"Beautiful Dreamer"

A review by Jenni:

Yay!  Thanks to the four day weekend, I watched this on my couch!

What I love about this episode:


I think this is a really great, profound quote from Sam at the beginning: "When children stop asking questions, that's when you have a problem."  As a former daycare assistant, I know how grating constant questions can be.  But he's right.  If kids lose their curiosity and wonder we're all in deep trouble.

As for Sam, I just really like him in this episode.  I like that he provides continuity between the present scenes and the past scenes.  Plus, it's nice to see Tess be assured by a higher up since she's usually got that role.  Hierarchies can be bad sometimes but they can also be comforting.

I also like Sam a lot as Andrew's supervisor.  But it makes me wish we coulda seen more of the two of them working together.  We get a bit of it in "Labor of Love" and "The Journalist" but not too much elsewhere.  I mean I know they're in other episodes together but they don't interact as much.

I love all the costumes.  It would be so much fun to pick costumes for something like this!  Okay, probly stressful.  But fun!

As someone with what I hope is a healthy respect for dreams, I like that Monica assures Lincoln that sometimes dreams come from God.  Personally, I wouldn't have had her mention leaders specifically as I believe God speaks to us all and may sometimes use dreams to do so.  Nonetheless, I like that scene between Monica and Lincoln a lot.

Still keeping with that scene, I'm really taken with the part where Lincoln shows Monica his pile of death threats and his hat with the bullet hole.  He's so calm.  It makes a person realize how, despite what personal feelings may be about a president, they and their families take on a huge load of fears when they step into that office.  So I have to respect and even be moved by that.

Later in the scene, Monica's speech about how people will walk the White House halls and listen for the echo of Lincoln's footsteps also gets to me.  How true that is!  Lincoln continues to have so many people in thrall.  When she talks about principles v. politics, though, I can't help but shake the feeling that this episode was written by folks more than a lil bothered by certain Clintonian antics.  Or maybe that's just me at 16 chiming in cause I was that bothered person.

Now onto Tess.  Her statement that "a real man lost his life, he shed real blood, and his child went to bed that night crying because his daddy was not coming home" really gets to the heart of history.  I think we have a way of losing humanity in the face of historical events.  We consider what Lincoln's death meant to the country as a whole but maybe not so much what Lincoln's death meant to those who knew and loved him.  This is probly healthy.  If we considered the grief behind every historical event, we'd never be happy.  But it is good to, on occasion, consider the real and direct loss experienced by our ancestors.  Tess' words also call to mind a TV movie I used to really like called "Tad."  It was about Lincoln's son and I wish it were available to buy.  I remember being very moved by it.

On a general note, I love how evenly this episode is divided among the angels.  And without compromising the existing time line!  Andrew and Monica both play important roles in 1865 yet don't inexplicably meet for the third time for the first time or however that works in some episodes (I'm looking at you, "Ballroom Floor"). 

It moves me to hear Sam tell Andrew that the loss of life in the Civil War broke God's heart.  Then when he follows it with the statement that God could lift weapons out of every hand but then there would be no freedom... honestly, I think this is one of the better written episodes.  Cause that's really something to think about. 

I think this episode is also a great example of how off-screen violence can often be more emotionally effective than on-screen violence.  We never see Lincoln get shot.  We never see Lincoln in the theatre at all.  But there's something suffocating and desperate about watching Andrew just waiting and straining to hear.  Then the horror that sets in when he hears the gun and jolts away.  There's no need to show anything else.

My gosh.  This episode is just packed with emotional moments for me.  The transition of Tess and Calvin at the Lincoln memorial to the funeral with Monica brushing away that soldier's tear... goosebumps every time.  I remember the first time I ever saw this just being a wreck.

My favorite quote from this episode wasn't written for it at all but is this one from President Lincoln himself: "We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature."

I like that Tess stresses that JWB *chose* Hell.  I'm kinda bothered by TBAA determining the fate of a real person just as I'm often irked by the assumption that Judas definitely went to Hell.  None of us know what happened in their final moments.  Nonetheless, I do believe some people choose Hell.  God doesn't send them: they do.  So it was comforting to me to see TBAA back me up on what, at least sometimes, seems like a minority position.

Finally, I love that Tess names Lincoln AND Calvin's mom as heroes.  Because heroic deeds happen every day and are committed by people in all walks of life.

What I didn't love about this episode:
My gripe with Hallmark for cutting scenes remains.  But at least this time they refrained from cutting an important Andrew scene.  Granted, I may have just not realized something was missing.  But all I noticed was that they cut the scene of Monica and Mrs. Lincoln working on the dress and a couple seconds of Andrew approaching JWB while he's holed up in that tree.  Instead, they start that scene with Andrew there which seems abruptly edited but at least doesn't leave out anything of massive plot or character important.  We all know Andrew can walk so I guess it's not vital to see it.

Secretary Stanton's beard... not so great.

So... I've been reading the Bible more lately.  Trying to, anyhow.  And while I'm glad that Andrew says slavery is an abomination (I very much agree, of course), I'm afraid I think his response to its place in the Bible is just a lil too clean and nice.  Frankly, the Bible disturbs me as concerns slavery.  I suppose it is just acknowledging it exists but God seems a lil too cozy with the situation.  I mean if He can guide Abraham and Co. to travel from land to land, why can't He also tell them to free their slaves?  Or at the very least not abuse them like Sarai does.  I can't honestly think of a way TBAA could address this easily so I'm not majorly bothered.  But if I were JWB, I really can't see Andrew's response carrying much weight with me.

This is also something that's not a complaint about the episode so much as how things are in reality.  When JWB shouts the N word after Sam has entered... that's a tough scene to watch.  As much as I love Andrew and would hate for him to get in trouble... some part of my wishes he's socked JWB hard right then. 

I remain disturbed by seeing Andrew back lit by fire.  It makes me think bad, terrifying things.

Watching this episode on its own, I'm very glad Sam proclaims Andrew's promotion.  But when I think of the finale where we have God telling Monica the news... it annoys me.  Sometimes I really get the feeling from TBAA that God loves Monica best and that is NOT good.

Lingering questions:
Ya know... I gotta wonder about the fall out of Tess telling that story.  What did the kids think about a sub talking about angels?  What did their parents think?  Or maybe Tess kept the angel angle to herself?

So how did Andrew get his accent?  He obviously pre-existed the States so did he have a prescient accent or did he only develop it later on?  Then how did he lose it?  Cause it barely registers later on.

I may just be making this up and sometime when I'm bored I'll look into this but wasn't there a mysterious third man that really was spotted with JWB?  And, to date, no one's entirely sure about who that guy was.  If it is true, I think the TBAA writers came up with a pretty interesting explanation.  It's also apropos as that would make Andrew exactly what JWB said he was: an interloper, a mysterious stranger who thickens the plot.

I can remember after this first aired many people had the same question: where was Abraham Lincoln during the several days between his own death and JWB's when he *finally* went Home???

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Okay, I'm not recommending that Andrew wear those sideburns in this day and age but... he looks way cute in this!  Not just the sideburns but also the hat and the lovely clothes.  Brown looks great on him.  And since I'm a big fan of him layering clothing... this is just awesome. 

I'm impressed that, in what we can guess has been a lengthy career, Andrew hadn't failed until 1865!  Wow!  And I love the way he makes this known.  In a sorta prideful but not egomaniacal "surely not me!" way.  It's cute.  Yet, strangely distressing. 

The lil curl on Andrew's forehead...  It's adorable. 

Andrew's answers to JWB are great.  First, I love that he says he's from the "state of grace."  And then insisting that he comes from the best stock.  He ain't joking!  And I'm goofy cause I just really like that Andrew requests sarsaparilla.  It also makes me nostalgic for a restaurant we had that closed well over a decade ago but that served sarsaparilla in brown glass bottles with cowboys on them.

I have no idea what Andrew had in mind but his barely formed plot to stop JWB "some other way" intrigues me.  And makes me like him just a lil bit more.  I'm not sure why.  I think it's calling to mind "Pandora's Box" or something when Andrew gets aggressive which, on occasion, I felt was good to see.

Andrew's facial expressions as he gives JWB the whole revelation scene are pretty vivid and passionate.  Actually, compassionate and passionate may just be the most accurate words for Andrew.  And lovely.

And then there's this expression...  It kills me when Andrew's speaking to the dying JWB and he starts to smile with hope that maybe he'll get through to him... then watching it fade when Booth dies.  Then watching Andrew, seemingly shell-shocked, walk away...

Honestly, I just love Andrew in this episode.  His smile when he gets promoted and then approaches Lincoln... how do people not get why I'm still obsessing over this guy???

Random thoughts:
When they show the kid's projects, I couldn't help but wonder what TBAA staffers got to have all that fun drawing those.  Or maybe they had their kids do em.

Thanks to one of my TBAA news alerts, I learned that David Selby (who plays Lincoln here) participated in a Lincoln tribute this year.  That's pretty cool.

Andrew tells Sam he keeps his pocket watch set five minutes fast.  Just saying cause that could be a good trivia question.  Actually, I may have already used that.

How astounding to think that back then a bodyguard would leave the president's side and sit in a pub!

If I ever write a Dyeland story set in the future (like maybe the finale) I want to remember to make mention of President Calvin.  That would be pretty darn cool.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Hallmark completely cuts a scene of Monica talking to a worried Mary Todd while working on her dress.
-Hallmark also cuts the scene of JWB journaling and talking to Davey or whatever his name was before Andrew arrives at the tree moments before they hear the cavalry.  The Hallmark version starts the scene with Andrew arriving.  So ya don't get the full grasp of how freaking delusional JWB and the kid were.

Further on down the road...
I feel like I actually pay attention better when I watch on my computer.  So I'm going back to that.  Maybe at least until I get to the spot where I took down quotes.  Not sure when that started but I think pausing to type those out is a lot of the issue.  It's just so much easier when I'm both watching and typing on the puter.  Anyhow...  I'm also giving up on just watching one a week and updating the Photo Gallery accordingly.  From here on out I'm watching as many episodes as I want and the PG will just have to wait til I want to work on it.  I love having the photos but it just takes so long to update and was starting to take away from my enjoyment of the show as I tried to cram time in for the photos.

Was Sam the only angel to wear a bow-tie?  Just curious.

Gah...  John is cute as a button in this episode.  And super handsome.

"It's amazing what peace can do to people's spirits."  Never really zeroed in on that quote from Andrew but it's nice.

"Angels do fail.  And humans fail but God does not fail."  That one's spoken by Sam.

Such a lovely accent... 

Gah.  Stanton's beard *is* truly horrendous.  I just wanna yank it off.

It is a shame THC cut the dress scene.  It does really humanize the Lincolns.  Hopefully GMC will re-insert some of THC's cuts... and not make tons of their own.

I still love those lil curls on his forehead...

er or later the hatred in a man's heart finds its way into his words and into his hands til he finally becomes the creator of evil itself."  Per Sam.  So don't let hatred into your heart, kids! 

I wonder if David Selby kept the photo of him as Lincoln?  The "first post-war smile" one.  It'd be a cool prop to have as an actor, I think.

There are still parts of this episode that give me chills.  The first comes during Monica's "listen for the echo of your footsteps" speech to the president.  I found myself thinking about a movie I used to love as a little girl (in a rather complicated fashion cause it also really upset me) called The Blue Bird.  I only recently found out that one of the spirit children is supposed to be President Lincoln.

Every time I watch this I mean to look up where that "they also serve who stand and wait" quote comes from and this time I actually did.  It's from a John Milton poem.

If I had to teach a person what I believed about free will, I think I'd show them this episode.  I love how Sam speaks about it at the bar the night of the assassination.

I still jump when you hear the shot.  And it's Pavlovian... right when John walks onto the screen in that scene my eyes well up because I hate seeing him flinch like that... and knowing why, especially.

Goosebumps again when Monica wipes away that soldier's tear.  Although I think the "Battle Hymn" has a lot to do with it.

He looks so impossibly young all of a sudden when JWB dies...  I just wanna hug him.  And I love how I just use "he" all the time now cause everyone MUST know who I mean!

"A heart can change in an instant and each heart must be given that chance."  Another good one from Sam.

"God can make a hero out of you if you let Him."  I love that quote from Tess.

I've never thought about it much before but I love that Tess tells Calvin to tell President Lincoln his dream.  I'm a big believer in talking to our dearly departed.

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