Episode Summary: Life imitates art when characters from a melodramatic thriller appear in Avonlea, including a mysterious horseman (played by Christopher Reeve) and his lover/partner in crime (Louise Vallance). The two are gem thieves who attempt to double cross each other. Gus ends up in the middle of their ordeal. However, by the end of the episode, Gus realizes how terrible these characters are, and learns to trust his friends, particularly Felicity.
Directed by Allan King, Written by Hart Hanson, Music by John Welsman
My Grade: Let’s start with something good. It’s nice that there is some develop regarding Felicity and Gus’s relationship. What I like about their arc throughout the series is that the writers really took their time with these two. Otherwise, though, this is probably my least favorite episode of the entire series. Man, it is such a bore! So much time is spent on characters that I just don’t care about. It’s not bad when Avonlea uses guest stars, but when these one-dimensional caricatures practically suck the air out of everything and anything around them, then we have a problem. Christopher Reeve liked to horseback ride? Cool. A better episode should have been written around that. (D)
Spotlight Performance: There honestly wasn’t a great performance in this episode. If I had to choose one, then of course it would be Michael Mahonen as Gus…but this is like my least favorite Gus episode so…
Favorite Scene: Hm…huh…well…again, the development of Felicity and Gus is the one refreshing beat in this episode. So any glimpses of that are welcome.
Final Thoughts: Of course, no one should take my reviews as being “objective.” It’s all about preference. I’ve written this once before, but my favorite episodes are the ones that are realistic and dramatic, that showcase real issues. I’m less likely to enjoy the episodes that are “funny” and “action-adventure-y,” although there are certainly episodes that fit those bills that I’ve given “A’s” to. But this episode just represents the worst of what I like least about Avonlea.
This was the first episode written by Hart Hanson. He will write four more episodes from now until the last season. Looking at the episodes, I can’t say these are episodes that I loved, but we’ll get to them soon enough. Hart Hanson’s actually had a pretty successful career, writing for Canadian shows like The Beachcombers, Ready or Not, and North of 60. He won a few Geminis for producing Traders. He also wrote for Joan of Arcadia and Judging Amy, and created the long running series Bones.
So, I never noticed this before, but this is the episode where Gus stops smoking his pipe (another reason to love this episode!) This is also his first episode working at the White Sand Hotel. This will become a major setting for, pretty much, the rest of the series. Kind of a bittersweet, mixed blessing since the Hotel episodes are “hit or miss.” Again: this is all my opinion.