|221: It is Well|
It is Well is one of my favorites, and in my opinion one of Phil Lollars best episodes. It tells the story of Horatio Spafford, and the events that led him to write one of historys best loved hymns, It Is Well.
The episode starts with a seemingly simple event, Lucy dropping off a story for Kids' Radio to Whit. She hears the tape hes listening to (his church choir singing hymns) and asks what the hymn is called. Whit is surprised she doesnt know, and tells her theres a remarkable story behind it.
From there, we hear a spectacular "inner story," centered on Horatios life at the time, and the horrific loses he experienced. The acting and sound effects are done so well, its easy to get caught up in the story. It sounds real, as if we were truly there (the shipwreck scene, for example).
I already mentioned this, but the acting is spectacular (as is the writing). For example, when Horatio is on the ship, we can really feel his grief. His final monologue is one of the more powerful scenes in AIO.
Another thing to point out is the lesson; trusting God in all things. After all Horatio had been through, it is remarkable he stayed steadfast in his faith, and that makes the lesson that much more powerful.
There arent many episodes I would call perfect, but this is one of them.
Rating: 4 stars
|223: Real Time|
I enjoy it when AIO goes for interesting ideas or presentations. In this episode, we have a countdown through nearly the entire episode until a bomb will explode. It was fun to listen to all of the characters continually saying how much time was left on the clock as things counted down to zero. In addition, the sound production on this episode was excellent, especially the scenes in the elevator shaft where we get just the right amount of echo and "emptiness" feedback. In addition, Bryan Dern's and Whit's vocal performances were very good.
The only problem I really have with this episode is that for some of the center section where people are on top of the elevator trying to free Whit and Dern seems a bit repetitive. Cutting out three or four minutes of this would have helped the episode. Additionally, the episode could have been a bit more tense if the villains weren't just so plain DUMB. Overall, though, a fun and innovative episode.
Rating: 3 stars
This has to be one of my all time favorite episodes. Whit
is trapped in an elevator with Cryin’ Bryan Dern when a bomb threat is called
into the building that they’re in to debate Christianity vs. atheism.
Right there in the elevator seeing the difference between
Whit and Dern was enough of a debate. While Dern went nuts trying to get out
before the bomb went off, Whit had a real sense of peace.
Ironically enough, I was an atheist myself (or at least
I considered myself to be an atheist) when I first heard this ep I think that
this ep was one of the things that really impressed me the most about the series.....I
got the chance to see both sides (Christianity and Atheism) and think about
what I had heard.
My favorite part of this episode would have to be toward the end when the bomb is about to go off. I laughed through the whole scene where Dern repeatedly called on God and begged Him for his life...so much for his firm atheism. :)
Rating: 4 1/2 stars (out of five)
|239: The Power|
There are some things that I really like about this episode. First of all, there is the premise--the idea that someone could steal someone else's life through the computer. This episode came out before The Net, a movie with a very similar plot. It is scary to think that maybe someone like Nicky could actually steal someone's records and gain "power" over them by way of a computer, from changing test scores and library records to even financial files. It's also very interesting when Nicky even is able to turn his power on Rusty, who has helped him along the way. Another thing that I like about this episode is that fact that a "good" character, like Nicky, does have the potential to turn "bad". It's realistic that certain characters in stories are able to make the switch from good to bad, not only the other way around.
However, there are other elements of the story that really bug me. For starters, why on earth is Nicky in middle school now?! He was in college back in 1989 and doing very well there. How could he possibly have gone back to middle school in four years? Another thing that bothers me about this episode is how it nearly glories in beating up Nicky. We hear his scream of "NO!" and then all the other kids taunt him about his black eye. Is this the Christian attitude we should have? Finally, Isaac Morton is completely out of character here, as he tortures Charles to get information and says lines like "I'm going to find out," and "Do you know what it's like to be tickled so much that you want to throw up?" This is in complete contrast to Isaac's cautious, careful nature in all previous episodes. This is, in fact, his last episode...what happened to him?
Overall, however, a very interesting episode with an important message: God holds the ultimate power and we can feel safe by trusting in Him.
Rating: 3 stars
|243: Family Values|
While certainly a humorous episode, this one brought up some serious questions for me. I didnt like how the Johnsons were portrayed as a nearly perfect family. Did they ever attribute their success to God and his care for them? Instead of steering Bart toward some book in the library (which also mentioned nothing about God), shouldnt Whit have told him that the only true way to build strong families is by Gods grace? Couldnt he have invited Bart to church? So what are we left with for the lesson of the story? Building strong families takes time, yes, but this episode really told us little about how to do that.
Rating: 2 stars
244: The Mysterious Stranger, Part 1
245: The Mysterious Stranger, Part 2
This was an excellent ep with a lot of good lines and an
This ep is up there on my Top Ten Favorites list.
Whit and Connie start what seems like it should be a fairly
normal day. It doesn’t last though....A young man walks in and claims that he
use to live at Whit’s End. Whit tries to explain to him that that is an impossibility
but the man insists that at one time, Whit’s End was his home. Whit is convinced
that the man is either crazy or a liar, however he decides that it would be
worth checking out. Through a series of research and questioning, Whit finds
out that where the man use to live was the Tate House.....which architects used
the blue print of when designing the Mayor’s house (which we all know is now
Whit’s End). That explains why the man though he use to live at Whit’s End and
why he knew so much about it.
Full of mystery and suspense, this ep brings out the good
lesson of the folly of greed.....though it’s a lesson that seems to be just
a little overdone on AIO.
Other than that one minor problem I totally enjoyed this ep.
Rating: 5 stars (out of five)
5 stars (out of five)
|246: My Fair Bernard|
Many elements of this episode are good. Edwin and Bernard have their moments as always. Few people can deliver a punch line like Bernard. The lesson is clear and plain, but much of the story to get there is rather predictable. Certainly the play at the Harlequin makes a good ending, but the ending is, of course, just as we expected and just as the entire episode pointed to.
Rating: 2 ½ stars
The story opens with two seemingly unrelated scenes, one with Bernard finding out that Bart Rathbone has gone into janitorial services and Bernard is losing business, the other with Edwin Blackgaard talking about getting good reviews with Whit. Later Bernard goes to Edwin about getting acting lessons to do radio ads. Edwin persuades Bernard to be in a play about it, the little man against the big man, good vs. evil. Bernard agrees, although Edwin is only really after a good review from Rosencrantz Guildenstern. Edwin's over-dramatic lines are funny, but the funniest part is when Bernard wrecks the play with his plugs for his business. This episode is funny, but the message doesnt really stick in your mind after listening to it.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5