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

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Episode Review: Your Servant Is Listening Pt. 1 8/10/13

     The interesting thing about the Imagination Station is that it has always, is always, and will always be the main invention at Whit's End.  The Room of Consequence, the Transmuter, the Inspiration Station, none of them had a chance at replacing the IS as Whit's crowning technological achievement.  The constant upgrades of the machine don't really mean anything, it's always the same station as it always was for the listener.  Dozens of characters have entered it, from Digger Digwillow to Dr. Blackgaard.  That's why an IS episode has become a bit of a cliche in the AIO world, and that's why I'm always skeptical of a new one.  The new episode always has to measure up to that first one where Digger met Jesus.  If it doesn't, and it's just a good episode, I feel a bit disappointed.  That's what happened with "The American Revelation" and "Bernard & Jeremiah", and I didn't want it to happen again with the season premiere of Album 57, an album I have high expectations for.
     That's why the first couple scenes made me doubt the episode's strengths, and dwell on it's weaknesses.  There where just too many things that seemed wrong.  Camilla has a new voice?  Since when is Lucia comic relief?  Do we have to have an episode where the only normal characters are the three worst parts of the Parker family?  But all these concerns were resolved in the final stretch of the episode.  It turns out, Camilla's new voice might be okay.  Lucia's constant jokes aren't that funny, but I guess I can deal with it.  David's actually the worst part of the Parker family; I kind of like these three.  This doesn't make the episode perfect, or the pesky annoyances at the beginning less annoying, but it improves my opinion of the episode.
     I think this is also the 1st time AIO has explored the story of Samuel in depth.  It's a good story, but I'm not sure it's the perfect one for Camilla's problem, considering her lack of faith problem could be resolved early on, when God answers Hanna's prayer.  But, I will give points for having a kid actually discuss their faith (or, in this case, lack of it) with adults.  That hasn't happened in a while, and I was hoping it would.  The kids of Odyssey are often portrayed as normal Christian preteens, not questioning Christianity but not always talking about it (Seth Young is the obvious exception).  So to have one of the kids have a crisis of faith is, well, refreshing.
     Like many Nathan Hoobler episodes, the pace of "Your Servant Is Listening" rather fast.  There are no excess scenes, and everything moves along like it should.  This doesn't always work for certain episodes, but it certainly works here.  I like that the IS can just skip entire years.  It's obviously convenient, and works well for Hoobler's writing style.  The IS is so adaptable writers can tailor it for them.
     The acting was kind of hit or miss.  Eva stood out to me for the first time ever, and she seems she could be a great adult character if she's used enough.  Hanna was very believable and overall good.  Michaela Dean sounded a bit young for Camilla, and I wasn't extremely impressed with her performance overall.  Lucia is a character who's drifting farther and farther from my favorites list.  I haven't genuinely liked her in an episode since her first one, "Grandma's Visit".  I almost feel she's just cluttering up the IS, and I don't like the idea of more than two people entering the Imagination Station in the first place.  The sound design was spot-on as usual in historical episodes, and the music, while not anything incredibly special, fit the mood just fine.
     As far as the spiritual side of the episode, I think I'll have to wait for Pt. 2 to give my final verdict. I enjoyed Hanna's conversation with Camilla, but I'm not sure whether I'll be moved spiritually in Pt. 2 or not.  The story of Samuel has plenty of potential for these things, and I'm eager to see Camilla's dramatic epiphany.  I will say I didn't particularly like the last scene.  Obviously, Phineas is not going to kill Lucia and Eva, and it seemed like a half-hearted attempt to have a dramatic ending.  But overall, it's a good Pt. 1.

     Your Servant Is Listening Pt. 1 Rating: 7/10

     Thanks for reading!

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