I probably shouldn't have read Ben Warren's review of this episode at The Changing Times before I tried to review it, because he said everything that I wanted to say, and I might sound like I'm ripping him off, copying everything he said. I'll try to keep this all original, but I'll give the credit to him for bringing most of these thoughts to the forefront of my mind. It has been several days since I read his post though, so I think this should be mostly from my mind.
I really, really, really liked this episode. From the very beginning of the episode, I knew I was going to like it. The episode summary gave away that it was going to have a single storyline, without trying to meld two or three together for a singular moral. Therefore, I had high expectations, since I tend to like singular stories better. And the episode definitely met my high expectations. It was high in entertainment value, it definitely held my attention, and it had a great lesson to be learned.
The plot for this story was very original and genius. Not only have we had very few episodes in nursing homes in the past, but we've never had an episode where someone is cheating one of the residents. I think this is what made the story so emotionally engaging. Two teens stealing money from an old lady is something we can all see as deplorable and evil. So from the beginning, we are genuinely disappointed and frustrated with Jay for taking the money, and then we can later sympathize with him when Vance forces him to keep doing it with blackmail.
The characters and actors were all amazing in this episode. Kelly Stables again did a wonderful job as Olivia. I'm glad the directors decided to keep her on, instead of going back to Hope Levy. Ms. Stables makes her a much more likeable character. Whit Hertford, as always, nailed Jay's character and emotions. Vance's actor gave him the perfect sinister sound. Mrs. Kramer was true to the character we've grown to like over the last few episodes she's been in. And even Andre Stojka surprised me by doing a very good job as Whit. He was only in a couple of scenes, but he seemed much more like Whit than he has in the past. It was great to have him in that climax scene where Jay gets himself caught.
On that note, I don't understand why so many people were confused by Jay's actions in that scene. It totally made sense to me that he was giving himself away. He had already demonstrated that he didn't want to ask for the money anymore, so when he did ask, I knew exactly what he was doing. And I thought it was a very intelligent move. It was a great resolution, and it was what made the episode so great. Jay listened to his conscience and showed us that he is able to do the right thing, even when it meant getting Vance totally ticked at him. And he was content to take the punishment for what he did wrong.
Well I'm running out of time to write this morning, so I'll say, I really loved this episode. It was a true slice-of-life episode, the likes of which we haven't seen for a long time in Odyssey. It was great to hear of places like J&J Antiques and other places around Odyssey that we've known and loved for years. I very much hope that the writers will give us more episodes like these in the future.