A review by Jenni:
This was an experience...
What I love about this episode:
It was a good excuse to think about what my answer to Monica's
question would be: what's God's greatest gift to humans? I
have to say, between her answer and Tess', I'd lean more towards
Tess'. Sunsets are beautiful and I love jelly
doughnuts. I think "marriage" isn't inclusive enough of an
answer. If Monica had said simply "love" then I would back
that 100%. As a single person, I hate to think I'd miss out
on God's greatest gift. Granted, my life is affected by
marriage so even without being in one, I am touched by it.
However, I still think "love" is a better answer. What is
marriage without it? Which I think is what Tess was kinda
going after with her follow up about marriage v. wedding.
I really love Tess in this. I've been watching TLC's "Say
Yes to the Dress." It's scary... Among the
personalities I've seen are overzealous mothers. So I was
very pleased with Tess telling Nancy she would only show her the
veil Stephanie had already chosen.
Not gonna lie, seeing Monica popping out of that cake at the
bachelor party was a little freaky. But it's redeemed by a
later scene. I mean how many times do you get to hear the
sentence "God sent me an angel in a cake"? Not many!
(If you do then I have to wonder about you.) And when Monica
responds to that statement from Eddie by telling him that it shows
how well God knows him... how can ya not be touched?
Monica outright tells Eddie that she's "not the marrying
type." Take note, shippers!
I love how Tess assures the family that Michael is surrounded by
love, just as Andrew appears. Lovely, loving Andrew.
I do appreciate that TBAA touched on the stigma attached to
suicide with this. That being said, I'd completely forgotten
about the suicide subplot and really wasn't in a good place to
hear about it today. When Monica comments about how hard it
must be to be left behind, it was almost too much for me to think
about. Still, it's a good subject to have out in the open
where it can be addressed and prevented.
I really love the idea of Michael going some place else during his
surgery. There's so much peace in that idea. I know
it's not exactly the same situation but sometimes when I hear
about people dying after brutal crimes or horrific accidents, I
like to imagine that the AOD arrived before the worst and took
them somewhere else while the act was committed. Maybe it's
not true. But sometimes it's what I need to believe.
"Prayer is not a negotiation," Monica tells Eddie. That's
one statement about prayer that I very much agree with but also
struggled to learn.
When Stephanie tells a comatose Michael "If you have to go... I
understand," I think that has got to be one of the most unselfish
things a person can do. And then when she starts saying her
vows... The scene really gets to me. So sad.
Then, thankfully, there's the close up of their fingers
intertwining! The first sign of a happy ending around the
I think it's so sweet how Eddie begins his prayer by trying to
throw in thees and thous. I'm glad Monica could help him to
find his authentic voice for speaking to God.
Tess telling Stephanie to "fight for her man" makes me really
always liked the scenes where a character seemed to semi-hear
Andrew. Like the brother in "Til We Meet Again." It
happens here with Nancy in Michael's hospital room and I still
really like it.
Nancy's prayer turning Michael's and her own life over to God is
really a perfect finale for that character. Then when
Stephanie and Eddie join her in that pew, it's perfect.
What I didn't love about
We get to see Monica's judgmentalism running at full throttle
towards the start when she says Eddie doesn't seem like the key to
anything. Wow. That's snotty. In fairness,
Andrew can get judgmental, too. And it's just dumb luck that
he ends up judging people I'm especially angered by (adulterers,
for instance) and so I don't feel it's as harsh. But poor
This may sound really hypocritical after the statement above and
maybe it is but it was so hard for me to sympathize with Nancy at
first. Later Stephanie comments about how she probly needed
to become tough to keep from going crazy and I tried to focus on
that. I can definitely see where a person would turn tough
and cold just to survive. But some of the things she said
and did... like when she told Eddie and Stephanie they weren't
strong enough to make decisions for Michael. Ouch.
Then when she shoots down Stephanie's joy over Michael's hand
movement? I was crushed as a viewer! Poor Stephanie
who was actually involved! And then when she slapped
Stephanie! I really wish someone would have spoken to her
more directly about her anger and bullying. Maybe Andrew
did. I got lost in his big scene. More on that below.
The Hallmark version makes a truly lousy cut away after (or it
actually looks to be during) the scene of Andrew and Michael in
the forest. Grrr. I think I'm going to start using
"hallmarking" as a verb meaning "to edit or cut in a very sloppy
I wonder what the TBAA writers would make of the movement
among some people to speak of God as Our Mother and similar?
I heard about it a bit when I was working on my theology
degree. In this episode when one of the brothers (can't
recall which but I think it was Eddie) comments on how difficult
it is to believe in a father who doesn't leave, it made me think
of those alternate names for God. When someone does have a
troubled paternal relationship, I can see where God the Mother or Grandfather, etc. would be
much more acceptable to them.
As much as the character of Nancy rubs me the wrong way, she does
hit on something that I've felt often: hope can wound. I've
often wondered: is it better to meet situations with hope and have
them dashed? Or approach situations with more skepticism but
miss out on the soaring heights that might come with hope
realized? I dunno.
Parts that made me feel
My feelings about Andrew in this episode are very raw and very
serious. But I do have to say this: I wish I could dream (as
Michael originally thinks he is) of being with an angel named
Andrew in a forest!!! We could have a picnic... walk along a
stream... watch the stars come out... pick flowers... sit by
a fire and talk... Sigh.
Now for an only semi-serious bit: hearing Andrew talk to Michael
about still leading a productive life despite his injuries really
hit me today in a way I doubt it would at other times. For
the JABB Christmas story, I have a scene where Andrew really has
to confront his limitations due to a broken arm. Definitely
not on par with what Michael's facing but still an interesting
parallel. I actually even talk about productivity in the
scene. So it was really an emotionally vivid scene for me on
multiple levels. I, of course, wanted to hug him.
I seriously remembered this episode as "The One Where Patty Duke
Beats on Andrew." Maybe this accounts for why I had a hard
time feeling for Nancy for the first 3/4 or so of the
episode. I hate seeing anyone hurt Andrew... or try to and
that image is frozen in my memory. Maybe it didn't hurt at
all. But there was still intent and so I want to protect
him. I used to imagine rushing into that scene and just
shouting at her and pulling her away. With this mindset
going in, I was surprised how my viewing of it now has
changed. And here's where this gets serious...
started to relate to Nancy... sorta. When she was talking
about sitting with her dying husband and feeling three presences
(herself, her husband, and death), it seemed so familiar.
Then when she said how soon "the only one left was me"... I know
I've felt that. My situation wasn't the same. I wasn't
there when the person in question died. But when they did I
felt another presence with me, one I firmly believe was an
angel. And to date, I still feel his absence in a way
similar to the absence of the person who died. Being the
only one left is hard.
And so I tried my best to focus on the scene despite this
completely unexpected real life flashback. But I was so lost
in my own memories that I don't even really know what Andrew
said. But I saw how consoling he was. And I saw how
gently and warmly he held Nancy. And I can't help but pray
that one day, whomever was really there with me will come back and
we can have a moment like that.
I did recover from that long enough to get properly sentimental
over Andrew sitting beside Michael's bed with his hands
folded. Lovely Andrew.
The issues of spousal v.
parental wishes in medical situations are very, very
complicated. Watching this made me wonder how many times a day similar situations
play out. I can't even imagine being involved either as the
spouse or parent when the two are at odds.
This episode made me think of the recent case of the gentleman
with "locked in syndrome" who doctors thought was brain dead. I
can't imagine being in the position of having to decide whether or
not to continue life support. I pray I never, ever have to
find out what that's like.
This episode ends with Tess singing "The Wedding Song" over scenes
of, duh, the wedding. Just a note to myself for when I get
to my TBAA music page.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-I didn't notice anything but there has to be something.
Maybe one day I'll re-view this one.
And further on down the road...:
Along with TDDUP, this is the episode I most fear watching on
these DVDs. As you can tell from above, I had a very strong
emotional reaction to this episode last time. Now so much
more has changed. I've lost more people I loved, John
included. So here I am cuddled up on my couch with my laptop
finally ready to begin.
Tess' responses about the best gift God gave humans really aren't
exclusive to humans so I think they're more shared gifts.
I'm sure angels enjoy sunsets and I *know* dogs enjoy jelly
doughnuts... and doesn't Tess love them in "Into the Light"?
"You just hold onto that 'someday,' it could turn into today
before ya know it!" Very quotable quote from Tess.
I hope if I ever get married this lovely G rated bachelor party is
what my intended gets up to. ;-)
"Just know that you're in God's hands... and that is the very best
place to be." Lovely Andrew. Makes me think of John.
Sometimes I do feel like I'm living out of obligation...
Don't get me wrong. I have joy. But I'm keenly aware
of the fact that I'd have more joy elsewhere.
"You're one of His children. He'll always be there for
you." Monica. This episode seems to be a lot about
being there and not being there and all the gray areas in between.
I can't imagine deciding whether or not my child was still there
before I was even in the room with them...
The pinkie... I forgot about that.
"Just be yourself. He knows you're not perfect. He
made you." Love all these uplifting quotes. That one's
"God will perform a miracle... but you must leave it to Him to
decide what that miracle will be." Another from
Monica. And I think I'll just cry from here on out.
"You cannot go to God with all that hate in you. You've got
to get rid of it first." Tess' quote.
"And the only one left breathing was me..." That line makes
me so sad because I know exactly what that feels like.
Andrew has a beautiful quote about God and restoration but can't
type it out right now. Got it later: "You sacrifice to God
your broken spirit and your broken heart. That is all He
wants you to give Him: everything that hurts and then let Him
the Episode Guide
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