012: The Tangled Web Review

Episode: 012: The Tangled Web
Originally Aired: February 6, 1988
From Album: Volume 1: The Adventure Begins

Buy album from Amazon!

John Whittaker Pointing Whit is a schemer. It’s part of what makes him mysterious. You could say he tricks you into doing what’s right—although that wouldn’t exactly be correct. Rather, he makes you realize that you should do what’s right without ever coming out and saying that.

This isn’t the first episode we see this in. When “Connie Comes to Town,” almost right away Whit starts scheming to keep her in Odyssey. Ostensibly he asks Connie to guest MC the Bible Bowl to keep impressionable Bobby from running off to California, but it also effectively keeps Connie right there in Odyssey and working at Whit’s End.

Whit is also incredibly perceptive. He’s pieced together that Connie is planning on going to a concert her mother would not approve of. He could have just come out and called her on it. Had he done that, she likely would have gone to the concert anyway. Rebellious teenagers are like that sometimes. Instead, he has her help catalog some old stories he’s written and picks a very specific story for her to read.

Similar to how the main plot of “Gifts for Madge and Guy” was a dramatization of a story Whit was telling, here the main plot is a story Whit has written. But since it’s Connie who’s reading the story, Connie provides the narration.

The story-within-a-story has an ingenious ending. Some of the best episodes so far have been by Phil Lollar. Although, to be fair, a significant portion of all the episodes so far have been written by Lollar, so by the law of averages, a portion of the good ones are bound to come from his pen. Regardless, Lollar’s contribution to Odyssey cannot be underestimated. According to AIO: TOG:

The first script for “The Tangled Web” featured Jeremy Forsythe refusing to accept the award; instead the 11-year-old broke down and confessed to a lie in front of the entire town. However, in later drafts the ending was changed so Jeremy accepted the award on stage and never confessed.

Making the ending unpredictable was an excellent idea. It’s what made this an above average episode instead of just an average episode. Just a quick refresher on how I rate the episodes: 5 = an average episode of the series, 6 = slightly above average, 4 = slightly below average, and so forth.

Although the basic message of this episode (do not lie) is universal, the application (sneaking off to a concert your parents wouldn’t approve of) is surprisingly mature. Up to this point, the applications have been aimed squarely at Odyssey’s target audience of 8-12 year olds. The application of this episode is aimed more at teenagers than preteens. That’s not to say “The Tangled Web” is not relevant to preteens.

Even good Christian teens (and Connie’s not even a Christian yet in this episode) make bad decisions. For preteens listening to this episode, when they are teenagers and find themselves in a situation similar to this one, they’ll at least be armed with biblical advice.

Matthew's Rating: 6 (out of 10)
More info about 012: The Tangled Web:


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