Please forgive me for not getting a review out sooner. I have to juggle school, preparing for the National Bible Bee, this blog, and a job, and daily responsibilities all at once right now, and sometimes this blog becomes the lowest on that list of priorities. Thanks for your patience.
I'll say right now that most of this review will be either restatements of, or counteractions to the paragraphs of the review that Marvin at The AIO Fan's Life wrote. I won't follow his order exactly, but most of my points will come from points that he makes. I don't have time to re-listen to the episode, but I've heard the majority of it twice, and Marvin pretty much covered it all, so I'll assume that he's fine with my doing this, and proceed this way. (Hopefully this will be the only times this season that I have to do this.) I'm really tired though, so if the review is a bit disorganized, and I ramble more than usual, I apologize.
My initial perception of the episode when I finished listening the first time, like Marvin's, was that it was very simple. I agree with Ben Warren (the Odyssey Scoop's reviewer) that this felt much like episodes after Darkness Before Dawn and The Novacom Saga that were merely transition episodes. Rather than having an original premise, it merely ties up loose ends that were left at the end of The Green Ring Conspiracy. The only problem with that is that not really any of the issues addressed in the episode were problems at the end of the GRC. Sure it was nice to know that Dr. Trask got what was coming to him, but we could have deduced that outcome for ourselves. He was captured and taken into custody, and there was loads of evidence stacked up against him, so who wouldn't have thought that he'd be found guilty on all charges? But I never would have guessed that Penny would be so depressed about it.
Honestly, I was not looking forward to another episode with Penny in it. In my opinion, apart from the part that she played in helping the folks from Whit's End get more information about Dr. Trask, she could have been taken out of the album, and I wouldn't have missed anything. I really disliked her character and the influence she had on Wooton, and she was just a flat character that didn't intrigue me in the least. Now in this episode, she became more round, because the episode revolved around her, but that didn't make me like her much more. I understand how she would have been really bummed to have to testify against a man who was a friend and a father to her, but I thought the extent of it was slightly unrealistic, and then her quick turnaround at the jail was even more so. I don't think this single episode gave the writers enough time to flesh out Penny's problem and then fully resolve it. Yes, there was a semi-satisfying explanation during the picnic scene, but even that was not much. I probably would have liked the episode more if it was maybe a two-parter that gave me more chance to be emotionally connected to what Penny was really feeling.
I was glad to hear from Detective Polehaus again. It seems like he might become the new Officer Burke or O'Ryan who shows up for any Odyssian crime. I liked that he seemed to be one of Whit's End's regular customers. I look forward to hearing more from him. His humor was pretty good, as usual, and his chemistry with the other characters remained great.
Wooton.... I had mixed feelings about him in this episode. On the downside of things, there were, as has been the writers' ongoing habit, many times where a serious subject was being addressed, and he threw in a punchline that was supposed to get me to laugh, but really just made me groan on the inside. I actually did think he and Connie made a good team though. It seems right for him to be sharing his feelings with her, rather than Penny, or even Whit. I dunno, but they just seem to go well together. I liked the little exchange about how he uses humor to cover up true feelings. Maybe that was Mr. McCusker's way of apologizing for all of the times in the GRC that Wooton killed the sobriety of the moment with a joke. If so, then it was an acceptable apology that made me think for a while. But I still wish he and other writers would hold back on the jokes just a bit. Wooton isn't merely loved for his jokes. In fact, I think since Jay has really taken up that position now, Wooton should primarily be loved for his openness and honesty, which we got to see in this episode. He was always great with kids and a good spiritual example to follow, but recently all he's been is the court jester who comes around to lighten the mood, but who ends up being a nuisance most of the time.
I liked how Connie was wanting to be a faithful friend to Penny throughout the episode. As others have mentioned, I think it's great that Connie finally has someone her age with whom she can socialize and connect emotionally. (I personally just wish that someone wasn't Penny.)
I thought the scene with Professor Bruce was a little weird. Why would he be so annoyed at people who put a counterfeiter behind bars? Sure he was a respected professor at the college, but all that time, he was ringleading a nationwide counterfeiting operation aimed at financially tearing down America from the inside! That's about as bad of a non-violent criminal you can get. But the scene with the college student was pretty funny, freeing my mind back up with some great humor. Some have asked why he was so quick to ask Connie out, and I wonder if those people have ever been around secular college kids. It was very realistic. I listen to a radio show where a guy goes and witnesses to kids on a college campus. And most of them are just like this guy was: morally ambiguous and postmodern--no respect for right and wrong, only caring about their personal views and opinions. (Note: I know that I have many readers who attend college so know that I'm not meaning this to be a generalization of all college kids, just the majority of America's young people.
The thing that I liked least about the episode was that it really didn't feel like it belonged in a collection about 1 Corinthians 13. I have to admit that I totally forgot that the episode was supposed to be describing an aspect of love, and I didn't realize that that was supposed to be the moral of the story until I read somebody else's review on the Town of Odyssey. To me, the episode felt like it was just a story meant for entertainment (though it did a poor job had that been the only purpose), like the rest of the GRC. I didn't notice that an aspect of love was being demonstrated at all. Now, of course, I see how that would have worked, with Connie and Wooton, relentlessly pursuing Penny to help her and understand her feelings, but I really didn't get it while I was listening. Maybe I was the only one who felt that way.
So I wasn't especially interested by this episode. It met my expectations as well as a Penny and Wooton episode could, so it wasn't all that great. Maybe my thoughts are just clouded because I'm tired, and I'm being overly negative, but I don't think this would be an episode I'd want to listen to over and over again. Unfortunately if and when I get the album, this show will most likely be on the same CD as Wooton Knows Best, so I'll sorta be forced to hear it multiple times. Oh well. Please let me know what you thought of the episode, and express any of your differing views about the points I made about various characters. I always love to read what you have to say. Hopefully I can get a review of The Amazing Loser out tomorrow. Thanks for reading!