"Full Moon"

A review by Jenni:

I just want to start this by saying that while I may offer some moments of levity, what follows is likely the most serious one of these I've written.  I hope I don't anger or upset anyone with my words here as that is not at all my intent but this episode is not an easy one to remain calm about.

What I love about this episode:

I'll actually start with a light moment.  I love that Tess' response to the lil girl telling her that her fish went down the toilet and to Heaven is that there are "a lotta ways to get to Heaven."  As someone who used to imagine Jesus personally took her pet Beta fish Home, I was touched by that.  (For the record, this was before I had a concept of AODs or non-Christianity and I thought Jesus personally took everything and everyone to Heaven.  My fish weren't special in that.)

Another fine Tess moment comes when Monica and Tess are talking about Sarah's rape and Tess says "*She* didn't do anything wrong" meaning Sarah.  I hope that seems like a given to each of you reading this but the sad fact is some people still blame the victim.  To have an angel stress that the victim didn't do anything wrong is very important.

This is a rocky episode for Andrew and me.  However, I do enjoy it when he tells Carl that it's going to take more than Carl's angel tattoo to get back on track.  Andrew doesn't let Carl play him and he does his best to hold the man accountable.  If ever there was a time for Andrew to borrow Tess' no-nonsense stance this is it and he does it well.

I also feel encouraged when Carl quotes Andrew the bit of the Bible about wives submitting to their husbands and a rather riled Andrew shoots back with "But you beat her!" and then accuses Carl of twisting the Bible.  Again, I sincerely hope no one reading this takes Carl's interpretation of the Bible.  To me it's a given that he's twisting it.  But, as with Tess and Sarah's innocence, it feels good to have an angel reiterate that.

I think TBAA did a great job of, first of all, handling an issue like rape at all.  "Full Moon" aired long before "Law and Order: SVU" started up.  I don't remember many shows tackling the issue of sexual assault.  Certainly not any "family dramas" that I watched.  So that TBAA did this episode at all impressed me.  But beyond that I think they did a stellar job of showing that rape doesn't only harm the victim but also their family, friends, etc.  Sarah's family is nearly torn apart.  The scenes between she and Ed are almost too strained and painful to watch at times.  This episode doesn't magically fix everything.  It gives us hope that Sarah, Ed, Lorrin, and even Carl will heal.  But it doesn't kid us into thinking things will revert to how they were before the rape.

The stress on the idea of protecting one's family was very relatable.  I felt terrible for Ed, as well as Sarah.  I think many people still view the father/husband as the main protector of a family.  To have that role ripped away from a person must be devastating and the actor playing Ed makes that very obvious.  However, Sarah also saw her actions as a means of protecting her family.  I could relate to her through that.  We all want to be able to protect those we love and the idea of having that ability stripped from us is terrifying.  Seeing these characters cope with that, it's hard not to see parallels to one's own life.

The lack of communication issue was also very relatable.  Even if a family hasn't faced rape, it does seem like often members of it will refuse to communicate about a tragedy they've faced.  One of the most heart-breaking and real moments for me in this episode is when Sarah tells Monica she feels so alone and can't talk to anyone, including her husband.  One can still live with one's family and feel terribly, terribly alone when there's no communication happening.

Finally, on a technical level I just like how they juxtaposed Monica's revelation to Sarah with Andrew's to Carl and Ed.  It worked really well, very effective.

What I didn't love about this episode:
As someone who still sleeps with her blankies, I didn't get all the concern and downplaying of Lorrin's security blanket.  Her mom made it for her.  Of course she loves it!  And while Tess has a valid point that God protects us, not blankies, sometimes it's just nice to have something physical to cuddle.  So I hope Lorrin got to keep that blankie and do whatever she wanted with it.  Minor issue, I know, but I had to bring it up.

How many episodes start with Monica saying some version of "They seem happy!  I don't think there's a problem here!"?  Why does she think she can judge the happiness or lack of it in a person's life after a measly few moments?  How many assignments does she need to go on before it sets in that God doesn't send them around just for kicks?  It just kinda makes her look like she's got kinda shallow perception, IMO.

Obviously I don't like Carl for what he did.  Abuse of women (or anyone) is never acceptable.  But he became even more detestable to me when he went to Sarah's home saying *he* needed her forgiveness.  As far as she's concerned, I don't think his needs should be even a thought.  He certainly didn't give a thought to her needs years before.  I was left with the feeling that this was a selfish, cruel man.  I like that TBAA was hopeful about his fate, I wish I could share in that more.

Finally, this isn't a complaint, but young Carl crying at the end just depresses the heck out of me. 

Lingering questions:
How much say does a gun seller have in who gets a gun?  None?  Cause if I was that guy who sold Ed a gun his statement that "I've waited six years, what's six more days?" woulda sent up a HUGE red flag for me.  And the guy even looks reluctant to hand over the gun.  So it just made me wonder if a seller can refuse a gun even if the person has a license.

I kept wondering who the Miriam Wilder in "Miriam Wilder Crisis Center" that Monica and Tess were stationed at was.  I'm thinking maybe she's made up.  Any ideas?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I just can't feel swoony during this episode.  So instead, this time, this section will be devoted to my extremely complicated
thoughts about Andrew in this episode.  Whether it will make sense... I have no idea.

 This episode pretty much makes me want to rage at Andrew and then collapse against him, apologizing and crying and promising to never be so hurtful again.  Because the sad fact is I can't understand how he can witness Carl rape a woman and beat another and then rather calmly shake his hand.  Really I'd rather he just socked him good. 

And I can't understand why Andrew can glow and plead with Ed when he tries to kill Carl yet he couldn't make a peep when Carl was raping Sarah.  What both consoles and terrifies me there is that Andrew (in other episodes) seems to have the same type of question. 

And I am sorry to say that the thought has crossed my mind that maybe Andrew should have just disobeyed God and stopped the rape.  What's the worse that could happen?  He'd get sent to the Netherworld?  Well, that looks a lot better to me than Sarah's life of fear after the rape.  But then some other part of me says "Jennifer!  You believe Jesus went through hell for the sins of humanity!  Why the heck do you think another son should have to suffer for humanity, too?"  And that makes me feel guilty.  Plus, Jesus was being obedient while Andrew would be anything but if he did that.  Andrew didn't choose for rape to exist.  Why should I put the burden on him to stop it?

And the more rational part of me realizes that if Andrew stopped one rape he should really have to stop them all and then maybe he should stop murders and then maybe burglaries and then maybe cheating and then plagiarism until free will is gone and we're all living under Andrew's rule.  Obviously that's not an attractive vision.  Here's the part where I would probably stop raging and go into collapse and weepy apologizing mode.

Andrew can't stop bad things from happening and that really hurts Andrew.  Go watch "Two Sides to Every Angel" to verify that if ya like.  I hate what happened to Sarah and to so many other people but so does Andrew.   So does every real angel, I'm sure.   And it should be enough that they are there so those people are not alone.  It seems to me that there's a bond between us and them.  They are there to witness, comfort, and pray.  For us.  And I'm going to try to never let people like Carl ruin that bond.  Carl is to blame for what happened.  Carl made a terrible, terrible choice.  Tess said Sarah did nothing wrong.  I agree.  And neither did Andrew.  And I'm sorry that in some dark moments I think he did.

Random thoughts:
I never watched Sex and the City but it still seems weird to me that the much-loved (apparently) Mr. Big played Carl. 

I was mildly amused by Andrew telling Carl that either God or his anger would consume him.  Simply cause I'd just sent a newsletter that kinda suggested I felt consumed by Andrew.  Gotta love Rainer Maria Rilke!

So ends my review of my least-watched TBAA episode.

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(The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)