The King family are devastated when Cecily contracts tuberculosis. Alec and Janet must make a painful decision on whether to send Cecily to a sanitarium.

Writer: Heather Conkie 
Director: F. Harvey Frost 
Special Guest Star: Patricia Hamilton as Rachel Lynde and Marilyn Lightstone as Muriel Stacey 
With: Kay Tremblay as Eliza Ward and Brenda Bazinet as Dr. Jones 
Original CBC Airdate: February 27, 1994 
Time Frame: Winter 1908-1909

Highlights/Analysis

Cecily is constantly coughing and after a diagnosis from Dr. Snow, it is discovered that she has contracted tuberculosis.

The King family is devastated and memories of Ruth are evoked by Cecily's illness.  The town reacts with fear and Simon is forced to release Felix from the hotel.

Felicity decides that she wants to learn more about Cecily's illness and travels to the Charlottetown library with Muriel Stacey to do research. They discover articles written by a prominant doctor and visit her in Summerside.

Felicity is astounded that the doctor is a woman and it inspires her to postpone teachers college and seek a career as a medical doctor. Felicity argues with Janet that Cecily must seek treatment in a sanitarium, but Janet refuses to let Cecily leave King farm.

Janet visits Dr. Jones and eventually learns that Cecily's condition will only improve under the advanced treatment of the sanitarium. In a very memorable moment, Alec sings 'All Through The Night,' which brings temporary comfort to the pain experienced by Cecily's increasingly ill condition.

Janet decides to do whats best for Cecily and accompanies her to a New England sanitarium.

Criticism

This episode is so sad. Not just because of Cecily's illness, but because it's the final appearance of Harmony Cramp and little was done with her character.  Even in her final episode where Cecily is supposed to be the primary focus, all the attention is shifted back to Felicity and her many career changes.

There is nothing wrong with the story line with Cecily becoming sick. In fact, it is consistent with the Montgomery literature (see notes). The saddest part is that it reminds fans about what could have been.

There were sixty episodes before 'Thursday's Child' where Cecily could have been given a story line or some other role besides staying at home. It's almost too bad that certain special guest stars (cough, Robbie Benson) were given episodes that could have taken away from episodes where Cecily's character could have been more prominantly featured and explored.

Rhetorical Questions

Isn't Daniel a bit too old for that crib?

Memorable Quotes

"My future is completely black. I'm doomed! Absolutely none of my clothes are right. I might as well just have 'farm girl' in large letters stitched across my back." -Felicity King

"Monday's child is fair of face; Tuesday's child is full of grace; Wednesday's child is full of woe; and Thursday's Child has far to go." -Eliza Ward

Sap Meter: 0

Notes: 

(1) This episode marks the last appearance of Harmony Cramp as Cecily King and for a decade there remained confusion about her inexplicable departure from the series. Harmony appeared at the 2004 Avonlea Convention and explained that the producers decided another actress was needed to further develop Cecily's' character.

This unpopular decision was impacted by key actors leaving or appearing less frequently, requiring that Cecily's character become more dynamic. Shelly's Avonlea reported that during the 2004 convention, Harmony said that she might return to acting when her 5 year-old daughter becomes a little older. 

(2) Bobby remembered that during the second AvCon, composer John Welsman mentioned a deleted video scene called "The Raven" from 'Thursday's Child.' Apparently, the scene depicted a sickly Cecily nursing a dying raven back to health. She releases the recovered bird from her hands and it takes flight. Welsman was supposed to compose music for the scene, but the producers told him to cancel the project. 

(3) In Chapter 30 of Lucy Montgomery's The Golden Road, it was suggested that Cecily would die after losing her battle against her pending illness. This was demonstrated in the following passage where Beverley, the narrator, is commenting on Sara Stanley's fatalistic knowledge of Cecily's future demise:

"Did she realize in a flash of prescience that there was no earthly future for our sweet Cecily? ...The end was to come while the rainbow still sparkled on her wine of life, ...Long life was before all the others who trysted that night in the old homestead orchard; but Cecily's maiden feet were never to leave the golden road."

Grade: A

Heather Conkie did a really good job of handling this delicate story.

 

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  • Newbie

    Well, that's one way to get rid of her. Why have the character at all if she does nothing for years and then she gets shipped off. What a waste.

  • S.D.

    Harmony Cramp as Cecily was my favourite actor on "Road To Avonlea." Harmony's portrayal of Cecily was faithful to the mild mannered, sweet tempered Cecily King depicted in L.M. Montgomery's "The Story Girl" and "The Golden Road." When the series deviated so much from the stories, it was refreshing to have at least one character true to the book. RTA's characters were too often overwrought and exaggerated, yet the actors did their best with the story-lines and scripts. Harmony should have had more opportunity to develop as Cecily. No offence to the actress who replaced her, but in the role of Cecily she was physically all wrong to depict a young girl struggling with TB (or consumption as it was known in the mid to late 1800s). If you know the history of TB, sufferers wasted away until they were pale and extremely thin before succumbing to the illness. Most people died, as there were no sanatoriums until well into the 1900s. In fact, it's assumed that Cecily would pass away from TB, as her aunt had before her.
    I stopped watching "Road To Avonlea" after harmony left, as the change was just too jarring, and the exaggerated story-lines and characterizations too much. For me, it will always be a case of "what might have been" for Harmony, if she had been allowed to stay on the series. Ms. Cramp, if you see this, my best wishes for you, and my admiration for your wonderful and memorable portrayal of Cecily.