"Clipped Wings"

A review by Jenni:

First, I opted not to comment at all on clips used in this show since, assumedly, one day I will be commenting on each and every episode they originated with.  Second, in the course of viewing this episode I frosted a cake, filed some recipes, played with my dog, and consumed a piece of said cake.  So, while I was paying attention, I may gloss over some bits unintentionally. 

What I love about this episode:

First, clip shows are often pretty lame.  It's like the network said "We need one more episode!" and the creative types said "But we don't have time/energy!"  And then they throw together a clip show.  But at least with this episode the clip show format actually made sense and the frame story was compelling.  If it was filler it doesn't seem like it so that's good.

I love *some* of the Tess and Andrew interaction.  It's cute when the episode starts and Tess is already fretting and Andrew's just calmly flipping through his magazine.  Then by the next scene Andrew's tapping his knee anxiously.  Like she rubbed off on him.  Adorable.

Andrew is just plain adorable throughout, really.  I love the part when he calls Tess on the Ruth thing "eating her up."  First, he sounds so Southern.  Love the accent.  Second, it's just so Andrew.  That compassionate, observant thing.  Am annoyed that Tess then called him annoying, however...

Andrew is also adorable when he's defending Monica.  He calls her terrific, great, fabulous...  Lucky, lucky Monica.  And she don't even know it...

I love the Angel of Angels!  He's so personable.  He reminds me of "If..." by Rudyard Kipling.  The part extolling the virtue of being able to walk with kings without losing the common touch.  I wish we coulda "seen" more of him!  And he's really got Monica down.  He stressed how much she loves humans and her assignments.  I would never debate that.  The fact that he stresses her love of humans and not her fellow angels... maybe a little telling.  I'm sure that's just me reading into things but I liked it.  Made the scene more real to me. 

This is more of a personal note but this time around this quote of Tess' really jumped out at me: "You do not need to go into that room to speak to God."  She was talking about Ruth's office.  But right now I'm going through some stuff with my church and feeling a bit distanced from it and more than a lil indignant.  Hearing that just made me feel that, even if I can't come to terms with my church, I'll always be able to talk to God.  No matter where I am.

Monica seems kinda... well, Jesus-y in this episode.  Not really but more like the writers wanted us to think so.  And in the
commentary for the premiere episode, Martha Williamson outright says she wanted Monica's prayer in the desert to be kinda Gethsemane-like.  So I don't think it's a stretch to think they were going for a connection here.  First, Monica praying for Kathleen and saying she doesn't care what happens to her so long as Kathleen was aided.  It seemed like a blend of "Father, forgive them.  They know not what they have done" and Jesus' overall self-sacrifice.  The Angel of Angels then brings this home by quoting "Greater love has no one but this: that they lay down their life for a friend."  I like when those sorta parallels are drawn.  Just the same... I'm a lil too at odds with Monica to see her as a good Christ figure.  I do think Monica can be very self-sacrificing... for humans.  But I just plain love looking for symbolism like this in stuff.  Whether I agree with it or not doesn't really prevent me from liking it.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Poor, poor Andrew...  One can really bring a lot of angsty subtext to this episode. 

First, we have Ruth who lost Kathleen, Tess who lost Ruth, and Monica who also lost Kathleen.  It's the latter two ca
ses that get to me.  You'd think if you saw a friend either turn into a bureaucrat or demon, ya might pay a lil more attention to your AOD friend.  Maybe you wouldn't scold him when he gets worked up (Tess!) or let him leave a room crying... alone (Monica!).  I'm not saying I think Andrew's in danger of falling or going over-the-top judgmental.  I just think that if you'd lost a friend to either, ya might take a lil bit more care with your equally vulnerable current friend. 

Of course, it might help if said friend was a lil more open about his feelings.  Andrew did a great job of getting Tess to confide in him about Ruth once he saw how upset she was about her.  I couldn't help but think "And what makes you so special that you don't think you need to open up to your friends, Andrew?"  In fact, when Andrew tracks Monica down and informs her she's actually in a psychiatrist office my mind cried out "Great!  You can all get group counseling!" 

But it's difficult to be too hard on Andrew for being reticent when this episode just screams that he's an afterthought.  First, we have Tess telling him how Monica's special to her.  Only after she sees his fallen face does she add "And you too, baby."  Nice.  Then Monica asks the Angel of Angels if her new status means she can still work with Tess and...  No, she just leaves it at Tess.  Thankfully, Andrew at least didn't witness this one.  BUT I DID!!!

 I was a little disappointed in Andrew for not immediately understanding Monica's need to stay with Jody.  However, he later says he knew something was up with her.  As someone who puts a fair amount of value on vibes and gut feelings, I'll forgive him in that case.

Now, all of the above is probly a lot of my own emotions and biases.  I can't totally fault the writers for this.  Although I do think Monica leaving Andrew out whilst speaking to the Angel of Angels was a bad idea.  But otherwise I don't think any of it reflects poorly on the writers.  However...

Ruth gets on my nerves.  No, it's beyond that.  I just can't understand why God would let her lord it over her fellow angels for so long.  It's one thing for me to find myself questioning Monica's and Tess' seeming cluelessness.  But this made God looks a lil clueless to me.  So I'm not a huge fan of how Ruth was handled here.  Tess was right: her behavior was unacceptable.

Lingering questions:
 This episode is responsible for a concern that followed me clear til TBAA's 9th season.  It's a simple line but oh so disturbing.  Towards the beginning Monica ponders why she's being reviewed so soon.  Among her hypotheses is that she may be getting a new human form.  I became seriously concerned that this was the TBAA writers setting things up so that if a cast member left they could easily replace them.  I had visions of, say, Scott Baio walking into a scene and declaring himself to be Andrew in a new human form.  AHHHH!!!  No offense to him but any actor but John Dye woulda been devastating to me as Andrew.  But the question remains... is that possible?  And, if yes, how drastic a change is possible?  Can they change genders?  Weirdness...

Why does Monica just take Kathleen's word for it when she shows her which room to go into?  I mean they'd just established that, unlike Monica, Kathleen can lie.  And Monica knows she can use visual trickery.  I think I woulda investigated for myself a bit more.

I wonder what Kathleen's ultimate fate was?  I always hoped she'd resurface as an angel again.  I would have loved to have seen her in an interview scene in the finale.

Apparently all the angels have files.  What's in Andrew's?!?!  I would kill to see those!  Okay, not literally.  It's bad to kill to see an AOD's files...

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I just wanna hug Andrew when he's in Ruth's office and he clues into how rude she is and sinks into his seat a lil and looks all sheepish.  Awww...

My favorite Andrew moment in this episode is when he offers to go back to the psych office to get Monica coffee and then even knows how she wants it!  But think about that.  It'd just been revealed that Kathleen had been in that office.  So Andrew was willing to go back to where a demon still possibly was just to get Monica coffee.  Monica can't swoon.  But I can!

I don't know if this constitutes "swoony" but after Tess' slip with leaving Andrew out of her "special angel" statement, I really wanna run into that room and hug Andrew.  That'll show Tess...  Being out-affectionated by a human!  That made no sense, did it?

Random thoughts:
This probly just shows how insane I am but when Ruth calls Andrew "Junior" I always wanna say something sarcastic about him not being Jesus.  Or break into a round of "Andrew Halo Superstar."  ;-)

Andrew searching for Monica reminds me of a Beatles video.  What's the one where they're running from door to door?

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