of the Night"
A review by Jenni:
This is the first episode I wrote one of these for. I guess cause
I have strong feelings about it. If you're on the YG you likely
know that. ;-)
What I love about this
First, I like the idea of this nontraditional family (the street kids)
being helped out by another nontraditional family (the angels).
The fact that there were four main kids and four main angels just
seemed kinda nifty.
This may not be a big issue but I thought the costuming was really
interesting. The kids kinda looked like escapees from RENT which
seemed a bit appropriate. Artists living on the edge, bonding
together, distrusting everyone else. Tess' diner even seems a bit
like the Life Cafe. TB standing in for AIDS. Of course, the
RENT characters weren't
homeless and even the youngest was at least 19.
really love the acting in this episode. For the most part it's
so quiet. Della Reese is lovely as a very sedated but powerfully
maternal Tess. I want to be in that diner of hers! And
while I have my issues with Monica, I can't help but admire her
devotion to China here. Roma Downey makes lines that I otherwise
raise my eye brow at sound good (more on that later). Alexis Cruz
did a fine job even if a certain line he was given just may be the
worst line ever written for TBAA in my opinion (more on that later,
too). But this is JABB so ya know I'm gonna go on mostly about
John Dye as Andrew...
He is awesome here. Again, it's that quietness. There's so
much in it. While Andrew has some great lines here, it's more
often the silent moments and his facial expressions that get to
me. While I'm all for a computer bashing here or a weepy prayer
on a stair case there, it's like JD didn't even need that physical and
verbal stuff to get Andrew's emotional state across here. That's
not to say his line deliveries weren't great. When he walks into
the diner and then says the line "His name was Steven..." Punch
me in the stomach that's painful! But not as painful as the look
that then appears on his face. I dubbed it "ancient grief."
In that moment you can see that not only is Andrew remembering Steven
but countless others who he has taken home before their time.
Another such look is writ across his face for most of China's death
scene up through Monica's fleeing. At the very end his face
cracks and it's just... major concussion moment. And his gently
stroking China's face... I want to believe in someone like that.
In fact, that's precisely why I believe in angels of death. It's
important to me that someone's last memory of earth be one of
tenderness and love. Andrew certainly brought that here.
His little smile as he comforted China reminded me of the lyrics "Smile
though your heart is aching/ Smile even though its breaking."
As for the Andrew and Monica dynamic... this is a classic example of
Andrew shelving his own grief to comfort Monica. It's beautiful
but really sad. I can't blame Monica for being as upset as she
was. One would hope later she'd have checked in with Andrew about
his own grief but... I kinda doubt it.
Finally, I just love that TBAA had the guts to take on so many tough
issues through out its run. Drug use, homeless kids, and child
prostitution definitely are not easy topics.
What I didn't love about this
What the heck was Rafael thinking!?!? Each time I watch this
episode he seems a lil more offensive. I'm talking about the
scene where he first meets the kids and greets them as Doc, Sleazy,
Junkie, and Happy. I'm not sure on Happy but I know the other
three are accurate. I mean I can get talking tough so the kids
will trust him and relate to him. But there is something gravely,
terribly wrong with an angel, even in jest, referring to a child
prostitute as Sleazy. The fact that he thens follows it up with
telling the kids that if they see anyone ripping him off they should
"bark like a dog" just makes it worse. Way to dehumanize people,
Rafael! As much as I love this episode, I think it houses the
most poorly written scene in all of TBAA. This becomes more
obvious after China's death when Rafael urges Monica to read the
beginning of her journal. Does that mean Rafael knew China's
original abhorrence of becoming a prostitute? And if he did and
he *still* used the word Sleazy...
Unfortunately for Rafael, Andrew just makes him look even worse.
Because Andrew is so quiet and so gentle, this abrasive, rude Rafael
sticks out even more to me. Here's Andrew dirty, sweaty, greasy,
likely itchy, and feeling who knows what else kind of discomfort.
And Rafael is the one that gets to snipe at people? His
comforting Monica after China's death was nicely done but couldn't get
me past my anger from the earlier scene.
My next "gripe" is actually also a testament to Roma Downey's solid
acting. Because the lines I'm going to talk about sound good and
beautiful when she says them. But the more I thought about them
they struck an off note with me. It's when she comforts Ally
about going back to her family and apologizing to them. Except
Monica keeps saying he/him meaning Ally's father. I think it
would have been much more powerful to stress the whole family.
Yes, Ally's father needed to apologize to her but she needed to
apologize to them all. Not just him. Ally's poor mother has
been cheated on and then her daughter runs off. I don't think Dad
deserves so much special focus.
Finally, why does Monica so often seem surprised that Andrew's on an
assignment with them? Maybe it's just me but it sure seems to
happen often enough to no longer be a surprise...
I would have liked to have known more about the kids but there was
nothing in particular that screamed for an answer. Although I do
wonder if Rafael got called out for the "Sleazy" thing...
Parts that made me feel
I don't know that swoony really covers this. From the moment we
see Andrew under the newspapers I don't so much want to swoon over him
as abscond with him. But that would be wrong, I know... I
feel so bad for him when Doc tells him he's bad news. Ouch.
In general, I want to hug him in every scene from the park bench on.
I'd watched "Tour of Duty" earlier so it was a lil surreal for me to
hear Andrew talking to Doc. I kept picturing Doc Hock.
Also, I got a mental image of Kyle Chandler as a sorta "Angel
Resources" angel. Like Human Resources at offices. This was
right after I decided I wanted to abscond with Andrew. He
informed me that while my care and concern were appreciated, absconding
with angels of death was frowned upon. Darn. But it was in
a Gary from "Early Edition" type of voice so that was nice.
to the Episode Guide
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