Road to Avonlea Review: Family Rivalry

avonlea family rivalry

“I’m not going to allow you to miss me anymore, son.”

Episode Summary: Estranged sibling Roger King (Andrew Gillies) comes back to Avonlea to visit his son Andrew (Joel King) and his siblings Hetty, Alec, and Olivia. Roger King is a geologist and travels all around the world, thus he rarely ever gets to spend too much time with Andrew. While Hetty is very proud of Roger’s success, Alec and Roger don’t always get along. Soon, Roger starts attempting to run the farm, which only makes Alec angrier. Meanwhile, Alec King offers down-on-his-luck fellow farmer Amos Spry (Wayne Robson) a loan from the King trust in order to help him land on his feet again. This especially angers Hetty when she attempts to use some of the money to buy a new milking machine for the farm. On top of that, Felix is angry at Andrew for accepting a fishing basket from Hetty when Grandpa King had promised it to Felix before he died. In the end, despite their quabbles, family always sticks together. Realizing that, Roger King decides to take a position at a University closeby so that he and Andrew can be together again.

Directed by F. Harvey Frost, Written by Jerome McCann, Music by John Welsman

avonlea alec

My Grade: So we finally get to meet the other King sibling. Considering this is the first and last time we see the character, I think this is, overall, a very good episode that showcases the long simmering resentments between Roger and Alec. It’s also a nice way of knowing more Andrew, a character that, like Cecily, has been present, yet underdeveloped. I mean…he’s smart, and capable of being cocky; but I think this episode allows us to understand where Andrew gets his intelligence from (Roger is the only King sibling to seek higher education). It’s obviously unfortunate these two characters couldn’t have a bigger role later in the series; but, at the same time, I’m satisfied with this episode being a “closer” for both characters. (A-)

Spotlight Performance: I really like guest star Andrew Gillies’ performance in this episode. He is a Canadian actor who has appeared in everything from Orphan Black to 12 Monkeys, the series to the TV movie Virtual Mom. However, I mostly remember him as Ashley’s gay dad in Degrassi: The Next Generation. He is/was very handsome.

avonlea andrew and felix

Favorite Scene: So, prolific Canadian stuntwoman Alison Reid (who has also worked on Degrassi) is the stunt coordinator for this episode. The DVD for this season has a really interesting behind the scenes video of the “stunts” done in this episode. The first involves a fight between Andrew and Felix. The second is a scene where Roger pushes Alec off a bridge into shallow water. For that scene, Alec is played by a stuntman. So, I have a newfound appreciation for those scenes after seeing all the careful planning those stunts took.

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas!

Final Thoughts: Wayne Robson also has a guest appearance in this episode. He too was a prolific Canadian actor. He appears in one more episode after this. He appeared in the popular Canadian comedy The Red Green Show (still playing on PBS stations) and the 1982 film The Grey Fox, which also starred Jackie Burroughs (Hetty) and Richard Farnsworth. Farnsworth would later play Matthew Cuthbert in Sullivan’s adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. A couple decades later, Robson would voice Matthew Cuthbert in Sullivan’s animated adaptation of the books. He passed away in 2011, but hopefully his creepy profile picture from his IMDB page will live forever.

joel blake avonlea

We must also bid adieu to Andrew King. Between season two and three, we will, unfortunately, have to say good-bye to a lot of our favorite kid characters from the first season. Yes, Andrew will appear again for the season finale, but this still feels like the beginning of the end. Andrew King was played by Joel Blake, whose only other credit seems to be for the 1989 movie The Last Winter. And…that is all I know about him. So, goodbye, Andrew King. You were the true best speller of the class. You really liked frogs. And you were one of the first people in Avonlea to actually treat Sara like a person. I wish you could have stayed longer. Your character had a lot of potential. But, hey, at least we still have Peter Craig…oh wait.

Lastly…what happened to Andrew’s mom? Did I miss something or is she never mentioned?

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