A review by Jenni:
What I love about this
Watching this, I had to wonder if big time unemployment has ever
NOT been an issue. So, once again, the show seems timely...
well, except for the outdated Four 9s aspect.
I have to applaud TBAA for humanizing telemarketers. Except
nowadays they're mostly computers so shouldn't be humanized.
But because of stuff like this, the experiences of people I know,
and Harry Chapin's song "Country Dreams," I've always tried to be
at least polite with telemarketers. But woe unto you if you
answer emails at TV stations I'm angry at. ;-)
Although even then I try to make it clear I'm directing my ire at
TPTB and not employees.
"People decide not to get married for all sorts of reasons,"
Monica tells Melina. Good line although it makes me want to
tack on "Like maybe they are angels. So stop shipping.
Or maybe they're just happy on their own. Please stop trying
to set me, I mean them, up."
I don't really know enough about cults to speak to how accurate
this was. But some of the dialogue really, really reminded
me of some of the self-help fads (pseudo-cults?) that come
along. The Golden Path pitches were nice enough that I could
see how they'd pull people in and yet they lacked substance and
seemed unhinged from reality. This really jumped out at me
when Jacob lamented how it can take half a life to reach one's
ultimate destination. For a second I thought "Yeah... and
that's a bummer." But then I was like "Wait...
what!?!? You're making that sound like a bad thing but
really would anyone *want* to reach their ultimate destination
half way through their life??? What would they do with the
Another good-in-a-bad-way line was when Brother David talks about
how some in the audience would hear the "special calling" to join
them. That little line plays on so much of what people want:
to belong, to feel special, to imagine themselves somehow more
evolved than others. So, even though I couldn't help
giggling at the Golden Path people at points, I think TBAA did
portray the ways in which cults nab people pretty well.
"The way to get closer to God is to pray to Him to get you through
the difficult times, not to run away." Very good quote from
Monica to Melina.
I *love* that Monica tells the people to embrace good works to
show their devotion to God and NOT their own deaths. I think
that's a lesson that should be heard and learned by ALL religious
"God speaks to every human spirit that inclines to His
voice." Another great quote from Monica.
Okay, so sometimes I get turned off by Monica being too passionate
to the point of cloying during revelation scenes. However...
her tearful and righteous anger towards Brother David seemed
perfect to me here. And I just really loved that
I thought the image of Monica leading the children to safety,
especially with Tess and Andrew then helping them out, was very
What I didn't love about
Have to say... pretty weirded out by Melina keeping her ex's photo
on her desk. If you're gonna do that, would you really then
spill the story to someone you just met? Cause I think a lot
of people would find that kinda weird.
This is likely a Hallmark cut but I found it odd that Melina gets
fired and then goes to the seminar and Monica's just randomly at
her side without any planning beforehand. So I either don't
like Hallmark making the cut they did or I don't like the
writing. I'll see soon which it is. ETA: Can't blame
this one on Hallmark! I figured maybe there was a cut scene
of Monica following Melina to the parking lot to ask if she could
join her or at least greeting her outside the seminar and
explaining why she's also there. But, nope, it's just really
random and apparently written that way.
I'm sorry but I could not escape visions of Montel Williams
selling crap on TV whilst watching this. I half expected
Brother David to offer cheaply painted President Obama coinage...
which would be really weird to have in the 90s. "Come buy
coinage featuring this law professor!" Or whatever he was
doing at the time.
I'm normally not protective of Monica but I seriously do NOT like
that Brother David touches her face. Grrr.
I hate Brother David. Totally laughed when he started
Brother David claims to have no doubts so Monica counters by
asking him how, if he has no doubts, does he fear the state
inspection? Good scene but, for me, it highlighted one of
TBAA's kinda annoying aspects: their rule that angels don't have
faith. If they don't have faith (and thus doubt) then why do
they ever seem worried or even fearful? They really shoulda
canned that rule, IMO. Their own logic here betrays it.
Abstinence for religious
reasons. Interesting topic. TBAA only barely hinted at
it in this episode with Jacob and Rebecca being married yet not
staying together... something that seems standard based on the lil
girl's response. On one hand, I can see a spiritual purpose
in it. I see non-spiritual purposes in it, too. I
think our energies can sometimes be redirected in a really
glorious way and absence does make the heart grow fonder and
all. And given this was a suicide cult, I guess having
children to promote and expand the group wasn't important.
However, I've always wondered what's going on in the minds of some
groups (including some early Christians) who are pro-absolute
abstinence. Exactly how do they see their group succeeding
beyond maybe two or three generations? If your message is so
important, wouldn't you want to ensure it gets passed down through
the ages? How are you going to do that if ideally no one has
sex? Note: I am NOT talking about waiting til marriage or
even sub-groups in a larger religious group that practice
abstinence. I'm talking about those (few, I think) religious
groups that believe abstinence for their entire membership makes
sense. Are they all in some sense apocalyptic? Cause
that's the only way it makes any sense to me.
Another general cult question: Do any of these people,
specifically ones that come from a Christian background, ever
start to feel, well, like they're cheating on Jesus? Weird
wording but it's the best I could do. Second to the
murder-suicide aspect, I most despised Brother David for more or
less stealing Jesus' identity. I mean he has his followers
saying he's "the only friend that matters," he calls himself the
"anointed one" and "burning bush," and quotes Jesus excessively in
manipulative ways. That seriously angers me. Someone
betrayed you by keeping a photo? Cry me a bloody
river! Jesus suffered for hours! Not the same!
But I guess I just need to try to wrap my mind around the fact
that these people aren't thinking straight and may very well think
Brother David (and his real life counterparts) *are* Jesus.
But then why wouldn't they find it suspicious that he'd morphed
from dying for others into orchestrating the murder of children?
Again, I know that's me using logic that might not be available after cult indoctrination. Seriously, I
should probly get a book and read up on this type of psychology
but I think I'd just want to scream and hit so probly shouldn't.
How the heck did Montel keep from blinking during some of these
Do you think Brother David really believed his own
teachings? I thought he did but then when he said he would
wait to ensure all his followers died before he followed them... I
started to suspect he was going to take all that personal property
he'd amassed and make a run for it.
Finally, I asked this on the JABB YG. It sorta seems like
maybe Brother David went to Hell. And Andrew was with him as
he died. So did Andrew have to go there with him? I so
do NOT like that idea but am unsure what else to make of Andrew's
presence with people that TBAA seems to imply are hell bound.
that made me feel swoony:
Aww... When Andrew first shows up and he and Tess rest their
heads together... so sweet. And the way he has his arm
around her shoulders is very cute. Andrew's so
If I'd somehow got sucked into that cult, I'd like to think that
if I'd glimpsed Andrew confronting Brother David... I woulda run
away with him. I can totally see it. Even if he
weren't Andrew, if I'd been around hollowly grinning dudes dressed
all in the same blue uniform for weeks... the dude with the tie
and lovely coat may end up with a new BFF. Aww, who am I
kidding? It'd have to be Andrew. Otherwise I'd just
run away. Maybe after doing something mean to Brother
I love it when Andrew's sarcastic! Especially towards a goon
like Brother David. The way he says "That's wonderful!" and
then demands to see the teaching certificates...
Eeee!!! Love him!
One day I will really try to write this section and sound like an
actual grown up while doing it.
I have to admit that when Brother David
stupidly told Monica that there are things she doesn't understand
and doesn't want to, the thought "Yeah, like Andrew" popped into
my head. Yes, I can even turn idiot's lines into pro-Andrew
Gosh. I don't think I'd ever noticed that during the fire,
Andrew is at the door and grabs one of the kids to help them
out. Sweet. I only
remembered him being with Brother David. I like that he had
that moment to be a savior and helper.
And then he and Monica hold hands and I feel jealous...
Really, I do love how affectionate the angels were. It's
just a shame some people had to twist that into something else.
My dad told me once that
he was afraid I'd join a cult. I don't think he got me very
well at the time (he hasn't said it in a long time).
Watching this, I started thinking about how I'm too set in my ways
("Like heck I'm not going to have my own room and can we bloody
well just wear our own clothes!?!? We look like idiots!"),
snarky ("It took you half your life to reach your ultimate
destination? Wow, so sad for you. It couldn't be that
you're meant to spend your *whole* life on that journey, could
it?"), and Romantic ("Embrace melancholy sometimes. We have
moods beyond blissful for a reason. That phony smile is
getting really old.")
I find it hard to believe that not one
heckler or sarcastically annoyed person showed up at the Golden
Path seminar. But maybe the sarcastically annoyed people had
better things to do.
I would so flip out over the lack of privacy. No doors???
I was just thinking about the Four 9s and Y2K and how lame all
that was. I mean I'm glad about it but... geez.
Music: The kids sing "For the Beauty of the Earth" a couple times.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Definitely noticed the sped up theme again. And it waffled
back and forth from normal to crazy-fast which was weird.
-There's a scene of Rebecca and Monica talking during an apparent
break in the seminar. Rebecca comments on how Monica hasn't
said much. Monica tells her that they're focusing on
unhappiness and she's happy and her life is full. Then
Monica says some stuff about truth and Rebecca responds with an
ominous "The truth is coming."
-Prior to introducing Brother David, Jacob leads a call and
respond session briefly. So like he says "What's holding you
back?" And the crowd shouts "Nothing!" Stuff like
-Before the scene where Brother David gets everyone's mail,
there's a scene of Melina and Monica chatting that morning as they
go about their jobs. Melina comments that though she has
trash duty, she's never been happier. Brother David looks on
-Finally, the only cut Andrew scene: Right before his conversation
with Brother David, the latter talks to Melina about how happy he
was with her tearing up her fiance's photo and how it reminded him
of some personal business he also needs to put past him. He
tells her as a means of showing his trust, he's giving it to her
to burn (it's the letters to everyone). Just as she leaves
with the mail and matches, Brother David looks up to see Andrew
approaching. So basically all we lost of Andrew in this
episode was about 1.5 seconds of him walking. Yay.
Further on down the road:
Weirdly, my dad was worried I'd join a cult. I can't really
figure that out. I seem way too gripey for a cult. I
think my dad doesn't realize how often I'm nice to people but
think they seriously need to rethink the size of their ego.
;-) So I probly would be nice to Brother David... all the
while mentally slinging put-downs. That sounds bad but I
swear I only do it to egomaniacs and jerks. Ha. Just
realized I already discussed this. Oh well.
Heck yeah, Monica! Well done! Still love that bit she
says about people deciding not to marry.
"Sometimes you have to lose your life before you can find
it." I more seriously appreciate that Monica quote.
I hope no one got into this crazy stuff during the Mayan
Apocalypse mumbo jumbo.
"No one is ever alone." I know it's in other episodes but
always great to hear. Monica says it to the cult lady during
their recruitment meeting.
Tess' warning to Monica makes me wonder... have they had angels
defect to cults? Yikes.
14:40 and finally Andrew! Still love those first moments
with him and Tess. He shows back up at 26:00. Then not
again til 43:29. :-(
Hearing "For the Beauty" reminds me
that I still wanna watch Little Women yet this Christmas
season. Never has that tune sounded creepy like it does in
Are they wearing denim on denim? Yikes. Well, I guess
it simplifies the laundry duty Monica is stuck with. White
load, denim load.
I wonder how Monica feels about Catholic confession? She
seems to scoff at Brother David hearing confessions and while I
think it's quite obvious he's a wacko, I do wonder if an angel
would see value in confessing to any human. Hmm. I
kinda do and kinda don't.
Sigh... I love how unshakeable and no-nonsense Andrew is.
I bet it was really trippy for the writers to come up with Brother
David's lines. Freaky. I don't like writing
villain-types. Gives me nightmares.
I still wonder if there isn't a chance that Brother David really
never believed any of this and just intended to run off with
everyone's cash after their mass suicide. Interesting that
he was gonna go last... His behavior at the end could still
be an act.
"He wants you to know that your life can have meaning and
significance because He has a splendid purpose waiting for you in
*this* world." Monica gets all the good quotes here...
I love that Andrew greets William as William and begins that whole
process. Seems like they probly hung around for a while.
the Episode Guide
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