"Only Connect"

A review by Jenni:

Majorly time crunched so I'm writing this as I watch on the puter.  I do miss just plopping on the couch for TBAA marathons!  Some day...

What I love about this episode:

When this first aired, I barely knew what autism was.  Now I work with a group that, among other things, raises money for autism-related causes.  So it means a lot to me that TBAA takes on the issue and has the angels relate the all-too-common reaction that autistic people are weird or slow then goes on to give a compassionate depiction of an autistic person.  It's important to acknowledge misconceptions and then show a bit of reality.  Of course, it's also good to remember that autism presents in various ways.

Wow.  This episode gives ya a pretty good idea of how urban legends start!  Poor Ferdie with those nasty rumors.

Aww.  Now I remember loving how Ferdie could see the angels being shiny.

I love that Cameron comes up with the idea to have Ferdie move in.  I think this episode shows how easy it is to get pulled into something bad due to peer pressure but also that you can redeem yourself and make up for what you've done or failed to do.

Giggle.  As sensitive as I am about Andrew and how Monica acts towards him, her getting angry over his call as ump amuses me.  Kicking dirt at him, however, is too much.  Grrr.

That train set-up is really awesome!

Thank you very much to TBAA for, albeit briefly, bringing up how problematic it is that the foster care system basically has nothing set up to help 18 year olds transition out of the system.  At least not ALL foster care systems do.

Very glad for the breakfast table scene with the coach talking about his deceased wife.  They really needed to insert something before much further into the episode to make ya feel for this guy.  Cause I was about ready to write him off.

I like that Tess encourages the players as she's watching the game and is then countered by a pessimistic parent.  I'd like to think maybe it made a real parent somewhere reconsider the times they've done that.  These are kids who are sposed to be
having fun, after all.

This is a really lovely revelation scene with Monica and Ferdie in the train.  Quiet, subdued, interesting lighting with the slits of light through the train, and I like that Monica doesn't have all the answers.  Plus, I'm a big fan of reminding the world to connect.

I think the coach depicts a pretty realistic expression of grief in the revelation scene with Tess.  At least how some people grieve: obsessing and focusing to the extreme on something like baseball.  In that scene, I also like how Tess stresses to the coach that Cameron not liking baseball is NOT a reflection of lack of love for his father.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Aww geez.  Watching Ferdie panic as the fire starts is just hard.

Yeah... I'm thinking Andrew's white pants aren't his best look.  The white shirts, however, are great.

Seriously, these adults drive me crazy.  I can't imagine not being proud of my child for being so kind to Ferdie.  The coach grates on me as do some of the other parents.

Kinda sad that Andrew's behind a mask for parts of this but I spose I definitely wouldn't want him playing ump without protection!

Lingering questions:
As cool as I think it is that Ferdie can see the glow cause I like believing some people have a second sight, why would God make him see the angels as too shiny to bear?

When did autism become a big, well-known cause?  It's almost shocking to see these people be so clueless.  You'd think at least one neighbor would have a clue.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Good gravy.  Is Andrew seeing himself in that kid at the beginning?  What does he mean by "he's kinda a loner himself"?  Does Andrew consider himself a loner?  Poor love.  Then he confidently tells Monica that the kid can figure "it" out himself (been years since I've seen this so no clue on what "it" is yet) and he sounds fatherly.  Something about this gets to me.  Seriously.  I think I needed a spin-off in which Andrew just adopted a bunch of kids.  OMG.  Is this a sign I'm getting old?  I'm now focusing on qualities of Andrew that would make him a good (adoptive!) father as opposed to solely qualities that make me think he'd be awesome to have around as a personal friend.  I'm going to ruin Dyeland, aren't I? 

I just sent Andrew to a homeless shelter on JABB... now this episode is making me feel guilty about that with Monica's reaction to the townspeople wanting to send Ferdie to one...

Dear lady in the stands: you aren't the only one who thinks it's pretty awesome when Andrew gets authoritative.  Wait til you see what he can do with a baseball bat!

Andrew looks so sincere and lovely and compassionate when he's telling Ferdie's story to Cameron.  I wonder, if Andrew were real, if he'd maybe not be super-happy with "lovely" being my preferred descriptor for him???

Whoa.  Boy's got some pipes!  That "Strike three!" in the final game was really loud and deep!

Aww.  He looks pretty cute in that engineer's hat.  Or is it conductor?  Either way...

Random thoughts:
I'm kinda worried about having the opposite issue of this coach.  I have never cared for sports.  I think I've watched one full game in my whole life.  So I have no clue how I'd function if I had a super athletic kid.  So I hypothetically feel for Cameron and his dad.

"Believe In You" by Amanda Marshall appears in this episode.  It makes me wanna listen to the TBAA soundtrack and get good and weepy-nostalgic.  Also it makes the game sequence loads more interesting to me cause, again, I am sports apathetic.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Again, didn't notice anything.  I'm thinking maybe some game scenes were cut down, though.  That would be something I wouldn't notice.

Further on down the road...
I'm still intrigued by the "he's kinda a loner himself" line.

So I'm watching this on Saturday night.  Kinda thinking of re-evaluating my Friday night tradition.  It used to be pretty well set in stone: Friday night watch and review TBAA and have a nicer dessert and caffeinated beverage!  But then I'd sometimes be so tired after the work week come Friday.  And the grocery downstairs stopped being very inventive with their desserts and I had my fill of the existing ones and... some nights I just don't want coffee or chai.  Eeek!  So... we shall see.  Might make it into a breakfast thing.  Or just a "whenever" thing.

I miss the sound of trains.  I used to hear them more frequently than I do now.  I can't remember when the last time was.  So it was nice to hear the background train noises in this.  ETA: Weirdly, I heard one again shortly after writing this.

I wonder what their basis was for having Ferdie be able to see Monica's shine?  Maybe autistic people are thought to be more attuned to the spiritual realm... can't say I've ever come across that in my reading, though.

The fire is much scarier for me now since I had my own little yard fire incident last weekend.  With all due respect to Andrew, not everything can be replaced...  I think it's a shock to one's sense of security and that's not easily replaced.

"Just one decision changes everything."  I think my brain might explode if I spent too much time thinking about how often that Monica quote has proven true.

Grrr.  Monica should be ashamed of herself.  I'd like to kick some dirt into her coffee for that!

Andrew's "I remember" when Ferdie mentions living on the train intrigues me, too.  Was Andrew also living on the train?  Did he just come along Ferdie?  Was he on call as his AOD when it seems Ferdie nearly died of exposure?  Was he his caseworker?  He says he helped Ferdie get a job and place so Andrew also being homeless is maybe out.

I hadn't realized before that the coach is still wearing his wedding ring.  Aww.

Ferdie's "Why is it so hard for me?" breaks my heart.

"All you really have to do is be there."  Tess says that to the coach when he laments not being Cameron's best friend.  But I think it's so true in relationships of all kinds.  Just being there can mean more than any words or any actions.

Back to the Episode Guide

(The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)