“If the Bible is real and God really exists, is that something you can live with?”

“The Lost One, Part 1” was released yesterday on the Club and I wanted to squeeze in my spoiler-filled review before hearing the second part upon its release in less than twelve hours. This is my first post besides of my introduction, so I’m really excited to get into it! Please don’t read further if you wouldn’t like to be spoiled. This will not be a comprehensive review because I don’t have time for a well-structured analysis. Instead, I will discuss elements I appreciate and the thoughts this episode provoked, having just heard the episode a few hours ago.

This episode was yet another amazing entry into Olivia’s faith story arc. I really appreciate that while the show keeps all of the philosophical discussions in relatively simple terms, it isn’t afraid to ask real questions that many people, whether they be Christian, atheist, or agnostic, ask all of the time. The question about the reliability of the Scriptures is touched upon in this episode and I loved Olivia’s conversations with both Leonid and Connie. Although I haven’t heard album 71 in a bit, I recall that the scripts throughout this story have been excellent. The episodes have dealt with hard topics such as death, the purpose of suffering, Christianity being used for evil, and the essence of faith. I love it. I love that Marshal Younger worked so hard to get this story told and it’s really paying off. I never expected to hear these topics tackled, not to mention in such a satisfying way, but here we are. I can’t wait to see how part 2 completes the story. My only fear is that the conclusion will be rushed. However, I will cast my fears aside and give Marshal Younger the benefit of the doubt because I have yet to be disappointed by this story. It’s so good.

Olivia and Zoe have often been critiqued for being both immature in many episodes and then inexplicably much more mature in others for no other reason besides the writers having different creative visions for the character’s personalities. This is more evident with Olivia, but the problem is present with Zoe, too. Example: In “The Shame About Fame”, Zoe proposes (joking or not) jumping in front of a moving car so Olivia can “save” her, thus proving to the public that Olivia, too, is a hero. Her friendship with Olivia takes precedence over common sense and reasonable thinking. The responsible Zoe in “The Good in People”, a mere two episodes later, would have likely berated someone for acting exactly as she did in that episode. There are so many little inconsistencies I could point out, but that isn’t the point of this post. I love that this episode (and the storyline in general) treat Olivia and Zoe like two girls bordering on teenagehood. They are becoming more mature and are developing as people, but still are children. Olivia is dealing with difficult questions and struggles but is also childishly petty at times. It feels like the immature Olivia we are often presented with was perfectly melded with the thoughtful and more subdued Olivia we see in other episodes. Both of these facets of her personality are present in the episode and it just works.

I love Olivia and Zoe’s dynamic in this episode. I love Zoe’s uncertainty about how to approach her friendship with Olivia. In trying to be delicate to Olivia’s situation, she ends up hurting Olivia more by not even considering her as the lead for the play. Maybe it would have been a better course of action to ask Olivia, but Zoe really hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s still such an interesting conflict because you understand where both girls are coming from and the stress their friendship is under. I love that Zoe realizes their friendship is coming to a breaking point after Olivia’s petty quest for vengeance and confronts her about it. She even questions if their friendship is healthy and worth it. It’s so real, so well-written, and so well-acted. I am itching for part 2. I am so grateful I don’t have to wait a week for the conclusion.

Another thing of note is that I really appreciate Ms. Adelaide’s writing throughout these episodes. It would be really easy for her to be written as an atheist teacher who is intentionally leading Olivia away from her faith, but these episodes are above that tired writing. She feels like such a real person with different viewpoints. But she has learned from TTTB and has learned not to impose her worldview on others. I just really love it. Bless you, Marshal Younger (I need to start my Why Marshal Younger is Carrying the Show post).

Other random thoughts: The parental warning was unsurprising to me, but it somehow always manages to get me excited. The music was so good. I loved especially the score backing the “Previously On” segment and when Olivia investigates what Martina was doing in Mr. Hampton’s classroom. I love that Priscilla was mentioned for old time’s sake, but it honestly just raises more questions like where did she go?? And while Olivia is the protagonist of this story and going through most of the interesting conflict, I think these episodes have easily made Zoe one of my favorite kid characters. I love her so much. Marshal has really taken many characters recently and done them wonders (Connie in “Unrelatable”, the mere existence of the entire Perkins family, Olivia and Zoe in this arc, etc, etc. No, I will not stop gushing about his work)

TLDR; this episode is everything I wanted and more and I truly love the writing decisions made here. It’s so refreshing and something that was sorely needed in recent Odyssey.