A train ride is the classic setting for a murder mystery. But whenever you introduce a classic theme it doesn’t hurt to add some originality. Having a group of manikin salespeople travelling to a convention was a unique touch. You can tell this is an early episode because the theme was all about breaking up the daily routine. From all that’s happened since, from Blackgaard to Novacom to the Green Ring Conspiracy, the show has definitely changed. Nowadays Odyssey’s daily routine normally consists of a lot more mysteries and excitement around every corner and we no longer need to have people purposelessly breaking up the daily routine.
Eugene’s acting in this was distracting. I know it was supposed to be bad acting but that didn’t stop it from being annoying. I feel like bad acting is an art and it isn’t often done well. It should be present but it shouldn’t be exaggerated. Eugene’s bad acting in this episode isn’t subtle enough and instead it’s clunky and rigid, making his character obviously suspicious to the audience.
This episode gives us lots of interesting information about Eugene’s backstory, which unfortunately turns out all to be untrue in the end. His former girlfriend Margaret, his rivalry with Lawrence Chalmers and the reason he ended up attending Campbell College were all fabricated. So basically everything you thought you learned in the last half-hour listening you can forget because it really had no connection to the reality of AIO, which is a disappointment. But to be honest by the end of the episode it becomes a lot easier to hope that nothing that happened was real. Because if it was real it would probably ruin the show, not to the extent of I Slap Floor but it wouldn’t be insignificant either.
That Eugene managed to pull off his prank is impressive and I’m still not even sure how he did it. Did he rent out the entire train for his drama group? Did he get the other passengers in on the plan to ensure they wouldn’t call the police? Was the train conductor aware that there was going to be a staged fight and that a manikin would be thrown from the train? It’s unanswered questions like these that weaken the plot.
This episode could not be made in the same way today. For example, Eugene is a much different character now. Considering how much Eugene has gone through after travelling across the world trying to keep his research hidden from Novacom and then later trying to find his missing father and escape the clutches of Dalton Kearn, he probably no longer feels the need to break up his daily routine with train ride mysteries. But for an episode in The Lost Episodes this one does a great job of standing out. It gets 4 out of 5 stars.