"The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways"

A review by Jenni:

Can't do much better than hot chai, apple crisp, and TBAA!

What I love about this episode:
I really like Ronald.  He's a fan boy!  He had a fairly large role in the original Dyeland finale (which is no longer applicable) cause I liked him so much.

Andrew and Monica encouraging Ronald about being a caseworker is very nice.  I really like to see the angels just on their own and how they express themselves when we're not around.  Unsurprisingly, here they're just as caring and compassionate as always.

I wish this weren't a clip show but if it had to be a clip show, this is a fairly interesting concept for one.  I mean an angel from Records fannishly asking questions?  Why not?  Plus, it's like watching a Parade of Hair Styles for everyone.  :-)

I'm amused by the fact that some of Tess' files are written on stone tablets. 

Wow.  Tess has something like an Abraham and Isaac moment when she prays and tells the Father that she's staying with Kelly despite believing Monica needs her.  That type of obedience was, I think, one of the more compelling aspects of the angels.

As someone who just spent much of last week filing... I'd like to think there's a way to glorify God doing that.  I agree with Monica that you can turn it into a prayer.  I spend a lot of monotonous tasks time talking to God or angels or spirits.  Please don't commit me.  It's not some Joan of Arc thing.  They don't verbally respond.  ;-)

I've had my difficult moments with Tess.  But I find it pretty impressive that she'd give away her caddy just to help Monica when she's not even sure that whatever Monica's experiencing is a legitimate crisis or just over dramatic panic.

"We all serve God in our own ways.  What matters is that we serve Him."  I need to think on that quote from Andrew when I'm scanning documents and wondering about my role in the world... 

No offense intended to Ms. Bertinelli and I know Mr. Grey likely couldn't have made this commitment but... this episode makes me wish Ronald had rounded out the cast and not Gloria.  For one, there would be more of a balance.  Three women, one man always threw me.  For another, I think he would have been better for Andrew and, let's be honest, I'm always rooting for what's best for Andrew.  I thought of this when Andrew told Ronald he had to stop being so down on himself.  Cause the truth is sometimes Andrew is too hard on himself, too.  And sometimes when you're pointing something like that out to someone else is when you realize you need to make a change in your own life.  Maybe Andrew woulda seen that over time.  Third, I think the fans coulda really related to Ronald.  Additionally, Mr. Grey is an excellent singer and dancer and, thus, I would have liked to have seen that side of him on the show.  Oh well.  And, for the record, my first choice would still be Adam.  Then Ronald.  I'd be tempted to say Sam except I think two supervisor-types could get sketchy.

I very much appreciate that Tess makes it clear that she doesn't love her car more than her *two* babies.

Ronald's adorable when he lights up and quietly says "I'm glowing..." and pats his shoulders.  So cute.

And I started crying when Brandon was talking about the stranger who gave his life for him and that he dedicated himself to helping others in an attempt to "earn the second chance he had given me."  That's something akin to where I find myself now.  While my physical life was never in jeopardy (at least not in the short-term), my spiritual and emotional ones were several times.  And often JD's work pulled me out of whatever pit of despair and confusion I was in.  How do you ever repay someone who saved your sanity more times than you can count?

"There is no greater love than to give your life for somebody else."  Andrew quoting the Bible always gets me.

"God really loves you.  Don't you ever forget that."  Tess to Kelly... and us all.

What I didn't love about this episode:
It's a clip show...  It's not that I'm totally against clip shows but when ya know there's only X amount of something, it's sad to think that some of that X is redundancy.

Even though I know it's not... watching this I kinda feel like it's sposed to be Della Reese's sign off episode.

I know that Tess is operating under the belief that Monica and only Monica is in peril.  However... it stings a lil that she never once mentions Andrew or even alludes to him when she's talking Monica up to Kelly.

Umm... why does Monica feel it necessary to take Ronald's glasses away before sending him off to be a "bold and charismatic" presence?  As a full-time glasses-wearer, I don't like the implication.  People with glasses can be totally charismatic and bold.  Go watch Andrew read poetry in "Stealing Hope" or direct a show in "The Comeback"! 

Lingering questions:
So how are we to interpret that Monica has a super thick file, assumedly thicker than Andrew's, and yet is seemingly younger?  Hmmm... 

How exactly do the angels send each other messages?  At the start, Monica says she sent Tess a message.  How?  Left a note?  Voicemail?  Courier?

Okay, really... how would Tess' singing not get in the files?  You'd think at least her role as the Countess in "Indigo Angel" would be mentioned.  And the wedding singer gig in TOTGA...

There's a moment when Andrew seems to be studying the photo of Brandon.  Are we to take that to mean that maybe he was assigned to the case when the fire broke out?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I love it when Andrew's all goofy-sarcastic about Monica being late.  (Also very in character since we're talking about Mr. Five Minutes Ahead.)  And it's very sweet that he had that banner printed.

Aww!  Now I wanna fill out a feedback questionnaire on Andrew.  That's so sweet that he's touched to know he rates so highly.  Although to me that would be pretty darn obvious.  Note to self: Do a JABB newsletter in which Ronald sneaks Dyelanders a feedback questionnaire and they all fill them out and wallpaper the Jolly Green with them.  Fun times.  :-)

I want to throw Andrew a surprise party...

I love how reassuring Andrew is to Monica about how Tess is definitely coming.  That was one of my favorite things to watch him do: assure someone they won't be left alone.  Now it's one of my favorite things to write him doing.

Pocket watch!  Except now that pocket watch makes me a lil sad for reasons I'll probly get into when I review "The Christmas Watch."

Andrew's my hero...  Well, one of em.  Definitely the one I'd most want to ride up on a white horse if need be.  Or really any color horse.  The white horse thing's a lil overdone.  Or just walk.  Main focus is on Andrew here, however he arrives.

OMG!  How did I ever forget about Andrew trying to do Tess' "squinty" look?!  Awesome!

Oh... his voice kinda breaks when he asks Monica if she's okay.  Here's how you can tell I bonded way more with him than Monica: it hits me way harder when his voice trembles than when she's actually crying.

Ooh.  Andrew gets to be the one to say the episode title.

Lucky Tess gets a kiss on the cheek from the Lovely One.

Giggle.  I love that series of facial quirks or whatever they are of Andrew's after Ronald and Monica go off to chat when he discovers who Kelly is.

Random thoughts:

Music: There's some country-sounding thing playing during the first scene at Kelly's place.  They replay Della singing "If a Man Can Dream" over clips.  Later there's another kinda bluesy one at Kelly's.  The flashbacks also have Tess singing her "I Am Cooking" ditty from MDWA, "Soon It's Gonna Rain" ("Jones V. God"), the presidents song from "Made in the U.S.A.," "When the Saints Go Marching In" from the aforementioned "Indigo Angel," "In This Place" from "Then Sings My Soul," and "He Can Work It Out" from "Last Call."  I may not have those titles down all correctly.  Tess sings "The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways" while waiting in Kelly's place.  I love that song.

This party is set at the Salt Lake Center Hotel.  And Ronald is from Records and Permanent Files.  I really need a random tidbits of info section.  Eh.  This section is fine.

It hit me kinda hard when Monica said "I just can't imagine a world without Tess."  That's what makes being an angel so great.  You really don't have to imagine your world without your heroes and loved ones unless you make yourself for some reason.  Down on earth... we live that reality day after day.  I just wasn't ready for that thought cause I went into this thinking that with this being a clip show, it wouldn't make me think too much about JD.  It did.

I sure hope God didn't have that dove in the box the whole time...

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-I'm going to say right off that with this being a clip show, they could cut clips and I probably wouldn't notice.  Since it's all stuff I've seen, it's hard to recall whether I last saw it the previous night or five years ago.  This is complicated by the fact that I've watched tons of TBAA this past month.

-Okay, they did cut a non-clip part.  THC has a segment start with a flashback to Tess singing in MDWA.  But really that segment starts with Monica, Andrew, and Ronald at the hotel.  Monica is fretting that God has sent Tess on another assignment and "we'd never see her again."  (God would do that?  That seems needlessly cruel.   He ain't doing thay in Dyeland, I can tell ya that much.)   Ronald shoots down that theory by saying that, were it the case, he would have seen it in his files.  But Monica points out that he's not currently at his desk.  Thus, Ronald agrees that Tess could be anywhere.  Andrew, clearly the theological genius of the group, says "Monica, we'd see Tess again.  No matter what."  Then Ronald, clearly not taking the hint, counters that sometimes you leave a job, promise to meet up for lunch, get busy, and suddenly a couple millennia have passed...  Poor Andrew's shaking his head at this point.  Poor me is wishing Ronald would shut up.  At which point Andrew mutters "You're not helping."  Thatta boy!  Ronald apologizes to Monica.  Teary-eyed, Monica responds that they joke about Tess' temper and such but that it's times like this she misses her and realizes all the times Tess has been there.  Then they launch into the MDWA scene.

Further on down the road...
It's hot and I'm feeling lazy so... another TBAA episode! 

I'm trying to figure the logistics of this out.  I wonder if Andrew and Monica had to pay to rent this party room?  And then the banner and the decor and the food...  They might have more money than I think they do!

Mostly I wanted to watch this episode cause I need to know what all is canon concerning the Records department.  I think I may have already screwed up...  Ronald is surprised to learn that Andrew and Monica are themselves.  So the heavenly records must not have visuals.  I said they do...  Oh well.  I really find it pretty bizarre to think Heaven can't manage some photos or drawings or whatnot.  Maybe the files show visuals to those meant to see them but they're hidden from those who shouldn't for various reasons.

It's so like Andrew to realize that Monica's wording of her message to Tess would cause a panic.  Sigh...  Lovely Andrew always trying to stay three steps ahead of everyone's moods.  So exhausting...  Glad he's immortal.

It makes me feel better to think that even angels talk to misbehaving inanimate objects.  I've never cussed out a car but I have had words with appliances...

I'm not crazy about clip shows but it is fun to see everyone's hair change in quick succession.  Also the video quality.  Ha.

It still bothers me that Andrew never got a celebration episode.  He participated with Monica's in "Psalm 151" and Tess' here.  But did Monica and Tess ever work together to throw him a shindig?  No...

What exactly were the writers trying to do with Ronald's depressing "you don't see people after you stop working together" thing?  Of course, I guess it's moot since they made the finale depressing, anyhow.  I just think they majorly undermined one of the central messages of the show by suggesting that we don't actually see who we want to in Heaven.  And even if they meant to imply that was only a reality for angels, how are we supposed to be blissful thinking others are being kept from those they love... and because of what?  They don't have time to meet up?  Everyone's just so blissed out in Heaven that they cease to care?  God's a slave driver?  Geez.

Okay, maybe I don't need to put much stock in how TBAA presented the Records department.  It's simply impossible that they wouldn't mention Tess singing.  Some of her assignments required it.  How would a file cover the Countess stint without mentioning singing?  It just doesn't make sense.  How about "The One That Got Away"?  How did that file describe Tess' role without mentioning that she was the wedding singer? 

I still wish Joel Grey would have been given a song...  If not in this then at least in "Bands of Angels."  And then they even use the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished" which, of course, makes me think of Wicked!

It's awesome to me that Joel Grey pulls off such naivete and innocence and makes it believable that an older looking gentleman might genuinely feel complete astonishment over the simplest things.  It's also fun to think this is the same fellow who played the Emcee in Cabaret.

My issues with the presentation of Records aside, I do love the way it all comes together.  Very touching with Kelly learning the truth from the very boy her dad saved.

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