Episode Summary: Hm…let’s see…it’s about an old woman named Old Lady Lloyd (Zoe Caldwell), who lives in squalor in a huge mansion, Grey Gardens-style. She becomes irritable when a woman named Sylvia Gray (Rebecca Jenkins) comes to town to visit her old school friend, Olivia. Gray is the daughter of an ex-lover of Old Lady Lloyd. Gray is also in town to participate in a singing competition judged by Andrew Cameron, a wealthy businessman. Cameron is also the cousin of Old Lady Lloyd; however, despite her poverty, Old Lady Lloyd refuses any help from Cameron as a result of him cheating her family out of their life savings years earlier. Meanwhile, after bitterly bashing Sara’s deceased mother, Felix has a hard time earning Sara’s forgiveness. In the end, everything works out, grudges are dissolved, and it’s a happy ending for everyone.
Directed by Bruce Pittman, Written by Fiona McHugh, Music by John Welsman
My Grade: So, we go from the strongest episode of the season, to probably the weakest. I’m not a big fan of this episode. The main problem with the episode is how it’s scripted and storyboarded. It’s like 90% exposition/back story, and then the story in the present isn’t all that interesting. We’re supposed to be invested in these three one-time characters in such a short amount of time. It would have possibly been better if these characters were at least introduced in an earlier episode; but the various revelations that connect these three characters don’t really hold up, in my opinion. Like every Avonlea episode, there are some things that work. The interior shots of the Lloyd decrepit mansion are beautifully shot by director Bruce Pittman. The dark cinematography and art direction are striking. It’s probably one of the better looking episodes of the season. The music by John Welsman and has one of the season’s more memorable motifs. I also enjoyed the conflict between Felix and Sara. These two needed to stand on common ground for the rest of the season, esp. against Felicity, who doesn’t quite stop acting like a little diva until later in the series. If only that had been the main story line, maybe I’d like the episode more. But when I binge watch this show, this isn’t an episode I normally look forward to. (C+)
Spotlight Performance: I’ll give it to Zoe Caldwell, a four-time Tony Award winner, who is most notably known for her role as the Grand Councilwoman in the Lilo and Stitch universe.
Favorite Scene: Again, the Felix/Sara story line was the best thing about this episode, so the scene where the two reconcile towards the end is nice.
Final Thoughts: Although not a big deal, one of the more unfortunate things about the string of early episodes after the premiere, is that there is very little screen time for Janet, Alec, and even Hetty. By Conversions this will rectified, but I still miss those characters!
Canadian actress Rebecca Jenkins plays the role of Sylvia Gray. I just discovered that over 20 years later she would play Diane Polley in Sarah Polley’s postmodern documentary Stories We Tell. I wonder if they happily talked about their golden time in Avonlea…probably not. A guy can dream.
Lastly, this piece of recycled footage showed up again: