Album 28: Welcome Home

358: The Secret Weapon
359: The Merchant of Odyssey
362: The Right Choice, Part 1
363: The Right Choice, Part 2
364: Home, Sweet Home
365: Clara
360: Three Funerals and a Wedding, Part 1
361: Three Funerals and a Wedding, Part 2
366: Solitary Refinement
367: The Decision
368: The Other Woman
369: It's a Wrap!


Welcome Home is a great collection of AIOs and could have been included in the "golden era" for me if just a few of the episodes were a little better.  In general, AIO has reached such maturity by this time, but just a few flaws crept through.   I think it was good that AIO got a year hiatus to think about the series after this album.

The episode begins with one of my LEAST favorite AIOs.  The Secret Weapon, in my opinion, is a horrible episode.  If it was not from Adventures in Odyssey, a radio series which has always set a course of originality and being "new", this episode is just plain bad.  Everyone who listens to this episode has heard this story before.  We know every single twist of the "magic feather" idea.  It has been used in countless movies and television programs since the beginning of time and is not at all well done here.  See the episode for a complete ranting on the subject.

After that awful beginning, the album climbs far higher in quality.  The Merchant of Odyssey is basically a good episode, if just a little predictable as well.  Edwin always saves the day in his episodes with the great dramatic lines he always gets.   The Right Choice continues the upward climb.  It is a very interesting and pivotal episode about Eugene and Katrina, but also suffers from being a little routine.   The immaturity and actions of Eugene especially have been used on so many sitcoms before and while it is certainly well-done here, it still feels old as we listen.  A good, but not great episode to (seemingly) finish the Katrina storyline.

Home Sweet Home brings Whit back to Odyssey FINALLY.  Connie's element of this episode works well and is a nice parallel to Eugene's part back in the episode Gone.   However, much of the other material in the episode seems to be filler, as if the staff knew that Whit's reintroduction to Odyssey needed to be big, but wasn't sure how to bring him back.  All of the celebration is okay, but its not exactly dramatic.   Clara on the other hand is one of the best AIOs ever made, perhaps the best emotional episode.  It explores the past relationship with Jack and Whit that was only hinted at earlier and tells us much about both of their characters.  And of course, the emotions of those last few scenes pull us into the episode like few others.   When Whit is reading that letter...oh, it's great!

Three Funerals and a Wedding is great Biblical episode told from a surprising perspective: Connie!  A relatively short and "simple" story in the Bible takes a very dramatic approach from her storytelling and very enjoyable.  I've loved how Connie tells the story and makes it an exciting thing we've never heard before.

Solitary Refinement and The Decision are basically two parts of the same story, surrounding the future of many of Odyssey's characters.  The Decision introduces Joanne, who is a very important part of later episodes.  Both are well done and interesting, full of the tight writing and sharp humor that makes AIO succeed.  The monk scene in Solitary Refinement, Dave Arnold's first entrance into the world of AIO writing, is an example of one of the many great scenes.  The scene between Jason and Tom talking about Whit is also good.

Finally, The Other Woman ties up a few loose ends about Tom's past.  It's a touching episode which finally reveals a human side of even the Rathbones.  It deals with some very serious Christian issues (such as unanswered prayer) that some doctrines are unwilling to confront. Both this episode and It's a Wrap do the very important job of reestablishing Whit at Whit's End.  It is refreshing to see Whit back in the place we have wanted him for so long.  The only problem I had for a long time with It's a Wrap is that it was the last AIO episode for a year and a half.  I was afraid they might actually close the series here.  It was such a "normal" episode that it wasn't at all fitting as an ending.  However, thankfully, more AIOs are in existence and It's a Wrap works better with the job it now has: putting Whit back in Whit's End with basically everything at peace.

Just about every storyline was closed at the end of this album.  The only ones really left open were Jack and Joanne's relationship and Connie's growing up.  Eugene and Katrina seemed to be finished, but...

Favorite Episode: Clara

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Read the Soda Fountain Review


The pre-release version of this album is shown at left.

GOOF ALERT: The album cover shows Jason on the steps when Whit is getting the key to the city. Jason wasn't with Whit when this happened. (Contributed by Mark)
Order the Tape:

Order from FOTF
Order from CBD
Order from Tommy Nelson

Order the CD:

Order from FOTF
Order from CBD
Order from Tommy Nelson