"Heaven's Portal"

A review by Jenni:

So I have been looking forward to getting to this episode for ages.  Solely because of the Andrew in the fields of gold shots.  I will totally sit through the ridiculousness of a tripped out newbie angel just for that.  Priorities!  He is awesome.

What I love about this episode:

I have my qualms about Gloria.  But I like that she comes right out with discussing the feeling of Homesickness that the angels must feel but generally didn't outright discuss.  Makes ya recognize anew how unselfish and giving the angels are.

Aww.  Tim cuddling Hedwig in his office is so sad and sweet.

Well...  If I ever had thought a rave seemed like a good idea, that thought died here.  These people are nauseating.  So I guess that's a good thing. 

The lil tidbit about Ecstasy heightening your senses also makes me want to run screaming from it.  Like I need to feel anything to a greater degree now!  But in all seriousness, I am glad they did an episode like this cause while I totally believe Ecstasy was bad, I couldn't actually say why until I saw this.  Hadn't a clue about the side effects. 

Seriously, Hedwig is really pulling at my heartstrings.  Tim talking to him is just aww...  Like I've said before, TBAA sure knew how to use plush toys.

"What if God was depressed?  What if He turned His back on His children every time things didn't go the way He wanted them to?"  Wow.  Tess' question to Tim makes ya think.  Obviously genuine depression needs to be paid attention to and treated.  But there probly is far too much of people not facing their responsibilities cause they feel low.  And that's not the answer.

"God is right here, right now.  Ready to trade your burden for peace.  Not just a little peace but because of His amazing grace complete peace."  Great Tess quote from her revelation to Tim.

The crash room or whatever Andrew called it is also a big anti-drug message for me.  I can feel good and depressed on my own for free without gulping down toxins, thank you very much. 

"I believe in God.  I believe that He sends angels in times of trouble.  Sometimes you don't even know they were there."  Cool to hear Monica speak like that.  And I love how she quietly lets Tim know that she knows about Tess.  Sometimes I really preferred these "quiet revelations" to big, light-up ones.

"He wants you to know that He forgives you and that He loves you more than you could ever imagine.  He wants so much to be a source of strength for you."  Monica, this time to Nick.

"That's what being a family is all about: believing in each other in the best of times and in the worst of times and knowing that God will always help you through if you just open up your hands and reach out to Him."  That's a beautiful Monica quote.  Story-wise, this episode just seems too rushed to me.  But it does have some beautiful lines and visuals.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I want to think the opening scene's funny.  The reaction shots from the trio certainly are.  And I really think it would have been... in an empty lot or field or something.  But on a street with other cars present?  Not so much.  Yet again Gloria manages to make God look like a horrible parent.  I suppose He could have done something so that there was no way Gloria could hurt anyone else on the road.  But no doubt she caused some panic and that's just thoughtless.

As always, Monica talking about the importance of keeping the lines of communication open just grates on me.  But I realize that's a personal issue... based on "The Journalist."  ;-)

I get that they wanted to depict a young angel.  But watching a fortysomething woman act like a teenager is never appealing.  No offense to Ms. Bertinelli but if TPTB wanted that angle, why didn't they hire a teenager?  That bit with Gloria whining about not being able to drive is grating.

Gloria's a dolt at the rave.  Although, frankly, I think someone in the trio really shoulda had the drug talk with her by now.

OMG.  High Gloria is waaaay more annoying than normal Gloria... who was already pretty annoying to me at times.  Worst.  Babysitter.  Ever.

Lingering questions:
How come Gloria could take the wheel from Nick?  How is that not a violation of free well?  Andrew's been in cars that were careening outta control and he wasn't allowed to do that.  Granted, I don't think he was in human form at the time.  But he was with, say, the Wittenbergs and he didn't seem able to shove his hand through the window and shut the car off.  So why is this okay?

Jessica asks Monica "You really are an angel?"  Doesn't she says the exact same thing to Andrew as Kate in MDWA?  Sounds awful familiar.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Giggle.  I love his facial expressions when Gloria's about to drive.  And his response that he and Monica are praying.  Ha!  And he totally braces himself when she sets off.  Of course, I wanna scream at Gloria for driving like that when our Andrew is in the car!  And Tess and Monica, too, of course.  If Tess can speak of Andrew as an afterthought... I can talk about her and Monica just the same.  So there!

I just mighta been the only teenager at that rave cuddling up to Mr. Random Grown-Up in Sweater.  I love bright lights and such but he's definitely the best looking thing there.  And the cuddliest.

Sometimes the dark stuff Andrew knows makes me sad for him.  He shouldn't have to know all this crud about Ecstasy.  He should live forever among daisies and sunshine and butterflies.  Gah.  Now I sound tripped out.  It's the caffeine.

I loved his long coats...  Was there anything I didn't love?  Besides the loafers, I mean.  ;-)

Here's a sign you're maybe too obsessed with Andrew...  When you see those shots of him on the side of the road looking fretful as a car goes by... you're pretty sure you would have jumped outta the moving car to join him.

Monica's right.  "Angels can't die."  And neither can humans.  Not really.  They just go to an even greater life.  As John said as Andrew: "I want you to know there's nothing... nothing to be afraid of.  On one side, there's life.  And on the other...there's life, too."  Even though it's still difficult, there is something beautiful in being helped to mourn by the person one's mourning.

Field shot!  It's as beautiful as I remember and he's as lovely in it as I remember.  And it's so sweet that he lifts Gloria down.  And then when he brushes her hair from her brow.  Crikey...  Gorgeous.

Oh...  And then he said "Angels don't die."  I know.  And thank you for being one of the people who helped me believe it.

Random thoughts:

Music: Gloria plays ridiculousness when first driving.  All I could make out was "take me to love."  I agree with Tess.  It's "noise."  It may be the same thing Nick plays in his car after his parents' announcement.  Trance kinda all sounds the same to me.  It pretty much plays non-stop in Nick's room.  One had words like "Take me to God, take me to Heaven."  Of course, there is tons of it at the rave including one number that seems to riff on Genesis.  But I didn't really pay attention.  I was looking for Andrew in the crowd... 

I totally forgot this episode revolved around Thanksgiving.  I thought "The Homecoming" was the only Thanksgiving-set TBAA.  Thought wrong!  ETA: And "An Unexpected Snow."  Duh.  Musta been totally zonked when I wrote this.  Who needs drugs to become flake-like when sleep deprivation works so well and is free?

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- They cut right into the middle of the scene where Nick meets Gloria.  Right after Jessica relays to Gloria that Nick is grounded, Nick says "Babysitter... I can't believe it!"  Then Jessica says "You brought this on yourself" and Gloria follows with "It is an odd word, though, isn't it?  As if I would sit on a baby.  Which I wouldn't!"  Jessica looks startled.  Methinks the THC editor may have already had enough of Gloria's cluelessness by this point...  Anyhow, it then goes to Nick asserting that his dad wouldn't ground him which THC kept.

- I'm kinda liking the THC editor this time around...  They also cut a sequence of Gloria jumping on the trampoline as the techno voice says "On the second day God created..." and "On the third day..."  All the while Gloria giggles and comments about how God's such a "creative Creator."  At one point the voice says God created the rave and this delights Gloria who screeches something I can't even make out.  Honestly, this may be the only instance of me preferring the THC version. 

Further on down the road...
Kinda surprised Andrew didn't do the "mom arm" to Monica when Gloria sped off.  He seems like the sort who would.  Then again, given the way the car was tilting, it probably made more sense to grab something and keep himself from crushing Monica.

I really don't think I ever knew anyone who listened to techno...  Gangsta rap was far more common among my peers.  I was probably the closest to techno given I was often listening to New Age music as a teenager.  But techno musta completely bypassed us.  So... another thing I don't relate to Gloria on.

Yay, Hedwig!

Oops.  Week late.  I shoulda watched this on Thanksgiving weekend.  Oh well.  I forgot (again) that it was kinda Thanksgiving-y.

This is just making me miss the Wizarding World of Harry Potter even more...  I'm not even a huge Harry Potter fan and I was way happy there. 

Personally, I think Monica shoulda pointed out that Jessica trying to find a job didn't automatically equate to not trusting Tim.  When the economy is sucky, sometimes the most qualified, reliable people can't find a job.  It's not about trust.  I
t's about facing reality.  She might very well have had an easier time finding an entry level job than he would have finding one to go with his credentials.

I would have to be stoned first to ever spend time in a place like this rave.  I want to bash my head into a wall...  Make the creepy, too cheery, grabby people stop!

Finally, at 22 minutes, Andrew is back!  Come back, Andrew, come back...  Need some sanity...  Okay, Tess works, too.  At this point I won't be picky.

I just realized something... who was home with the two younger sisters when Jessica and Monica went to the rave? 

While I totally agree with Tess' message to Tim, adults can totally have stuffed animals.  They're not so much toys as comfort objects.  I have a plush lion on my bed but it's not like I sit there playing with it.  My mom gave him to me and I like him.  Nuf said.

Weirdly, I feel like the hyped up Ecstasy scenes now make me feel less like taking drugs than the post-crash scenes.  Not that I felt like taking drugs!  I just mean that the post-crash scenes at least seem honest.  The giddy scenes are so phony and saccharine.  Guess that's my Romantic streak showing. 

There's a shot with solar flare when Gloria and Nick are careening towards the cliff that's absolutely lovely!  And I probably shouldn't have been fixating on the sky at that point...

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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.)