Reviews for: September - October 2003 | November 2003 | January - March 2004 | April - May 2004
A note of about the ratings... All ratings are out of four unless otherwise noted.
Connie's return to Odyssey (and the end of the nearly season-long road trip) is being met with positive reviews. Fans enjoyed the slower paced episode and a show that wasn't about plot twists and high drama. Special compliments are given to Connie's maturity, seeing a great scene of Whit talking to Connie (like a father and daughter), and Jared's psychobabble. All enjoyed it was great to see Jared and June again.
Reviewers were less certain about Trent's part of the plot. Some found him funny, while others thought he was annoying. The final movie scene also drew mixed reviews, with some feeling that Whit's criticism of the movie was uncharacteristic.
I'll get the whining out of the way first: the show seemed to go a little too fast for me. Last time we heard Connie, she was putting off going home, and now she's okay. God dealt with her, yet we never get much in the way of specifics. In addition, the show felt like it needed a "B" story, since everything revolved around Connie and Jared trying to help Connie. Jared's "intervention" scene felt too long and silly, even if some of his earlier attempts to make her crack were much more funny.
Enough of that: it was great hearing Whit and Connie back again in the same room. While I'm still wondering where Nick and Aubrey are (or Wooton for that matter), it was good hearing Connie back to serving ice cream to kids. June was exceptionally great, from picking Connie up to bawling at the movie at the end. It's great to hear her again.
Otherwise, it was a good show, and love how it ended (it sound like Whit's unpredictable attitude from years past has resurfaced again!). I'm glad Whit doesn't get into the Chick Flicks as much. Still...the show just seemed to dwell on Jared trying to figure Connie out without the scenes going anywhere...
Unlike most people, I liked both Jared and Trent. Both were really well done, I thought. Jared does sound a bit older than possibly he should, but I really like Trent's character. It's great to hear June Kendall back for the third time in the last year or so. This means that a character that took an 12 album hiatus will be in three albums (40-42) in a row! I think that's great. I like her a lot in this episode (more than "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?") and I think it's great that the writers realize what a divorced mother must feel like when her only child's daughter has been hurt similar to the way she was.
Now the biggest compliment in the episode: Whit. He was great in this episode! Not only did it feel like he honestly cared about Connie, he showed some emotion that we haven't heard since Clara. But he also had some comic relief lines, especially during the 'group therapy' scene and the last scene. A barrel of laughs. In addition, it's great to hear him talk about Jana and his relationship with her. We haven't heard about that since "The Mortal Coil," and I think it's good when the series remembers it has a past.
Overall, the show was an excellent addition, a nice follow up to album 41. The title was a bit puzzling, but when you have almost 600 episodes, then the titles don't come as easily as they used to.
Now for the rest...hm....well, Trent and Jared were pretty good, but I think it's about time Jared grew up a tad "mentally." After all, he's not 12 anymore. I think he went entirely too far on the psychology thing... Trent's acting was pretty good. Poor guy, he was so nervous.
Ms. June was...lol...interesting. Especially with the soap operas. And I actually like Connie in this story 'cause she wasn't so "Mitch minded."
Even though Jared probably doesn't act his age, I wouldn't have him any other way. He adds the humor that we need which includes taking things way out of proportion to make a point. Trent was okay, and fills the "little brother" role perfectly (although he usually acts more sensibly than his older brother!).
This was a rare time when Whit was "in the wrong" and Connie was "right" for a change. It brought things home to the listeners when Whit gives his heart-to-heart conversations, even when he's wrong.
It seemed to me that Ms. Kendall wasn't quite the supportive mother that I would have thought to be comforting. She seemed to try to force Connie to cry, rather than being happy that she was okay with the circumstances. However, I guess I can't blame her, after going through similar times with her own life. I am glad that she cares about her daughter's life, and that Connie still has a good relationship with her mother!
Overall, the ep was good, and I'm glad Connie is moving on.
I think that sometime in the long future, I would like to see Mitch back, maybe after Connie has grown more sensible. She did improve and wasn't so blind as her last trip progressed.
What can I say? This episode was rather funny. The movie Connie and June were watching cracked me up. Whit actually had flaws like a HUMAN BEING!! I loved his lines.
The Bad Parts:
Trent was cute, but he acted too mature for his age again (even though he's DEFINITELY no genius). This episode seemed kinda like "Naturally, I Assumed." I miss Novacom and Cal Jordan so much...
While the scenes with Jared and Trent were amusing, I found the best scenes to be at the end, especially the scene between Whit and Connie, where he explains why he was so uncertain of how to act around her. Whit showed true humanity, and the father-daughter nature of their relationship was emphasized in a way that was reminiscent of the final scenes in "The One About Trust." His reference to his daughter, Jana, and his expression of grief over Connie's situation and desire to cry with her and help her through it was touching and wonderful.
So often, Whit can come off as a plastic character. In this episode, both he and June Kendall brought much-needed dimension to their characters. (I hope that Whit's character is developed even further in the two final episodes of the season.) Speaking of June, I've enjoyed her presence in Odyssey lately. I've always liked her character and missed her in recent years. Please continue to use the wonderful Maggie Malloy in future episodes.
Finally, the moral
of the story was a good, old-fashioned Odyssey lesson, as well. The fact that
your parents love and care about you and want to cry with you during life's
toughest hurdles is a message that speaks to all ages.
In many ways, the conclusion to the Connie-Mitch soap opera has spoken to me in many personal ways. Even though I'm 22, these episodes"Something Blue," "Living in the Gray," and "Eggshells"helped me in a way that they wouldn't have had if they had been aired even one year ago. Everything Connie went through paralleled a similar personal experience that I've been dealing with over the past several months. I could sympathize with Connie and genuinely learn from her situation in a way that I doubt a 15-year-old could. Odyssey's ability to speak to all ages continues to amaze me. And its continued pursuit of excellence in storytelling and originality is refreshing in an entertainment era that is all too plastic and superficial. May God continue to bless this program.
Besides the fact that the show was somewhat ridiculous, I thought it was pretty good. But I also remember that this episode is supposed to be a comedyand people often forget the type of show it's supposed to be, and then judges the ep based on that.
Their are several things that I liked in this episode. One thing that I thought was different was the fact that this was a "Feel Good" episode. It wasn't something with a big plot and complicated twists. Episodes like that are harder to portray/develop a certain character. This time, it was people who would randomly appear here and there, such as Jared and Trent.
Jared and Trent once again got my vote as the dynamic duo (whatever that means). Jared's character took a surprising turn from the ridiculous theories to the misinterpreted facts of the world of psychology. Big difference? Not really. One often leads to the other.
Most of my attention was on Trent. Like me, do some of you really dislike a kid in a show that tries to be funny by messing up on a word. Often times, those kid actors stink at doing it. But Trent did not stink. Often times, the word that he'd accidently would say in his sentence sounded almost too real. And I was certainly impressed, compared to other times.
Another point comes to mind. This is probably the first time since "I Slap Floor" that I laughed at something Whit did/said. You have to admit, Whit was funny in a few scenes in today's ep. It makes me think that we lost that amusing side of Whit that left when Hal Smith left. And yes, I hate it when people compare Paul Herlinger to Hal Smith, but I made an exception.
I also liked the fact that Connie had a "Welcome Home" episode. It has happened in a past that episodes don't follow through or refer to past events that had recently happened to the character. And that ticks me off. This episode couldv'e been easily dropped, and simply have Connie working back behind the counter in "Stubborn Streaks", and she might refer back to her trip just once.
In the end, good episode.
One more thing: Did Nick and Aubrey get thrown out of Whit's End? They seem to have "One day a month" working-time shifts.
I found the episode interesting, and a bit humorous.
On the other hand, Whit complaining about the movie didn't sound very Whit-like. More of a Bernard line. Also something random about the sound of the door of Whit's End. It closes a lot faster than it did back in say, 1998. I don't like it. It makes the episode sound more rushed.
Overall though, it was a good episode, and I can definitely see how Jared would get that stuff from a health class.
Or, at least it wasn't. "Something Blue II" signaled the end of a forgettable era: Connie and Mitch decided to part ways. And with that, fans of the show opposed to their relationship can breath a collective sigh of relief. Oh sure, there's lot of girls out there who are in love with the idea of Connie being in love, and even a few boys, but their relationship could only have been a detriment to the series. Perhaps one day Connie should find the right guy and settle down... but not yet. However, I'm getting wildly off topic here. The point of my rambling? "Eggshells" is hopefully the last episode featuring the poison the Mitch residue has left on the series. Thankfully, the episode was about Connie's ability to get over him... thank God most of that happened off-air.
The episode itself is your average show, with the folks in town trying to get Connie to cry on their shoulders. Thankfully, she would have none of it and surprisingly doesn't turn into a basket-case by the show's end. The issue certainly needed to be dealt with as Connie can't just move on and forget this emotional and critical moment in her life. Much to my relief it was done as quickly and efficiently as possible. This season so far has been very strong in my mind, and I firmly believe a large part of that is related to limited Connie use. With Eugene missing in action, Connie's been forced to carry the show on her shoulders for the past few years... and unfortunately, it's worked against her. Katie Leigh is a terrific actress, but the character of Connie has been overused. In one episode, the writers need her to be the strong mature one, and the next they need her to be the damsel in distress. This see-saw roller coaster we've been on with Connie has been frustrating. Personally, I'd like to see her behind the counter at Whit's End dishing out ice cream and arguing with Eugene. But in the absence of Eugene, I'll be happy just to have her dish out that ice cream. Maybe one day she'll even be ready for a real job! But until then...
It was great to hear from Jared and his younger brother, who was further developed in this episode. There were moments where I was reminded why I spoke of his "robotic acting" in my review for "My Girl Hallie", as sometimes his dialogue sounded too perfect, but he's still a great kid. Perhaps the deWhite's are the family we've been waiting for since the Barclay's moved to Pokenberry Falls. And all this time the writers introduced the Washington family as a decoy! To be honest, I'm more invested in the characters of Trent and Jared, than I have been for any other kid characters (save perhaps Alex Jefferson), since the Barclays moved. Throw in a funny father and caring mother, and we could have ourselves another family to love and cherish.
Speaking of family dynamics, June and Connie were great together. Considering June took a seven year leave of absence, it's still amazing how good these two sound together. And the movie they were watching was hilarious... Marshal Younger has yet another soap opera scene to chalk up on his Odyssey resume, all of which have been classic.
Whit was great too. Paul Herlinger had a superb performance in "Something Blue II" and was great again here. The scene he had with Connie one-on-one near the end was nice, especially the mention of Jana and her divorce. It gives us a bit more perspective on Whit's relationship with the Whittaker-Dowds, who have seemingly dropped off the face of the planet. And for a brief moment, I was expecting Whit to be crying while they were watching the movie... but not here. Fittingly, Whit asks for a bucket.
With the way the Connie and Mitch storyline has been treated, there's no question what he wants it for. But rest easy Whit... things are looking up!
"Good enjoyable episode...but not great." That pretty much sums up the reviews for the latest Odyssey show, with most ratings falling in the three star range. Fans are showering the show with good, nice compliments, but not too many overwhelming praises. Universally liked was (surprisingly) Wooton. People liked his humor and his continued maturity in these shows.
Marvin's part of the show got mixed reviews, with some enjoying his story and others giving it (and his character) a thumbs-down. Most didn't especially like the "Chicken Dance" that ended the show, but universally disliked was any mention of Whit's whites.
Oh, and I love Wooton. Give the guy his own storyline. He needs an episode or two where he's paired with Connie or Whit.
But these episodes are brought together by so much creativity by Tory Martin. His jokes are original, the actor is funny and talented, and in the midst of an goofy episode; the theme stays strong. The half-truth: It's a lie that so many of us (especially many kids) use probably every day. We sidestep the truth, but we fail to accept it as a lie. Whit did a good job explaining that theme to Marvin.
Speaking of which, Marvin is becoming better as a character. I think I've gotten out of the stage of "somewhat getting annoyed at him." By the way, it seemed like his voice was a bit different this time. Anyone else noticed it? Trent was pretty good as usual.
I liked the story, and as I mentioned before, I felt it was a type of style Odyssey did well. I prefer the more realistic stories with Wooton. (Well, technically that never really happened. But the closest that they got to it was "Bassett Hounds") I mean, seriously, The Chicken Dance? What's up with that? Everything was pretty good up until that part. (Well, I didn't really hate it. But it was maybe a bit too weird for my taste.)
I have to hand it to Torry Martin and Jess Harnell. They're like Peanut Butter and Jelly: They just taste good together.
Sidenote: This season has been pretty good. There hasn't been one large complaint about an episode up to date this year. Hopefully, the next few weeks will keep up the pace, and we can have one highly successful season.
For the most part, I was shocked to find that I enjoyed this episode! Torry Martin's writing is improving (a lot) and so is the character of Wooton. In this episode, the character is faced with the problem of doing the right thing. Instead of having Wooton do the right thing right off the bat, or do the wrong thing (or immature thing) and get away with it (as usually happens with Wooton), Wooton does the wrong thing and then regrets it. I was surprised to find he had a conscience. I thought life was just one big joy ride for Wooton and if he thought it would be fun to impersonate his brother, it was perfectly fine. But it wasn't. Kudos to Mr. Martin for a job well done on this episode. If Wooton continues to develop like he did in this episode and "Bassett Hounds," I might actually find myself liking him...
The Marvin side of the episode was a little weak, but the secondary part of these episodes usually are. I don't mind it so much...it's to be expected. Though as other reviewers have pointed out, I was disturbed by the mention of Whit's "whites.". And I do believe Marvin's voice is changing... I'm interested to see what the AIO writers will do with the Washingtons. Will they drop off the face of AIO, like Curt, Oscar, Cal, and so many others? Will we see them through this time, like the Barclays? Or will we simply not hear from Marvin for awhile until his voice is fully changed, like Jared and Jack Davis? Only time will tell. I have issues with the Washingtons (which I won't go into now), so I'm a little curious to see what'll happen. Oh, I did appreciate the mysterious absense of the word "oink."
The music, acting, etc. were all okay but not great. Overall, it's a fairly average episode, not one of the greatest but a very good one anyway.
Didn't the business man play someone else with the same voice? He sounded familiar.
So needless to say, I enjoyed the episode. It won't ever creep into my top ten list, nor will I give it a rating that it doesn't deserve... but it was a funny show. Wooton was at the top of his game and it was a great premise for him to be involved in. It also develops the relationship between Wooton and his twin brother Wellington even further. Every scene Wooton appeared in was a highlight, and his interactions with both Fox and his brother were well done. It's also hard to narrow down any particular quote that was 'funny', because just about everything coming out of his mouth is pure comedic gold. My only real wish for the character would have been that he kept the fake accent he used when he first met Fox Fletcher. It was a very funny accent, and his awkwardness about the whole thing was wonderful. The Bassett's sure are an interesting family and I imagine there's a ton of more storyline to be gleaned from the Bassett family line.
The Marvin storyline on the other hand wasn't as interesting. He's just not a character that I find myself really caring much about. The actor who plays him isn't very good, and he's better used as a supporting character (such as the way he was used in "Called on In Class"). I would have preferred the roles to have been switched, with Trent in the lead role and Marvin the friend who doesn't want to help him. I can understand the writers wanting to integrate members of the Washington family into the show, but you need strong actors to carry that burden. Marvin Washington isn't one of those people... and they have yet to explain that whole "Oink" business which was mysteriously (yet happily) dropped.
The music was terrific as usual (it seems a moot point to even bring it up anymore), and I especially liked the tinkering with the Odyssey theme song during the scene where Marvin confesses to Whit. What would Adventures in Odyssey be without John Campbell? A lot worse... that I can guarantee.
I also had mixed reactions about the ending. On first listening, I was a bit disappointed and thought it was kind of cheesy. But after listening to it again, I thought it was quite funny... especially Wellington's dry remark of how much fun he's having. A fitting punishment for a man who thinks so little of his twin brother's uniqueness. One other thing that bugged me was the visuals dancing across my mind of Mr. Whittaker and his pink underwear. The mere mention of his under garments is rather... unpleasant... especially that it's pink and Marvin and Whit are discussing it between the two of them! Our minds do crazy (and disturbing) things, when forced to fill in the blanks with our imagination. :o) Please never do this again.
Fans are cheering the latest episode in the Mandy and Liz "feud" story arc. Most liked how the show turned out and the twists and turns that accompanied the end of the story. Many noted how it was great that the Mandy/Liz arc went for several episodes, making it seem more realistic. Jared and Connie also got many positive notes, both of them acting more mature than recently and being good friends.
The commercial itself got a few negative notes (because it was annoying), but the modeling plot garnered some "thumbs up" reviews.
While the issue of modeling has been done, it was really a secondary issue. Connie got to be the grown-up, Jared got to be the sane one of the three (!), and The whole Liz/Mandy thing was resolved. My favorite line had to be the "I'm still mad at you" line that Mandy says while Liz agrees. It wasn't said in anger, but more as an apology....which sounded perfect. It was a great episode and a great ending.
The acting was also good. Like most people, I enjoyed Jared. However, I especially liked the characters of Geneveve and Ollie. They were simply hysterical, if one enjoys that 'upper class' sort of humor. I adore it. I would love to see Mrs. Buchanan write a spoof of Princess Diaries or something like that, it would totally be great.
I would have liked to see the Mandy/Liz argument go on a little longer. Why is it that Jared and Connie seem to be the only friends these two have besides each other? Whatever happened to Sara? Or maybe Colby? Oh well... Some people have pointed this out, I'll just second it: The biggest thing about this whole mini-storyline is that it shows how much AIO needs them. Throw in a little minature storyarc every once in awhile, it adds a LOT to the series. Kudos to Kathy for coming up with this one and for delivering it so nicely.
One thing did bother me a little, Connie's nostrils are uneven? It totally destroyed my picture of Connie... Not really. But she did sort of take it a little weirdly (is that a word?). It was nice to see her give good, solid advice, hopefully she's done with her pining over Mitch.
Like I said, I give this episode 3 out of 5 stars, though it is the higher 3 (maybe 3 1/2).
The show was very enjoyable; one of the best this season! It was nice to hear "new" actors. Christen was okay, but Genevieve and Ollie, with their hilarous "English" accents, really took the entire pie. I would even go as far to say they made the show.
Jared seems to be becoming a main character on the show. His voice is nice to hear, his non-maturity is refreshing, and his attitude is funny. A nice forehead, huh?
Connie didn't really seem to fit into the episode, except as a sort of peacemaker between Mandy and Liz. But I like returning characters, so bravo!
I found the advertisment that Mandy and Jared appeared in very funny. In fact, the whole show was funny and up-to-date, unlike some other new episodes. It's nice to see that Adventures in Odyssey is getting modern. Just don't get too modern!
One thing that I found disappointing was that the audience never actually gets to hear his taped evidence about why the model people are bad. I found the parental involvement angle interesting. Parents are mentionedfor the modeling contract, Liz's mother had to sign something, and Liz says that her Mom said that there was a clause on the contract so she didn't have to do the commercial, but no parents actually appear in the episode. How did Mandy and Liz get to Connellsville for their audition? Neither of their parents seemed to have been there. I think that at least one parent should have been in the episode. Liz and Mandy's parents don't know the modeling peoplewould they really trust these people enough to not be there at the same time their daughters were there? I doubt it.
Other than that, I enjoyed the episode and the conflict resolution. I found Connie's attempts to fix her uneven nostrils very Connie-like.
Finally, I'd like to say that I almost felt that their could've been a second story in this episode. Their was too much of "drawing things out" when there could've been Connie at Whit's End having another plot.
Anyways, this was probably the least interesting episode of the season. But that doesn't say much since all the episodes of the season have been terrific. So, it was all right.
One character who never ceases to amaze me: Jared. He still thinks that everything is an evil plot, yet in other ways he can be somewhat mature. He is a pretty good friend.
It also doesn't hurt that Split Ends is a pretty enjoyable episode. The tone is set early on with a cool new twist on the Odyssey theme song and Jared telling Liz her sweater makes her look fat. Not only was Jared's line delivery perfect, but I was happy to hear a male voice of reason. Generally speaking, Kathy Wierenga (or Buchanan now I suppose) episodes target the young girl between the ages of 8 - 12. They're not bad episodes, but they certainly don't appeal to a 20 year old male such as myself who just doesn't get the jokes. But here, Jared is someone I can immediately cling to as my reason to enjoy the episode. And sure, while I thought Jared provided many laughs (especially during his commercial with Mandy), I was also pleasantly surprised to find out he wasn't the only thing about the episode I enjoyed.
I liked all of it really. Mandy and Liz, while generally not my favorite characters, were both terrific. Their storyline didn't last that long, but you don't really want something like this dragged out longer than is necessary. It was just nice to have something to think about during the show: Will they make up, or won't they? As the show progressed, and Mandy found out the real reason that Liz had recommended her for the role, I seriously thought that was how the show would end... Mandy even more angry at her best friend, and Liz not knowing why. But I was happy that the two did come to a resolution especially one that felt real between the two of them.
Connie, by the way, was the way Miss Kendall should be. Another trademark of your typical Kathy show is that Connie Kendall acts like your typical teenage ditz: Whiney, and dumb as a rock. But this episode reinforces my belief that the writers are putting her character back on track. Mitch can no longer act as her kryptonite by making her weak at the knees and impairing your mind.
Though, as I said earlier, the big plus was the inclusion of Jared. He's older now, but his conspiracy theories are no longer about aliens invading earth or adults lying to their children. As he's grown up, so too have his theories. So while it's still the same old Jared attached to that deeper voice, his character has evolved too. Also, it's great to hear that Jared really has become a rather compassionate young man. He did his best to help Connie in "Eggshells", and here, he wants nothing more than to see Liz and Mandy together again.
Again, another solid episode to reinforce a solid season. I'm very happy with the way things have gone so far.
Many fans are placing "Something's Got to Change" as the best Washington family episode yet. Whether or not that makes them like the Washingtons is still up for discussion. Some put this as a turning point episodethey like the family now. Others say they may grow to like them after more episodes like this one.
Universally liked: the family sacrificing for each other, the Rathbones for neighbors, the backwards carnival, Xavier, and Joel (the Connellsville kid).
Universally disliked: Yet another mention of underwear, and the confusing geography (it takes 30 minutes to get across Odyssey?).
Other than that issue, it was okay. It wasn't earthshattering or anything, but it was good. Marvin and Tamika do sound spoiled. When I first found out that this episode was about the Washington's, I hoped that they would move away. They did move, but not far. I guess with some more time, the Washington's will continue to grow on me until I enjoy them. They are not my favorite characters by any means, but nobody said they had to be. They'll have an interesting time living next to Bart! Incidentally, that also means that they live on the same street as Wooton. That sure is an interesting and well-populated streetMandy lives there too.
The only thing to me that is odd is the distances to Connellsville. I can see how moving across town could cut 30 minutes in traffic, but I didn't realize Bart lived so far out of town. I just got done watching "A Wrinkle in Time," and think someone's mastered the Tesser Act here.
Still, I was happy to see something happen with the Washingtons that made them worth caring about. It was good to hear Ed at the New Whit's End and his uniquie spin on his work there. I'd love to hear more about it.
Now, let's just hope they don't start a zoo.
Ooh...best part: Being the Rathbone's neighbour. That opens a few doors of excitement.
All in all, great show.
Whit may hang out at Washingtons' cause Ed is one of his managers.
Xavier is cool. I liked backwards carnival. I liked how they will make sacrifces and new home to be closer.
When they were first introduced, I wanted to like them. I didn't want them to be like the Shepards who live on Tom's farm and rarely interact with the town, or the Mulligans who own their own zoo and introduce a new family member ever single show. I wanted them to be normal. It's funny, but the more interesting and different a family is, the more annoying they are to listen to because there's not much that we can relate to. I prefer an average household, with an average income, and an average number of family members. That way, they feel real and make their everyday adventures exciting to listen to. Very few people have owned a dozen different animals and had to stop their land from being flooded... but how many people have had to move to a different house? Simple storylines can be far more fulfilling then over the top (as I've said many times before). Today was no exception.
Though, on the other hand, the episode fit with the theme of my review: Average. It wasn't a terrible show, and with each and every listening I liked it more and more. But while Ed and Elaine are terrific, keeping their family together through hard times and actually sounding like real parents... I have a hard time buying into Marvin and Tamika. I just don't believe anything they say because it sounds like they're acting (and poorly acting at that). Whenever it comes to critiquing a show, I always find it hard to talk about the younger actor's ability to act. What right do I have to judge them? Especially when they are so young and have so much to learn. But when I think about child actors from 15 years ago, and how talented they were, and compare them to the more professional actors of today, I just find it ironic that the unprofessional actors were so much stronger. Sure, there are some exceptions (Alex, Mandy, Nathaniel and Sarah were all very strong), but overall the acting if the children of Odyssey has been a weak point over the last few years of the show. Though I would say that Xavier has been quite good in the shows he's been in.
I thought the story was great though. The 'Reverse Carnivale' idea was kinda neat, and I like that they checked in on Whit's End Connellsville. It's good to show the audience that it's still around, but not focus on it too much as it's extremely confusing to hear about both places. It was also nice to see the family struggle with the decision to move, as any family would, but ultimately accept it as the right thing to do. It wasn't the most original idea, but the way in which it was done was original and I like that. Though, one thing that didn't make sense to me was that from their old house it was a 45 minute drive to Connellsville but at their new place it's 15. For one thing, I've always believed that Connellsville was roughly 30 minutes away from Odyssey. What I didn't know was that a town the size of Odyssey is big enough to shave off 30 minutes by moving across town. I live in a city of nearly one million people, and to drive from the left most corner of the city to the bottom right takes less than an hour. I can't imagine a town with the population of Odyssey would be a 30 minute drive through town.
Still, as much as I had some problems with the acting and the time it takes to get to Connellsville, I still enjoyed the show and I do enjoy the Washington family as whole. They may never be the Barclays... but they are still better than dealing with farm animals on a weekly basis.
Every once in awhile an episode comes along that is so "out there" and different that it divides fans. Most love it (or like it a lot), while others are a little uncertain how to react. "No Way Out" is one of those episodes. After the first half of the season finale, most fans are left with more questions than answers and are reserving their final judgment until Part 2 airs. However, initial reaction is very positive. Fans cheered that the episode didn't sound like any previous episodes and liked the unique format.
Reviewers also gave high marks to the Washington family...they continue to rise in popularity, despite many fans initial uncertainty to them. The return of Jason Whittaker put smiles on many faces as well. According to listeners, the hands-down favorite scene was the one where Connie and Jason listen to the various sounds in the background of Whit's phone call. Listeners also say that the best line of the show is Jason's "Boy Scouts" response (though some wondered if it was a half-truth).
Fans are less certain about some of the acting in the episode, however. Whit's acting is sometimes mentioned as a low point, though others think he did very well. Several potential logic problems are also being raised, with reviewers wondering if they will be addressed in the season finale coming next week.
How can AIO say that a trap-door is not a door? I'm not sure, but the concept of there being no doors or windows really tickled me. It's mind-boggling to just think of it...but thank goodness there is a way out!
I really can't think of anything much to say about this show. It was really, really good and also really, really surprisingly slow. We get three "degrees" of adventure:
1) Jason trying to find his father.
2) Whit stuck in a room with a troubled man.
3) The Washingtons' have troubled with water and strange neighbors.
I personally enjoyed Jason's side of the story the best. The acting is great, Connie isn't making funny jokes, and the scripting is quite classic. He still shows that he's a spy and a concerned son.
Whit being stuck in a doorless room was okay, but nothing much happened in there. He is dying and Lester is trying to be helpful without revealing his indentity. All the scenes in the room were more slowly moving, but some of the dialogue was quite touching.
I like the Washingtons. They make me smile with their comedy. This show was the making of the family and it would be sad to see Xavier no more. Personally I think Lester kidnapped him, but I didn't tell you that.
The questions are piled onto us heavily and few answers are given. We are forced to draw out own conclusions. That isn't bad, in fact, it is quite good. It leaves me (and hopefully you) excited for the next show. A fast-moving, action-packed show? I think not! A touching and mind-boggling show? Yes, yes, one-hundred percent!
However, I will say that I thought that Whit's acting wasn't so great. To me, he did not sound like a guy who just broke his leg and is in a ton of pain.
Lestner, is he...um...how
shall I put this...mentally challenged? He sounds a bit like a guy I work
with...who strangly enough says "3-18-99" when he dosn't want
to answer a question. Hmm.
Anyway...strong performances, good music, well written. Sure, maybe a bit far fetched at parts but it IS Odyssey...and you got to like Jason Whittaker. "That dude is cool" as one fan I know says.
Out of a 10 (as being the best of the best), I must give it an 8.5...Great episode. Whit is likable, and Jason is Jason.
Another thing: I've missed Jason so badly during the past several weeks. It's cool to have him back. Now, if only Eugene and Katrina would return...
One last thing: Whit seemed rather OOC (out of character), but maybe that's because I'm not used to hearing him yell...?
Anyway, awesome job, AIO!!
I thought Whit's acting, (pleading and begging) was below average. I wonder what 31899 means? I have a feeling that David is connected to Whit's disappearrance. When I first heard Lester's voice, it reminded me of Arthur Dent, after the "experiments". I have a feeling that Mac the plummer is also involved somehow.
It is also good that we learned more about Odyssey history. We all know that the McAlister family founded Odyssey. Although we are in the middle of the "New" Adventures IN Odyssey, there are still attempts to tie the entire series together! Thanks writers. Keep up the good work!
[Referring to Paul Herlinger's acting.] ...I thought Paul Herlinger was very good at his role. His acting was great. His dialogue worked for him.
I was pleased to hear the Washington Family. It's not everyday you have a big sinster storyline, and then have a typical family just happen to connect with it. My guess is that people will criticize the fact that they were in it. But I think they just begin to become picky when they do. Every episode, the Washington Family becomes stronger (and Marvin is going through some slight signs of continuous voice-changing). ...
... In conclusion, great episode. It's something that really holds you to the edge of the seats. I can't wait for next week.
I cannot wait to find out what happens next week. I do like 2 parters, cause that just adds to the suspense!
The best line in this ep:
Connie: "Where in the world did you learn this stuff?"
Jason: "Uh...Boy Scouts."
- When calling the police, Jason
is apparently told that 24 hours must elapse before an investigation can
begin, and there are nine hours left until that deadline. That's all fine,
except that Jason has a very suspicious-sounding answering machine message.
Surely that, if mentioned to the police, might have swayed them a bit.
- Whit just conveniently happens to be on the phone right when everything happens? A little unlikely.
- All those background sounds are great if you want Jason to put some of that, shall we say, "Boy Scout training" to work, but seriously, are we to believe that he made the call right on the hour, close to a large clock, just as an ice cream truck was going by? Isn't that an awful lot of coincidences?
.... There are plenty of things to consider, which I like, but the overall feel of the episode left something to be desired, in my opinion.
Does Xavier going to Chicago mean that he is moving back in with his mom? I certainly hope not. I would assume not as there was no emotional scene at the bus stop.
I also believe some of the stuff Jason said he was doing to the audio is incorrect. I can't remember what it was, but one of the things can only be done to a stereo waveform. Answering machines are mono.
In all the years of quality radio drama, I dont believe I have ever heard an episode quite like the one I am critiquing now. No Way Out was a new avenue for John Fornof, who, might I add, has recently conducted writings for the Mysteries in Odyssey book series. To me, this episode sounded as if it was dragged from an old, forgotten, dusty book from the 1930s, refurbished, and re-catalogued and reformatted to fit the airwaves of radio. Odd yes. Strange? Indeed. Did it remind me of science fiction? Most certainly. Is it science fiction? No.
The episode itself, unlike many mysteries on the show before, has a way of grabbing a listener by the ears, making sure there is a reason to pay attention, all for the sake of confusing him or her. My initial listen to the episode was an unpleasant one and I was questioned with, Can you pay attention and find out the truth as it is revealed? No Way Out took a different direction than previous action-adventure, mystery shows. Instead of a simple mystery genre that reveals facts at appropriate times to cue the listener in on what is occurring and why it must occur, this episode leaves the listener on the edge of their seat. No questions are answered every few minutes as can be expected. When I listen to an episode, I naturally expect all the answers to be delivered within a reasonable amount of time. However, this episode didnt let me have my own way; it got its own. Id never seen any episode of AIO quite like this before. Or should I say heard?
In general, I mentioned that the episode latched onto my attention, giving me a desire to know the answers now, in my time. Even with this positive and successful goal of John Fornof, the acting didnt exactly aid in keeping my interest. The new character of Lester had such a watery voice and unsatisfactory tone that I reacted to him as a cheesy character. The acting itself was merely forced by the actor. Paul Herlinger seemed to have lacked a motivation to do his best in this episode as well. In The Caves of Qumran video by FOTF, Whits voiceover was horrible. As I listened to scenes with Whit (Paul), I could not help but rewind my life and step back into the first time I had ever seen The Caves of Qumran. Acting, as a whole, could have used a little more work. All other voices on the episode, especially that of Jason Whittaker (Townsend Coleman), were as can be expected and spoke Emmy Awards better.
In regards to the appearance of the Washington Family, I was not as displeased with them as in episodes prior to this. Generally, I have not yet come to terms with the new family on Adventures in Odyssey due to the overly rated, overused sarcasm of the family. The kids are generally sarcastic in just about every comment made to one another. That angers me. They dont get along and it angers me to hear the constant sarcasm. I especially had a problem with this in Something's Got to Change. Now we appear to get a small break from the annoyance, thank goodness.
One standing out scene in this episode includes Jason and Connies struggle to find out the locations of the church bells and jingles. Their eventual epiphany that an ice cream truck nearby has been caught on Whits message adds an entire new dimension and spark to the show.
As a whole, part one of this two-part experiment with the listeners patience (I call it one at least) has created a new way of portraying mystery/action.
The grand finale to the Spring 2004 season is getting many positive notices from fans. Though they have a number of concerns and negative points, the finale was mostly satisfying.
The primary negative that many fans are noting is that there weren't too many surprises in Part 2, especially with the Whit story. Due to the extensive speculation online after Part 1 aired, most of the plot twists were already figured out. The only surprise that wasn't figured out by many fans was that the plumber (and not the lawyer) was the bad guy. Another negative was that the ending to Part 1 ("What have you done with Xavier?") was never mentioned in Part 2 and the jacket itself was only mentioned in one line.
However, on the positive side, fans liked the very unique format of the show with the many varieties of intercutting between storylines. They also liked the terrific music and the sound designspecifically noted is the flashback montage in the hospital. Kudos are also given to the acting by both Whit and Lester, and the further exploration of the Washington family, with many calling it their best episode.
From when Part 1 aired I had to wait 10 days till I heard part 2. The suspense was killing me. It's been one surprising episode. One case solved but another one was unveiled. Lester sure proved himself not to be stupid. While listening to this episode I realized was that each part was as shocking as when Whit fell into Lester's hideout. Or when Marvin and Tamika spotted Mac looking for the safe. It got on my nerves when Lester kept saying 3-18-99, cause any question about where Whit was never said until part 2. I first thought that Whit was it was in somekind of underground hole, under an office building and even dreamed he was in a mental institutethanks goodness it wasn't that. And I'm sure glad he's okay, I don't think after losing him to the Middle East but then getting him back, then losing for now, Eugene, and almost losing Connie, I could handle losing Whit or any other character.
Another thing to be glad about is how we didn't have to wait till next season to find out if Whit was okay. So much to pay attention, so much adventure, so much action, so many theories, and so joy in knowing that wherever you are God will always take care of you. Amen for that. Thanks a bunch to Odyssey writers who help entertain us and give us a powerful biblical messages. Great work AIO team!! And always remember to "keep listening!"
Like most of the avid
fans around here...I did sort of have the mystery figured out in my
head within the first fifteen minutes, I thought that the fun would
end where they find Whit and the men in white coats come and collect
Lester...but what a nice surprise! There's a quirky twist that we
didn't really see coming in the first ep. I like that...unpredictable
mayhem. Lester wasn't mumbling a date, he was saying the combination
to a safe! How unexpected! It also really creeped me out at the end
when Marvin couldn't wake up his parents. Like a snake wrapping around
my leg, while my hands are handcuffed to a radiator in a deserted
cabin; I can't do anything, but screaming for help won't make any
The flashbacks were a new emotion that's never stirred me in AIO. (totally different from emotions that the flashbacks in "The Time Has Come" brings about.) ...
... It was a very nice finale, I can't wait for the fall season. (I still pray every night that AIO will bring Eugene back soon.) What a great year.
Wasn't Part 2 GREAT?
I think it was AWESOME! Without a doubt, 5 stars!!
Good show! I think they might have needed a parental warning at the beginning because of Mac and other stuff. Lester's fear wasn't quite enough for him to hide Whit, was it? Maybe it was. He might've had some sort of phobia. On the whole, great episode.
Wow! For the first time
since I began listening to AIO, Chris summarized the previous episode.
Jason's acting was awesome. I never get tired of hearing from Townsend Coleman! I think that Whit's acting was better this time around.
Lester is a character that I immediately liked for some strange reason. Maybe it's because he's naive like Wooton (but not stupid) or because I've always tended to like the weird characters. :-)
All in all, this episode
rocked!! Great work, AIO!!
One note: Did anyone notice that the numbers of the combination for the safe (3-18-99) are all divisible by 3?
I was less than thrilled with this ending, it was somewhat anti-climatic. It seemed resolved too fast, but it wasn't awful... just not awesome.
I really liked NWI/NWO. It was a great season finale. It was a good story line, but I didn't really get some of it. For instance, the thing with Xavier's jacket. I didn't understand what that had to do with anything. And they didn't really explain it, either. All in all, I thought it was a pretty good mystery and a nice show.
I enjoyed it. I was surprised they wrapped up Whit storyline so fast. I thought the lawyer was bad. Oops. I knew the plumber was bad, but didn't think about Mac=McAlister. All speculation was right. I hope Lester gets good stuff at hospital. I enjoyed it.
My main problem was that Lester's health care facility blatantly violated HIPA laws by giving out information on his medications. Whit had no business to know what Lester was on and in what forms it was available.
5 stars all the way...
The acting, sound effects, music and plotline were all terrific. It was so interesting to see how the stairs was a borderline for Lester.
This was an orginal episode. I don't remember anything like this ever happening in Odyssey History. And...best of all, it spiced up the Washingtons a lot! This is the Washingtons' second mystery.
Lester was a great one-time character. Do I wish that he'd come back? No. But it's not because I don't like him, I just think Odyssey has already enough characters running around. But...I wouldn't mind seeing Whit check up on him once in a while.
Best Part: "I'm Not Stupid Scene" (BTW, that's gotta be one of the choices at the awards). The chase scene was well played by both characters.
My only disappointment: Jason left in a hurry. I thought that was extremely dumb. They should've at least have him at the end...now it seems like his character was left hanging.
I must say, looking at John Fornoff's list of episodes he's written, I noticed that the guy's had the most original ones.
Anyways, great jobeverybody!
Adventures in Odyssey has been the air for 17 years. Would you believe, in all that time, I have not once had the privilege of listening to a multi-part mystery on the radio? Oh sure, I came close with some of the Novacom stories, but those weren't your typical mystery shows. I also had the opportunity to listen to "The Pact I & II" before it hit the airwaves and was in Europe during "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow I, II, III". Before them, the most recent multi-part non-story arc mystery was "Malachi's Message I, II, III" which I heard all at once on Christmas Eve 1999. So then, how was my "first time"? Well, truth be told... it was a mixed bag.
But let's back track a bit. Right from the opening you got the sense that you were in for an adventure unlike anything we've ever heard before. Though really, it's not all that different from "The Perfect Witness I, II, III" in terms of story telling. But rather than listen to Jenny recall the events of her kidnapping and try and solve the mystery along with the detective... here we are actively involved in the story, hearing from both sides of the mystery. It was an intriguing style of show that I wouldn't mind hearing again sometime, but unfortunately, it's a technique that suited this episode and probably wouldn't mesh with many other shows.
Front and center is the Washington family and their new home. It was a great way to open up the story and get the mystery rolling and I enjoyed following the kids on their investigation into the disappearing cheese doodles. Though I made the connection quiet early on that Lester was the one taking the food, which naturally lead to knowing Whit was somewhere in the house. This realization was fairly subtle and I felt no triumph in finding out that was the case the following week. When Chris started the wrap at the end of part one, I felt like there just wasn't even mystery left for part two.
I was right. Thus, my "first time' I spoke of earlier suffered from fan speculation. Before hearing the episode, I welcomed the opportunity to chat with other fans about possible theories and ideas about what was coming up. Unfortunately, there really wasn't much to discuss as most fans all had similar ideas about what was to come. I'd be lying if I told you I had come up with everything, such as the combination for the safe being 3-18-99, but the things I didn't think of were thought up by other fans. Thus it made listening to part two anti-climactic as it was basically confirmation after confirmation of the theories fans had suggested. Some will argue that it's not the writer's fault for fans figuring out the mystery ahead of time, but I only partly agree as we had too much to chew on for a week. Too many hints and foreshadowing were presented to us that filling in the blanks just wasn't that difficult. You'd like to think the writers are two steps ahead of the listener, but in this case, the writers were content in letting us piggyback.
Another thing that bugged me was the "cliffhanger" from part one: Whit discovering that Lester has Xavier's jacket. To just about everyone listening, we already knew that Whit was in the Washington home and that jacket confirmed it. But the way Whit reacted made it sound like Lester had done something terrible to Xavier. Ok, I can get that Whit might logically think that... but the jacket was not once brought up by Whit in part two. It was a cliffhanger for the sake of ending on a dramatic note and never lead anywhere. There was no realization on Whit's part that he was in the Washington home, nor does he acknowledge the jacket once he's in the hospital. Tamika does bring up the "missing" jacket, but she should have assumed Xavier had taken it to his mother's.
Ironically, of all the mysteries going on, the thing that shocked me the most was the speed in which the Whit storyline was finished with. The key element of part one was wrapped up quickly in part two when the search for the cash become the forefront. It was a bit of a twist that the plumber was the bad guy, though I did suspect as much way back when he showed up at the Washington's even before they had a plumbing problem. However, I forgot about that and was duped when the lawyer was on the phone and sounded very suspicious.
And what was with Connie? She had but a few lines and served little purpose in the episode. I guess Jason needed someone to bounce ideas back and forth with, but her character seemed fairly wasted in the long run.
However, I've been discussing a lot of the negatives. Many, many positive things came out of this episode as well. The music was absolutely stunning throughout, particularly in the hospital during Whit's flashback scene which I must admit was terrific. The perfect blending of past and present, without sounding awkward or cumbersome. It may have looked great on paper, but pulling it off would have been tough and the sound engineers did it flawlessly. A very nice moment. Another great moment occurred seconds before that, when Whit's heart stopped beating. It's not so much Whit that I'm thinking about though, it was Lester. I didn't like him for most of part one, but when I heard him call out to Marvin and Tamika I felt proud of him. Of all the various story arcs present in this show, it was his that I enjoyed the most. It was such a natural progression for his character and Jeff Doucette did a wonderful job making me sympathize with his character.
And on its own, the episode is quite good. Well written, exciting, and full of great moments. The Washington family members were all utilized to their full potential, and aside from Connie, so was the rest of the cast. It's unfortunate that we had to wait a week in between shows as most of the suspense just got up and walked away. I envy those fans who will get to hear this episode uninterrupted for the first time, as they are in for a treat. But as far as my own experience with it, I should probably avoid talking with fans next time a two-part mystery airs... I just hate being spoiled! :o)
The conclusion of this two-parter did not satisify me. Sure, I liked it a lot, but there was something missing to the show. I will attempt to figure it out in this review...
The mystery was wrapped up in the first fifteen minutes, really. Sure, we still had the money to find, but I was losing interest at that point. I really liked the climax, as Mac the plumber drugged the parents, tied up the kids, and left it up to Lester to save the day.
Lester was a joy in this show. I don't know why; in fact, this whole show really surprised me and sort of annoyed me. Lester was a little like Wooton, except in the fact that he was intentionally funny. Whenever Wooton tries to be funny, I end up going to sleep, but Lester ended up being an unique chararcter and that's what made him, and possibly the show, for me.
The music in the show was very good, adding tension to the tense points. John Campbell did a very good job, as he always does.
The writing of this show must of been very hard. I don't know why; it just seemed like it had lots to it. A clever job, John Fornof!
I felt that a few loose ends were left. I don't which loose ends, though.
The lesson really didn't bowl me over. In fact, the lesson wasn't highlighted at the end by any of the Odyssey characters. The lesson seemed a little similar to "Called On In Class," except for the fact that the lesson wasn't very strong at all, except in the middle of the show, where you want them to get on with it. Sure, Lester may have overcome his fear of opening a trap door, but he didn't overcome his fear of going upstairs. I felt that the lesson left much to be desired, yet again this season.
This show was quite enjoyable. Way to go, John (F.) and John (C.)!
This one was pretty intense. I hafta admit, kinda cheesy, too. Ya know, the "secret tunnel" and the safe. Lester's acting went down hill too. Whit is just not as wise and thoughful as he used to be. Over all I think the Washington family has a lot of potential, but the kids simply can't act. The whole "3-18-99" line got REALLY old too. The best part of the show was definitely the sound-effects.