Hello, fangirls on Gracie’s blog! Hi also to Luke and Naomi! This is Lee Acim from AIO Audio News, writing a post that Gracie said I could write a while back. (Don’t worry. I’m not revealing any “new” episodes here.) In this post, I’m going to explain an inside joke between Arista and me for the last year or so: What happened to Richard Maxwell?
(Cue the “Super Carlin Brothers” theme music!)
Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Blackgaard Chronicles III: Cross-Check.(AndSpoilerWarningInCaseAnyOfMyPredictionsEndUpBeingTrueAndTheyRuinYourLife!)
At the end of Album 25: Darkness Before Dawn, in episode #333: “The Last Resort,” Richard is recovering in the hospital, his last words apologizing to and forgiving Tom Riley. He is never heard from again (except “I Slap Floor,” which I’m still trying to prove was a true story). In a fanfiction I wrote a while back, I claimed that after that episode, Richard needed to be transported to another hospital. On the way, the ambulance was in a head-on collision with another vehicle, taking the lives of everyone in the accident, including Richard’s father, who had come to Odyssey when he heard of his son’s condition. All perished except Richard, whose face was heavily marred and his mental capacity lessened. He resisted his medication and IV fluids, responding positively only to an older gentleman who visited often, taking the young man to social events after he had convalesced.
So where did I get all this information about Richard? It’s the best reconciliation I can find between his story… and Lester’s. The date of the accident was March 18, 1999. Richard’s father was in the car with him. The other car was a limousine, and a very famous actor was killed in the crash. “3/18/99” became as well-known a date as “9/11.” The older man, Ernie McAlister, had only to say the date for the people at his social events to know who Richard was.
Here’s a question that always bugged me about “No Way Out”: why does Lester keep saying “3/18/99” if he knows it’s the combination to the safe? Answer: he doesn’t. Ernie McAlister always followed “3/18/99” with “I can’t tell you,” because it would traumatize Richard to know his history. He could have no hint at all that he was in the accident. The accident damaged his memory enough to wipe the accident from it. If he remembered it in any way, the trauma would be too much for Richard’s demented mind to handle. So, since Richard’s face was disfigured (along with his voice), no one would recognize him. His name had to be changed as well, because if and when he came into contact with anyone he previously knew, they could not have been able to remind him of his past. So Richard simply equated “3/18/99” with a secret, and Ernie, knowing that the phrase was so well-known to Richard, made it the combination to his safe, allowing Richard to be the only one able to open it.
But Richard’s story doesn’t end with “No Way In.” He reappears with an invisible dog named Ralph in “The Invisible Dog.” Ralph is determined by Whit to be a way for Richard to cope with some “inner fear.” Near the climax of the episode, Richard “lets Ralph go,” symbolically detaching himself from that fear. When Ralph “dies,” Richard can overcome it because of his friend Trent.
But what “happened” to Ralph? I submit to you that Ralph is Richard Maxwell’s father.
(Luke.exe has stopped working.)
Lester says, “I was crossing the street with Ralph, and this car came…” but wouldn’t that mean both Ralph and Lester were hit? They were, in the accident. Richard had finally remembered the accident, but was able to cope with the support of two figures from his past, John Whittaker and Connie Kendall.
“But wait a moment!” you’re yelling at me. “I just read Cross-Check, and Richard’s back story isn’t the same as Lester’s! Both of Richard’s parents are still alive, and his father’s name is Mickey, not Ralph!” Well, here’s my answer: Phil Lollar. Phil Lollar was MIA in Odyssey from 2000 to 2014. “No Way Out” was created in 2004. Phil Lollar has admitted that he’s a little behind on Odyssey; he hasn’t even heard all of Novacom. His characterization of Wooton in “The Toy” gave a very different spin to the character than had been developed before (see my rebuttal to Hannah Morgan in AIOWiki Podcast #20 🙂
). “No Way Out” was written and directed by John Fornof, with sound design by— er, who no longer works with Adventures in Odyssey. Lester’s back story is unknown to Phil Lollar, which is why Richard’s father is not named Ralph in Cross-Check, and also why his mother is still alive.
“But Lee!” you’re probably still yelling at me. “What about these other etc., etc. plotholes you’vemissed? Richard can’t really be Lester! John Fornof couldn’t have really planned that!”
Ah, but that’s where you’d be wrong, heh heh! That’s where you’d be wrong. (Gigantic bonus points to anyone who can tell me what episode that’s from!) I leave you with two quotes.
John Whittaker: Oh… Oh, my head. Feels like someone shoved a bowling ball in my ear!
Ohhh… Where am I? Huh— No, it can’t be!
Richard Maxwell: Hiya, Mr. Whittaker!
— #156: “Waylaid in the Windy City, Part 2”
John Whittaker: Oh, my head. Where… where am I? Oh— Oh! Oh, my leg! Ah—!
Lester: Your leg is broke.
— #546: “No Way Out”
But hey, that’s just a theory! AN ODYSSEY THEORY!! Thanks for reading, fangirls, and guys! 🙂
— Lee Acim