Episode Reviewed: Black Clouds (527)

Writer: Bob Hoose

Director: Bob Hoose

Production Engineer: Allen Hurley

Music Composer: John Campbell

Original Airdate: 10/04/03

Rating (Out of 5 cones):


Black Clouds

[Episode Info]

Episode Summary: As the road trip continues, a raging storm forces Connie to stop at a roadside diner. Things gets interesting when a young girl comes through the door...just before lightning strikes!


Theme: God's presence in tough times (Romans 8:28)

“You may have permanent fingernail marks in your dashboard, but I'm okay.” [Connie Kendall]


The Review

Episode 2 of the Fall 2003 Season hits the airwaves and radio stations across the country experience massive amounts of listeners, Eugene-lovers, and treasure seekers. A flood of excitement strikes across the country as listeners turn up their volumes. But when those twenty-five minutes of radio drama are over, the audience slumps down in its chairs.


Why do I get the overriding impression that we're all in a competitive battle to see who can degrade a show the best when it comes out? Why does it seem as if the only reason we've been tuning in recently is for the sole desire of winning with the war of the words? I had the opportunity to glance through the reviews for Black Clouds the day it aired, and almost every single review took a negative turn. It's as if we've all zoned out of our "Imagination Stations" and turned on our buttons for criticism. Why? Why is it that we're so quick to criticize a Christian radio program and call it "not good enough?" If I was one of the producers for the episodes being criticized by the majority of listeners, I'm not so sure I would be interested in keeping my job any longer. I'm not so sure I would be interested in standing in a spotlight that no one welcomes. Why are we doing this?

"Usually the episodes everyone likes I don't enjoy as much, and the episodes everyone hates... I like. Very odd."

In my opinion, this episode had a very good plot and was beneficial to the series. It's a very odd occurrence. Usually the episodes everyone likes I don't enjoy as much, and the episodes everyone hates... I like. Very odd. True, this episode was one of the more slow-going episodes in recent days, but isn't that kind of what everyone was wanting? After all, the town of Odyssey is a quiet place, and an adventure out of town with two of Odyssey's citizens is bound to be a quiet story. This episode pulled me back to the earlier days of Odyssey in which Whit could get away with five minute moral "lectures" and 30 second deals were unheard of. Only this time it was Connie doing the dishing of morals. Shows like this help to show how much the characters have grown, and Connie sure has grown. With the introduction of a girl named Lindy, Connie has the opportunity to help others through what she's learned.


When I first heard Ethel's voice, I laughed. In my head at least. She has such a diner-sounding voice, so it was no surprise to hear a diner-sounding voice. Her repetitious references to former presidents added a witty comedy while remaining serious to get the message across. I enjoyed Ethel's personality. Anyone who listens can sense a definite cranky attitude in this woman, and the location of a woman such as herself, in a diner, was perfect.


A lot of people complained about the use of the story of Noah in the episode. Unlike them, I found the approach Connie took to be very satisfactory. Even though I've heard the story of Noah over and over, I don't have to get sick of it because it never gets old. I was pleased with the "Imagination Station" scenes in each of our characters' heads. That type of thing has never been attempted before on AIO... with the Imagination Station at least. The location available for the characters to experience the story of Noah's Ark (not necessarily descriptively) reminded me of a place called Whit's End back in Odyssey. Connie's references to where the shop is, what's inside, and what makes it Whit's End brought back memories of previous adventures there and previous lessons learned.


The only thing that nags me in this episode is the acting right before the first commercial break (Yes, I too have a complaint, though not as harsh as some of the complaints I've seen). When Ethel goes back to check on her box full of quarters to see if Lindy has a stealing streak in her, she shouts "The girl is gone!" That entire scene was a bit predictable, not to mention that the acting could have been better. The way by which Ethel sang her notes out to the characters in the front of the diner gave me the impression that the scene was dorky. I had no sense of "Oh no... what is going to happen next?"


Overall, the acting was very well done, especially on the part of Connie. The sound effects done for the storm were wonderful and I got a surge of "Wow, a storm episode!" in my head. We have only had a few shows with major storm stories, so it's always interesting to see how AIO will go about things when a storm arises.


So let's stop storming our brains to strike the biggest lightning. Just let the raindrops fall one at a time, otherwise we'll be in for a flood.


The Rating

As the first episode on Connie and Joanne's road trip, it made for an interesting listen. I give Black Clouds 4 out of 5 cones.

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