Road to Avonlea Review: Friends and Relations

road to avonlea friends and relations

“Felix, I knew that.”

Episode Summary: It’s a busy day for the King family. While Hetty, Olivia, Janet, and her sister Abigail decide to go out for a Lady’s Day, the men in the family + Gus decide to go ice fishing. Feeling intimidated by her do-gooder sister, Janet tries to put on a bright face the whole day, despite her mistakes and slipups. Meanwhile, Jasper and Alec relive their school days and old rivalries. Felix, determined to know something Sara doesn’t, tries asking each man in his life about the “bird and the bees.” Ultimately (and somewhat surprisingly) it’s Jasper that ends up giving Felix “the talk.” Sara, Felicity and Cecily are left home to look after Abigail’s child, Lucky. However, when Lucky has disappeared, all the women roam around in the rough winter to search for him. Janet and Abigail have an argument, before coming to the conclusion that they’re sisters and that they love each other. In the end, the whole family comes together and raise their glasses to “friends and relations.”

Directed by Stephen Surjik, Written by Heather Conkie, Music by John Welsman

avonlea friends and relations

My Grade: This is the episode that really represents what the show is about. Family. And, appropriately, this episode doesn’t contain any real guest stars (Rosemary Dunsmore as Aunt Abigail is more of a recurring actor at this point). It’s a simple episode, with several conflicts of varying degrees of intensity. It’s a favorite among fans, and I certainly agree it’s one of the more memorable episodes of the series. (A)

Spotlight Performance: I think both Zachary Bennett (Felix) and Lally Cadeau (Janet) stand out, but I’ll give the edge to Cadeau, who does a great job of hiding the character’s inner pain. She wants this weekend to be a success, and tries to put on a happy face despite the passive-aggressive attacks going her way. Sometimes, I feel like Janet isn’t given enough credit. I mean, Aunt Abigail, who was a spinster until a couple years ago, with one adopted child, somehow believes she knows more about mothering than Janet. There’ll be another episode this season (OK, “Vows of Silence”) where my sympathy for Janet reaches a high. Nonetheless, Cadeau really sells Janet’s anxiety, without turning her into too much of a pathetic sack.

avonlea sara and felix

Favorite Scene: However, my favorite storyline in this episode is Felix asking his father, Gus, and Jasper about the birds and the bees. I just think it’s the gutsiest the show’s ever been. The show uses innuendo and other metaphors, so it’s really not offensive at all. But still, those scenes always make me smile. The very last scene, where Sara reveals to Felix that she too has been given “the talk” is just the icing on the cake. What I want to know is…who gave her the talk? Was it Hetty? Felicity? Or was it Jasper? Is Jasper the go-to person for this sort of thing? Or maybe it her was her Nanny Louisa. Anyway, it’s funny…but in a strange way, it shows how much these characters are growing. And that’s the best thing about watching this series: the development of these characters is so natural and realistic. Soon, Felix will have a dropped voice, while Sara will be off to finishing school.

Final Thoughts: This episode was directed by Stephen Surjik, he’ll direct four more episodes, one of them I’d give an “A+” to. He’s had a long, prolific career that still continues today. He’s known for his award winning work on the Canadian drama Intelligence. He’s also worked on Kids in the Hall, Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, Arrow, Flash, Person of Interest, and Jessica Jones. 

I have to admit, it’s unfortunate that we never see Malcolm Stoddard after his two episodes in season one. His character won’t make an appearance until later in the series, but he’ll be played by a different actor. I guess I can talk more about that replacement when the time comes. However, a dash of Malcolm still would have been welcome here. I could definitely see him gallivanting with the guys.

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