"The Face of God"
A review by Jenni:
In a way, I fear this episode. Though it's not fair, I see
Gloria's coming as the beginning of the end. And that's a
prospect I find even sadder now. Here's the thing about TBAA
and me: I loved the message "God loves you!" and it was always
great to hear it. Thankfully, I had other outlets for
hearing it. Andrew was the novel one. Andrew was the
one who represented what my religion and life path hadn't
successfully given me. Andrew was hope and safety and never
being alone and finally making some sort of sense in the
world. In my mind, he receded a lil more with Gloria's
coming. It's highly possible that was just the misguided
view of a distraught girl. But I guess I'm afraid of finding
out my younger self was correct. So here goes...
What I love about this episode:
I like that TBAA took on such an edgy topic. They even,
briefly, took on the destruction of embryos aspect of some science
and voiced both sides: destroying a life, saving lives.
I'm glad that Monica stresses that Dr. Conover would be creating a
human being if she went through with the cloning. Because I
believe that whole-heartedly. Clones would be no different
than us, should be no less free, and should enjoy the same
rights. (Unfortunately, they falter on that message near the
"In the service of life, sacrifice becomes grace." Monica
quoting Einstein. I like it.
Historical flashback episode! Andrew in period clothes!!!
Einstein and Tess make me smile. Not even one of history's
greatest minds can get stuff past her! Plus, it's fun to
think how Tess may have reacted had he asked her out! Ha!
Maybe I was just dreading the terribly sad people pleading their
case to Dr. Conover. The bereaved parents are heart
wrenching. But I do blanch at Dr. Conover suggesting they'd
be replacing the child they lost. Nobody I know has ever
felt like a hole in their heart and soul is filled by having
another child, friend, lover, etc. The newcomer may help
with the grief. But they won't make it go away. In any
case, I appreciate that TBAA showed Dr. Conover as not being some
sorta monster. When she chokes up in the park, you can tell
she has compassion along with ambition.
As sad as that sequence is, it's the lil boy who comes in about
his grandpa who has been stuck in my head all these years.
Maybe cause I'd lost my grandpa a couple years before this.
Not to Alzheimer's. But he'd lived through the Depression so
I guess I saw myself in the boy. Not that I would ever want
to clone my grandpa cause he wouldn't be my grandpa, just some guy
with the same body. Which brings me to...
I'm glad Monica comes out and expresses this idea to Dr.
Conover. *This* is why I'm against cloning. Not
because I fear the clones but because I fear us. I fear the
expectations we would put on them to be their "originals" to
borrow a term from Never
Let Me Go.
Think of how difficult it was for Aaron in HDYSF? to live up to
his athletic and admired brother. Now imagine if he looked
exactly like the elder son, had his genes only, etc.
Yikes. Poor kid. (The "spare parts" thing does scare
me, too, but again that's fear of us... not them.)
There's an increased poignancy now in the dying Einstein quoting
Ecclesiastes to Andrew. How often has that run through my
head in these months?
Something just occurred to me. This episode suggests there
are scenes between members of the trio that we never saw that
might have been really sweet and affectionate. Can't we
assume that Andrew originally told Monica the story that she's
telling to the doctor here? Maybe there really were many,
many more tender moments amongst the trio than we realized!
The scene of Mr. Aramaki giving Einstein the cherry blossom branch
makes me tear up.
The "thought experiment" is harrowing to watch and impressively
Poor Sarah. Sometimes I really wish God had clarified the
"be fruitful and multiple" thing cause it has caused so much pain.
Whatever I think about the character, Gloria's creation is
beautiful and I remember feeling very moved by seeing an angel
being born. It is a gorgeous sequence.
"God not only created you but He loves you." Monica to
Sarah... the standard message which never gets old.
"He sees the ache in your heart." Monica again. I
always liked the lines that assured us that God is with us even in
What I didn't love about
Don't like Einstein smoking in Andrew's presence. He doesn't
I do think Monica's argument that Einstein not wanting to prolong
his life means he would be against cloning is an extremely weak
one. While I agree with the premise, there's a real
disconnect in her reasoning. I'm glad Conover doesn't buy
Poor Gloria. Her first outfit is pretty blah.
Sorry but I still think a cloned person would be a "miracle that
God creates with love." Again, I don't think we should
clone. But Monica's lines after Gloria is born totally feed
into my paranoia that clones will be degraded and treated
poorly. Goodness does not come from how one's
conceived. Good people have been born of rape. Surely
God did not wish for the rape to happen. But He still
created the soul of that child with love. Thus, even if
cloning is immoral, the child would be a miracle of God.
Am I the only person who doesn't feel the need to angst out
over cloning? Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should do
it. But this whole "OMG! What is it?!?" thing strikes
me as ridiculous. We are more than our bodies. Clone
my body and my soul and spirit still remain with me and with
God. My assumption would be He would create a new soul for
the new body just as He always has. Lovingly.
clone of Einstein really be Jewish? I know he would have
Jewish heritage. But if he didn't embrace any of the tenets
of the faith, would he be considered Jewish?
Parts that made me feel
Andrew in period clothes!!! (In case you didn't catch my
enthusiasm above.) Two episodes in a row!
Ha! Ha! It is real!!! In Dyeland stories, Andrew
sometimes drawls -or and -er words and I couldn't remember if I'd
taken that from John Dye or just made it up. But he totally
says "Professor" with an adorable accent when he meets
Einstein. I had to rewind. Twice. Okay, three
times. And it totally sounds like "Professuh."
"Andrew has a special way about him." Yes, Monica, you are
He just smiles and nods a lot when with Einstein. I love his
voice but that's pretty darn cute. (He also chuckles some in
a scene THC cut wherein he is as adorable as always.)
Andrew's quiet recollection of this world's tragedies always gets
to me. John Dye could really express a lot in what he didn't
do or say. See the scene with Mr. Aramaki.
He looks so beautiful bathed in light. And when he closes
his eyes, soaking it in... Okay, so I teared up a bit.
But they were "glad for him" tears. Maybe John's riding a
beam of light as I write. He did seem to enjoy speed and
Music: Didn't pick up on
anything but the score at parts is very reminiscent of "Liberty
You can tell I'm not a science person. The idea of having
access to a part of the brain of someone I admire (or really
anyone's brain) totally freaks me out.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-They cut a scene that begins the segment after Sarah
interviews Noel's parents. Monica is back with the lamb,
crying and cradling it. Tess approaches and asks her what's
wrong. Monica tells her the assignment is so
confusing. Tess says "But that's what angels are for: to
unconfuse things." Monica protests that she just doesn't
understand all the implications with cloning. Tess responds
that she knows that and that Sarah doesn't understand them,
either. Still crying, Monica explains that bioethicists are meant to help scientists weigh
moral issues but "Angels aren't about morals and ethics.
We're about love and the truth. And I just don't know what
the truth is yet." Tess tells her "Then start with love,
baby" and pulls her into a hug. Then it goes to the
-Augh. I had a feeling they cut some of Andrew's and
Einstein's scenes. They cut right into the middle of
one! After Andrew tells Einstein it's an honor to meet him
(which THC keeps), Einstein chuckles and says "A handsome young
man like you on a splendid spring day like this... you should be
outside, Andrew, frolicking with a fraulein." (Boy, we could
find *a lot* of volunteers for the fraulein role...) Andrew
bows his head and chuckles adorably. He then tells the
professor that he understands that he needs an operation.
Einstein responds that they'll open him up and finding old bones,
foolish ideas and such and that his days to frolick are
"kaput." He goes onto explain that his pipe and "the
nurse"... who Andrew identifies as Tess... are the only pleasures
he has left. Andrew smiles cutely at this. Einstein
describes Tess as a divine creature but when it comes to smoking
"she's one tough cookie." Andrew laughs at the "divine
creature" description but tells Einstein that Tess is trying to
save his life. Einstein asks "What does it matter, my
life?" Then Andrew goes into the Theory of Relativity which
is where THC resumes the scene.
Further on down the road...
So I'm watching
this on a Saturday morning because I want to write a story
involving "Netherlands" which necessitates rewatching
"Netherlands" but, quite obviously, I need to rewatch this
first. Also, I feel lazy today. :-)
I seem to have a lot less trouble with cloning than the
angels. Don't get me wrong. I don't think it's a good
idea. But if it happens then I'm not gonna get all weird
about relationships. The clone is not his or her mother or
father. If the adult sheep carried the lamb then she is the
lamb's mother. That they have the same genetic material is
immaterial. Suppose I was a clone of my mother and she then
carried to term the implanted embryo that was me. Yes, I
will look like her and there will be other similarities, maybe
even very strong ones, but my environment will be different and
thus I will be different. I won't be her. And not just
cause of environment... I just don't get why some believers
suddenly decide to be materialists when it comes to cloning.
Do they honestly think that if someone clones someone, they can
somehow block God from giving that person a unique, personal soul
and spirit? Don't sell God so short! Books like Never
Let Me Go don't terrify me because of the cloning per se but
because of how the "regular humans" treat the clones. From
the POV of God, I don't think the clones and the others were any
different and so the "regular humans" wound up with a whole lot of
blood on their hands. And here's a little scientific truth:
some species can already clone via a process called
parthenogenesis. Sometimes the resulting offspring share the
full genetics of the mother. They are truly clones.
And yet this happens without human involvement. I can't
imagine that God set such a process in place with the thinking
that the resulting offspring wouldn't really be itself. And
I also can't imagine that He believes His naturally occurring
clones are individual creations and yet ours would be soulless
re-runs. God seems to repeatedly have plans for those
conceived via means He didn't entirely approve of (Hullo,
Ishmael!) so I'm not going to agonize about clones.
All that being said, talk about replacing a child is
disturbing. So on psychological grounds, I am against
cloning because I do think it'll lead to screwed up beliefs and
expectations. But the "Who is this?!" question isn't real to
me. My issues: Would we harvest organs? How many
embryos would be discarded? Would it be possible to clone
someone without their permission or knowledge? Why conceive
children this way when we have so many children already on the
earth who need parents? How would looking exactly like a
parent impact the child? Would parents, even unconsciously,
expect the child to be someone else and behave towards them in a
negative way... even subtly... if they are not that person?
In essence, I'm against cloning because I don't trust my fellow
humans to not speak and think flakily like Tess with the
lamb. And I include myself in that.
I still agree that Monica makes a poor argument when she links
Einstein choosing not to have surgery with cloning. That's a
pretty big leap. Maybe Einstein is also against IVF.
Maybe he finds surrogacy deplorable. Maybe he doesn't think
we should be working on neuroprosthetics. They're all
artificial and he didn't want to artificially preserve his life
ergo he is against all of the above... well, at least if you're
willing to accept logical fallacies as truth which sad for you if
so. I would like to think a real ethicist would know better
how to argue their point without making false analogies.
How does someone who made a hero out of Einstein not know that he
suffered? From him: "My pacifism is an instinctive feeling,
a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is
abhorrent. My attitude is not derived from intellectual theory but
is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and
hatred." And yet he ends up contributing to the atom
bomb. How could any reasonable person hold these two things
together and not intuit that some suffering had happened?
Their reproduction of the bombing is still chilling and
disturbing. Well done...
I'm still iffy on whether a clone of Einstein born to Sarah would
be Jewish. I thought Judaism was traced matrilineally?
But then I guess even that comes down to whether you think Sarah
is the mother or Einstein's mother is.
Sigh... Andrew is so lovely in this final scene with
Einstein. Gorgeous lighting, too.
And here’s Gloria’s creation. It is so beautiful. I
just wish I didn’t feel like God is using a baby angel as a
prop. “New angel, please stand here while this Irish lady
speaks to the scientist about you. Because I’m just phoning
it in these days...”
On the plus side, I still really love the Einstein scenes.
TBAA featuring historical characters was generally a good time.
the Episode Guide
(The photographs used on this
page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions,
Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not
being used to seek profit.)