A review by Jenni:
What I love about this
First, I think the guest cast is amazing in this. I was
especially struck by Linda Purl as Sally. She did strength and
vulnerability meshed together very well. How could your heart not
go out to this character in all the moments she quietly and calmly
smiles and then flees to let her emotions out in private? And
Gregory Harrison is equally great as Richard. I really noticed it
in the basketball scene and he just got better from there.
Watching him struggle to hide his condition from his sons... wow.
Excellent use of dream sequences, IMO. I'm generally a sucker for
them, anyway, but seeing a healthy Richard playing with his sons
hearing Billie Holiday's "Stars Fell on Alabama" was poignant. I
also liked how a later dream reveals to him that one painting survived
For some reason I really like how Tess was introduced. Kinda
makes ya wonder who might be around the next time ya visit an art
In general, I think this is one of the most emotionally effective
TBAAs. And it's written/produced that way. Often I get
really emotional about a subtext that myself or fellow JABBers bring
up. But this needs no subtext to get to one's heart.
I thought the Matisse story that Sally tells was a great
addition. It reminds me of Richard Dreyfuss' monologue about
Beethoven in Mr. Holland's
Opus. The fact that we later see Andrew bind a paintbrush
to Richard's hand so he can finish his boys' dreambooks really tied
that early scene in so well.
The closing scene when we learn Richard's gift has been passed onto
John Henry... awesome ending.
What I didn't love about this
There's nothing I totally disliked. I did think the first scene
with the angels was a little tense but not in a bad way. Just
But this could all just be me adding
non-existent subtext. It just kinda seemed like it was a
and Tess conversation and they expected Andrew to just go along but he
wasn't! Like he was supposed to be the yes man but ended up being
more a "Yes, but..." man. Like Monica said saying good bye
was difficult, Andrew counters that not saying good bye is more
difficult. Tess tries to clue Andrew in on Richard not going
easily, Andrew acts like "Well, duh, he's an artist!" The
dynamics were just interesting.
Not a big fan of Monica's comments to John Henry and George after the
former asks if Richard is going to die. You could tell she was
about to say something and so I was geared up for something comforting
but her telling them that eventually everyone's daddies go to Heaven
and that their daddy's time was soon just didn't do it for me.
However, she did end on an upswing with adding that Richard would run
Why does TBAA have so much music you can't find anywhere?!? That
"Follow Your Dreams" song while Richard is painting sounds great!
I have a feeling the TBAA writers wrote it since lyrics from it appear
in one of the TBAA quote calendars. Why didn't they put it on the
soundtrack!?!? Who is it singing?!?!
Parts that made me feel
I think there needs to be a more serious equivalent to swoony.
Cause, to me, swoony implies a certain light-heartedness that I don't
feel with this episode. But there were definitely some attracting
moments with Andrew like:
When he tells Richard that he's "ready to help you every step of the
way," it's so perfectly angelic a reply and the look on his face as he
says it... It makes me want to *know* AODs exist.
Another moment is when Andrew says, to Richard but too quietly for him
to hear, "Yes, my friend, some human beings are overwhelming."
His tone seems a bit huskier than usual and I just want to hug him.
Andrew's poetic prayer to God... stunning. And in one of my only
goofy moments viewing this, I wanted to know what was wrong with his
neck. Cause Andrew just shouldn't have to put up with a stiff
neck on top of everything else!
awed by Andrew for every moment of the good bye scenes.
The way he lifts Richard's youngest son so the man can kiss
him... The way he helps Richard from room to room. And
then, finally, his last line: "Let's walk together." It was all
so perfect and, again, makes me want to know AODs exist and are that
compassionate and gentle and strong.
The good bye scene is always both devastating and inspiring. But
watching Richard say good bye to his dog as your own is sleeping in
your lap... that's distressing.
I wonder why they didn't include the TBAA True Stories special that
featured the real Richard Bunkall? It would have been a great
addition. I hope his family has stayed close in the years since
his passing in 1999.
to the Episode Guide
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