“I don’t believe it. I mean, babies die. Old people die. But… not someone our age.”
Episode Summary: Peter Craig (Miklos Perlus), Aunt Hetty and Aunt Olivia’s hired boy, has a hard time fitting in with the rest of the town. He doesn’t go to school or attend church, and while all the other kids can be carefree and playful, Peter usually has to tend to the farm. Because of his outsider status, Peter has an easy time relating to Peg Bowen (Susan Cox), the town recluse. While Hetty’s at her wit’s end over Peter’s supposed ineptitude, he comes down with a very fatal fever. With the help of Peg Bowen’s “magic potion,” Peter is brought back to help. Peg Bowen gains some respect among the King family, and, realizing how much he would be missed if he died, Peter is finally accepted as a member of the King family.
Directed by Stuart Gillard, Written by Patricia Watson, Music by John Welsman
My Grade: Overall, this is a really great episode. In the earlier episodes, you can definitely sense that Peter’s not like the other kids. I think “Proof of the Pudding” is a nice example of that separation between Peter and the King kids. Felicity is ordered to watch over her siblings, Andrew and Sara, but Peter, because he’s only a hired boy, is pretty much allowed (or even expected) to watch over himself. I think it’s nice that we get an episode where we can learn more about Peter, his backstory (father’s in jail), and why he has to work for the Kings. Hetty, Felicity, and Edward Ray (played by Mickey Mouse Club silky bass singer Marc Worden) are at their worst in this episode, continuously degrading Peter. Fortunately, in the end, he’s treated with the respect he deserves. (A)
Spotlight Performance: Obviously, I’ll give this one to Miklos Perlus. I really like the character Peter. I wish he had become a bigger character for the rest of the series. I think he was particularly a good ally for Sara. I kind of think the writers were trying to set Peter and Felicity up, just like the original books. But I suppose Gus (who won’t appear until the next season) sort of ruined that idea. I would never want Felicity to end up with anyone but Gus…but having Peter stay longer would have still been nice. After Avonlea, Miklos Perlus had a role in the Canadian teen comedy series Student Bodies. He is currently a voice actor. And he was a writer for both Degrassi and Instant Star.
Favorite Scene: I’ve never thought Avonlea was a particularly “religious” show (not like Touched By an Angel or 7th Heaven religious), but the characters’ faiths can play a major role in a story line, even if they are misguided. I like how this episode sort of pokes fun at standard church going folk. So, the scene where Peg Bowen crashes the church and rips all the townspeople to shreds is a nice scene that is still very relevant in 2015 (IMHO).
Final Thoughts: This episode was written by Patricia Watson, and if my sources are correct, this is her last episode for the series. On the other hand, this is director Stuart Gillard’s first episode. He’ll be back a few more times until season 4. Fiona Reid guest starred in this episode as Peter Craig’s mother. She’s the sort of actress who appears in a lot of different things and has a pretty recognizable face. So, I know her from Walter and Henry, In His Father’s Shoes, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mark Twain and Me (all Emmy winners) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And she previously worked with Lally Cadeau in the sitcom Hangin’ In. Her role in this episode is small, but impactful.
Also, I just found out that the Road to Avonlea Facebook page posted my review of The Materializing of Duncan McTavish. I am going nuts. Thank you to the person who made that decision. And thank you for reading if that’s where you came from. That is the sort of motivation I needed to keep going with this project.