This is a single, feature-length episode on the DVD so I'll post the same review in both halves if that's alright.
First up, I'm not sure why the producers decided to make a feature-length episode midway through the season, but I'm glad they did. Having the extra fifty minutes gives the various threads far longer to play out and the whole episode feels like part of a serial.
I do like the way it's plotted. The first half is all about Jenny Pendleton coming back and John-boy applying for college, with his accident a minor mishap at the start. Then, after several bouts of concussion, John-boy's health takes centre stage, and he winds up sitting his entrance exam in hospital. It's not as tense as it should be, but it does throw a suitable spanner in the works. At the same time, there are several side plots: Ben goes hunting with Grandpa, Jason hangs out with the Baldwins and Mary Ellen gets a part in the school play.
Jason's plot is superb. I laughed out loud when the Baldwins said they wanted to adopt him. I'm still laughing as I write this. Brilliant acting and great reactions by all the cast. More scenes like this please!
Mary Ellen vs Martha Rose is fast becoming a bit of a fixture. This week, they both compete for the same role in the school play, mainly because GW Haynes is the leading man. The audition is brief, to say the least, and the play itself is dreadful - pretty much as I remember my school plays. I did like GW with his stick-on beard though.
Good use of the recurring characters this week. Great to see Matt Fordwick again. If you're after a feel-good episode with just a little drama, you should definitely watch this.