A review by Jenni:
I wasn't planning on reviewing an episode this weekend because
it's my last before I head out on vacation and I'm really busy
with preparations. But I didn't want to leave off with TDDUP
and have that haunt me the whole trip. So... "The Occupant"
is *much* easier for me to leave behind. I really don't care
for this episode.
What I love about this episode:
I love Carolee Mayne's "A League of Angels" at the start and end
of this episode. In fact, I think it's the highlight of this
episode for me. Or one of three, at least.
Hallelujah! Monica actually reached out and touched Andrew
first and asked if he was alright at the beginning.
Yippee! So, yes, she can be supportive of him and he can be
emotionally open. There is hope!
So I just noticed something. Even though Andrew's Halloween
stance kinda irks me (see the next section), he does clearly say
here that it most bothers him when he's working. So that
sounds like license to me to have him enjoy the annual Dyeland
Halloween parties (where he doesn't work)! ;-) To me,
that says he's okay with Halloween if it involves someone shoving
cookies and cocoa at him and oohing and aahing over his Indiana
Jones costume possibly while slow dancing to Loreena McKennitt's
"Samain Night" (not that I've given this any thought...). I
love how I've begun doing episode exegesis to support
Dyeland. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. Long live
I loved the Halloween decorations in the hospital. Some
looked a lot like ones we used to have so it totally made me
nostalgic and then I wanted to start decorating for
Halloween. I love my Halloween decorations.
I think it's cool that Andrew's purpose here was simply to recall
a previous assignment and provide the key to help release
Lonnie. It really highlights my view that the AODs', beyond
their obvious function, also serve as witnesses to our history and
then can give voice to that in the present and future to help us.
"The lost can be found again." A nice Monica quote.
awesome in her circa 1970s gear. Although it makes me wish
we'd seen Andrew in 60s/70s apparel. Doc Hock isn't the
I think it's kinda creepy-cool that Gregory first shows up in a
mirror. Just cause I used to be phobic of mirrors. I
got it into my head that spirits could come through them.
Cause it was a superstition about ghosts I saw on some show.
Ha! As much as TBAA knocks superstition... they can't escape
"God never gives up on his children." There's a lovely quote
As much as I don't like this episode, I do think the fellow
playing Lonnie/Gregory did a stellar job. There are a
handful of moments that really get me. When he asks Andrew
to "please, take what's left"... breaks your heart.
I love what Tess has to say about how sometimes people of faith
can be like a stick in the ground that props up those who are
struggling with their faith. Excellent metaphor!
I got kinda giddy watching Gregory leap around and growl. It
made me think of "Moonlight." I don't think I was sposed to
get the warm fuzzies from that...
Lonnie's and Duncan's embrace at the end is beautiful. The
expression on Lonnie's face... at last peaceful and comfortable...
made it worth watching this episode for me. So I guess
that's another highlight.
What I didn't love about
Seriously, someone needed to get these people out and
somewhere fun for Halloween. Halloween makes Andrew
sadder??? That just makes me sad! God should have at
least given him one year as a grade school teacher or something so
he could see the kids gleefully wolf down pumpkin shaped sugar
cookies while dressed up as superheroes and storybook
characters. That's Halloween to me! Oh well.
More fun for me in Dyeland-mode.
While I've always thought Andrew's hatred of Halloween was an
amusing plot point, I also find it kind of lame. It
expresses a very narrow view of Halloween, completely stripped of
assorted cultural and religious associations. And if me at
not quite 28 can appreciate those elements, an immortal who has
seen much more should appreciate them even more. Hate
aspects of Halloween, by all means. I do, too.
(Although more the "Let's use it as an excuse to dress trampy!"
aspect than anything gory.) But lumping it all together is
lazy, borderline offensive writing, IMO. If Andrew is going
to develop a hatred for something that sometimes causes bad
effects, then he should hate computers and all alcohol, champagne
included. All that being said, I'd have bought it more if he
developed his hatred for Halloween *after* this episode.
Confronting a demon would probly make me hate whatever date that
I find it a lil too fishy that Duncan's not at all thrown by his
teacher not aging in 35 years. Especially when Gregory draws
attention to it.
The neighborhood kids are HORRIBLE children. Where are the
friggin' parents of these hellions?!?
I'm just not crazy about how eager TBAA always was to link
anything related to magic or superstition with evil. I mean,
sure, some people who use Tarot and such are likely cruddy
people. But there are some cruddy Bible carriers, too.
Again, it's a complete failure to consider any sort of cultural
element. And, for the record, I have never used Tarot so
it's not like I'm looking to defend myself. But I know
people who have and they're not evil folks. To me, the most
disturbing part of that scene is that the girl promises that the
spirits will get Lonnie whatever he wants. That sort of
materialism and egocentricism IS a problem. And let's not be
naive and think that those "ideals" haven't made their way into
some strains of Christianity. But that, far more legitimate
problem IMO, is left unchallenged here.
Further, let's not kid ourselves by blaming bad behavior on
demons. I'm not saying demon possession isn't
possible. I don't know. But people do horrible, cruel,
violent things. And I think we'd do better to consider why
our fellow humans embrace violence than going to "A demon made him
do it." I just have a hard time believing anyone in the TBAA
viewing audience watched this and said "Wow! I have seen the
light! I shall expel this demon and live a righteous life
now!" I guess what I'm saying is I don't feel this episode
is speaking to a real issue much.
While I was amused by the possible non-deliberate play on a mirror
superstition, I find the focus on midnight to be a lil eye brow
raising. TBAA knocks magic and the occult yet builds an
episode around some of the very tropes they turn their noses up
at. It's like they're trading on our knowledge of these
beliefs all the while scorning them. The same thing happens
with the seed. They stress how it has no real power yet have
a scene in which Gregory seems irritated ("tiresome," he says) by
its presence as if it was some sort of talisman. It reminds
me of someone using a crucifix to keep a vampire at bay.
Scenes like that suggest objects do have power. So if you're
going to say they don't, don't include even a hint of the idea in
This is definitely my least favorite of the episodes featuring
demons. And I think one reason is because it treats Gregory
as a non-entity. One of my favorite parts of "In the Name of
God" is when Tess tells Satan that God loves him. What an
incredible thing! And then Kathleen is portrayed as almost a
tragic heroine in "Clipped Wings." I thought the episode was
holding out the possibility that she'd turn back to the
light. But here it seems like no one gives a care about
Gregory. It's wonderful that they save Lonnie but Gregory
was created by God, too. It's like they just gave him up as
a lost cause. When Gregory asks "What about me?" I can't
help but want an answer.
While I appreciate that they have a scene wherein Tess tells
Duncan that real MPD/DID exists, it seemed too little, too late to
me. Don't we have enough of a stigma attached to mental
illness without suggesting that something that presents as MPD/DID
*might* be possession? It's the same feeling I describe
above: this episode seemed not to speak to a legitimate
issue. Even if demon possession is real, I can all but
guarantee that of the TBAA viewers who watched this far more are
likely to suffer from a mental illness and NOT be helped by
furthering a stigma than tuned in and thought "I'm possessed like
that guy! There ishope!"
Groan... Tess uttered the angels don't need faith thing
again. If I could strike one "rule" from TBAA... that would
be it. It's such a massive over-simplication of faith.
No, angels don't need faith to tell them that God exists.
But faith is more than a question of whether or not God
exists. It also involves trusting Him to see you through,
knowing that whatever happens, He's in charge, etc. The
angels clearly need that sort of faith. If they didn't have
any faith at all, if they *knew* not only that God exists but also
that He'd *never* let them down then Tess and Monica would never
have gone to the Netherworld and Andrew wouldn't have sunk into
his shame spiral in TDDUP. Those certainly look like
struggles with faith to me. They may not need existential
faith but they need a heaping lot of experiential faith. It
wouldn't bother me so much except sometimes this treatment of
faith sneaks into their dealings with the human characters like
Andrew's ill-considered jab at Elisa about her lack of faith in
I have a hard time following exactly who the angels are
talking about/to at points: Gregory or Lonnie? Like when
Tess calls him "baby" and then he says she was like a mother to
him... is that meant only to say that she and Lonnie had been
close? Or is it possible that Gregory was once a protege of
Maybe did I just grow up with a rosier spin on Halloween than
most? That bad seed of a kid says it's when evil spirits
come up from Hell. What!? I mean we totally thought
ghosts were more prevalent at Halloween but I so do not remember
an evil spirits from Hell aspect. Where did these writers
grow up!?! No wonder their characters hate Halloween.
Where is Shia LeBeouf in this? He must have been one of the
neighborhood kids but I didn't think any looked like him.
Maybe the kid I mentioned above?
Why does the preacher Duncan greets while exiting the church
post-funeral look so familiar? Is he the deacon in the first
couple Christmas episodes? I think he was in at least one
more TBAA episode and that's what came to mind but I'm not
How many times will something have to happen before TV nurses and
doctors learn that you NEVER turn your back on troubled
Parts that made me feel
Good gravy. Is it just me or does Andrew look especially
fetching while brooding in that hat? That's the other
highlight of the episode for me.
Kinda gets me in the gut when Andrew's clothing changes and he
walks alone into the dark street... Andrew walking alone on
a dark street shots always get me.
I want to hug our AOD!!! He looks so scared and his voice is
kinda trembly after he meets Gregory. I think hormonal,
clingy girl just might be a real good weapon against annoying,
When Gregory causes that earthquake, it looks like Andrew reaches
over to steady Monica. I love it when he's
chivalrous... But it makes me jealous.
Andrew was cute through out, of course, but I didn't really latch
onto anything in particular after that point. It was kinda
weird seeing him come off as more clueless than Monica for once.
Mayne's "A League of Angels."
Men's clothes are much more timeless than women's it seems.
You can date a scene based on what Monica is wearing often.
But if Andrew is wearing a suit in a scene, it may just as well be
the 60s as the 90s. Or think about some period pieces.
A guy wearing a tux in those typically doesn't look that much
different from a modern groom.
This episode really made me want to bring Eben back to Dyeland and
resolve that... but I can't, yet.
Sometimes I have a bad feeling that if a TBAA writer walked into
my house they'd think I was an occultist... Lotsa candles,
incense, mystical looking stuff, etc. Oh well. It'd
probly really throw em for a loop if they saw my bedroom with its
Wall o' Jesus.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-There are exterior shots through out that THC may have
shortened. Not sure.
-The scene with the Tarot girl goes on to show them using the
Ouija board. It spells out "Love me" and there are closeups
on her come
hither eyes. I think it just makes the character even more
of a caricature (and not a very good one given this episode
completely lacks any positive women- meaning human-
characters) so I'm rather glad it was
cut. When in your whole episode all you can come up with is
a devilish temptress and a deadbeat mom, as a woman I'm not really
-After Gregory declares that Lonnie is fully possessed, there's
another scene of him and the trio in the hall. Gregory brags
about crushing the magic seed. Andrew stresses it wasn't
magic. Tess leaves and soon after Gregory sneaks off.
Andrew ponders how rushed Gregory seemed to be. He and
Monica conclude that he lied about Lonnie being fully overtaken.
-It then goes directly to Duncan in his office. He calls
home and tells his wife about Lonnie being there. He asks
her to pray for them both and laments that he doesn't know what to
do. Then Tess enters.
Further on down the road...
Well, I've decided this is my least favorite episode of
TBAA. But it's Friday night and I wanna watch TBAA so here
Sigh... if only the whole episode coulda been as good as the
opening. Andrew looks stunning. The music is
wonderful. It's a great throwback to Season 3.
Sadly, Halloween has started to seem sad to me. I don't
really know why but about 7 years ago it just became melancholy
somehow. I don't think it has anything to do with
evil. Just growing up. I still really enjoy and love
Halloween. Maybe I mean wistfulness more than
I never loved this episode but I really began to strongly dislike
it after TBAA ended. I think back when it first aired, it
was disappointing to me but just one in an endless supply of
TBAA. But then the supply ended. And there were still
topics that the show didn't get around to. So when the show
ended with eating disorders hardly covered, bullying only treated
as a side issue in a few episodes, and so on... spending an
episode on demon possession seemed like a waste. And,
honestly, I still think it is. I'm not saying it doesn't
happen. But the odds are the viewing audience was far more
likely to struggle with an eating disorder, bullying, or other
rather than demon possession. Plus the mental health aspect
is just sloppy.
Andrew is beautiful and lovely and loving in his first scene with
Lonnie. So that's nice.
I was curious what the verses are that Tess has on the
board. So from NIV... Psalm 2:2-3 is "The kings of the earth
rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against
his anointed, saying, 'Let us break their chains and throw off
their shackles.'" Only that bolded part would have
been what she wrote on the board. Proverbs 7:2 is "Keep my commands and you
will live; guard
my teachings as the apple of your eye." The Proverbs
verse seems good for Sunday school. Odd bit of the
Psalms, though, I think...
So today, among other topics, my Bible study group discussed
how Satan can use our guilt to get us. If nothing else,
at least this episode gets that right. But I still wish
they'd left the possession element out of this. It's
overdone, over-simplified, and all too often feeds right into
the stigma attached to mental illness and the misinformation
that surrounds it. Plus, how many more people might have
been reached by a less flashy story in which a man fought
against guilt that consumed him yet led a functional
life? People might have said "Wow. I see myself in
him. I need to work on that guilt issue in my life so it
doesn't distance me from God..." It's kinda hard to
relate to someone who keeps flashing into demonic mode.
The sad part is the fellow playing Lonnie/Gregory does a
really great job. Some of his vulnerable moments as
Lonnie are really wrenching. But I just can't get into
the Episode Guide
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