Yes, the title is a little cheesy, but now that we're back to regular episodes, I have to go back to opposites. See if you can guess what the title for next week's episode review will be before I post it. :D
Well, I don't have much time to write this morning. In fact, I'm surprised that I am able to do it now. I had to get up really early and hope that whitsend.org had posted the episode link already. Thankfully they had, and I'm listening to it right now. My review might not be as good as usual, because 1. It's early and I'm tired, 2. I have a time deadline rapidly approaching, and 3. I'm just getting back into the reviewing frame of mind after having been off for several months. Plus it's going to be hard doing a different style of review than I did throughout the GRC. So bear with me.
Wow. I actually loved this episode--really loved it. I hope I can go into more episodes this season with low expectations, because this one blew me away. I can honestly say that I liked it more than any other episode that has come out since The Jubilee Singers. It was fully entertaining, and yet it had a very powerful moral that was powerfully driven home without merely being suggested or implied. You could tell that the writers truly wrote this episode to bring across a point, rather than just to entertain. This is the first episode since The Inspiration Station that I actually felt really applied to my life. I was greatly moved by the message, and it's the first time in a very long while that an Odyssey episode really convicted me and made me want to change.
Well now that I've got that off my chest, I'll go review the episode the way I did back in Albums 51 and 52. There isn't really any order to it, but I'll do my best to make it interesting.
It was a pleasant surprise to hear Olivia's new voice in this episode, since I had totally forgotten that that was coming. She sounds like a mix between Charlotte (after she's revealed to be Charlotte) in An Agreeable Nanny and Jill from the Kidsboro episodes. However, I actually think I could like this voice more than I like Hope Levy's voice. As far as I know, she's still played by an adult actress, and there's still a hint of that in there. Oh, I just looked over at AIO Wiki, and not only is she played by an adult, but that adult is Kelly Stables, the same woman who voiced Jill in Kidsboro! I think this new voice is a bit of an improvement, even though she does sound a lot like Jill. Whereas when Hope Levy was Olivia's actress, I complained about how old she made the character sound, I actually like the older, slightly more mature, feeling that Kelly Stables brings to the character. She really brings out the dramatic side of Olivia, which I think is what the writers originally expected Olivia's emphasis to be when they created her. For once, I actually look forward to hearing more of Olivia throughout the rest of the season.
I really enjoyed the sibling rivalry in the episode. The new voice for Olivia fits perfectly to be an arguing opponent against Matthew. Hope Levy's Olivia always left me annoyed after she'd had a fight with Matthew, but Kelly Stables' Olivia really fit well for the role. Her fights with Matthew actually, for the first time, really reminded me of how Jimmy and Donna Barclay were. Could the Parker children finally be giving themselves a good name in Odyssey history as a fictional family that we non-fictional families can fully relate to? Anyway, I was reminded of myself and my arguments with siblings a lot throughout this episode. I once heard Sarah from the Unofficial AIO Podcast say that whenever she encounters families with siblings that almost never fight, she wonders what's wrong with them. :D I agree with her. I think bickering and fighting among siblings, though it is sinful 99% of the time, can bring us closer together and help us to understand each other more. That's exactly what it seemed to do in this episode for Matthew and Olivia. And I loved the resolution scene; for the first time, I think, it really sounded like the Parker siblings really loved each other. :)
Is it just me, or has Wooton's voice changed a bit? He seems to have a more raspy, less silly, edge to his voice these days. But he is still silly. A little too silly. I know he's supposed to be the stereotypical fun-loving, somewhat absentminded, joke-telling, but good role-model character, but I'd like to see the serious side of him once in a while. We did see a little glimpse back into that old, somber side of him when he was faced with a hard decision in the episode, but then he was quickly back to silliness. There was a perfect balance when we had Grady. But now Wooton doesn't really have anybody that he's talking and relating with on a regular basis (unless you want to count Penny, but what kind of an influence on his character has she been?), so we only see him as a flat, one-sided, silly, barely-adult character who is merely there for laughs. Yes, he had a fairly major part in this episode, and we did see a side of him we haven't really seen before (Sunday School teacher), but I was more than a little dissatisfied with him.
The scene with Olivia and her dad was really powerful. I think that's the first time since Always with Ben Shepherd and Aubrey that there's been a real, heart-to-heart, father-daughter talk, let alone one that I felt emotionally connected with. And the music in that scene was amazing; it really added to the poignant atmosphere of the situation. I loved how Scripture was the teaching factor, and not merely words of wisdom from Whit, or worse, a brief lecture from Chris at the end of the show. I honestly think this show had the best moral and the best teaching moments of any show since the relaunch. I very much hope that there will be many more episodes like this to come.
So, that's my review. It was certainly shorter than my GRC reviews, but it was one of my longer ones. I enjoyed writing it, so I hope you enjoyed reading it. Please tell me what you thought about the review, and especially what your reaction to the episode was. Did you like it as much as I did or not? What'd you think about Olivia's new voice? Was Wooton a nice or annoying addition to the heart of the episode?
Rating: 9.5/10 stars.
Be sure to be back next week when I, Lord-willing, review A Penny Saved, which, because it features Penny, I already have low expectations for. Maybe Paul McCusker will surprise me. :D