Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

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Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by Episode Guide » Mon Jun 22, 2015 9:43 pm

Date: November 17, 1963

Summary: After a mine-cave in Little Joe’s friend Seth kills his fiancée’s father in order to put him out of his misery. Seth asks Joe to keep it a secret, but Joe wonders if it was mercy killing after all.

Written by: Peter Packer
Directed by: Joseph H. Lewis
Guest Stars: Richard Rust as Seth Pruitt, Nancy Rennick as Sara Pruitt

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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by January » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:07 pm

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Mercy killing! Is that what this episode was about?

Most people seem to think it is, but I tend to disagree. I do beleive that in the beginning Joe was concerned whether mercy killing was moral or not. But then when he started catching on to the fact that it might have been murder, his whole thought process changed.

There was no question that murder was morally wrong so that's why he finally did something about it. Did we ever find out what Joe concluded regarding mercy killing? That wasn't addressed once the episode turned to Joe finding out that it was murder.

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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by daisy60 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:13 am

Really good emotional episode. Michael did very well with the emotional scenes. Obviously, Seth murdered Sara's father because of his own greed. Joe knew what he did was wrong but had trouble turning him in because he was a friend. Talks with pa and Adam helped. I love the scene of all of the guys singing together. I wish there were more episodes of them all singing.

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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by lovemychico » Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:06 am

Great episode. I'm not for mercy killing, make the person comfortable as possible and go from there. It was NOT up to Seth to make the decision to take his life (had it been a mercy killing) but all Seth was worried about was the money. I loved the JAM and JPM's in this episode. Adam was a good "big" brother and wanted to do all he could to help Joe. Their talk by the tree gets me every time.
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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by eniblick » Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:05 am

A very good episode, I agree. It demonstrated Joe was emotionally maturing. He knew the killing was wrong. He also liked his friend and had a hard time accepting that he would murder. His conflict within himself and the lashing out at his family was very well done.

I too loved the JAM, one of the very few we saw in the series, but very good. I'm going to watch it again!!

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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by ellen » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:17 am

I think the writers/producers/whoever chickened out by giving Seth a clear motive for the murder - that is, the money aspect. It would have been much more powerful if they had stuck with Seth's original story. But maybe that was too controversial a topic for early 1960s TV.
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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by Pt29646 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:33 pm

I like this episode, but I can see why the writers backed away from the idea of mercy killing at the time. I liked the interaction between Adam and Joe. Okay, I like any scene that includes Adam. And Hoss.

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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by ljac63 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:31 pm

I completely agree that the writers took the easy way out by providing Seth a motive for murder. Before we discover Seth's true motives, the conflict of "mercy killing" creates a tremendously dynamic storyline. I love the scene in the bedroom between Ben and Joe, although I don't agree with Ben that the answer is so clear. I feel that Ben is a bit presumptive that his opinion is the correct one, and I feel that he is a bit hard on Joe. Another aspect of this episode that I often wonder about is a "what if" situation. When I first saw this episode, I thought that the implication was that Joe was the one who had carried out the killing. I don't know how the writers could have handled that scenario, but even now, knowing the plot, I still feel a bit of a let down that it wasn't Joe who was directly conflicted. When Joe tells Ben that his friend takes these actions, it seem to be the stereotypical misdirection where the speaker attempts to explain something without implicating him/herself. Just my opinion!

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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by elizabeth » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:27 pm

great comments. I agree that the writers/producers took the easy way out by making it murder rather than a mercy killing. the big 3 networks were the kings back in the 60s. what they wanted was the law, basically. and euthanasia (sp) would have been way to hot a topic in their opinions. who knows. maybe the writers were made to change the ending. I too think Ben was unusually hard on Joe about this one - he often tries to listen and advise if needed. however, because he was hard on him, it heightened the tension. I also thought Joe was talking about himself at first. I think possibly it was implied that Joe was realizing for the first time that he could be faced with that decision in regards to his family members, and what would they want him to do.
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Re: Episode 143 - THE QUALITY OF MERCY

Post by eniblick » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:12 am

DEfintely a very controversal episode for the 1960's and would still be a controversal episode today. As Elizabeth stated Ben was very harsh on Joe. I thought Adam showed Joe more compassion than Ben.

Defitintely a tough episode in any era.

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