"Fallen Angela"

A review by Jenni:

I chose to watch this episode today for a few reasons: 1.  It was next in line chronologically, 2.  I'm just trying to get through all the S1-4 episodes before Hallmark starts up with S5, and 3.  I'm working on my part of the annual CABB in celebration of Charles Rocket's life so this seemed important to watch.  As expected, it was touching, amusing, and hard. 

What I love about this episode:
First, I like that despite their sometimes faulty memory, the writers really remembered Monica's water phobia.  It's brought up again years later in "Two Sides to Every Angel."  So yay for continuity.

Monica explaining her water phobia as caused by bad memories of the Flood amuses me.

One thing I really like about some of these earlier episodes is how organic the home-set scenes are.  Like the scene where Angela is getting dressed as she talks to Carter.  It was so realistic.  It wasn't sanitized.  It reminded me a lot of the household realism of Friday Night Lights and Medium.  I think the scene of the husband and wife at the start of "Rock n Roll Dad" has a similar feel.  It seems TBAA lost some of that in later years.  Possibly in becoming a show for the whole family, some of that had to go away.  I believe it was a worthwhile sacrifice but these early episodes do make me miss that aspect.

Monica's very sweet as a teacher.  I'm glad she was an angel since that aspect is what got me into the show.  But she woulda been a great pre-school or Kindergarten teacher had she been human.  Her talk about Oscar the bean is adorable.

The Adam scenes begin shortly after that but you can read about them in my swoony section!

Monica's fake voice and overall indignant frumpiness when she rescues Angela from that loser cracks me up.

Sometimes I'm wary about the angel miracles.  But, for whatever reason, Monica fixing Angela's face after Marshall beats her really touches me.  I don't find myself annoyed by the pre-revelation otherworldliness of it.

Angela encouraging Lundy in his quest to make things right with his daughter really touches me, too.  It helps highlight Angela's real, decent, loving character.

I also really like the scene of Angela and Monica splashing around.  It's great to see examples of humans helping angels.  That's a theme I really like.  And that's probly no surprise to any of the Dyeland readers!

This episode really gets angels and politics down well.  I love how Monica tells a caller she's apolitical but thinks they should really give some consideration to the candidate.  It's just the right tone for the angels: disinterested in making those kinds of decisions but very much promoting our responsibility to consider our decisions.

I think I used to think Carter was too hard on Angela.  But now I think I understand his character more.  Yes, he gets short with her and I feel badly for Angela.  But now I can appreciate how it feels to be so passionate about something in your life but feel like someone you love just doesn't support you in it.  That being said, I really do sympathize with Angela.  How terrible to feel you have to keep such a huge secret from the person you love best!

When Angela mentions that she can't forgive herself so how can Carter forgive her, that's such a relatable moment for me.  How often are we too hard and unforgiving of ourselves when the person we feel we've wronged is so much more compassionate?

I like that Tess tells Monica "stay close to your friend."  Not "her" or "your assignment" but "your friend."  I like believing that our species and theirs were created to ultimately be friends.  This is highlighted even more when Monica expresses that the more she learns about humans, the more she learns about herself.  It's that sort of bond that keeps me so interested in Dyeland.

I find the scenes where Angela is shown her life without her to be very stirring.  It kinda reminds me of It's a Wonderful Life.  I just really love that device.

I love this quote Monica tells Angela: "But all you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And it is this moment, right now, when you can choose to make everything new."

I'm grateful that TBAA gave their angels idiosyncrasies.  Tess mentions Monica's fear of water and her own impatience.  Things like that made the characters more relatable and the show more enjoyable!

I used to think Carter was too easily accepting of Angela's revelation.  Now I think I get it a lil more.  If you're afraid that the person you love so much doesn't love you and is drifting from you, once you find that not to be the case I imagine other problems do pale.  And it's very much an "Awww!" moment for me when he tells Angela he loves "who you are, who you were, who you wanna be."  I think, whether it's a romantic relationship or not, that's the kind of love we all want.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I can't find fault with this episode, personally.  But I also can't do this write-up without mentioning how painful it is to watch at parts.  I think this episode is very well done but I don't love some of the feelings it gives me.

It used to be that I'd watch this and when Adam says "Damn, I hate suicides!" I would be struck by his passion and concern.  I liked that he cared enough about us to be upset and even angered about our taking our own lives.  Now I hear it and I wish I could time travel and pop in and whisper "Remember this."  And it's somehow fitting that shortly thereafter Adam says "You can't interfere."  Because it's true.  But we can pray that when people do make that choice, that they find peace and that their loves ones do, too.  So that's what I find myself doing with this episode and at this time of year. 

This episode will always make me sad now and yet there are so many beautiful moments.  I doubt I'll ever avoid it entirely.

Lingering questions:
I gotta wonder how many times Tess regretted wishing that Monica could make a good cup of coffee!

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Call me crazy but I've always been fond of Adam's concerns about Monica's strapless dress.  Part of me thinks I should be annoyed about it.  Grown men shouldn't be second-guessing grown women's clothing.  But... as someone who doesn't like strapless stuff but has been told she should wear more of it... I like it!  Adam is my non-strapless advocate! 

He's just adorable.  At one point the way he looks at Monica just makes me melt.  He looks so sweet and older brother like: protective, yes, but just plain proud, too.

Watching this I always wish I had an Adam that I could phone up and invite whenever I needed a guy to go to something.  That'd be awesome.  So, if there are any AODs reading this, call me.  ;-)

Adam's even endearing when he looks super bored as during Carter's speech.  Gotta love a guy who'll sit through a political dinner for ya!

When Adam carries Angela to shore I definitely don't envy Angela.  But the gentleness of Adam there affects me. 

He really looks amazing with the mountains and sky behind him in his final scene of this episode.  Seeing him walk away makes me a lil sad but it's also a very beautiful shot.

Random thoughts:
The episode is... I don't know if ironic is the right word but there's something striking about it.  It seems like real often lately we've been "treated" to a parade of scandal-prone politicians and their wronged spouses.  In fact, it's become so commonplace to have a politician talk about what errant thing they did that it's almost shocking to watch this and imagine the non-political spouse being the one with the secret.  I just couldn't stop drawing parallels to real life.

Photos as evidence of a scandal is really, really timely.  Of course, now it's often video.  And how often have we heard "I didn't know there was a camera!"?  I guess it just makes one realize that blackmail and secret recording isn't anything new. 

So many, many times I've thought of this episode and envied Monica's super speed envelope stuffing when I was working on mailings for my job!

A Word from Travis:
(my favorite Season1 episode) While I enjoyed this episode, I wish the audience were shown what happened to Marshall, who blackmailed Angela. I felt Angelaís pain as she desperately wanted to support her husbandís political campaign but was torn as she didnít want her past to her him. I felt for her when she was constantly harassed by Marshall. Iím glad Angelaís husband stayed with her after she revealed that, not only was she a prostitute, but she was being blackmailed.

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