"I Will Walk with You, Part II"

A review by Jenni:

With the week I've had, I wasn't even sure that I wanted to watch this.  And I'm still not sure.  So I'm giving myself permission to shut it down at any time I please and walk away.  I've had just about enough of good byes and dunno that I can handle a good bye to Andrew.  But then again... I need to see Andrew so... there it is.  (ETA: It did wind up taking me 5 partial days to deal with this episode on the site.)

What I love about this episode:
Andrew is in it.

Well, it's fun that they finally got "touched by an angel" actually worked into a script.  Thanks, Cogsworth!

Holy cow!  We finally learn Wayne's and Joey's last name.  It's Michulus or something like that.

Along with the main guest cast, some of the bit parts are played by people familiar to me from other episodes.  That's cool.  I bet it was really meaningful for them to come back just one more time.

It is really nice that Zack says he's been everywhere.  Of course! 

Satan quoting the Bible is awesome.  Not only is it crazy ironic but I think evil uses the Bible a lot.  There's a whole batch of folks in Kansas who fuel their hateful, indecent crazy talk with biblical language.  So... it's a good reminder that not everyone spouting off the Gospels is a good person. 

While I think the plot coulda used some work, the actual writing is a thing of beauty at several points.  So many double meanings.  When Patrick Duffy's character is speaking to the jury and talks about lifting the burden of guilt onto the shoulders of a stranger and motions to Zack... think about that.  It's really not a hypothetical.  Pretty sure we pulled that one off about 2000 years ago.

"When Mama Prayed"...  That's when I first lost it.  I've had way too much of people saying good bye to their praying mamas lately.  It is a beautiful song.

"Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted."  Needed that tonight...  "Zack" made that sign in more than one sense.

I like what Andrew says about the devil.  "You and I both know that he's not gonna win the war... sometimes he wins the battle."  That's something I have to remind myself of sometimes.  The war's decided.  But the battles can be rocky.

"I'm here to tell you that God loves you...  And even if no one else has seen into your heart, I know He has."  Nice quote from Monica to Zack.

"The days ahead will be very, very difficult but if you ask God to send an angel to protect you, every day, every hour, every moment... if you ask Him He will."  I believe that quote from Monica very much.

"No matter how far we are apart, no matter how many years or miles are between us... it won't matter because God has given us a gift of love that will last forever."  I do love that quote from Tess.  I feel that way about a lot of people... even if there may turn out to be many, many years between us.

Well... it's not quite as impressive as an empty tomb but an empty prison cell is pretty cool, too.

"There is life here!  There is still hope!"  Monica says this to the townspeople.  I hope we all remember that when our own lives and situations look bleak.

Love the gorgeous sweeping shot of the dove in flight.

There is one thing I can appreciate more now than I did when I was younger.  I couldn't understand how Monica just let Andrew and Gloria and Tess walk away.  I didn't understand how she could so calmly turn her back and go on her way without having some sort of breakdown in the field.  But I know now.  At least some of how it could happen.  Sometimes you need to turn your back and walk away not because you want to.  Every step may feel like a stab to your heart.  But you know that it's not God's will for you to stay and it's not His will for you to spend the rest of a person's life hanging on them just cause you can't say good bye.  So you walk away to follow His will and you do it as calmly as you can manage cause of honor and dignity and duty and faith that even if you never see them again in this world... well, there's always the next.  Then you get in the car and drive away.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Honestly, I don't think this episode very well illustrates the whole "I will walk with you" thing...  I really, really would have preferred the angels riding (or walking) into the sunset together.  No TV show is going to shake my faith in a heavenly reunion with all those I love.  However... if I was susceptible to such fears... seeing a show end with a buncha angels crying and saying good bye would NOT help with that.  It's sad for me that a show I watched for 9 years ended with an episode I really don't like but oh well.

Okay, now the clips are annoying me.  And it doesn't help my view of this episode that they show clips from "The Invitation" which just may be my least favorite episode ever.  And for crying out loud!!!  Let the lion metaphor die!!!  Of all the animals they coulda gone with, why didn't they pick one that doesn't also symbolize Jesus!?!?!  Or why not just leave the poor animals alone entirely?  In a show offering a fictional depiction of Christ, it just seems a lil odd to vilify the form of one of the best loved fictional depictions of Christ (Lewis' Aslan).  And I still think it was a mean thing to do to that poor lion.  David Ogden Stiers can consent to playing the embodiment of evil.  I'm pretty sure that lion was ticked.

It's redundant.  Monica made the same offer with Jean in "The Spirit of Liberty Moon" that she does with Zack here.  Why didn't she get a promotion then?  Why does no one... including Monica... seem to remember that time with Jean here?  This episode is completely detached from the rest of the episodes at points.  Further along those lines... why should Monica be so highly celebrated for making a promise that she never actually is made to fulfill when both Claire and Kelly actually lived out their promises and I sure didn't see God then.  I spose the case could be made that Kelly was disobedient but Claire?  Claire was a saint. 

I HATE that they had Joey used in such a terrible, terrible way.  What were they thinking!?  There was no reason for it.  It's this scene between him and Satan that clouds the Christmas episodes for me.

If I ever have the means to do a Jesus movie or TV show... I'm gonna make sure the actor playing Jesus doesn't squint through his big scenes.  I realize the sun was probly an issue but it looks shady.  And this is not me projecting.  I thought that the first time I saw this... before the unfortunate news story broke.

I'm glad Zack didn't hug Monica cause of the actor issue.  But from a purely show-based stance...  I believe in an affectionate God who cradled children and held the hands of prostitutes and wrapped grieving mothers in His arms, etc.  So not even a hand squeeze from Zack?  Chilly.

Zack's final lines pretty much just summarize how this episode is too reminiscent of "Liberty Moon."  It proves nothing.  It demonstrates nothing new about Monica.  She was already willing to give her life for a stranger... Jean.  And that plot was far more compelling and meaningful, in my opinion.

Monica doesn't even really say anything to Andrew...  She just lets him go.  And I really, really hate that there's no closure among the other angels.  They each have their moment with Monica but nothing amongst each other.  I realize the entire series was focused on Monica's development but it just seems callous to me that after all those years not even a brief moment could be spared for the other three.  Not even a single group hug.  It's all about Monica.

Lingering questions:
One wonders how it would have worked had Zack decided to spend the rest of his life in jail.  That would be one long, long, long sentence!

Zack paused for a rather bizarre space of time before he denied murdering those in the school...  Did no one think that looked a lil weird?

I wonder how they managed to find enough people for an unbiased jury?  Seems like everyone was impacted.

Do you ever wonder where the photos of dead kids in shows like this come from?  It's weird.  I mean would you submit your kid's photo for something like that?  Yet would they bother to computer generate the photos?

So did Satan know who Zack really was?

I wonder why the writers chose the name Zack?  Zachary means "the Lord remembers" which seems appropriate.  And it is a Hebrew name like Joshua.  Just wonder, though, if those factoids were figured into the choice or if they just liked the name.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
He looks lovely and so handsome...  And he really seems like he'd be such an amazing supervisor.  I woulda watched that spin-off had it ever been considered and come into being... 

Aww!  I totally forgot that Andrew alludes to Adam.  Yay.  It makes me feel better to think Andrew and Adam stayed in touched and talked sometimes.  Although I wonder how Adam knew how things were progressing with Monica's promotion?

And it probly goes without saying that if I was on the same couch as Andrew... there wouldn't be that much space between us.  :-)

I would like to grab Andrew's hand and make a run for it.  We coulda just ran outta that field and into the sunset ourselves.  No fading away.  No crying.  Just zaniness.  Forever and ever, amen. 

I love him...  I wouldn't have needed anything to remember him by.  We didn't even have good times together and I'll never forget him.  That being said, it's precious that he gives Monica his watch.  And the way he strokes her hair as he hugs her and that intake of breath after he pulls away... 

And then I can't bear what happens next but I can say one thing... John's memory will never fade. 

Random thoughts:
Music: Zack is just beginning to strum on Wayne's guitar when he arrives with his dinner.  Later Wayne plays "When Mama Prayed" in the jail. 

I've concluded there's no such thing as not having any more tears left...

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- Watched the DVD. 

Closing thoughts:
So what then to say about it all?  A few things, I suppose.

I realize now that when I first started watching this show it was because I loved angels and probably would have watched any show about them.  And I do genuinely think TBAA has so much to offer with its plots, writing, acting, music, etc.  However, I now realize that while I started out as an all-round fan, by the end of the show I was a fan of John's portrayal of Andrew first and everything else was secondary.  I'm quite sure that if, at any point after Season 5, John had left the show... I probably would have left with him.

People may read this and say "But that message of 'God loves you!'... wasn't that most important?"  Yes.  But I would have sought that message elsewhere.  For starters, I would have read and re-read Narnia where I could have felt a greater kinship with Lucy than I ever did with Monica.  And it's *not* that I dislike Monica.  I actually think it was quite interesting to see her grow up, so to speak.  I think where I ran into problems is that after a while some of her child-like aspects became off-putting.  It's rather galling to see a thirty-something display immature behavior that at 16 you already feel like you're not allowed to express.  It's downright infuriating to watch her "woe is me" routine in "Netherlands" when other people in that episode suffered far more than Monica ever did.  To watch Tess sometimes "oh, poor baby!" that when Andrew got the evil eye for his occasional displays of emotional passion... I'm afraid that's one aspect of the show I can never quite get over and maybe not even forgive.

And yet... I think there was something terribly valuable in all of this push and pull with Monica and to a lesser degree Tess.  I loved that this show portrayed two strong female characters.  Being Catholic this was especially important to me as that faith doesn't really allow for much female leadership in matters of the spirit.  So you can imagine my surprise at the dawning realization that I related so much more to Andrew... his name means 'manly' for crying out loud!... than either female lead.  I think that was a good lesson to learn, though.  The people you wind up feeling closest to, the people who you feel most get you, the people who will walk with you every step of the way may not share your gender, age, or many characteristics at all.  But there's something deeper, maybe even something undefinable that makes you see in them a kindred spirit.  And so it was that after 9 years when I look for some glimmer of my own heart, my spirit, and my hope... I find it time and again in John's portrayal of Andrew.  I loved him for that and so much more.  So maybe it's a good thing that when I do finally meet John, it will be in a place and in a time when I will never have to turn my back on him and neither of us will ever fade away. 

Thank God for that.  And thank God for this show.  While I may have my issues with assorted episodes and characters, there's no denying that some of the greatest blessings in my life... many friends, wonderful experiences, emotional and spiritual and psychological growth... all stem from this show. 

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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.)