Album 21: Wish You Were Here

274: First-Hand Experience
275: Second Thoughts
276: Third Degree
277: It Happened at Four Corners
278: The Fifth House on the Left, Part 1
279: The Fifth House on the Left, Part 2
280: Gone...
281: ...But Not Forgotten
282: The Fundamentals
284: The Election Deception
283: A Book By Its Cover
288: The Twilife Zone


This collection is the beginning of the "golden age" in Odyssey for me (albums 21 - 27), in which every album is four stars.  I think that perhaps Hal Smith's death made AIO writers and producers really think about creative new ways to do the series.  And in this period, some of the most humorous, most spectacular, most exciting, most emotional, and just overall best episodes occur.

This album begins with Eugene and Bernard's road trip, which is wonderfully humorous (these two are quite the pair), but also quite emotional in parts, especially in The Fifth House on the Left.  It Happened at Four Corners is a terrifically well-done tale that pulls you in for the entire time even until the strange ending, and Third Degree points out something important out our lives that I never really thought about much.

And then.... (SPOILER WARNING) I doubt that many reading this review do not know that Whit left for the Middle East in this collection, so I'll mention it now.  However, when I first heard Gone on the radio, I had no idea that Whit was going to leave or even that Hal Smith had died.  (See the episode for the full story.)  The episode was so perfectly done emotionally and timing-wise, I was held in suspense the whole time.   However, when it ended, I was in denial.  Whit could NOT be gone.  I thought at first it was going to be one of those cheap things they do on TV a lot to get you to cry.  They make a character "leave" only to come back a few episodes later and "all is well".  But it didn't happen in Odyssey.  Whit was away for over two and a half years.  ...But Not Forgotten was a perfect follow-up episode.  Everything happened so quickly in Gone, we barely had time to adjust to the consequences of what had happened.  Connie's response was very typical of any AIO fan when they heard that the main character, the most always wished they themselves could actually meet, was leaving the show indefinitely.

There are episodes after all of this, and all of them are good.  Only "The Fundamentals" is a little too predictable.  The Election Deception is a good mystery.  It allows you to figure it out with the characters.  Book By It's Cover is a good episode by plot standards and also does a great deal for building Katrina's character (who we really didn't know that much about before).  And finally The Twilife Zone is the perfect way to present the dangers of drugs to children.   It's witty, humorous, but also very direct in its final message: Drugs not only hurt you, but the people around you as well.

Overall, a HUGE turning point in the AIO series, brought off the best way it possibly could.

Favorite Episode: Gone...

Rating: 4 stars

Read the Soda Fountain Review


The title reflects the fact that first six of the AIO episodes in this collection happen on Eugene's and Bernard's road trip.

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