Road to Avonlea Review: The Ties That Bind

avonlea wedding

Episode Summary: Jasper and Olivia are finally getting married. After a failed attempt at eloping, Hetty decides that it is up to her to plan the perfect, lavish wedding. Olivia ends up lashing out at Hetty for being controlling. Jasper is also nervous because he wants to be able to give a wedding speech without stuttering too much. The night before the wedding, Hetty reveals to Alec that she’s always considered Olivia as more of a daughter than a sister, and that she’ll miss her. Despite a couple minor inconveniences, the wedding is a beautiful success. Jasper is able to give his speech. Olivia and Hetty share one more hug before Olivia rides off into the sunset with Jasper.

Directed by F. Harvey Frost, Written by Heather Conkie, Music by John Welsman

My Grade: This is why Heather Conkie is such a great writer for the series. She does a really great job of revealing the inner-psyche of Hetty. On the outside, Hetty is brashy and even a little intimidating. But, under all those layers, she is simply a woman who is afraid of confronting how the people around her are changing and moving along. We’ll certainly get more of this when Sara leaves in season six. Otherwise, this a great premiere, that mixes comedy and sentimentality perfectly. (A)

hetty and olivia

Spotlight Performance: As great as Jackie Burroughs was as Hetty, I’d say that Mag Ruffman as Olivia stood out for me. Her emotions in this episode: from happiness, to anxiousness, to anger, to sadness (then finally back to happiness) are so on point. It just goes to show how developed Olivia has become since the first season.

Favorite Scene: I really like the scene that takes place between Olivia and Jasper in Jasper’s house the night before the wedding. Olivia is furious at Hetty and she refuses to go back home. However, Jasper realizes that Olivia couldn’t possibly (GASP!) sleep in his house. It’s funny and awkward. Ah…things were “simpler” back in those days…not! Of course, I also loved the wedding scene, particularly the scene after the wedding where they are all dining outside. It’s pretty much reminiscent of the finale…so of course I get a little emotional watching it again.

avonlea bye avonlea jasper and olivia

Final Thoughts: This is the first appearance of the late, great Barbara Hamilton. She plays Mrs. Bugle, another Avonlea busybody (emphasis on “busy” and “body”). She was the sister of Patricia Hamilton, who played Rachel Lynde. She played Marilla in the 1972 version of Anne of Green Gables (now unfortunately lost) and its sequel Anne of Avonlea. She is also known for her role as Ginny Johnson in Shining Time Station. Her last screen role was the Whoopi Goldberg movie Bogus. She will appear on Road to Avonlea until the very end. She passed in February of 1996 to breast cancer, while the last season was still on air.

This is also the first episode for Digger the dog. Yay! Now Cecily has a purpose in life!

We also get a new opening for this season. While the first two seasons featured the nice and pleasant “Story Girl” motif, this season’s theme pretty much combines a faster version of that motif with a fast version of “The King Family” score (the motif that’s heard during the end credits of many season 2 and 3 episodes). At least in terms of the music, I like this theme more than the previous one. It’s fast. It’s exciting. It wakes me up. (And having a scene where Gus plays the violin to the music is perfect).

Last…I have a couple questions. One, where is Jasper’s family? We’ll see them next year when Olivia gives birth…but why weren’t they at the wedding? Why is the wedding so “King-centric?”

Also…what does Jasper do for money? What’s his job? OK, he’s a photographer for the newspaper. But he didn’t really become until after he met Olivia, right? How did he afford that big house of his before the newspaper job? OK, he’s an inventor…but it never seemed like the town was buying what he was cooking. So…what exactly did/does he do…for money? So he can eat? I’ve watched this series four times, and I still never know. I feel like there are a couple pieces of muffled dialogue that I must be missing or something…

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