966-969: The Best is Yet to Come

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Archived reviews of Adventures in Odyssey episodes!
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baysimp
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966-969: The Best is Yet to Come

Post by baysimp »

Part 1 released in the Club on Thursday, July 27. The remaining parts should release 1/week on 8/3, 8/10, and 8/17.

As revealed in a recent podcast, this episode has Eugene played by Townsend Coleman, with the help of voice-cloning software.

My predictions before hearing the episode:
The major scientific breakthrough has to be another variation on brain-waves-to-radio-waves. Eugene will probably leave (the album cover has Bernard, which suggests that they'll use clips from The End of an Era.) The real question is, which (if any) Meltsners will accompany him. Arguments could be made for every possible combination, so we'll just have to wait and see.
My thoughts on the Eugene storyline:
I'm not exactly sure why an implanted hippocampus is necessary--couldn't they use the I.S. like what worked on Eugene?
I wonder if the foundation is the Blandshire foundation...
Is there any specific reason they chose Baltimore?
My thoughts on the Buck and Jules storyline:
(background: I do ship Buckles *in theory,* but they have a lot of growing up to do first.)
I don't know HOW their parents didn't see through their (hypothetical) questions about dating. I don't see how they could have been *more* conspicuous.
I predict that the kids will go to so many church functions *for the wrong reasons* that they'll end up being pulled in and start wanting to come *for the right reasons.*
When Jules was complaining about Christianity being too restrictive, she sounded a LOT like Jan.
She wrote a song about the fireworks :inlove:
Maybe it differs between churches, but it seems really wrong to have nonbelievers lead worship.

My thoughts on the episode in general:
Not sure if it's bad writing or foreshadowing, but Eugene seemed more competitive than he's ever been recently (except around Connie).
Chris's wrapup kinda scared me (God's plans are best? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?!?)
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The Top Crusader
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Post by The Top Crusader »

It seems kind of lame that they'd go to the effort of voice cloning technology that is just spot on but then just use it to have a send-off for the character (with a rare guest appearance down the road perhaps?). But maybe they technology is too expensive and/or time consuming to use regularly so they just wanted to do a special final storyarc for Eugene. Or he's sticking around and its all a fake-out.

But my goodness if I didn't know how they were doing the voice I would've just assumed it was sitting around in a vault and Will Ryan had recorded it before his passing. Spot on!
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Post by baysimp »

The Top Crusader wrote: Fri Jul 28, 2023 10:54 am It seems kind of lame that they'd go to the effort of voice cloning technology that is just spot on but then just use it to have a send-off for the character (with a rare guest appearance down the road perhaps?). But maybe they technology is too expensive and/or time consuming to use regularly so they just wanted to do a special final storyarc for Eugene. Or he's sticking around and its all a fake-out.

But my goodness if I didn't know how they were doing the voice I would've just assumed it was sitting around in a vault and Will Ryan had recorded it before his passing. Spot on!
I agree, the technology is really good. There were a couple spots where he sounded more like Townsend, but IDK how much of that is influenced by me knowing it's Townsend.

Part 2 thoughts:
I don't trust Dr. Hunt farther than I can throw him, and since he's an audio character, that distance is *very small.*
I was worried that Buck and Jules hiding the fact that they're dating would be a major plotpoint for the rest of the episode, so I was glad when Buck just got it out of the way as early as he did.
"Then, HA."-Eugene Meltsner, 2023. What a line. =D>
Look at Buck being a gentleman. We don't deserve him. :inlove:
Also, I relistened to 28 Hours on a hunch.
I thought they had mentioned that the Blandshire Foundation was in Baltimore, but I must have misremembered. Here's what I did find out:
Dirvischi (lives in Denmark) gave to the foundation.
It was founded by Dr. Collette Blandshire, who died 'recently' in an unexplained home explosion. (We don't know where she lived or where the foundation's headquarters is/was.)
The neuromodulation chip that Dr. Graham worked on goes on the surface of the hippocampus.
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Post by chadagonye »

Interesting thoughts!!
Like some of the kiddos have noted on the app, since this storyline is only halfway through, one really has to wonder what will happen that will take up two more episodes. Either it's an hour-long tribute with memories of Eugene (which is plausible given all he's meant to the show) or something totally wild and game-changing is going to happen.
I am going back and forth between these two possibilities.


Mini spoiler from Album 77:
There are at least two Buck episodes in Album 77 ("A Streak of Good Buck" pts 1 & 2 with the wiki description "Buck makes a new friend"), but I guess making a new friend could take place in Odyssey OR in Baltimore. So that's no help.
Personally, even though I think Will Ryan is irreplaceable, I would rather have Eugene played by Townsend (who did a fantastic job) than have him go away forever. It would be a lot easier to get used to than the three different Whits -- and even though Whit-switches are a bit jarring, I definitely prefer Odyssey with Whit in it.

But I'm not counting on getting what I want.

PS the only time I got confused between Townsend and Will was one of the earliest lines of the first episode, where I wasn't sure who was supposed to be talking. Other than that, even when listening for Townsend's typical intonational patterns, I found it totally natural to believe it was Eugene.



--Sat Aug 12, 2023 10:41 pm--
Thoughts after Part III

First of all, regarding Buck (spoiler and semi-prediction):
A+ romance. Jules has a lot of growing up to do and stats re: long-distance relationships at that age are not promising, but maybe Buck will come back to Odyssey for college -- after all, CCCC draws students from around the country with its renowned programs in computer science or welding -- and they'll both have matured / grown in faith in the meantime.
Regarding Eugene (this is not really a spoiler but out of super-duper caution):
I felt like this episode not only did an interesting job of having the characters (and, clearly, the actors behind them) grapple with their feelings about Eugene leaving (/Will's death), it also kind of forced me to interrogate my own desires for keeping Eugene on the show, whether or not that is the best thing for the actors, Will's legacy, and so forth. I still don't know how this is going to play out, but I think I will be able to make peace with whatever it is, even though I have long felt that Eugene and Connie are the real irreplaceable heart of the show.
It reminded me of some events/emotions from Season 3 of Twin Peaks (2017), which I'll hide on the off chance anyone who is interested hasn't seen it. These are just my own (simplistic) interpretations, I don't know what David Lynch intended.
About a third of the way through the season, a young boy dies senselessly in a hit-and-run. I think most shows won't let a random kid actually die (although what do I know, my tastes generally lean towards mild-mannered comedy), and I felt like it was a little note from David Lynch that we shouldn't expect things to turn out right just because it's fiction. And then when good Cooper comes blazing back, it feels like a triumph until it turns out that he's flawed too and we can't actually depend on things turning out great. No deus ex machina.
Odyssey, on the other hand, does believe in Deus, ex machina or otherwise, but not the vending machine variety. Whit doesn't get to stay in heaven with Jenny and Jerry (relevantly to the current shows, The Mortal Coil was recorded shortly after Hal Smith's own wife died), and Tom doesn't get to keep Agnes-with-memories-intact.

The actors don't get to keep their dear friend Will, and we might not get to keep Eugene in Odyssey. And maybe this is something we need to move through, instead of around.
Last edited by Polehaus53 on Tue Aug 15, 2023 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Double Post fixed.
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baysimp
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Post by baysimp »

Predictions before hearing Pt. 3:
How are there 2 parts left? Something's got to happen.
Thoughts:
Not the Meltsners are moving to Baltimore, but the Meltsner *family* is moving to Baltimore. :crie:
When Eugene was mad at Connie he sounded more like Townsend.
Polhaus better not get wind of the firework show
Times I wanted to slap Jules:
'everyone leaves me' CONNIE HASN'T!
not BEING THERE for Buck's firework display and song
Going to CALIFORNIA
Leaving NOW?!?!
](*,) ](*,) ](*,)
I've decided some distance will be good for them. She really doesn't deserve Buck.
Predictions regarding Pt. 4:
I'm holding onto hope that there's a reason Ted was on the plane.
Jules is not on the cover :-k
chadagonye wrote: Wed Aug 09, 2023 12:59 pm Mini spoiler from Album 77:
There are at least two Buck episodes in Album 77 ("A Streak of Good Buck" pts 1 & 2 with the wiki description "Buck makes a new friend"), but I guess making a new friend could take place in Odyssey OR in Baltimore. So that's no help.
Yes, I have had that exact thought.
chadagonye wrote: Sat Aug 12, 2023 11:41 pm First of all, regarding Buck (spoiler and semi-prediction):
A+ romance. Jules has a lot of growing up to do and stats re: long-distance relationships at that age are not promising, but maybe Buck will come back to Odyssey for college -- after all, CCCC draws students from around the country with its renowned programs in computer science or welding -- and they'll both have matured / grown in faith in the meantime.
Exactly.
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Post by chadagonye »

baysimp wrote: Mon Aug 14, 2023 7:22 am
Predictions regarding Pt. 4:
I'm holding onto hope that there's a reason Ted was on the plane.
Jules is not on the cover :-k
I had forgotten about that! I can't imagine it won't be a plot point, although it's hard to know exactly how it will play out -
he's not Wilson, or anything! Still, he has had some fairly significant interactions with Eugene. But it will probably be something that leads Jules to see the futility of running away from your problems.
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Post by chadagonye »

Part IV
Sob city. I think this episode was basically a vehicle for everyone to express their sadness. I'll have to listen one more time to confirm my opinions, since it's not impossible that I fell asleep at one point or another, but even though this isn't one of my all-time faves, I'm glad they got to have this closure. It now seems somehow wrong to wish they would keep Eugene in Odyssey. It was special, if somewhat random, to hear Bernard again. (I know how important Bernard is to Eugene, and Dave Madden was probably loved by everyone, so it's not random in that sense.)

Maybe I missed something, but it seems to me like Katrina's feelings, outside of the move's impact on her family members, have not been dealt with AT ALL.
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Post by baysimp »

chadagonye wrote: Fri Aug 18, 2023 3:00 am
Maybe I missed something, but it seems to me like Katrina's feelings, outside of the move's impact on her family members, have not been dealt with AT ALL.
Hmm, good point.

Thoughts:
Uncle Joe Finneman mention!!
"Has anyone seen my keys?" 😭
Burke swooping in to arrest our favorite characters again XD
I'm almost certain there was a real Will Ryan clip in there somewhere--either that or the AI copied a line exactly.
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Post by chadagonye »

Very cool. I'm sure there are so many easter eggs and references that reward repeated listening...but it's so hard for me to listen to everybody cry that I'll probably listen one more time and then wait for the Oddcast to give me the nerdy details!
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Post by baysimp »

Oddcast fans unite! \:D/
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Post by rosiebelle »

I'll bet using voice software is probably not time consuming or too expensive, but it's a little inauthentic. I think using voice software enables a proper send off, but if they were going to keep him around they'd want a legit voice replacement, even if it was a little a different.
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Post by Catspaw »

I just listened to the new album and found these episodes, especially the last one, quite moving. I echo a lot of thoughts from others in this thread about how well the voice and send-off was done. I was definitely crying along with Connie in a couple of spots. Overall very well done.

I'm curious to see what will come next in the world of Odyssey!
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