Album 37: Countermoves


474: Shining Armor, Part 1
475: Shining Armor, Part 2
477: O. T. Action News: Battle at the Kishon
478: Strange Boy in a Strange Land
479: Happy Smilers
481: Grand Opening, Part 1
482: Grand Opening, Part 2
483: Secrets
484: Plan B, Part 1: Missing in Action
485: Plan B, Part 2: Collision Course
486: Plan B, Part 3: Crossfire
487: Plan B, Part 4: Resistance

Review by Joshua Matlack:
These new albums just keep getting better and better. When Danger Signals came out, I didn't think AIO would ever get better, but it has. All but one episode in this album follow a storyline.

The album starts off with the wonderful Shining Armor. Everything about this episode is good. The acting, music, writing, everything. We finally get to hear Jason actually out on the mission field, something most fans have wanted to hear since he joined the mission board. I hope we get more episodes like this.

OT Action New: Battle at the Kishon is another good episode, despite its long name. It deals with the story of Debra, a Bible story that surprisingly hasn't been done at all on AIO before. There were points that it could have been better. I think the technique taken in Three Funerals and a Wedding would have been better for a beautiful story like Debra, maybe sometime in the future we'll get a longer, drawn out story with more details. It is one of the better OT Action News episodes.

Strange Boy in a Strange Land reintroduces us to an old child character: Jared DeWhite. That's something AIO has only done once before, with Jack Davis. Jared certainly has aged, passed puberty, but his conspiracy minded personality hasn't changed at all. Only one thing, it seems to be warranted in this episode. Mandy, Liz, and the listeners are faced with the tough choice of believing Jared. It seems obvious that Andromeda is connected with Novacom, but we'll see what happens in future episodes.

Happy Smilers deals with Aubrey and the Timothy Center. It's the closest to a slice of life episode in the album, but it's really not. I found it disturbing that the Timothy Center was being used for a non-Christian event. Didn't Tom and Margaret have a spat over whether the Center would be Christian or not? And it was concluded that it definitely was. No matter I guess. Christian Centers can have non-Christian events. Aubrey's character was really developed in this episode. She is searching. She has come so close so many times to believing in Jesus (Blackgaard's Revenge, The Big Deal) and this is another "close call," but she holds out and refused to believe.

The next two, Grand Opening and Secrets, might as well be one. They basically follow the same plot. They continue the Novacom storyline, the Mitch/Connie storyline, the new Whit's End storyline, and the Radio Wave storyline, tying them all together into one big storyline. Things get more intense and the dots start to connect. Mitch also gets more annoying.

Plan B is the first AIO four part episode. It continues the Novacom and Radio Wave storylines, and finally someone in Odyssey notices Eugene is missing. Whit and Connie go looking for him in a great mystery/intrigue feeling episode. We actually hear Will Ryan's voice (though it's lifted from past episodes) and we get an explanation for why Eugene is gone. Most of the foreign lines sound natural; only a few are awkward. Jack and Joanne get drawn into the whole Novacom storyline, we hear from Katrina's parents and Brandon Teller, we are introduced to Monica Stone and formerly introduced to Bennett Charles, and this episode finishes off the Connie/Mitch storyline, which we find out was only part of a the bigger storyline all along. I disliked Wooton even more in this episode than in his previous episodes. His scenes slapped in part three are like the Harlow scenes in Gone… Wooton has already worn thin his welcome for me. I wouldn't be the least bit upset if I never heard from this character again.

Overall the album is a good one. One gripe with it is that AIO seems to be playing all its cards at once, throwing them on the table as fast as possible. I was under the impression the Novacom saga would go on for several years. Unless there is a lot more to learn, the saga is going to be ending in the next album or two. Also, there should be a lighter episode or two to relieve some of the suspense. They could have included two of the unreleased splits or one of the other lighter, slice of life episodes that hasn't been released yet to help balance this album. But that's only a small gripe. Compared to the joy of actually hearing from/about Eugene, it's very minor.

Favorite Episode: Plan B: Collision Course
Rating: 3 3/4 stars


The prelease version of this cover is shown at right.

Contained the major parts of Novacom saga, including AIO's first four-parter, "Plan B."

GOOF ALERT: On the CDs for the album, each is labeled "DISC ONE" with a number. For example, "DISC ONE 2" and "DISC ONE 3." (Thanks to OdysseyFan for the information.)

Order the Tape:

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Order the CD:

Order from FOTF
Order from CBD
Order from Tommy Nelson