The premise seems predictable. Whit leaves for a few days and of course chaos immediately erupts at the shop. But what makes this episode great is how it develops the characters of Connie and Eugene. Not only does it logically build upon everything up until this point, but it influences the future of the show for years to come. In this episode you catch a glimpse of the entertaining dynamic at Whit’s End that fans know and love from later albums. When you get a college genius obsessed with technology in a room together with a high schooler who couldn’t care less about computers or random bits of useless information, the bickering that ensues is good entertainment.
Connie and Eugene come from different places. Connie is a teenager from California who recently became a Christian and likes hanging out with friends, shopping, and, according to this episode, bowling. Eugene on the other hand is a non-Christian college student whose best friends are his computers. But they do have some similarities. They’re both relatively new to Whit’s End and the same goes for the listening audience at this point in the series. And they both love to talk, which works well for radio drama. Eugene is so enthralled with technology that he makes the bold statement that he never gets bored. Funnily enough, Connie said a similar thing in her first episode. When talking about her life in California, she claimed she had never been bored there. Eugene also says he never assumes and doesn’t know what it’s like to fail. Clearly Connie and Eugene both like to exaggerate things when making a point, which leads to conflict when they encounter each other.
Connie is worried about making a mistake and pushing a button that will burn the building down. Eugene dismisses this possibility by saying there isn’t a button that does that, but it sounds quite similar to what actually happens in the next album when Connie accesses the program Applesauce and wreaks havoc and destruction at the shop. Another interesting thing Connie says has to do with her school. When she arrives at Whit’s End, Eugene asks her how it was. Connie says it is the “same as usual.” That sounds like something a teenager would say, so it fits her character, but it made me think about how much we really know about Connie’s time at school. What did her typical day look like? We never find out. We mainly see her at Whit’s End and perhaps at the occasional meet up with her friends. It would have been nice to have heard more about her time at school.
I think Odyssey missed an opportunity by not using this episode for the album artwork. Connie dressing up like Mr. Whittaker would have been so funny to see. According to the episode, all she really does is put on a similar sweater to Whit’s, which is still a big deal considering Connie is obviously very partial to her green sweater. But the artwork for AIO albums has never been completely accurate. The artist Gary Locke could have easily drawn Connie with glasses, a fake mustache and wig and a jacket in Mr. Whittaker’s style. Maybe if the albums ever get repackaged once again with new artwork, that’ll be a possibility.
There seem to be a few nods to previous episodes in Let This Mind Be in You. Firstly, Eugene takes the initiate to paint the Bible Room, which mirrors his decision in his first episode to completely transform Whit’s End in his image, automating every last detail. In the end, Mr. Whittaker isn’t very happy with either incident. Secondly, Connie has difficultly recalling a Bible passage, just three episodes after the importance of Bible study was discussed. And thirdly, Connie’s bad advice about keeping things from your parents ties in with at least two previous shows. The Prodigal, Jimmy is mentioned because of the Barclay connection. But it’s also similar to The Tangled Web when Connie wants to keep something from her mother but is eventually convinced to talk to her. Perhaps Connie hasn’t learned her lesson quite yet.
This episode contributed a lot to the show. Through Whit’s absence, not only did it give me a new appreciation for Whit’s unique role in the show, it also presented Connie and Eugene together is a very compelling way which proved that their characters could be relatable and funny. And it laid down the groundwork for many more entertaining discussions between the two in episodes to come. When you compare it to its “remake” in Album 34, the episode Idol Minds, you can easily see how this episode is much better in furthering the characters and the series. This episode gets 5 out of 5 stars.