"God and Country"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
I am not a Rafael fan.  Try as I might, I just can't seem to get over an angel of God calling someone Sleazy.  Nonetheless... there are some nice Rafael moments here.  I enjoy watching him trying to keep up with the army formations, for one.  And not just cause it must be embarrassing for him.  Although there is that.  ;-) 

I do admire Rafael for blatantly ignoring Tess' command, in "Sandcastles," to not have a beard.  Rebelling against Tess is a good thing, sometimes.  He obviously grew it back and I'm kinda sad he had to get rid of it for his army gig.

Rafael Rafael is amusing as a name.  And so Rafael joins O'Dooley, Friend, and countless other made up (and sometimes accidental) surnames most of which we will never know.  Speaking of names, I much prefer Rafael to Ralph. 

I really love Maria, the mother in this episode.  She's so strong and obviously the one who holds her family together.  I can't imagine how much stress she must have felt caught between Tomas and Victor constantly and terribly worried about Paul at the same time.  I imagine there are many, many military wives like her.

Monica tells Victor that "Paul had many angels comforting him in the midst of battle."  That's a truly comforting quote.

I get a lil giggle outta Chuck.  He's the other guy Rafael and Tomas fight with.  During Rafael's revelation he wakes up.  Rafael, who is totally glowing, tells him to go back to sleep.  And he does!  I dunno that I woulda gone back to sleep so easily if a fellow soldier was standing around glowing!  Fun moment.

In short, I appreciate this episode for highlighting the sacrifices made by military families.  With today being Veteran's Day, it was a good visual reminder for me.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I think Tomas was completely within his rights to get angry when Monica asks where Paul is.  I'm sure she meant where was he
sent to but after Tomas had just stated Paul was MIA that was a terrible choice of words on her part.  And Monica gets all defensive and, yes, Tomas did need to be more respectful in general but, IMO, Monica was the one who was responsible for his bad feelings right there.

I didn't so much dislike the final scene as I think it would have been more moving had, after Victor told Tomas "Te amo, Tomas," he'd faced Paul's casket and said "Te amo, Pablo."  Because while I love that Tomas and Victor reconcile there, it was Paul's funeral and focus completely shifts off of him.  Plus, I think it would have signified Victor acknowledging that Paul was still Pablo to his family and that he truly recognized he should never have tried to change Paul/Pablo.

Lingering questions:
So Tess informs Rafael that he is the first angel to hit his assignment.  So is that why he gets scolded or would he have gotten scolded for hitting anyone, period, no matter the circumstances?  I'm just hoping self-defense and even sometimes defense of others is allowed.

Where is Andrew's hair?  I could catch no sign of a ponytail yet it's obviously not down.  And then by the next episode his hair is long again.  What's up?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
 The timing is just terrible but... I get a lil goofy when we first see Andrew in uniform.  Because of the dramatic and tragic nature of the scene, I do sober up real quickly but... he looks very nice in his uniform.

Once I've returned to being serious, I can't help but wonder how many times Andrew has had to give notification of a soldier's passing.  That must be a difficult life and to find one's self doing it off and on for decades if not centuries...  Poor man.  But he's so wonderfully compassionate that I can't regret it too much for the sake of the families who deserve to have someone like Andrew around.

The shots of Andrew tearing up when Tomas arrives at Paul's funeral and then his teary smile right at the end have always got to me.  He's so lovely.

Random thoughts:
It occurs to me it might be fun to keep track of all the creative ways the angels answer the question "So where you from?"  Rafael's answer in this one: the North.

When Rafael is asked if he's Chicano, he nods assent.  I guess that answers my question of whether angels, of their own accord, identify as a particular ethnicity.  However, Rafael does later tell Tomas "Where I'm from color doesn't matter.  This just happens to be the body I'm in."  So it's an interesting dynamic.

I was struck when Victor reminded the unit that the U.S. has never been invaded.  I guess that's something I just take for granted so
it's jarring to hear.  Definitely something to be grateful for.

Andrew's a colonel in this episode.  Just wanted to make note of that as I never know when I might need such info for JABB.

Every time I watch this episode I remember the summer after Season 4.  The show was in reruns and a buncha us were excited cause "Flights of Angels" or some really Andrew-centric episode was reairing.  But then at the last minute CBS changed the schedule and this aired.  We were bummed.  But then someone posted to the TBAAngel list and said how moved they were watching this episode.  If memory serves they had recently attended the funeral of a veteran in the family.  After that how could we be disappointed? 

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