A Time for Action, Part 2
Whit and Eugene look again at the fax sent to the missions board that began Eugene's adventure in #574: “Prisoners of Fear, Part 1”. They discover that the number on the original fax to the Missions Board - the one from Leonard - was a Connellsville number. Eugene calls the fax number and reaches Pete's Gas and Chow. When PJ Manning, the Gas and Chow employee, proves less than helpful on the phone, Whit and Eugene decide to travel to Connelsville to talk to him in person.
Grady, still frustrated frustrated that they are the recipients of help when he had wanted to help others, convinces his mother to let him give some of the items in the box they were given to the homeless man they saw in the park.
PJ, remarkably, remembers a man sending the fax. He refers to the man as Joel - a big man in his fifties with dreadlocks. He tells Eugene that he remembers Joel because he thought it was so unusual that a homeless man would send a fax to Cairo. Eugene and Whit decide to concentrate their efforts on finding the man known as Joel and drive to Solid Ground - a nearby homeless shelter run by Don Winters, another friend of Whit's. His friend tells Whit how much the residents at the shelter are looking forward to the dinner at Whit's End that night. Eugene tells the director who he is looking for and Don remembers him - Joel is an off-and-on resident of the shelter. In fact, Joel is at the shelter right then! But as soon as Whit tells Joel they want to speak to him about Leonard Meltsner Joel runs away. Eugene and Whit are unable to catch him. They stop the chase in the cemetery, near Eugene's grandfather's grave. Right beside it they discover three other graves: one for Eugene's mother, one for Eugene himself, and one with the unknown name Everett Meltsner.
Upon further inspection, Eugene realizes that the date on "his" tombstone is the date the train Michael was on crashed. Whoever set up the gravestone believed Eugene died on the train! Eugene concludes that it must be his father! Believing Eugene to be dead Leonard made no effort to contact him. Eugene and Whit return to the shelter to try to find Joel. He is still gone, but Whit and Eugene look at his bunk and find a blanket with the name "Grady McKay" stitched onto it.
When Whit and Eugene visit Grady to ask about the blanket, Grady tells them that he had given the blanket, along with the other items, to the homeless man in the park. Grady tells them that he invited Joel to the dinner that night at Whit's End. While there's no guarantee that Joel will come, Eugene cannot help but hope.
Conflicted about his next step, Eugene worries that his actions have inadvertently hindered his progress finding his father. He and Whit discuss the providence of God. Whit tells Eugene that it is impossible for him to ruin God's plans and assures him that everything will work out.
At the dinner, Grady is the first to see Joel. He offers to introduce him to Eugene. Joel remarks that Eugene looks like Leonard. Eugene reveals that he is Leonard's son and asks Joel to help him find Leonard. Joel, flabbergasted, tells Eugene that he is the elusive Leonard.
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Heard in episode
|Eugene Meltsner||Will Ryan|
|John Whittaker||Paul Herlinger|
|PJ Manning||Scott Menville|
|Kristi McKay||Julianne Buescher|
|Grady McKay||Jordan Orr|
|Don Winters||Phil Proctor|
Mentioned in episode
|Connie Kendall||John Whittaker|
|Katrina Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Garvey Hiram Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Thelma Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Everett Meltsner||John Whittaker|
|Nick Mulligan||John Whittaker|
- This episode takes place away from Odyssey: Episodes That Take Place Away from Odyssey
- This episode marks the first time Eugene Meltsner has seen or spoken with his father since he was seven years old.
- Whit mentions while chasing "Joel" in this episode that he needs to go back on Connie's diet — a reference to #513: “Do or Diet”.
- In this episode, Whit notices a tombstone labeled "Eugene Meltsner." In #157: “Last in a Long Line”, Eugene found his father, Leonard Meltsner's tombstone.
- During Chris's wrap-up, we hear a musical cue only heard in three other parts of the series: the wrap-ups on #499: “Exit”, #613: “The Top Floor, Part 3”, and #701: “Unbecoming Jay”.
- Eugene claims his mother's maiden name is "Mushnik," even though it was established in #157: “Last in a Long Line” that her last name was "Kronholm" and his grandmother's maiden name was "Mushnik."