Well, I must admit, I was excited for this one.
The opening scene was terrific! I loved the dialogue between Marvin and Bernard at the beginning, and the concept of Bernard going on an Imagination Station adventure had me thrilled! Despite it being so different from the norm, I had every expectation of this being one of the best Bernard stories yet!
...Which is why I was shocked
by how much my opinion changed once the theme song had ended.
The whole concept was a great idea, but it was executed poorly. I usually like Nathan Hoobler's writing, but this was not
one of his better episodes. I didn't like Marvin's part in this story. All the way through he had an attitude of not wanting to learn anything. He reminded me of the old days in AIO with Kurt Stephens. But the difference is, Kurt always made things interesting; Marvin just got annoying. And with this being the first (known) time that Bernard took an IS adventure, I was really hoping he would play a more interesting part in the story. But instead of experiencing the adventure himself, he was a lot more like a "conscience" who would conveniently pop up every now and then to give advice, which got distracting. I think overall the adventure would have been better had he not been in it (and that's hard to say since I like Bernard so much).
In general, the plot seemed rather empty. There wasn't much story there. And then there were times where the mood would drastically change to a "dramatic" feel with no transition time between the two moods. And the actors didn't really get into those moments. The scene could sound
"intense," but the characters would continue as if nothing were happening. Even when they did
get into it, there was still a lack of energy on their part in comparison to the intensity of the sound design.
Speaking of sound design, I realized with this episode just how important the audio effects are. It seemed like the sound designer was being creative with the audio mixing in this adventure, which was fine for the most part. But there were times when the "important" sounds were lost among the other effects in the scene. For example, I completely missed the part where Jeremiah was thrown into the cistern. My mind was distracted by what else was going on in the scene and I didn't hear the sound effect of him falling in. Later in the scene when I realized he was already at the bottom, I had to go back and re-listen to the scene to hear what I missed. It was pretty distracting and dislocated my mind from the story even more.
Another random comment: I'd thought the writers had finally gotten past those old Imagination Station jokes. I mean, seriously! Can't they just push the red button with the intention
of pushing it, instead of trying to think of "creative" ways for the characters to hit it by mistake? Those jokes lost their humor years ago.
All in all, I don't think this episode was any one person's fault. The writing could have been better, but then so could have the acting. And the directing. And the sound design. It was a rather poor effort on everyone's part. If I were to say something I liked about this episode, it would be hearing Townsend Coleman's name listed in the credits. Oh, and the first scene! I'll definitely listen to the intro again. Marvin's "radio drama" line actually made me laugh.
2 stars. My lowest rating yet this season (and one of my longer reviews).