A review by Jenni:
Thematically, there are so many reasons I
should not be watching this episode this weekend. I know
it's going to end with sobbing. But... there's one
incredibly lovely reason to watch this episode. So I
am. For him.
What I love about this episode:
Well, gotta love Gregory Harrison's
dedication. Three episodes as three different characters!
"It's easy to talk the talk. Walking the walk is
hard." Amen, Tess! I was just talking to a friend
about how much it bugs me when someone complains about something
and then when a means of remedying the situation is dropped right
in front of them... well, they can't be bothered. Not the
same as the situation here but the message applies either way:
walk. Yeah, it may be hard but it's the right and honorable
thing to do.
We're not even at the opening credits and already we've seen more
of Andrew than we had in the entire THC version of "Tea."
I'm really not getting why people are so bothered by Don bringing
up Kimmie in his speeches. But I guess it's good that TBAA
explored that plot because I do know that people can get weird
when you talk "too much" about the deceased. So I like that
they acknowledge this. But I still think those people
writing the evaluations need to be more compassionate.
Stacey alone in the park at night breaks my heart. Such a
sad, poignant sequence. Maybe made more so by the fact that
right before I started this DVD, I was out on my swing... staring
at the moon and thinking about my own lost loved ones. They
do seem closer outside. I don't blame Stacey for wanting to
stay there. But I do see how love of the dead can sometimes
conflict with love of the living. It's a tough topic to talk
about and I'm glad TBAA took it on.
What is it about grief that completely screws with your sense of
time? While I can't say I've ever flashed back to the past
and carried on a conversation with a person who passed on, I
completely lose sense of time. A day may seem to last
forever and an entire week passes by in a whirl. At one
point I woke up and thought it was 1999. Really scary
considering I'm living in a different house than I was in
1999. Sequences of events get jumbled. Anyhow... I
just think TBAA so often did so well in depicting aspects of grief
that just plain don't get handled or even acknowledged very
often. No wonder so many people turned to it during times of
heartache. It's validating.
I'm glad Monica returned to apologize to Don for not hearing him
out. Always nice when her and I agree on her being
Don's focus on the last exchange he had with Kimmie is also so
truthful to me. I don't know why but it just seems like it
must be human nature to try to remember that last moment and
either savor it or somehow try to rework it. As if we could
somehow change what was already done.
That would have to be so terribly, terribly hard to have heard
your child's dreams and know they won't come true... Even as
a non-parent, I find it so devastating. I have to believe
that somehow all those people who wanted children but died before
they had them get to be parental figures of sorts in Heaven.
This episode really hits on so many of the deeper elements of
This poor little boy...
Grieving together can be so, so hard.
There's something supremely comforting in the idea that God can
accept a curse or a scream of the type Don made as a prayer.
"He would rather you pray to Him honestly than not at all," Monica
assures him. Beautiful moment. "God hears you when you
call to Him. And He knows what no one else does. He
knows that you cry here alone at night in this room. He
knows the agonizing pain that you feel."
"And He says... I am strength where you are helpless. I am
peace where there is pain. Let Me wipe away every tear and
hold you." Monica again. So beautiful.
The end is so touching. I knew someone whose organs ended up
being donated. Coincidentally, next week is the anniversary
of her death. It's partly why I was nervous about watching
this episode. But seeing this reminds me that parts of her
live on and gave new life to so many people.
For a while, it looked as if this may wind up being TBAA's de
facto finale. I'm so glad it wasn't but if it had been I
think this is a strong enough episode that it wouldn't have been
an awful note to end on.
What I didn't love about this episode:
That guy who heard Don's speech is a
jerk. Near as I could tell, Don only brought Kimmie in near
the end. And why would her being dead make the example any
less poignant? Does he think when a child dies the parent
loses the right to talk about them?
While, by and large, I think this
episode does a great job of depicting grief, I wish they'd given
Monica more justification for thinking Don is suppressing his
anger and that this is the cause for incorporating Kimmie.
Maybe it was in the file. But as the episode is written,
it's easy to think she's basing this solely on the talks he
gives. That would be unfortunate as I think it's perfectly
reasonable and healthy that a person would want to talk more about
the deceased after their death. Before their death, you can
talk to them or about them in a far different way. After
they're gone, talking about them becomes so much more
important. It's your way of keeping them alive here.
Anger may have little or nothing to do with it.
Where did Tess go? It's kinda sad that Tess disappears for
25 minutes before I notice but if Andrew's gone for 5 minutes I
start to get anxious... Okay... I totally figured she'd
surface at the end but really... where did Tess go?!?!
Apparently to the Hallmark Channel cutting room floor. See
the last section... Still... odd that she's not in the final
scene unless I just missed her.
Parts that made
me feel swoony:
Love the lovely angel and his leather
The scary thing is if some guy looking like John Dye showed up at
my place and called me by name and said he was an angel as he does
with Dorothy... I'd probly promptly invite him inside.
Stranger danger, what stranger danger? ;-)
Oh... in the kitchen when Andrew's head bows and the flashback
becomes his... The look on his face. I hate it.
But I love him for it. I can remember when I was younger,
some part of me would sometimes get really mad at Andrew. I
used to think he should intervene and so what if he got in trouble
for it. If he was sent to the Netherworld but a life was
saved... well, wouldn't that be worth it? But then
what? All the most sensitive AODs would wind up in the
Netherworld. And people like Kimmie wouldn't have the best
and most loving with them when they died. Andrew did what he
had to do and he did it bravely and selflessly. And I was
just a stupid kid to ever think otherwise.
And at that point I paused the DVD to run for a bit. And
then when it showed Andrew crouching near Kimmie, I just had to
shut it off for a while. Now I have more chai and I'm going
to try to get through the rest. He's just so lovely and
that's never more obvious than when he's juxtaposed with someone
so brutal and violent.
I think the reasons episodes like this are so hard for me now...
and they were always hard... was somehow it made me feel better to
think that no matter what evil people did... no matter how many
cruel people there were in the world... there were also people who
would take a stand against them. Not because they had
to. Not because they were forced to. But because it
was the right thing to do, the loving thing to do and they chose
it. And Andrew was consistently one of those people on
TBAA. And John was consistently one of those people in
life. So when he left this world, I felt less safe.
But I have to remind myself that dead does not equal
powerless. It doesn't even really equal dead. If I can
so easily believe that John's living more than he ever did before,
it's not such a stretch to believe he's helping even more than he
did in his mortal life. Thank God for him.
Andrew cares so deeply for his assignments... And I love
that John didn't even need to speak to express that.
And now we're at the scene I've been both dreading and longing
for. Stacey meets Andrew in the park.
"God created you to live in the real world. That's where He
wants you to be. Not here." It may surprise some that
I love that quote from Andrew. Yes, I love slipping into
fantasy as much as the next person. But I do have a sense of
when it shifts from being entertainment to all-out escapism and a
failure to confront real pain. Cause confronting it is the
only way to heal. Inventing alternate scenarios and
pretending the trauma didn't happen can't last. But it's
just still really surreal to me that the person whose death most
made me slip into Stacey's brand of escapism is the same one who
said "Stop it." Because the turning point came for me when I
was reading something John wrote for the TBAA book and he spoke of
how we don't really talk about death. And I realized that by
holding onto some half-baked fantasy in which he wasn't really
dead, I was turning my back on everything he taught us. I
was doing exactly the sorta thing he wanted to change. And
that was wrong and I needed to stop. And I did.
I hate seeing her pound on his chest and being angry at him.
I know Andrew understands. And I know it didn't actually
hurt John. It's not like she hit that hard. But
still... Maybe it's just that I know I probly woulda reacted
just as Stacey did and I feel really bad about that.
It's so lovely how he rests his chin on Stacey's hair and strokes
her hair and assures her Kimmie was never alone. Never
alone... I think those two words pretty well sum up why I
cared so much about this guy and still do. I'm not sure a
person really can ever totally get over the person who helped them
recognize that God never lets any of us be alone.
John is just so amazing in all ways in this episode that I was
overwhelmed. His physical appearance, stunning as it is,
became the least attention-grabbing aspect of him cause his spirit
and his compassion were just sooo vibrant. But as this
episode winds down... just gotta say that he looks so cuddly and
adorable in that sweater. And I always thought he was so
devastatingly handsome in long coats. So wardrobe-wise...
fantastic episode for him. But, again, it's his soul that is
Music: There's some music
playing in the background at Robintino's. Reminds me of what
we hear in local Italian restaurants. I wonder if it's the
same CD in every one of em. ;-)
Scenes Hallmark cut:
- Unfortunately, they cut a few seconds off
of Andrew's initial meeting with Dorothy. After he says he's
an angel, Dorothy responds with "Oh... an angel? As
in..." Andrew replies "As in messenger from God. Look,
we don't usually like to spring this on people all at once but,
frankly, Dorothy, I'm a little short on time." He looks so
apologetic. Adorable. Dorothy sizes him up. Then
it goes to Gloria and Justin in session.
- After the session in which Gloria tells Justin that he can talk
to her but there's no rush, they show a large office building
exterior. You hear Tess saying "Now I know it's a shock and
I know it's hard to understand but it's true. I am an
angel." Then you see the lady who got Kimmie's eyes.
Apparently she is a barista. She starts praying in Spanish
and sprays whipped cream onto the counter in a panic. Tess
shakes her head and smiles. She tells Rosalinda to calm down
and assures her that a visit from an angel is a good thing.
Then it goes to Stacey in the park assuring Kimmie that there
aren't men's and women's jobs.
- They also cut into Stacey's imagining/memory of herself and
teenaged Kimmie. After Kimmie frets about not getting her
dream, Stacey tells her that at her age she dreamed of having a
dog named Bo and a husband named Rick... or vice versa. She
laughs then assures Kimmie that what she was wants at 17
isn't what she'll want at 27. So basically THC just cut the
Rick/Bo line. Weird.
Further on down the road...
Kinda rather be writing but... I feel like I'll feel outta
sorts if I don't finish this season this weekend. After
this, I'm going on hiatus possibly until after Holy Week.
Ya know, the more I think about it, I wish they'd addressed the
obvious psychosis going on with the mom. They addressed it
as a matter of grief but when hallucinations enter into it, I
think it's more than that. Oh wait... Is it just
supposed to be her remembering actual past conversations with
Kimmie? Now I'm confused... Given the aborted high
five, though, I think she is hallucinating.
Scratch what I said before... It's a little freaky to think
this could have wound up being the final episode. I think
it's powerful but, boy, I would have hated to end with such a sad
episode. Then again... it's not like the finale was very
cheerful. Still... this is more realistically
heartbreaking. I'm not super concerned about Jesus getting
framed for a building explosion. But intimate violence is
very real and devastating.
That shot of Andrew right before the flashback to Kimmie's death
still gets to me so much. And then when he's crouching there
I love when Andrew holds Stacey but, again, this lady really seems
to have some significant mental health issues. You can't
just say "Stop it!" and have them snap back to normal. Maybe
the writers didn't intend for us to think she was mentally ill...
just willfully choosing to hide out in another reality in a manner
similar to, say, RPGing. But that just plain isn't how it
comes across either in the dialogue or the acting. So it's
just worrisome as I think it feeds into the mentality that one can
just snap themselves out of depression and psychosis when that
isn't the case.
Sigh... my quibbles aside... Andrew's "She was never alone..."
really gets to me.
the Episode Guide
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