Episode Reviewed:
Living in the Gray I & II (535, 536)
Writer: Marshal Younger
Director: Marshal Younger
Production Engineer: Allen Hurley
Music Composer: John Campbell
Original Airdate: 1/24/04, 1/31/04

Rating (out of 5 cones):


Episode Summary

After the tumultuous events last season, Connie is still in Washington, DC, and with her extra time gets to meet up with an old friend...Jimmy Barclay!



The Review

Part One >>


The Fall Season 2003 of Adventures in Odyssey left me on a cliffhanger. I hate it when that happens. Then again, I guess you could say that's a tactic AIO, as well as radio programs and television shows alike, uses to attract your attention when the new season comes around again. It looks like they did a good job, considering the cliffhanger I was left to hang on (imagine that) at the end of Something Blue.


Unless you haven't heard the episode, you're going to (most likely) agree with my annoyance at Jimmy Barclay's girlfriend, Felicia. Felicia is, in Donna's words, a pimple on the face of my life. It's hard to watch a character you've seen grow up fictionally all these years entangled with such a flake. I'm not talking about corn flakes here; I'm talking about the kind of flakes you don't want in your system. It was nice for AIO to introduce a new character -- in this case Jimmy's girlfriend -- to the show, but it was definitely overdone. They definitely succeeded in introducing a flaky personality, however.


Anytime I hear the voice of one or more of the Barclay's, my ears are stapled to the radio. I was naturally depressed when the Barclay's had to take a trip of no return to start a new life in Pokenberry Falls, and I've always been looking forward to another update with them. This time was totally different. Instead of jamming with the Barclay's in Pokenberry Falls, we meet up with them [George and Jimmy] outside of Odyssey, outside of Pokenberry Falls. As a matter of fact, they're in Washington. The location and the events leading the listener into the drama affect how he or she perceives it. I perceived the change in Jimmy's character in a negative way. It hurts to see that Jimmy is working for a rot gut tabloid. It hurts to see that he has been desensitized to dishonesty. All these factors are contributing to the plot, but it sure isn't easy for me to listen to.


Connie's stakeout scene was very enjoyable, especially as she sings to herself. As a whole, Living in the Gray has been a perfect season opener. Not necessarily the brightest start, but I'm sure the sun will come out soon.



The Review

Part Two >>


There's just nothing like an episode that makes references to the older shows of Adventures in Odyssey. I was pleasantly surprised when George Barclay reminded his son about the events that unfolded so many years ago in The Prodigal, Jimmy. AIO does that every once in a while, but not enough. AIO fans are needy. We need to be reminded of things and we need to see an interconnecting system.


Marriage is an important thing, and even though it wasn't the main focus of the episode, AIO did a wonderful job of capturing the meaning of marriage throughout the episode. In today's society, there are just too many marriages that aren't working out. Marriage in our society is a contract, not a covenant, when in reality, marriage is a covenant, not a legal document that can be broken. Hooray for AIO in that they were able to get that truth in, and also the fact that marriages can be rekindled.


The music in this episode, as well as part one, was very well mixed. I wasn't overwhelmed with music rather than speaking parts, and the speaking parts themselves were very well acted. David Griffen, the voice of Jimmy, never ceases to amaze me with his great acting. If only he could come back on the show every now and then, as well as the rest of his family! Now I say it's time for Donna and Mary Barclay to show up for a visit.


The portrayal of Connie's character wasn't ditsy, surprisingly. AIO has been patching up its mistakes with Connie's ditsy behavior in previous episodes, and thank goodness. Instead of ditsy, "goo goo" behavior, Connie has been more mature in her relationships with people. It was a perfect touch for her to be the one who is reminding Jimmy of his existing conscience and what is important.


All in all, parts one and two of this episode have been some of the best season openers I have heard in a long time. Other season openers in the past have not drawn me in as much as this one has, although that's probably due to the Barclays' reappearance. I give Living in the Gray I & II 4 and 1/2 cones out of 5.


Rating (out of 5 cones):

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