Written by: John McGreevey. Directed by: Charles Barton.
Happy holidays, everyone! This week we come to the end of Family Affair‘s classic three-parter, “Lost in Spain.” It’s not a Christmas episode, but its climactic scenes would have been perfect for one.
We begin with about four minutes of backtracking to remind us where we left off.
They are starting to wonder if Bill will ever find them.
They watch the farmer’s wife as she deposits a bowl of vegetables on a table and returns into the house.
Buffy and Jody feel bad about swiping food, but they figure that Uncle Bill can give the farmer some money later.
When the farmer enters the barn, they duck behind the haystack again.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Davis clan is standing vigil at the Sitges police station, much to the annoyance of the Sitges police.
The desk sergeant says they are working on many other equally important cases.
The Civil Guard is making he thorough farm-to-farm search for the kids, he adds.
Buffy and Jody have been contemplating leaving the farm to search the woods for berries like Hansel and Gretel. Hearing the approaching hoofbeats, they peek outside.
Maybe what tips them off is the creepy bullfighting music that accompanies the guards’ approach. In any case, they decide to stay hidden.
After the guards leave, the Vegas are shaken by the encounter.
Carlos reassures his wife that everything is fine–after all, they answered honestly when they denied seeing the children.
Things are about to get more complicated for the Vegas, though.
Carlos quickly hauls the kids out of the hay.
Later the kids eat while the adults look on in concern.
Understandably, however, they are most just happy to be eating.
Meanwhile, the Vegas are whispering about what to do.
His wife is more soft-hearted.
Back in Sitges, everyone is still sitting around the police station.
They are even more surprised when Ricardo tells them the man is his father, Francisco Torres y Fiero, Spain’s soon-to-be special envoy to the United States.
As secrets go, it’s pretty tame–and convenient–so Cissy and Bill don’t hold a grudge.
Soon, Bill is meeting with an apologetic captain.
Apparently, that includes the Vega farm, where Buffy has been put to work.
The Vegas send the kids back to their hiding place.
In Sitges, a quiet moment finds French remarking that most employers would have fired him by now.
Ana tries to get Bill to eat some fish and chips.
That seems a little glib under the circumstances, but she soon redeems herself by having an amazing brainstorm.
As Anna and Bill take off to re-trace the bus route, night is falling and the Vegas are realizing that Buffy and Jody have to go.
Thinking of the priest does give Carlos an idea, though.
They deposit the still-sleeping kids on pews at the church.
When they come upon the sacristan, Ana asks him if he’s seen the kids.
The sacristan hasn’t seen the twins, so a dejected Bill and Ana turn to leave.
When they awaken, the kids are thrilled to see their uncle.
The kids say they knew that Uncle Bill would find them.
Anna Novarro shows some nice emotion in this reunion scene. It almost makes me wish Ana could join the Davis family permanently.
It’s not to be, however–when we next see the Davis family, they are back in New York, and French is fielding calls from Bill’s female admirers.
The kids are back in school, telling their teacher and peers what they learned in Spain. Jody learned what is probably the best lesson–not to get on a bus ahead of Mr. French. The kids also learned that while people in other countries may talk differently, they are not that different deep down.
And that’s a nice message to carry us through the holiday season.
See you in 2015!
From a kid’s perspective, this three-parter was gripping and memorable. Getting lost and having to get by on your own is both a terrifying and rather exciting idea when you’re young. It’s appropriate that Buffy and Jody talk about Hansel and Gretel because this story taps into some of the same primal emotions as fairy tales.
Watching now, I do find the adults’ reactions to the situation a bit flat. Separation and loss have always been big issues on this show, so I would expect to see Bill and Cissy looking more frantic. From the director’s perspective, I’m sure it was preferable to confine everyone to a single set as much as possible, but such inaction doesn’t ring true from a man like Bill. (Contrast it, for example, with Mike and Carol Brady searching the Grand Canyon for their missing offspring: “Bobby! Cindy!”)
Too much restraint is better than over-acting, though, and I doubt the adults’ reactions detracted from the suspense young audience members felt watching these episodes or that satisfaction they took in the final reunion.
The twins mention their teacher, Miss Cummings.
Francisco Torres y Fiero: George J. Lewis. Ana Vicente Casona: Anna Navarro. Carlos Vega: Nacho Galindo. Tio Dichoso: Jay Novello. Maria Vega: Rosa Turich. Lt. Playa: Valentin de Vargas. Sacristan: Julian Rivero. Ricardo: Johnny Aladdin. Captain: Tom Hernandez. Sergeant: Jose Haas.
Valentin de Vargas, who died last year, had roles in some well known movies, including Touch of Evil, Hatari, and The Magnificent Seven.
George J. Lewis’ most memorable role was probably his appearance as Don Alejandro in Walt Disney’s Zorro series. His work in films as a bit player, often uncredited, was prodigious–in 1944 alone, he appeared in approximately 20 films.