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Album 13: At Home and Abroad

Episodes:
171: The Cross of Cortes, Part 1
172: The Cross of Cortes, Part 2
163: A Model Child
168: The Curse
170: A Test for Robyn
178: Room Mates
173: A Thanksgiving Carol
169: Hold Up!
175: East Winds, Raining
174: Where's Your Daddy?
176: The Star, Part 1
177: The Star, Part 2
Gold Audio 12: At Home and Abroad

Episodes:
171: The Cross of Cortes, Part 1
172: The Cross of Cortes, Part 2
163: A Model Child
168: The Curse
170: A Test for Robyn
178: Room Mates
173: A Thanksgiving Carol
169: Hold Up!
175: East Winds, Raining
174: Where's Your Daddy?
176: The Star, Part 1
177: The Star, Part 2
NOTE:

Originally released as album #13, "At Home and Abroad" is now album #12 for proper chronology. (All episodes in this album aired before the episodes in "It All Started When," (which is the "new" album 13).

Review:

This album contained some interesting and fun episodes, but many of them are simply not as good as other episodes to which they could be compared. Character development is good on these episodes, but they don’t really dwell on any specific characters. They include information on many AIO characters, almost seemingly to try to "check in" with everybody. The Myers family, a family with a father in prison, is introduced here.

The album begins with its best episodes, The Cross of Cortes. It was good to visit with Dan Isidro again and also to venture beyond Odyssey for another time. The story is exciting and fun with a powerful message at the end. I'll admit, however, that I believe Phil Lollar had been watching a lot of Indiana Jones in the weeks before he wrote these episodes.  The similarity is especially noticeable as the characters use a light to find a symbol at a temple and as they try to grab an object while the "temple" falls in around them.  A Model Child and The Curse are both good episodes as well, with the former dealing with a single important issue and the latter dealing Whit’s End past and present.

Most of the other episodes are less exciting or well-done than their counterparts. East Winds Raining is not as well-done as The War Hero. The Star is not quite as good as Back to Bethlehem, although it was an ingenious device to have the Biblical characters recognize Connie and Eugene from the last visit.  It was fun to see the characters one more time and there was an especially interesting new character, Proclus, in these two episodes.  Both of these episodes are good, but when you’ve seen similar topics done better, these few go down a notch. Where’s Your Daddy is another good but not great episode, as is Room Mates. A Test for Robyn is one of those episode that uses a story line that has been around forever so that we’re nearly saying the lines along with the characters because it is so predictable.

Now to my two major problem episodes of the album. What is A Thanksgiving Carol? Why did they "adapt" a story to another holiday? The story is not really altered at all from its form that we have heard dozens of times and this isn’t even really a well-done version of the Dickens classic. I’m not sure what the logic behind this episode was, but I didn’t catch it. The only redeeming quality of this episode was the very brief appearance of Harley as Jacob Arley. Did the character of Harley deserve those chains? Never mind.  Finally, Hold Up is an enjoyable episode, but most of the storyline only seems a method to show everyone around Whit’s End. We learn about secret passages, and other interesting bits, but mostly the story is not that developed and the Connie/Eugene duo is a bit annoying throughout. The saving quality of this one was a fun reference to Andy Griffith and the whole "tour" thing was enjoyable anyway.

Favorite Episode: The Cross of Cortes

Rating: 2 stars

Read the Soda Fountain Review

Notes:

Order from FOTF
Order from CBD
Order from Tommy Nelson