898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby ByeByeBrownie » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:18 am

MonkeyDude wrote:
Marvin D. wrote:so I haven't listened to AIO in around 5 years...I think after The Ties that Bind or so, what's the basic TL;DR of major events that have happened? :anxious:

I probably forgot some stuff. I figure you probably don't mind but maaaajor spoilers.
Penny and Wooten have a long complicated relationship arc which ends in them getting married. Whit has some health issues but the show kinda forgets about that after a while. Connie's half-sister Jules comes to live with her in Odyssey. Eugene and Katrina foster Buck after he gets out of juvenile detention. Tom is officially confirmed to have passed away. A new kid named Morrie moves to town with his sister Suzu from Japan and they bring a lot of strange things with them, earning the interest of Emily. Connie gets a new roommate who will go unnamed because she is the worst-. There's some Buck drama and Mr. Skint comes back and Buck learns about his family while consecutively choosing his new one. A military family, the Perkins, struggles with aspects of that particular lifestyle. The mysterious occurrence around town suddenly peek after Emily and Matthew get trapped in an escape room and supposedly have fight for their lives. Leading to the present album, Mr. Whittiker investigates Morrie, Emily and Suzu get kidnapped, and Jules might have to go back home.

This is a great, concise summary, Monkey! Kudos!

NOW.

PART. THREE.

OHH. MYYY. GOODNESS. =D>
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby MonkeyDude » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:39 pm

ByeByeBrownie wrote:NOW.

PART. THREE.

OHH. MYYY. GOODNESS. =D>

DITTO.
First things first, I have very mixed feelings with this episode drifting away from the past incidents that Morrie has been involved with and instead focussing on entirely new plot points. It's a little confusing with some of the context from past episodes in this saga and just a tiny bit disappointing. But focusing on the direction the episode DID take, I have a couple of problems and nitpicks but I did enjoyed it and I really, really love where and what it leaves us with. With that, here are some notes I took.

*That very very first little piano lick at the very beginning is GOOD
*Ok but Suzu's "collection" had me cracking up. I love how she is so proud of it too ahaha! Oozing klepto vibes here.
*Rehashing the Morrie and Suzu 'Dynamic Duo of Disastertm'
*So I was originally aboard the Mrs. Maydo innocent train but boy did that derail fast.
*#GiveEmilyAVacation
*So I am a little disappointed there wasn't more to Morrie's motives but I do love how his character's incentives (as of now) are just to cause chaos. Oddly charming.
*THANK YOU WHIT. "That's not the first thing!" It's about time.
*I wish we had a little bit more info on who Mrs. Maydo is working for and why she wants the maple leaf. They bring it up a little bit but it'd be nice to know more.
*Imagine if Mrs. Maydo hadn't given them time and was just like "Bring it to me. NOW!" That would've solved a lot of her problems I think.
*Ok the music when Morrie came back in as the mysterious voice, and just that moment in general, was pretty great!
*On of my favorite lines in this episode was Emily's "Why not? He already put me in a room and sucked out the air. Why not drown me this time." More on that later.
*I think this episode makes FFTT move relevant and important to the overall saga which is a plus.
*I hope we see more from Tasha soon. Her role was a little odd in this episode but I'm glad Phil included her.
*Whit should have stepped in. I think they did a good job at justifying why he didn't but I really wish we could've just gotten an "I was wrong. I'm sorry". It'd be satisfying and provide character development for Whit in one of the very very few places he is capable of growing at as a character.
*I did like Whit MUCH more in this episode than I did in the previous ones.
*Emily holding onto some hard feelings is so important and I'm insanely glad she didn't just forgive them right then in there. Those feelings are totally valid and in some ways, she really represents the fanbase. Like, for her, everyone moved on from the escape room and Morrie's other misdeeds once a delicate incentive was provided. She undoubtedly has been the most affected and biggest catalyst of finding a conclusion that clicks everything together and makes sense(much like the fan base). So when the truth comes out and nothing was what it seemed, it might be a letdown. But even more so, she has been deeply affected by some of these shenanigans and everyone is playing them off like "oh you were never in any real danger" "they were just games" which I'd assume would kinda make you feel like dirt if those things still really bothered you. I'm probably looking into this too much though. Anyways, I'm really looking forward to part 10!
*So I had a thought last night and thought it would never happen but 'what if Whit adopted Morrie and Suzu since their dad is a sleaze.' And I'm so INTO it. It was a little messy getting here but I love where we end off and I'm really looking forward to the aftermath.

So I might write an entire analysis of the Rydell Saga one of these days but as far as these 3-parters go, I like them. It wasn't what I expected but I completely understand why certain decisions were made and I believe that they were made as best as they could be. I think the first couple of episodes were probably made without an endgame in mind which really does kinda hurt the overall saga but Phil and everyone else involved did a really good job at bringing things together in my opinion. I think that's all I got for now.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Jay_Smouse » Tue Jul 28, 2020 8:23 pm

I hope that we see more of Whit, Tasha, Morrie, Emily, and Suzu investigating the people behind Mrs. Mado (The "bad people" Suzu mentioned at the beginning of part 3). Also, I want Part 10 to be an episode where Morrie and Suzu settle in in Whit's home. Then either I want Raymond to come to Odyssey or for them to stay with Whit long-term, preferably the latter. I also want to see some internal conflict in Emily ash she struggles with whether to forgive the Rydells or not. Then, if the Parkers are really going away, Emily says good-bye to Matthew and the Parkers actually [i]move[i], they don't just disappear and almost never get mentioned again. Though I don't really want the Parkers to leave, I understand that they want fresh characters with (hopefully) consistent actors.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Monica Stone » Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:46 pm

WHOO. This episode was ALOT. I haven't posted sooner because I got myself locked out of my account for a week but I'm back because of the gracious help of Catspaw.

The episode I think was pretty good...overall. But Whit's behavior and end-of-episode explanation to Emily has been bothering me tirelessly ever since I've heard it. I don't know how I feel about him just allowing Suzu and Morrie to potientially break laws (breaking and entering w/ the locker incident, at least) because they need room to mentally stimulate themselves. I appreciate that he sees himself in Emily, Morrie, and Suzu and he wants to let them use their intelligence accordingly, but I feel like Whit allowed them to cross far too many lines. I love that in this episode, Whit's lazer-focused, #1 priority is to get Emily to safety. I just greatly dislike that that didn't seem to be his priority in some of the previous episodes.

But the fact he knew about the escape room incident is something unforgivable. Perhaps he didn't know all of the specifics. But the escape room scenario was deeply traumatizing to Emily and it shows through her actions and words that it still affects her. Now, even if he didn't know that Morrie's plan was to manipulate and trick Emily and Matthew into thinking they would die, he didn't even tell Detective Polehaus or anyone after the fact that Morrie did it all. In "Further from the Truth", Morrie is wandering freely throughout Whit's End and Whit does nothing. Morrie comes to Whit. Not vice versa.

Whit said that Emily asked him to let her investigate on her own. But Whit never even told her, "Hey, listen, I know who is behind everything and maybe you should know." She doesn't know that Whit has already fit all of the pieces together. If she did, she may have demanded to know who did it instead of investigating on her own. It's...messy. At the end of part 3, when Whit admits he knew about everything, Emily asks why he didn't tell her about the escape room.

Emily Jones wrote:Then why didn't you tell me? And even more importantly, why did you ever let it happen in the first place?


Whit's answer is lame. And he knows it.And Emily definitely knows it. He says that he maybe should have stepped in sooner ( *coughs* no maybe about it, Whit!). He feebly says, "I hope that's a satisfactory answer, Emily, it's the best one I can give you." She responds with a quiet, "If you say so, Mr. Whittaker." Her words and behavior throughout the scene give me the impression she is unhappy with Whit and no longer trusts him. If they deal with the fact that Whit made some poor decisions and lacked certain judgment, then I AM THRILLED. If they completely ignore it, I will be deeply annoyed.

Episode pitch: Emily no longer wants to go to Whit's End. Even besides being distrustful of Morrie and Suzu, she is cagey everytime she sees Whit. Whit has to realize and deal with his poor decisions when he allowed Morrie & Suzu to break/bend laws at the expense of Emily's wellbeing.

If they did something similar to what I just pitched, I can accept that Whit was dead wrong with some of actions if they call it out and recognize it. I have even more thoughts on Whit, but I'll stop talking about Whit for now. I can do more of that later ;)

A few days before part 3 was released, I thought, "If Mrs. Mado is a bad guy, then what'll happen to Morrie and Suzu? Would Whit take them in? Hmm, this is probably why Mrs. Mado isn't a bad guy. It would get too complicated." AHHH. I CALLED IT! Sort of. And then I went back on myself. BUT WOAH THEY DID THAT! Everything I said before about Morrie and Whit being possibly great foils could become absolutely true. He's their temporary guardian and therefore will have many interactions with Morrie. I'm hyped.

I have many, many more thoughts, on the cobble box, Emily, Tasha, Morrie, Suzu, everything. But I don't have time to write it all up now, but definitely know I will share more of my thoughts in future thread replies.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Scientific Guy » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:04 pm

Monica Stone wrote:cobble box
:D I feel appreciated. :D

No, that’s not my only reply. You’ve done a great job at summarizing your thoughts on these episodes, Monica. I’m talking to Phil tonight, so I’ll bring up some of these points.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Monica Stone » Thu Jul 30, 2020 4:15 pm

Scientific Guy wrote:
Monica Stone wrote:cobble box
:D I feel appreciated. :D

I know Emily and others have canonically called it the "Imagination box", but I always forget and cobble box sounds cooler. :lol:

Scientific Guy wrote:No, that’s not my only reply. You’ve done a great job at summarizing your thoughts on these episodes, Monica. I’m talking to Phil tonight, so I’ll bring up some of these points.


I'm glad it made sense and wasn't too convoluted. I typed and proofread it as fast as I possibly could.

I'm sure your conversation with Phil will be an interesting one and I'm looking forward to hearing the AIOWIKI podcast reviews of part 2&3!
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Scientific Guy » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:33 pm

What if Morrie Was Right? From AIO Audio News:

Please comment on this and share it with every Odyssey / Rydell fan you know. I really want to hear your thoughts on it.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Jay_Smouse » Thu Jul 30, 2020 9:15 pm

Monica Stone wrote:Everything I said before about Morrie and Whit being possibly great foils could become absolutely true. He's their temporary guardian and therefore will have many interactions with Morrie. I'm hyped.

Yes, this should be interesting. I really hope they show Morrie and Suzu settling in to Whit's house and getting used to his rules and behavior as we've seen a few times when kids stayed at Whit's house. (for example, Mark Prescott staying with Whit while his mom was out of town in the books). Maybe they'll even find a hidden room or something!

Scientific Guy wrote:What if Morrie Was Right? From AIO Audio News:

Please comment on this and share it with every Odyssey / Rydell fan you know. I really want to hear your thoughts on it.


This is certainly very interesting. I can hardly wait to hear the actual conversation with Phil, if you can work around that computer problem.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby MonkeyDude » Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:55 am

Monica Stone wrote:WHOO. This episode was ALOT. I haven't posted sooner because I got myself locked out of my account for a week but I'm back because of the gracious help of Catspaw.

The episode I think was pretty good...overall. But Whit's behavior and end-of-episode explanation to Emily has been bothering me tirelessly ever since I've heard it. I don't know how I feel about him just allowing Suzu and Morrie to potientially break laws (breaking and entering w/ the locker incident, at least) because they need room to mentally stimulate themselves. I appreciate that he sees himself in Emily, Morrie, and Suzu and he wants to let them use their intelligence accordingly, but I feel like Whit allowed them to cross far too many lines. I love that in this episode, Whit's lazer-focused, #1 priority is to get Emily to safety. I just greatly dislike that that didn't seem to be his priority in some of the previous episodes.

But the fact he knew about the escape room incident is something unforgivable. Perhaps he didn't know all of the specifics. But the escape room scenario was deeply traumatizing to Emily and it shows through her actions and words that it still affects her. Now, even if he didn't know that Morrie's plan was to manipulate and trick Emily and Matthew into thinking they would die, he didn't even tell Detective Polehaus or anyone after the fact that Morrie did it all. In "Further from the Truth", Morrie is wandering freely throughout Whit's End and Whit does nothing. Morrie comes to Whit. Not vice versa.

Whit said that Emily asked him to let her investigate on her own. But Whit never even told her, "Hey, listen, I know who is behind everything and maybe you should know." She doesn't know that Whit has already fit all of the pieces together. If she did, she may have demanded to know who did it instead of investigating on her own. It's...messy. At the end of part 3, when Whit admits he knew about everything, Emily asks why he didn't tell her about the escape room.

Emily Jones wrote:Then why didn't you tell me? And even more importantly, why did you ever let it happen in the first place?


Whit's answer is lame. And he knows it.And Emily definitely knows it. He says that he maybe should have stepped in sooner ( *coughs* no maybe about it, Whit!). He feebly says, "I hope that's a satisfactory answer, Emily, it's the best one I can give you." She responds with a quiet, "If you say so, Mr. Whittaker." Her words and behavior throughout the scene give me the impression she is unhappy with Whit and no longer trusts him. If they deal with the fact that Whit made some poor decisions and lacked certain judgment, then I AM THRILLED. If they completely ignore it, I will be deeply annoyed.

Episode pitch: Emily no longer wants to go to Whit's End. Even besides being distrustful of Morrie and Suzu, she is cagey everytime she sees Whit. Whit has to realize and deal with his poor decisions when he allowed Morrie & Suzu to break/bend laws at the expense of Emily's wellbeing.

Glad to have you back haha! And first off, you masterfully worded this! I couldn't have said it any better. I know I'm wearing this phrase out but I completely agree with you here. I'm crossing my fingers that this conflcit comes up again in part 10. Also, love that episode pitch! It would be a really good way to show that actions have consequences (insert SammyClassicSonicFan here lol) even if they are made with good intentions. Something very unique about this arc is how morality has been bent constantly, blurring the line between protagonists and antagonists. Especially after listening to the 'What If Was Morrie Right?' clip, I'm kinda inclined to agree that really nobody is a good guy here. Everyone made mistakes which is what makes it feel realistic to me.

Jay_Smouse wrote:I hope that we see more of Whit, Tasha, Morrie, Emily, and Suzu investigating the people behind Mrs. Mado (The "bad people" Suzu mentioned at the beginning of part 3). Also, I want Part 10 to be an episode where Morrie and Suzu settle in in Whit's home. Then either I want Raymond to come to Odyssey or for them to stay with Whit long-term, preferably the latter. I also want to see some internal conflict in Emily ash she struggles with whether to forgive the Rydells or not. Then, if the Parkers are really going away, Emily says good-bye to Matthew and the Parkers actually [i]move[i], they don't just disappear and almost never get mentioned again. Though I don't really want the Parkers to leave, I understand that they want fresh characters with (hopefully) consistent actors.


Yeah, for sure! Mrs. Maydo still has a lot of potential to be tied to a larger story even though she is going to jail so it'd be great to hear more about that. I can't stress enough how exciting it is for me that Morrie and Suzu are with Whit so I'm crossing my fingers we get that in album 70. I'm with ya that I don't really want the Parkers to move but I could respect that decision if it was made.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Bob » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:10 am

I agree considerably with @Monica Stone.

To avoid rehashing everything I said on the SS version of this topic, I'll hit on a somewhat different angle here, the idea of the 'true protagonist'. I submit that contrary to the alternative narrative that's being proposed here, Emily is certainly the protagonist, and a well-deserved one at that. That is not to say that she didn't make mistakes - among other things, her aggressiveness led her to break the law in her early interactions with Suzu in Rydell Revelations, entering their house without permission. That said, you don't have to be perfect to be the most heroic character in the situation, and Emily has earned that distinction several times over.

In 'Parker for President', Emily generally gives good, and what's more, constructive advice to Matthew (running a positive campaign focused on Matthew's strengths). When her friends are in turmoil and fighting it out, she tries to bring them to their better judgment, non-selfishly, without the intention of getting notoriety or support for herself. In the escape room, she risks her life (as far as she knows) to help her friend. Now granted, that was also the only sensible choice since Matthew was the only one who could have gotten them out anyway, but she showed definitively that she has matured into a sacrificing, rather selfless young lady in the Rydell Revelations: she doesn't particularly like Suzu, and yet she still risked her life (again) to distract Mrs. Mado long enough to let Suzu escape.

What's more is that Emily is the only major character in the last part of the saga who seems to be committed to the truth and shining a light to uncover dark places. Morrie and Suzu obviously have been telling a pack of lies most of this time, until practically forced to do otherwise. Mrs. Mado is a spy in multiple senses. And Tasha and even Whit are manipulative, covering things up, letting lies go unopposed, or misleading people to their advantage. They ultimately free Emily by deceit, using the 'imagination box' to manipulate Mrs. Mado's mind, and never even considering honoring the conditions of their agreement with Mado (who, ironically, was apparently going to keep her word to let Emily go free in exchange for the MacGuffin). Emily is, to the best of my knowledge, the only one who is honest and trying to uncover the truth where it is obstructed. She's even enough of a stickler to say that she came to the wrong conclusion, based on the grounds that, while she believed (for reasons that were vindicated) that it was Morrie, it was not only Morrie but also Suzu. (Personally I'd give her more than half credit for her investigative skills.)

This concept of claiming Morrie is good based on some utilitarian philosophy is one thing (and bad enough), but it's a bridge too far to claim that someone attempting to find out the truth about a lying, deceitful, manipulative person who is actively causing trouble in their and everyone else's business is villainous for it. This goes dangerously close to calling evil good and good evil. I'd be very disappointed to find that the AIO staff actually think this (though it's more understandable if they just meant to get people to think about it and figure out why they believe what they believe).
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby ByeByeBrownie » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:10 pm

I have had "The Maple Leaf Forever" stuck in my head the past several days, and it may or may not have anything to do with Revelations Pt. 3.   :lol:
 
But anyway, let's get down to business.
 
First off, Monica, what a fabulous summary of what many of us have been thinking! Part 3 left the door wide open for the show to delve into this whole fiasco's effect on Emily and her relationship with Whit in particular, and I really hope the team capitalizes on that opportunity. A simple "I'm sorry" from Whit would not have been difficult to fit into the dialogue, but it would have added SO MUCH, in my opinion. And I'm hoping we do finally get it somewhere down the line. I'm also REALLY hoping we don't end up with an "Emily needs to learn about forgiveness" episode. THAT would almost be enough to make me quit Odyssey.
 
MonkeyDude wrote:Something very unique about this arc is how morality has been bent constantly, blurring the line between protagonists and antagonists. Especially after listening to the 'What If Was Morrie Right?' clip, I'm kinda inclined to agree that really nobody is a good guy here. Everyone made mistakes which is what makes it feel realistic to me.

I am so glad you brought this up! There's a section of the song "Wonderful" from the Broadway musical Wicked that really resonates with me, and I think it applies wonderfully here (haha, see what I did there?  :lol:  Okay, I'll stop  #-o ). Anyway, it goes like this: "There are precious few at ease/ With moral ambiguities/ So we act as though they don't exist." And I kind of get the drift that that's what Phil's wanting us to think about here. AND I DIG IT. We live in a world that wants to assign absolutes to everything. We want "good guys" and "bad guys," simple "rights" and "wrongs." But reality is much more complex than that (just flip through your Bible--the Old Testament in particular). If Phil's goal with this trilogy was simply to spark conversations surrounding issues of uncertain morality, then he has achieved it brilliantly.
 
 
NOW. With regard to the question, "What if Morrie was right?"
 
WOW. There just is really a lot to unpack here. So I listened through the complete Rydell saga again yesterday with this question in mind. Playing devil's advocate, I tried to be as generous as possible in analyzing whether Morrie's actions in each episode were indeed good. Here's what I came up with:
 
1. Parker for President - GOOD
Morrie did not break any rules in this episode, nor did he do anything that I would consider morally "wrong." I would argue that Emily was, in fact, the best candidate for student body president anyway, so, in my opinion, everything truly "ended up like it should."
 
2. The Key Suspect - TOSSUP
This episode has always been a bit confusing to me, and I found it pretty tricky to reconcile with the conclusion of Revelations. I’ll explain it here the way in which it makes the most sense to me.
Opening the lockers was likely Suzu’s idea (the clepto, looking to make a grab). Morrie figures out what she’s up to and follows her to watch. When he sees her take stuff from the lockers, he goes back and returns it. He follows her again on the second night, this time on a quest for information about the kids at Odyssey Middle School. After that, he’s seen all he needs to see and is ready to be done. But Matthew and Emily continue to investigate, so he gets a bit nervous that he and/or Suzu will be caught. So he frames Dion to protect himself and his sister. Only he doesn’t tell Suzu he’s done so. But she suspects him anyway and is now a little miffed at him for doing it because she now wants “to do what is right” for their new friends.
So, here, Morrie is doing what he thinks to be the right thing. First, he returns the stolen goods, and then does what is necessary to keep his sister out of trouble. But in doing so, he has still 1) broken and entered and 2) framed an “innocent” kid. BUT. There are ways to get around the breaking and entering thing, in that the window could have already been broken and some other stuff I don’t feel like typing out at the moment. AND, once prompted to do so, Dion DID break into the lockers. It's arguable that when presented with the opportunity, Dion would have done the wrong thing anyway. So this one’s a tossup for me.
 
3. The Secret of the Writer's Ruse - GOOD
This one's pretty straightforward. Except for that problematic Whit line at the end. I thought that was going to resolve itself in pt. 3, but alas.
 
4. The Good in People - GOOD
Olivia needed to keep her promise. Morrie's scheme gave her an extra push of motivation that would not likely have come from any other persuasion tactic. This one is actually a very Whit-like move in my opinion. And, as Olivia admitted, Morrie worked just as hard, if not harder, than the other kids to help raise the money. This is another "good" for Morrie's record.
 
5. A Sacrificial Escape - ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? *drumrollllll* GOOD
To quote Grandpa Bassett, "...and no, I haven't lost my mind."
Emily and Matthew WANTED to do the escape room. Morrie just raised the stakes. For all Emily and Matthew knew, the mysterious voice and all that jazz could have just been part of a super intense escape room experience. Had something truly dangerous happened, or, say, had one of them been on the verge of an actual panic attack or something, I think Morrie would have had enough sense and empathy to stop it. But nobody was ever in any actual danger. Theoretically, it could all be chalked up as an elaborate prank. And Morrie's motives were "good"--to test the mettle of Emily's and Matthew's faith and friendship.
 
6. Further from the Truth - Good? From bad?
This is the one I get hung up on as far as consent goes. Emily did not consent to the imagination adventure here. There is an element of consent when kids go into the imagination station, because they are voluntarily doing so. Not here, though.
My counterargument to Phil's argument that kids go through a lot of intense situations in the imagination station is that in the actual imagination station, they know that what they are experiencing is already in the past and that they are not in any actual danger. Emily, in both the escape room and the cobblebox adventure, did not know what was really going on or why. And that can really mess with your head.
If Morrie had gone about this part of "bringing out the good" in Emily in a different way--say, asked Emily to go on an imagination station adventure with him, maybe that would've been okay. Anywho, the more I think about this tech, the more weirded out I get by it. Like I said, the key here is consent, and it was clearly not given. But here, again, Morrie is acting very similarly to what he's seen Whit do, and the lesson he's trying to get across is definitely a good one. So... "good from bad"?
 
If you do the math, that's 5 "good"s out of 6. Not bad.
 
So now we're left with a few questions:
1. How many punishable offenses has Morrie actually committed?
2. Whose job is it to confront Morrie and make him face consequences for his actions?
3. Even if Morrie's actions are indeed "good," is it really his place to be bringing out "the good in people"?
 
With regard to the first and second questions, like Mrs. Mado mentioned, Morrie is "slippery," and it really is difficult to solidly pin anything on him. My head cannon is that when Whit found out Morrie was behind the escape room fiasco, he spoke with Mrs. Mado to get her input regarding suitable consequences for Morrie. That is when she shared the excerpt of Morrie's journal with Whit. And we all know Mrs. Mado's got spy stuff to do, so she leaves Morrie's cummupence in Whit's hands. Whit's still trying to figure out what he's going to do when Morrie comes bursting into his office with Emily's phone, and we know the rest.
 
The third question has a very complex answer, in my opinion. Morrie is really only mimicking what he perceives Whit has been doing. This is such an interesting concept to me. I mean, as they say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," and this shows us that Morrie actually really does look up to and respect Whit, which is GREAT. But Morrie is a CHILD. And he is manipulating CHILDREN. As Emily pointed out, his "lessons" are quite often a bit "off" and may in certain instances end up causing more harm than good. And I don't know that it really is his place to be trying to teach the lessons he's trying to teach.
 
 
This is going to be a pretty rough segue here, and I apologize about that, but I wasn't sure how else to fit this in, so here we are. Whit's gotten a lot of flack after these episodes, and a lot of it is deserved. But I'm going to go to bat for him a little bit here:
First of all, it's important to note that Whit actually could not have stopped what went on in the escape room, because he did not yet know who was behind it. Additionally, at the end of A Sacrificial Escape, Whit does tell Emily to tell her dad to come by the next day so he can talk with him further about what happened. I would like to assume that in this "off-camera" discussion, Whit apologizes to Simon Jones and assures him that he will do everything he can to get to the bottom of it. I would also like to think that Whit also keeps Simon in the loop when he discovers Morrie to  be the perpetrator and leaves up to Simon's discretion whether to tell his daughter bout it or not.
Additionally, as I mentioned before, Whit has only very recently discovered conclusive evidence that Morrie is behind each of the incidents in question. Before any corrective action is taken, Whit must first consult with with Morrie's guardian.
 
 
Now, what about the question, "Is Emily the bad guy?"
In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY NOT. There nothing wrong with investigating the incidents that have been going on, and as Bob pointed out, she seems to be the only one here who is actively committed to the truth. And when her desperation leads her to some slightly dubious actions, she is quick to apologize. She is willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and continually puts others ahead of herself, even those who have clearly damaged her trust in them.
I would argue that she was not wrong in suspecting Morrie as the bad guy. Using deceitful measures to bring about a positive result deserves any investigation it receives, and Emily has a right to know who has been operating to bring out the good in her.

More than any of the rest of this, though, I see Emily as a broad representation of mental health issues and how they are often handled (or not handled, as it turns out). Question: Why does Emily not seek help, and even refuse it, in her investigation? I think the answer to this question is clearly illustrated by Phil's questioning whether what Emily has experienced is really trauma. Emily has perceived that the people around her are not taking the mysterious happenings as seriously as she is. She feels invalidated by this and thus is hesitant to trust the others. She figures it's better to go it alone than to not be taken seriously. And this is all too often the case with mental health issues in real life. What constitutes trauma (or triggers depression, anxiety, etc.) for one person may not for another. This does not invalidate what the traumatized individual is feeling, but unfortunately often forms a barrier against the person getting the help they need.
That said, my opinion is that in these episodes, Whit has shirked his responsibility to look out not only for Emily's physical wellbeing, but also her mental and emotional wellbeing. I would love to see this angle continue to be explored, with Whit ultimately apologizing for failing Emily in this area.
 
 
 
Oof, okay, that was a lot. If anyone has actually read through this whole mess, my deepest apologies and heaven bless you. There's still so much more I could say about the Rydell saga, but I'll spare you all for now. ;)
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Monica Stone » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:04 pm

I fundamentally disagree with Phil Lollar on Morrie's innocence. I have only heard the AIO Audio News post once, but I'm going to listen to it again after I finish writing this. But I do not like that Phil Lollar compares Morrie's actions to Whit's actions. They both have different motivations and ways in which they help others do good.

@Bob I completely agree with you there!

Emily was the only one dedicated to pursuing an honest, upfront search for the truth. She wanted justice. She didn't want to take the law into her own hands and harm Morrie herself. The way she interrogated Suzu is how I have termed "politely agressive." She was intense about getting the truth from Suzu but would often recoil and step back when she went too far (for example, when she spilled the contents of Suzu's backpack in the dirt). Despite her passion for finding the truth, she still shrinks back and takes a moment to be understanding and sympathetic. The worst thing she did in the entire saga was to enter the Rydell house without permission.

@ByeByeBrownie Woof, when I heard about what Phil Lollar said, I went through all the episodes and lightly dissected Morrie's actions. Great minds think alike...? But I do disagree with you, especially about "A Sacrificial Escape." Matthew and Emily did enter the escape room, yes, but just to take a look around. They wanted to be freed when the door slammed shut. Matthew tries to open the door but cannot. Whit literally says to Morrie, "Let the kids leave[...]" and is denyed. That's holding them against their will. Not only that, but Matthew and Emily are clear that they were not okay with the seemingly perilous task of escaping within 30 minutes or under threat of suffocation. Death threats are against Ohio state law and considered a third-degree felony.

Morrie literally makes Emily & Matthew choose who will live and who will die. That's absolutely abominable and I'm sure I don't need to explain why. Emily chooses to put Matthew's life before her own and that is no small feat. This experience leaves Emily obviously traumatized and she is in tears by the end of the episode. I think it's really clear in the following episodes that she hasn't recovered from the experience (and if she does, it won't be easy).

I have a ton more thoughts but I'm not quite sure where to begin. In the future, I'll probably write a reaaally long response to Phil Lollar's argument that Morrie is innocent because I deeply disagree and I'm alarmed that AIO is potentially sharing this message.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby MonkeyDude » Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:28 pm

Bob wrote:Emily is, to the best of my knowledge, the only one who is honest and trying to uncover the truth where it is obstructed. She's even enough of a stickler to say that she came to the wrong conclusion, based on the grounds that, while she believed (for reasons that were vindicated) that it was Morrie, it was not only Morrie but also Suzu. (Personally I'd give her more than half credit for her investigative skills.)

This concept of claiming Morrie is good based on some utilitarian philosophy is one thing (and bad enough), but it's a bridge too far to claim that someone attempting to find out the truth about a lying, deceitful, manipulative person who is actively causing trouble in their and everyone else's business is villainous for it. This goes dangerously close to calling evil good and good evil. I'd be very disappointed to find that the AIO staff actually think this (though it's more understandable if they just meant to get people to think about it and figure out why they believe what they believe).


Dang Bob! That was extremely well said and thought out! I honestly think you might've changed my mind on a couple of things and I've been thinking about this post a lot haha! I think that yeah, Emily made some mistakes and kinda has no chill (like spying on people and just entering houses) but she is in no way the antagonist. She for sure isn't perfect, or maybe even "good" but she isn't to blame. I'm not sure if I believe that Morrie is the antagonist here either but I'm confident that Emily is not a villain and I really like what you said above.

ByeByeBrownie wrote:5. A Sacrificial Escape - ARE YOU READY FOR THIS? *drumrollllll* GOOD
To quote Grandpa Bassett, "...and no, I haven't lost my mind."
Emily and Matthew WANTED to do the escape room. Morrie just raised the stakes. For all Emily and Matthew knew, the mysterious voice and all that jazz could have just been part of a super intense escape room experience. Had something truly dangerous happened, or, say, had one of them been on the verge of an actual panic attack or something, I think Morrie would have had enough sense and empathy to stop it. But nobody was ever in any actual danger. Theoretically, it could all be chalked up as an elaborate prank. And Morrie's motives were "good"--to test the mettle of Emily's and Matthew's faith and friendship.

So first off here, Brownie, I had so much fun reading through your whole post and dang, you summarized so many of my thoughts about morality, how Phil was probably shooting for this, and especially Emily and mental health! SO GOOD MAN. Thank you for summarizing my thoughts far better than I ever could!

I have a couple of thoughts on the escape room being good though (not sure if they are correct or not just thought I'd throw them out there haha). From what I understood, it seems Morrie's main motivation for testing the kids of Odyssey is not wanting Suzu to be duped and curiosity. Perhaps I digested part 2 wrong but it didn't seem like his main goal was to test Emily and Matthew's faith and friendship; helping them grow as people. They did it because Suzu and he wanted to see faith in action and if all they'd heard about Christianity was true. Which is a good thing! But did they do it in a healthy and positive way for all those involved?

(Also, slight side note, but I genuinely hadn't thought about if one of them had freaked out or had a panic attack or something. In hindsight, it would have been super interesting if that had happened and to see how Morrie reacted to that! Really good point there.)

Is Morrie actually doing this to bring out the good in people? Sure, the good in people was definitely brought out, Emily and Olivia both made sacrificial choices for selfless reasons, but were Morrie's attempts to test those around him truly from a place of selflessness? Not wanting Suzu to fall for Christianity is a hard motive to rank on a worldly scale of morality, because on one hand, he may just be looking out for her, but on the other, it could for sure be for selfish reasons. And yes, Matthew and Emily did agree to the escape room but I don't really think they understood what they were getting into. As pointed out in the audio on AioAudioNews, consent is really important and I personally don't think it was right of Morrie to force something as significant as the prospects of death onto these kids. Even if they know they were safe the whole time chances are Emily and Matthew aren't going to forget the feeling of thinking you are going to die for the rest of their lives. Maybe they are both totally fine and walk it off. Maybe there are unforeseen consequences for both of them. And y'know what? Maybe that could be a good thing; to have that experience underneath your belt and be tested like that. But was it really Morrie's place to put them through that without consent, even if he did have good intentions? (Honestly, I'm really struggling with myself here, I don't know.)

Do the motives make what Morrie did inherently good or bad? Not necessarily. People can do good things for bad reasons, or bad things for good reasons. But the Bible is very clear that where your heart is at IS important. And I'm not inclined to believe Morrie's heart in entirely in the right place.

But it doesn't matter what I believe. What all this comes down too is that my whole post is extremely hypocritical and we are playing right into Phil's hand by trying to determine who is inherently good and bad on a worldly scale. I believe someone (I think it was Bob? I'm not for sure) pointed this out, but if we try to determine who is "good" we are always going to come up short because guess what? Everyone messed up in these episodes. Everyone has messed up in real-life. No one is good without God. If we try and figure out who's to blame for it we're never going to find a satisfactory answer. I'm trying really hard to not make this sound all preachy because I'm just as (if not more lol) guilty of trying to put labels on literally everything, but if there is one thing I've learned in life and from the Bible, it's that we all are the flipping WORST. By worldly standard, some of us might be worse than others, but by God's, we are all lost and broken the same.

Analyzing these episodes with you guys has honestly been a blast for me and reading what you guys think about it as well has been one of the highlights of my day but I honestly don't think we're going to crack this one because there isn't anything to really crack. Phil knew what he was doing (that sly, sly dog haha). I hope this is all intelligible, I'm sure I'm going to wake up in the morning and re-read this thinking I wrote pure jibberish so thank you all for indulging me.

((also Monica i just saw your post and like always *massive thumbs up*))
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Monica Stone » Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:44 pm

I still have thoughts on Whit, but I'll flip the conversation a little and take a moment to talk about Emily. She's so good. Throughout these episodes, she is realistically flawed and interesting. I have read posts from 2010-2011 where many fans thought her flaws outweighed her virtues. I can kinda see that. But I think the writers have done an excellent job of developing her character and keeping her likable but flawed, especially recently. One thing I appreciate about this saga is that none of the protagonists are one-dimensional, even if they ultimately make good decisions.

When Emily sacrificed herself to distract Mrs. Mado from Suzu, all I could think was:

Mysterious Voice wrote:And such a self-sacrificial choice, Emily! Surely that made you feel...good?


This doesn't tie into anything else I am about to say, but Suzu THREW HER OUT A WINDOW. What?! I did not exactly anticipate that to be what happened after Suzu and Emily struggled. Is that technically kidnapping if Emily willingly followed Suzu afterward?

ByeByeBrownie wrote:First off, Monica, what a fabulous summary of what many of us have been thinking! Part 3 left the door wide open for the show to delve into this whole fiasco's effect on Emily and her relationship with Whit in particular, and I really hope the team capitalizes on that opportunity. A simple "I'm sorry" from Whit would not have been difficult to fit into the dialogue, but it would have added SO MUCH, in my opinion. And I'm hoping we do finally get it somewhere down the line. I'm also REALLY hoping we don't end up with an "Emily needs to learn about forgiveness" episode. THAT would almost be enough to make me quit Odyssey.


Thank you! As I have stated previously, I would be thrilled if they dealt with the fact Whit should have done several things differently. Had he have stepped in sooner, Emily would not have been manipulated into thinking she would die and she may not have been kidnapped by Mrs. Mado. I would also mention the cobble box adventure as something bad that happened, because it had the potiential to be traumatizing, but Emily found it therapeutic. I actually rewrote part of the final scene of part 3 because I was annoyed at it and I may share it in the future. ;)

The past 3 sagas (Rydell Saga, The Ties That Bind, Green Ring) have all dealt with Emily being manipulated and forgiving her manipulator. I smell a pattern. :-k Poor Emily. But I honestly am so glad Emily didn't move on from what Morrie and Suzu did to her because she realized "oh, it was all done for good!" If future episodes did that, I would be really upset because I do not agree or condone that message. I don't think it would go over well with the teens/adults in the audience and for good reason.

By the end of this, I want to see Emily to forgive Morrie and Suzu but not trust them. If she ever gets to a point where she trusts them again, it needs to be a slow, realistic process.

ByeByeBrownie wrote:More than any of the rest of this, though, I see Emily as a broad representation of mental health issues and how they are often handled (or not handled, as it turns out). Question: Why does Emily not seek help, and even refuse it, in her investigation? I think the answer to this question is clearly illustrated by Phil's questioning whether what Emily has experienced is really trauma. Emily has perceived that the people around her are not taking the mysterious happenings as seriously as she is. She feels invalidated by this and thus is hesitant to trust the others. She figures it's better to go it alone than to not be taken seriously. And this is all too often the case with mental health issues in real life. What constitutes trauma (or triggers depression, anxiety, etc.) for one person may not for another. This does not invalidate what the traumatized individual is feeling, but unfortunately often forms a barrier against the person getting the help they need.
That said, my opinion is that in these episodes, Whit has shirked his responsibility to look out not only for Emily's physical wellbeing, but also her mental and emotional wellbeing. I would love to see this angle continue to be explored, with Whit ultimately apologizing for failing Emily in this area.


THIS. \:D/ I think you've stated this better than anyone else could.

I want them to delve into this. It could be so good and complex. I don't really see Emily talking to anyone except if necessary. I get the impression she is going to be somewhat distant from everyone in coming episodes. You can see Emily throughout part 1 avoid Matthew until necessary. And the conversation she ultimately has with him is really great. But it's really tough to talk to someone about mental health problems or anything relating to what triggers some of those problems. I see that with Emily.

I am curious, although Phil Lollar defends Morrie's actions, does he condone Whit's? I would assume so, but y'know, one should never assume. I am very curious/anxious about hearing more of Phil Lollar's thoughts on this in the future.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Bob » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:19 pm

ByeByeBrownie wrote:A simple "I'm sorry" from Whit would not have been difficult to fit into the dialogue, but it would have added SO MUCH, in my opinion. And I'm hoping we do finally get it somewhere down the line. I'm also REALLY hoping we don't end up with an "Emily needs to learn about forgiveness" episode.

Agreed on the former points.

I wouldn't be opposed to an 'Emily forgiveness' episode, provided that it is done in the right way - not in the trite sense of 'oh, you need to get over yourself and do the right thing', but in the sense of acknowledging that sometimes, people do things that are very wrong and hurt us deeply, but our Christian beliefs require us to forgive them even when they don't deserve it. That said, I'm not sure this is really the problem Emily has anyway. She didn't say that she didn't forgive them, she said that she didn't know if they were 'good' or could be friends. She already demonstrated by her actions that she doesn't hold a grudge - someone with a grudge wouldn't go out on a limb to protect someone else. She's already risked her life for Suzu, and I don't think anyone can question at this point whether she would take the risk if she thought Morrie was actually in danger. That doesn't necessarily mean that she has to keep them in her life and hang out with them all the time, though.

MonkeyDude wrote:... I'm kinda inclined to agree that really nobody is a good guy here. Everyone made mistakes which is what makes it feel realistic to me...

But it doesn't matter what I believe. What all this comes down too is that my whole post is extremely hypocritical and we are playing right into Phil's hand by trying to determine who is inherently good and bad on a worldly scale. I believe someone (I think it was Bob? I'm not for sure) pointed this out, but if we try to determine who is "good" we are always going to come up short because guess what? Everyone messed up in these episodes. Everyone has messed up in real-life. No one is good without God. If we try and figure out who's to blame for it we're never going to find a satisfactory answer. I'm trying really hard to not make this sound all preachy because I'm just as (if not more lol) guilty of trying to put labels on literally everything, but if there is one thing I've learned in life and from the Bible, it's that we all are the flipping WORST. By worldly standard, some of us might be worse than others, but by God's, we are all lost and broken the same.
I think this point may be overstated a bit (incidentally, I don't think I did say that, although I did express, in one draft, that Emily isn't perfect (being only human)).

The fact that everybody has done wrong, in the sense of being sinners and deserving of God's judgment, does not mean that every action on earth is equivalent and has or should have the same consequence. The Bible states that you 'reap what you sow', and that rewards and penalties are given in appropriate measure. The Old Testament is given to us for our instruction, and in the Old Testament, there were different penalties and punishments for sin. Yes, everybody's sins are the same in that any sin is sufficient to separate us from God, that there is nothing we can do on our own to make up for it, and that the infinite value of Christ's sacrifice is sufficient to pay any price, but that doesn't mean that those sins have the exact same intrinsic 'value'.

What bothers me and gets me heated up about this in this case, I suppose, is the context of this discussion. If we were just talking about Morrie and his villainy, it's fair enough to say that we shouldn't judge him too harshly, because everybody has done wrong. In this conversation, though, the context is that some have suggested or implied that he didn't do wrong at all, and even that the people who opposed him were wrong. So, in this circumstance the argument comes off a little like saying 'everybody is bad, so Morrie isn't any worse than anyone else'. Yes, everybody is bad in some sense, but we understand that there is a tangible difference between a jaywalker and a murderer.

ByeByeBrownie wrote:Playing devil's advocate, I tried to be as generous as possible in analyzing whether Morrie's actions in each episode were indeed good.

I understand that you're being generous, but I'll have to be less generous and offer some of my counter-appraisals. ;)
 
1. Parker for President - GOOD
Morrie did not break any rules in this episode, nor did he do anything that I would consider morally "wrong." I would argue that Emily was, in fact, the best candidate for student body president anyway, so, in my opinion, everything truly "ended up like it should."

The main fuzzy area in this case is Morrie's conversation with Zoe. It's plausible that he hoped or expected she would react the way she did, so in a sense, you could say it was manipulative.

That said, Zoe asked him a question about how reporters do things in real life, and he gave an honest answer. He didn't actually endorse or encourage doing it that way, and technically it isn't his fault that she made a bad choice with the information he gave her.

The write-in effort, and Suzu's note, are questionable in another sense; Morrie was Olivia's campaign manager and could be expected to have some loyalty to her, instead of undermining her. But in an episode where almost everybody did wrong at some point or another, it's fair to say that Morrie, at least, wasn't obviously above and beyond worse than the others.

2. The Key Suspect - TOSSUP
So, here, Morrie is doing what he thinks to be the right thing. First, he returns the stolen goods, and then does what is necessary to keep his sister out of trouble. But in doing so, he has still 1) broken and entered and 2) framed an “innocent” kid.
We already talked about this a bit. I made the point that while Morrie might have 'returned the stolen goods', I'm not sure it's so much because he's against stealing, but rather because Suzu did it in an uncontrolled fashion and the rewards didn't outweigh the risks. He is perfectly fine with stealing on other occasions, and even took some things himself, as he admitted: just not things that would be missed or could be readily traced to him or Suzu.

As far as Dion goes, his situation is similar to the kid in "Blind Justice"; nobody disputes he did wrong, but he didn't do that wrong thing. It's certainly plausible he would have been happy to do the wrong thing without coercion if given the opportunity, but it's not about whether he deserves punishment for something or another, but whether he is actually responsible for this situation. In this case, he was being framed (lying and covering up the truth) as a means for somebody else to avoid responsibility for their actions.

3. The Secret of the Writer's Ruse - GOOD
This one's pretty straightforward. Except for that problematic Whit line at the end. I thought that was going to resolve itself in pt. 3, but alas.
I might agree that it's not wrong to throw somebody a mystery 'party'. My problem here isn't so much that as the reason why it was done, which Morrie, enjoying a villainous monologue at the end, explains is not actually the reason he publicly gave, but rather for his own hidden agenda. At the best you might say it was the 'right thing for the wrong reason'.
 
4. The Good in People - GOOD
Olivia needed to keep her promise. Morrie's scheme gave her an extra push of motivation that would not likely have come from any other persuasion tactic. This one is actually a very Whit-like move in my opinion.

Well, we don't know for sure whether that was the only way it could have been accomplished. As it was she was already pretty committed to doing what it took to keep her promise. They fundraised a good amount of money, and presumably could have made more if they hadn't stopped early, due to Olivia choosing to depend on the 'student project fund' matching funds. Now, yes, she made a mistake trusting somebody who they all admitted sounded a bit fishy, and it was her fault they were in that situation to begin with due to her rash promise. However, that doesn't change the fact that Morrie (or technically, Morrie's paid actor) made a 'promise' that he never had any intention of keeping, and left Olivia up a creek when she trusted him to keep his word.

The episode itself even noted that it seemed on the surface like a 'Whit-like move': Olivia actually thought it *was* Whit. I don't recall, without listening to it again, whether that was Morrie's implication or not. However, if it was Whit, we could expect that he would have made good his word, and Morrie chose not to, despite apparently having the resources. He did at least think about reimbursing Olivia for her expenses, but it's not clear if he ever did, since Olivia notes that they 'never heard from "Jordan" again'.
 
5. A Sacrificial Escape
Emily and Matthew WANTED to do the escape room. Morrie just raised the stakes. For all Emily and Matthew knew, the mysterious voice and all that jazz could have just been part of a super intense escape room experience... And Morrie's motives were "good"--to test the mettle of Emily's and Matthew's faith and friendship.
I think @Monica does a good job elaborating on the nuances of this episode. I will say that even if Morrie had good intentions, that doesn't mean he had a right to do what he did, or that good intentions justify any actions.

6. Further from the Truth - Good? From bad?
This is the one I get hung up on as far as consent goes. Emily did not consent to the imagination adventure here. There is an element of consent when kids go into the imagination station, because they are voluntarily doing so. Not here, though.
I generally agree with the 'consent' argument. The other things that come up here are flaws that tend to implicate *Whit* and his inventions as they normally work. It isn't that uncommon for Whit to mislead or manipulate people in the real IS or RoC, with 'false endings'. It's one thing to say that they gave consent when they first got in, but that consent is not open-ended and indefinite; participants can reasonably expect there to be a clear delineation in both the beginning and the ending of the program, and Whit plays fast and loose with the latter in a few notable cases. It's also worth noting that as a general rule, the IS and RoC are so realistic that even when Whit does offer ample reminders that it is only a program (like constantly nagging Jimmy in "Into Temptation" to do the right thing), the people inside still often forget or lose track of the fact that it isn't real. In my opinion, the fact that Emily recognized it was a false reality, with few clues or deliberate tipoffs to the contrary, shows an enormous degree of deductive ability and mental strength, arguably greater than that exhibited by any other major character in the series.

It's also worth noting that Morrie stole the Imagination Station technology here. Whit is also partially culpable for that, though, for being so careless with it (a far cry from when he refused to let Barry Muntz even look at the plans).

Question: Why does Emily not seek help, and even refuse it, in her investigation?

This (and the following section) raise some interesting points. In our discussion I made the point that Emily could have talked to her parents, or even Detective Polehaus (who she has a history and is "in good" with) about it. For some reason, at least as far as we can tell in just the AIO episodes, she chose not to. Why that is is certainly open for discussion. I agree with the thoughts on the relationship between Whit and Emily, though.

Monica Stone wrote:I have a ton more thoughts but I'm not quite sure where to begin. In the future, I'll probably write a reaaally long response to Phil Lollar's argument that Morrie is innocent because I deeply disagree and I'm alarmed that AIO is potentially sharing this message.
I'm impressed with and approve of your commentary on the escape room sequence, incidentally.

In fairness to Phil Lollar, I didn't know if it was clear from the post whether he was actually honestly supporting these arguments, or simply being 'contrary' and making Lee think about it. If he honestly believes this and intends to incorporate this angle in future episodes as a model for listeners, then yes, I would be very disturbed, honestly, so much so that I would probably stop being an Odyssey fan. That said, I'm willing at this point to give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose that he is trying to get people to work to understand the Biblical perspective and their beliefs (rather than taking it on rote, somebody else's authority, or weak arguments).
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Monica Stone » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:56 pm

@Bob Great post! I agree considerably.
Bob wrote:What bothers me and gets me heated up about this in this case, I suppose, is the context of this discussion. If we were just talking about Morrie and his villainy, it's fair enough to say that we shouldn't judge him too harshly, because everybody has done wrong. In this conversation, though, the context is that some have suggested or implied that he didn't do wrong at all, and even that the people who opposed him were wrong. So, in this circumstance the argument comes off a little like saying 'everybody is bad, so Morrie isn't any worse than anyone else'. Yes, everybody is bad in some sense, but we understand that there is a tangible difference between a jaywalker and a murderer.


I completely agree with you. In terms of this discussion, it alarms me that kids could potentially walk away from these episodes and the paraphrased words of Phil Lollar thinking that Morrie was good all along. If this were a show aimed at adults, I think this conversation wouldn't quite bother me as much. If I had heard all of this when I was in the target age range of the show (8-12), I would have been so confused and probably would have sided with the argument that Morrie was good, because from a more naive standpoint, the argument sounds good.

Bob wrote:In fairness to Phil Lollar, I didn't know if it was clear from the post whether he was actually honestly supporting these arguments, or simply being 'contrary' and making Lee think about it. If he honestly believes this and intends to incorporate this angle in future episodes as a model for listeners, then yes, I would be very disturbed, honestly, so much so that I would probably stop being an Odyssey fan. That said, I'm willing at this point to give him the benefit of the doubt and suppose that he is trying to get people to work to understand the Biblical perspective and their beliefs (rather than taking it on rote, somebody else's authority, or weak arguments).


You are correct and I do want to be fair to him. I will give him the benefit of the doubt until I actually hear his standpoint from his own perspective. I saw a 'theory' that this is all a ploy to get fans to think deeply about morality. Regardless of how this all turns out, it has caused me to ponder deeply and for that I am glad.

I am very curious & nervous about what will happen in future Rydell Saga episodes. They could either be well-done or thematically disturbing. I am hopeful it will not turn out poorly because I cannot see the whole team of writers agreeing with the claim that Morrie is truly good and his actions ultimately were excusable. What is truly ironic, is 13 days before album 69 began airing on the club, there was another Phil Lollar episode released. Millstones. The entire theme of the episode is extremely contrary to the claim that Morrie's actions were done with good spirit and are fundamentally a good thing for the kids he has tested.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby ByeByeBrownie » Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:13 am

I think you guys got me on the escape room. My thoughts on these episodes are constantly being informed and reformed, thanks in no small part to you guys. As MonkeyDude mentioned, these discussions really have been amazing!

Monica Stone wrote:In terms of this discussion, it alarms me that kids could potentially walk away from these episodes and the paraphrased words of Phil Lollar thinking that Morrie was good all along. If this were a show aimed at adults, I think this conversation wouldn't quite bother me as much. If I had heard all of this when I was in the target age range of the show (8-12), I would have been so confused and probably would have sided with the argument that Morrie was good, because from a more naive standpoint, the argument sounds good.

This is exactly wha I have been thinking!

The themes here have been presented so ambiguously that I think it would be very confusing for children, particularly on the younger side of Odyssey's target age range. I know the Odyssey team (and Phil in particular) has made a point of saying that Odyssey is not a babysitter and that parents should talk with their kids about what's going on in the episodes, but I am sure that is not often the case.

Now, as you guys have mentioned, I don't really think Phil is actually trying to say that Morrie is completely innocent. He's just trying to get us to think--"according to our ability," as it were. After all, he did not specifically state this point to Lee, but rather led him there through a series of questions and arguments. That said, I still don't think that many of the younger listeners will yet have the abstract thinking skills to be able to explore these topics in a helpful and constructive manner. However, we cannot assume it will all fly over their heads either. So then we are left with a confusing middle ground that leaves kids questioning morality.

I'm really interested in where this saga goes in the future. It really is just so different from anything AIO has ever done, and it has potential to be REALLY GOOD. But there's also a big possibility it could go the other way, too. Oy, it's just all so :explode:
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Monica Stone » Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:49 am

ByeByeBrownie wrote:I think you guys got me on the escape room. My thoughts on these episodes are constantly being informed and reformed, thanks in no small part to you guys. As MonkeyDude mentioned, these discussions really have been amazing!

Yes, definitely. I have been enjoying these discussions thoroughly and I can't wait to also discuss the rest of album 69 as it airs!

ByeByeBrownie wrote:The themes here have been presented so ambiguously that I think it would be very confusing for children, particularly on the younger side of Odyssey's target age range. I know the Odyssey team (and Phil in particular) has made a point of saying that Odyssey is not a babysitter and that parents should talk with their kids about what's going on in the episodes, but I am sure that is not often the case.

True, true. This is what leads me to believe these episodes should have had a parental warning. They are thematically mature and are alot to think about, regardless of age. I already questioned whether they should have one after part 1 when the kidnapping situation was presented. If Icky and Kat and Balty and Bones can get a parental warning for dealing with superstitions, then I don't understand why this one didn't get one. It is what it is, I guess.

ByeByeBrownie wrote:Now, as you guys have mentioned, I don't really think Phil is actually trying to say that Morrie is completely innocent. He's just trying to get us to think--"according to our ability," as it were. After all, he did not specifically state this point to Lee, but rather led him there through a series of questions and arguments. That said, I still don't think that many of the younger listeners will yet have the abstract thinking skills to be able to explore these topics in a helpful and constructive manner. However, we cannot assume it will all fly over their heads either. So then we are left with a confusing middle ground that leaves kids questioning morality.

I'm really interested in where this saga goes in the future. It really is just so different from anything AIO has ever done, and it has potential to be REALLY GOOD. But there's also a big possibility it could go the other way, too.


I am very interested in hearing the AIOWiki Podcast's review with Phil Lollar. When I hear that, I will be able to assess everything fully. In mentioning that Emily & Olivia jumped to conclusions, Phil may be hinting that we should not yet jump to conclusions until we know everything. It is perhaps a test for fans :-k

I am cautiously optimistic about the future of the saga. In general, my worst fear with fiction is that the story thematically and/or morally unacceptable. Stories always have an underlying message and if that message is bad and implemented throughout the story, it can wreck it.

I try to go into episodes without expectations, that way I am hopefully never disappointed. Spoiler: It doesn't always work, but for a majority of the time, I am less disappointed than others by certain episodes. ;) Yes, I liked Further from the Truth.
Last edited by Monica Stone on Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby MonkeyDude » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:35 pm

Bob wrote:I think this point may be overstated a bit (incidentally, I don't think I did say that, although I did express, in one draft, that Emily isn't perfect (being only human)).

The fact that everybody has done wrong, in the sense of being sinners and deserving of God's judgment, does not mean that every action on earth is equivalent and has or should have the same consequence. The Bible states that you 'reap what you sow', and that rewards and penalties are given in appropriate measure. The Old Testament is given to us for our instruction, and in the Old Testament, there were different penalties and punishments for sin. Yes, everybody's sins are the same in that any sin is sufficient to separate us from God, that there is nothing we can do on our own to make up for it, and that the infinite value of Christ's sacrifice is sufficient to pay any price, but that doesn't mean that those sins have the exact same intrinsic 'value'.

What bothers me and gets me heated up about this in this case, I suppose, is the context of this discussion. If we were just talking about Morrie and his villainy, it's fair enough to say that we shouldn't judge him too harshly, because everybody has done wrong. In this conversation, though, the context is that some have suggested or implied that he didn't do wrong at all, and even that the people who opposed him were wrong. So, in this circumstance the argument comes off a little like saying 'everybody is bad, so Morrie isn't any worse than anyone else'. Yes, everybody is bad in some sense, but we understand that there is a tangible difference between a jaywalker and a murderer.


These are really good points, you got me there! I think I botched the wording that because I didn't mean to imply that Morrie is excused of consequences or even that he isn't to fault. Morrie isn't innocent, nor did mean to imply he was, so that is on me. What I was kinda aiming for I guess was the idea that our perception of morality is very skewed and I don't believe it's something that we can fully grasp. Things being "good" or "bad" outside of God quickly becomes a grey area if too much thought is applied to the situation (especially in the subjective case). I guess I was meaning to apply the "everybody is bad" not to say that "Morrie isn't worse than anyone else here" but more that we aren't going to be able to pin him (or anybody else for that matter) down as inherently good or bad just because the scale that we measure these things on isn't concrete in the situation.
But yeah, my point about everyone being sinful (and some other stuff as well) probably wasn't the best way to put it so thanks for responding to it!


ByeByeBrownie wrote:A simple "I'm sorry" from Whit would not have been difficult to fit into the dialogue, but it would have added SO MUCH, in my opinion. And I'm hoping we do finally get it somewhere down the line. I'm also REALLY hoping we don't end up with an "Emily needs to learn about forgiveness" episode.


Yes to this. I really hope that Whit not offering even an apology is addressed later because it feels very intentionally left out. In a weird way though I kinda appreciate it because he has always been stubborn so it isn't completely out of character.
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Re: 898-900: The Rydell Revelations - SPOILERS

Postby Scientific Guy » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:05 pm

I sent an email to Nathan Hoobler, and he sent what he thought might be helpful: an official statement about the controversy brought up in the episode. I'm not allowed to put it verbatim, so I'll be paraphrasing it as close to the original intent as I can.

    Thanks for reaching out, especially since your thoughts are concerns you have about the themes of “The Rydell Revelations.” At Odyssey, we appreciate all feedback, even negativity, and are glad that you've shared your thoughts.

    Rest assured that we did not come to the topic in question — that Whit knew that the escape room incident would occur and still allowed it to — in any light manner. There were many discussions, not all of them pleasant, of how we should approach the issue (some of the debates made it into the episode themselves). The crux of the argument is how appropriate risky situations, or specifically perceived risky situations, are for children to experience and be encouraged to experience.

    First of all, we as Christians should be assured of our eternal safety through Jesus Christ. However, that does not mitigate the risk on earth — far from it. From Philippians 1:21 (“To life is Christ, to die is gain.”) to Luke 12:4 (“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.”) to John 16:33 (“In the world you have tribulation...”), the Bible tells us numerous times that living for Christ is not safe. In many ways, it's risky, and it's not our place to look for a “safe” life.

    Naturally, we understand how our call to live for Jesus is different from pushing someone into real danger. We didn't want to go too far in making the escape room dangerous for any of the kids involved, so we mentioned multiple times how the threat was only psychological, not real. When Whit calls Morrie’s bluff and says the whole thing was a lie, Morrie follows up by saying how he wished Emily had figured it out and lived up to his expectations. We understand how, if we made it physically dangerous, listeners would be upset, which is why we were very careful to ensure that it wasn't.

    But the psychological risk of the escape room brings up another question, the very one discussed in the last scene of “Revelations, Part 2”: What makes the escape room different from the Imagination Station? After all, don't kids think they are at risk of dying while in the Station? Whit explains at the end of Part 3 that he was sympathetic to what Morrie did, the individual actions he took. However, there are significant differences to the initially similar situations, particularly with Morrie's motivations. They aren't necessarily good. These differences will be addressed in the episodes to come.
    Morrie’s motivation is his personal enjoyment and not the benefit of those he manipulated, but Whit’s is to help others be prepared for the trials in their future in a righteous manner.

    Hopefully, the upcoming episodes will elicit praise rather than criticism as you continue to thoughtfully consider the themes in upcoming episodes, one of which is how Morrie and Suzu will have to deal with what they've done in the previous episodes. Please tell us what you think in the days ahead as we continue the story!

Remember: This is a paraphrase.

-- Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:18 pm --

Also here's a thing I recorded with Monica yesterday.
Gianna: Was Morrie Right? from AIO Audio News
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