A Time for Action, Part 1
An excited Eugene interrupts Whit and Grady at Whit's End discussing a new charitable project that feeds the homeless and provides items to families in need. He tells Whit that, while looking through some boxes for items to donate to the adopt-a-family program he and Grady were discussing, he stumbled across a beginner's guide to Zaire in his parents' effects. He concluded that his parents would not have needed such a simplistic handbook and, upon opening the book, discovered a train ticket to a city in Zaire mere miles from the Ashanti village where Leonard Meltsner was last seen. In addition, the book contained a map with the location of his parents' captivity circled. Eugene concludes that whoever bought the ticket in the book traveled to Africa in an attempt to rescue his parents!
This new discovery leads Eugene to more questions than answers: who traveled to Africa? How did the train ticket get into the book, and the book into the box in Eugene's office? Since the box was given to him by his foster parents, he resolves to call them to find out where the book came from. Before he can leave, Eugene shares his hope that the map was created by his father - smuggled to someone "on the outside" to help him escape. If this is true, it's possible that Leonard contacted the person he sent the map to after escaping from Africa the previous year.
Meanwhile, Grady, riding in the car with his mother, sees a homeless man in the park. He asks his mother if they can adopt the man as part of the adopt-a-family program he and Mr. Whittaker had discussed. Kristi agrees to put together some items to donate to the program. Grady over-enthusiastically gathers things to give away, including his mother's kitchen appliances, his sister's stuffed animals, and his own bed.
Eugene's foster parents have no idea where the box came from, but Whit has another lead: a friend of his may be able to produce a passenger list for the train trip mentioned on the ticket! He and Whit travel to Chicago to go through archives relating to the train. While there, Eugene confesses that while he has been praying continually about his father, he is excited to have a lead that allows him to take physical action towards finding Leonard. Whit cautions Eugene that, if Leonard wants to remain hidden, their search could prove dangerous. On the passenger list for the train that Eugene finally unearths, he recognizes the name Michael Mushnik - his mother's uncle! Whit finds a newspaper article about the train. It crashed in Zaire, killing all of the passengers.
On the way back to Odyssey, Eugene and Whit stop at his foster parents to see if they know anything about his uncle. Mrs. Burnette doesn't remember much about Michael, though she does recall that the Zaire book was in his effects. She then reveals that Michael had come by their house before he left for Zaire asking to take seven-year-old Eugene with him. The Burnetts' refusal to allow him to take Eugene along saved Eugene's life.
Grady and his mother find a box return home to find a box with items from adopt-a-family from Odyssey Community Church.
Eugene goes through the box of his parents' things again. He finds nothing new, but shows Whit a picture of his parents with another well-known archaeologist: Dalton Kearn. While Eugene has been digging through the box, Whit has contacted another friend in the Congo who sent him some more information about the train. The fax number on the paperwork gives Whit a hunch.
- There are no discussion questions listed for this episode. »
Heard in episode
|Grady McKay||Jordan Orr|
|John Whittaker||Paul Herlinger|
|Eugene Meltsner||Will Ryan|
|Kristi McKay||Julianne Buescher|
|Maddie Burnette||Pat Blore|
Mentioned in episode
|Connie Kendall||John Whittaker|
|Leonard Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Thelma Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Frank Burnette||Eugene Meltsner|
|Samantha McKay||Kristi McKay|
|Katrina Meltsner||Maddie Burnette|
|Dalton Kearn||John Whittaker|
- This episode takes place away from Odyssey: Episodes That Take Place Away from Odyssey
- Eugene previously dug through archives in an effort to learn things about his family in #200: “Feud for Thought”.
- Eugene mentions in this episode that he attempted to grow a mustache — a reference to his decision in #323: “A Little Credit, Please”.
- This episode confirms that Grady and Whit attend Odyssey Community Church.
- In this episode Whit and Diane from the Chicago office of the State Department make a cryptic reference to Whit's assistance with a problem in a country he had never previously visited. This may or may not be a veiled reference to Whit's help assuring that Prince Roderick ascend to the throne in Muldavia, as recounted in #187: “An Act of Nobility” (assuming that James Armer is, in fact, an alias Whit used for himself in the story to Isaac in that episode).
- Eugene says that Mushnik was his mother's maiden name. In #157: “Last in a Long Line” and #200: “Feud for Thought”, he said it was his grandmother's maiden name and that his mother's maiden name was Kronholm.
Eugene Meltsner: They're both in your office.
Eugene Meltsner: Mr. Whittaker, I have what some might call a hunch.
John Whittaker: What is it?
Eugene Meltsner: It's an colloquial term, it means an intuitive feeling or premonition.
John Whittaker: I meant, what is your hunch?
Eugene Meltsner: So, we found that Michael died on that train in Africa.
Maddie Burnette: Oh my goodness! That's terrible. All we knew is that it happened overseas.
Eugene Meltsner: And the State Department told you that?
Maddie Burnette: Yes. They didn't give much detail, but then again, we didn't ask for much. We barely knew Michael. Ar-are you sure you don't want something to eat?
John Whittaker: Oh, no. We ate on the way.
Eugene Meltsner: I'm really not hungry.