"Into the Light"

A review by Jenni:

I meant to watch "The Journalist"but put the wrong disk in.  Oh well, still enjoyed watching this and it's a lil less angsty that TJ so that was probly good.  :-)

What I love about this episode:
I do like the music.  I'm neither a Bobby Darrin nor Elvis fan.  It's not that I dislike them, I'm just not enamored with either.  Nonetheless, their music was a nice change from the alternative, indie music on most shows I really like.

I get a kick outta Tess knowing that James' Aunt Mary had already died and even when and where.  Then later Monica makes it known that James does not have a sister named Molly.  I'm all for anyone who can catch someone telling boldfaced lies.  Maybe Monica and Tess could get a second career vetting politicians?

James is so gleefully conniving!  He's fun to watch.  Well, most of the time.  More on a time when he's definitely not fun later.  But to watch the guy lie to a priest, two angels, and his girlfriend and be so blissfully untroubled about it...  ya just keep wondering what junk the guy's gonna try to pull next!  Wow. 

That chapel is beautiful!  I *love* that stained glass window with the dove.  I really like stained glass, anyway, and with a dove... gorgeous.  Kudos to whomever chose the set.

I really like whatever effect it is they use on Andrew when James first sees him.  Sorta looks like overexposed film but not exactly.  He's all glowy and kinda fuzzy but still great looking!

I both do and don't like the use of the light at the end of the tunnel imagery.  I like it because I read of it so often back when I was reading up on NDEs (near death experiences).  So it was cool to see TBAA incorporate something that seems to be a common experience.  More later on why I don't like it.

I really like that TBAA's view of Hell here matches up so well with my own.  I'd prefer not to believe in Hell but without it I think free will is limited.  If Heaven's your only option after death then what's free about that?  So I love that Monica says that Hell is separation of God and to end up there the person has to choose it.  God doesn't send people to Hell, they do themselves.

I think James' prayer is one of the best one's anyone can pray: "Just use me."  There's a lot of faith and selflessness in that statement and I'm glad he got to that point in his journey.

What I didn't love about this episode:
So back to the tunnel.  The reason I don't like it is cause I think it inspired a nightmare I once had years ago.  I was standing at the end of a tunnel and Andrew wasn't too far from me.  Strangely, he had wings and there was an old man beside him.  The wings started to turn this sickly green and Andrew became farther and farther from me and I couldn't get to him.  That nightmare freaked me out for a good long time.  And I think about it every time I watch that scene.  It may be why I don't like this episode as much as so many people do.

It's really hard to watch James act like a complete jerk and tell Amy Ann's she's dying and that God doesn't care.  It may be one of the most difficult TBAA scenes to watch, period, for me.  He's just so cold and she's so crushed...  It's a well played scene, I don't mean it's not but... tough.

Lingering questions:
Maybe I'm just reading too much into this but when Andrew first comes for James, why does Monica look at Andrew and plead "not yet"?  By this episode, as a viewer, I was perfectly aware that AODs did not have control over how and when a person dies.  So how does Monica not get this?  Or maybe she's just saying it to God (who does have control) and looking at Andrew as she does?  For Andrew's sake I hope it's that...

This episode could be a good opening for a debate on the good ol' faith v. works question.  Too bad after all those theology classes I seldom feel like getting into a theological debate no matter how interesting.  Still, I think it's a good topic to think about so I'm glad TBAA brought it up.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
First, I definitely agree with the woman's (Louise's?) assessment of Andrew as a "wonderful man."  Yeah...

Initially I was a lil put-off by Andrew's behavior towards James.  Cause I thought angels were supposed to love us unconditionally or at least try to.  But then I got to thinking that sometimes part of love is helping someone realize how
detrimental their actions are.  And being all warm and fuzzy with em won't do that.  Plus, Andrew later explains that the nature of James' experience with him is up to James *not* Andrew.  So Andrew's definitely still kinda, loving, and utterly frustratingly unattainable in my eyes.  ;-)

Andrew has this cute, lil smile he makes when he's talks to James towards the end and telling him God loves him.  For a moment there I couldn't even remember what Andrew said.  Just that adorable smile.  That's not good...  But it was *that* cute.

Andrew's hand squeezing Amy Ann's right before she dies.  It's just so comforting and gentle and... he has nice hands.

Random thoughts:
Must remember that Tess is softened by the gift of a jelly donut.  LJA and her fellow Dyelanders may find that useful. 

The part with Andrew in the tunnel has so many odd associations for me.  There's the nightmare.  But then I also find it kinda amusing cause I can remember people joking it looked like he was trying to moonlight as the X-Files logo.  As for myself, it brought St. Andrew to mind cause the X is his symbol on account of the cross he was crucified on.  And I'm not particularly fond of linking our Andrew and Roman death penalty apparatuses so it's a lil odd.

I'm struck by, with all our technology, how little some medical therapies have changed.  The lung treatment Monica gives Amy Ann looks a lot like something I saw in a film version of The Secret Garden which is set in the early 1900s, I think.

This episode reminds me of My Name is Earl except, while good, definitely not as much fun.  But whenever James had his list, I kept thinking of Earl and his list.

I think there must be a lot of memorable TV moments involving snow globes.  There's this with the dove in Amy Ann's snow globe and obviously St. Elsewhere.  Watching this also called to mind a haunting image from Beauty and the Beast.  One of the episodes has either a last shot or nearly last shot of a snow globe resting in a dead man's hand.  Always gets me. 

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