"The Face On the Bar Room Floor"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

The sad fact is I do not like this episode.  So, at points, the things I praise may sound pretty shallow.  Which brings me to... Monica's curls are gorgeous!  I wish I had the patience/time to do that with my hair.  I especially thought they were pretty with her up do in the historical scenes. 

I thought Monica's incident with not being able to choose shoes was amusing.  I'm not much of a shoe person but I can totally relate with clothes.  And it makes it sound like the angels do, in fact, have closets or something like that and not that God simply dresses them.  This is important to me cause in the Dyeland stories, I have given Andrew clothes choosing options and also had his closet raided.  So it's good to know both those things seem to be canonical.  Well, at least the first one.  ;-)

Kudos to the writers for having Monica acknowledge that she was in Search and Rescue back in 1893.  It's too bad that after that they seem to have forgotten... 

It must be a very weird scenario to shoot a man then have to comfort him as he's dying...  So that mountain top scene was interesting to watch play out with Barkley and Jack eventually kinda bonding and relating.

"Sometimes it takes his own death for a man to get his life right."  A cool and possibly too truthful quote from Andrew.

As someone who spent a good chunk of high school studying Raymond Moody's work and the like, it was cool to see TBAA portray an out of body experience.

How can someone not be touched when Monica tells Everett that "You'll always be your father's little boy"?  And then Everett comes to crying.  Very sweet.

On that note, it's a shame this episode was so wrong as far as fitting in with other episodes.  I think the guest cast did a great job.  Mr. Chamberlain really put a lot into it.  Singing and acting!  But, in the end, I just can't get over the glaring plot discrepancy of having Andrew and Monica pal around over 100 years before they met. 

What I didn't love about this episode:
Yikes.  How horrible that Everett doesn't ask about his yacht's crew.  It was the first thing I thought of when his father relayed the news.  But he didn't mention it at all...

Frankly, the plot seems kinda derivative of "Inherit the Wind." 

The green/blue screen during the drive to CO is horribly obvious.  But I spose I shouldn't be too hard on em for that.  Even the first episode of "Moonlight," years later, had really bad driving scenes.

The painting freaks me out.  Monica looks angry.  I would hope if God painted me, He would make me look happier.

And now I'm just gonna let it all out...  This episode just makes me want to scream "Do you really think I'm/we're that stupid?!?!"  First, Monica even mentions that she was in Search and Rescue in 1893 yet the assignment that follows sure doesn't look like S&R work.  But even worse... what the heck were Monica and Andrew doing together in 1893?!  They didn't meet til the 1990s!  Are they amnesiacs?  Are they shallow?  Do all angels look the same to them?  Do they have selective prosopagnosia?  Don't think so.  It's just really not good writing.  Third, nothing in it gives you the impression that Andrew was an AOD in 1893.  And he was.  Now, maybe this will get cleared up when I watch the CBS version.  But in the THC version, Monica tends to the dying Barkley as much as the supposed AOD beside her.  It just really gave me the impression that the writers couldn't remember if Andrew was an AOD by that time or not and didn't wanna bother looking it up.  Here's a hint: Is Lincoln dead?  Yes?  Then Andrew's an AOD!

The thing is, all the nonsense wasn't necessary.  I love Andrew.  But I'm willing to sacrifice some of his screen time to not thoroughly mess up the time line.  (Yes, even I'm surprised that my devotion to plot integrity apparently outweighs my Andrew crush.)  Monica could have just went with Jack to find Barkley.  Andrew could have appeared briefly, visible only to the dying Barkley.  And if they wanted to give Mr. Dye more screen time, he could have appeared earlier to Everett and picked up Tess' story when it came to Barkley being shot.  The fact is, Andrew just wasn't a necessary presence for Jack in 1893.  There were ways to work him in without him and Monica working together and on friendly terms.

All of the above may not seem important.  However, to me, it is.  If the writers of a show aren't going to pay enough attention to character development and plot... why should we?  People like it when shows reward them for paying attention.  This episode rewards you for being oblivious.  Nice...  Hence, I tend to like to pretend this episode does not actually exist.  Someone dreamed it.  If you asked Monica or Andrew or Tess about Jack or Everett Clay they would look at you and say "Huh?" 

And this is why I think all shows, after their first seasons, should be required to hire two professional fans to approve episodes.  They would notice these things.

Apparently in 1893, Andrew could cook.  I guess he forgot by the time that he met the Colonel in the 1990s.  But at that point it's such a minor mistake in comparison that I almost don't care.  And, who knows, maybe sucky cooks can still throw stew together.

This could be bad THC editing but this episode just seemed choppy to me.

Lingering questions:
I wonder why this was chosen as the season opener?  It wasn't filmed first from the looks of it.  This is episode 704.  "Finger of God" is 701.  I can't remember the latter well enough to say whether or not it was a strong episode but I really don't feel "Face" was strong at all.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Frankly, I kinda wanna forget Andrew was even in this episode... at least the historical portions... because it makes zero sense.  But he's there so...  Normally I am not a fan of hair products for men.  However, Andrew does look exceedingly attractive with his slicked back hair and black shirt in his stint as a modern bartender.  Lovely.  And this is two episodes in a row featuring Andrew in an apron.  I like it.

Pretend Andrew looks adorable in these pretend historical scenes.  Glasses, sideburns, soul patch... he's an adorable delusion!  Also one that makes me think of Doc Hock.  I think it's the glasses.  In a way, that helps me not take this episode seriously.  That's not Andrew hanging out with an angel he won't meet for 100 years!  But maybe it's Doc having a really weird dream!

I like how Andrew tells Jack that Barkley didn't deserve the nice grave but he asked for it.  Very merciful way to be.

Andrew looks incredibly handsome all lit up against the mountain as Everett is having his heart attack.  Yeah, I know that I shouldn't have been focusing on Andrew at the time but... oh well.  It was nice to see him in a scene that made sense so I enjoyed it fully.

Random thoughts:

Music: Quite a bit this time around!  At the start, Della Reese is singing "Down in the Depths (On the 90th Floor)."  Later on, still at the party, she and Richard Chamberlain sing "Just in Time."  When they're driving to CO, Tess sings "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain."  There's some old timey tunes being played on the piano at the saloon.  I'm not sure if I recognize them or not.  Jack uses Gilbert and Sullivan's "When I was a Lad" to launch into his elixir jingle.  Later he sings "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."

If S9 Andrew ever decides he needs some of his buttons back, I know a company that can get em for him!  I didn't say he *should* replace buttons.  Just that he could if he wanted to.  Well, that is if I wasn't pretending this episode doesn't exist...

The historical portion of this is set in 1893 Central City, CO.  Just wanted to note that for future usage.

After the driving thing, I musta had "Moonlight" on the brain.  Cause tracker Monica sniffing the man at the saloon reminded me of Mick's superhuman smelling talents.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Right before Tess sings "She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain," there's a shot of the Ohio welcome sign.  Everett comments that they're making good time and asks Tess where they're staying for the night.  She laughs and says they're not stopping anywhere but, instead, driving straight through.  He's a lil floored.

-Monica, Andrew, and Jack depart the saloon.  That's understood in the THC version but in the original you actually see them take off their aprons and walk towards the door, which Andrew holds open for Monica.  The story then flashes back to Tess and Everett.  She tells him "And then they did western things like jump onto their horses, yell 'Yee haw!,' and ride off into the sunset."  (Not an exact quote but very close.)  I wish there was video of that... even though I know she's not being totally serious.  Everett laughs and says it's not exactly a historical rendition.  Tess gives him a look and says "Oh, were you there?"  Everett says no and that he'd rather not be there (in Central City in the saloon) either.  He clenches at his chest and grimaces.  Tess asks if he's all right and he says yes (despite obviously being in pain) and blames it on the altitude.  Tess leaves the table and walks over to Andrew (who is visible cleaning dishes behind the bar the whole time) and says "I thought we'd have more time."  He shakes his head and says "It happens when it happens."  They look over to Everett who looks winded.  Then there's a commercial break and...

-The next segment opens with Everett peering down at the painting of Monica.  Tess brings him water, he thanks her.  He says that he always gets dizzy when too far above sea level.  Tess asks how he ever managed the 63rd floor.  He says he managed but now the 63rd floor is unfairly taken as with all he owns.  Tess reminds him he still has a son.  Everett says he's the only thing he ever did right but that he shouldn't have let him lose the $5 million cause he could really use it now.  Tess tells him money is NOT the issue.  She says both he and his son need character but they can't download it off the Internet.  They need to get it the old-fashioned way.  He says that he supposes she thinks Jack was the perfect example of "moral rectitude."  Tess counters that Jack was a man willing to change.  Then it finally meets back up with the THC version as Monica, Andrew, and Jack are around the fire.  Cept they did seem to have cut a few words (or else I accidentally did).  When complimenting Andrew's stew, Jack starts with "I don't know how you did it out here in the woods but your stew tastes just like my wife's."  (Again, that's a paraphrase.)  THC (at least on my DVD) leaves off the bit about the woods and starts with "Your stew tastes just l

Further on down the road...
Well, here's a new viewing locale for ya.  In fact, I just may be the only TBAA fan to ever watch an episode in a closet in a cruise ship in the Atlantic ocean.  I'm sharing a cabin with my sibs who are NOT morning people.  So... this is my office now.  Note the life jackets below my fancy work space.  ;-)  And I traveled four decks to get my caffeine fix.  Pretty cool... but I miss my kitchen.  And I think I was about forty years younger than every other person up there right now.  Anyhow, on we go!

Ha.  Somehow my DVD got set to play at 1.5X speed or something and so I was thinking "Gosh... I don't remember Ms. Reese rushing this opening song...  It sounds cruddy."  Then I realized it was just the setting.  Sheesh.

This opening scene is kinda cute but it seems like it belongs in a much earlier episode.  Monica isn't just going back to her roots, she actually seems to have regressed to Season 1 maturity-wise.  Weird.

I wish Richard Chamberlain hadn't gotten placed in the most nonsensical episode of this show...

Speaking of taking style with ya...  I just read Dr. Eben Alexander's NDE memoir and apparently peasant-style is the thing in Heaven.  Totally psyched!  It's my favorite.  So if he's right and I get to Heaven, apparently I can take my style with me cause it's there!  :-)

HAHA!  I forgot this involved a sinking ship in the Atlantic ocean.  Nice.  Well played, TBAA.  Well played! 

I just can't believe Martha Williamson was involved in this writing (teleplay) and let the huge timeline gaffe in.  Maybe we just have different priorities.  Personally, I place high value on continuity.  My thinking is this: if you (the writer) don't pay enough attention to your story to have it make sense, why should you expect the rest of us to pay attention?  Sense should never be sacrificed to message in my book.  Find a way to make your message work in a sensible plot.  But maybe she's message above all.  I dunno...  I now think Monica and Tess should have switched roles.  Problem solved.

Sigh... he of the slicked back hair looks very fetching.  Too bad he's an amnesiac.  ;-)  And now it's time for me to offer a novel theory on how this episode and "The One That Got Away" work together.  So...

The entire TBAA series was a fever dream experienced by Andrew after a bad trip.  Shortly after the events in the finale, "Andrew" woke up in a military hospital where he was informed that his name is actually Francis Hockenbury. 
You know how nonsensical dreams can be even without a visit to a seedy Vietnamese locale.  So TBAA is actually just a very long episode of Tour of Duty.  Ha. 

Sigh...  "It happens when it happens."  Yeah...

Hmm... by the 90s, at least per the fellow in "Missing in Action," Andrew couldn't cook.  Here he can.  So he exhibits deficiencies...  Maybe God just rebooted his whole brain at some point.  But that still wouldn't explain Monica not recognizing him in TOTGA.  Unless that was a kindness to play along with the poor brain injured angel.  But I don't like that...  Plus, Andrew remembers other parts of his past just fine in other episodes.  Yep, this episode makes zero sense...

Andrew looks lovely glowing against the backdrop of that mountain.

I like that this episode shows an out of body experience.  Not many TBAA episodes did but there are so many accounts of experiences like this.  Glad to see them figure it in.

As much as I'm not thrilled by this episode, it's been nice watching it.  This ship is pretty much dead until 7 and I woke up at 5 so...  It's kept me amused.

Well, in keeping with this morning's Harry Potter theme (being in a closet), it's nice this episode ends with the "Where your treasure is..." Bible quote that Dumbledore was also fond of.

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