The Chosen One, Part 1
Kelly, a girl of about ten, is kicked out of the house by her drunk mother after setting off their fire alarm winds up in Odyssey early the next morning. Though the driver on her bus worries that no one is picking her up, Kelly promises the driver that her dad is coming. When the bus pulls away, Kelly mutters to herself that she needs to find somewhere to sleep.
At Whit's End, Ed and Whit are redecorating the Train Room in an Old West theme. As part of the décor, Whit has added a piano to the room. He and Ed discover Kelly playing the out-of-tune piano and introduce themselves as they compliment her talent. Whit offers to tune the piano if Kelly thinks she can learn some Western-style music in time for the grand re-opening of the Train Room. A flattered Kelly agrees.
As Connie brags to Eugene that she is almost finished with her oversized book, the fire alarm in Whit's End goes off! As Connie herds the kids outside Kelly rushes downstairs yelling that it is a false alarm. She tells Eugene and Connie that she sets off fire alarms "all the time" as she is a bit of a klutz.
Ed, setting up some antique toys in the Train Room, gives Kelly an old doll, programmed to say several phrases when a string in its back is pulled. "I love you. You're my best friend," the doll tells Kelly. Ed volunteers to get her some ice cream and she excitedly tells him that her favorite flavor is fudge marble. As Whit closes up that night, he, Eugene, and Connie discover that sixty-five dollars is missing from the register. Confused, Whit tells them that the new register is computer-operated and theoretically more accurate. Connie tells Whit that the only other person to be near the register was Kelly. Eugene, excited about a theory he has been considering, attempts to convince Connie and Whit that Kelly has a literal magnetism, setting off the fire alarms and causing the cash register to malfunction.
Kelly makes a pay call to her mother, who doesn't answer. She leaves a message to let her know that she's ok and hangs up. Kelly then trudges back to her park bench to sleep. Lonely, she pulls the string on Ed's doll.
The following day, Ed tells Connie that he and Elaine are going on a vacation - without Marvin and Tamika! Their kids are finally old enough to leave alone. On her way up to see the Train Room she catches Kelly smoking in the bathroom. When Tamika threatens to tell Mr. Whittaker, Kelly threatens Tamika, telling her that she was once in juvenile detention for violent behavior. When Kelly gets back to the counter to overhear Connie talking to Eugene about her book, Eugene asks Kelly several questions, trying to determine if she is truly magnetic. As Connie tries to decide how to write about her relationship with Mitch, Kelly gives her interesting ideas about how to make a doomed relationship interesting to read without being sad. Connie offers to put Kelly's name in the book and Kelly panics, exiting abruptly to practicing her song on the piano. Connie, Whit, Ed, and Eugene discover that the freezer door was left open, melting ice cream. Theorizing that Kelly's "magnetic field" may have damaged the electronic locking mechanism, Eugene dashes off to do further tests. As they prepare to clear away ruined ice cream, Ed realizes that one of the containers is open and eaten from. He recognizes the kind of ice cream as Kelly's favorite.
Eugene, wanting to test Kelly's magnetism, offers to take her to a music store to test her effect on an electronic keyboard. He is reluctant, however, to let her ride in his car, fearing damage to the electronic components. Hurt, Kelly leaves.
Tamika tells her father, then Whit, about Kelly's threats and smoking. Ed and Whit realize that Kelly's smoking is what set off the fire alarm as Eugene bursts in, searching for Kelly himself. Whit cautions them all to treat Kelly kindly, as he feels there is more to her story. As he leaves to get Connie to help him confront her, Connie cries out that her book has been erased. After investigation, Eugene realizes that the book was deleted on purpose. Connie connects the deletion to Kelly's reaction to having her name in the book and determines that Kelly is responsible. At that moment, Kelly appears. Confronted with Connie's frenetic anger, Kelly refuses to answer any questions the Odyssey gang has and confesses that her mother beats her and no longer cares where she is. With that declaration, Kelly flees.
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- The writer of this show, Marshal Younger, had a special connection with this episode's theme: he is a foster parent.
- This is the second episode to feature a conversation between Whit, Connie and Eugene about cash missing from the register at Whit's End. The first episode, of course, is #113: “Suspicious Minds”.
- During this episode Connie mentions the events of #154: “Coming of Age” and her relationship with Mitch while considering what to include about her own love life in her book.
- Connie says that she has spent nine months on her book, placing #580: “Tales of a Small-Town Thug” at least that far in the past.
- Whit redecorates the Train Room with western decor in this episode.
- Kelly's sneaking around Whit's End in this episode should have been detected by the security cameras and/or hidden microphones installed throughout the building, thus providing an easy resolution to the mysteries of the missing cash and the open freezer door.
- During the second conversation between Eugene and Kelly about her supposed "magnetism," the sound of someone entering the the Imagination Station can be heard in the background.
- The sound designer's son had a small part in this episode: he does a lovely snore about halfway through.