"The Christmas Watch"

A review by Jenni:

So the first time I saw this episode, when it originally aired though at a delay as I'd been out and about that night, I wound up crying for around two hours straight.  I dunno how this is gonna play out.  But I have my chai, Christmasy red velvet cake, my huge ugly/comfy robe, and a cloth napkin that will likely be used as a handkerchief.  I realize I was trying to ween myself off the chai and desserts but... not tonight.  Also keeping the memorial votive I painted for John lit.  I thought of his portrayal of Andrew so often after 9/11.  I am so thankful for the comfort those images gave in those terrifying, heartbreaking days.  And I'm turning off the Internet and email.  No disruptions this time.

What I love about this episode:
I love Piltdown and Sons.  It's so old-fashioned and lovely.  I wish I could work there!  It'd also go well with my ritualistic nature.

Not even three minutes in and they got me.  That moment when, for just a bit, Mr. Piltdown sees the towers...  I've never even been to New York but I can remember one evening not long after 9/11, riding home and thinking I saw them.  Like somehow, magically, they hadn't gone down but just moved to Nebraska.

I've always loved the candle in the window tradition.  If I didn't have a dog who enjoyed sitting by the window, I'd do that.

"When you know that something's drawing to an end, it can make it sweeter."  Monica nets crying jag number 2.  And sometimes it's that way even when you don't know...

I love the way Irish people pronounce "thing" as "ting."

I like how Gloria and Monica assure Mr. P he hasn't failed.  Sometimes things just really are out of your control and no one coulda predicted the financial toll that 2001 brought. 

That watch is so evocative.  It made me cry, too.

And, of course, the watch's owner would have to be named Joshua...  That name's super loaded.

"Live in hope."  I love that remembered quote from Joshua.

"Every cell in our body changes all the time.  Everything changes every day whether we like it or not.  Might as well enjoy the ride."  Joshua again.  Wise words.  Wish I dealt with change better sometimes.

This was an extremely appropriate final Christmas episode.  I wonder if the cast and crew, as they created this episode about co-workers facing their final Christmas together, knew how much it mirrored their own situation?

"Awful things can happen... have happened.  But the world is still God's jeweled clock ticking with joy."  I like that Monica quote.

Tess:  Who knows how much time anyone has?
Andrew:  It's not for you to know.  It's for God to know.
Gloria: And God holds time in His hand.

It's a strange and wondrous thing when it's words coming from the person you're grieving that help you move past the grief and confusion. 

I love how Joshua, though his time with them was so brief, touched the lives of the Piltdown employees.  I think we can all relate to having people who we may not have been super close with... may not have ever even met... yet their influence is huge and we wouldn't be the people we are without them.

"Change is inevitable.  Change is continuous.  Time stops for no man."  Monica to Mr. P.  I believe it.  Just wish it was easier to accept at times.

When you see Joshua holding his son...  How can a person not cry then?

"Another year.  Another Christmas.  We just came by to say God loves you all: each and every one."  Lovely closing line from Monica.  Now... let's go find the miracles.

What I didn't love about this episode:
It's perfect.  Maybe I should put here that it made me cry twice in one weekend but even at that...  I love this episode. 

Lingering questions:

Never had plum pudding.  I wonder if I'd like it?  I like plums...

I can remember when this first aired, there was a big discussion about how it contradicted "The Impossible Dream" in which Andrew says his Father gave him his watch yet here says he bought it at Piltdown and Sons.  So what do you think?  Maybe God did pick it out and inspired the Piltdown then in charge to create it.  Then He told Andrew to go get the gift He'd chosen for him?  Cause I spose God would have known that eventually the moment would come when Andrew would need to know of the existence of Piltdown and Sons so he could trace Joshua's watch.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I'm getting jumpy...  Whenever I hear a clicking noise, I think it's Andrew coming in.  Bad deal in a watch shop. 

And finally... there he is.  Looking lovely and cuddly with snow in his gorgeous hair... 

I can remember,
in those first days, imagining two things.  One night I dreamed I was standing on a corner across from the Towers.  And Jesus (who I called Joshua... I said the name was loaded) was with me.  And He said He needed to go in but that I needed to stay where I was.  So I watched Him go in, not thinking too much about it.  Then the inevitable happened.  In the dream I was never worried about Him.  I know He'd gone in to take people Home.  In waking life, that became a really powerful image to me.  Jesus being there in those towers and taking people Home.  At the same time, I also imagined Andrew being there.  It was NOT that I thought Andrew was actually there in the same way as I believe Jesus very well may have been.  Jesus is real, Andrew is not.  But while I did believe real angels were there, I'd never seen an angel .  There was immense comfort in believing God was there but also a need to believe that created beings were responding with love in the same place that created beings had attacked out of hate.  And it was so much more comforting to imagine a familiar face, an affectionate person I'd loved from afar than just same shapeless hypothetical.  So in that way, I guess I became dependent on John.  And while I'd reconciled myself as best as one can to the fact that I'd only be able to give Jesus a thank you hug following my death, I think some part of me really thought maybe some day, on the Earth where this all played out, I could thank John.  But now I know I'm just going to have to wait on both and sometimes that's still really hard to come to terms with because for reasons I don't even really understand, missing John has made me miss Jesus, too.  And this episode is really amping those feelings up on both counts.  And I think I've now had it on pause for about twenty minutes.

I love that when Joshua's son gets the watch, Andrew looks moved.  But not happy.  Sometimes, emotionally, I felt at odds with the angels.  I can thank God for the compassion and love and miracles that spring from tragedy.  But that doesn't mean I can smile about it.  I can only stand in awe and feel both gratitude and sorrow at once.  That's what he appears to be doing.  Hence, I very seldom felt at odds with Andrew.

Of course he gets the ladies' coats before they leave.

His little wave at the door as he leaves... 

I love that Andrew's watch is the tip-off that they were angels.  And I love imagining him getting that watch 200 years ago. 

Random thoughts:
Music:  Agnes plays an upbeat "Good King Wenceslaus" on piano.  Monica plays "Angels We Have Heard on High" on her harp.  Then "Auld Lang Syne."  Agnes plays "Wenceslaus" again after Mr. Piltdown delivers the bad news.  She goes back to the ragtime version after Tess gives her toast.  I think you can hear "Greensleeves" while Agnes and Oscar have their heart to heart.  As they begin work on restoring the watch, Monica plays "The Little Drummer Boy."

As I mentioned above, I was out when this originally aired (I think at a production of Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol).  So I'd set my VCR to record it.  But it somehow malfunctioned so I missed a bit off the top.  I was so glad when THC started airing the show cause then I planned to record it all, with the bit I was missing.  But then my DVD recorder malfunctioned and I missed the opening again!  Thankfully, THC re-aired it again and now, finally, I have the intro.  Yay.  Also, because I wasn't home when it recorded, I wound up with commercials.  Watching those was funny.  There was an extremely dated one about meeting potential mates... via the phone.  The phone!  Not the internet!  Crazy!

I would like to gently suggest to Agnes that if she's trying to win a guy, continuously giving him gifts that don't suit his tastes may not be the best idea...  I feel bad for her but do kinda get the idea she's trying to morph Oscar into her ideal man and not actually loving him completely as he is.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- They cut a part that originally opened the segment following Gloria's unfortunate announcement.  Mr. P utters "Bankrupt..." as Monica and Gloria stand near.  The latter offers to let him see the figures.  He doesn't directly respond but says the last 18 months have been hard times.  Monica says it's been difficult with many small businesses.  Mr. P responds that he's seen many go under.  Then he tells Gloria he'd like to see the numbers.  He asks Monica to come along.  She tells him she doesn't know anything about numbers.  He replies "But you understand how lovely the lamplighters were at Christmas and I need a kindred spirit."  Monica smiles and then the next we see is them going over the numbers which is where THC starts.

-There's a scene before Tess' toast that got cut.  They do the 4 shots of the saddened employees then it goes to the 3 lady angels.  Gloria comments that there was nothing Mr. P could do.  Monica agrees that he did his best.  She asks what will happen to them.  Tess replies "Time will tell, baby."   Monica goes onto say now she's not sure that telling them was the right idea.  Their Christmas has been stolen.  Tess stresses there's time yet to celebrate and also reason to.  Then she says her toast for all to hear.

Further on down the road...
I never watched Martha Williamson's Signed, Sealed, Delivered but this first scene in the shop makes me think of the promos for it.  Close-knit co-workers who seem a bit anachronistic and all. 

I love Monica's sweater in this.  I really did like a lot of her S9 clothes.  Actually, I'm still wearing a lot of my clothes from 2002/3.  That was a good era for boho types.

These people are so nice.  At my office, we have a white elephant exchange and give each other toilet seats, ENRON placemats, and junk like that.  ;-)

I would feel so awkward working in such close quarters with someone obviously obsessing over another co-worker.

Wow.  I don't remember it taking this long to see Andrew.  Yay!  At about -20:35 he shows up.

I wonder when Andrew switched to two minutes fast on his watch?  Or I guess slow.  That doesn't make sense.  I guess his battery was just bad.

I actually think this episode is kinda why I never watched SSD.  It's sweet in the short term but the sorta outta timeness kinda grates on me after a bit.  I don't think I could watch it week after week.  In other words, I really like this plot line but the... twee-ness of the characters isn't something I can routinely revisit.  I guess I've changed since my first review.  I think I'd feel stifled working there.  It's hard to discuss the awfulness of human trafficking and the subtleties of rape culture with twee people.  And, no, that's not all I talk about!  But I just don't think I could be that precious for that long.

Sigh...  But, by golly, that shot of Joshua and his boy gets me every time.  I didn't think I'd cry this time just cause I'm quite tired but... totally did.

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