027: A Change of Hart Review

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Episode: 027: A Change of Hart
Originally Aired: May 21, 1988
From Album: Volume 1: The Adventure Begins

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Album 01 Cover With this episode, Volume 1 comes to a close. The first volume had ups and downs. Unfortunately, it ends on a down.

Volume 1: The Adventure Begins is a great starting point for new listeners. It features the very first Odyssey episode, “Whit’s Flop,” we meet Connie for the first time, “Connie Comes to Town,” and gives some background on Whit’s End, “Recollections.” That’s not to say Volume 1 doesn’t have its low points. It does. And, unfortunately, “A Change of Hart” is one of those low points.

“A Change of Hart” is a mishmash of messages, and it doesn’t help that it’s the first completely anthological episode of the series. Previous anthological episodes such as “The Life of the Party” still featured at least one of the regular characters in a minor role. “Hart” doesn’t include any of the regular characters (Whit, Connie, Tom, etc.).

There are four messages bundled into one. First, the episode is about the psychological effects of bullying. Kids may seem sweet and innocent, but anyone whose gone through elementary and middle school knows how brutal kids can be to their peers. Second, running away from your problems is never the answer. Freddie thinks moving to a new school will end the bullying, but it doesn’t. Third, there is a message about being yourself. Freddie learns that changing who he is to please his peers is not the answer. Fourth, there is probably what is the most explicit evangelistic message of the series thus far. All of these are good messages, but the episode would have been much better if it had focused on just one (or two) of them.

Freddie tells his mother, “I thought if I did my hair different than people might like me better.” He explains, “At a new school, I can be anybody I want.” Freddie thinks he needs to change to impress his peers. His father teaches him, “You don’t have to change for [God]. You just let him make the changes through you.” Instead, he needed to let God change him.

The highlight of this episode is the tender moment of a father leading his child to Christ. I’m not sure why the producers felt the need to stuff the episode with so many other messages. Were they worried an entirely evangelistic episode would turn people off?

Matthew's Rating: 3 (out of 10)
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