"The Hero"

A review by Jenni:
I was thinking about this episode for some reason a couple days ago.  I can't even remember why.  But it made me want to watch it so I did.

What I love about this episode:
First, I really like parables and folk tales and things of that nature.  So Tess opening this episode with the story about the man who ran from lions was cool.  And very apropos for the situation.

Monica's brown hat made me nostalgic for the hat craze of the early to mid 90s.  I miss my big, floppy, flower hats...

Monica tells James: "Where I come from people don't always have to be busy.  Sometimes they just sit back and enjoy the peace."  That's a great endorsement for Heaven with me!  Especially considering just while watching this episode I started a grocery list, made a mental list of today's chores, and debated knitting.  Single-tasking is a dream.  Nothing-tasking... Paradise!

This episode made me appreciate my parents.  I never really felt anything approaching the strain Matt does in this episode.  They expected good grades, of course, but would never have pushed us into some elite college or similar. 

I like that the angels are very pro-play, pro-free time here.  Monica specifically warns James about pushing Matt to burn out mode.  It's a way of life I think many of us could really stand to hear more about!

It seems weird to compliment a shooting scene but... I think that procession of shots was really gripping.  The use of shadow, extreme closeup, juxtaposing the dove with Matt... very effective and played at one's emotions.  I still jumped when the gun went off, even though I knew it was coming.

I've loved this quote for a while.  Monica says it to Matt: "There are meadows out there waiting for you and bright skies and loving friends and a life so full you can't even begin to imagine!  Oh Matthew, God loves you so much.  Now fight, fight for yourself."  That's a really great endorsement of Earth.

Even though the part itself wasn't fun, it is fun to see Bryan Cranston in this.  He's one of those actors that, when I first saw this, I'm sure I didn't notice.  But now I'm like "Hey, it's Bryan Cranston!  And he has really shaggy hair!" 

I like that Monica can hear and communicate with Matt at the hospital.  I'm glad Matt could open up with someone, be listened to, and comforted.  However... I'm thinking she shoulda opened up with "I'm an angel."  It'd freak me out to already be in a hospital and then have the reporter following my dad come off like a mind-reader!

When Matt kisses his dad's head after James finally fesses up...  I do not blame Tess for tearing up.  That is a very tender scene.  Aww.

I do think it's funny that Tess tears up and then outright denies it even though it's obvious she's crying.  And then at the very end when she tells Monica to save a tissue for her.  Cute.  However... I also have an issue with that despite its being amusing.  More on that below.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I know James was a good person at heart but he really bugged me a few times.  The basketball court scene was just terrible.  And then talking up your son during an assembly at his school???  Do ya want the kid to be despised?  Not a good idea.  At least he eventually apologizes for these things but still...

Admittedly I started drawing triskeles in my notebook at points (slightly ADD, I guess) so maybe I missed something but... I have a problem with how Monica produces the suicide note.  She just tells James "I found this in the basement."  If you were James wouldn't you wonder what the reporter lady was doing going through your house when you weren't there?

I think these people definitely have some emotional honesty issues.  I do not get a good vibe when Tess tells Monica "You can't go around crying over every job."  I mean, sure, Monica shouldn't start wailing and beating her chest all the time.  But crying over a happy ending?  What's the problem with that?  I'm beginning to think Andrew's issues make a whole lot more sense than I ever thought...

Lingering questions:
Does the dove actually speak and can Monica understand it?  Maybe this has been established elsewhere and I just don't recall.  But when Matt grabs the gun and heads to the basement, the dove flies to Monica and coos.  Then she looks troubled as if it told her what Matt was doing.  So I kinda think it does talk but I dunno.

Are "boards" the same as ACT/SAT?  They're one of those things I hear about on TV and movies but I don't think I ever took a board exam. 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
No AODs.  Sad.  But the aforementioned Tess dialogue did make me think about Andrew's reticence.  Poor love.  I gotta wonder if she ever said that to him...  Cause Monica does cry a lot so clearly she just chose to ignore it.  But what if he didn't and actually does want to cry more but keeps remembering that!?!?  Ahhh!!!!  And now "All Fall Down" by OneRepublic came onto my iTunes.  I love Andrew... 

Random thoughts:
I can draw triskeles!  I guess I didn't have many random thoughts.  Except at one point I did think James' partner looked like Liam Neeson.  But maybe I just wanted to see Liam Neeson.  He is a fine looking man.  And Adam and Andrew weren't in this so...

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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.)