I realize I should be reviewing The Holy Hoopster, but because I have downloaded The Holy Hoopster but haven't downloaded The Lost Riddle, I will have to review The Lost Riddle before the 16 Days of Christmas starts. By the way, I would like to thank Wooton Basset for designing the new Christmas logo! But now, here's my review...
AIO seems to be obsessed with the theme of forgiveness in mysteries. Of course, with 700+ episodes in the AIO canon, there are bound to be some recurring themes, and I don't have a problem with that at all, but what I do have a problem with is five episodes all in the same genre with the same theme. The theme of forgiveness has repeated itself throughout AIO mysteries, starting with the classic What Happened To the Silver Streak? This episode was looking to be a boring, predictable "don't jump to conclusions" detective show, but then everything changed with a twist ending I don't think anyone saw coming. This episode had the theme of forgiveness, but it's not the only mystery to have this theme. The Painting, Buried Sin, Call Me If You Care, and now, The Lost Riddle all explore forgiveness. And the funny thing is, with the exception of What Happened To the Silver Streak?, all of these episodes are dealing with the same type of forgiveness, and the latter four are all dealing with forgiveness in pretty much the same way. Allow me to elaborate just a bit before launching into my review of The Lost Riddle...
The Painting, Buried Sin, Call Me If You Care, and The Lost Riddle all start pretty normally. In the first, Jack and Joanne receive several paintings from Whit. In Buried Sin, Eugene, Jared and Dwayne are digging around in the backyard of Whit's End. In the third, Connie is whining about her Dad and her new phone. And in The Lost Riddle, Emily and Matthew are waltzing around the schoolyard, checking their lockers. The episodes progress, and a character finds something. (Examples: a painting, possibly an original: a time capsule with a gun: a strange phone message: a piece of paper that turns out to be a riddle) Next, the characters take the clue to someone and investigate. They find out about a person who might need to forgive someone. In a climatic finish, they find that person and that person and another person have a heartfelt forgiving scene.
This pattern repeats itself for literally all four episodes, and it's getting to be annoying. AIO switches the pattern up just a bit with The Painting and Call Me If You Care by adding some new twists, but the overall story structure is the same. And the fact that all four episodes are mysteries is even more repetitive. Didn't it ever cross the writers' minds when writing The Lost Riddle that the storyline was just a bit reminiscent of Buried Sin or The Painting, or Call Me If You Care? I think The Painting was by far the best episode of Album 29, because back then, it was original. And Buried Sin and Call Me If You Care stood out as good episodes as well, though by the time Call Me If You Care came around, the storyline was getting a little familiar. But this is just ridiculous. You may notice that for this album, I've been complaining about reminiscence to past episodes quite a bit. Well, I simply believe AIO is repeating their roots a lot. And this is not exactly a good thing. AIO should progress without copying what they did 10 years ago. But this isn't really a review anymore, it's just a big long article about The Lost Riddle being redundant. And all that said, there are still many pros to The Lost Riddle, and overall it's quite better than Happy Hunting. So I shall finally get to the review part.
Emily is getting more tolerable with each episode she's featured in. Great Expectations was overall a good episode, and this one truly is as well. Emily's voice is no longer irking me, and I really have no character issues with her anymore. I still don't find her as interesting as Barret or Jay, but she's not as bad as I was making her out to be. And with this episode, she's back to her ol' detective self again. I like this, actually, and I look forward to more episodes with Emily in her 'detective' role. But this episode is a bit more serious; Emily is not just solving relatively trivial school cases anymore, she's unearthing a case from decades past. I like this as well...
I also believe the addition of Dale Jacobs was wise. Phil Lollar has such a great voice, and was such an asset to AIO in the past, his characters only bring back the old Odyssey. And learning more about Dale's past only lengthens his AIOwiki page and makes him more of an endearing character than ever. And I think that this episode and The Labyrinth are showing Dale's mysterious side very nicely. I just hope he won't run off and join the FBI or become the next Jason Whittaker...
The plot of this episode progresses almost like a children's mystery series book, with clues, riddles, new character introductions, and a finale where a character tells us a story at the end. I think the AIO team used some very nice plot devices, like the classic watermark and lemon juice clues. I just wish the plot hadn't been so similar to the episodes mentioned above...
And the final confession scene is typical of AIO, with the dramatic music in the background where the guy tells his tale and asks for Dale's forgiveness. I thought it was handled well, and they got the perfect actor to play Kenny Rutherford.
As usual, the sound effects, production quality, and music were all top-notch, as well as the acting and character development. So, overall, The Lost Riddle would have been a great episode. But... it's not. I can't award it a 8/10 or even a 7/10 rating because of the huge issue with the plot that I explained in detail above. So, with a heavy heart, I must award this mystery drama a relatively low score. Album 56's 4 weakest episodes are Happy Hunting, The Lost Riddle, Groundhog Jay, and Push the Red Button, and the bummer is that these 4 pretty much come in succession, so the latter half of 56 is overall pretty weak.
The Lost Riddle Rating: 6/10
Thanks for reading, and prepare yourself for the festivities starting tomorrow!
Welcome to Just Another AIO Blog, a site that is dedicated to the popular radio drama Adventures in Odyssey. We provide news, reviews on the latest episodes, articles, features, and we also are home to Adventures in Connellsville, a unique look at the town next to Odyssey through book form, We also provide a U.S.S. Response page that gets updated every other day. This page provides a response to recent comments on The Soda Shop Message Boards. And just recently, we started a unique Adventures in Odyssey podcast: called JAAIOP, or Just Another AIO Podcast. Feel free to post comments or subscribe to this site by email or with Google Friend Connect. Thank you!
Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog
Alex Jefferson, creator and operator of Just Another AIO Blog