Road to Avonlea Review: Felicity’s Challenge

avonlea felicity's challenge

Episode Summary: Despite Sara’s objections, Felicity bets Sally Potts that she can transform the usually shy and awkward Clemmie Ray into the belle of the Harvest Festival ball. Unfortunately, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear is harder than it sounds (or maybe as hard, I don’t know). When Clemmie discovers what Felicity tried to do after a disastrous Harvest Festival, she feels betrayed. In the end, Felicity apologizes, and Clemmie has the courage to stand in front of the whole class as her perfectly flawed self.

Directed by Bruce Pittman, Written by Lori Fleming, Music by John Welsman

My Grade: I think I enjoy this episode more than I did the last couple of times I watched it. Yes, Sally Potts and her crony Jane Spry are super annoying, to the point of it being comical (which is probably the point, but still…), but this is still a nice episode about friendship and not conforming to what the “world” thinks you should be. It’s Felicity’s first real episode to herself (I consider “Proof of the Pudding” more of an ensemble effort). And, although I wouldn’t call it her definitive “breakout episode” (that would have to be season 2’s “How Kissing Was Discovered”), it still offers a lot of character development for Felicity, and her evolving views on life. (A-)

felicity clemmie avonlea

Spotlight Performance: Once again, the kid cast works great together, but I’ll say Gillian Steeve as Clemmie Ray is the stand out here. Clemmie Ray is a fun character, and Steeve plays nervous, shy, and awkward well. She only appears in a couple more episodes after this one, and it looks like this was her last acting role (she didn’t have much of an acting career before Avonlea). According to some snooping I did 5 minutes before I wrote this review, she was a high school teacher, but now she works in Government…unless there’s more than one person living in Canada with that very distinctive name, then I have no idea what she’s up to. Yo go, Gillian girl! Keep being all obscure and secretive! Live a normal life! With no recent picture of you on the internet, NO ONE probably recognizes you!

edward clemmie avonlea

Favorite Scene: OK, like, all the scenes (so, 2) when Edward Ray is sticking up for Clemmie Ray because he literally never did that before…like ever. Like in his very first scene of the series, he’s literally pulling Clemmie’s arm and threatening to put mice down her ear or something gross like that. So…it’s sweet when Edward does something nice. Edward Ray is played by Marc Worden. We won’t see him again until season 3 because he’s too busy being the resident baritone for the Mickey Mouse Club.

Final Thoughts: Many. First, this episode has a subplot about some man running for public office and wooing the entire town until all the residents realize his deceptive ways. It’s not all that interesting, and the storyline pretty underdeveloped, but I suppose it mirrors the whole “dishonesty/fake front” theme from the main plot. However, it’s worth noting that Dan McDonald, who plays the candidate, will have a recurring role on Kevin Sullivan’s second series Wind at My Back; and he had a role in the earlier Sullivan film Lantern Hill.

avonlea sally and jane

Second…let’s talk about some of the other kid characters. I don’t want to be mean…but I’m going to anyway. I don’t know what’s more annoying: Sally’s voice or Jane’s face? Sally’s high pitched thing she has going on is self explanatory…but look at Jane’s face. It’s like naturally over exaggerated. She never has a resting face. It’s always like she’s making a face. Like, she doesn’t naturally have big eyes; the girl is literally trying to make her eyes appear big at every second of every moment. It’s oddly jarring. I am not saying Jane is ugly or anything (I do not have an opinion on her attractiveness since I’m 24 and Jane is like 10). But her face is always on…and not in an “acting” sort of way. Both actresses (Tara Meyer and Valentina Cardinalli) are great…but I’m glad neither one of them were ever series regulars. I can only take them in small doses.

Third…David Ferry has a pretty minor guest appearance in this episode. Six years later, he’ll appear in the series again as a different character, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

avonlea snow avonlea snow

Last, and most importantly…this episode was scored by the great John Welsman. Y’know, the music is probably my favorite element of this show. The music is almost its own character. And there are a few scores from the series that stand out and become common and used over and over again. This is the first episode that uses the “King Family score.” It’s a score that, after this episode, is used as the orchestration for many ending credits all the way until the season four finale. It is one of my favorite musical scores, because it makes me feel happy and warm and cuddly and just good all over. I know everyone LOVES the “Story Girl” theme (the theme music used for the opening credits for the first 2 seasons), but I think the King Family score is what really defines John Welsman’s work on the show, and we’ll be hearing fast and slow versions of it throughout the series.

Recycled Footage Alert: The final scene in the episode (above) will be used at least once more during the series, and also during the reunion movie later. It’s a very lovely shot of the kids playing in the snow.

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3 thoughts on “Road to Avonlea Review: Felicity’s Challenge

  1. Pingback: Road to Avonlea Review: The Witch of Avonlea | Lifestories

  2. Pingback: Road to Avonlea Review: The Calamitous Courting of Hetty King | Lifestories

  3. Pingback: Road to Avonlea Review: The Disappearance | Lifestories

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