A review by Jenni:
What I love about this episode:
It's quite different from most other episodes in that there's no
quiet, introductory scene. It opens on the battlefield and
so begins the chaotic pace of the entire episode. Very
fitting for an episode about war.
Round of applause, everyone! The writers actually did a
historical episode featuring all three of the angels and they
didn't screw up their own time line! Monica stresses that
she's still in Search and Rescue. Well done! And her
knowing Tess makes perfect sense since we know they met 6 years
earlier. Also good! Further, Andrew is present but
doesn't interact with Monica at all. Sure, it's strange that
he describes himself as a friend of Monica but I'm willing to
excuse that as him just saying it to Joe to assure him and let him
know he's an angel: not literally making a claim of close
I love how this episode shows that angels were working on both
sides during the War (and assumedly all wars) yet not actually on
either side. Monica tending for both the young German
soldier and later Eddie drives the point home perfectly.
I was very touched by Monica's renditions of the future. I
got choked up when she told the men about how the sarge's wife
would receive a telegram, call her children together, hang a gold
"Everyone has something to live for. Something or
someone." Simple but profound quote from Monica to Joe.
The storytelling device of the good bye letters and resulting pact
to deliver them was quite good. Not only did it allow us a
glimpse into the lives of these men but also allowed for Joe's
character to really evolve. And, of course, it reminds us of
the sacrifices that were made.
Wow. This is even more profound than I realized. I can
remember from when this first aired how moving I found Monica's
recitation of the psalm during the second big battle. I
didn't realize, however, until just this moment that it was Psalm
27... the same psalm I used for "House of the Lord" and had
recited twice in that. Monica used a bit different
Rupert's part was awesome. I love how it all ties together
in the end.
Monica again gives a vision of the future in the abandoned
house. Her recitation of how Stella will keep and treasure
Eddie's letter made me choke up... again.
I love that Monica displays sympathy for Joe's shattered childhood
yet insists he has a choice to become a good man. I think we
need to have understanding for those who had struggles in their
past. However, it's also important to realize that at some
point they do need to become responsible for their own life
path. I'm glad TBAA didn't ever give people a pass out of
"Aww!" to the shot of Joe and Rupert holding hands.
"There's no such thing as an American angel." That quote
grabbed me from the second I first heard Andrew utter it. On
the surface you almost wanna say "Well, duh..." Yet, I think
of it often. It really is very profound. Angels
transcend every division we humans have created and that's an
amazing, even radical thing.
The final scenes from 1944. This isn't an easy ending.
It's very sad. Yet, it's real. It's what the ending
needed to be. Anyone who thinks TBAA always white-washed
things... watch this episode. A white-washed episode would
have had Joe living, delivering the letters, consoling Stella, and
living a long life as testament to his buddies. But that's
not the ending many men and women who serve get.
Joe, via the letter Monica pens, telling Rupert that he fought for
him... wow. Imagine being Rupert and receiving that.
I'm glad we got to see that Rupert grew up and never forgot the
sacrifice Joe and so many others made nor lost sight of the ideals
they fought for.
Finally, I like the idea that sometimes the angels revisit, on a
confidential basis, past cases as Monica clearly does here by
checking in with Rupert and Henry VIII.
What I didn't love about
It's horrible to watch Joe lie to Eddie and tell him that Stella
was an "allotment Annie." And it's terrible to think such
women even existed. I hope not many tried that cruel
scheme. I'm glad Monica slapped Joe.
I was going to ponder what the deal is with guys and
pin-ups? But the more I've thought about it, I guess I kinda
get it. At first it seemed weird to me that they'd bicker
about who got to have the pin-up on their person. Now I'm
seeing it was more symbolic. Rita Hayworth represented home
and comfort and beauty and the hope for love and closeness,
etc. And... it made me remember a particularly rotten time
in high school during which I had a photo of JD hidden in my book
bag. It always lightened my mood. So it makes sense to
Okay, as I said above, I'm glad Monica slapped Joe.
However... how does that not receive a tongue lashing from Tess
and yet Andrew's impassioned pleas merely incite someone else's
violence in "The Violin Lesson" and he gets cussed out???
True, Monica did apologize so maybe we just didn't see her get
lectured. But still... That TVL scene continues to bug
me. And it sure seems
like a double standard in light of this.
Do you spose at some point Monica and Andrew went through their
past cases and discovered how close they'd been on a few?
Like here and "The Sky is Falling."
Parts that made me feel
If I didn't like this episode so much, I would rant for a while
about how scarce Andrew is. But I do like it. And his
one scene contains one of my favorite quotes from him. So
while I miss his presence elsewhere in the episode, I can't
complain. Even if the entire rest of the episode was crud
(it's not), then it would be worth watching just to hear/see his
delivery of the "no such thing" line.
That being said, this episode makes me think how hard WWII must
have been for Andrew. We know he was in Auschwitz, took one
of his beloved Masons Home, and buried bodies. Ah, and was
seemingly involved with the Battle of Guadalcanal per "Wind
Beneath My Wings." Not to mention assignments dated from
that era that weren't expressly war related. I think if I
think too much about all of that, it would not be good so I'll
leave it there.
Music: "Praise the
Lord and Pass the Ammunition" is sung by a trio of women during
the USO dance. Also at the dance, Tess sings Irving Berlin's
"Always." Everyone in the Underground sings "(There'll Be
Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover."
The guy playing Joe reminded me of Christian Bale in some, and
only some, shots. Ha. I just realized his first name
Hallmark Channel, in their infinite wisdom and as testimony to
their artistic integrity, had a Thanksgiving turkey logo running
through this episode... sometimes blocking characters'
faces. I didn't even bother taking caps of those
shots. I tried to photoshop it out of others that had it on
sleeves and such but if these shots look odd... you know
why. Ridiculous. I've had to do it with other episodes
and logos, too, but this one is really vexing.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-After the flashback showing Joe cutting in on Eddie's and
Stella's dance, it goes back to the battlefield. The men are
walking and Homer asks for the picture of Rita but Joe refuses to
turn it over saying that, since Eddie stole his girl, Rita is all
he has. Eddie tells Joe to hand it over but he refuses
again. Then the men move into battle. Hallmark starts
with the men already exchanging fire.
-After Joe asks if anyone wants a last smoke, the guys talk about
getting to Paris. Only a lil bit of this makes it into the
episode. The blonde guy (Nick, I think) starts talking about
meeting a mademoiselle which THC kept. But after that he
talks about buying his mother Chanel perfume and shows Monica his
"Mom" tattoo. Eddie shows her a photo of him and
Stella. Nick tells Monica she smells good. She offers
to change the bandages on his arm and he consents. Homer
comments that Monica has hair like Rita Hayworth's. Nick
again tells Joe to give Homer the photo, he doesn't. Joe
mocks a photo of a woman he finds on a dead German soldier.
THC picks the scene back up with Homer calling the Germans.
Further on down the road:
Two things before I start: 1. It's after 10 PM and I usually don't
start watching episodes that late but I'm insomniac right now so
here I am. 2. I am so looking forward to watching this
episode without the stupid Hallmark Channel turkey.
That part still really gets to me when Monica talks about the
Sarge's wife receiving a telegram and gathering her children
Every time I hear Tess singing "Always" now, I think of Severus
Still get goosebumps when they splice the battle shots with Monica
reciting the psalm.
The lie about Stella is grotesque. Geez. I can't
imagine saying that to a dying man. And I'm still not sure I
think Monica's slap was entirely wrong. He needed to be shut
up pronto. But, yeah, I guess violence isn't the best way to
As much as I like Monica in this episode, it is weird to me to see
her so poised when she was still pretty naive and chirpy in the
As glad as I am that Joe did go get the letters... it does come
off as being mind controllish. I wish there'd been more
shown to bring about his change. As it is, it looks like
Monica's stare and words are what do it cause of the look he gets
before running off. Makes the free will thing look a lil
iffy. Plus, she says it like it's a foregone conclusion and
I guess God would know and could have told her but stating it that
way to a human seems to limit personal choice.
I'd forgotten about that shot of Joe and Rupert holding
hands. Very sweet.
Finally Andrew... I wish he'd been in this episode
more. Really I just wish we'd seen more of his WWII
time. Or maybe I don't. I think he'd say I probably
don't want to. That "No such thing" line still gets me.
I think this is one of my favorite endings to an episode... I
guess just because I'm a big fan of flash forwards. Maybe
also because I like dramatic irony.
the Episode Guide
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