"Out of the Darkness"



A review by Jenni:
I only have 6 non-AOD episodes left.  This is good!  Not so good?  I only have 24 episodes total left.  We need those S5 DVDs!!!

What I love about this episode:
The prop master or whomever chose the photos seen around the Bell home did a fantastic job.  I was struck right away by how unhappy Bonnie looked in the first family photo you see at the start of the episode.  Later you see a photo of her and Jesse and she has a huge smile.  The two photos instantly capture how harmful Steve was to her well-being. 

Of course, the actors and writers capture the unhappiness of the marriage awfully quickly, too.  I imagine Steve doesn't win himself much admiration from the start with most (I would hope all but I'm not that naive) viewers what with his abrupt dismissal of Bonnie's suggestion she find a job outside the home.  I admire the acting by Mr. Whitford and Ms. Kaczmarek.  Watching this scene you'd never guess the two actors were actually and seemingly happily married in real life!

This episode provides a somewhat odd walk down memory lane when Jesse and Steve discuss the changes of the past 5 years: no more Berlin wall, no more Desert Storm, war in Bosnia, and the O.J. Simpson trial.  It's also kinda ironic since now there's more war in the Middle East and O.J. just got locked up after another trial.  Like the saying goes: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

While I'm a lil wary of the Monica taking the key chain bit, it is interesting to see TBAA's take on the chaos theory.  Or as Monica puts it "little things cause big things."  I definitely believe that.

Some of Al's quotes could really provide a much needed reality check to us when we start freaking out over stuff we've done.  I particularly like these:
"We mess up sometimes.  You haven't exactly thrown Him for a loop, ya know.  He can handle it."
and
"If God is willing to forgive you, who are you not to forgive yourself?  You think you know better than God?"
and
"God loves all of His creations.  And that includes you, and that includes me.  God doesn't leave us when we mess up.  That's when we need Him most, and He'd never leave us when we need Him."

I think the most heartbreaking part of this episode for me is when Bonnie tells Steve that when he was in a coma it was the first time she wasn't afraid to tell him who she was and that those were the happiest times she spent with him.  That's just tragic.  For both of them.

TBAA's depiction of the cycle of violence in families is a theme they picked up a few times through out the run.  They highlight it particularly well here with the history of the spoon, I think.  And we're left with hope that Jesse won't continue with the cycle.

The shot of Monica cradling Steve as he weeps into her lap on the altar is so tender and motherly.  It's scenes like that in which I really love Monica... and just wish I could understand her apparent apathy at other times.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I'm almost shocked when Steve says "Great job watching him" after Jesse goes missing.  As if it's solely Bonnie's job to be an attentive parent.  Crikey.  Again, I admire Mr. Whitford's talents but it doesn't make this easy to watch!

Tess' laying on of hands in the hospital room coupled with a nurse or doctor (can't recall which) saying how Steve shows much less damage than someone normally would after a 5 year coma kinda leaves me with the impression that Tess healed him.  And that just doesn't seem to veg with the angel rules.  But I guess maybe we're to think God healed him through Tess?

Lingering questions:
Does anyone else find it slightly unrealistic that in 5,000 years Monica hasn't learned that picking something (like keys) up makes them invisible to humans?  Further, doesn't it seem a lil stupid to do that as someone's talking about going somewhere?  Ah well.  Now those of us that misplace things have the handy excuse of "I dunno where it is!  An angel must have it!"

I wonder if Al could help with the Andrew, Monica, and Tess dysfunction?  Maybe not.  She says she works one-on-one.  Still, Internal Affairs seems like what they might want to help em.

It's just so hard for me to understand why a person would hit a child???  As I was watching this my dog and child substitute, Danika, was on my lap drifting in and out of sleep.  Danika and I are both klutzes to an extent.  I'll run into walls, she'll fall off furniture.  Sometimes we run into each other.  Which means we've inadvertently smacked each other multiple times.  And I always feel terrible because at first Danika doesn't seem to get that it was accidental.  And she cowers and averts her eyes.  I feel wretched even though I didn't do anything other than move a limb at a bad time.  I can't imagine actually being okay with someone truly cowering and trying to avoid you. 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
JD/Andrew is in the credits but not in the episode.  Cruel.  Granted, I knew he wasn't in it going in but still...

Nonetheless, this episode does provide some fodder for the continuing "What's with Monica's seeming neglect of Andrew???" saga.  New theory: she's a cockeyed optimist.  We're barely into the episode and she declares "Looks like a happy ending after all!"  She just sees a happy family and doesn't dig any further.  Maybe it's similar with Andrew.  She sees a happy or at least calm exterior and doesn't feel any more effort is needed.

Shortly after meeting Monica, Al tells her she doesn't "do people, they're too human."  Which, again, makes me think that just as you have people persons, dog people, cat people, etc., there are angel angels and people angels.  Maybe Monica's just a people angel and can't really grasp Andrew very well cause of that.  Or am I just looking for excuses for her?  At one point she says of her assignments in this episode, "I have a commitment to these people!"  Maybe she just doesn't feel the same sense of commitment to Andrew?  Still later she says she loves taking human form so she can feel what we do.  So I'm definitely thinking she's a people angel.  Just not sure that excuses her fully.  Although it's good for us, I guess...  Even Al who says she doesn't "do people" cries at the wedding.  So obviously she can grasp human emotion.  Monica should be able to grasp AOD emotion I would think...

Random thoughts:
It's a little strange that the writers used the surname "Bell" twice in a season (Morgan and Claudia Bell were in "Statute of Limitations.)  But the two episodes have different writers so I guess that's easy to explain away.

Okay, I know this is inappropriate but for some reason Monica shouting "You can't just go around whacking people like that!" gives me the giggles.  Maybe it's the Captain Obvious aspect of it.  Maybe it's the fact that "whacking people" often means more than just hitting them.  I dunno. 

Tess tells Monica "Don't worry!" which, again, makes me think the "angels have no faith" bit is a little suspect.  Then Al has to reason with Monica to make her see again that God has a plan.  What's worry other than the absence of a type of faith?

Al says she's with Crisis Intervention which is apparently a division of Internal Affairs.  Yet another angelic role to add to our list!

A Word from Travis:
I saw this episode once, several years ago, and thought it was poorly done (a woman moving on with another man while her husband is in a coma?). I decided to re-watch this episode, thanks to your review, and it was worth it. I had forgotten a few things and might not have paid attention to it when I watched the episode originally.  I donít say I agree with all the decisions that some of the characters made, but then again, no one will ever agree with everything they see or hear.

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(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.)