Episode Reviewed: The Benefit of the Doubt (507)

Writer: Marshal Younger

Production Engineer: Bob Luttrell

Original Airdate: 2/08/03

Rating (Out of 5 cones):


The Benefit of the Doubt

[Episode Info]

Episode Summary: Mitch is trying to find a job in Odyssey, but finds that his work at Novacom scares away potential employers.


Theme: Discrimination (Jeremiah 1:17)

"...I take my job as a bully very seriously. A lot of people don't realize how much paperwork's involved. So are you here as a customer or a punching bag?" [Rodney Rathbone]


The Review

When the Novacom Saga ended in July 2002, I had a feeling that it’d be hard to adjust to “normal” episodes in Adventures in Odyssey after hearing constant, fast-paced adventures for nearly two years. I had also thought that since the Saga was over, they’d only be producing slice-of-life shows, and nothing would pertain to the Novacom Saga. I was pleasantly wrong when The Benefit of the Doubt aired on the radio. Not only is it about Novacom in a new and different way… it’s also connecting the characters into the aftermath of everything that happened.

Colby Cabrera isn’t a character I soon want to say goodbye to. To me, he has that innocence a lot of the current characters don’t have. What I mean when I say that is Colby seems to be a quiet, polite kid. He has his edgy times, and I believe I was able to hear a glimpse into Adventures in Odyssey’s past. Most of the old characters didn’t have that seemingly constant joking manner. If you look at Alex Jefferson, for example, you see that in almost every one of his lines, he throws a joke or an implied pun. Colby doesn’t have that. Colby’s character doesn’t appear to be there for the entertainment; he’s there because he lives in Odyssey.

I really liked the aspect of what happens to a company if its leadership goes down the drain. The way in which the writer depicted the trials of all Novacom’s employees looking for jobs after the mess was realistic and needed to put some closure on the Novacom Saga. Also the direction The Benefit of the Doubt took with Colby’s father’s Novacom troubles was a good way to steer. I enjoyed hearing another one of Connie’s incessant nitpickings. She used to do that a lot on the show when Eugene was around, but I finally got to hear her again, this time accusing all Novacom employees of being crooks. When it was time for Connie to apologize to Colby at his house… now that makes for some good Connie!

I was extremely pleased with the music, probably one of the reasons I like the episode so much. Pat Woodland, the composer for the music of The Benefit of the Doubt, needs to get invited to compose for AIO more often. The calmer music style helped me to take in the episode without being overwhelmed by too much music. A little music is all we ever needed. The music in this episode actually reminded me of the music in Wish You Were Here, and that’s definitely something to mention. I always liked the music during Bernard and Eugene’s journey to California, and it was good to hear similar music again. If only AIO would listen to little ol’e me and start toning it down on the music!

Now we come to the end of the episode. Right when Colby’s father called his son downstairs to scorch him out for tapping into his meeting, I could feel the fear that Colby was feeling… and the conversation resulting was done very well. Lately on Adventures in Odyssey, I feel that the tender scenes have been a bit pushed, only to finish off the episode. This time I felt that the scene fit. The actors actually cared about their parts and the tenderness was not forged. I like that. Some examples of forged scenes include Mandy Straussberg and her mother at the end of Worst Day Ever, and Bernard and Whit at the end of Nova Rising. I tried to think of more for over ten minutes, but none came to mind. Maybe that’s a good thing?


The Rating

In conclusion, I’m extremely pleased with the angle this episode took and I’m looking forward to hearing more episodes with this music style. I give The Benefit of the Doubt 3 and ˝ cones out of 5.

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