A review by Jenni:
What I love about this episode:
It made me want to go to an art museum. That's gotta be a
good thing, right? I'm not going today, can't. But now
I probly will keep that in mind for the next "I'm bored, what
should we do?" day.
I loved the talking video installation. Okay, not the
installation itself. Frankly, it freaked me out. But
we have one somewhat like it and now I feel better knowing others
are also subjected to such art.
I love Andrew's two definitions of art: "Art is a human being's
attempt to explain his soul to the world," and "Art is God's way
of expressing Himself through human beings." Neither
definition is perfect but they make you think... much like art
"A simple decision could change a life forever." A simple
quote from Monica but one that's so true.
It was meaningful to me that this episode was set in New York City
and had to do with themes like what's left behind after loss, the
unseen scars tragedy can leave, the importance of being there for
each other, and that we all can leave something beautiful behind
us when we leave this Earth. For a while this morning, I
thought it seemed odd to be updating a web page on the anniversary
of 9-11 so I didn't plan to do a episode watch and review.
But I kept feeling pulled to this. I'm glad I followed that
pull. Cause beyond the usual sadness that comes with this
anniversary, I'm having some personal issues and watching this
helped with both.
I actually really liked Antonio's painting. I still don't
consider abstract art a personal favorite but I do appreciate it
more now than I did when I was younger. It reminded me of
looking out at the sea as the sun rises. And spotting a
mysterious island in the distance. And heading to it and
wondering what I'd find there. I definitely prefer it to
that dog one that he later seems to value more highly. I
couldn't stand that one!
"Sometimes God asks us to do things that we
don't understand." Monica says that to Antonio and it's
another example of a quote that isn't particularly enlightening
but just so true to life.
I relate far too much to Constance lamenting that she spent far
too much of her life cleaning. I have a feeling that when
I'm dying, I may have that thought. Although cleaning is
also how I de-stress so hopefully I'll remember that at least
sometimes there was a point.
"Whether life is long or whether life is short, you never know
what's gonna come next." From Andrew to Constance.
Today that had special meaning to me. When tragedy strikes,
after the grief begins to subside, I hope it reminds us to seize
the day and keep living.
Antonio's painful story reminds us all not to let grief blind us
to the immediate pain of those around us who need us very much.
I don't think we can ever be reminded enough of the scars war
leaves on our veterans... even scars we can't see. Bud
portrayed that sacrifice of mental well-being so well.
Incidentally, I couldn't help thinking of the Tour of Duty Season 3
Christmas episode when he was remembering. I could just see
Doc Hock cradling that child and trying to drawn out the gunfire
with Christmas carols. The massacre Bud describes is even
worse to imagine and I thought that episode was tough.
"It's not safe to be a friend of mine." Mr. Asner breaks my
heart with that line read.
I just love that this episode has such an equal division between
the three angels. Especially in the uncut version. Why
couldn't it have been that way more often?
"He knows the art you create is your way of calling Home to the
Father and saying 'Here I am!'" I love that quote from
Monica. I bet a lot of artists would, too, if they heard
it. And it's a great example of how well the angels listen
and mold responses according to the individual.
I love that Andrew assures Constance that her son is her
masterpiece. It reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in
the film Millions
which also has its fair share of heavenly beings.
Monica's skirt was way cute. Yep, real profound statement
there! But I did admire her style.
"I'm not talking about religion, I'm talking about God!"
Tess is awesome when she says that. I loved it when TBAA
made it clear that the two were
not the same. Cause some bad things have been done in the
name of religion. But God was not behind them.
Morgan was awesome. He gives me hope for the future.
He was so studious and sensitive and not afraid to speak about how
What I didn't love about
Why's Monica have to be so stupid sometimes?!?! I
don't actually believe she's a stupid person. But some of
the stuff she says... Augh!!! Why leave actual flowers to
view pictures of them? Does she really think all art mirrors
current reality? Cause I can't exactly step away from "The
Last Supper" to go see it live. I can't go visit Chagall's
lovers. I don't get the same feeling on a starry night as I
do looking at Van Gogh's painting of the same. I'm afraid if
I was in an art gallery and heard an actual person say that, I'd
have to fight the impulse to scream at them. It wouldn't be
so freaking galling if not for the fact that she's already had
assignments in which art of some sort mattered. "A Joyful
Noise." "Breaking Bread." "Portrait of Mrs.
Campbell." "Birthmarks." "A House Divided." How
could someone who supposedly worked with Richard Bunkall be a
complete twit about art?
Andrew, dear, you are not nor have you ever been the angel of
death. You are an
angel of death. Seriously, that grates on me every time an
angel uses "the" when it should be "an." I don't see why
this was so difficult for the writers. AOD is an
occupation. If you ask a doctor what they are, I doubt many
if any say "I am the doctor." It's just misleading.
It's not like humanity has some desperate need for there to be
only one angel of death. True, sometimes people talk that
way. But that's no reason to keep up the charade. I
mean what if Person A meets Andrew and is told he's *the* AOD and
Person B meets Adam and is told the same... then Persons A and B
meet and wind up discussing their experiences. That could
get weird if they're both insisting they met *the* AOD and it's
obvious the individuals they're describing aren't the same.
I feel bad saying this but... the painting of the lil girl freaked
me out. I thought she looked like she was plotting.
I don't like that Monica lets on like the trio is staying for
Bud's party but then they disappear. I'm fine-ish with them
disappearing without a good bye normally. But not when
they've let on like they'll linger. That's just rude.
I found myself considering Monica's question: Is art art if
not seen? Her initial observation about art may have been as
dumb as a box of rocks but that's an intelligent question. I
would say yes. But simply because I think it's impossible
for art NOT to be seen. I mean you'd figure the artist at
least would have to see it. Or if they didn't, that still
Along the same lines: Why do we create art? Is it merely to
say "Here I am!" Is it to get a reaction? Both?
I think, for me, it depends on what it is. While I don't
consider what I write art, writing is an art form so I imagine
some of what I feel applies to artists. Sometimes I write
just to exorcise inner demons so to speak. In some of those
cases, I definitely don't want to get a reaction cause I don't
want it seen! But in others... yes, definitely.
Seriously no one saw Antonio with the knife except Monica (and
Morgan at the very end)? Wouldn't you think that woulda been
noticeable to people passing through? Especially when he
first had it raised and Monica was struggling with him?
that made me feel swoony:
Andrew talking about art. Andrew describing the world as a
"kinetic sculpture." Who talks like that?!? Awesome
people! I think one of the things that drew me to Andrew was
that he seemed cultured but not elitist. He was as
comfortable square dancing as doing the tango. He could be
happy eating a hot dog in a baseball park and yet be comfortable
in a tux in a fine restaurant. And he never talked down to
people even though he's really intelligent and could probly pull
Andrew loves the Impressionists. Their works makes him "feel
warm." Aww. I like it when he feels warm. Good
trivia bit, good to remember for a future story, too. But I
like it cause, again, it brings out how thoughtful Andrew
is. And how he really takes in beauty and creativity.
I was really struck by Andrew telling Constance he knows her
inside out. Some part of me was thinking it'd likely seem
creepy to have someone tell me they knew my biostats. But he
said it all with such care and tenderness. What I took away
from it was a feeling of "You are not alone. You're never
alone. I know the fear and pain you feel and I'm there with
you." Plus, I'm having an epilepsy flare up and I don't know
why it's gotten so bad after going away for so long. So it's
kinda comforting to think maybe someone, somewhere knows what's
going on in my frazzled brain even though I don't. And it's
also comforting to think that if I have to get more tests, someone
will know all of that, too. And I just had a friend go
through cancer treatment and I like thinking that someone paid
attention to all that she experienced and was told.
I really love it when Andrew closes Constance's hand in both of
"God didn't go to college, either." I love it when Andrew
says that! It's just the perfect example of him knowing what
to say and then saying it with such good humor and affability that
I can't imagine not feeling at ease with this guy. I think
he has a good way of looking at things. He's not bashing
education. Andrew finds it to be a good thing but he
recognizes that faith is what gets ya through life. Not a
degree or an A in AP Biology.
Music: I actually
didn't pick up on anything. That seldom happens.
At the risk of sounding like a grouch... I have to kinda agree
with Bud that those kids shouldn't have been set up where they
were. Gifted does not equal well-behaved necessarily.
And the paintbrush thrower proved that. I'm all for kids in
an art museum but if they have ink or paint... put em in another
room. Our museum has a space for just such field
trips. I mean it's not even just cause of brats. I've
been painting before and sloshed paint by accident. It
This movie made me want to watch Up. Thanks, Mr. Asner.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-They cut a Tess and Bud scene right after Andrew tells Constance
he's an AOD. Tess approaches Bud as he gazes at the painting
and quotes Kipling's "The Conundrum of the Workshops." She
tells Bud that she had him pegged as a Kipling man and suspected
he was military. They talk about the painting. Bud
explains that he likes it cause he feels like the girl is looking
right into you, knowing you're there which he says no one else
does. (This would likely be why the same painting creeps me
out. An AOD seeing into me I can
handle... but not a strange lil girl.) Tess asks if she was
right about the military, Bud says yes. She guesses
Vietnam. Yes. She asks if he saw combat and he says he
doesn't discuss it. Tess tells Bud he picked a good place
not to talk much. Then you hear the repeated sound of a bike
horn. Bud excuses himself to look into it. Turns out
the gifted children are honking a horn that's part of an
installation... the one with the talking man. Bud gets them
away which you do see in the THC version but without
context. It's what you glimpse right before Antonio tells
Monica that he was driven to paint the yellow and black canvas.
-THC did away with about a minute of Andrew and Constance.
As they walk through the gallery, she says that seeing all the
beautiful, happy people hurts. Andrew says he's sorry to
hear that. Constance explains that it makes her think of all
the stuff she shoulda done different: being less serious and
laughing more. Andrew reasons that she never had it
easy. Constance explains that she'd get upset if a dish
broke or a glass got spilled. She stresses how you're not
not to cry over spilt milk and yet... Andrew continues to
try to help her not be so hard on herself by reminding her that
milk costs money and she knew she didn't have it to waste.
That's when she makes the mopping v. dancing remark which is where
-At odd moments I kinda thought certain shots and pans of the
gallery were only in the CBS version but I can't be
Further on down the road...
So I was really excited to watch this episode but then ended
up taking a two week hiatus from watching TBAA cause I was writing
for JABB. And then I got to a difficult part and needed a
little light and gentleness. So... here I am. First, a
little background. I'm pretty sure I've talked about this
elsewhere in the Episode Guide but it feels appropriate to mention
it here, too. Late 2010 was a difficult time for me. I
can't really pinpoint any one thing that went wrong. There
was stress at work. A co-worker died tragically.
Things just seemed very, very off and not right. But then,
at some point on January 10th of the new year, I felt a lightness
settle around me. I actually took the time to sit and watch
TBAA beyond my usual one-per-week review. So I watched this
episode and "A House Divided" and felt such peace. It felt
like a page had been turned and all would be well. Then came
January 11th, 2011... That was when news of John Dye's death
broke. I was devastated. I worried that I'd never be
able to watch TBAA again and feel the peace I had felt the day
before. I thought about how HIA and AHD would be the last
episodes I would ever see with full happiness. Then, as the
days progressed, I discovered that I could still feel immense
peace as I watched the show. I don't know that I can say I
feel more peace now as I watch it. But maybe it would be
accurate to say I feel a richer peace. When Andrew talks
about his Home, I know he's speaking of a Home where John now
resides. I don't feel sad for John any more. Oh I
still feel sad for those left behind sometimes. But I know,
some day, we'll all be Home. And I won't need to park myself
in front of "Here I Am" to feel peace any more because There I'll
be. Probably pestering Joshua but I think He can handle
Appropriately enough, I was writing a JABB story on January 10th,
2011 which I then abandoned because it was too sad to deal with in
the wake of John's death. And the story I'm taking a lil
break from right now? Same story. I finally decided it
was time to finish it. But first I'm watching this!
Seriously from the first note of score on... this episode is so
soothing to me. I want to live in it. Barring that, I
want to go to an art museum.
Okay, Monica does seem pretty dense at the start but I'll give her
props for wearing an awesome skirt. I just don't see how
someone lives 5000 years with no appreciation for art.
There's the thing itself, in this case flowers. Then there's
interpretation of the flowers, that's the artwork. There's
value in the act and product of the interpretation. I can go
stare at a starry night sky and that's great. But it's
probably not going to tell me anything about my fellow
humans. But Van Gogh's "Starry Night" just might. Not
to mention historical art. I can't be witness to the horrors
of the bombing of Guernica. I have to rely on Picasso for
that. I can't just go on over to Paris and study the Moulin
Rouge myself. But Toulouse-Lautrec did.
I have that Monet painting as a dress and I wear it when I need a
little emotional lift... because of this episode. :-)
A print also hangs in my living room. It's gorgeous.
It still astounds me that they let children with paint into the
museum... Our museum has special rooms for that.
They're away from the galleries... wisely.
Giancarlo Esposito is great in this. I think I watched a
whole season of Once Upon a Time without realizing he was
the Mirror. The two portrayals were just so different that I
didn't make the connection.
I also decided to watch this episode today cause it seemed
appropriate for Mother's Day. Constance is a great
I wonder if Andrew intended to say Constance's name that first
time or if it was a slip? Sigh... I love the way he takes
her hand in both of his.
I don't paint but as Antonio's talking about how he *had* to
include elements in his paintings, it reminds me of how sometimes
I'm writing and feel compelled to include something without really
understanding it. Then, eventually, it all clicks into
I feel like in some ways both TBAA and PL were kinda informed by
Vietnam. It's weird to realize that most of the shows on now
are about people who weren't even born then. At least it
seems that way. I can't remember the last time I watched a
show and Vietnam came up.
I still don't understand when exactly the angels can be
forceful. Monica physically stops Antonio from slicing up
his own painting. Wasn't it his free will to do so?
Why can she intervene there but not at other times?
I'd like to think Antonio ended up being a sort of mentor to
Morgan. Of course, it would probably have been mutually
It still bothers me that Monica lets on like they're going to have
cake but then they just leave. Still... it's a great
episode. One of my favorites for sure.
the Episode Guide
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