"The Last Chapter"

A review by Jenni:

Well, I'm definitely looking forward to a more calming viewing experience than last week!  My computer is back up and running, this episode isn't as emotional, and I feel much less stressed!  Also, I have a chocolate strawberry frap.  ;-)

What I love about this episode:
I think it's great that they were able to get the same guest cast back and didn't, say, recast Sydney.  Just makes it so much more real and emotionally affective.

When you're looking forward to a new episode, flashback-heavy episodes can be really disappointing.  But on a repeat viewing, I find myself glad for them.  It's been years since I've watched "Tough Love" and when I noticed this episode was next up, I wished I'd rewatched it first.  But the flashbacks do the job well of clueing people in whether they never saw TL or just haven't in ages.

Juxtaposing the S1 episode with these S8 scenes really makes ya appreciate how much better the quality of video is these days!

I've never really thought about how similar a stroke or brain tumor might look to drunkeness.  Scary.  It's good that they highlight how "sneaky" they can be so maybe people won't write off supposedly minor cognitive episodes.

So on the JABB YG we'd been discussing how Andrew told Jordan he was glad he was born in TDDUP.  I'd forgotten about how, in TL, Sydney recalls how it changed her life and outlook when Beth said the same words to her.  And then Elizabeth echoes them.  I'm glad TBAA, in at least three episodes, demonstrated the power of those words. 

I do really like that some of the same props... like that graduation photo... resurface.  And the Billie Holiday angle is excellent.  Not only cause it ties into "God Bless the Child" but also because Elizabeth played a Holiday song in TL.  The references to "It Came Upon...," "Beautiful Dreamer," and "Godspeed" are cool, too.

Ha.  I love how Tess pops into Elizabeth's room just to tell her Monica's not leaving.  Cute.

Wow.  And the film from "Restoration."  Nifty. 

"I never get over how God uses everyday people to change the world."  Nice quote from Monica.  He does.

I like that Monica has to tell Elizabeth about the whole "make me white again" thing from "Black Like Monica."  That'd be pretty tough to fess up to with a friend.

"It is God who sustains and supports all life."  From Monica to Elizabeth.  Good to remember. 

"No one knows how many days or hours they have left in this life.  Use the hours that you have."  From the same scene.  Such words have never seemed truer than this year.

I really like how Elizabeth's voice takes over for a bit as Monica reads the last chapter.  It's very impactful.

Aww.  I love that the angel music box resurfaces.

What I didn't love about this episode:

Not enough Andrew.  ;-)

Andrew is NOT an idiot!  Jerky Elizabeth...  He's lovely and smart and everyone should love him.  At least Monica defended him.  It's nice to agree with her about Andrew.  I hope Elizabeth felt real guilty when she learned he was an angel!  Not that she shoulda said that about a human, either.

Lingering questions:
Did they ever address where Beth's dad is?  Can't remember.  Just curious.

Monica used to clasp her hands over her heart sometimes during emotional moments.  I noticed it in one of the TL flashbacks and then I think she does it in the premiere.  I wonder why she stopped?  It was kinda endearing.  Maybe I just stopped noticing.  I was, uh, distracted by another character...  A very handsome one...  Which brings me to...

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I need Andrew stat...  Okay, really, I'm enjoying the episode but 10 minutes so far without him...  The bad thing about when Andrew's scarce is it kinda makes a person want a character to have some sorta dire health issue so he definitely has reason to appear.  I have my priorities!

And right after I typed that Elizabeth passed out.  Oops.  But... Loveliness finally! 

Elizabeth's "What's up, Doc?" makes me think of Doc Hock...  Grooviness.

I wish Andrew had been my neurologist...  I really liked mine but... Dr. Andrew would be awesome.  Except I'd be wanting to schedule daily appointments and that would be bad.

That's so sweet how he holds Elizabeth's hand as they wheel her outta her room before surgery.  Aww.  And then he clasps Sydney's hand, too.  Everyone should have an Andrew around during crises.

He looks so handsome in that white coat.  And I'm digging the purple tie, too.

Random thoughts:

Music: Didn't notice any until the angel music box started playing "Amazing Grace."

All the flashbacks made capping this episode easier!

I hope Andrew was able to pick up right where he left off if he ever saw Monica, Tess, and Gloria again...  I still really dislike that finale.

I'd totally forgotten how clip-happy this episode was beyond the "Tough Love" flashbacks.  "Such a Time," "Life Before Death," "Liberty Moon," "Netherlands," "The Compass," and "Black Like Monica" all get clips. 

Scenes Hallmark cut:

They cut a couple Beth lines.  When she and Monica are in the hospital hallway, she says "I'm not really anything" and Sydney approaches.  But originally Monica replies "I think that's what it feels like to be a teenager."  Beth: "Naw.  It's just what being me is like and I'm gonna be this way forever.  Some people are smart and special like my grandmother and some people just... exist."  *Then* Sydney storms out of Elizabeth's room.  It's nifty to be able to have the CBS version on the TV and then have the THC version run on the laptop in the same room.  Much nicer than dashing from room to room to verify when I was unsure about a cut!

- If they shaved some off the flashbacks, I'm unlikely to have noticed.  Just FYI.  I didn't catch anything else.  Was kinda hoping for cut Andrew scenes so I could blame the lack of him on THC and not TPTB at TBAA...  Oh well.

Further on down the road...
Eh.  Kinda had to psych myself up and bribe myself with pumpkin popcorn to watch this.  Clip show meets not much Andrew time and I kinda just wanna skip it. 
But I won't.  I used to not mind them (see above) but I think now having all 9 seasons on DVD, clip shows just aren't that compelling.  This popcorn is yummy, though. 

I can't imagine being so rude to an angel...  Well, unless they ticked me off and I thought I was in the right.  ;-) 

I'm gonna need some cocoa, too...

I wonder if these episodes are related more to the writers really wanting to continue a story or just which actors were available when.  Like did TPTB with the show just make calls until they found enough of a cast from a pre-existing episode and then wrote that sequel?  Or did they seriously want a sequel to "Tough Love" and hoped for the best?  Maybe that because they followed up on "Joe's Return" despite having to re-cast the bereaved mother.

Sometimes TBAA makes me feel like I live in some backwards bubble of awesomeness.  A lot of people I know talk pretty openly about supernatural things that happened to them.  Granted, none of us are world-class journalists.  But sometimes it does feel like it maybe coulda bordered on self-fulfilling prophecy.  When the show about angels lets on like it might be odd to talk about angel experiences... one might start to believe that.  I'm trying to remember if there was an episode featuring someone talking freely to other humans about their angel experience.  Hmm...  Joey did in his episodes some, I think.

We're at 27 minutes and no Andrew...

Maybe the upside to TV series generally having fewer episodes per season these days is that there's less need for clip shows to fill time.  It would have been a lot more compelling to hear Monica talk about her favorite assignments and get some interior monologue rather than just watch stuff we've already seen but then that wouldn't have saved production time, I guess.

33 minutes and no Andrew...

Ha!  I just needed to wait about 25 more seconds.  Yay!  Andrew!!!!!!!!!!  Don't leave, Andrew...

OMG.  Andrew is not an idiot.  At least Monica and I agree on that.

A Word from Travis:
I can’t wait to see this episode as its about Elizabeth (played by Phylicia Rashad) from “Tough Love”. I’m definitely a fan of an episode that features characters that the angels visited on a previous occasion.

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