Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Bonanza Season 4 Episodes
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by PJudith » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:59 am

Well adamant, I can see how a wife would be peeved if her husband brought a new woman home. :grin But it's a different matter when parents bring home a new baby. They are not "cheating" on their other children!

Anyway while it's normal to look forward to a new baby brother or sister, many children are uneasy if they learn that mom or dad gave up a child for adoption years ago before they were married. Now, voila, here they are, come to join the family! It is an awkward dynamic.

But these were all adults here. Joe really wanted to get to know his brother. It's not as if Clay demanded to know, "So where's my bedroom?"

I haven't seen this episode in a while and I have forgotten some of the particulars. I think Adam wanting to have Clay investigated was more about wanting to protect Joe's feelings. He didn't want his little brother hurt if Clay turned out to be an imposter or wanted by the law. Adam was always the cautious one.

The Cartwrights were such a close knit foursome that I think they sometimes forgot that not everyone had family. So Clay came looking for his long lost brother. He'd been rejected by his family, torn away from his own mother, etc. He and Joe shared a bond. I don't find it suspicious that he'd want to get to know him.

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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by Pt29646 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:39 pm

I've never liked this episode much. It just never rang true to me. For one thing, Clay was supposed to be the son of Marie and Jean, members of New Orleans Creole families. I know that Jean's mother stole him as a newborn, but she wouldn't have given him a name like Clay. And that's just a minor objection. Clay seems to be a borderline sociopath. I just don't like his character.

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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by patina » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:28 pm

I enjoy this episode. Joe has "a shiny new marble" and thinks this new brother is a connection to the mother he barely remembers and the "fairy tale city" of New Orleans. I figure Clay to be somewhere between Hoss and Adam in age (we have no idea how long Jean drifted around before he ended up on the Ponderosa or worked there before he died) so he sees Joe as a fun, gullible kid who's up for a bit of adventure. It's only when Joe's beaten by the miners that Clay feels some twinge of remorse and maybe it's the strong bond between Ben and Joe that makes Clay realize he'll never fit in on the Ponderosa.

Jean's mother took Clay but supposedly placed him with a family so Marie wouldn't find him. Maybe he was given to a poor Irish family who gave him the name Clay or perhaps he adopted the name 'Clay Stafford' during his riverboat gambler life. Then again, it could just be an alias he took if the law was after him elsewhere.

I wonder if Clay's grandmother raised him after Marie left with Ben for Nevada but told her grandson a sanitized story about his father and nothing but lies about Marie. :shrug

There's a line before Clay sends Joe back to the Ponderosa that was looped after filming. The actor's mouth doesn't match what's being said. I've not successfully lip read the line but I'd like to know what it was.

This is an ep that could have easily been a 2-parter. Enough is certainly left to the imagination that's provided seeds for several fanfic writers.
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by CowgirlAtHeart » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:01 pm

This is one of my favorite episodes (I realize I say that for a lot of episodes...:grin). Having another brother for Joe appear out of the blue provides a lot of conflict and emotion. The episode has so many terrific scenes: the scene where Clay tells Joe Marie is his mother too; the pulque scene; the hangover scene, with Adam and Hoss teasing Joe; the scene where Joe stands with Clay against the angry miners; the tense, dramatic scene where Joe tries to get Clay to stay and then gives him his mother's picture; the tear-jerking JPM at the end; and more.

I think Clay makes a believable half-brother for Joe. Clay is suave, emotional, and hot-tempered; so is Joe. (I tend to think those traits are inherited from Marie.) In Clay, we get to see what a son of Marie's is like without Ben's upbringing and the Cartwright stability. It turns out that since Clay isn't used to the kind of life the Cartwrights live on the Ponderosa, he doesn't fit in with them. Besides, he thinks his being around is going to get Joe in trouble. So he decides to leave. (I think that shows a lot of love for his little brother!)

I'm glad Clay didn't stay on the show. I think it would have caused a strange division in the Cartwright family. Bonanza was in great part a story about family, a father and his three sons. They were united by a common bond. This common bond was something Clay didn't share at all. He was Joe's brother and that was it. In "The First Born" it seems that as soon as Clay shows up, he and Joe do things together and Adam and Hoss are somewhat left out. I don't like that dynamic; I much prefer the dynamic in episodes like "Springtime," with the three Cartwright boys all working and fighting together.
Oh, and I do think Clay is good-looking...but I think Joe is even better-looking. :grin :joegirls
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by littlejoenice » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:24 am

patina wrote:This is an ep that could have easily been a 2-parter. Enough is certainly left to the imagination that's provided seeds for several fanfic writers.
I could probably write one when I have time! :grin
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by debbiejo » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:38 pm

I agree with Cowgirlatheart about this episode. I really like this episode and the emotional bang it packs for Joe especially. Yes, I'm glad that Clay didn't stay, as the thrust of Bonanza was the love and bond among the C's. They were all men of good character and our heroes. While Clay was a great character for this particular episode, he would have diluted that bond somewhat for the viewers, had he stayed.
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by PlatoofthePonderosa » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:40 am

Even though this isn't one of my favorites, I do love family backstory episodes. I feel for Clay, even though I don't like him and I certainly don't think he's a good influence to keep around house with *cough* certain young minds being so impressionable. (Honestly, I feel similarly about Marie...as a kid, I thought, "Aww, she's so pretty and so sad!" which is probably what Ben was thinking, but as an adult I think, "Tell me again why you think it was a good idea to bring this bundle of nerves and cynicism home to mother your boys...?")

Clay was obviously looking for something from the Cartwrights; my generous side hopes it was family connection and stability. As far as Joe is concerned, I think it was completely in character for him to take to Clay so quickly and affectionately once discovering that they were half brothers on his mother's side. Joe always had the most "mommy issues" of the Cartwright boys, fed, I suspect, by his insecurity. He's always missed that side of himself and taken great pride in his New Orleans heritage, the one thing he's got that his brothers don't have. In a way, this episode is Joe's chance to pay Adam and Hoss back for years of making him feel like the left-out baby of the family.

And that JPM at the end...! :thud
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by PlatoofthePonderosa » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:41 am

Also, Clay is lucky that he didn't replace Adam, because then I would have hated him. :grin
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Re: Episode 101 - THE FIRST BORN

Post by A4ever » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:40 am

Can somebody please help me here? I am either not understanding the Bonanza series or am completely stupid. The reason may be because the series had so many different scriptwriters - never a good idea, :no BUT this is my reasoning:
Of the three brothers, Joe was the only one that actually had a mother even thou only until he was about 3 or 5. Adam and Hoss had their mothers die at birth and tiny baby stage. They never had a connection with their mothers. Why should Joe be singled out to miss the mother figure more than the others? In my opinion, the scriptwriters (and Dortort started it in S1E1) completely missed the plot with the characterization of Joe and even Adam. They should have studied more on the old west before they set out with this series. Joe grew up with a loving Pa and two older brothers that loved him and protected him. Spoiled maybe - his behaviour was often that of a spoiled brat. In the old west - jeez even today - having three children raised by the same father with the same principles they would not have the differences and opposing views as portrayed in some episodes, like "War came to Washoe" and the opposing sides taken by Adam and Joe - at least not on an issue that did not directly affect them. Ben would have raised his sons with the same point of view. In 1860 people so far removed from the 'east' simply did not involve themselves to that extent. Joe did not know that much of the south and its way of life or its customs. So to make as if he was a southerner was a bit way out. He did not grow up as southerner nor had he any of their values. He grew up in the west as a westerner!! The characterization simply does not fit - but it fitted their idea of a story. I found it very irritating, very unreal and dishonest. In the 1860's in the old west boys of 18 were seen as men and did a man's work and were treated as such. Not keeping in character with the west as it was in 1860 made them (scriptwriters and directors) make many stupid mistakes. I am not an American, but am a history nut and love the USA old west and read a lot about everything and everybody from that time (many cowboy books, history and articles - films and TV are not that accurate).

Sorry about the ranting but had to get it off my chest.

Back to topic: I think Clay was as cute as Joe - no win there. I read somewhere that was the reason ML did not want the guy to stay in the series - he felt he would lose screen time and popularity. If Clay had stayed they would have changed his character to fit in with the Cartwrights - they did that with cousin Will - however, they did not make Will such a wild character to start with (they did sometimes learn something - wow). I think Clay was made a wild character after objection from the cast that he stay as part of the cast in case PR leaves. It was easier to make him bad and let him go. Clay as the character in this episode would not have fitted in with the C's. He was a different soul and way too independent, but with a big slice of decency in him - that's why he left - to not influence Joe and maybe take him away from his family.

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