Freddie Hart is the cliché of what a geek is supposed to look like. He wears his hair in an old style and he carries a year’s supply of pens in his front pocket. He’s another one-off character and his last name was obviously created for the sole purpose of being featured in this episode’s title. Maybe the reason why we don’t see these single-episode characters return is because the only purpose for their existence was to teach one lesson. They are doomed from the beginning to never carry on for more shows because they were created as two-dimensional characters.
When we first meet Freddie’s dad he is paying bills and not paying much attention to Freddie. Even though Freddie sounds sad and dejected his father thinks everything is fine. It isn’t until a few more questions in that his father deciphers that something is wrong. I get the feeling that Mr. Hart doesn’t know that much about his son. He assumes Freddie has friends and that he enjoys going to school. But in fact the opposite is true. Freddie has no friends. Zero. And the bullies at school don’t make his time there very enjoyable. Up until now Freddie’s dad isn’t very involved in his son’s life.
It takes Freddie an extra hour to get home from school every day and his parents assume that is because he’s out with his friends. First of all, doesn’t he have homework to do before he goes out to play? And why wouldn’t his parents have asked his whereabouts before now? You’d think they would have talked about it at least once.
Freddie’s dad tries to comfort him about school and says he will survive. But that doesn’t sound very reassuring. Just surviving through school shouldn’t be his goal. After Freddie is beaten up, Mr. Hart goes to speak with the principal. He tells the principal that although Freddie doesn’t say so he can tell his is “tied up in knots with anxiety.” Freddie’s father must have gotten very perceptive all of a sudden because he certainly wasn’t aware of this before. He also mentions that Freddie’s grades are down as a result of the bullying. If anything you would have thought his father would have seen Freddie’s grades falling before now and asked what was wrong.
When he moves to a new school Freddie learns that he needs to change his hair and his clothes and that he can’t let his mother drop him off in front of the school anymore. He reassures his mother that he knows what it takes to be popular. By the end Freddie learns that he doesn’t need to change himself to be more acceptable to his peers. He needs to be acceptable to God and God will help shape him from within. This is a good lesson to learn but the storytelling that got us to this point wasn't the most compelling.
Obviously, the Hart family has never heard of Whit’s End. Whit could have been a good mentor for Freddie but for some reason he is absent from this one episode. We don’t see Connie or Tom either so it’s hard to see how this takes place in the same universe as other AIO shows. You keep expecting to see how this story could tie into the Odyssey you’ve come to know but the connection is never made. And Freddie’s conversion to Christianity would have been more meaningful for the audience if we had gotten to know him from previous episodes. Overall, I thought this show was boring and a little repetitious. It didn’t have any of the normal characters and the new ones we were presented with don’t measure up. This episode gets 2 out of 5 stars.