The Other Woman
News flash! Tom Riley stuns Odyssey by insinuating that he may not seek re-election! He tells Dale Jacobs that he really would like to get back to the peace and quiet of his farm, which creates a media firestorm. Unfortunately, Bart Rathbone is listening to the television report on Tom, and it gives Bart the idea that he should run for mayor again. Bart’s wife, Doris, and Rodney think Bart’s nuts. They say no one would ever vote for Bart. But Bart still thinks he has a real chance, as long as Tom doesn’t run again. So Bart tells Doris and Rodney it’s their job to make sure Tom doesn’t run again.
That opportunity presents itself a few days later when Doris and Rodney see Tom driving and decide to follow him. They all end up at a place called Hillingdale Haven, where Doris and Rodney take pictures of Tom sitting and holding hands with a blond woman! Rodney is certain that Tom’s wife isn’t blond and deduces that they have a major scandal on their hands.
Doris and Rodney take the pictures back to Bart, who gives them to a new rag sheet tabloid newspaper called The Odyssey Tattler. The editor of the Tattler surmises that the pictures were taken at Hillingdale Haven Hospital, a mental health facility! He readily prints the pictures, setting off a media frenzy.
But it ends up that the story is much less scandalous than it appears. The woman is Tom’s wife, Agnes. She has manic depression and must frequently stay at Hillingdale Haven. Tom calls a press conference to tell everyone this, and to add that he officially won’t seek re-election as mayor. After explaining the real situation, what Tom said makes Bart and Doris feel so bad that they wished that they had never done what they did.
Later, at Whit’s End, Whit and Eugene discuss Tom’s decision. Eugene wonders why Tom never mentioned Agnes’s problem to the church so they could pray for her. Whit says Tom did at first, but when Agnes didn’t get better, he stopped. He says many Christians have trouble with unanswered prayer. And the only thing to do is to keep praying for people like Tom and Agnes.
- Why did Tom keep his wife’s illness quiet?
- Should he have?
- Why or why not?
- Should he have?
- Why do you think God heals some people and doesn’t heal others?
- Whit told Eugene that “Christians who can’t cope are poor advertising.” What did he mean by that?
Heard in episode
Mentioned in episode
|Dale Jacobs||Tom Riley|
|Timmy Riley||Eugene Meltsner|
|Horatio G. Spafford||John Whittaker|
- This show was written to answer the long-standing question, whatever happened to Tom’s wife? She appeared in #49: “Thank You, God” and then seemed to disappear without a trace.
- This episode marks Rodney's return from jail after his participation in Regis Blackgaard's schemes.
- It is stated in this episode that Agnes suffers from deep depression. Interestingly, this episode was written before depression really came into the public spotlight.
- This episode features one of the few times that Rodney refers to Bart as "Dad" instead of "Pop."
- The story of Horatio G. Spafford's tragic loss, briefly discussed in this episode, was previously explored in more detail in #221: “It Is Well”.
- Doris refers to their trip to Hawaii in this episode; this was heard in “Aloha, Oy!”.
- The story of this mayoral election would be continued in “For Whom the Wedding Bells Toll”.
Doris Rathbone: I don't know about this choke and dagger stuff.
John Whittaker: Like any illness, God sometimes heals [mental illness] immediately; sometimes He takes His time. Sometimes He won't heal at all. His reasons are His own.
Eugene Meltsner: But where does that leave us?
John Whittaker: It leaves us where we've always been: stuck with the frailty of our humanness, dependent on the power of God's will, and obliged to keep praying hard for people like Mrs. Riley—and the Tom Rileys of the world who help them.
Doris Rathbone: You've got a son who's growing up to be a slob, just like his father, and you're talking about Tom Riley?
Eugene Meltsner: So are you [...] going to run for mayor again?
Tom Riley: Now Eugene, you're not curious, are ya?
Eugene Meltsner: No, not at all. I was merely inquiring out of a fundamentally objective desire to know.
John Whittaker: He's curious.
Rodney Rathbone: But what if the gang sees me carrying around a laundry basket? They'll start calling me sissy, too!
Doris Rathbone: Oh, quit your griping. I had a cousin named Sissy once. It's a very nice name.