Album 38: Battle Lines
Under the Influence, Part 1
This is a hard album to review. In many ways, it is a lot like album 25. So many storylines are wrapped up in this album; it's hard to separate them.
The album starts off with Under the Influence; a nice ending to the Aubrey storyline. While I would have liked Aubrey to remain an antagonist for awhile, this episode is every bit as powerful as Connie, I & II and almost as powerful as The Time Has Come. It goes from seeing Aubrey in complete and total rebellion to seeing her take on a new life.
Next in the album is The Black Veil, another unsolved mystery that obviously is part of the Novacom/Radio Wave storyline. It's an interesting episode. People begin to act strangely, unable to control themselves. We also hear from Jason Whittaker again, who is in Alaska helping a church there. This episode clears up questions introduced in Red Herring, Breaking Point, Plan B, and others, but also raises a lot more questions.
It's interesting to hear the change in Aubrey in Twisting Pathway. At first, she struggles with forgiving Erica, but as the episode progresses she realizes she has to. The Novacom storyline is pushed forward even more and the characters in Odyssey get more desperate.
Sheep's Clothing is my favorite episode of the album. It deals mainly with Jason in Alaska. We learn a little more about Monica Stone, who I really like as a character. The questions about Eugene's disk are answered, and Andromeda takes another step toward winning. I was really impressed with the acting and script writing in this episode. Jason managed to stick with his normal character, but at the same time be infatuated with Paula.
In Box of Miracles, Novacom releases its final product, the Novabox, which is the culmination of all its schemes. It's good to hear from Agnes Riley again, who is doing much better than last time we heard from her (The Other Woman). I like her and I hope we hear a lot more about her. We also hear about the fate of Arthur Dent. It's a good episode; it still gives me goose bumps when Mr. Dent tries to warn Whit about Andromeda.
In The Unraveling, Connie goes to see Mitch's sister in Maine. There is a really touching scene with Connie in the graveyard, and we find out why Mitch got the sad look in his eyes when he talked about Justine. The tape of her in her car was very spooky, but extremely well done. Back in Odyssey, the kids (Mandy, Alex, Cal) find out that people who own the Novabox are buying things they don't really want. They try to turn their Novabox off, but it simply refuses be turned off! The plot thickens One thing I really dislike about this episode is the last scene with Rachel and Connie. It seems she just got over Mitch's death, only to find out he's still alive. I think this was a very bad choice by the AIO team; they should have left Mitch dead.
The last four episodes are basically the climax and conclusion of the Novacom series. Everything comes to a point and all the pieces fall into place. We hear more from Monica Stones, who isn't the bad girl we though she was at first. I hope we do eventually hear more from her. I think she would be a great match for Jason, if she becomes a Christian. Agnes falls back into her old self in a scene that really makes you stop and think. I felt so bad for Tom in these episodes.
The last part of Exit is one of the best in the AIO series. The Imagination Station self-destruct sequence lets us remember a lot of past episodes. After all the pieces are tied together, the last five minutes or so of the show is back to normal Odyssey. Alex talks to Whit in a scene that seems to be completely normal. Then, the very last scene is Whit listening to an answering machine message from Eugene! It's great to hear his voice, but it does sound awkward, and it's obvious that the lines were lifted from past episodes. Plus, the answering machine technique was used in The Time Has Come for Whit, so it does seem a little out of place. I like how you hear prayers from most of the main characters during Chris' comments.
This album pushes the storylines and character development of the last few albums to a point in a very nice collection of episodes. I still wish AIO had waited awhile longer before finishing off the Andromeda series, but there are still questions to be answered. Who is the Chairman and where did he go? I'm sure we'll hear from him in the future, though I don't expect it to be near as big as this album.
Favorite Episode: Sheep's Clothing
Rating: 4 stars
This album came out September 2002. Contained the climax and conclusion of the Novacom saga.
The prelease version of this cover is shown at right.
A parental discussion guide is included in this album.
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