A review by Jenni:
It's Good Friday. I debated whether or not I should watch
this on a day that I'm already emotionally amped up. But I
was off today so last night I felt like I should be watching
TBAA. Thus, already I feel one day deprived. So here I
go for good or ill.
ETA: So... I got about eight minutes into this episode (before the
explosion even), freaked out, sobbed for a while, crashed, and
then woke up about 9 hours later. Best sleep I've had in a
long time, at least! So... much of this was written on
Easter Saturday... much kinder day.
What I love about this episode:
I dislike the intro scene (at least I dislike what Monica has to
say even though I increasingly find her saying it believable) but
the thrift shop guy gets me. Him I feel some kinship with.
Yes, falling for an angel's quite the experience. Poor guy.
Well, Monica's pretty graceful in how she turns shop guy
down. I admire that. I just start blabbering some
really awful "It's not you, it's me" speech that makes me sound
loony. Well, at least that's what I did the one and only
time it was necessary...
I got a giggle outta Tess calling Gloria "little Miss
I think it's sweet that Madeline braids Gloria's hair and then
names her. Aww! And I completely forgot about her
justification that the braids would keep hair outta Gloria's eyes
when she flew.
Gloria is pretty cute when she proudly tells Tess and Monica her
name and then corrects Tess on not being "baby." I'm trying
One thing I have long loved about this episode is that it shows
you female AODs. Cause I think, were I an angel, that's what
I'd want to eventually be. (Assuming Angel of Encouraging
Andrew was not available.) So I was happy to know it wasn't
gender-specific. Plus, as sad as this is, I like thinking
that there are so many so that absolutely everyone has one.
Martha Williamson is right that this takes on a different,
stronger element post 9-11.
Those shots of the AODs with the spirits (some even chatting and
smiling) are beautiful and lovely and it helps to see them.
I totally don't think I ever noticed that you see an AOD take off
with someone in the first hospital scene. I love them.
I really believe what Tess says about how Madeline's spirit will
know that Gloria is holding her hand, even though she's
unconscious. Also, it was pretty ingenuous to give Gloria a
pad of paper and a pen.
"You will never understand love on earth, until you understand
death." A quote from Tess. I think that's probly
true. I think sometimes that's why we love so
desperately. Because even when we don't think about it, we
know that we might not have much time. And then there's the
longing type of love that comes after someone dies. You
can't understand that without experiencing death. You can
barely understand it with death. Just feel it.
The Driver does have a point about it "taking twice as many
miracles to get their attention." I think in daily life many
of us do thank God for the good things. But news coverage is
pretty much negatively focused. Panic sells.
Maybe the intro scene I gripe about below is actually kinda
genius... The Driver seems to be playing on Monica's sense
of being put upon. Maybe we're not supposed to take that
scene with her and Gloria seriously. Maybe we're supposed to
hear it and think "Okay, Monica's
completely wrong and being a downer here." Maybe while
the explosion was the immediate impetus for Monica's abandonment,
we're meant to think that it's actually just the straw that broke
the camel's back and her thinking's been a lil faulty for a
while. I hope so. Otherwise I feel belittled by the
writers if we were sposed to buy that intro.
The elderly gentleman with his wife is beautiful.
I think this is the only incarnation of Satan/a demon on TBAA that
I find at all compelling or legitimate or threatening.
Wow. I actually do think the intro is genius. When
with Satan, Monica rants about how we don't really love and then
agrees she'd make a better human and lover. So I think she
really is just screwed up, has a negative opinion of us, and this
temptation was gonna happen at some point, anyhow.
Monica putting her hands over her empty womb is pretty
gut-wrenching. I suppose I should admit I've had this sort
of moment. When I hear of child abuse, I do think I would be
a better mother and lover. And, yes, I've done that exact
gesture. But, unlike Monica, I would never lump all of
humanity into a bundle and walk away. Still, it was good to
have a moment of sympathy with her. Brief though it was.
Monica talks about her faith having been shaken. I like that
cause it's yet more proof that the TBAA rule of "angels have no
faith" always made zero sense and they musta come to realize that.
Ya know, maybe my take on Monica here suffers cause of comparisons
to Jesus during the time of year when His sufferings weigh most
heavily. Yesterday I watched the film Jesus starring Jeremy
Sisto and it's maybe a little hard to sympathize with Monica's
"Why have you forsaken me?" when I last heard it choked out by a
dying man who truly had suffered at the hands of humans and loved
us still, without ever walking away from us. Further, that
film has a gut-wrenching temptation scene that makes this look
like a cake walk. Even from a strictly biblical take, Jesus
had it far worse. Although, of course, I understand that an
angel can't be expected to be as holy as God. Just saying
that my irritation with Monica probly has other sources. At
least in part.
It is beautiful when they pan out after Monica comes back and you
see all that beauty.
Gloria telling the story to Madeline is endearing. I think
that's what's so vexing about her to me. At parts, I do love
Gloria. But I just wish she'd been a guest angel.
Cause in the longterm, week by week basis... she wore on me.
What I didn't love about
Right off the bat I find this intro scene
kinda condescending. Most of us don't believe in angels,
Monica? Stats I've seen say it's half to a bit over
half. But, regardless, this is TBAA! Probly most of
the TBAA audience does believe in angels and right off having Monica say most
of us don't... doesn't exactly give me the warm fuzzies. I
feel alienated. OMG! And then she goes onto say that
most of us never imagine they're right here with us. Lady, I
spend a crazy amount of time thinking about you lot. Okay,
maybe mostly the males of the population. But still...
And it makes me feel guilty. Monica tells Gloria she comes
to earth cause she's an angel and God asked her to. And "He
loves them." I pray to God they actually *want* to spend
time with us. And He loves them, too! If He
doesn't... I'm gonna have some issues. ETA: I'm
now interpreting both these points as Monica just being screwed
up... not a TBAA writer actually suggesting the audience doesn't
believe in or think about angels nor that God doesn't love them as
much. So I dislike Monica's attitude. I like what the
writers have done, though.
No offense at all intended to Ms. Bertinelli but really I found
the entire character of Gloria to be condescending. "Angel
of the 21st Century"? I do not get her. I do not
relate to her. In articles we were told she was brought in
for us younger folks to relate to. Guess what? I still
related most to Andrew. And all this talk about Gloria not
knowing how to use her heart makes me wonder if the writers
thought my generation was just emotionally clueless (believe me, I
have a heart in case some of the stuff I've written here hasn't
made that obvious) or if that was a character element independent
of what they thought we'd find relatable. I pray it's the
latter. Cause, lemme tell you, right after 9-11 I was with a
bunch of my peers and no one was acting like Gloria talking about
timing of explosions. We were in shock and crying and
Honestly, I don't think Monica's behavior in this would even bug
me that much if not for having just been fed all this about
Monica's heart not being like anyone else's combined with the
guilt trip from on high. Although maybe it still
would. This episode hits upon just about everything I
dislike in Monica and how she's dealt with. I just hate that
Monica's so often portrayed as the greatest when Andrew keeps
focused, keeps faithful and doesn't have these whiny moments of
generalization. Yes, Andrew's walked away from
assignments. But I don't recall him ever lumping us all
together and giving up on us. So save me the speeches about
Monica's heart. And, no, I'm not too stupid to realize that
a lot of my reaction is heightened by John's death by heart
attack. On any given day, I would scoff at the idea of
upholding Monica's heart over Andrew's. But knowing what
happened to the heart of the beautiful man who brought Andrew to
life just makes that sorta dialogue unbearable to me.
I definitely agree with Ms. Williamson that this episode is more
meaningful post-9-11. But I think it also makes me angrier
with Monica. After 9-11, there was so much coming
together. And, yes, there were some instances of people
lashing out at others cause they'd lumped them in with the
terrorists. But mostly there was love and sacrifice and
compassion and hope and faith even in the
midst of great fear and grief and the reminder of our own
mortality. Having seen that in my fellow humans, watching an
angel go off the deep end and lump us all into some hopeless
bundle makes me think that angel really needs to grow up.
Why would Gloria know numbers and language and stuff and
not basic conversational skills and whatnot? It seems like
they partly based her on a baby and part not.
I wonder how it made Mercedes feel to have one of their cars
driven by Satan? ;-)
that made me feel swoony:
For the record, I refuse to believe Andrew was born as stupid as
Gloria. I just can't believe it. I'm sure he was
lovely and adorable from second one on.
I wish Andrew had given Gloria her intro about being an
angel. Monica's just made me unhappy, guilty, and
combative. I hope it didn't screw Gloria up.
Oh God. There are daffodils all over. I noticed them
just when Tess approached and after that I burst into tears and
I'm going to have to try this again tomorrow. (To those
reading this thinking "Huh?!"... daffodils have long been a symbol
for Andrew in JABB stories. Then, following John's death, I
had a rather amazing daffodil experience. So now they're
forever linked to Mr. Dye in my mind.)
I don't care what's going on or how tragic it's going to be.
I'm just glad when we get to see him. Andrew doesn't even
have to say anything. He's just... him.
The way he stands there, waiting for the other AODs to enter the
building, makes Andrew look princely. Like maybe he's
silently comforting them before they witness what they're going to
as a prince might once have rallied his troops. Or it's just
that I'm crying again and ultra-sappy.
Ya know, I feel really sorry for Monica. I do. But
Andrew was in there. Andrew saw the bodies and heard the
cries. But Andrew kept it together. This is why I love
him and sometimes barely recognize her as the person I once
considered a role model. And Tess playing up the supremacy
of Monica's heart is just plain hard to hear. I want to
shake her. The most loving heart "bears all things, believes
all things, hopes all things, endures all things." And the
person with that heart is the one in the building and the
hospital, not the one wandering off. I really can't deal
with this Monica exceptionalism now. From the sounds of it,
Andrew was in that building for the greater part of the day with
Jane. I bet he woulda liked to have gone elsewhere.
But he didn't.
Gah, I needed that smile. It made me smile, too. I'm
talking about when Andrew beams at Gloria after she finds
Madeline. Then he puts his arm around Tess.
It probly says something about me that when Monica was being
tempted, not only did I find walking away from God unfathomable
but also clearly remember thinking "You'd leave Andrew?!?" I
also remember thinking that if I were an angel and Satan was
trying to tempt me with a human life with husband and kids... Shop
Guy wouldn't cut it. Although I understand that Monica
likely would have more of an incest taboo with Andrew than I would
so I'm not suggesting *she* should have dreamed of that life with
Andrew. Just saying I would have. Thank God Monica
didn't. I would have had to gauge my eyes out seeing
that. Yuck. Andrew deserves better. Sorry!
But it's how I feel. Also, he's not into that. He's an
excellent angel who wouldn't throw us or God over for his own
ambitions and wishes. I love him...
I would feel more sorry for Monica being lonely if not for the
fact that she kinda treats Andrew, who is such a good friend to
her and would help her with that, cruddily. And, honestly, I
don't think it's just my human passion saying that. There's
no way Satan's hug could be as nice as Andrew's... This is
just galling. How can she be even a lil bit swayed by
Satan's tenderness when she has the real thing?!? I don't
think I've changed much since 2001... I still can't
understand Monica considering walking away from God and
Andrew. The best Father ever, the best friend ever.
What more does she think there is?
Ironically, "No One is Alone" is one of the songs I've been
listening to a lot in the wake of John Dye's passing. It
makes me feel better. I prefer the Victor Garber version,
though. But I'm biased.
I'd throw away all the hugs and tender looks from the Driver just
for that one hand squeeze at the end with lovely, beloved Andrew.
Music: Madeline sings "Angels
We Have Heard on High." Very cute. Later, Gloria sings
it to her. The Driver has some rock crud playing in his
car. Mandy Patinkin sings "No One is Alone."
We're told by Tess that Monica has "a few thousand years under her
belt." So... sorta kinda an age hint. Also she
apparently knew Satan before his fall. But another line ("From the
moment I was created, I have spent my entire existence avoiding
you.") suggests otherwise.
Now I am drinking a mocha. Whatever other feelings I may
have about Monica, I should remember that without her I wouldn't
know the wonder that is mocha and coffee in general.
Human Monica named her daughter Tess. She darn well better
have named a boy Andrew.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
- I watched this on the "Hope" DVD set so have not seen the
Hallmark cut. But here's something unfortunate: on the promo
for this episode there's a scene of Andrew and Tess at the
hospital. He says, fretful, "When will Monica be
back?" Tess reponds "Only God knows, Angel Boy." Which
makes me wonder what else was cut from these episodes... The
scene appears to be the same one in which Gloria is telling her
story. But it wasn't in the CBS version, either. It
was just truly cut.
Further on down the road...
So... I'm going to try to write a story the centers
around Monica and thus need to deal with this episode. I'm
hoping it all goes okay because to date I still find myself
infuriated with Monica when I think of her in this episode.
We'll see how this goes...
Okay, it's weird to
me that of all the photos they no doubt have at their disposal,
they chose one of Monica wearing the JCD Staff polo from "Band of
Angels" for the "Episodes" menu on the DVD. You'd think
they'd pick something not branded looking. Anyhow...
OMG. The first words out of her mouth are annoying.
According to three polls I looked at more Americans believe in
angels than do not. Granted, Monica is likely talking about
the whole world and not just Americans. I would actually
hope this to be the case but even if not... get over
yourself! Near as I can tell, Monica spends most of her time
in America and I think Gloria ends up working exclusively in
America at least from what we saw. So Monica is painting a
far bleaker picture than there's any reason to. Although I
will give her that the Victoria's Secret angels thing is creepy.
I'm glad that Monica's "Did He mention that?" assumes some
interaction between God and Gloria happened. But Gloria's
lack of knowledge still makes Him look cruddy to me. And God
is not cruddy.
Too. I would have added a "too" at the end of "Because He
loves them." Again, it makes God seem cruddy to imply that
He loves us more than the angels. God is not a human parent
with limited resources and time.
And another crack about us not believing angels are
around... I'm sorry but I just can't shake the feeling that
right about here in the series, TPTB really started talking down
to the audience. I know in my earlier review I wrote that
maybe the writers didn't mean the lines but fed them to Monica to
show Monica was already off. But then the more I think about
the Gloria press... I dunno. We're not stupid. Having
Monica use a faulty logical argument in the previous episode and
then here paint a picture of belief in angels that is quite
dubious makes me think that they assumed they could just pass
half-baked stuff off and no one would notice. And that makes
me sad although less mystified about why my devotion to the show
lagged in S8.
The dude Monica has the meet-cute with is Mike Rice. I
needed to know this... And Monica tells him she is already
attached ("something like that" anyway) and if not would have
really liked to have had dinner with him. Hmm...
Plotting is really the only thing that's gonna get me through this
episode. Poor Andrew can't even do that cause just seeing
him in this episode makes me feel angry that Monica would walk
away from that studly awesomeness.
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that God apparently created
an angel for the 21st Century to encourage us to "find a balance"
and yet God seems to have done this as a rush job with seemingly
little to no consideration for Gloria's emotional
well-being? Tess' talk to Monica at least shows that the
writers considered Gloria's plight and thought it out but in many
ways it just makes it worse that they then didn't take the next
step of thinking "Why would God strand this utterly new creature
like this? We prosecute humans for this but apparently it's
okay if God does it?" That's nice that He paired her with
Monica to guide her but a sister is not the same as a parent.
Sigh... About 12:15 is when Andrew arrives.
And now we will watch twenty some minutes of Monica hijacking
other people's tragedy... I totally understand her going off
on Gloria but everything after that seems selfish and the point at
which I really ceased to respect Monica. So sorry that she
had to witness that but she gets to return to Heaven and see all
those people. They left behind parents, lovers, children,
friends, etc. who may spend decades missing them. So excuse
me for not really caring about poor Monica and her oh-so-special
heart. Even if I was going to get really wrapped up in an
angel's experience... how about those AODs? God knows what
they had to see that was far more graphic and wrenching than what
I bet the Mercedes people were super psyched that Satan is driving
one of their cars in this. And, yeah, I had to Google to
find out what logo that was... I'd forgotten... although I
probably Googled it last time, too.
So the bomber ends up in a barn in Iowa. I need to make a
guess on where this episode is set so that narrows it down some.
Maybe this is a stupid question but why did Monica get in the
car? If she was mad at God and/or humanity then fine.
But why not just tell Satan to back off and keep on walking by
herself? I mean what did she think was going to happen?
This lovely couple just makes me angrier with Monica. This
man has a right to behave as Monica is behaving. She does
not. I just want to slap her when she's going on about how
humans don't know how to love. There is a man possibly
saying good bye to the love of his life and she is behaving like a
narcissistic snot. If she'd actually behaved decently, she
would have seen true love.
All that being said... I don't know that any childless woman can
see the shot of Monica placing her hands over her womb and not
feel something. That does get to me.
I am glad that Monica puts up a fight. But it still really
bothers me that it's I, I, I, and my, my, my and not a single
moment of "Maybe I should go back because people are in
I think part of what bothered me was when this first came out,
some people compared it to Jesus' temptation in desert. Heck
to the no. Last I checked, Jesus didn't go out into the
desert because He thought we were all lousy and to heck with
us. He loves us even when we're screw-ups.
And then Monica just waltzes back and acts like she still has the
same moral authority she did before... I'm sorry but I feel
like Monica betrayed the whole lot of us and her just swooping
back in and talking to Madeline... who she barely gave any thought
to during her flip-out... really galls me. But then it gets
Why, in the name of all that is holy, did they think it was a good
idea to have Madeline request that Gloria goes along with her and
Andrew to Heaven and then have that denied?!?! Why would God
do that?!?! It's stupid. It's just plain stupid and
senseless. What were they thinking??? You can't tell
me that God wouldn't make allowances for that if it would help a
child who has suffered immensely. I'm sorry but my God is
better than that. I mean I love Andrew but poor Madeline has
no idea who he is. If it would help her to have a friend
then no loving Father would deny that.
In closing... frickety, frick, frick.
the Episode Guide
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