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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Revelations

Well, there's a new Official Podcast out, and this one actually reveals a lot! It's a Q & A session with Paul McCusker and Dave Arnold. There are several things revealed about Album 54 and beyond. If you don't have the time to listen, I've listed the answers to all the questions here.

  • There will be a resolution to the Jason/Mr. Grote saga involving an Agent Billings.
  • There is no connection between Mr. Grote, Dr. Blackgaard, and Mr. Charles.
  • Buck will probably make a re-appearance in Odyssey.
  • The directors played with a variety of different voices with Townsend Coleman to try to get a good Stilletto voice. They ended up choosing the one that they thought would best disguise Jason until he was revealed.
  • Detective Polehaus will be heard in the next album in at least one episode.
  • If Buck re-appears in Odyssey, Mr. Skint will certainly be somewhere nearby.
  • Throughout the recording of the first six episodes of the GRC, the writers were planning to have Penny end up being a double agent, working for Dr. Trask, but because of the direction the actress's voice seemed to be taking her, Mr. McCusker had to go back and re-write the rest of the episodes to keep her on the good side.
  • Mr. McCusker has been growing a beard since 1981, is currently sporting a goatee, and at times has been totally clean-shaven. At one point, his wife commented that he looked like a badger and she really wanted him to get rid of it, so he had to shave it.
  • Mr. Arnold didn't really like his work as Jesus in the original Imagination Station, but he enjoyed any time they did a live show.
  • All of the writers' creativity is God-inspired, but their ideas come from a variety of sources. It's a collective effort every time they write a story.

There was also a one-minute clip featuring snippets from several episodes in Album 54! I can't say that I'm much more excited about what's ahead, but it was still interesting to hear new things from our favorite characters. I don't really have time to explain everything that happened in the preview, so you'll just have to hear it on the podcast.

Finally, the Avery Awards for Album 53 are up! They're a little different than other ones have been before because all the episodes had the same name. It'd be a little difficult to pick best writing, sound design, and overall episode this season, so that's not what it's like this time. Instead, the best actor and actress remain, but then there are new catergories such as "Best New Character," "Funniest Quote," and "Best Cliff-Hanger." So make sure you go vote!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading! Please comment!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Star Trip

If you've ever heard the Odyssey episode Hidden in My Heart, you'll surely remember the ten-minute parody of Star Trek within the episode. A group of college students from Taylor University in Indiana who are part of the Adventures in Odyssey Fan Club at the campus spent a lot of time and talent to create a ten-minute live action video portraying this part of the episode. I found it to be one of the most well-done live action Odyssey videos that I've seen, and I believe it stays with the actual episode almost word-for-word.

Very interesting to me was that I actually know one of the actors in the video. I've come into contact with the girl who plays Crock (parody of Spock) a few times. Her parents live near where I am in Ohio, and I've been in the same soccer league as her. And she was also in the National Bible Bee during its first year, as I was. She won first place in the Senior Division at our local competion, and then she went on to compete in Washington D.C. at the national event.

Anyway, I just thought it was cool that I knew someone in a popular video. I hope you enjoy it! Click here to watch it over at the Odyssey Scoop.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Am I in a Passages Book?!

No, actually, I'm not. But that would be cool! :P

About a year ago, either in late spring or early fall, I don't remember, the AIO team created an opportunity for fans of the Passages series to endorse the books. I think it even included receiving some of the books if your entry was used in any of the republished books. Gooey98/Will has brought it back to my attention that it would appear that I am one of the people who ended up getting on the final cut of the endorsements page. Brock's blog posted a picture of the page that I believe he is referring to around the time that the contest was announced. Here it is:

The paragraph in question is the third one right in the middle which, as you can see, is signed, "Christian A., age 14 Martin Tennessee." Well, though I'd like to get credit for writing that endorsement, I can't. There are two problems with it. First of all, when this picture was released, I was only thirteen. I didn't turn fourteen until September. Secondly, if you scroll down this page and look on the left side of the blog, you will see an "About Me" paragraph. And if you click on to my Blogger Profile, you will see that I live in Ohio, not Tennessee.

So, sorry to disappoint those of you who thought you knew someone whose name was in a book. ;) Although, there is another way that could be true. If you haven't noticed before, on the "Acknowledgements" page of the Official Guide (First Edition, 2008), there are some people you may know listed. Jacob Isom, the webmaster of The Odyssey Scoop is there; along with Chris and Sarah from The Unofficial Adventures in Odyssey Podcast, and Corey/Shadowpaw, the creator of The Soda Fountain, AIO Wiki, and The Town of Odyssey. So if you've ever communicated with any of those people, you do know someone whose name is in a book after all. (And their ministry is probably way better than mine would have been had I been the one to write that endorsement for Passages.)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Here It Is

Due to somewhat popular request (whether spoken or unspoken), I have decided, against my better judgement ;) to show my attempt at an entry for the Odyssey Dollar Contest. I never really finished it, and this was only going to be a rough draft, but I didn't get beyond the rough draft, so this is the best I can give you:

So there, are you satisfied? :P

Thursday, June 16, 2011


As you've probably noticed, the new season, Album 53: The Green Ring Conspiracy is over. I've finished all my reviews, and now you guys are asking for more? :P Well there hasn't been much news recently, and I've been fairly busy. But I'm done with school now, so I should have time to do some stuff here this summer. Maybe (I said maybe!) I'll do some more character reviews like I did over last winter. But those are very time-consuming, and I often can't come up with much to say, so we'll see about that.

If you were involved in the Green Ring Art Contest, or if you'd just like to see the entries and vote on them, you'll be pleased to know that a video podcast was released on the Official Podcast Site yesterday evening. It is a pretty entertaining episode that is, of course, centered around the mischievous Brock. It even features a subtle guest appearance from Kevin McCreary! After you watch the video, you can see the top three entries for each age group and vote on them. Some of them are very well done--enough to confirm my speculation that any attempt of mine wouldn't measure up. ;) So get over there if you're interested.

That's about all the important news I think there is to report. Unless of course you wanted to see TLC's 19 Kids and Counting episode featuring FOTF and AIO, but you missed it. If that's the case but you want to watch it, it's not available for free, but you can buy it on Amazon here for $1.99. I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard, it's pretty enjoyable. There is a short preview of the episode on the Amazon page that gives a sneak peek at the activities on which the family embarks while they're in Colorado Springs.

So, thank you for reading! I'm glad I have readers who are eager to have me writing on a regular basis!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Okay, Now It Really Ends.

Okay, so we left Jason running across the top of the train to get to the engine to stop the train to stop the trip across the county to stop the counterfeiters from getting their money distributed everywhere. Important stuff. I think Marvin had a great idea in comparing this episode to Exit, the last episode in the Novacom saga, where everything is a fast-paced attempt to end a plot to take over the world with mind control. I think Novacom did do a better job with making you feel like it was a world-wide conspiracy because there were several episodes were Jason was experiencing Andromeda's effects in Alaska and even to some extent when he was in Ecuador. In this newer saga, we're only just now starting to get the idea that this could be an American crisis, but it really doesn't feel that way; it certainly doesn't seem like a few guys (i.e. Dr. Trask) could be behind a plot to overthrow America from the inside. But Jason did relay that Mr. Groat said that these guys think that they're just in it to get money. They don't know the deeper purpose, whereas in the Novacom Saga, everyone except probably the employees at Novacom knew what was going on; it wasn't controlled by some big guy in Korea. The chairman was right in town at one point. But in regards to the type of episode--fast paced, adventure/thriller--TGRCXII and Exit are pretty similar. But unlike Exit, as my dad remarked, there were a lot of things in this episode that had to come together at just the right time. That ends up making the episode feel somewhat rushed and implausible. In Exit, however, everything made sense and came together in a liquid way that didn't seem coincidental. But now that I've taken care of that comparison, I'll get back to the review and try to finish it before I have to go eat breakfast and start my day.

Whit and Polehaus arrive at the train track, and again, to the detective's surprise, the bad guys got away! Who would have guessed that a train would be faster than a few old men on foot? Whit calls his research team at Whit's End to ask where the tracks lead because the police's maps don't have the track on them. Matthew says that the track continues down the mountain, past Shadow Springs, and on to...Haggler's Junkyard! What a crazy, random happenstance! The train just happens to go to a split in the track where it could head off to the business of someone who's involved in this whole thing. I think maybe Archie would have been smart enough to look ahead on his map and see that there was a possibility for a run-in with his brother, and then he would have done everything possible to insure that wouldn't happen. But that's where the train finds itself, and Mr. Whittaker ends the scene telling Eugene to pray--specifically because he believes Connie, Penny, and Wooton are on the train.

Eugene calls Wally Haggler at the junkyard who can "hear the train a-comin'. It's comin' round the bend!" When I heard that line I knew it had to be alluding to something like a line from a song or a movie. Sure enough, the ever-faithful AIO Wiki reports that it's a reference to the song "Folsom Prison Blues," an old Johnny Cash song. Anyway, in their attempts to figure out how to stop the train, the investigative team at Whit's End figures out that there should be a track-split with one track going into the junkyard. Wally confirms the information, but says that it's old, overgrown, and it leads right to his storage shed! (We can just see the disaster coming. ;D) But Eugene commands that stopping the train must be the priority. They look around for the electronic box or button to switch the track, but then Matthew asks what type of train it is. Wally replies that it is part of the Barrymore line, and what a coincidence, that's the same one that Emily hammered Matthew for knowing too much useless information about. Matthew tells him that there should be just an old-fashioned manual switch he'll need to throw right at the spot where the track splits. Jay goes on the same tirade Emily previously did, but Emily shows her excitement and says that she's glad Matthew knows what he's doing. Hmm...maybe more evidence of a crush? ;) Matthew yells to pull the switch, and Wally tells Jay to help him do what the man said. But Jay's too concerned about the fact that his uncle just called Matthew a man; Wally yells at him to drop it and just help him pull the switch!

Over on the train, the engineer, a wonderful voicing job by Jess Harnell, argues with Barney, a wonderful voicing job by Phil Lollar, about where and when the train will need to drop off the freight cars. To the extreme surprise of the engineer, Jason appears, no longer disguising his voice. Jason expresses his desire to stop the train, but the engineer stops him because he doesn't have orders for that. He tells Barney to call Uncle Archie to see if the orders came from him. Jason makes an attempt to grab the phone, beginning an all-out, old-fashioned radio fight accompanied by exciting music. The three guys are in a tussle for control of the train, knocking over the engineer's coffeepot in the process, to his utter dismay.

Meanwhile, Jay cheers Wally on as he tries to pull the switch. Then Wally gets the genius idea that maybe Jay should help him. Jay is disappointed, because he thought he already did his hero bit yesterday when he threatened to shoot Buck with the ice cream scoop, but he reluctantly helps his uncle. When they finally get it, they take a moment to bask in their victory, but then realize that they should probably get out of the way, and they make a run for it. Back in the train, the engineer stops the fight over the phone when he notices the two characters who just messed with the tracks. They realize what has happened, Barney yells for the engineer to stop the train, but he doesn't have orders, so he's paralyzed. Therefore, Jason just yells for them all to brace themselves because they're going to crash into the storage shed. And crash they do! There's a very prolonged crashing sound that sounds great in my earphones that are apparently equipped with surround sound. It was a classic radio sound effect that must have taken the sound designers a good bit of time to construct.

After a commercial break, Wally and Jay get up at the crash site, and Wally whines about his demolished shed, but Jay consoles him with the thought of all the sheet metal he'll get out of it. To most everyone's surprise then, Archie Haggler pulls himself out of the wreckage wondering what happened. He says hello to Wally and, and Wally welcomes his brother to his place of business. But Archie is concerned about the fact that they weren't supposed to stop here. Wally lets him know that his train made a detour, but that he might have a job for Archie...once he gets out of jail. The carnival master hardly thinks he's going to jail, but then police sirens are heard blaring in the background, and Wally tells him he's not getting out of this one. But if he decides to stop being a haggler and starts acting like a decent human being, Wally says, he might get an early parole. A very disillusioned and discombobulated Archie seems to have a hard time getting that thought through his head. Sad.

Rewind a minute or so, and a little further down the track our favorite trio of hostages experience the train crash from their position on the train. As soon as Wooton makes sure everyone is alright, he starts another attempt of making light of the situation and he and Penny talk about how comfortable the crash was because of all the money, and that Uncle Archie should think about instigating them into his Whiplash ride to make it softer. They are pretty oblivious, because not only did the carnival just auction off all of the parts because they were finished with them, but Archie is part of a nationwide counterfeit ring, and they still want him to run a carnival. Unbelievable. Connie realizes right at that moment that the man with the accent whom they found in the box was Jason! Penny ends the scene with a remark that whoever he was, she doesn't give him high marks for his train driving.

Then for probably the last time ever, we hear the Skint music. *sniffs* I think I'm going to miss it--not! Buck and Mr. Skint have come back to the trailer to take Katrina as a hostage. But Buck is very opposed to the idea, and he argues with Mr. Skint about it. Skint assures him that he wouldn't do it unless it was necessary for their survival. But Buck understands all that now, and he sees through Mr. Skint's lies, and he now knows that there's more to life than survival. Mr. Skint tells him that it's fine if he wants to stay, but he warns him that, unlike him, the police know what Buck looks like, and if he takes Katrina back, he'll almost certainly be caught. But Buck stands up in the face of his guardian, and makes the right choice. Skint leaves, and Buck unties and ungags Katrina; she tells him that she prayed he would do what he did.

Back at the junkyard, Whit comes upon Monty and tells him he should be in the hospital. But Monty asks if they have the money and the bad guys. Whit says that the boxes have been rounded up, and Archie and his gang are in custody. I'm wondering how Jason got away without getting arrested, but that isn't answered. Connie runs up to Whit and tells him that she saw Jason and he had a message: the plates are at TLC. I'd never heard this before, but apparently those initials usually stand for Tender, Loving Care, so that's what Whit assumed. But when Monty hears about the plates, he knows that Jason meant the engraving plates. When I heard this, I thought that they were being strangely naive, because I thought it was obvious that TLC ment Trickle Lake Concrete/Cement.

Over at Whit's End, Eugene thanks Matthew and Emily for the critical part they played in stopping the criminals. They say they were glad to help--except that they had to be in a library so long with computers that are so outdated. :D Then Katrina comes in and tells Eugene about her mission to rescue Buck that got flipped around so that he rescued her. Buck comes down the stairs and says hello. Eugene somewhat reluctantly thanks him for saving his wife, and then Buck apologizes to Matthew, but Emily specifically for all the lies and for using her. He says that they're good people who deserved better. (Once again, Katrina's horrible indoctrination is putting the wrong things into his mind. And I absolutely hate to think about what this may have done to the actor, who more than likely isn't a Christian. "There is none good but God." We all deserve hell! Not anything better. How can unbelievers see their need for savlation if they think they are good people?) Just before Katrina leaves to take Buck to the police station, Emily asks where Mr. Skint is. Buck explains, and Emily says she's sorry. After they leave, Matthew asks Eugene what will happen to Buck. Eugene says he doesn't know, but whatever it is, he wants to believe it will change him for the better, by the grace of God. There we go, right there! 1. Buck needs changed for the better. He doesn't have a good heart. Jeremiah 17:9 and 2. It can only happen by the grace of God. We cannot do anything to change our hearts for the better. It is God who regenerates us; it is God who saves. We have absolutely nothing to do with it, other than the fact that it is us God chooses to save--us, wretched and wicked as we are. Even though it was our sin that put Christ on the cross, God loves us anyway. That is the message that needs to be carried across, and I'm glad it was strongly hinted at here. Eugene's line comes close to redeeming everything wrong Katrina previously said. But not completely.

In the next scene, Detective Polehaus meets with Whit and Monty, telling them his team has everyone who was on the train booked, and he's got APBs out on Skint and Trask. But they still have to figure out what is meant by TLC. Monty reminds them that a truck stopped at Trickle Lake Cement, but Polehaus says that was checked out, and it was supposedly for material for Archie's patio--except that there's no concrete patio at Archie's house. They seem to be at a dead end. But Monty didn't come all this way just to fail at the end. Whit reminds him, however, that it was only a few days before that he met with Mr. Skint on the dock, so he hasn't failed at all. That triggers something in Monty's brain though, and he now knows what TLC means.

They rush to Trickle Lake and head to Dock C, where the original meeting place was. There is a chain hanging on one of the posts of the dock, and the team figures out that the truck's stop at Trickle Lake Concrete must have been to get a hollow block of cement in which the engraving plates could be stashed and hidden. No one would have ever guessed to look for them at the bottom of a lake, and Dr. Trask is still out there, so he could have pulled those up at any time and escaped to another part of the country to restart his operation. But wait, do I hear another weird coincidence calling? Yep! At the very time that the guys are looking at the lake, they hear a sound from inside the nearby boathouse. Detective Polehaus kicks down the door again, and who is there but...Dr. Benjamin Trask. He claims to have been admiring the waves, but somehow, I think Polehaus doubts that was what he was doing from inside the shed, so he arrests the professor. As Trask is hauled off, he tries to explain to the detective something about his lawyer and the circumstantial aspects to the events at hand. Oh boy. To end the scene, Detective Polehaus thanks Whit and Monty for all their help, and then Whit ties everything up by congratulating Monty on the completion of his first big case and telling him to go call his mother like Whit promised Jana he'd do.

In the last scene, Whit comes upon Jason who's gotten into his house, apparently by breaking a window. He says that he had a meeting with Mr. Groat before he was drugged into the crate. He decided he didn't trust him anymore and was trying to get rid of him. Now Jason's going to follow him back to Hong Kong and try to tie up that loose end. Whit warns him not to get lost in the labyrinth, and then he leaves. Whit closes out the album by remarking, "Case closed...for now." Hmm...

Chris does an extra-long finishing speech about what we should have learned throughout this album. She says she hopes that listening to this will have given listeners things to think about and discuss with family and friends. Honestly, I haven't thought about doing that at all. I don't really think to apply the principles used in mysteries to real life. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not planning on talking about how to see through deceit and lies and discerning truth with my friends. But maybe that's just me. Chris gives a short salvation message right at the end that is a little better than last week's, but not much. But I guess I can be thankful it was there. Then she gives the list of actors and actresses, and implores us to join her next time for another Adventure in Odyssey. I certainly hope to.

Well, that's it! I'm done! Whoo-hoo! *does a dance around the room* This has easily been the toughest reviewing season I've done yet. Hopefully I won't have to do my reviews this way again for a long time. Please tell me what you think! Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

...And So It--ENDS!

I'm debating within myself over which way I'm going to review this last episode this week. The last couple of weeks, I've listened to the episode all the way through once, and then I've started to review it. Then I hear it on our local radio station later in the morning, get some new insights, and then finish the review, scene by scene. But this week, since it's the last show of the season, I'm thinking about reviewing as I listen for the first time. It'd be more difficult, and I think it'd take a little longer, but it might turn out better. But I so badly want to listen to the whole thing and see how it all turns out! I don't know what I'm going to do. I've been waiting for weeks to hear this last episode, even though I could listen at any time now that I have ownership of the CD, so now that I'm finally authorized to listen to Part 12, I think I'll just enjoy, then I'll review it.

Wow. Fast forward half an hour, and I'm pretty impressed. Pretty much all the story lines were resolved, and all without making the episode feel too long. In fact, I think this episode was actually a bit shorter than most of the others, because there was time for an extra-long ending with Chris at the end. But anyway, here's my review:

The first scene of the show takes place apparently an hour or so after the last one left off. Detective Polehaus is reeling and yelling over the fact that after a 20-mile chase with the trucks, not a single dollar was found. He yells to Martin that he wants all the drivers arrested and every single inch of the equipment in the trucks disassembled, because the money has to be somewhere! Duh, but I highly doubt that the counterfeiters would be so dull as to let their money be in such an obvious place. Maybe, detective, you could look for the money in a less obvious place, since criminals usually try not to be obvious? :P Just a suggestion.

Martin gets Mr. Whittaker on the line, at Polehaus's command, and in the next scene, Whit connects him with Eugene in a conference call. Polehaus informs them both about the absence of money in the trucks, and Whit deduces that the only other place they're hoping the money could be hidden is the Old Ross Compound. But Polehaus reminds them that he checked the whole compound and didn't find anything. He says he has a man staked out there now, but it's been quiet. They stormed Dr. Trask's house, but he was gone, and there was no room for millions of counterfeit dollars, so the compound really is their last lead. Whit remembers that Matthew and Emily were researching at the library, and he asks Eugene if they found anything about the compound. Emily jumps in and tells about a layout that she found of the five buildings in the compound. Polehaus stops her and asks if she's sure there are five, because he only saw four. Emily says that yes, there is an extra building that's over to the east of the compound. Matthew found some information that suggests it's a gigantic underground bunker that would be covered over to look like a hill. That's enough information for Detective Polehaus--he decides to raid the place! (But somehow we just know that isn't going to work. :))

So they raid the bunker, but all they find is...hay bales? How is this possible?! Detective Polehaus was so sure that he was going to catch them! He was so sure that the criminals would be dull enough to stay in one area long enough to be caught! How could they have gotten away with Polehaus's men watching all the roads?! Uggh. Polehaus is way too full of himself and way too intent on catching the bad guys. He really thinks that they are going to be dumb enough to stay in one spot so he can catch them and haul them off to jail. I thought he was supposed to be a professional detective. But I guess he is only from Connelsville. Anyway, Whit's concerned about another aspect to this whole thing that has just been brought to light. He sees licorice bags, raspberry soda cans and a Winnie the Pooh picnic blanket on the ground. Was it the criminals taking a quick break to celebrate Polehaus's stupidity? I think not. Whit knows enough to be sure that it was Wooton. And who else would Wooton be having a picnic with than Penny and Connie? This means that the conspirators must have kidnapped the trio! Oh no! I'm so concerned that this could mean the end of Wooton! No, not really.

In the next scene, Monty, as Whit's "one last hope" to find out from Dirk Beggs what the numbers mean, bursts into Beggs's hospital room to make one last interrogation. Of course, the nurse is ticked again, and she runs off to get Dr. Graham. I think Marvin made a perfect analogy when he compared her actions to a little girl running off to tell Mommy that Big Brother is disobeying. :P With her out of the way, Monty threatens Dirk with being left to the Stiletto (even though neither of them yet knows who he really is), and Dirk decides to give in and spill everything, since he guesses that the money is probably long gone by now. He reveals that the numbers in his cell phone were from a text message that Mr. Skint sent to him. He scribbled the numbers down from the cell phone, and he was supposed to pass it on to the Stiletto, but Agent Tanner called, there was a tussle in the plane, and it crashed, and everything went downhill from there. But back to the point, Dirk finally uncovers the key to this whole puzzle: the numbers are freight cars attached to a private train.

Jumping right to the next scene, Mr. Whittaker relays the information to a very surprised Eugene, and Matthew finally understands how everyone disappeared from the compound. There's a line on the map that appears to be a dry riverbed or a road which leads to a railroad track. The counterfeiters must have used it to get the money to the waiting freight cars, and by now they're traveling at high speeds to distribute the fake cash all across America.

Back at the hospital, Monty is getting more information out of Dirk. The train will be taken to Chicago on a track that hasn't been used in years. Along the way, the freight cars holding the money will be coupled off with other engines waiting at places throughout the country, and then they'll be taken to rendezvous points where the money will be collected and distributed. As Monty remarks, it was a great idea. What better way to inconspicuously distribute counterfeit money throughout the entire country but by train. No one but the hardest thinkers would even consider the possibility of using a train, so it could all be done possibly right under the noses of watching policemen and detectives. And you have to give props to Mr. Groat for coming up with this big plan from his station in Korea; it's the perfect way to break America down from the inside, without anyone aware of it. Financial terrorism, Jason called it. Genius. After that explanation, the nurse comes back in and Monty has to leave, but we've gotten all the information necessary to stop the counterfeiters. And now the question is, can we stop them?

In comes the Skint music, along with the sound of a train, and Mr. Skint tells Buck that it's all over now; everything is taken care of. But Buck's concerned about the three hostages in one of the freight cars. Skint assures him that they'll be alright; they'll probably be dropped off and pointed back in the right direction somewhere along the way. However, Buck isn't satisfied, because he remembers that Archie talked about getting rid of those who got in the way. But Mr. Skint says that that isn't their concern, but that they need to focus on the one task they have left to accomplish. To me, it sounded here like Skint meant to get rid of Buck, but as the show progresses, it seems that he really does care for Buck, and the one last job they have to do is to take Katrina as a hostage for insurance.

Then, after a commercial break, we get our first view inside the train where Connie is starting to get into her stressed mood. She doesn't know where she's going, she's trapped, and she's surrounded by millions of dollars she can't spend. (Honestly, the sinful, wicked part of my nature is telling me that I would have stuffed my pockets with some of that stuff. I don't know how the counterfeiters trusted them to do that. But the righteous, godly part of me would have done something like opened all the boxes and dumped them out of the train. :D That would have been fun.) While Connie is stressed, Wooton is care-free and making his annoying wisecracks, and Penny is dejected and doesn't feel like even trying to get out because the man she trusted most in the world has turned out to be a fake. Then Connie makes an amazing revelation and tells us that that is the very reason why she doesn't trust anybody. What? Is she serious?! No, actually. But (and in comes one of the most theologically deep deliveries in the whole season), we have to know where to put our trust. She says that Christians start with Jesus (yes, exactly!), putting our trust in Him, and then everything else comes after that--the Bible, and the Holy Spirit for wisdom and help. The Spirit's illumination using the Scripture is how we discern between who we do and don't trust. Connie tells Penny that although we still make mistakes, she likes to think the Holy Spirit's influence cuts down on a lot of them that she's inclined to make.

I'm so glad that that all was put in there. Yes, we are inclined to make mistakes as part of our totally depraved sinful nature. But we need to first and foremost trust in Jesus' atonement to cover over our sin and to vindicate us before a holy God. And we trust in His perfect life that's accredited to our account to present us as righteous before God. And then the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to cut to our hearts and convict us and give us truth for life. Amen! All that may have almost totally redeemed all of the sketchy stuff about good hearts and good people that Katrina's been spewing out like a hose spurting filthy water. Anyway, Wooton, who is getting really good at ignoring spiritual things, changes the subject to the fact that based on his knowledge of a train that someone he knew from Alaska once owned (could this be the same friend who owned the underground bunker?), there should be a trap door right behind the pile of boxes in the corner. But just before they start to clear the way, a loud banging sound starts to come from a large man-sized crate. They undo the latches, and see a man wearing sunglasses and a hat with a New Yorkian accent who is groggy from drugs used to persuade him into the box. I don't know about you, but I'd be a little freaked out if I came across a shady character such as the Stiletto. He asks Wooton which way will get him out of the train, and as he goes out, he tells Connie by name that she needs to tell Mr. Whittaker that "the plates are at TLC." He then leaves, planning to run along the top of the train because Wooton tells him that it usually gives him inspiration. I'd like to know how many times Wooton has had the chance to run atop a train to know that it frequently gives him inspiration. But my main concern is that I hope there aren't any tunnels coming up any time soon. Yeesh!

Well, I'm sorta out of time for now, so I think that I'm going to do what Marvin did, and divide my review into two parts. Hopefully I can get the second part out by tomorrow morning. But I'd still like to hear your comments on this part! Thank you for reading!