Episode Reviewed:
No Way Out / No Way In (546, 547)
Writer: John Fornof
Director: John Fornof
Production Engineer: Allen Hurley
Music Composer: John Campbell
Original Airdate: 5/22/04, 5/29/04
Rating (out of 5 cones):


Episode Summary

Whit finds himself in a strange and dangerous situation that he can't understand or control.



The Review

Part One >>

The room. No doors. No windows. No way out. And yetÖ Whit is in there, wondering where he is, why he is there, how he has gotten into an un-enterable room, and what will happen to him. A suspicious man named Lester welcomes him from his sleep and discloses very little information about himself and a series of strange numbers. If this was real life, it would just be a matter of pinching oneís self to make sure he or she is actually in a room such as this with a man of slow taste. As I listened to No Way Out, I was forced to pinch myself to make sure I was actually listening to an episode of Adventures in Odyssey.

In all the years of quality radio drama, I donít believe I have ever heard an episode quite like the one I am critiquing now. No Way Out was a new avenue for John Fornof, who, might I add, has recently conducted writings for the Mysteries in Odyssey book series. To me, this episode sounded as if it was dragged from an old, forgotten, dusty book from the 1930ís, refurbished, and re-catalogued and reformatted to fit the airwaves of radio. Odd yes. Strange? Indeed. Did it remind me of science fiction? Most certainly. Is it science fiction? No.

The episode itself, unlike many mysteries on the show before, has a way of grabbing a listener by the ears, making sure there is a reason to pay attention, all for the sake of confusing him or her. My initial listen to the episode was an unpleasant one and I was questioned with, ďCan you pay attention and find out the truth as it is revealed?Ē  No Way Out took a different direction than previous action-adventure, mystery shows. Instead of a simple mystery genre that reveals facts at appropriate times to cue the listener in on what is occurring and why it must occur, this episode leaves the listener on the edge of their seat. No questions are answered every few minutes as can be expected. When I listen to an episode, I naturally expect all the answers to be delivered within a reasonable amount of time. However, this episode didnít let me have my own way; it got its own. Iíd never seen any episode of AIO quite like this before. Or should I say heard?

In general, I mentioned that the episode latched onto my attention, giving me a desire to know the answers now, in my time. Even with this positive and successful goal of John Fornof, the acting didnít exactly aid in keeping my interest. The new character of Lester had such a watery voice and unsatisfactory tone that I reacted to him as a cheesy character. The acting itself was merely forced by the actor. Paul Herlinger seemed to have lacked a motivation to do his best in this episode as well. In The Caves of Qumran video by FOTF, Whitís voiceover was horrible. As I listened to scenes with Whit (Paul), I could not help but rewind my life and step back into the first time I had ever seen The Caves of Qumran. Acting, as a whole, could have used a little more work. All other voices on the episode, especially that of Jason Whittaker (Townsend Coleman), were as can be expected and spoke Emmy Awards better.

In regards to the appearance of the Washington Family, I was not as displeased with them as in episodes prior to this. Generally, I have not yet come to terms with the new family on Adventures in Odyssey due to the overly rated, overused sarcasm of the family. The kids are generally sarcastic in just about every comment made to one another. That angers me. They donít get along and it angers me to hear the constant sarcasm. I especially had a problem with this in Something's Got to Change. Now we appear to get a small break from the annoyance, thank goodness.

One standing out scene in this episode includes Jason and Connieís struggle to find out the locations of the church bells and jingles. Their eventual epiphany that an ice cream truck nearby has been caught on Whitís message adds an entire new dimension and spark to the show.

As a whole, part one of this two-part experiment with the listenerís patience (I call it one at least) has created a new way of portraying mystery/action.

Rating (out of 5 cones):

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