Laura! What th- ?

“Dudley’s Big Decision” began Season 5. It’s a significant episode, for a couple of reasons. First, it reaffirmed that Laura (Andréanne Benidir) and Dudley were best friends with each other. Second, it dealt with the topics of free will, personal choice and true friendship. Laura was supposed to leave the forest with her family, but Dudley wanted her to stay, and, through the use of a magic charm, imprisoned her in the forest. Ultimately, the spell backfires and Dudley has to let her go. Laura leaves to join her family on the East coast.

But was it supposed to be Laura?

Dudley sings a song, “I Don’t Want to Lose My Friend”, holding a picture of himself and – well, see for yourself:

© Breakthrough Entertainment.

That’s a second-season picture of Dudley and Annick, from the Christmas special!  Annick, you’ll notice, is wearing the same costume and hair style as Sally.

Who’s Annick?  She was the French-speaking counterpart to Sally, in the French-language version, Les aventures d’Arthur le Dragon.  Annick was played by Andréanne Benidir.  The French version lasted for the show’s first two seasons.  Andréanne appeared late in the show’s third season, as the English-speaking Laura.

Could it be that Laura was meant to be Sally, that this was written to be Sally’s formal exit from the series?

Regardless, it was filmed with Laura, who left the forest at the end. But not for long. She came back four episodes later in “The Wishing Well.”

But Laura and Sally finally meet face to face. In “The Great Dragonberry War,” Dudley is quibbling with Caveman over a dragonberry bush. Both claim the bush; neither will share. Laura sides with her best friend Dudley; Sally sides with Caveman. Who survives? Certainly not the dragonberry bush. But they’re all pals by story’s end.

In total, Laura appeared once in the third season, three times in the fourth season, and six times in the fifth season.

Sally appeared only twice in the fifth season. Her second appearance would be a special one. It was in the final episode.