This time I actually did really, really like this episode. I have almost nothing bad to say about it. There were a few things that could have been better, but I actually only have one complaint.
At the end of the episode, when Chris summed up the show and gave the moral like she usually does, she said that like the kids learned in the show, we shouldn't give more attention to the symbol of something instead of the thing being symbolized. Then she compared it to our relationship with God, and how we should be worshipping the true God, and not a false one. "That would be silly," she says, "almost as silly as paying a ransom for a stuffed owl." It was disappointing that the writers had her say "silly" rather than sin. And then even more disappointing was the fact that she basically said that the sin of idolatry wasn't as bad as what the kids were doing in this episode with the owl. Just something I noticed that I thought I'd point out.
I really liked pretty much everything else in the episode. The first scene was really well done, and was a great way to start off the episode.
I don't think that we've had a basketball episode since The Fundamentals. I very much enjoyed the return of Coach Fang, and look forward to more of him in the future. It's interesting that he's the coach of both the baseball and the basketball team. And I loved that last scene in the episode where they alluded to The Karate Kid with the "Wax on, wax off." : )
It was great to have the return of so many of the newer male characters (Ryan, Pete, Vance), but as in the last episode, sometimes it was quite difficult to distinguish between characters because of the abundance of actors of the same gender.
The sequence of scenes where Ryan was following Vance's directions at Hal's Diner and the movie theater and the barber shop was my favorite part of the episode. It was especially funny when Vance told Ryan to go to the front of the theater and shout out what he did, and Ryan said, "But that'll ruin it for everyone!", showing that he had seen the movie before. : D
Overall it was a great, original episode with a pretty good moral. I was glad that Whit was the one to give the moral at the end; it was a good way for him to continue growing into the part. It was also good that Whit showed that the owl didn't ever really do anything for the team in the past. It reminded me of The Greatest Weapon, where Sam Johnson was trusting his performance in the baseball game to the bat Connie gave him.
This episode reminded me more of older Odyssey episodes than any other in the new season so far, and I hope there will be more like it.
I give it an 8/10. Please comment!