Exceptional Circumstances

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#496: “Exceptional Circumstances”
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March 20, 2002
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38: Battle Lines
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Proverbs 16:25

25There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

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Exceptional Circumstances

“Exceptional Circumstances” is episode #496 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by John Fornof and Kathy Buchanan (among others), and originally aired on June 15, 2002.


Connie passes the kids’ Novabox information to Mitch, while Jason discovers that Monica Stone has a personal connection to the Novacom scheme.


"Visiting his grave one day, e-mailing him the next," says Connie as she sits down to talk to Mitch on Instant Messenger. Mitch is happy to get in touch with her, but Agent Bourland is very angry that Mitch is contacting the outside world. Mitch insists that they need help, but Bourland won’t have it. He cuts off Mitch’s access to the outside world.

Back at Whit’s End, Alex, Cal, and Mandy arrive to tell Connie what they found about the Novabox and its relationship to the sale of birdhouses, chips, and soda. Connie has trouble getting through to Mitch with the information, but finally contacts him on a separate Instant Messenger name.

Meanwhile, Tom arrives back at home with Agnes. The two of them fondly remember old times and even take a walk up toward the tower site.

Meanwhile, Whit arrives home to tell Jason that he owns Whit's End in Connellsville again and finds that Jason has finally decoded some names from Eugene’s disk. Jason says he’s going to investigate one name - Duncan Mathis. Jason finds Duncan in a wheelchair at a rehabilitation center. Realizing he’s a Whittaker, Duncan tells Jason the whole story behind Eugene’s research. Duncan was the guinea pig for the Radio wave study. He used the technology to begin to operate machines with his mind. When Eugene left on a family emergency, scientists from Andromeda showed up asking how to reverse the process; Duncan believes they want to control minds. Not only that, Duncan has found that all the benefits reverse themselves. Suddenly, Duncan’s sister walks in...and it’s Monica Stone! Monica and Jason are shocked for a moment. Jason understands now that Duncan was the reason that Monica was working for Andromeda. She even tells him that Duncan’s condition is her fault. Jason pleads with Monica to stop helping Novacom. He says she should ask Mr. Charles about the Novabox’s real benefits.

That evening, Whit tries to tell Tom about how the benefits of the box will reverse themselves. Tom won’t listen. Soon after, however, Agnes has a relapse. Agnes begs Tom not to take her back to Hillingdale.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why didn’t Tom and Monica want to believe that the Novabox’s effects reversed themselves?
  2. Read Romans 2:7-8. Why is it best to accept the truth, even if it hurts for a while?
  3. Was Monica right for wanting to help her brother?
  4. Jason said she may have been doing things for the right reasons, but she was working on the wrong side. What did he mean?
  5. Read Proverbs 16:25. What might Monica and Tom think of this verse?
  6. What are some things kids do that may seem okay but are actually dangerous?


Heard in episode

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Arthur Dent Peter Bourland
Jack Allen Peter Bourland
Mary Hopkins John Whittaker
Eugene Meltsner Jason Whittaker
Timothy Riley Agnes Riley


VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] In the album version, when Connie is testing AREM to see if it's really Mitch, she also asks him what he made her for dinner. Mitch tells her this was a trick question, as he never made her dinner and if he had it would have been macaroni and cheese.

  • When Tom and Agnes are taking a run in the field and looking at the tower in this episode, a helicopter passes by. This was The Chairman going to install the upload hardware, as seen later in #499: “Exit”.
  • Based on the name of her brother, as revealed in this episode, apparently Monica Stone was either married at some time or had one different parent than Duncan, as they have different last names. Or, possibly, she changed her name due to her work.
  • Starting with this episode, the last episodes of Novacom Saga all start with the letters "Ex..." as in, Exceptional, Expect, Exactly and Exit.
  • This is Paul Herlinger's 100th episode as Whit, not counting behind-the-scenes and retrospective shows.


  • In #368: “The Other Woman”, Tom Riley says that he married Agnes one year after Timmy died. In this adventure, she puts out an extra plate for Timmy, even though she never knew him. However, this could be explained as being an effect of her mental illness, which previously led her to ask Tom to give Timmy "all her love" in that same episode.


Jason Whittaker: Wait a minute. I'm confused. If it worked, why aren't you using the technology now? Isn't the Novabox supposed to help the handicapped?
Duncan Mathis: I did use it. The benefits don't last.
Jason Whittaker: What?
Duncan Mathis: All of the benefits of the Novabox - they reverse themselves... to the extent that people are worse off than they were before. It happened to me. It will happen to everyone else.

Jason Whittaker: Please listen to me: even if it's for the right reasons, you've been working for the wrong side. Everything I know about Andromeda and this box of theirs is not the answer for your brother—or any of us!
Monica Stone: Well, it's the only answer I have.

Nick Mulligan: You got an instant message.
Connie Kendall: I did? How funny. I'm sure it's not from who it says it's from.
Nick Mulligan: Well, it says its from... Sparky the Happy Giraffe?
Connie Kendall: It's not what you thin—huh? Who's Sparky the Happy Giraffe?

Robert Mitchell: The man isn't exactly lucid these days.
Peter Bourland: Making him a slightly less reliable source than Mr. Potato Head.
Robert Mitchell: If Mr. Potato Head had information right now, I'd take it.

Connie Kendall: Uh, don't come in here!
Nick Mulligan: Why? Are you losing at solitaire again?