"Minute by Minute"
review by Jenni:
This episode was set to air in early autumn of 2001 but, quite
rightly, was pushed back following the attacks on 9/11.
Ironically, it is now two days before the 10th anniversary and
this is the episode that pops up for me this evening. When I
started re-watching S8, I even considered watching this early
on... in its rightful order. But that didn't seem
right. So I'm watching it now and feeling a bit nervous
about that. ETA: I wound up watching the CBS version on
September 11th. Ultimately, seeing a beautiful
representation of a lovely, compassionate angel being with someone
when violence takes their life was more powerful to me than the
What I love about this episode:
like seeing all four angels together at the start. The last
two episodes I watched just didn't have much of that til the very
ends of the episodes.
This chapel in the school is so pretty. I love the woodwork.
This bit with the chocolate shake is one of the "Gloria-isms" that
I actually kinda like and have remembered fondly over the
years. She would looove that I sometimes put ice cream on my
waffles. She also has another moment in this scene that THC
cuts but that I really liked. I describe it in the last
While I agree with Andrew that it is NOT a reason for anyone to
die... I appreciate that the episode shows "John" being bullied
and how heartless his fellow student is. That young man
certainly didn't deserve to die. But his like need to wake
up and realize that they contribute to a situation that could turn
The shot of the crowd of AODs approaching the school made me cry
cause it reminded me of "Netherlands" which now always reminds me
of the Towers and also the Oklahoma City bombing. I'm pretty
sure I had that image in my head that terrible day ten years ago
and the days afterwards. There must have been so many of
them there... I hope there were. I know that Monica
was the star of the show. But for me, the AODs will always
and forever be TBAA's greatest gift to humanity. Most people
who believe in angels believe in the Monica type. Most
people who watched this show probly believed God loves them
although it was awesome to hear. But AODs... we're sketchy
on them. Our books tell us they are lovely... or they tell
us that one coldly brought about the Death of the Firstborn.
Our art shows us handsome men... and skeletal wraiths. But
TBAA, even as the actors shifted, stuck with the constant image of
a compassionate, personable entity who might literally handhold
one through the dying process. That was something a lot of
us probly needed... and still need... to believe in.
Tess telling Andrew about how the kids got up in the morning and
got ready... never knowing it might be their last day... hits hard
now. How often did we hear that phrase about the 3,000?
Corey's flashback really works for me. It gives the
character a heart. I'm glad THC didn't cut it because
without it you might think his reaction to the shooting of Sr.
Theodore was purely panic as opposed to an actual emotional
thing I like about the Corey character is he outright admits he
has perfectly normal parents. Because I think our gut
reaction is always to blame the parents of kids who do terrible
things. And, certainly, parental neglect or abuse is
sometimes responsible. But not always. Some great
parents have had children do terrible things.
So at this point I feel like I just need to say that this time
around, I'm using this section mostly just to record my
thoughts. This episode doesn't fit so nicely into the "what
I love" and "what I didn't love" boxes. It's hard to say I
love something that brings to mind such awful things. But I
suppose I love that the writers and actors could give voice to
those feelings. So... I find Sr. Theodore's questioning very
relatable. Why was she in the classroom as opposed to her
fellow nun? Why did this person take that flight as opposed
to the later one? Why did that person survive in that
staircase but someone in the other did not? There are so
many similar questions. But like these characters, all we
can do is trust in God.
As sad as it is, this is one of my favorite endings of a TBAA
episode. I like to think that if we've done something we
regret deeply, God gives us a chance to redeem ourselves. I
think that's exactly what Mary is given here. Though she
dies, she dies in peace. She took a life but she enabled
many, many lives to continue.
Lord is my light and my salvation," are fine words to end with.
What I didn't love about this episode:
Assignments named John always make these reviews a bit difficult
to word... But I spose the TBAA writers couldn't have wiped
one of the most popular male names out just cause their male lead
had it. But it does mean I end up using "John" and "fake
John" a lot.
It is just really hard to watch tonight. I forgot that the
Oklahoma City bombing gets directly referenced on top of all the
9/11 associations that were later attached.
was going to say "Yay! They did remember Monica's new gift
late into S8!" But then I remembered that this is actually
an early S8 episode. So I still think that plot line just
I wonder how everyone with TBAA felt about this
episode. They must have wrapped it not terribly long before
9/11. And while it's really not at all the same scenario
("John" and Corey are somewhat sympathetic... the terrorists are
not, the students were all saved... not everyone on 9/11 was,
etc.), I wonder if they looked back and were weirded out about how
prescient it seemed? Were *they* comforted by that shot of
the AODs? I hope so.
can remember when this episode first aired, there was a bit of
speculation on whether Sr. Theodore/Mary Rinaldi and Ruth Ann from
"The Southbound Bus" may have been the same person. It makes
me want to go back and rewatch that first episode to see. I
do remember Martha Williamson saying they had wanted to revisit
Ruth Ann but Wendy Phillips had become so memorable to the TBAA
audience as Claire Greene that they didn't feel they could.
Maybe this was their round about way to get some closure on that
Parts that made me feel swoony:
can't imagine being Andrew or any of the AODs and knowing the time
at which something tragic will happen. Just watching the
moments slip by... unable to do anything.
Andrew *does* carry a handkerchief around. I always liked
thinking he did but couldn't think of an example. Here he
hands one to Bobby. By the way, Andrew's pretty chilling in
this. He keeps so cool... so distant. Barely any
blinking. He seems so... otherworldly. Something about
how he says "I have business there..." makes me want to scream
"Listen to him! He's not messing around!"
want to hug him... This haunting, hanging around the
would-be bombers can't be good for him.
am happy that he isn't wearing a tie. He should at least be
comfortable during all this.
have now spent over half my life watching John play an
immortal. Even at that, seeing fake John shoot at Andrew
freaks the heck outta me. I know Andrew can't die. But
that anyone would want him to die is terrible. And I just
don't like seeing guns pointed out our John. Alas, not even
as Manion. There are other moments in that scene, particularly
one line that "John" says to Andrew, that are hard to see/hear
now. Well, harder.
He looks so stricken when fake John mouths off to him and
walks away... still determined to continue with his plan to
destroy the school and everyone in it.
am pathetic. When Andrew appeared in the bakery and was
talking to Tess, she raised her hand and I was like "Oh good...
she's going to squeeze his shoulder because he's
distressed." Then she just pointed and I felt really
disappointed. I think even Andrew would tell me my
priorities are a bit screwed up...
Okay... "You have no idea what Hell is" and the look on his face
as he says it makes me think Andrew has been there. I do not
like this. Maybe he's just heard things. I'm going
with that. He could also be speaking figuratively just as
fake John is... but with more of a sense of reality. While I
agree high school can be hellish, it is not Hell in the way that
Auschwitz was hell. And Andrew was for sure there.
Seeing "John" shooting at Andrew is no easier the second
time. In fact, this time I welled up. He really hates
guns. Especially the noise. And to have so much of
it... And, yes, I'm projecting. I always wanted to
protect Andrew. And Doc Hock. And Jeff. I just
didn't realize until this year that it all stemmed from wanting to
protect the person whose presence somehow protected my psyche from
hundreds of miles away. I've been thinking recently that,
while I don't believe as they do, maybe the Egyptians were on to
something with sending their dead off with a buncha
provisions. I don't think it actually did anything for the
deceased. But maybe it provided solace to those left
behind. It was one final way to protect their loved one and
usher them off to a place where they would never need protection
Sr. Theodore is singing a hymn at the start. I couldn't make
it out at first but it's the "Veni Sancte Spiritus."
It's impossible for me to divorce this episode from 9/11
apparently. Andrew's first comment on the beautiful morning
just makes me think of how everyone said the sky in NYC was so
amazingly gorgeous that morning.
hate to break it to Bobby but the cookie gun was invented a long
time ago. I can remember my mom having one from the time I
was really little. I should get one...
Snuggies were apparently made for tall people. I know this
cause I recently received ones as a gift and hadn't yet worn it
but I guess this episode made me want to give it a try. I
almost tripped... I don't get these...
It's weird to me to see all these Catholic school girls and no
plaid skirts having worn one for 13 years...
episode is apparently set on October 2, 2001 because that's the
Feast of the Guardian Angels. That's just weird to think
about cause that would mean it's supposedly happening after 9/11
but was written and filmed before anyone knew that would be
John's take on what will happen after the explosion is creepy,
especially now. He's the "lone wolf" everyone's on alert for
now. With his obsession on garnering attention and making a
point no matter the human toll... Terrifying person.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
They cut a little after Bobby arrives at Millie's. When he
goes to the back, Gloria approaches Tess and asks if she's sure
she should be doing this given she's never prepared or served
food. She frets that she may slow things down. Tess
smiles and says "Yes, baby. Yes you are." Then it goes
to "John" exiting his car in the school lot which is where THC
They also cut into the milkshake scene. After that diner
leaves the counter, Bobby compliments Gloria telling her that was
great and that he sometimes thinks about the odd combinations
people order. Gloria responds "Yes, people can be very
interesting." A jock and his girl approach. He taunts
Bobby asking if he's gonna "keep fooling around with the bimbo or
get me my breakfast burrito, dork." Gloria asks the jock
what a dork is. He tells her to look to her side. She
glances at Bobby and says "Oh, I see! An intelligent person
who is kind to others!" The jock mumbles "Losers" and walks
away. Great Gloria moment.
After she and Andrew are through talking at the diner, Tess
notices Bobby staring at the clock. She calls to him and
asks if he has something he wants to talk about. He stutters
no and says he just had a stomach ache and excuses himself.
Gloria then approaches Tess, telling her she never heard the
explosion and asking if it happened. Tess tells her that
it's been postponed for an hour. Gloria realizes that Mass
will have ended then and all the children will be headed
over. She says "Oh no!" and then stares at the clock
herself. Gloria and Tess do not fare well in the THC
Further on down the road...
I was kinda torn on whether to skip this week. I'm in
quite a good, creative mood and while I think this episode is very
well done... it's not easy. So we'll see if I watch the
whole thing or go back to writing. Then again, I'm writing
stories that contain plots involving heroin, crucifixion, and
spousal abuse so... I guess seriousness is happening.
Andrew is fierce! "I have business there..." kinda gives me
chills. And I know he's a good guy!
See, this is when the Jesus Taboo weirds me out. They show a
crucifix but then Sr. Theodore prays only to "Father." Don't
get me wrong, I pray to the Father. But generally there's a
Jesus in there... especially if I'm looking at a crucifix.
And it's weird that she prays out loud but then does the Sign of
the Cross silently. I assume cause "in the name of the Son"
mighta been a problem. This is a Catholic character.
Obviously she's Christian! It just makes me sad that PC-ness
has gotten to the point that characters with a specific religion
can't be depicted realistically.
Ha! Their priest is Fr. Mike. This amuses me.
Their Fr. Mike is older than my Fr. Mike, though.
I still remember my high school locker combination:
Okay... one line from "John" still hurts. I forgot about the
"dead guy" crack. Kinda took my breath away for a
second. Probably didn't help that it's automatically weird
for me when Andrew talks to a character named John.
Thankfully, that was soon followed by the Parade o' AODs. I
know their presence should be alarming but I love scanning the
crowd. I wish we coulda gotten to know a female AOD.
Cookie guns already exist... We had one way back when I was
little. Ah, I see I caught that last time, too. And I
never did buy one. Probably for the best. I barely
bake. It'd just sit around.
That "Hitler should have studied his history..." line is kind of
weird. Pretty sure we should be glad he didn't in that
I do think it's cool that a human gets a revelation scene and a
human gets to deliver "God loves you."
That ending... I do think it was one of their better ones.
A Word from Travis:
God is so good as He had the writers come up with stories
(“Minute by Minute”) that could comfort fans during the September
11 attacks as well as other violence that took place around the
same time “Minute by Minute” and other episodes aired. I was in
high school the day the September 11 attacks happened. I was
in Mr. Levy’s Marketing class and the class watched in horror as
planes went through the twin towers, devastating countless lives.
I remember someone escorting one of the teachers out of the school
and driving her as she had a relative who may have been in the
the Episode Guide
(The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel"
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