"An Angel on the Roof"

A review by Jenni:

Jumping out of order because I wanted to watch the S5 Christmas episode *before* Christmas. 

What I love about this episode:

I think this is one of the better, more suspenseful intro scenes.  It's cool, given the theme, how Monica starts with "Fear not!"  And even knowing the main gist of the episode, I really got hooked by the mysterious miracle they tease ya with.

I was amused by Charley's protest that Monica couldn't light up yet cause he hadn't yet plugged her in.  Cute line.

I think it's awesome the three truckers were named Bart, Jasper, and Mel.  Ha!  Honestly, I'd forgotten about how much like the
Christmas story this was.  I mean I remembered there were three truckers and a Mary-type and a Joseph-type.  But I completely forgot about the men's names and the pony that fills in for the donkey.  And how appropriate that "We Three Kings" is playing as we're introduced to Bart, Mel, and Jasper?  Good call on that!

Also, the shot of Marisol on the pony with Jorge leading it was so spot-on how I envision the Christmas story.  Lovely.

There are so many lil things in this episode I like.  Monica, glowing away, helping Charley to string lights amuses me.

I also really like Tess maintaining a presence via the CB radios.  It's a nifty way to keep her involved at a totally separate location.

"God doesn't draw borders... Everyone is equal in His eyes."  Monica says that to Charley.  I need to add it to my Equality section on my quotes page.  I love whenever TBAA got into equality and how God sees us.

"Your business should be humanity."  Another Monica to Charley quote.  I like it cause it's very A Christmas Carol-like.  Of course, right now I can't think of the exact quote.  In any case, it adds another Christmasy homage layer to this episode.  Cause Charley really is a bit Scrooge-like.  Grumpy, selfish man who is saved by his past and ends up helping those he despised.

I thought the actor who played Charley did a fabulous job.  First, he almost played two different characters between belligerent Charley and tender Charley.  And something about him just really pulled me in whenever he'd speak at length.  This is especially so when he tells Estrella's story.  Gorgeous job.

I'm glad Charley learned Rafael was an angel.  Probly really got to him that he was being racist towards an angel.  Not that being racist towards a human shouldn't get to a person.  But there is that whole Hebrews verse which probly, well, guilts people a bit more.  Monica even quotes it.

I thought it was cool how the pony that fled ended up going to Mel and helping him make his way to the inn.  One of those lil things where ya kinda wonder if the seeming inconveniences in your life might actually be really important in ways you don't see.

What I didn't love about this episode:
So I watched this from off the "Holiday Collection" DVD.  Thus, I got to hear the Martha Williamson intro which was nice.  But I couldn't help but be a bit snarky when she said Alexis Cruz (Rafael) came to feel like part of the TBAA family and not just a guest star.  My immediate thought was "So why'd ya'll give him a crap line?"  Cause I continue to think his dwarf-themed line from "Children of the Night" just may be the WORST line ever written for TBAA.  I just had to get that outta my system.  Cause a virginal angel calling a poor girl basically forced by necessity into prostitution "Sleazy" still makes me want to either vomit or smack him. 

I felt sorry for Andrew having to carry a gun.  Poor love.  I know he doesn't like em.

Lingering questions:
Like I said before, my memories of this episode were restricted to main plot points.  So I couldn't remember the entire Estrella story.  Thus, when Rafael said he came for Marisol's grandma, I kinda thought that meant she was dead and her spirit sent him.  Obviously, the way it was written ended up being cool.  But has it ever happened that an angel gave the impression they were there on behalf of or had spoken with a deceased loved one of their assignment's?  Cause that would be a cool angle.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew kinda got the short end of the stick here.  Nonetheless, there are good moments.  I like that while Carl's all negative and wishing he wasn't working, Andrew just focuses on the beautiful night. 

I did have to wonder how Andrew kept his cool with Carl.  And I applaud him that he did.  While part of me wanted to see him be more forceful with knocking down Carl's prejudices, I kinda doubt that would have accomplished anything except make Carl adversarial.  I'm just thinking that if *I* was as irritated with Carl as I was, how much more right did Andrew have to be?  I mean it's quite possible Andrew walked the Earth long before any country existed.  And he, like God, doesn't truly recognize borders.  So it woulda been within Andrew's rights to jump all over Carl.  Same with Monica hearing crud from Charley.  Suppose they did know Earth when it was pristine and filled with peace?  I imagine hearing from a couple of loud mouths being possessive would kinda rankle them.  But Andrew totally keeps calm and quietly tries to help Carl.  Good for him.  Sigh...  Again I wish he was real cause I think he'd be a calming influence.  Well, at least when I wasn't freaking out about some slight against him committed by someone.

Andrew uses the phrase "What's up?"  I'm noting this cause when I'm writing him, sometimes I wonder what slang and colloquialisms he'd use.  Ya know, given he's really old.  So now I know I can use that.  Yay! 

That's a cute lil knowing smile he has at the end.  And the way he says "Merry Christmas" so softly.  Sigh...  Merry Christmas, whatever Andrew-like individuals may exist.

Random thoughts:
So here's my music data dump: the episode starts with an instrumental version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."  Later there's an instrumental version of "We Three Kings" at the diner.  And I think something follows it but I couldn't catch it.  In the same scene, Tess sings a bar or two of "Deck the Halls."

This is so completely random but at one point I zeroed in on Monica's high heels.  And I thought "Augh.  If there are heels in Heaven then I'm gonna be ticked!"  But then I concluded that in Heaven, high heels probly don't hurt.  So that's cool.  I'm a nerd who probly notices the
weirdest things.

Further on down the road...:
Well, I decorated for Halloween earlier and now I'm watching a Christmas TBAA... whatever works!

Cutest INS agent ever...  How weird would it be to have to enforce the immigration policies of a country you're not a citizen of on an Earth that you quite likely first knew before there were any countries at all?

"God doesn't draw borders in His love.  Everyone is equal in His eyes."  Not sure why I didn't get the quote down entirely last time...

It'd be fun to have three dogs named Mel, Bart, and Jasper and see if anyone ever picked up on the connection.

I do still really, really like the portrayal of Charley: the vulnerability and the harshness, the humor and fatalism.  Such an intelligent character, too.  He keeps saying lines that I think must be poetry but Googling doesn't come up with anything so I guess it's just him!

That's a wistful "Merry Christmas" from Andrew...  I wish he coulda stayed with his friends.
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