Sorry I'm not long winded. Someone will probably post a huge review and then I can reply and say, 'I agree with soandso.' =)
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You know those mystery books for kids where a group of youngsters, usually 10 to 12 years old, stumbles upon some super-secret conspiracy in their town and must do everything in their power to solve the case? There haven't been many "mystery" episodes in AIO that fall into this category - until now. Just about all the suspenseful episodes we've heard in the show's almost-20-year history center around a story arc (Blackgaard, Novacom) where a lot is at stake, or some "smaller" incident involving the regular Odyssey characters. And now, we have an episode that combines the best of both worlds, even though it doesn't seem to be a part of a story arc. There isn't a group of kids in this one, but the central character, Wooton, is such a kid at heart. It's definitely not typical Odyssey, but it's so fun to listen to. A mystery focusing on something so eccentric (a comic book symbol appearing on windows) and where help is desperately needed is so fitting for Wooton's character.
Speaking of Wooton's character, I must voice one minor qualm about this episode before moving on to the many positive aspects I enjoyed...the beginning. Now, keep in mind that I've always enjoyed listening to Wooton since day one. I love his character. In fact, when I first heard "Welcoming Wooton," I knew there was something about him that was really likable, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. Was it his jovial attitude? That was part of it, but what made me enjoy his personality was his love for people. As I thought about it more, I realized that Wooton and I share a lot in common. (Hopefully that doesn't scare some people. )
But in the beginning of this episode, Wooton's enthusiasm is taken a bit too far. Did he really have to act the way he did at the Seawright office? I personally didn't find anything humorous about it, and it just made Bernard even more annoyed. Maybe I'm overreacting to this one little bit of an entire three-parter, but it, unfortunately, set the stage for the rest of my listening experience for this episode. Thankfully, when I heard it a few more times, it didn't seem to bother me as much...but I hope it somehow gets addressed in part 3.
Fortunately, after the incident at the Seawright office, the rest of the episode improves significantly. Listen for some very "natural-sounding" dialogue between Wooton (at least for his character ), Bernard, Whit, and minor characters like Mr. Montoya and the security guard. Many of the lines had me smiling ("It looks like a truck without binoculars too!", "We're just drinking coffee and eating donuts; that's not against the law, is it?", "They love to bounce balls against the wall," "I'm not his father!", etc.) My personal favorite scene is the stakeout scene at the factory. We heard some hilarity from Connie's song at her stakeout in "Living in the Gray," but this is even better. Wooton's reactions to everything in that scene are an absolute joy to hear ("I don't know how they do it either...but it's SO COOL! Imagine being paid to do this!") compared to his lines in the first scene. Bernard's interactions with Whit and Wooton sound just like the character we all know and love. Like I mentioned in my review of part 1...Paul McCusker is a master of character development and dialogue.
Now, on to the music: I have mentioned, on many occasions, how much I disapprove of the bouncy "circus music" that has permeated many of the recent episodes. But it somehow seems a bit more appropriate here - maybe because Wooton is the main character and there's a lot of humor. For part 2, when the plot thickens and the situations become a bit more serious, that style works in some places, but not others. It worked in part 1, but for this episode, some of the music cues were a bit much after listening to some of the more "serious" scenes. Again, I'll use the stakeout scene as an example. After Whit said, "How did he know my name?", we hear some overdramatic, fast, exciting music. Maybe it's just me, but it didn't fit after listening to such a suspenseful scene with much more spooky music. There are a few episodes that Paul McCusker has penned where "serious" situations are taking place, but the music manages to sound normal, not suspenseful or overbearing ("Tom for Mayor" comes to mind). Perhaps that could have worked here.
The one "style" of music that I really enjoyed was what I'll refer to as the "comic book music," which was used in between a few scenes. It's a fun combination of fast-paced, adventurous, but not necessarily overbearing music. We heard some of it as Wooton raced out the door at the end of part 1, but we get to hear even more of it here in part 2. Considering that the mystery centers around a symbol from a comic book, the music is appropriate and sets a fun, daring tone for this show.
There's also some very subtle nuances to listen for, like Wooton revealing where his name came from. Also, the "serious" scenes such as the stakeout, Wooton's discussion about coincidences, and the conversation with Wooton and Joseph have an appropriate amount of humor - if any at all - and convey their messages effectively. If only more recent AIO episodes were as such. Speaking of serious moments, I really enjoyed the subject matter revealed at the end. Some may disagree with me, but I think it's appropriate to occasionally address issues like illegal immigration on AIO. Alluding to current topics like these can work as good discussion starters between kids and parents.
I'm looking forward to part 3. This episode is awesome, and I think we've got an exciting conclusion ahead! I'll be giving ratings for all three parts in next week's review.
I believe that line was "I don't know how they do it either...but it's SO COOL! Imagine being paid to do this."("I don't know how they do it either...but it's SO COOL! Imagine being begged to do this!")
I gave this one a four, the music was better, the only thing holding it down was that scene in the office, though the plot still seems a little more straightforward than I like. (Though that point about the guard knowing Whit's name may fix that in the next segment.)
I concur with your substance comment, H Tide. Part I dragged a little, but Part II really zoomed. Sooooo much happened in Part II, and it made me want to listen again and even go back to Part I, both of which I did.H Tide wrote:This was a great follow up to Part I. While the first episode didn’t seem to have much substance to it, this episode had a lot of substance.
Agreed with your minor quibble, noname. It was annoying, but thankfully Wooton acted more respectably in the other parts.noname wrote:But in the beginning of this episode, Wooton's enthusiasm is taken a bit too far. Did he really have to act the way he did at the Seawright office?
The Joseph and Wooton factory conversation scene that started with a chase and ended with a kidnapping was fantastic. Joseph revealed the wrongdoings of Seawright and the enormity of the Freddy C. situation while Wooton prodded him with appropriate childlike inquiries--great. I've never loved Power Boy, but the comparison between the disappearance of Omega Man and the disappearance of Freddy C. made me smile; Wooton was the perfect person to be on the receiving end of that comment. The Omega Man tie-in was also good because it brought Power Boy into the picture again; it would have been disappointing if the symbol on the glass was only a mechanism to get us to the factory issue.
Our family caught the end of this episode on the way to church, and I filled them in on the details. I could've done without the occasional comedic Wooton line, but others including my dad enjoyed them. My teenage brother, who doesn't seek out Odyssey but will pay attention if on, even inquired about Part III. This was one of my proudest moments as a Thursday evening new-episode listener.
Part I was average; Part II was great. I like the trend.
Wooton cracks me up.
AW MAN! LAWYERS!
what's with the glass place at midnight?
I'd have to agree with Brenard on this one.
YAY! Whit's Going along!
YUP! How did he know whits name? I wondered that too!
I didn't know Whit could do that!
"No, they were just old"
"WOW! Slave Labor!
GREAT! AND I HAVE TO GO TO BED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!