Pokenberry Falls, R.F.D., Part 1
341: Pokenberry Falls, R.F.D., Part 2
SPOILER WARNING!! In case you havent heard, the Barclay family ends up moving to Pokenberry Falls. This is an extremely funny episode. There are some very memorable lines:
(After Jimmy sees that Amy is a total knockout)
Ellis: Yeah, she has that effect on boys.
Jimmy: W..ww..what effect?
This is also an important episode for the significance of the leaving of the Barclays. I had heard before they had left, but was still sad when I heard the actual episodes for the first time. It was so comical, yet a couple of the major characters were leaving.
AIO may have done this on purpose for a contrast to the leaving of Whit, which was so serious and fast-paced. That would make sense, but still it does not really make sense why they had to take away one of the best, or maybe the best, family in AIO ever. Maybe well never know??? (Contributed by Luke)
|342: Welcome Home, Mr. Blackgaard|
Good episode. I personally liked it because I am a Shakespeare fan and this episode has many references to Hamlet. Nice touch by having his chauffer/servant named Shakespeare.
Welcome Home, Mr. Blackgaard brings Edwin Blackgaard back to Odyssey in typical Blackgaard fashion. This episode is a masterpiece of humour and wit, from the law firm [Dunkey, Dunkey, Dunkey, Dunkey and MacCormick] to the tar-and-feathering. Edwin comes through with a lot of really good lines [Edwin: "Thank you for letting me bring a little Hamlet to your...little hamlet], complimented by the always-sycophantic Shakespeare. A very engaging, often funny, and well-produced episode. But I still want to know: what WAS that incident in Hooterville?
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
|344: Letting Go|
One of my favorite emotional Odyssey episodes, Letting Go deals with something relevant to most of us: letting go of the past and moving on the future. Zach, newly a Christian, struggles when his mom begins to date a man from work, Blake Anderson, and finds out that the past is not worth clinging to. The story evolves up to the gravesite scene, which is in my top 10 Favorite Odyssey Scenes. There is some great monologue there, and the music is perfectly done. The only problem I have is that this is the last we ever see of these characters - Zach and his mother disappear with the rest of the "old" Odyssey, and the voices of Blake and Zach's Mother become those of Mr. and Mrs. Mulligan. I would have liked to know how this plot line wraps up, instead of having it hanging there. However, the story itself is very well done.
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
|348: With a Little Help from My Friends|
In With A Little Help From My Friends, Sam (one of my least favorite characters involved in AIO) confronts peer pressure - with the help of Jason, Connie, and June Kendall. They learn that positive peer pressure can overcome negative peer pressure. Which is all very nice. The story, however, is rather uninteresting, and the only part I actually enjoyed was the excellent exaggeration of today's youth and their speech - in the form a Blair and Carla. The whole "geek drill" was very well done. Other than that, this episode is rather flat.
Rating: 3 Stars out of 5 (Contributed by Dan Shane)
|349: Blessings in Disguise|
Yet another excellent story, Blessings is Disguise is a well-crafted tale involving Brenda, Glenn, deception and romance. Brenda learns that lying to a friend doesn't make for a good relationship when Glenn pushes the situation to the breaking point. Some of the scenes, and the lines, are very funny, such as when Brenda first sees her pen pal.
Glenn: "I think they think they're the only ones in the room."
Connie: "Maybe one of us should say something."
Glenn: "Quickly. This is making me queasy."
From Brenda's fear of disappointing Thor-Douglas, to Glenn's annoying antics (the great "space missions" line), everything works really well. Bravo!
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars out of 5
|350: The Time of Our Lives|
The Time of Our Lives is just great. That's my major word for it. It combines humor with mock-horror and teaches a great lesson all in the mix. It develops two stories: Jeremy and Cathy, both who get caught in that great void: the Twilife Zone. Watch out for parodies of Home Improvement, Gilligan's Island, Leave it to Beaver, and Al-Anon, among others. Very well done.
Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
|351: What Are You Gonna Do with Your Life?|
Harlow Doyle re-appears in Odyssey, looking for a secretary in What Are You Going To Do With Your Life? This Odyssey installment marks one of the best uses of a very tedious character; he has some great lines, which are actually funny. However, he still is the main weakness in this episode, since his believability factor hovers around zero. Connie, who seems to have been left out of everything happening around Odyssey, is injected back into the swing of things, and is searching for her destiny, with normal Connie results. The perfume counter scene is excellent, as is the personality test and it's results. Overall, the story is interesting and rather funny.
Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
|352: Memories of Jerry|
A "flashback" episode, Memories of Jerry rounds out an excellent collection by revealing a little more of Jason's past. Throw in a riot, and Vietnam, and you have a great story. Plus, it also shows FOTF's view of the Vietnam Conflict, which is that one may be scared or may be intimidated, but one stands up for one's country and one's duty. I have heard this episode be described as "emotional", but it really isn't a "date" episode. Hmm. Taking a date to an Adventures in Odyssey airing. At least it's an idea:)
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars of 5
|353: A Question About Tasha|
A Question About Tasha, one of the two weeper episodes in this album, (and undeniably my favorite), brings Tasha back to town again. It suffers from few defectsif any at alland handles the entire situation delicately. In fact, it contains #4 on my list of Favorite Odyssey Scenes Ever, where Jack tells about his wife, Emily. A definite 10 on the scale.
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars of 5
|354: Blind Justice|
Blind Justice, a Eugene/Bernard adventure, was bound for greatness from the first. I enjoyed every facet of this story, from the very beginning to the very end. Even the ending was unexpected, and the jury members (such as the lady with the Cashew Chicken), played their parts to perfections. As for some complaints I had from my friends that it was too grown-up for children to understand: I played it for my brothers (who range from 6-11), and they didn't have any trouble at all with any of the storyline. Even though some of the very subtle humor was lost on them, I do believe that episodes like this teach valuable lessons about telling the truth, and standing up for real justice. Would this have been more relevant if it had been played out against the backdrop of a schoolyard? Perhaps...but it would have lost all of the power this story contains. I was exceptionally impressed, and enjoyed it immensely. Bravo!
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars out of 5
The Search for Whit, Part 1
356: The Search for Whit, Part 2
357: The Search for Whit, Part 3
The Search For Whit is (probably tied with Waylaid in the Windy City) one of my favorite AIO episodes ever. The fact that it is based in something theologians believe possible (the Q Document), and falls entirely within the realm of the believable, drew me in, and kept me glued to my boom box. It is incredibly suspenseful, starting from when we hear Whit's voice again: the first real sighting in a LONG time. The first time I heard this story, I thought to myself, "Hal Smith has come back from the dead." The "new" Whit is so incredibly close to the "old" Whit, it's amazing and gives a command performance in "The Search for Whit."
Jason and Eugene, though maybe not the duo with the greatest chemistry, certainly do a great job here, and Tasha spices things up very well. However, all the characters are outshone (in my opinion) by one single man who had a 50-second part: Professor Charles' lab partner - he has great lines, and acts them out perfectly. The story, on the whole, is well thought out, all of the plot turns making sense. Jason's tangles with Tasha, and Eugene's faith-vs.-sight struggle are things that most of us see in our lives. What I really enjoyed, though, is that Whit didn't come back to Odyssey in a tear-filled, emotional, made-for-a-TV-movie kind of way (a device that we've seen countless times in countless arenas); Jason and Eugene actually had to find him. What we see here is a genuinely interesting, and believable story. The intrigue, suspense, and also the "Agency", mesh together to create a wonderful tale of God's truth overcoming our doubts. Bravo!
Rating: 5 Stars out of 5 (Contributed by Dan Shane)
In the previous episode, Jack was mysteriously running away as Whit returned! Now we find out why, as Eugene bumps into Jack trying to fly out of the Odyssey airport. (Eugene was trying to retrieve his lost bags - which ended up in Hong Kong!)
Most of the episode is a flashback to the time when Whit was still grieving after his wife Jenny's death. At the time, Jack was running an orphanage in Nebraska. So he invited Whit to visit him for a while. Whit then fell in love (in the father-love sense) with a little orphan girl named Clara, who was still grieving the loss of her parents. Jack hoped that they would help each other with their grief, and they do. But something Jack knew but didn't tell them ended up bringing them more grief!
See a vulnerable Whit, a Whit who makes mistakes, a Whit who is a fallible human being after all. A tear-jerker!
I give this one 5 out of 5!