Episode Reviewed: Child's Play (712)
Writer: Marshal Younger
Director: Bob Hoose
Sound Designer: Christopher Diehl
Music: John Campbell
Being use by God
Original Airdate: 5/05/12

Review Written by: Ben Warren, Staff Writer

Rating (out of 5):


Episode Summary

Eugene and Katrina take on a crazy weekend when they agree to babysitting two kids: one with limitless energy and another who must know the answer to every question.


The Review

It seems weird for Eugene to doubt, and then discover, he's good with kids after 1) he's been working at Whit's End all this time, and 2) mere episodes after he discovers he and Katrina can't have kids whatsoever. In the wrap-up, Chris talks about how Eugene learned he could make a difference in the lives of two children. That's great, I guess. Though wouldn't such a conclusion make the audience feel more sad about their current predicament?

If anything, the episode serves as a treat for fans who may never get to hear their favorite characters do motherly and fatherly things like play catch and soothe a kid's tummy ache. Child's Play provides a peek into an alternate reality, of sorts; a series in which Eugene and Katrina have a family...and they're all quite happy. By the end of the episode, we are struck with the realization that we are never going to see Eugene awkwardly disciplining his child, or fabricating a technologically advanced diaper, or teaching a mini-Eugene the formula for velocity. This realization makes Child's Play a little bittersweet, really.

Ultimately, Child's Play is significant because it delves a little more into Eugene and Katrina's married life, and these sorts of stories are always more worth telling than stories about children or characters we may never hear from in 5 years. It also included scenes that highlighted the beauty of marriage; there's something very nice about listening in as they sit in their bedroom, getting ready for bed, discussing their concerns and fears with one another. That's the point where Eugene and Katrina feel, not only interesting, but real.

Months after listening to it, I had forgotten that Wooton was in this episode. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. This episode, like many others, could have easily made the character overbearing and holier-than-thou; however, the writers wisely highlight Wooton and Connie's imperfections. And they're logical imperfections, too. Of course hanging out with Wooton all day will give you a tummy ache, and of course self-centered Connie only has only so much time to hang out with you before calling it quits. It's easy to show kids a good time when you don't have the responsibility of taking care of them on a full-time basis. Deviating from Eugene and Katrina to focus on Wooton and Connie was a smart move, switching things up, and keeping the episode from become too repetitive. For a while, I thought Eugene was going to play catch with Kyle for the entire episode.

And, of course, it goes without saying that the coolest part of the episode was hearing the Cal Jordan reference. I like references that don't take us away from the story. This one added new information about Cal Jordan without having to bring the actor in. The only downer is that we found out Cal held a Whit's End record only minutes before his own record was broken. So much for new information!

Overall, Child's Play is a fine episode. There's nothing that quite bothered me about it, and I felt engaged in its gentle, unrushed storytelling. Though, right now, I really have no idea where Eugene and Katrina's story can go from here. Where else can it go? There have been rumors of adoption; specifically, there have been rumors of Buck becoming a member of the Meltsner family. However, considering he's been absent for two albums, I doubt this'll happen. Will Kyle and Joy continue to hang out at the Meltsner manor? Is this a story that can lead, and grow, to somewhere interesting... or is Child's Play a dead end?

I suspect the latter.





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