At first, I hesitated to like this episode. It's different. It takes you away from the camp and all the rest of the gang to focus on one camper, and his family troubles.
But you know what? Every member of Tom's family ( mom, dad, sister Roseanne, brother, Aunt Eleanor, baby Joey) is alive with personalities with which we can catch on quickly.
This episode plays like what could've been a High Feather spin-off. Tom shines in this episode. His inner pain at not being able to stay for the second half of camp, shows at the train depot when he buys a whole lot of junk food and gorges it in front of counselor Kim, who says nothing, but cleans up the wrapper garbage that Tom leaves on the bench. Kim's facial expressions are so genuine when he tries to console Tom. You cry some, because Tom had been so proud of having lost 8 pounds thus far, gunning for 20 by the end of the summer.
Tom upsets his mother by misusing her grocery money to buy all junk food at the supermarket. At this, we witness Tom get upset with himself for disappointing her.
Things come to a head when Tom must chaperone his sister to a house party. Tom feels the contrast. Here, he is in a dimly-lit basement, noisy environment with non-healthy snacks to eat. By contrast, in camp there was open air, spacious and serene, with healthy food. Here, there's a booming disco song blaring with teens dancing (using the dances of the period), with some trying to make-out in the corners of the room.
Seeing all this, Tom realizes that he has to get back on his diet, to start feeling good about himself again, and employ what he has learned in camp about budgeting and buying the right kinds of food, and sharing that with his family. He even starts a garden that even makes his dad proud. The more times you watch this episode, the more you get from it. Well written, well paced, and well placed.