Writers: Nathan Hoobler, Paul McCusker
Director: Paul McCusker
Music: John Campbell
Theme: Following the right path
Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2
Airdate: 3/03/12, 3/10/12,
Review Written by:
Ben Warren, Staff Writer
Rating (out of 5):
Jason's pursuit of Mr. Grote
leads him to London, where he finds a plot even
more ominous than the Green Ring Conspiracy.
Jason must seek the help of some old friends to
unravel Mr. Grote's schemes before it's too
There was a time when three-parter episodes were considered a
rare luxury. The very first wasn't until episode 135,
Back to Bethlehem, which was proceeded much later by
The Perfect Witness,
The Underground Railroad,
The Search for Whit.
What do all of these episodes have in common? For one thing, today they're
certified classics; for another, they take us beyond what we're used to on
Adventures in Odyssey...to other times, and other places.
Unlike recent three-parters,
took me to another place. The initial criticism might be that it seemed too
disconnected from the rest of Adventures in Odyssey; I almost wondered
whether I accidentally turned on Radio Theatre. However, the different music,
accents, and subject matter were also the highlight of the show, painting a
fresh new painting for, euh...my ears. From the get-go, the episode smartly
stuffs the listener inside a cramped van with two unfamiliar agents. Who are
they? Where are they? What's happening? I immediately wanted to know
more. I just loved
The Labyrinth's tone, style, and overall energy.
What I didn't love, however, was the script. Although the acting and casting
were top-notch, the written material seemed sub-par. The opening scene between
Agent Billings and Agent Florin peaked my interest, but why did it sound so
scripted? It was three-minutes of exposition. Agent Florin, especially, was a
purposeless character, asking a dozen questions about why she was in the van.
Agent Billings, echoing our impatience, asks, "Didn't you read the dossier?".
"Of course", she replies, then proceeds to ask a dozen questions more. I
understand that the audience needed to get caught up with what was happening,
but I'm not sure how having a scene explaining Jason's every step prior to the
episode was the best idea. I would have preferred if the information had been
provided less generously and more subtly.
Another disappointment was that there was a lot of build-up, but little pay-off.
For two episodes we're lead to believe that the deadly chemicals are going to be
released inside the British Museum, killing everyone. We naturally expected a
climactic scene featuring Jason running through the Museum, diving between the
U.S. President and the British Prime Minister, finding the chemicals moments
before it's too late.
Although I liked that we had a somewhat unpredictable ending instead (Billings
forcing Grote into the coffin), the solution to the show's biggest
problem was resolved much too easily. For such a huge, over-dramatic threat, we
needed a huge, over-dramatic solution. The solution, here, was merely a
guilt-stricken henchman who gives Jason a cell-phone. Imagine if we were
The Final Conflict
and Jason simply decided to call the police to seal off the tunnel before Dr.
Blackguard got to it.
And at what point in Adventures in Odyssey history did the show become a
comedy? At what point was it necessary to throw in a snarky remark every second
line? In previous mystery/intrigue/action episodes such as
Perfect Witness, and
Search for Whit, snarky remarks were kept at a
respectful minimum. They had light-hearted moments, sure, but we don't need
every scene to end with a dramatic, clichéd line. It's okay to parody James
Bond, but when the protagonist becomes a James Bond parody himself, we have a
Speaking of the protagonist, many of you know by now that I've been concerned
about Jason's character for the past few years (mind you, I haven't lost any
sleep over it)...as you may have in read about in
my review for the
The Green Ring Conspiracy:
I was looking forward to
because I expected the episode to finally explore Jason on a more intimate level
than it had in the past 10 years since
Once again, however, Jason's personal story arc wasn't touched upon in any way
until the end of the episode once Agent Billings forces Grote inside the coffin
and Jason is forced to talk with Dale about what happened. Up till this point in
the episode, he's really just your one-dimensional action hero.
Firstly, although I adored Jason's return, I wonder how consistent
the writers have been with his character. Up until
Jason was a missionary. Ever since then, he's been a "one-two-three": i.e: a
one note character, a two-dimensional super hero that shows up
whenever the story needs someone to do a fancy cartwheel, and a third-wheel
for nearly every other character. It's a shame. As most fans may remember,
what made Jason Whittaker such a strong, memorable character wasn't his
run-ins with villains, or his Indiana Jones-like persona, but his need to
suppress his inner recklessness. Jason needed to tame his inner recklessness
when he rashly attempted to install video-games, transform the Imagination
Station into a healing center, get duped by Monica Stone in Alaska, rashly
decide to elope with Tasha, attempt to baptize Malachi in Trickle Lake, or
miserably try to fix things in
And shown most strongly in
we see how Jason's inability to see straight when his own emotions got in
the way made him such a fascinating character. Whatever happened to his
missionary gig? Why has Jason returned to being Agent Ethan Hunt in
No Way Out,
The Top Floor,
and the atrocious
More importantly, whatever happened to the conflicted Jason who once had to
wrestle with his inner demons?
didn't know whether this was a side of Jason that McCusker was referring to
in the show's final scene. In it, Whit cautions his son not to "get lost in
the labyrinth". I wish Whit had said more to his son, asking him, "What are
you doing with your life?", "When are you going to settle?", "How is your
relationship with God?". Although a long heart to heart talk between Whit
and Jason might have disrupted the show's momentum--the story needed to come
to a timely end, after all-- I would have preferred that the characters
vocalized some of these biblical themes instead of having Chris try to
awkwardly tack stuff on at the end of the episode. I am not suggesting the
characters weren't spiritual enough, but presenting more spiritual
discussions could have developed some of the show's overall themes, and its
characters, further. It would have been nice for some of these characters to
talk more, and therefore, to grow.
Let it be known that I thought the show's two final scenes were excellent;
Billings forcing Grote inside the coffin was terrifically eerie, while
Phil Lollar absolutely earned Dale a
spot on the show again with his one-to-one heartfelt moment with Jason-recalling
some of his best moments in
The Second Coming.
However, I wonder whether the episodes built up to them, or explored them, in
the best way possible. When Dale asks Jason whether he still prayed, Jason
answers "no"; however, at the beginning of the episode, Jason asks Sue whether
she ever prayed--this particular conversation makes it sound like Jason
hadn't gotten lost in the Labyrinth throughout the adventure. Though had
he? Essentially, I never got to familiarize myself Jason on a personal or
spiritual level to tell if he had. On the other hand, in an episode like
Shining Armor, I could really tell what Jason's
struggles were, how he was struggling, and I could easily follow throughout the
course of the episode why he ultimately decided to turn back to God. Jason's
personal struggles, here, felt like an afterthought.
After reading these paragraphs, you might think I thought it was the most
despicable episode in Adventures in Odyssey history. The truth is,
despite a few annoyances, I actually thought this was a very fun, involving, and
exciting episode; it's certainly better than the previous suspenseful three-parters
The Top Floor
The Other Side of the Glass.
Everyone was superbly cast; Sue, in particular, is a great character, and
letting Dale and Ann Jacobs come back on Adventures in Odyssey is yet
another wish I can cross of the list. Dale, in particular, is one of the few
remaining characters whose voice carries me right back to those golden days of
Adventures in Odyssey.
Though, I'm left asking a few important questions. What will Jason do once he
returns to Odyssey? Is he there to stay? Furthermore, what's up with the new
company that bought The Odyssey Times? Is this significant? Will the Jacobs make
another appearance on the show any time soon? Is this really the last
time we hear from Mr. Grote? And, more importantly of all, what's going to
happen to the Reggie Fingers Fish and Chips franchise?
In the end what I liked most about
is that it dared to be different. We're in England. We got Dale back. And Jason,
once again, is searching for deadly chemicals. We love Adventures in Odyssey
because we love hearing from our quiet little town. And I'm sure I speak for
everyone that we love it when it's nowhere to be found.
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