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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Episode Review: Your Servant Is Listening Pt. 2 8/17/13

     Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of Your Servant Is Listening feel disjointed in a way.  There are many differences in the story: Hanna is in Pt. 1, Eli is in Pt. 2.  Samuel is a baby in Pt. 1, but a boy in Pt. 2.  And Lucia and Eva figure more prominently into Pt. 1, whereas Camilla is central in Pt. 2.  Disjointed two-parters are generally a bad thing, but in this case, I suppose it was nessecary and of course the stories were entwined together by several threads.
     The episode begins with a "Previously In Adventures in Odyssey" segment, which is often used as a filler when a Pt. 2 or Pt. 3 is too short, but this time it would seem its function is to compensate for a lack of commercial breaks in the radio version of this episode.  The first scene of Pt. 2 naturally begins where Pt. 2 left off: Eva and Lucia are about to get their throats slit because they won't give a temple priest their lamb sacrifice.  Blah, blah, blah.  As I said before, I didn't like the ending to Pt. 1, and I still don't really.  But the episode quickly moves on from there, and goes through all the events of the story according to Scripture.
     I believe the voice of Samuel is the same actor as the blind kid from "The Imagination Station, Revisited", though I can't be sure.  He always reminded me of Sam Johnson, but it can't be the same actor...  I will confess to a certain feeling of déjà vu with the Camilla-Samuel scenes.  It just seemed like AIO had done those kinds of exchanges before in previous IS episodes.  I did find the bit about Samuel telling Camilla to leave the tabernacle as Camilla constantly came back against her will slightly amusing, and that may be the first time any reviewer has ever used the word "amusing" to describe an "Imagination Station" episode.
     I would also like to commend whoever voiced God.  That was probably my favorite God/Jesus vocal in all of AIO.  It sent chills up and down my spine, and John Campbell's music was fantastic.  It was just in general a beautiful scene, probably my favorite of both episodes, and I hope it gets nominated for an Avery.  The final stretch of the episode is often depressing.  The Philistines attack, Eli's two sons die, the Ark of the Covenant is in enemy hands, and Eli drops dead from utter despair.  I think the writers handles these scenes quite well.
     I promised I would talk about the spiritual side of the episode last week, so... I'll keep that promise.  I think the two best spiritually inspiring scenes in the whole episode were Hanna's conversation with Camilla in Pt. 1 and God's conversation with Samuel in Pt. 2.  Unfortunately, Camilla's monologue about her new perspective on Christianity at the end didn't really move me, but I think it was overall a good spiritually-driven episode.
     So, was Pt. 2 as good as Pt. 1?  Yes.  Maybe even a bit better.  But Pt. 1 was not exactly the greatest IS adventure of all time, so that's not saying a ton.  There was nothing inherently wrong about this two-parter: it's a good, solid season premiere.  It just didn't seem quite as inspired as it could have.  It was stiff, but you could argue it was supposed to be.  I will point out a lot of good things in the episode, though: it was accurate and lined up with the Biblical version without being boring for those who know the story, it had a colorful collection of characters, and it had hints of humor and fun, two things these kinds of episodes aren't generally associated with.  Is it a masterpiece?  No.  But it doesn't need to be.

     Your Servant Is Listening Pt. 2 Rating: 8/10

     Thanks for reading!

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