Disclaimer: I wrote this up when this episode first came out, but I listened again and added some additional notes as I went.

I have mixed feelings about this episode.

My questions are mainly about Jay.

Yeah, Jay has always been after Zoe. It really isn’t clear at the beginning of the episode if Whit asked Jay to come or Jay volunteered to come, but still, going on a mission trip just to be with Zoe? That is seriously extreme.

Were Jay and Zoe the only kids who came on the mission trip? I guess that’s possible, but it seems unlikely with a large church like that.

On the bright side, Jay wasn’t as weird as he was in other Zoe episodes such as Not What I Expected. I was hoping that Zoe would tell Jay off, but unfortunately, she did not. If she really cared, she would. So I guess she doesn’t. Sad. I guess this theory makes sense considering what Marshal Younger said in the chat about Zoe enjoying Jay’s attention. (when someone asked about the Jay-chasing-Zoe issue, he replied, “Personally, I think “stalking” is a bit harsh. Maybe I’m not being sensitive enough. But I actually think Zoe likes it.”)

In short: Jay and Zoe miss different aspects of the film-making thing. Zoe was passionate about the story and the message, but didn’t teach the hands-on stuff. Jay was spot-on with the art of teaching the kids how to film, but completely messed up the story aspect. Only when they worked together did the kids learn everything.

So, I’m guessing the theme was teamwork. 🤔😁

Anyway, I was actually pretty surprised at Jay – in a good way. Recall when Jay first starts with his group and all his talk about going to the beach and siestas. I expected him to be like that the whole time, get into something he shouldn’t (I dunno, like, not doing anything and leaving the kids alone), and then get found out and lectured. As is the case with most Jay episodes.

But not this one. After some time, Jay seemed to enjoy his job (not without his usual weirdness, but hey, let’s take what we can get) and did not get into the trouble I expected. Okay, there was a weird film about his supposed love story, but that’s not nearly as bad as faking an identity or blackmailing kids. And it was pretty funny – “It was very entertaining” Whit agreed.

As Whit said, I like how Jay’s teaching style was like, “Okay, get out there and try it!” Or “What do you say we should do?” He didn’t babysit everything the kids did, he had faith and respect for their independence and abilities.

As Whit mentioned, mission trips impact people. Apparently it did for Jay, as Jay himself said at the end of the episode: “But working with those kids was surprisingly amazing.” I’m not sure how to interpret that. It could be, 1, Jay has actually learned something, or 2, the writer is just throwing out a line of dialogue for Jay that shouldn’t be taken seriously.

If Jay is actually being honest…then wow. Yeah, the trip must’ve seriously did something to him.

But I’m skeptical and think that it’s just some throwaway remark that listeners shouldn’t take seriously in relation to Jay because… Teach a Man is in the Club!

In other words, I need proof! If Jay’s change was highlighted in the episode more, i.e. actions, not words, then I would be convinced.

Ahem. Anyway, as for Zoe, I was slightly surprised at her teaching style. Well, I can’t really blame her – she did do a lot of research that she obviously found interesting. And the thing about little Miguel? I thought that was really funny. And somehow I can see that happening in real life. I laughed at the part where her video with Miguel was sounding like an advertisement for the yogurt company.

Was Zoe a bit prideful about her own knowledge when teaching? That might be why she didn’t want to take suggestions both about the equipment and the story. But she did learn what she was missing, thanks to Jay!

Phew! Don’t get me wrong, I did like this episode. I’m just wary – it looks too good to be true in the case of Jay. And as I mentioned, proof of change was needed. Combined with the fact that this episode is irrelevant to the mainstream albums, Jay’s “lifechanging” experience will probably not change his life.

So, overall, it gets 3.8 out of 5 stars.