"Fighting the Good Fight"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
"Everything has a name."  That quote from Andrew to Tim about the dog (but really about a lot more) gets to what I love best about this episode.  TBAA so often did an amazing job not just at telling viewers that God loved them but that they were noticed.  They were named.  I think sometimes it's easy to have a faith built on an idea of a loving though possibly distant God.  To know that God is loving and attentive is an amazing thing.  I also think Andrew's statement was a good counter to Tim's being called "creature."

I thought it was sweet that Mrs. Taggert gave Tim clothes... even at the risk of ruining her mean old lady rep.

This episode really knows how to pull at a person's heart strings.  It went right through me when Tim called out for "Mama" when Steven has his emergency.

And watching the bullies target Tim about his used clothes...  Very difficult to watch.  But I'm glad TBAA highlighted bullying because, right now, it's all over the news.  And sometimes it can turn deadly.  I just wish we would have seen some adults correcting them but, then again, that was probly part of the realism.  Often adults either don't know or for whatever reason don't step in.

I like that Andrew, though likely inspired by the Father, offers to trade Tim groceries for help.  By that point it was obvious to him that Tim didn't like hand-outs.  So that was really the perfect way to help him get what he needed.

Good gravy.  I think I blocked the dog fighting aspect.  That was devastating.  And yet another example of TBAA introducing me to a moral issue I didn't even realize existed.  (At least I don't recall having knowledge of dog fighting prior to this airing the first time.)  I have to say, though, I'm glad the first dog had a bit of time being cared for before it was killed.  I just can't imagine what's going on in the minds and hearts of people who do those fights.  My dog was in the room with me for much of the time I watched and I just can't imagine training a dog like her to be a killer.  So sad.

The writers did a good job of pushing Tim's story but also offering us glimpses into Steven's and Frank's lives and struggles.  How sad that Steven prefers the hospital to home.  And for just a moment when Frank prepares toast, we see a glimpse of his better self.

Enter Dog #2.  How heart breaking is the scene where the poor thing cries and Tim tells it it doesn't do any good?  Very.  But a good way to highlight both the trauma of dog-fighting and the turmoil and loneliness Tim feels.

I love it when Monica tells Frank he has "a chance to be a man."  Ha.  Socked him.

"Somebody loves you!  God loves you.  He made you... He knows you."  From Andrew to Tim.  Best quote of the episode.  And one that was stuck in my head for a while.

I like what Tess says about the love of siblings to Tim.  Sometimes, due to the complicated nature of that relationship, it can be hard to express but I do think most siblings really love each other.

Muhammad Ali hugging Tim with his head lowered is such a sweet image.  As is Tess embracing him at the end.

I love the ultimatum Tim gives Frank about love, family, and responsibility.  Wow.  Kudos to any kid who can deliver something like that... although it's a shame if they have to.  I really like that he ends with the demand they become a "real family with a real dog."  Yay for the puppy!

I like that Andrew mentions guardian angels to Frank because I believe in them and was always happy when the show alluded to them.  And it was a nice touch to have Frank left with Andrew's job.  One hopes he went on to fill Andrew's role in other ways, too, especially in supporting Tim.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I really like Mr. Ali's part in this.  However, it seemed like the writers felt the need to justify his presence by having Rafael point out they were never children whereas he was.  Yet his part doesn't really rely on his childhood.  Further, it seems weird that literally from the first episode the angels have been working with children and yet all of a sudden they feel their lack of a childhood limits them on reaching out to a child.  I think it would have made more sense to cut that childhood-related dialogue and just say something about how there was someone else whose guidance and support would mean even more to Tim. 

I find it very touching that Tim gets through to Frank in such a brave, loving, but forceful way.  And yet... I think about what Andrew said to him about having a responsibility to help the weaker ones (like Frank).  TBAA seemed to often showcase children helping adults.  And to an extent that's good and probly builds the kid up.  But I think there's a danger in making kids feel too responsible.  At some points dysfunctional adults just need to deal with their own crap and a kid shouldn't have to help them.  Anyhow, I'm not against it in this episode exactly.  But I wish TBAA would have had more examples of the angels really going off on negligent adults.

Lingering questions:
In the first scene with all the angels, Andrew remarks that he's been on cases when as many as six or seven angels were needed.  I can think up at least one case ("Inherit the Wind") where the angels reached seven.  (Eeek.  I originally wrote "Written in Dust" instead.  Dust... wind... same thing.  Not really!)  Were there any cases we saw that involved more than seven, not counting times we just caught a glimpse of a crowd a la "Fear Not!" and "Redeeming Love"?  Just curious.

Here's a question... when do the angels need to eat?  Was Andrew's fridge empty because he'd just been going out a lot or does he really not need to eat unless not eating would look suspicious?  I might actually have an answer, come to think of it.  They do need to eat.  Because Adam was eating pheasant in MDWA with no humans present and thus no reason to other than the fact that he was hungry.  So maybe Andrew just wasn't preparing food though he was eating.

I feel like I might be trampling on sacred ground here but... does anyone else think Andrew's eyes look brown a lot of the time as opposed to green?  I actually prefer brown eyes so it's not a big thing to me but it's always been that Andrew has green eyes.  So is it just lighting?  Or maybe his/JD's eyes are the type that change?

Is it bad that I was kinda happy when Tim beat those two bullies up?  I mean, yeah, I thought he went over the line with both but for a bit...  I found myself thinking they'd just got what was coming to em.  But, again, with all the stuff about bullies in the news I think I'm just a bit warped.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I would like it noted that Andrew cooked at least a lunch and a soup in this episode and Tim enjoyed it.  Clearly Angel Boy learned something between "Missing in Action" and this.  Or else Tim just wasn't picky which may be the case.

Yet again Andrew is completely adorable and caring with a kid.  And yet again I can't help but wonder about how difficult it is to see a parent-figure be so neglectful and take so much for granted when Andrew will forever be childless. 

Andrew looks quite nice in a thermal vest.  I can't say I remembered him having that.  It's nice to see as something different from his usual wardrobe.

I feel guilty saying this but when the bullies chased Tim and stole his shirt... I so much wanted Andrew to swoop in and give them some holy heck.  In JABB so often I've had characters tell Andrew that no one expects him to be a super hero.  Good for them cause, deep down, I'm not sure I don't want to put that responsibility on him...

Got a kick outta Andrew's near vacant fridge!  Somehow that really works with my image of him.  Just kinda not a big planner or very domestic person.  But I'm still thinking about the eating thing.

Eee!!!  I love that Andrew says "Thank you!" when Tim tells him he's weird.  And just how he says it makes me happy.  Plus, it was kinda fun cause yesterday I wrote a scene where he's talking about being eccentric so it seems way more in character now.

I found it kind of personally ironic that Tim is put down by being called "creature."  The reason is I've spent much time thinking about how important it is to me that Andrew is a creature and that TBAA repeatedly referenced that the angels were created by God.  It aligns them with us in a very significant way.  Maybe especially with the AODs.

I admire Andrew in this episode a lot.  In a couple scenes with Frank present, it seemed like Andrew had to keep a very tight control on himself to keep from lashing out at Frank, something that I think Tim needed to do for himself.  He seems to be simmering.  It makes me wonder what precisely was the last straw, though, the rare times Andrew did lash out.

That being said... I'm glad Andrew did get that final scene with Frank.  I'm sure he was more than happy to inform Frank that they'd be watching over them.  I'm not sure I'm imagining things to think there was a bit of "So you better do good!" in there.

Random thoughts:
Music: "Dignity" by Bob Dylan during the montage of Tim boxing.

I was a lil surprised to learn, via Ms. Williamson's introduction, that Muhammad Ali's appearance was the only time they had to halt production to accommodate autographs and photos.  I'm not surprised that it happened, just that no other guest star prompted the same.

This episode reiterates for me that, were I an angel, people abusing or neglecting kids would probly be my biggest problem.  I could see myself just walking off and pulling a Kelly... and maybe begging Andrew to be the father figure.  ;-)

I just have to say that, even though I'd feel awful if my brother lost the use of his legs, I think I'd snap and start screaming at him if he was shouting orders at me the way Steven was shouting them at Tim.  Watch out!

Scenes Hallmark cut:
Since I watched this on DVD, I dunno.  But if you're a TBAA on Hallmark viewer and want me to check up on something, lemme know.

Further on down the road...
I'm so glad to be sitting down to this.  I was out of town for a week (Hogwarts!) which was great but I wasn't able to watch any TBAA even though I packed this disk.  Then this weekend has just been completely stressful so... yay for TBAA finally!!!  I was having severe Andrew withdrawals.

I love that opening shot of Andrew, Rafael, and Tess.

Oh.  Duh.  Andrew even says he's "a little hungry" and then is shown with a restaurant soft drink cup.  So obviously he does get hungry and it appears he was getting food from restaurants.  Now that we have that life-altering question answered...  ;-)

I'm glad Andrew's cool with wearing other people's clothes.  Cause his flannel shirts may be making the rounds in some things I've written...

h, I still love that "thank you."

What's weird to me is that for just a moment, as Andrew's talking about Ali and his conscientious objector status; he looks more like Doc Hock to me than Andrew. 

I need to go shopping with Andrew.  I have zero fresh produce from being out of town and it feels weird. 

"Love is the greatest and the best way to live."  The end of Ali's poem as recited by Tess.  Lovely.

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