in the Family"
A review by Jenni:
Gonna admit that, while I mostly feel calm, I'm a lil apprehensive
about watching this episode. I remember next to nothing
about it and am a lil afraid of being caught off-guard by
something. But I have my biscotti, tea, and Andrew. So
I'm sure it'll be fine. Here goes...
What I love about this episode:
Wow. I'd forgotten that the boy was shot by Frank as he was
calling the police for help. That's some powerful
The way tragedies, for right or wrong, almost immediately can
morph into some sort of campaign or crusade seems pretty
spot-on. And I like that, even with depicting that, the
writers don't let either side devolve into caricature. I
think Rev. Davis would be an easy character to mess up. And,
in fact, I find myself a lil leery of him simply because it can be
so hard to tell when someone is genuinely upset by a tragedy and
when they're simply using it to further an agenda... an agenda
that might not be wrong but still... personal tragedy as public
campaign can get sketchy. So one scene I particularly like
along those lines is when he's praying and Tess is watching.
You can tell he wants to do what is right but is deeply hurt by
the violence and racism in his community. The line "I have
no more cheeks for them to slap" is heartbreaking.
"I think prayer is the best thing a person can do." A quote
from Monica to Mrs. Griffin in response to her saying all she can
do is sing and pray. I like Mrs. Griffin's line, too,
because it's so true for me. Music and prayer have turned
out to be the two things that help me most when I'm grieving or
I love what Tess says about looking for a church that knows how to
really worship God. I wonder if she ever found it... I
find myself looking for that, too.
This episode seems a little prescient. I
feel like I could be watching something someone wrote in the wake
of the AZ shootings with all the discussion of how words either
can or cannot inspire unbalanced people to dangerous action.
"I believe that all things, even something terrible like what has
happened [to Jamal] can be turned into something for good when
people who love God ask Him to change their circumstances."
Another quote from Monica to Mrs. Griffin and one I hope to God is
true. I believe it is. But sometimes it's hard to see
Wow. See, this totally does seem really appropriate to right
now: "Whatever the world is telling us to do... I think that God
wants us to stay together and keep on praying." When
Monica's talking about how no matter what she and Mrs. Griffin
believe, they both love and trust in God and need to stick
together... that's the message this country and, really, the whole
world needs right now. We need to not get so bogged down in
details and just be decent and loving. And if we could also
hold hands... that would be nice.
I like what Andrew has to say about how racism starts. It's
like "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" without music. I
also like how he goes onto say that the Father doesn't blame
children who are taught prejudice but that we need to, as adults,
do something and be responsible.
I really love when the trio reveals themselves and Monica tells
the Reverend that *we* are all in this together. Big fan of
whenever the angels include us in their group.
Also a big fan of aerial shots of glowing angels.
What I didn't love about
Maybe this is meant to make Frank seem especially unhinged but
when Frank is fighting with his wife he asks her "You think I
killed that kid on purpose?" The boy wasn't dead... It
seems to me like a mistake either in the writing or like the
director or someone should have caught it when Mr. Baio said it.
I feel like the angels needed to be in it more. At points it
felt more like Law and Order.
then, I'm also just clingy about the angels right now... more so
Have we seen this church before on TBAA? That stained
glass window looks very familiar.
Watching this, it seems to me like there's a fine line between
trying to change things to honor someone impacted by tragedy and
hi-jacking a tragedy to further your own cause. How do you
know when you've crossed the line?
This could be the crush and/or sleep deprivation talking but am I
the only one who, when someone rather rudely asks Andrew who he
is, wants to scream "He's a son of God. An angel! So
sit down, shut up, and show some respect,"? I imagine that
would not thrill Andrew...
that made me feel swoony:
Andrew saying "I will never get used to the sound of a gun firing"
makes me love him even more. No matter what, our Angel Boy
never became immune to violence which, while it sounds somewhat
like a good idea, would just be tragic. I hate the idea of a
blase Andrew. Wouldn't be Andrew.
That being said... with these episodes I barely remember, I
sometimes get so desperate looking for Andrew, worried that he'll
hardly appear, that I will mistake random people for Andrew.
Once the guy was African American and I thought he was
Andrew. So I totally thought the second shooter in the
opening scene was Andrew in a ponytail (which I realize, time-line
wise, makes no sense). That's just sad that I'm that
desperate. Thankfully, I only had to wait about 2 seconds
more to see actual, thankfully gunless Andrew. It's not that
I think Andrew should never have a gun. Cause he's right
about police officers needing to be prepared. But I know he
doesn't like em.
Gah, I love his long coats. Well, him in them. I'm
sure the same coat slung over a chair would do nothing for me.
Poor love desperately trying to get Frank to listen to
him... It makes you wonder how many times Andrew just stands
around pleading and is ignored.
Something about just seeing Andrew's shoulder and then his face
through the curtain after Frank's son is hurt just makes me sad.
I wish Andrew could be my conscience... Okay, scratch
that. That could get really awkward, really quick. But
for some reason I really like Andrew confronting Frank and saying
"It was *my* voice" that told him about the baseball in the yard,
I burst into tears when Frank asked Andrew
where the angel was when his daughter was killed and then Andrew,
looking so sad but so dedicated, said "I was there." It was
a poignant moment years ago but now even more. Because this
was the man I imagined being there so often when bad things
happened. But, in my head, he was never the one the bad
thing happened to. So it remains hard to realize that, in
life, something bad happened to him. Moments like this...
they're still beautiful but really, really hard to watch.
"I was holding her spirit." I just really love him in that
moment. "And now the Father Himself is holding her."
And then... I feel some peace. Cause now the Father is
Music: Mrs. Griffin hums a
hymn that Monica says is one of her favorites but I couldn't place
it. At the church, right after Andrew and Frank enter, they
sing what I can only assume is called "Walk with Me, Lord."
They also sing "Amen" there but it's not the lyrics I recognize
from Harry Belafonte. Same tune, though.
I just need a moment. This may be difficult to read.
Monica's quote about terrible things turning into something for
good made me think again of how many TBAA quotes have helped me in
first accepting and then coping with Mr. Dye's untimely
passing. And I sometimes wonder if the cast and crew also
has these quotes flicker back into their minds. Or maybe
even his family and friends who surely watched. Even
for me who never knew him, I sometimes hear the words and watch
the scenes now and think "My God, how could anyone have ever
thought it would be his death we'd need to apply those words of
comfort to?" Or just random lines sometimes seem almost...
seering. Like there's a moment in "Mother's Day" that's just
so raw and blunt that, even though I don't otherwise love that
episode, has stuck with me. It's when Audrey stares at
Andrew point blank and tells him to come back when he's lost a
child. Who would have ever thought the man standing there
would be that child? It's just hard because, on one hand,
TBAA gives me a lot of peace. But, on the other, there are
moments that are just plain cutting now.
I think, were I an AOD, the things that would probly force a
career change for me would be bereaved parents. That, to me,
is one of the single cruelest realities in the world.
This episode does smack a bit of irony given the Isaiah Washington
debacle back when he was on Grey's
Anatomy. I never watched the show so didn't really
follow the whole controversy but remember the gist of it. I
hope he came to be in a more tolerant place if, indeed, things
were said that shouldn't have been even thought.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-There's a scene after the one in which Andrew takes Frank's badge
and gun. It begins at his home with the phone ringing.
His wife answers. Clearly it's a reporter because she
angrily tells them they have nothing to say. Her little boy
asks about the call, sensing it's a reporter. Frank
enters. He greets his wife then asks why the little boy is
home from school. The kid explains that he was worried about his dad. His wife says
that everyone was talking (which led me to believe *she* chose to
keep the kid home.) The boy asks his dad "It was an
accident, wasn't it?" Frank takes him over to the couch and
Frank says "Yeah" then flashes back to the shooting. Then it
goes to Mrs. Griffin entering the hospital and the Rev. giving his
statement which THC has.
-Augh. I saw this coming. The editing seemed sloppy
after the scene of Andrew visiting Frank's home. Turns out
it's cause there was more to this scene. When the next
segment starts, Andrew is seated in the living room. Frank
is pacing around, ticked about the address mix-up and kinda
threatening his absent informant. I don't think Andrew is
buying it. Frank insists that he even wrote down the
address. His wife asks where the note is. He says he's
not sure, he either stuck it in his pants' pocket or tossed
it. Andrew glances over at the laundry basket where Frank's
jeans are visible with a corner of paper sticking out. He
says "Well, maybe it'll turn up somewhere" but keeps mum about the
note. Andrew tells Frank that he coulda checked the address
before getting the warrant. Frank shoots back that he's been
trying to get the guy for over a year. He tells Andrew that
he doesn't know what he's got to do but he needs it all to be
over. Andrew stands and says "Frank, I got a feeling this is
just getting started." Frank looks downcast. Then they
go to the scene of the Rev. praying as Tess looks on. It's
not like Andrew did anything momentous in the scene but there were
some nice shots and... he's Andrew.
Further on down the road...
So since I am nominally Catholic, I felt like I should join in
for Pope Francis' call for a day of prayer for Syria. And
then I realized I haven't lit all my holy candles since I did
memorial rosaries... something I started when John died and I
found myself without the usual rituals (wake, funeral, etc.) and
the rosary was pretty much all I had. So then that made me
want to watch TBAA. So I am.
"Wear their knee bones to dust praying" is an interesting,
gripping turn of phrase.
Andrew's coat while he's interviewing Frank is cool. It's
kinda mottled looking. I like it.
I can remember when TBAA was on the air, round about Season 5 some
fans... myself included... were bothered by Monica crying in
practically every episode. While I still think there are a
few spots where it seems overdone, being older now I'm fairly
confident I would tear up and maybe even outright cry at a lot of
the same times. So there's that. She's still
ridiculous in "Netherlands" to me, though. And I actually
seem to be more bothered by her behavior in that episode the older
I get. Anyhow, I've concluded that a lot of my anger towards
Monica stems from the fact that she was my favorite character for
the first two seasons. More than that, she was my role
model. So it just made it really aggravating when she became so uneven and inconsistent
in the later seasons. I love how gentle and compassionate
she is at Jamal's bedside with his mother. But it's dampened
because I know her selfish
abandonment of a dying little girl in "Netherlands" is
coming. Maybe it's a life lesson. Our heroes will let
us down... that was just a major letdown.
Oh... I still love that image of
Andrew through the curtain.
Sigh... I like Andrew's brown, fuzzy lined coat even better.
Sigh again... "I was holding her spirit." That part's
so beautifully sad.
I still really like what Andrew says about how God doesn't hold a
child responsible for being taught prejudice... but that we do
become responsible for it as adults. I think that's
key. Because I do feel pity for those who grew up in toxic,
hate-driven religions. But unless they're living in a
compound and completely cut off from the wider world... I do
believe that at a point they become morally responsible for their
hate speech and will have to face whatever consequences come of
I miss that "Amen" song. We used to sing it at one of my
And... this episode reminds me of a recent, still controversial,
event and resulting trial. But I'll leave it at that.
Another reminder of how timely TBAA can still seem.
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