"The Sixteenth Minute"

A review by Jenni:

This is one of those episodes that I'm reluctant to start because I love it and don't want it to be over.  But I'm gonna start...  While enjoying my chai.  Perfect.

What I love about this episode:
So I went from having an office at my old job to having a cubicle.  Sometimes this annoys me.  But this episode serves as a nice reminder that it could always be worse.  The cubicles in Ed's office are tiny!  And they only have three walls!  No privacy!  Mine has nearly four walls.  Obviously one wall has a cut-out entrance...  Wouldn't be fun to have to scale a wall to enter. 

I think Ed would be very comfortable at Occupy Wall Street or similar.  This episode is another one that still seems really fresh nearly a decade later.  Wow.

Well, it's a nice PSA on why dogs should be kept on leashes...  Scary.  And, for the record, even knowing what could happen I know I'd follow my dog into an abandoned mine.

This is really an ingenious set-up.  TBAA's done episodes in which the angels are very in your face about who and what they are.  They've done episodes in which no one ever even discovers that the angels are heavenly beings.  But episodes in which someone has to accept on faith that an angel is what he proclaims to be while the stakes are so high?  Quite original.  I can't think of another example of just this sort of revelation.

When I first saw this episode, I thought the behavior of everyone in Ed's office and the media after the rescue was overplayed.  Not any more!  The bit about a TV movie seems somewhat hard to believe... but not really.  Now it seems a fairly accurate portrayal of the craziness of the media.  And you do hear about people who have a sudden rush of fame and end up in a bad spot a la Ed. 

I like that the writers kept so on top of Marla's part of the story.  How often do we see media coverage glorifying a hero and yet those that didn't fare so well get pushed to the side?  Cause their part just isn't feel-good enough.  I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate our heroes.  But there have been times when I've watched a media report on a Good Samaritan and thought "This must be so hard for the family of the person who did drown..." or "But what happened to the person who's still in the hospital?"

Good gravy.  Gloria made me tear up!  Her talking to Marla about understanding how having her gift taken away might make her feel like her life has no purpose is incredibly empathetic.  I am impressed!  And I can kinda relate...  Although I've certainly not experienced such loss in the way Marla has.

I thought it was nifty how they really utilized Ed's cubicle and its ever-changing decor to illustrate just how self-involved he was becoming.

I like Gwen.  I'm glad that she finally tells it like it is to Ed and calls him out on behaving like a selfish jerk.  Just too bad he used her advice to try to hijack Marla for his own glorification...

As painful as it is for her, I love that Marla stands up to Ed.  And that part where she tells him that the more she sees of him, the more certain she is of Andrew's presence in the mine... Ouch!  But Ed needed to hear that.  And, for the record, if I were Marla I'd want to credit Andrew with saving my life over Ed any day. 

"Only God has the power to hold back a mountain or decide whether someone lives or dies."  From Monica to Ed.  Sometimes that can be hard to believe... but I do.

"People need to know that God hears them and answers them when they cry out."  Amen to that, Monica.

"What could this world possibly offer you that would be more precious than the unfailing love and support of your Creator?"  Honestly, I think the writing got really good again this season.  I feel like I'm jotting down more quotes than I was for a while.  That's another Monica one, for the record. 

"No!  No.  You haven't lost your soul.  You've just lost your way and God can show you the way back if you let Him."  That lovely quote from Andrew makes me think it's too bad I missed this episode when it originally aired.  I needed to hear that then.  But then the whole "Turn around!" thing that I describe below may not have been as impactful.

I like that Ed needs to go back to the canyon to find himself.  TBAA used that theme a lot: you have to go back to start anew.  I've found it to be very true in my own life. 

Marla's story made me want to go find this YouTube video which my uncle, a former dancer, showed me a few years back.  Grab the Kleenex.  Maybe Marla did dance again.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Not liking the scare my computer just gave me as I started this episode.  It played the audio track only and showed a gray screen...  But it musta been a passing glitch.  Fine now.  Yay.

So this is just a "crazy Jenni" story but... the close-up shots of Andrew in the mine holding the beam used to freak me out.  They looked creepily Jesus-y to me.  Now I'm over it.  But I don't have a "What I didn't love about this episode in 2004" section so here is where it goes.  

Sheesh!!!  My computer is what I don't love about this episode!  Somehow it just skipped backward to the second act so I started freaking out thinking THC had cut the entire "Turn around" sequence of Andrew in the mine.  Which woulda majorly ticked me off.  But just a glitch...  Maybe I even hit a button without realizing.  Sheesh.

Lingering questions:

It kinda slays me that a person would marry someone without knowing if they believed in angels.  Is it weird that I'd probly want to ask that during whatever the first serious date was?  I think I'd need to know that.  I'm not saying I would never date someone who didn't believe.  But it would definitely need to be discussed fairly early on.

Does this episode give a clue on how many days this covers?  I couldn't catch it but would be interested to know.

Once again I must ask...  Where did Tess go for most of this episode?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I love him...  "Don't be afraid.  You're not alone."  I was just talking to a friend earlier and said something about how "safe" was always a word I attached to John.  Meaning he just made me feel safe.  Simply by existing, I guess.  So what a perfect first line for Andrew in this episode.  And I just adore how he keeps Marla talking and bonds with her over dance.  And then when he grips her hand...

"It's okay.  I can carry the load."  I have a feeling that applies to Andrew much more often than in this one, very literal, setting.  I think he carried a lot in the years he worked with Monica and Tess...

And now it's time for my "why I love this episode" story.  Back during TBAA's 9th season, I was in a not so great place emotionally.  I was 20 and I know for many people those are wild and crazy days.  My "wild days" aren't of that variety.  I just mentally felt wild and out of control and TBAA and I just weren't on the same wavelength.  I watched it more out of habit that anything.  Increasingly often, I wouldn't even be home when it aired.  I'd set the VCR recorder but for whatever reason I either forgot to do it when this
episode aired or it screwed up.  I wasn't too troubled.  I was, sadly, kinda over TBAA.  But then when "Feather on the Breath of God" aired, I fell back in love with it (and Andrew who, frankly, I was never really over... just wanted to be).  So much so that when the show ended, I couldn't bear to think of not having any more new TBAA.  So since I'd missed "The Sixteenth Minute" and "The Good Earth," I determined I would save them for emergencies.  But then a (now former) friend convinced me during the summer of 2004 that I *had* to watch this episode.  So I did.  And loved it.  And loved Andrew.  Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a bit of a crisis.  I was in a place that was becoming toxic and knew for my own well-being I had to get myself out of there.  But doing so would, no doubt, upset some people.  And I was unfamiliar with the area and had limited cash on me and so didn't know what to do.  So I panicked.  And then I heard a voice say "Turn around!"  John's voice.  Now, I knew it wasn't really him.  I knew I was just recalling Andrew from this episode.  So I dismissed it.  Went back to panicking.  But I kept hearing him.  "Turn around!  Turn around!  Turn around!"  So I did.  And this feeling of peace washed over me.  Suddenly my mind cleared and I immediately knew just what I needed to do to remove myself to a safe place.  I truly believe God used John's remembered voice to help me that day.  And He still does.  I've not found myself in as troubling a physical place again.  But plenty of times my own mind has become toxic and it often is John's voice that pulls me back to a safe place.  I'll love him forever for that.  And I hope now he knows that, in part because of him, I did turn around that summer night back in 2004 and did what I needed to do.

Aww.  Andrew just came to say good bye to Marla!  He's so lovely.  And if I had to open my eyes in a strange, scary hospital... he'd be who I'd want to see.  And I sooo love that Marla thanks Andrew.  Andrew didn't get thanked enough.  Yay her. 

And when he leans down to tell Marla there's something she's gonna have to remember... so tender, so gentle... and then "You lived, Marla" so pointedly...  Brings tears to my eyes. 

I wish I had a canyon I could run off to and shout for him...  I'm doing better.  I really am.  But there's something wild in me that I haven't yet been able to shed.  And I feel like screaming may help.  But, regardless, I do know John's here... right here.  I always think of that lyric from Jesus Christ Superstar: "To conquer death, you only have to die."  He's limitless now.  It's only my very mortal body that sometimes experiences the feeling of a great and unconquerable distance.

"God sent me as an answer to your prayer."  Doesn't just apply to Andrew. 

"How do you think impossible things happen?  It's by the grace of God." 

Andrew has looked gorgeous in this whole episode but that green shirt...  He's so wearing it.  And he's so lovely and encouraging.

Random thoughts:

Music:  Ed plays what sounds a heckuva lot like elevator music in his car while driving home when he spots Jenks.  There's piano music as Marla dreams of dancing.  Assumedly from a ballet.  Don't know which.

For a long time, I could never bring myself to call Grant Shaud anything but "Miles."  In fact, when I talk about this episode I often called Ed "Miles."  (I refrained from doing so for this review.)  I watched Murphy Brown as a kid.  ;-)  Actually... just realized TBAA aired two episodes in a row with former MB actors. 

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- Yikes.  So not only did I miss this episode when it first aired, but the VCR timer didn't work.  Thankfully, a kindly fellow TBAA fan sent me a disk with it.  So I went to go watch that and... couldn't find the disk.  Spent a while looking.  No disk.  Finally found it in the living room with my DVDs.  Which makes sense...  I'd just forgotten I'd been so organized.  So then I went to play it...  Disk error on my DVD player.  Disk error on my DVD recorder.  Panic set in!  But I am now getting it to play on my computer.  Albeit out of order for some reason so I'm having to keep resetting.  But I have it!  

- They cut a scene shortly after the rescue workers get to work.  The reporter approaches one and asks if he c
an tell him what happened.  The rescuer explains that 911 got a call about a mine cave-in and that then the caller ran into the hole.  The reporter then asks if Ed's car belongs to the caller.  The rescuer affirms this.  The reporter calls in the license number and has the DMV run it.  Then it goes to Gwen in her kitchen.  So now we know how the reporter got Ed's name.

- More was cut from the top of the scene where Monica shows Ed the newspaper article about Marla.  Before that, we
see Ed in front of a mirror in his house.  He's straightening his tie and telling an off-screen Gwen that he's gotta go cause the limo is there.  When he steps outside, Mason (the paper boy) approaches and introduces himself.  Ed is about to say he's been meaning to talk to Mason about where the paper lands but is cut off when Mason asks for his autograph.  Ed smiles and signs the newspaper.  It's actually right then that he first sees the article about Marla.  He looks at it for a moment with a frown.  Mason takes the paper with a "Thanks" and Ed approaches Monica near the limo and voices his desire for a new photo which is where THC resumes.

Further on down the road...
It was between this and dusting.  Obvious choice.  But I do really need to dust at some point.  Augh.

Sigh...  I was on vacation when last I watched this.  And not responsible for dusting there.  ;-)

Double sigh...  Andrew is so handsome here.  And comforting and lovely...

I would so have nightmares if I had to film something like this.  I'm not exactly claustrophobic.  I just don't like having my movements restricted.  Okay, maybe that is a form of claustrophobia. 

I wo
nder if Andrew had some weird flashbacks during this assignment...  Cause I know where my mind flashes.  Of course, he's not seeing it as a close-up.  From his viewpoint, that wood really doesn't look like a cross beam.  And, yes, I'm back to the Jesus fixation during that scene.

Does the President really make calls about this sort of thing?  I mean I know he does with mass shootings and things that make the national news.  But I have a hard time believing this woulda been so huge.

Yeah, maybe I'm getting jaded...  The more times I watch this (which means the older I get), the less likely this seems.  Maybe I'm missing something but I just don't see this hoopla lasting for as long as it seems to.  One time I really need to pay attention to outfits.  Maybe this only happens within 72 hours.  It just seems so much longer.  Ah, apparently I reverse myself on this every so often.  I agree with my earlier comment that media can over-hype stuff.  But it seems like the staying power is less and less.  I just don't think Ed really woulda gotten the limelight for so long.

How did Ed get that far into the hospital?  Surely they don't let random people just wander on into the rehab area.

Ya know, I still really love this show but I'm remembering when I would watch the same episode Sunday when it aired, the next morning, and then again later in the week.  I watched this episode about 5-6 weeks ago and am kinda bored right now.  And it's not just this show.  I very seldom rewatch episodes without a gap of several months and often years between viewings.  I wonder what changed? 

I woulda accepted the apology but then kicked Ed out of my hospital room and enjoyed some more quality alone time with Andrew.  ;-)  Although dogs are pretty cool, too...  So, Andrew and dog and no Ed.  Yeah, so Ed annoys me which is probably a lot why rewatching this episode so soon was kinda a chore.  And I really liked that actor on Murphy Brown!

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