Reviewed: Square One
Writers: Marshal Younger, Paul McCusker
Director: Paul McCusker
Review Written by:
Ben Warren, Staff Writer
Rating (out of 5):
Matthew joins a mysterious new club and
refuses to tell Emily about their activities. Emily decides that this is a
mystery that she must solve.
reminds me somewhat of
Opposite Day; both are down-to-earth, friendship focused, kid-centric
episodes that keep things relatively light and probably won't turn out to be
season favorites. Both are fine episodes on their own; however,
avoids the mistakes Opposite
Day made and is ultimately the stronger of the two.
Yes, the "Jones and Parker Detective Agency" is back. This time, their
presence is forgiven since the episode focuses on the club's disunity rather
than unity; for those who dislike their presence on the show, this is good
news. Obviously, we see that the lives of the mystery-solving duo isn't all
fun and games largely because of Emily over-possessiveness. Emily wants the
team to focus on the group's new logo and has a problem with Matthew
tinkering with a pen and accuses him of being weird. Really, Emily? Really?
You're the only child who has their own detective agency, and you're
calling Matthew weird for wanting to know how a pen works? Really?
You spend afternoons spying on others with binoculars; you blackmail others
and photograph them from trees; you even suggest that these group of boys
are involved in a conspiracy, but Matthew can't look at your little pen?
Memorable characters make Adventures in Odyssey the success that it
is. Lately I've been wondering why we've had to endure so many dry new
characters lacking interesting or attractive personalities. This was the
root problem with this reboot. Some simple slice-of-life stories were
instantly deemed failures the moment they announced which characters were
starring in them. A glimmer of hope is now creeping around the corner;
Odyssey is slowly solidifying a core group of children who, dare I say it,
have the potential of becoming as memorable as those in the show's golden
age. Is Ryan the new Jack Davis and Nelson the new Oscar? In today's
episode, the chemistry between its characters seemed different. These
characters no longer seemed one-dimensional, but were fleshed out, and
surprisingly worked well together. I thought Ryan, Pete and Nelson made up a
neat threesome, with compelling and contrasting personalities (though I
still find Pete somewhat aggravating). For once in a long time, the episode
ended and I immediately looked forward to when these same group of kids will
appear on the series again.
Admittedly, even Emily Jones, who I still somewhat detest, works quite well
here. For once, the story acknowledges her character faults as the pompous,
egotistical, big-headed individual that she is. The fact that Emily was
blackmailing people and incessantly putting down Matthew made me dislike her
character all the more, but strangely, her attitude worked well with the
story being told. The reality is that Emily Jones isn't the likable child
protagonist that the producers initially made her out to be--unlike Ryan,
who proved his likability in
The Owlnapping. Marshall seems to have understood this. The listener
both easily and rightfully sympathizes with Matthew, feeling frustrated as
he does when Emily Jones interferes with his private business. In the end,
she is humbled--and I don't really mind hearing more from this humbled
Emily. It was even refreshing to hear from a wiser and more sincere Matthew
Parker than the brooding or passive character he played in
The Inspiration Station
and Stage Fright,
respectively. Essentially, both lead characters did a fine job here.
I appreciate how the episode didn't feel the need to waste time having
a separate subplot. The show told a simple story about Matthew's
relationship to a group of guys, and Marshall did a good job at developing
the story thoughtfully and at a comfortable pace; scenes never felt rushed
or feel the urge to end with stale punchlines. While the dialogue ranged
from occasionally lame (Emily's "Yea. In Another Universe *giggle*") to
funny (Pete's "Pasty Resistance"), Matthew's scene with Whit, confrontation
with Emily, and apology to Ryan, were three consecutive well-crafted scenes.
I realize that I've been ignoring Whit in recent reviews. This isn't on
purpose. It goes without saying that Andre Stojka has been doing an
excellent job this season. But has Whit's role in show not become a little
too gimmicky lately? Whit has only been showing up in the final half of the
episode behind the counter, almost as a Deus ex machina, immediately
setting all things right in the land of Odyssey. I know this is who his
character is, and this is how us fans like him best, but it is also starting
to feel a little too formulaic;
will mark the third time in a row his character is used in this manner.
Thankfully, next week's A
Thankstaking Story shakes his role up a bit.
This episode gets three stars for not only being a satisfactory episode, but
for being a somewhat satisfying one as well.
is nice, simple, and well thought-out. In addition to this, it has those
extra elements which distinguishes it from other kid-centric, slice of life
episodes: good chemistry and sincere performances.
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