"Two Sides to Every Angel"

A review by Jenni:

If Andrew were the only angel in this episode, it would be one of my favorite episodes.  He is beyond beautiful in this episode.  The reason it's not a favorite is because Monique has long been one of my least favorite aspects of TBAA.  I wish I could export Andrew to his own episode for this one...  The whole "evil twin" concept just seems below TBAA's usual standards.  Nonetheless... there are parts of this episode of which I am very fond.  And, seeing as Halloween is only a weekend away, there are worse ways to count down to it than with watching a demonic vamp whilst enjoying pumpkin cake, chai, and (best of all) John Dye as Andrew.

What I love about this episode:
Ha.  Okay.  So I do like the Thelma and Louise reference.  Especially funny since Gloria has already had her driving off the cliff moment by this time...

Yay, Monica!!!  She actually wanted to wait for Andrew to see if he wanted to go along and have fun with her and Gloria.  Of course, he couldn't.  But it's the thought that counts.

"Wisdom is only intelligence plus experience."  I like that quote from Monica to Gloria.  Makes a lot of sense.  Cause there are definitely intelligent people that I wouldn't necessarily deem wise.

I like that they remembered "Fallen Angela" and Monica's hydrophobia.

"God knows that you're not perfect... He made you that way.  But He will always forgive us if we ask for it."   Another good line from Monica in the same scene.  And I definitely agree with her assertion right after it that some fear is a good thing.  For us humans, it can keep us safe.  (Think about it... if you feared nothing would you lock your doors?  Would you extinguish candles before leaving a room?  Would you have a smoke alarm?  Probly not.)  But I can also see where it would help angels empathize with us.

Like Monica, I can remember the day I had my first coffee.  It was a raspberry latte at a now defunct Borders.  Anyhow, I like that no matter what my feelings were otherwise towards Monica... I can always blame/thank her for my caffeine addiction.

"God loves you and He wants your life to be filled with all kinds of wonderful things."  Even in her distress, Gloria manages a pretty good quote during her "failed" revelation scene.

Well, I love all the affection between the actual angels in this episode.  If they had to have a demon like Monique, at least they balanced it out with sweet moments among the trio.

Hallelujah!  I'm very glad when we reach the point in the episode when Gloria starts poking holes in Monique's lines.  Yep, God is perfect. 

"Listen to God.  Be still and know that He is near.  Let God tell you what to do."  Good advice from the angel that is very obviously Monica.  I so woulda had Monique pegged in this scene.

"Fighting hate with more hate is never the answer.  But when we resist evil it loses power."  Monica again.  What gets me about some of these episodes is that they still have some awesome lines.  One of my very favorite TBAA quotes, for example, is in "The Invitation"... an episode I otherwise strongly dislike.  So it's like the writers almost always had a good grasp on language.  It's just story production was sometimes a lil shaky.

Gloria's pretty darn cool when she tells the Animal to let Kristie go.  At first I felt kinda bad that Andrew didn't get that role since he was so upset earlier.  But he got to deal with the Animal so that's more than fine. 

"God is here and He loves us in spite of all the mistakes.  And He has a plan for us all."  Yay Gloria!

What I didn't love about this episode:
Monique.  I'm glad Ms. Downey got to have fun and stretch her acting skills and all.  After 9 years in a role, she deserved that.  I just will never agree that "Monique" was a good way to do that.  In my mind it just reeks of soap opera cheesiness.  I actually am really impressed with how Ms. Downey can express two different characters with just subtle changes in body language.  But I just can't get behind this plot device and some of its implications.

Sometimes I don't think TPTB with TBAA necessarily understood that even though Gloria is very young... it doesn't change the fact that watching a forty-something woman act like a 14 year old is grating.

Yeah... Monique's red eyes and making the waitress sick is super lame IMO.  It's not germs, folks!  It's demons!  Welcome back to the Middles Ages!  The mind control is just stupid, too.  And her voice when she's doing the waitress thing is super annoying.

Kinda seems like some sorta blasphemy and/or betrayal that Monique would use Randy Travis music to wreak havoc...

So the whole Gloria not glowing thing... so did Satan prevent the glow?  Cause that's disturbing and, IMO, impossible.  Satan can hold back God's love and light?  Don't think so!  Way to sacrifice theology for a screwy plot.  "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  (John 1:5)

Lingering questions:

Same old question... do they really have genders?  Cause Monica doesn't say she and Gloria are both female.  She says they're "both in female form."  So maybe not?  But then could I just as easily say I was "in female form"?  It may seem an odd turn of phrase but I imagine people would agree with it.

I wonder if I would like this episode better if somehow they'd kept the audience in the dark about Monique?  Cause as it is... I feel like Gloria shoulda clued in earlier.  Of course, Monique isn't using the phony voice around Gloria.  But she still seems off...

So when the Animal has Kristie in his truck it definitely seems like he's a rapist.  But with the previous woman, Andrew only says that she'd been beaten.  So did they just not feel like it would be acceptable for Andrew to say the word rape?  I know it's heard often in "Full Moon" but I did sometimes have the sense that the TBAA folks were urged to be more family-friendly as time wore on.  Certain early episodes definitely do seem more raw.  Maybe she was just beaten, though.  Because Andrew did seem to think the Animal's crimes were escalating.  I'm only pondering this because I do sometimes get concerned that there is a certain type of censorship that happens that prevents unpleasant realities from being acknowledged when doing so may combat those realities.  If that was the case, I have no idea how to determine if it's still happening cause I'd be hard pressed to name a current family show...  That's sad.  Anyhow, this episode is pretty creepy.  So I think probly the crimes did escalate.  Andrew was totally forthcoming about the previous case.  But I do think there was a certain desire for TBAA to be tamed a bit.  But this may not be an example of it.

Umm.  Creepy.  I didn't zero in on this til my second viewing but Monica asks Monique if the Cowboy is one of hers.  Monique says no but that she admires his work.  What did Monica mean?  Was she asking if the Cowboy was a demon or a possessed human?  In context, I thought the former.  But I'm not personally comfortable thinking demons can go around beating and potentially raping people.  As if it's not scary enough that our own kind can behave so badly!  So maybe Monica did mean a human under the control of evil.  Cause Andrew seeme
d quite sure the Animal was human.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Poor love.  I always wanted to be the one (or one of the ones) to comfort him after the events of this episode wrapped.  He needed someone to hold him...  Back in reality, those opening moments are a fine example of how John could express so much without actual words.  I don't actually know what he could have said that would have been as evocative as that "Oh..." and shake of his head then the dart.  I think this is the episode that most made me appreciate what an AOD does.

He's back.  Thank God.  Was getting really sick of Monique.  About time for a much needed ray of goodness and compassion and beauty.

Others may not think this very good since the attacker is still a human and child of God but... I like that Andrew calls him an animal.  It's nicer than I would have been but still angry and critical.  Righteous anger.  It's somehow satisfying to hear our usually calm and loving Andrew say something like that.

I love that they have Andrew tell us that he was in the park... and the ambulance... and the hospital.  He didn't leave the woman until she was safe.  And then when he says "Ya know, I could spend a million years on Earth and never understand the things that some people do to one another"... I started to cry.  Cause I've thought that a lot.  And I never understood.  But thinking about someone like Andrew being there in those darkest moments... it kept me from total despair.  Yes, I knew already that God was there.  But it still meant something to think of a fellow created being choosing to be there, too.  To bring comfort amid chaos and kindness amid cruelty.  It's comforting to think that, probly until the day I see an actual AOD, it will be John's image that pulls me through when such tragic situations can't be avoided.  Some things don't change.  "And death shall have no dominion..."  (Dylan Thomas) 

It's so Andrew that he asks about Gloria's whereabouts.  Ever the big brother!

Gah...  I hate to see Andrew struggling with the horrible parts of being an AOD.  And yet... that's what made me love him so much in this episode.  Because it's not easy and pleasant all the time.  But he never bailed. 

I'm so glad Monica assures Andrew that he did all he could.  But when he asks "Why is it I only get to help afterwards?  Why can't I do my job beforehand?"...  I just wanna hug him and never let go.  And apologize on behalf of humanity...

Not gonna lie... seeing Andrew pull the Animal up by the collar is a pretty... stirring experience.  Andrew is awesome.  I hope he got to say a few words before turning the monster over to the police.

Andrew looks so proud when he remarks on Gloria coming a long way!  Aww.

Random thoughts:

Music:  There's a country song playing at Louie's.  The first song we hear at the Black Boot has lyrics like "she can drive you wild with that sexy smile" but Googling those lyrics didn't turn anything up.  There's a slower country ballad in the next scene there.  I think I heard "She must have stood in the light" or similar.  Speaking of that scene, it's kinda weird to have them acknowledge the existence of Randy Travis.  It'd kinda be like a character referencing seeing Della Reese perform.  The next song begins with "Let's make a little thunder."  I'm really thinking this was all studio music.  Then Monique gets Mr. Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen" playing.  That's just demoralizing...  I feel bad for him even though, obviously, he gave permission.  Following that there's another studio piece that begins "Every time I lose my heart, you know where to find it."  When they go to the Animal (if Andrew used it, so can I) consoling Kristie, there's a woman singing.  I couldn't make anything out.  The Animal has some country thing seemingly without lyrics playing in his car.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- I didn't pick up on anything other than the possibility that THC trimmed some of the driving scenes.  The part in the forest where Kristie is fleeing the Cowboy seemed lengthier in the CBS version so it may also have been trimmed.  It's just too redundant visually for me to be able to tell.

Further on down the road...
Well, I've been procrastinating watching this cause it kinda bums me out.  Yesterday Robin Williams died so that really bummed me out.  And somehow that made watching this seem like a good idea.  I hope it is...

Ya know, when you think about it, it doesn't really send the best message that the angels sometimes seemed to be desperately in need of a day off.  Given God can create countless angels, you'd think He could spring some quality time for em...

Sigh...  Poor Andrew.  And that poor lady.  For me, part of what makes this episode so upsetting is you don't see her so every crime novel and SVU episode and Lifetime movie conflates for me and I just imagine something terribly awful.

I am glad that here Monica says a certain amount of fear is healthy.  Very, very true.  Caution can be lifesaving.  I also like the linkage between humans and angels and learning lessons together.  I think TBAA was at its best when humans and angels were presented more as "us" and not so much "us and them."

I still think Monique is cheesy...  Another reason I put this episode off.

Are those Buddhas on Gloria's shirt?  Interesting... 

Ya know, I really don't know why Monique bothers me so much.  It makes sense that Satan would counterfeit an angel.  Look how effective it nearly is.  But it just always seemed so... soap opera-y. 

Right.  The mind control.  That's why she bothers me.  I'm not saying demons don't have any influence but I don't think it's like that.  I don't think they can override free will just like that.  And that accent bothers me...  It's like someone who is making fun of Southern people.  Just sounds phony.  Like an accent you'd hear in a SNL skit.

I really am glad that Monica's attentive to Andrew in this.  He seems so defeated and sad...

I still don't get why Gloria's glow didn't happen.  Demons can't control God...  I guess He was trying to help Gloria to be able to recognize demons... and she did catch on fairly quickly.  And, like she said, it gave her wisdom.

Wow...  I need to go to sleep.  I saw the sign outside the cafe reading "Cafe/Motel" and I thought that was the cafe's name: Cafe Motel.  I thought that was strange...  Then it hit me it was advertising a cafe AND a motel.

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