A review by Jenni:
I'm not sure why but I've been partial to this episode for quite a
while. Surprising since it's really a Monica-based episode.
But I don't think it's surprising when you look at some of the other
angles. Particularly the angels and love theme which should send
shippers running. :-)
What I love about this
what Monica says to George about us all being children at heart.
It's very inclusive which is good since this episode does have some us
v. them tendencies. (Tendencies I support, by the way, as they
mostly point out how angels and humans differ in matters of the
heart.) Maybe that's why angels and humans generally do get along
well on the show. Because at our core we're the same: God's
I *love* how Tess informs Monica that George doesn't want to feel
better but rather understood. That is something I have felt so
many, many times. I think we can focus too much on wanting to
"fix" people. We forget that there are times when sadness and
anger are appropriate. Sometimes ya just want someone to not so
much try to cheer you up as truly empathize with you. That
to be the heart of Tess' statement.
Puppies!!! Nice to see a representation of animal therapy.
I wish shippers would pay heed to these fine words from Tess after she
warns Monica that she's headed into "dangerous waters": "George wants a
different kind of joy than an angel is supposed to give." The
obvious conclusion? Angels are not supposed to give romantic
love. Lines like this are a lot why I love this episode!!!
I get the giggles when Tess warns Monica "not too close!" when she's
dancing with George. I half-expect Tess to reappear in a habit
shouting "Leave room for the Holy Ghost!!!"
Here's another stirring conversation that shippers should really
Monica: I had no idea it would hurt so much to break someone else's
heart. It feels so strange to be loved like this. Human
love is very complicated.
Andrew: And God's love is very simple.
Wow. It sure sounds like those two are just dying for the chance
to try some human love for themselves, doesn't it? The envy is
just soooo apparent. I'm being sarcastic, of course. Anyone
seeing Monica's fretfulness as she talks about humans' complicated love
and Andrew's calm smile as he talks about God's love should see two
people who ain't about to trade their lots in life in.
I also like that exchange for another reason. While it's Monica
speaking about human love, what she says inspires me as I write Andrew
for JABB. Because in our stories he is a character that is loved
and has the power to break hearts. Monica's statement helps me
realize how difficult a place that would be for him.
I know some people felt that TBAA had the habit of making things too
tidy and happy. And maybe they did but, gosh darn it, sometimes
tidy and happy is good. So I love that the Colonel ends up being
able to finally tell Lorraine about her husband's fate. And the
fact that via the husband's letter George learns how crucial a role he
played in troop morale... perfect. It's like the two men work
together, from different worlds, to bring peace and closure.
TBAA makes another nice, little moment in revealing that Lorraine is a
piano teacher and that at least some of Stephanie's bitterness stems
from her being a frustrated ex-pianist. I hope that after lessons
with Lorraine, Stephanie developed into a more sociable, honest,
vibrant person. I have a feeling she did!
I get a kick outta George calling Andrew "son." Just cause Andrew
is soooooooo much older.
I love that the Colonel is so light-hearted upon learning Andrew's an
AOD. Andrew needs to see more of that type of reaction.
I like that Andrew is the one that gets to tell George that Monica is
waiting for him in the park. That plays really well into
Dyeland. Andrew understands, even if he
doesn't reciprocate, the
needs (in this case closure) of someone who has fallen in love.
As something of a contrarian, I find myself at odds with two ideas that
seem taken for granted by many: happiness is the utmost goal and love
at its best is consummated love. Cause I am a sucker for
melancholy, angst, and unrequited love. So, first, Tess elevates
empathy above happiness. Yay! And then this from Monica, in
her note to Lorraine, referring to George: "I loved him well."
Simple, right? Not a big deal. Except to me it signifies
that the love Monica felt for George was, while not romantic, very
real. Which means George's unrequited love for her was not
without meaning nor was it in vain. It was a loving, inspiring
relationship even though not a romantic one. And that's great.
What I didn't love about this
a glimpse of Monica at her overly confident best at the start when
she's so sure she can get through to George. Confidence isn't a
bad thing. But I do find it a lil hard to take when the person is
as erratic as Monica is. The times she screwed up just don't jive
with her belief that she can take on anything.
Stephanie drives me batty. She's sooo condescending. What's
with the "we" all the time??? And I want to say that a retirement
home operator who freely discusses the problems of residents with other
residents would be a fired retirement home operator. But, alas, I
have read too many articles about the declining state of some
retirement homes to believe that to be true. The episode lets us
know she's a good person at heart but her management skills really are
deplorable. And who does she think she's kidding banning the word
"died"? She comes off as more than a lil deluded to me.
seems a bit put-off that Monica did research on George prior to the
assignment. Why would that be a bad thing? Sounds like a
good idea to me!
Parts that made me feel
I have an email background with images from this episode that reads "I
heart the ponytailed hippie." And I do! Andrew is
cute in this episode. And cuddly-seeming. And, again, he's
wearing layered clothing. As much as I appreciate his button
forgetfulness, I really do seem to dig the layered look.
Andrew's very sweet-looking when he's so surprised and speechless upon
seeing Monica's altered state. But after that his interaction
with Monica is completely normal and I love that. I think
because, having spent so many years now writing Dyeland, I have a
vested interest in Andrew's reaction to aged friends. If this
episode is any indication, the ladies of Dyeland will still have the
same lovable Andrew fifty years from now.
So George calls Andrew a "ponytailed hippie" who can't possibly
understand respect for the flag. To which our darling responds
that he's "folded a lotta flags in my career." That gets
me. Because in a way Andrew is a veteran many more times over
than the Colonel. We know Andrew had roles in WWII and Vietnam
and I think it would be foolish to assume an at least thousands of
years old angel only came into contact with war in the last few
decades. So God only knows how much war Andrew has seen. I
admire him for not getting defensive. Heck, I admire him for not
transferring to the angel version of a desk job a long time ago.
And not only does Andrew not get defensive, he defends the Colonel to
Stephanie. No wonder the guy's got a following!
When Monica has her dizzy spell, Andrew looks so concerned when he
kneels in front of her. I love him... Then there's what I
consider an interesting comment. Tess tells Andrew to take care
"of *our* angel girl." So I'm furthering my position on the
theory. Not only does Andrew seems like your
usual firstborn, he seems like the firstborn son whose father is absent
so he becomes a sort of de facto father to his younger sibling.
So he's sort of stuck in two positions. He seems to identify as
Monica's equal with Tess as the supervisor/mother. Yet he's also
called upon to be a secondary supervisor/father. How confusing...
I love how Andrew's caresses Monica's shoulder as she speaks
George's unrequited love for her. I want a friend like
that... Of course, then I'd be talking about my unrequited love
for him which would make that a lil more complicated...
Andrew's such a good sport about getting joshed about his abysmal
I'm left to wonder what might have happened had the roles been reversed
and it was Andrew who aged and Monica remained the same. I wonder
how she woulda handled that?
I am gravely concerned about the possibility of losing my ability to
drink coffee as I age. Yikes.
According to Tess here Monica is over 80 centuries old. Which is
a lil odd since in "Holy of Holies" Monica says she's 6000 years
old. So either Tess is confused or Monica has the all too common
habit of shaving some years off her age. :-)
Monica appears to experience heart complications in this episode.
Yet another thing to add to the list of conditions angels can
experience when in human form.
I feel the need to take note of the fact that when George says there's
"not much future in being in love with an angel," Monica shakes her
head. I can't say exactly why but I think that moment could prove
useful in later appearances of Monica in Dyeland stories. It
hints at why she may not immediately fit in so well there.
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