A review by Jenni:

I should probly disclose that I didn't pay as much attention during this episode as I should have.  During it I suddenly felt I *had* to switch purses right then.  Not surprisingly this hit me after most of Andrew's scene were done.  So I was a little distracted and may have missed some finer points.

What I love about this episode:

It gives us a pretty interesting glimpse into the dynamics between Andrew, Monica, and Tess.  At the start Andrew's almost fatherly towards Monica.  He makes sure she's wearing sunscreen.  He then says that Tess told him to keep an eye on Monica.  My fellow JABBers are likely recognizing this as good evidence for our "Andrew as equivalent to firstborn child" theory.  Definitely.  But stranger still he described himself as a "stand-in" for Tess.  That makes him seem less like Monica's peer and more like Tess'.  It's
just interesting and maybe another reason I was a lil distracted through out.  There's just so much to think about!

I think the blacklist was a great plot element.  It's something people are familiar with for the most part.  But I don't think it was a very predictable choice from the TBAA writers.  Watching this I wondered if maybe it was in the wake of the Elia Kazan Oscar controversy.  But that was 1999 and this episode aired in 1997.  So I don't know what inspired this episode but I found it really informative.  Andrew's scenes, in particular, were a good, very basic lesson on the blacklist.  They made me want to learn more and most anything that prompts people to learn is good!  It also made me think a lot about our own times but more on that later.

I like that this episode was very much about restoring a name, giving proper credit to a name, and the heartache that comes with losing one's name (as Budd does when his film credit becomes "Charlie McCarthy.")  Names tend to get taken for granted.  It made me wonder if there really was a campaign in Hollywood to restore blacklist victims' credits.  Apparently this is something the Writers Guild is still working on.  You can learn about that at Corrected Blacklist Credits from the Writers Guild of America.

I think Tess' charade "God loves you" to younger Libby is very sweet and that it gets reprised with an older Libby really brings great closure to this episode.

Tess also gets to voice a quote here that I really love: "Love is never really lost and you can always find it again through God because He loved you first and best."

What I didn't love about this episode:
HUAC.  Obviously it's bad that they ruined people's lives, turned friends against each other, and generally betrayed their role as representatives of a democracy.  But then in this episode they're also taking creepy photos of people's intimate activities.  Shudder. 

I'm not crazy about the "frozen people" phenomenon.  During the revelation on stage the entire audience is frozen.  I get that it'd look awfully crazy to have Libby, Clive, and Vera talking to thin air.  I also know two glowing women on the stage would cause pandemonium in the theatre.  Nonetheless, it makes me a little paranoid.  Maybe it's true...  And maybe angels have frozen us countless times...  You could be frozen right now...  BOO!  Sorry, it's almost Halloween.  But really this is one of my least favorite angelic/divine powers demonstrated on the show.

I don't like how Andrew just disappears.  I know I'm being partial but... I missed him.  On the other hand, I can see a sort of reasoning to it.  I already said Andrew seems fatherly in this episode.  Caring for Monica, teaching her things she doesn't know, and seeming so much older and wiser.  This is also an episode about two women coming to terms with their past.  So there is a balance to having the episode come down to Vera and Libby as the main humans and Tess and Monica as the main angels. 
Which makes it all the more apropos that Budd and Andrew share the same final scene.  Monica has to carry what an unseen Andrew taught her with her to help Libby remember what the unseen Budd taught her.  But I still missed Andrew...

Lingering questions:
Why was Vera not suspected by the Committee if her husband was?  Or was she just not called in after his suicide cause it shamed the Committee?  I just found that a little odd.  It seems to me the wife would be an obvious target if the husband didn't provide the desired answers.  But then maybe looking for logic amongst such a shameful, self-righteous, harmful group is a big exercise in futility.

What's a sprocket?  It's one of those words you hear but I have no idea what it actually is.  But here Andrew tells Monica to watch out for them while she's preparing the home video reel.

What did the audience think of Libby suddenly sobering up?  I mean she's all slurry and weird.  Then they get frozen (which I assume they do not notice) and when they're unfroze she's emotional but not at all drunk seeming.  Huh.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew's not in this terribly much but he's pretty darn adorable at the start when he's taking care of Monica.

He's also so impressive during the scene in Budd's car.  You realize that sometimes AODs not only need to comfort their assignment but also the angel whose case they're claiming.  I love how he squeezes Tess' shoulder when he tells her he needs to take over.  Andrew's empathetic.  He knows that Tess is upset about not saving Budd from himself.  Andrew proves that it is possible to reach out to fellow angels without neglecting one's assignment.  Take notes, Monica.

Random thoughts:
As I'm writing this we're in the final stages of a presidential election here in the States.  And one of the main bones of contention
during one debate was an argument about the past.  Should we not focus so much on it?  Or is the past really prologue in which case not focusing on it could be really hazardous?  So between that and some recent personal incidents, I've been debating that.  This episode fits in really well with that question.  What I took from this episode is that the past isn't even ever really over.  Libby described herself as a "child of the blacklist."  It's so important to her she demands Monica learn about it.  Every modern day scene in this episode is intrinsically tied to what happened during the blacklist.  And thinking about the Kazan Oscar, I can remember watching that year and seeing some actors who weren't even alive in the 1950s refusing to stand up and clap for the man.  And others doing so enthusiastically.  Clearly the past wasn't over for those people.  It was inside them.  So I don't think there's any point in squabbling over how important the past is.  It's so wrapped up in who we are that even if we want to shift focus I don't think we can.  We're products of not only our own past but the universal past.  Hopefully, like Libby eventually does, we make the best of that.

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