"The Anatomy Lesson"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

I forgot how much I liked this episode!

First, the style of it is just really interesting and different.  I like how it opens from Dewey's POV.  That gets even more dramatic when we begin to hear his heart pounding then going irregular.  It makes the whole episode seem more urgent and real.  I like how we first see Andrew as Dewey would.  The shot is shaky.  We only see an outline of a glowing man, features aren't very distinct.  At times, as Dewey falters, we can only see Andrew from the shoulders down.  And then there he is, right in front of Dewey/us: beautiful, friendly, and loving.  This is how most people first meet Andrew and it's almost jarring (in a good way) to see him this way.  At times, the affection I feel for this character has made it hard for me to grasp what it must be like for a dying person to first see him.  The eeriness of it but then the calmness.  This episode restores some of that novelty and even the numinous.

I like that Andrew assures Dewey he's going to help some angels.  That's an awesome idea.  I love thinking that we might unknowingly be helping angels: either to help themselves or our own.  As much as I loved TBAA, I think my ideal TV show would have angels and humans working together.  It would be heartwarming and interpersonally dramatic in a way just angels working together wasn't as much.  But, alas, right now we're in a vampire craze...  Or is it a werewolf craze now?

I can remember watching this and thinking "OMG!  Bulldog is being all dramatic and mean!"  Bulldog was Dan Butler's character on Frasier and, boy, is he a lot different than Ivar!  So very impressive job from him!  Even without having sleazy, goofy, hyper Bulldog in my head; Ivar is a really varied role and he does a good job both with tough-Ivar and devastated-Ivar.

I really feel for both Tess and Andrew in this with their wanting to pull Jamie out of the pipe.  Tess is really wonderful.  I love how she tells the girl that if it was her, she'd want her mommy, too.  It's a small thing but her relating on a childlike level to this scared little girl was a great touch.  After some time passes, Jamie begins to worry and Tess is so emphatic and emotional when she assures her that she's staying right there with her.  I really do love Tess in this episode.

I thought it was very touching how Monica was so attentive to detail as she recalled Dewey's life.  That's the Monica I once admired even above Andrew.

This episode is like a walk down college memory lane for me!  First, that's where I learned about the numinous (Rudolf Otto if anyone's interested) and it's also where I learned about Sisyphus.  And Ivar reminded me of Sisyphus with his "nothing we do changes anything" philosophy.  And then later Monica gives a shout out to the Great Chain of Being! 

Wow... I'm praising Monica a lot.  But I have to give props to her for being more or less okay with the coroner gig.  If it were me... I think I'd be in a corner losing my last meal.

Augh.  And then Andrew returns to the pipe where Jamie is failing and wishes he and Tess could reach down and save her.  And Tess adds that it's breaking her heart, too.  This episode really gives you an appreciation for the burden angels bear as part of God's gift of free will.

"People pass each other every day not knowing how closely they're connected."  I love that quote from Tess.  In fact, this episode has a couple others I really like, too.  "Everyone loves somebody" and "It's crazy to live with out truth for truth is where hope lives," both from Monica.

I really like how TBAA did the flashback sequences.  Technically speaking, I think my favorite is the one that covers their marriage and the baby.  It reminds me of Up with its plot and silence.  And Monica speaks so tenderly of the short life of their baby.  It really gets to a person.

I think it would be so hard to be a doctor and a parent with a sick child.  To know exactly what your child is experiencing...  As difficult as it is to watch, I think they did a good job in depicting Ivar's intense struggle with the two.

I love the quote it ends with, said by each of the three angels:
Andrew: In the midst of death we are in life.
Monica: Of whom shall we seek for succour?
Tess: Only Thee, O Lord, only Thee.

It sounded like something they were quoting so I hopped on Google and it seems to be a paraphrase of the Book of Common Prayer.  But in all the texts I can find, it reads "in the midst of life we are in death."  I like Andrew's version better.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Fantastic.  We have Monica second guessing her assignment (a dead body, the horror!).  At least Tess puts the kibosh on it quickly.  But how often does Monica need to second guess before she realizes there's always a purpose? 

Lingering questions:
I had to wonder how many people would be as patient as Ivar is with Monica?  I consider myself religious but even I would get (and have gotten) turned off by a co-worker talking that much and that particularly about God... especially when I barely know them.  Would most people put up with that or snap and tell the lady to keep it to herself?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
So after I've had my experience of the numinous... of course I noticed that Andrew looked wonderful in that long tan coat and beige sweater.  Classic.  And this is also when I start to really like his short hair.  It just seems to move a lot... or something.

Gah.  I just want to give Andrew a longer than is probly considered normal hug after Monica asks him if he feels the sorrow in a dead body and he answers "Every day."  Naturally, I had to have a Dyeland flash at that moment so it just made me clingier.

Andrew's very persistent with that radio.  And I just like that angels can do that.  It makes me wonder...  I once had a dead lamp spontaneously turn on.  And then never again.  Maybe it was an angel!

As I said above, Andrew really gets me with his wish to help Jamie.  I'm left to wonder how often he makes that wish...

And I love his smile at the end and how content he seems! 

Random thoughts:
Music: "On Top of Old Smoky"- Tess, "On Top of Spaghetti"- Jamie, "Hush Little Baby"- Jamie, intro by Tess, "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean"- Tess and Jamie, "Folks Who Live on the Hill"- Dewey.

It's downright amazing what coroners can tell. 

Jamie's mom was played by the same actress who portrayed dippy Lisa in Beauty and the Beast.  I knew there was a reason my blood pressure went up when I first saw her.  ;-)

Learning how Dewey and his wife met makes me think I should tell the wannabe match makers in my life to hire me a contractor... who knows, I might fall for him!  I probly still wouldn't be interested but at least I'd get some work done on the house!  :-)  Only fair after having to be subject to their schemes...

The pay phone aspect seems so dated.  Nowadays Dewey probly woulda had a cell phone in his pocket.  And if he didn't... maybe it's just me but I think they're removing pay phones. 

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Right after a commercial, there's a very brief and silent scene of Tess peering down into the hole and seeing Jamie sleeping.  I don't recall this on Hallmark but, then again, it wasn't exactly memorable.
-Dewey's wife is at work.  It's the second scene set there.  She hangs up the phone, seemingly having called someone to see if they knew where Dewey was.  She leaves her job to go home and check for him.  I remember seeing her back at the house in Hallmark's version.  But I don't remember seeing her leave work to go there. 
-There's a second scene of Jamie's mother at the police station.  She tells the detective how it was difficult to conceive Jamie.  She believes Jamie was snatched and can't fathom someone taking her child.  The detective urges her to have hope.
-Ivar tells Monica to open Dewey's chest but the saw won't work.  He takes it from her to fix it.  Then he gets the call about the dead goldfish.  I know Hallmark included the dead fish but I don't recall the minute leading up to it where the saw fails.

Further on down the road...
So I skipped out on this last weekend.  I really love this episode but I don't think I've watched it since John's death.  In fact, I think I've been avoiding it.  But I can't just stay stuck mid-Season 5 forever.  So... I'm watching this as I take down Halloween decor.  Not being 100% focused may help.

I covered my ears during the heart beat part...  But then I was okay cause I've always thought those shots of John against the clouds were so lovely.  Still are.

Sigh...  John looks so cuddly in that long coat. 

I think I'm fairly comfortable with my own mortality.  However... I think I'd be darn freaked out to spend my days pretending to be a dead body like this fellow playing Dewey musta.

I agree with Monica.  As sad as funerals can be, they do help.  I think they make the death real in a way nothing else can, not even a grave or monument.

Oh good.  Looks like I started typing up quotes with this episode.  That'll help.

Really wish they'd used something other than "John Doe" which I keep hearing as John Dye. 

The doctor talking about his son did me in.

I think this episode has one of my favorite closing lines.  I really need to get a copy of The Book of Common Prayer.

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