"The Pact"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

First, this is one of my personal favorites.  So I love a lot about this episode.  But as for particulars...

At long last we make an important discovery in this episode!  Andrew has knees!  And shins!!!  ;-)  For some reason I'm just amused by it taking nearly two years for Andrew to get to wear shorts.  I don't know why this amuses me but it does. 

I liked the portrayal of teen girls.  I found it to be one of the more relatable portrayals I've seen on TV.  I didn't have to face my own mortality as a teenager, like these girls, but Erin's sarcastic jadedness at points was very familiar.  As, of course, was her affection for Andrew.  She also has a quote about being more scared of living than of dying.  I still feel that way sometimes but remember thinking that often as a teenager. 

I could also relate to Melanie's distaste for constantly being told everything will be all right and okay.  That bothered me as a teen and it still bothers me today because by now (and back then) I was old enough to know that sometimes really tragic and really unfair things happen.  To constantly get this vague, optimistic spiel made me feel like my concerns and I were not being taken seriously.  So I think the TBAA writers did a fairly good job capturing the young characters.

I like how Tess stresses God's plan when she's chewing out Monica and Rafael after they switch assignments.  First of all, they deserve to be chewed out so it's good to see them get that.  But mostly I like it because it drives home the point that angels, like humans, are individuals.  God doesn't just toss out assignments willy-nilly and particular angels get sent on particular assignments with good reason. 

I have my issues with Rafael but when he shows up at the Face and puts a comforting hand on Andrew's arm... I can almost forgive him for disrespecting China in "Children of the Night."  And he gets a lil closer to winning absolution from me when he begins to sing Melanie's song.  Cause that's really beautiful.

Another Erin moment that I really appreciate is when Monica appears to her, Nikki, and Abby at the Face.  Erin tells Monica that she doesn't know what it's like.  Very true.  And I think it's good for Monica to get reminded of that.  Especially when earlier she said something about how everyone in the cabin will die at some point.  Except Monica won't.  And I realize it would have been stupid to say "Everyone in this room will die eventually.  Well, except me.  And you'll find out why later.  It'll be a fun surprise!"  I feel the occasional reminder that, while angels may come to empathize a lot with the humans during assignments, in the end there are differences.  That's neither good nor bad.  It's simply the way things are.  Good on Erin to pick that up.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Really not fond of Monica, Rafael, and Tess during the teaser before the credits.  First, this is another great example of Monica
being wimpy.  This is the same Monica that at other times thinks she can handle the big, epically tragic cases.  Yet here she begs off a camping assignment in hopes of sipping coffee in New York.  Great.

Then there's Rafael with his "hey, an angel's an angel."  First, he sure as heck is not interchangeable with, say, Andrew.  I'd definitely prefer one over the other.  Second, who would want to believe themselves to be interchangeable, anyhow!?! 

Finally, what's with Tess the drill sergeant?  Blowing her whistle at poor Andrew...  Sheesh.  And then she gets mad at Rafael and asks Andrew "Where do you get this [Rafael]?"  Why the heck should Andrew be held responsible for Rafael and his poor choices?  This just screams burden of the firstborn.

I love Andrew.  I trust Andrew.  I think he has good judgment... most of the time.  Which is why I find it a lil odd that he offers Erin private swim lessons.  This is probly sad testimony to the age I grew up in but that just seems potentially dangerous.  I can remember a college professor telling us how they're told to never be alone with a student  in order to protect themselves from allegations.  So I always think of that during the scene.  And then I get jealous cause obviously whomever wrote that got to grow up in an era before everyone got so freaked out about potential law suits and potential abuses of power.  Musta been nice.

Lingering questions:
After Erin shows Andrew "Erin Loves Andrew" on the Face, he tells her that there is someone out there for her, just not him.  I
want to know if Andrew *knows* that or if he's just saying that to make her feel better?  Cause I hate when people say that and don't really know it to be true.  It's like the "everything will be all right/okay" thing.  It doesn't comfort me.  It just makes me feel lied to and like I'm not being taken seriously.  And, unlike Erin, I'm not sure I want a boyfriend so it kinda makes me feel pressured.  In other words, here's hoping no angel ever says that to me unless he or she has proof!

Umm... so what happened to the guy in New York with the coffee stand?  Maybe I was distracted and missed it but did they say who helped him out since both Monica and Rafael ended up at camp?  Did Monica finish with him before arriving at the camp?

I'm just curious if others feel that, in real life, Erin would have shown Andrew her message on the Face so soon?  Cause that's always been a lil hard for me to grasp.  I suppose since I'm fairly reserved.  Heck, it took me 4 years to have my Dyeland character tell Andrew she loved him.  So the idea of actually showing a guy I just met something like that makes me feel very uncomfy.  I also found it a lil odd she didn't consider the apparent age difference and how that'd look to other people.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
This episode has several quotes that I'm sure I interpret differently than they were meant to be.  When Andrew assures Erin that he's "not like most people" I always want to shriek "No freaking kidding!  I don't have 12 year long crushes on most people!  Crikey... 12 years.  Eeek."  And when Erin tells her friends that Andrew's history... I know it's a terribly serious scene but I get the giggles for a moment cause that's literally true.  Andrew *is* history.  And then I get swoony thinking about him during various historical eras...  But then I focus.

All previous times I've watched this I've had a hard time believing Erin coulda fallen for Andrew so hard and so quickly.  But then I watched it tonight...  And I saw Andrew assure Erin she will not be alone when she died...  And then I understood.  I woulda fallen hard and quickly for a guy who said that like he did.  I just wouldn't tell him for four years.  ;-)

At the Face: "Oh God, I really don't want to do this."  Heartbreaking.  Andrew looks so devastated.  I don't want to watch him
do that!  And then to watch the relief on his face when the girls all agree not to kill themselves.  I especially love his look of absolute relief when Erin drops the pills.  He's beautiful.

 There's just something about how Andrew says “God has a plan for your life.  There is a reason for you to be living.”  Obviously the words alone are very encouraging but when he says them... I dunno.  I *really* believe it. 

Finally, when Andrew sets his forehead against Monica's hair, relieved because the girls have all chosen life, it's just...  It's like he's just letting all that concern he had for them fall away and it's kinda exhausting.  And I wanna be Monica...

Random thoughts:
I'd never really given much thought to the parents' point of view but watching tonight, with Abby speaking to her mom on the phone, it hit me how difficult a decision sending their children to camp was for those parents.  Imagine knowing you may have a very short time with your child and yet allowing them to go away for an extended space of time to be with their friends.  It's very unselfish.

It's disturbing to see how psyched the girls get about preparations leading up to their suicide pact.  Chilling. 

Has anyone ever realized that the male angels seem to have more experience with musical instruments than the female ones?  All three AODs play piano.  Andrew also has played the drums.  Gabriel has his trumpet.  Jacob has his guitar.  Rafael also plays guitar.  Other than Tess are any other female angels ever shown with musical instruments? 

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