You’ve met Robyn, you’ve met Robyn’s dad, now meet Robyn’s mom—again. Does she sound familiar? No, she’s not the same as she was in A Worker Approved. Now she has the voice of the evil Queen Jezebel who was threatening to kill Robyn two episodes ago. But this time Jezebel is supposed to be Ann Jacobs, a caring mother who’s always looking out for Robyn. Granted, meeting Jezebel took place in the Imagination Station, so maybe Robyn simply imagined that the cruel queen sounded like her mom. I wonder why she made that connection. Dale Jacobs, Robyn’s dad, may not sound like King Ahab, but his incompetence trying to fix a blender certainly fits with Ahab’s humorous portrayal in the episode Elijah. And, like George Barclay in Family Vacation, Dale is another dad who thinks he can fix things himself, but clearly can’t. The blender starts making strange noises and Ann suggests he let Whit help him. But I don’t blame Dale for staying away from Mr. Whittaker for this task. After all, in Album 1 the freezer motor at Whit’s End starts making loud noises and Whit can’t fix it himself. And speaking of the episode The Life of the Party, where in the world is the handyman Bill Moorhead? He should be fixing the Jacobs’ blender. He always needs business. Maybe the Moorheads really did move back to Columbus. Unfortunately, like so many others, they were never heard from again after their first episode.
At Whit’s End, Mr. Whittaker says, “Well, Edison was good, but one of my favorite inventors was Benjamin Franklin.” Wait, what? All this time, since the very first episode of Adventures in Odyssey when Davey Holcomb came sliding in on his baseball cleats, I had Whit pegged as an Edison man. He even mentions Thomas Edison’s inventions to encourage Davey in that episode. But now, he’s on team Franklin. Does this have anything to do with the fact that we learn in The Day Independence Came that Benjamin Franklin looks and sounds exactly like Whit? I’m sensing some bias here, Mr. Whittaker. In response to Whit’s comments, Oscar makes a pun about electricity. Even though no one laughs, I think Oscar really does a good job in this episode. He plays to his strengths in the role of a side character, constantly interjecting interesting lines to shake up a scene which would otherwise have been pretty boring. After he pretends to be a police officer calling in a crime and starts wailing like a siren, Connie says, “We’ve got to keep that boy away from Jack.” It’s a line which is reminiscent of Tom Riley complaining about Eugene. Oscar can be quite the performer sometimes.
So good so far, but then the episode goes downhill. As Robyn tells her long, convoluted story about how her bike got stolen, her parents start to egg her on. Ann says, “Did you see anyone who might have taken your bike, Robyn? …Anyone suspicious?” And it gets crazy from there. Robyn, who was first unsure of what happened, suddenly dives into her own fantasy of thieves using dynamite to blow off her bike lock. And it seems pretty clear she wouldn’t have told such a tall tale if she hadn’t been encouraged to by her parents, which I find odd. Then instead of confronting her, they say they’re going to let her face the consequences of her actions, just like Robyn’s father did in Good Business. Dale says, “This is actually kind of fun. I mean, it’ll be interesting to see what she does next.” There you go again, Dale, trying to engineer an entertaining experience for sake of the audience. Except this time the story spins out of control to the point that the police arrest two innocent people on behalf of Robyn. I think it’s fair to say the Jacobs parents went too far in allowing this to happen. Dale even says he regrets not letting the police officer know what was really going on. The officer brushes this aside and says he understands because he has kids, but realistically speaking the Jacobs were knowingly wasting the police’s time. That shouldn’t be acceptable.
Then there’s the subplot with Donna and Lucy, which is actually a welcome addition. It’s a break from the madness that Robyn’s bike story spirals into. And the subplot doesn’t come out of nowhere either. It is already woven in early on and then returns unexpectedly later in the episode. We hear Robyn on the phone talking about her history project with Lucy. You can tell she isn’t quite serious about doing it because she mentions that her options are “either Napoleon, Julius Caesar, or Michael Jackson.” But we don’t hear Donna’s or Lucy’s voice. And then, all of a sudden, they both confront Robyn about her lies. This is a way more believable storyline then the bike plot and should probably have been developed further. The spat with Robyn’s friends, unfortunately, is not resolved in this episode. And as far as I can tell, it isn’t resolved at any point in the entire history of the show. Donna never appears again in the same episode as Robyn, except of course for the celebratory behind-the-scenes ones. And the only other episode that both Robyn and Lucy both appear in is A Question of Loyalty in Album 13, but they only speak very briefly. There seem to be a lot of questions about their friendship which have never been answered.
As this episode goes on it starts sounding more and more like The Tangled Web. Both Jeremy and Robyn lose something important and then say that someone stole it, bringing the police into the situation. But one of the differences is that this episode’s events are little too unrealistic for my taste. First of all, it’s not one of Whit’s stories, so it’s supposed to be real. But it is hard to imagine any of this actually happening. The Sisco brothers with their bad Italian accents were an annoyance and the police interrogation didn’t make any sense. Robyn and Officer Sedgewick were behind one-way glass but it was completely useless because the two suspects could still hear them and they even identified Robyn as “the nice little girl.” If Sedgewick was trying to protect Robyn’s identity, he wasn’t doing his job. That’s not a very good portrayal of the police. Plus, Dale Jacobs later offers Officer Sedgewick a jelly donut, which doesn’t help anything. The other major difference to The Tangled Web is that the ending of But, You Promised is too predictable. Robyn’s lies spin out of control and she confesses, retelling the whole story about how one lie led to another and another until she was caught in a whole web of deception. Because there is so much focus on this dull storyline instead of developing the more interesting subplot, this turns out to be an average episode. It gets 3 out of 5 stars.