"Amazing Grace Part II"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
Here again we have the episode starting with something that's not terribly easy to contemplate: why bad things happen to good people.  Personally, I don't think an answer that will satisfy everyone will ever be found on this earth.  But I have to give TBAA credit for trying and, in general, I found their responses to be pretty good.  Here, Monica tells Nathaniel that bad things can happen to humans and angels... and God.  I know people disagree about whether God can feel pain or not.  Personally, I'm with TBAA.  When Monica tells Nathaniel that God is hurt when His children are pained or when they turn away from Him, it's a chance to relate to God.  And not just relate to Him but know that He's right there with us in our pain.  We're never alone in it.

I've recently been able to start watching Promised Land episodes and I'd never realized what a shadow the Vietnam War cast over that show and sometimes TBAA.  It's awfully powerful... and heart-wrenching.  Having Russell and Anderson know each other from the war added an interesting subplot to the story.  Particularly interesting was paralleling Anderson saving Russell during the war to his later saving Josh.  But then I just like the idea of people from our past resurfacing in surprising and poignant ways.

The problem of pain and suffering comes up again when Claire asks Tess why God didn't stop the shooting.  Tess gives an answer that, again, won't satisfy everyone but I do find offers some peace.  The main points are "He can heal it... in His own time...  Just trust Him." Faith can be such a challenge to maintain but I'm glad so many do.

I should have said this in the review of Part I but this guest cast is really, really solid.  There are so many great performances!

The power of music does resurface here.  Music is how Queenie first starts to get through to Michael as he's packing up to leave.  But the theme also gets broadened to simply dreams bringing people together, with music as an example of one dream.  I love how Queenie says it's the dreams of the people in the mini-mall that joined them together as a family.  Course, I'm a sucker for things involving non-traditional families by choice.

Music figures into Mary's funeral which brings everyone together literally.  I think this also hearkens back to the earlier scene in the hospital where Queenie and Tonya find healing in music.  And am I the only one that tears up when Kim gets up to speak, can only manage "So sorry, good woman," and then speaks to Calvin?  Totally gets me. 

And then they *really* get going with the idea of music bringing people together by having the group sing "Amazing Grace" as they proceed to the wall.  Awesome choice of song.  I think that must be one of the most unity-friendly hymns.  Catholic, Protestant, or other most people know it.  Then having it morph into a triumphant, defiant group version of "O Happy Day"... wow.  Awesome way to end.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I don't know that I'd say angels are supposed to "make people blind to differences in skin color" as Tess says to Monica.  It brings to mind Dr. Hall later saying you can't make changes just by white-washing things.  Changes don't come from pretending something's not there when it is.  I don't think progress will be made by everyone becoming color blind.  I think progress will be made when we see all those differences as beautiful.  We can learn from and celebrate differences.  To me that's a lot better than failing to notice them. 

I really like this episode but it does call to mind why, at points, some of us got annoyed by the PL crossovers.  The plots may have been good but I found myself missing the angels.

Lingering questions:
I wonder if Andrew ever did/does take Anderson for that ride in the caddy?  He says he will but "not too soon."  Of course, now we know Monica has the caddy.  Maybe Andrew will borrow it.  Or maybe Anderson will just have to settle for a green mini-van.  ;-)

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I don't know why but I seem to find Andrew especially attractive in this one.  Just something about the lighting against his hair when we first see him in Anderson's room... lovely.

Okay, the shot of Andrew as he sits in the chair at Anderson's bedside is one of my favorites.  Look...  So gentle.

Andrew in long coats... always nice.  And something about him telling Russell where Josh fell really gets to me.  Andrew pretty much just plain haunts me this whole episode.  There's something especially unearthly about him here.  I have no idea what.

I have to say that "real good lookin'" is now my new favorite way to describe Andrew.  Thank you, Russell.  ;-)  That being said... I wanna find Andrew and hug him the more Russell talks.  He starts to make the poor love sound scary!  I mean I'm glad he stresses that Andrew took Mary Home to God but that "wherever he goes people die" line rubs me the wrong way.  It makes Andrew sound like the cause.

His fleece-looking coat at the end looked cuddly...  I really wish Andrew coulda said and done more in this episode but with what lil he had... he was darn adorable, assuring, and made me really, really wish he'd stop on by.

Random thoughts:
I couldn't help but think that Michael and Dr. Hall might eventually have ended up together.  Beyond the hostility, something seemed to be there.  Or I just really need to watch a romantic movie and get that outta my system.

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