Road to Avonlea Review: But When She Was Bad…

avonlea hetty and sara

Episode Summary: Hetty and Sara can’t seem to land on common ground. While Sara believes Hetty is too controlling, Hetty thinks Sara is acting disrespectful. Things get really bad when Hetty tells Sara that her deceased mother would be ashamed of her. Sara runs away and accompanies Gus on a trip to the mainland where they’re supposed to meet with Captain Crane. Jo Pitts, a homeless girl that looks exactly like Sara, takes Sara’s place and starts pretending to be her. Feeling guilty over her recent actions, Hetty tries to be nicer to “Sara,” even as Jo behaves rudely and crudely. Meanwhile, Gus is captured by Abe Pike, while Sara is captured by a man who thinks she’s Jo Pitts.

Directed by Don McBrearty, Written by Marlene Matthews, Music by John Welsman

My Grade: It’s a silly episode with a somewhat farfetched plot…but it’s also really funny. Obviously, what really makes this episode come alive are the scenes between Hetty and Sara. They are filled with tension and anger. Hetty acts so unnecessarily mean in this episode that it’s almost hard to justify her actions or even watch. But after an episode like “A Mother’s Love” that really highlights the beautiful mother/daughter bond these two have, I suppose it’s nice to see an episode that shows that even the best bonds can be broken easily. What drags this (and the next) episode down a bit is the Gus sub plot. But I guess I’ll save that for the next post. (A-)

sara and jo pitts

Spotlight Performance: So far, this is definitely Sarah Polley‘s strongest performance of the series (however, her absolutely best will occur during season 4). She plays both Sara and Jo, using what I like to call “Parent trap magic.” Polley is actually really great as Jo. She does something with her mouth and eyes, something subtle, that separates Jo from Sara, but they still look the same. Polley does a really nice job of playing two distinct character with different nuances. See? Where’s her Emmy?

Favorite Scene: There are actually a lot in this episode. Again, the scenes with Sara and Jo are nice and impressive. And the scenes where Hetty and Sara really go at it are nice, particularly the climax when Hetty insults Sara using her mom (Ruth). However, the general store scene where the two are fighting over which dress Sara can buy is just so funny. Forreal Hetty, that pinafore be ugly. Although the other dress wasn’t much of a step up. Both dresses don’t look good. But at least the dress Sara wanted didn’t look like something Cinderella, pre-Fairy Godmother, would wear to scrub the mice feces.

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