"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.
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
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
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?
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
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!
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
-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
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.
the Episode Guide
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this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS
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