"Famous Last Words"
A review by Jenni:
Just chai tonight. Too much food earlier for dessert.
TBAA is reward enough!
What I love about this episode:
I have my opinion on the death penalty, of course. And,
selfishly, I would have liked TBAA to have upheld it. But
the more level-headed part of myself very much appreciates that
they presented a story of love and redemption without alienating
people by choosing a side on the issue.
The conversation between Tess, Monica, and Gloria when the latter
two enter the jail is interesting. Tess really lets Gloria
have it and it's kinda jarring to hear Monica refer to her as
"ma'am" at this juncture. Makes ya wonder how often they all
had to fake formality.
Sean Patrick Flannery impresses me in this. I'm used to
seeing him play really good, upstanding types. Granted, my
exposure to his career is limited. But this is a far cry
from Powder or
young Indiana Jones. Although I guess he was awfully
questionable in Boondock
Saints which I've also seen. Quite a varied career.
I like non-linear storytelling. So I appreciate how this is
done with flashbacks that don't even go in order. That
second one in which Daniel gets whipped is awful to behold.
It gets me that people thought this was a soft show. Nothing
easy about this one.
is an adult getting emotional over their childhood toy NOT
tear-jerking? When Daniel smells Alonso... gah. The
TBAA writers did have a way with teddy
"Children live what they learn."
Powerful statement from Delroy's mother. The cycle of
violence is something we should never forget and I'm glad that
TBAA, once again, stressed
I really like that Monica assures Shirlee that God does not hold
her responsible for Daniel's crime. Because the fact is many
people have terrible, tortured childhoods. But they don't
kill people. It's a choice, not fate.
Okay, again Monica's gift actually works for me in this
episode. I like that she has to ask Shirlee for permission
to see her truth. She doesn't just barge in. And I
like that we don't know what she saw til Daniel does.
"Ya know, death isn't the end of anything." Thank you,
Andrew. Those sorts of lines got me through a lot of
pain. And they'll get us all through this.
"As long as there is breath in your body, even if it's with your
last words, it's not too late. Make peace with your
mother. Make peace with God." From Monica. A
good thing for us all to remember. But hopefully we don't
As hard as it is to watch, I'm glad TBAA did those close-ups of
Daniel on the execution table. People should know what it's
The way the fish tank ties back in at the end really, really got
That music at the end... I think it's just studio music but it's
beautiful and so sad.
Those last shots of the angels and then Shirlee are so poignant.
This episode makes me think anew about how big a deal last words
are. I never really gave it much thought til this
year. When John died, I just had to know what the last things
I wrote to/about him. And he inspired my last words to one
of my grandpas. I'm so grateful to him for that. And
to the TBAA writers, too, of course.
What I didn't love about
Eeek. Andrew going through the bars kinda creeps me
out. Even though he looks adorable.
Monica wearing a sleeveless top and knee-length skirt in a prison
is idiotic. It's an adorable outfit but really!?
Why couldn't Tess just put her hand on Andrew's shoulder or
something when Daniel talks about him "missing the best part" and
he looks so troubled? Yes, I know I'm projecting but
still... And Andrew was invisible. Kinda forget about
that. I have a feeling that had I known Andrew, I woulda
been often seen seeming to rest my hand on air. Or leaning
on air. Or hugging air. Or wrapping my arms around
air's leg to keep air from leaving... I have no pride.
In the intro on the "Faith" DVD, Martha says that they had to wait
to do this episode because the theme of a man on death row was
considered too dark. I realize much more of this is set
there than "Sins of the Father" and "Seek and Ye Shall Find" but
those are still pretty dark. I wonder how they got those
through? ETA: Yeah... this is way darker. I forgot how
much they showed of the execution.
Parts that made
me feel swoony:
Andrew standing behind bars just makes me wish he'd gotten that
murder trial episode... John woulda acted the heck outta it.
Gah, I loved his voice.
OMG! Daniel just called him a "lousy angel."
Grrr. Lovely angel, more like it.
I'm glad Daniel calls Andrew "sir" at the end.
Inappropriate giggle when Andrew tells Daniel "You and I are stuck
with each other." Andrew's fond of saying that in
Dyeland. In a much cozier manner, of course.
He looks beautiful studying the sunset (thinking of his Home?)
outside the prison, looking back to it even as he speaks to
Daniel. But the scene kinda makes me sad. Makes me
think of Mother, Mother
and how much Jeff was gonna miss his sunsets. I hope John
can see em real good now.
I love that our darling, guileless boy is cheered by Daniel asking
for Alonso. Andrew, being who he is, would never guess there
was a hurtful motive behind the request.
The whole time Andrew's talking about the trial after death and
how your sentence depends on what you do in life... I just kept
thinking that John's "sentence" must have been all sorts of
awesomeness and beauty. And I like to think part of it was
that he got to see how many lives he saved and will save.
And how many hearts and souls he helped heal. And how many
children learned of God's love from his lips.
Music: There's some country
music playing in the cafe during the first scene there.
Can't make lyrics out but it's a woman singing. I wish I had
whatever program it is they have on cop shows where they isolate
certain sounds. In the next diner scene, there's another
country song. Male vocalist, I think. All I could hear
was "on a clear and sunny day." There's a third song once
Gloria takes over for Shirlee but, again, can't make anything
out. There's a gorgeous piece at the end that I suspect was
shot just for the show. I wish I could find it. All I
could really make out is "shares your tears and then you will find
Cool. I was just pondering on the JABB YG whether the TBAA
writers wrote as a group or divided up episodes and largely worked
alone or in pairs. On the DVD, Martha says a bunch of them
sat down to write this. Yet it's credited to Brian Bird so
that probly means many were group efforts despite only one or two
Oh... And she also says they were writing it on September
10th, 2001. Geez. Who among us hasn't wished we could
go back to that day?
Gloria starts reading Capote's In Cold Blood here. Just might be good
to know should someone
to write another book-themed JABB Jeopardy category... FYI-
She reads like a vampire.
I would be so creeped out if I had to be that guard lying
on the execution table as they did their test run.
Again, I know I'm projecting... But I started bawling when
they showed the people praying outside the prison. I'm not
saying they're wrong at all. Daniel deserved prayer.
Everyone does. But it hurts to think that murderers get
these prayer groups while innocent people die by the millions with
no one to pray over them, no one even realizing they're going to
die. I just hate that people can just slip away like
that. It's almost like I envy those nuns. They got to
Scenes Hallmark cut:
- I dunno. I watched this on the DVD.
Further on down the road...
Ha. Earlier I started thinking about The Young
Indiana Jones and wondered why that suddenly popped back
into my head. I knew I was gonna be watching this and musta
just done an unconscious Sean Patrick Flannery filmography shift.
If it wouldn't be weird, Andrew would make a good priest.
Although, actually, if he can take on a Protestant pastor role
("Crisis of Faith") then I guess an assignment as a Catholic
priest wouldn't be a stretch.
Sigh... it makes me sad that Andrew totally thinks he's gotten
through to Daniel when Alonso comes up but then no... A few
seconds later he realizes Daniel hasn't changed. It must be
so hard to deal with humans sometimes!
such a sadistically awful person.
I have a really hard time believing Daniel was sentenced to death
for a murder when there was a history of abuse and the victim's
family doesn't seem to have pressed for it. Then again the
justice system doesn't always make sense. This from the
folks who brought you rapists getting off with time served and the
Kinda rethinking my decision to watch this one right before bed...
It just boggles my mind to even think of being in the position of
the people watching the execution. I'm not sure that I would
want to be there if I was the victim's family. Seeing
someone die is something one can't forget. And while I
believe there's hope of Heaven for anyone, I'm not sure I'd really
be helped by hearing someone who murdered my loved one talk about
being there. I believe if they are then it's only because of
God's grace and thus I'd rather focus on God's side of it and not
even really think about them.
This musical piece at the end is so beautiful... I wish we
knew who it was singing.
A Word from Travis:
I saw this episode recently after loaning one of the inspirational
collections of TBAA from the library. This episode touched on so
much issues. Delroy may have emotionally and physically abused
Daniel, but that didnít give him a right to kill his father. I
feel so much compassion for Shirlee as she did the best that she
could to be the best wife and mother that she knew how to be.
Shirlee lost both her husband and her son to death but Iím glad
she was able to find closure in the end, in the dark light of
tragedy. Shirlee is reminiscent of so many mothers whoís made so
many sacrifices for their family and sometimes has to deal with
unappreciative children or children who arenít aware of how much
their parents sacrificed for them.
the Episode Guide
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