The Rydell Revelations Review: Great Potential, Somewhat Underwhelming

It’s a cool Sunday night, holiday lights are twinkling, and Christmas carols are playing distantly in the background. The perfect time to write our inaugurating post on AIO revelations. It should be no surprise that our first review would focus on one of the biggest and most anticipated episodes in recent AIO history – The Rydell Revelations!

When the titles of these episodes (as well as the cover art for album 69) dropped we, along with many other AIO fans, were ECSTATIC!!! Finally, questions which we had been wondering about for so long would be answered. Was Morrie truly a villain? If so what was his master plan? Was Suzu in on Morrie’s schemes? What was Morrie’s motivation behind his actions? How would his plots be discovered by the residents of Odyssey?

And so as soon as the first episode was released on the AIO club we instantly dropped everything we were doing and rushed to listen. As soon as the episode began it immediately felt like were in the middle of a mystery as it had a feeling of suspense and even a hint of danger (i.e. Morrie running to Whit at the start of the show and telling him that he believed Emily had kidnapped Suzu). The writers also did a nice job of recounting and connecting together past events that had taken place involving the Rydells by having Morrie play several recordings on Emily’s phone to Mr. Whittaker. However, while the recap was good (it did help to bring back to memory details within previous episodes which may have been forgotten) we both felt that it could have been a bit shorter. We would have preferred that the writers focused more on the current storylines taking place within the episode as the plot seemed a bit static at times. We both agreed that the best part of the show was the ending as Whit FINALLY confronted Morrie (We might have both freaked out when Whit said “I think you’re trying to game me”). Overall it was a solid episode and seemed to be a great lead up to whatever storylines would take place in the following parts. (Also I know you’ve probably heard it already, but we just have to say it…The music was AMAZING!!! *Imaginarily high fives Jared DePasquale*).

The second episode in our opinion was better than the first, in fact we’d say that it was great! It gave us a wonderful backstory on the Rydell kids (always wondered how they ended up in Odyssey). In addition, it also shed light on what exactly went “awry” at their previous home (Though getting in trouble for stealing trinkets and disrupting summits between various nations’ ambassadors wasn’t what we initially had in mind). Finally and most importantly this episode saw the return of one of Odyssey fans’ favorite (Well at least ours…XD) and most memorable characters…*Spoiler Alert*!!!…Agent 2362 aka Tasha Forbes. We were there lying in our bed when BAM!!! We heard it! The name we never thought we would ever hear again in Odyssey! We both instantly sat up in our bed, stared wide eyed at each other, and silently screamed (Unfortunately, we couldn’t scream out loud as it was nearly 1 o’clock in the morning and we didn’t want to wake our parents). We thought the writers, particularly Phil Lollar, made a wonderful decision to reintroduce Tasha as it not only brought back a beloved character but also added another layer of depth to the show by dramatically increasing the element of surprise within the episode and also gave us, as fans, a personal connection to Natalie (aka Tasha). A supposed secretary who had befriended Morrie and Suzu when they lived at the U.S. Embassy in Japan. Needless to say we were even more excited for the release of part 3 as we couldn’t wait to see how the remaining story arcs would be resolved especially now with the unexpected appearance of Tasha.

When the outro music of part 3 finished we were left with a mixed reaction to not only this show but the series entirely. We both loved the climax of this episode as Mrs. Meido reactions to Whit, Morrie’s disguised voice, the portable imagination station adventure, and the real Suzu and “fake” Suzu were awesome. Another part of this scene that we loved was when Tasha decked Mrs. Meido (Always did love a good fight scene! lol :-P). The sound effects in this show were also incredible. However, Whit’s explanation for why he kept what he knew about Morrie and Suzu from Emily (particularly the escape room) and let them continue their schemes left much to be desired. The parable of the talents which he told just didn’t apply to the situation and furthered showed how Whit’s course of action was completely different from his previous behavior in similar circumstances. You could even say he acted completely out of character. However, their were good moments from the last scene as well as Whit graciously offered to be Morrie and Suzu’s temporary guardian. Most importantly, Tasha said that there was a chance she’d be BACK in Odyssey again!!! (please AIO writers. we are begging you. PLEASE bring Tasha back). And as if that wasn’t big enough she also MENTIONED Jason!!! *fangirling right now* (so yeah she has to come back if only for the ship wars to start again lol).

Looking back the writers did a good job of answering many of our questions within these episodes, nicely bringing this chapter of the Rydell saga to a close (something which is not an easy task to accomplish). There were many parts of these episodes that we really enjoyed specifically Tasha’s EPIC return, Morrie and Suzu’s backstory, and the standoff between Mrs. Meido and Whit. However, there were some storylines that weren’t quite portrayed as we had hoped. Morrie’s story arc being the most different from what we had initially expected. Ever since he arrived in Odyssey our view of him has changed dramatically as he has gone from the seemingly new “evil” resident to morally complicated computer genius/manipulator to all of sudden a sort of “good” guy. We wish that the writers had chosen to keep Morrie as the villain rather than having it revealed within the last episode that the villain all along was Mrs. Meido. This opinion was due to two reasons. First, that the previous episodes all seemed to build up to Morrie being discovered as the villain, something which caused this sudden reversal to fall a bit flat. As the “games” he had created for certain residents of Odyssey (such as Emily) were just that and didn’t serve any greater purpose or master plan. Secondly, the character of Mrs. Meido (the actual villain) was not as developed as she could and should have been. If she had been introduced into the story earlier instead of being “shoved” into these last three episodes we would have been able to see her interactions with the Rydell kids, Whit, and other residents of Odyssey which would have made her “betrayal” much more meaningful and emotionally impactful. Furthermore, while are not the biggest fans of Emily we couldn’t help but feel sorry for her during these episodes. After all she’s been through she must have some kind of serious trauma or anxiety. It seemed as though the writers somewhat brushed Emily’s story aside and didn’t give her the necessary attention considering everything she’d experienced (The girl thought she was gonna die in a escape room 0-0). This was a missed opportunity as focusing more on her storyline would have brought more emotion, realism, and complexity to the show since we would have seen more fully the effects of Morrie and Suzu’s actions on those around them. Additionally, while we were given the reasoning behind Morrie’s actions (i.e. so that he could see if Christians actually behaved and treated others the way they professed to) the explanation seemed a little underwhelming and somewhat too simple, considering the dramatic and often terrifying schemes he carried out. Finally, our last point isn’t necessary a “criticism” per se but rather another opportunity that the writers passed by – that being Tasha’s storyline. We would preferably liked to have had her arc be more prominent as it kind of felt like she played the “Monty Whittaker role” (A fan favorite brought back just for the sake of surprise and catching the “bad guys”). If she had been featured more within the show there would have been time for the writers to further develop and explore a number of interesting points. Such as Tasha’s relationship with the Rydell kids (ADORABLE from the few moments we were able to hear…especially the hug she shared with them… so cute <3) And her feelings about not only being back in Odyssey but also working together with whit again ( a bit awkward considering her past relationship with his son). All things considered Tasha’s storyline was still great.

Overall these three episodes were pretty good as, in spite of a few missed opportunities, they tied together many of the overarching storylines featured in AIO over the past few albums, brought back a much loved character, answered quite a few of our questions, and laid the foundation for many possible stories that can be told in the future.

Final Episode Rating: 7/10

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