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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!


  1. In the podcast where they interviewed Robby Bruce and David Selby (Buck and Skint), Robby said that he listened to Odyssey when he was a kid. Therefore, I'm assuming he's a christian.

  2. Oh really? That's great! I didn't listen to that podcast. Thank you very much for the information!

  3. Nice Review Christian! I liked the two part idea, it wasn't so long that way :)

  4. I like how you updated your blog so that links and dates are visible. :)