nose (From Season 3 - But When She Was Bad... She Was Horrid). You are right that this scene doesn't happen in Lady and the Blade and only mentioned, which is unfortunate because that scene would have been hilarious! That said, I've convinced myself this scene exists somewhere! Maybe it's just my imagination?

  • Newbie

    Thanks Timothy! I'll have to rewatch that. I don't remember Jo Pitts punching Felix. As I watched the opening again, yes, the girl punching Felix is wearing a dress, so that makes sense!