"Pandora's Box"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

I like how Monica says the Internet bridges the world.  Honestly, that idea is probably my second favorite thing about this episode.  I love that TBAA strikes a balance on the Internet.  It would have been so easy to rant and rail against the Internet.  But it also would have been stupid.  So I love that through out this episode they highlight the ways that the Internet is wonderful but also warn against the ways that it can be harmful.  It's like Tess says: it's a tool.  And tools can build up or destroy... all depending on how you use them.

I like Kate.  I kinda relate to her.  Sometimes I, too, feel that I was born in the wrong century.  I love Pride and Prejudice.  I hate the decline in manners.  All that being said... I'm also not naive enough to think that being transported to Darcy's and Elizabeth's England would make everything peachy.  I think we idealize the past and just think "Yay!  I could be rid of rude cell phone people!" and not "Oh... I will have no inheritance rights and my house will be given over to my brother and I'll be homeless unless I marry..."  Anyhow, so it's good that this episode urges us to live in the present... although dabbling in our history is fine.  As long as we're not totally naive about the present.

To add to the list of ways the angels hint at their advanced ages: Monica tells Kate that she's into "more centuries than you know."  Cute.

I think Sarah's reaction to the "stolen" computer was pretty realistic.  I would have totally freaked out if my parents had taken ours away.  Especially if it wasn't my fault.  And I probably would have snuck to a friend's to use theirs.  Cept we all know I would have been writing JABB... not talking to creeps.

This episode is awesome for making me realize all the things I am blissfully done with and will never have to face again like...
I really love what Andrew says about how our brains are like a computer.  We decide what to input but then sometimes can't delete the files.  So, so true.  I wish I had remembered that before I let some friends talk me into watching a few horror movies...  More seriously, it makes me think about how saturated we are in news.  And I wonder how much better off and more mentally healthy we'd all be if we didn't have certain heartbreaking images burned into our psyches.  I'm sure it applies to pornography, too.  But for me the news thing is a much more real and immediate concern.  I wish I could forget some things.

Such fun watching Monica and Tess dance around the birds and the bees talk with lil Millie.  I thought that plot offered a nice balance cause, honestly, the Sarah one kinda makes my stomach churn.

Monica has a lot of really great quotes towards the end of this episode like...
And it's cute that the episode ends with us meeting the leporine versions of our trio.  I'm glad they each got namesakes in the bunnies!  And it's cute that they revisit Andrew's joke about Tess being grouchy.  :-)

Really, this episode is something I would want to write.  It acknowledges tough issues.  It doesn't try to gloss over things.  But then it leaves us with... babies!

What I didn't love about this episode:
Kiki is flipping annoying.  This actually worries me about having children.  What if their friends aren't so much bad but just plain annoying as all get out?  I mean at least if they're mean kids you wouldn't feel as bad limiting or ending your child's time with them.  But annoying ones... that's a bit of a gray area.  All that being said... that girl needed to be taught some manners.  Who the heck goes over to another person's house and knocks their computer printer?  One wonders if the poor kid was actually raised by the Internet.  Ya never do see her parents.

I just don't like Andrew having to hear about how porn makes some guy feel.  Andrew doesn't deserve that...  And it's just weird for me to watch.

Really a lot that I don't like about this episode does NOT stem from my thinking it's poorly done.  It just makes me uncomfortable.  Like the scene of the husband and wife in bed with him talking about the impact of the porn photos.  It just makes my skin crawl.  I just don't even want to think about the fact that one day I might be with a guy and he'll have all these other fake girls in his mind.  Blech.

Dean just makes me feel pukey.  Honestly, I didn't want to hear him talk at all.

Okay, here's something that I really do find a bit unbelievable: I get that Sarah is very young and naive.  But how could anyone actually believe that Dean was 19?  I'm just not sure I believe any 13 year old would buy that.  But, then again, I was always a bit wary and distrustful so maybe my experience was atypical and not Sarah's.

Lingering questions:
How come on TV shows web sites talk?  Yes, I've been to a few that talk.  M-w.com, for one.  But the ones on TV seem a whole lot more talkative.  Then again, I don't visit porn sites so... maybe they talk a lot.  Yuck.

Okay... what kinda idiot views porn at work?  I probly don't want to know.  But... really!?  He didn't think that would end badly?!

How did close-ups of typing fingers and smoldering ash trays become TV shorthand for "This is a pedophile!!!"?  Seriously, always with the ash tray...

Umm... What would possess Kate to describe 13 as "an enjoyable age"???  Her thirteendom musta been a lot different from mine.  Augh.  I would not be 13 again for anything.  Or 16.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I love how often we see Andrew's sense of humor in this episode!  I just wish we'd gotten to see it more in others.  I smile when he says that computers are for playing Solitaire.  Think about it... when was the last time you played Solitaire with a deck of cards?  And then when he says that the keyword for Tess' site would be "grouchy"... priceless!  And adorable.

Sometimes I astound myself with my own sappiness.  So Andrew has that line to Sarah about how he could install filters on her computer.  Simple line.  Straightforward.  Nothing particularly appealing or swoon-inducing in it.  Unless you are me or someone like me.  Cause I heard that and started to think "Ya know, Andrew himself has kinda been like a filter for me."  And it's true.  Or maybe more like a buffer.  Because it's not like thinking about him keeps the bad news out.  But thinking about the fact that someone like him is with those who suffer... well, it keeps it all from being unbearable at times.

I really like the one light blue shirt Andrew wears in one of the cafe scenes.  Light blue is a nice color for him and he doesn't wear it a whole lot.  Also, he looks cute in that lil apron. 

Trying to think of how to word this...  Sometimes I wonder how Andrew feels about his male form.  Like when he's watching Dean
walk away with Sarah.  Does he feel any differently about that than, say, I do?  Like when I hear about a woman killing her child, that hits me in what I think must be a singularly female way.  I've never given birth but by simply having that as a possibility, it boggles my mind and breaks my heart to think of bringing a life forth into the world and then snuffing that same life out.  It flies in the face of some qualities I prize as a woman and hope to God I have in myself: being nurturing, compassion, tenderness.  When a man kills his child, I am equally horrified.  But I don't seem to filter that through my experience as much.  Because I'm not a man.  So does Andrew experience that kind of thing?  Is that why he sometimes seems more bothered by cruel things men do than women?  Because his experience of masculinity makes it more difficult for him to reconcile the crimes of men?  I dunno.  But he seems like a bit of a ticking time bomb in parts of this episode.

Andrew really gets me when he sees Dean and Sarah and runs his hand through his hair and rubs his neck.  He's obviously really, really tense.  And then when he goes off to Tess a lil bit and calls Sarah a "little girl"...  Poor Andrew.  That has all got to be way too familiar to him.  Which is, obviously, disturbing in its own right.

And my favorite part of the whole episode... the computer bashing scene.  First, I totally never realized that Andrew smashes the spiked drink, too.  And then, in my memory, Andrew just takes a swing at the puter in a reasoned sort of way.  Not so!  It is a completely impassioned, pretty enraged computer bashing.  And I still think it is amazing to behold.  I don't have a single problem with Andrew doing it.  Dean just scared Sarah horribly.  He deserved a few seconds of terror and I am perfectly happy with Andrew supplying it.  Plus, let's be honest.  Andrew has probably come upon similar scenes before and not been able to do anything.  So I'm glad that, for once, he could make his righteous anger known.

Random thoughts:
Music: Lots of music but not any that was traceable.  At least twice you hear classical music at the antique shop.  It was so quiet I'm not even gonna bother to try and locate it.  There are also a couple instrumental pieces heard at the cyber cafe.  Kiki has a few pop songs playing in her room.  First, a woman singing something with the lyrics "I'll always remember" and a guy singing "can't stop this burning in my heart."  There's a third pop song later on but I couldn't even hear enough to determine the gender of the singer.  Finally, Dean gets Sarah to listen to some hard rock junk.  I chose not to dignify that by trying to pluck out lyrics.

Oh yay.  Evan Rachel Wood is actually five years younger than me.  For some reason I've always thought she was my age so seeing her next to Andrew and thinking "Umm... you looked that young... were that young... when this episode aired and you were totally crushing on that guy..." was kinda making me feel weird.  But I was 5 years older.  Almost 18.  Yay...  Although, to be honest, I've had a crush on Andrew since I was 14 (Season 3).  And I kinda remember how 14 year old me thought.  But I don't fully realize that I actually looked 14 at the time and so if Andrew had shown up as I so often daydreamed... I probly couldn't have acted like I wanted to.  Not that I was thinking anything not G rated (he was an angel, I was terribly naive).  But I was really, really young.  Anyhow, so this ramble probly makes no sense.  Just saying that I think since Andrew is now stuck in my mind as only being about 8 years my senior in appearance, I sometimes think it was always that way.  But no.  He looked about twenty years older when my crush began.  Geez...

This episode is set in Milwaukee.  Just saying.

I must have been a jaded child.  I never trusted guys I chatted with online enough to meet any of them.  I know that's a good thing but I've only gotten more jaded...

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-I do kinda remember a scene at the police station after they break into Dean's apartment.  You can see Andrew talking to an officer.  More to come on that.

-Well... THC cut a screen shot out of the father's first scene at work.  They show just a single shot of some fetish web site.  There's something you don't expect to see on TBAA: the word fetish in big, black letters.  Apparently, THC felt the same so cut it.  I'm obviously okay with that.  I really don't like going from "Aww!  Concerned Andrew!" to "Ah blech!  Bondage!" in one minute.

-All right, yep.  I was right with the first one.  Mostly.  They cut a few seconds of a distant shot of the police station.  You see Dean get pulled out by two cops.  He's not particularly cooperative.  They load him into a squad car.  Then it goes inside the station where you see the dad and Andrew near a cop.  The dad is talking to the cop.  It's all silent til it pans to Sarah being held by her mother.  Sarah apologizes as her mom strokes her hair.  She goes onto say that she thought Dean was really 16 and liked her.  The mom says they have some long talks ahead.  Sarah asks where Millie is.  Her mom says "You won't believe this.  She's with an angel."  Then the dad and Andrew approach them.  Andrew says "Charlie, take your family home."  They leave.  Andrew watches them leave, exhales, and closes his eyes.  Lovely him.  Then it goes to Monica with Millie which THC has.

-Originally, this episode ended with the SafeKids.com logo and a voiceover from Mr. Dye saying "There are ways to protect your children on the Internet.  Visit safekids.com to learn more."  (ETA: This is not on the DVD, either.) 

Further on down the road...
I wonder what it is that makes some people able to sit down at a computer and figure it out and other people can't save a photo or open an email without help?  My family was one of the last of my friends to get a computer yet somehow I knew how to do stuff.  Others in my family have had computers for years and need help with what I consider simple things.  Maybe it's fear?  Maybe I didn't really "just know" how to do stuff.  I just didn't fear hitting buttons and seeing what happened.  So I learned from trial and error.  The others may be too worried to just hit buttons.  I dunno!  Just trying to figure out why certain members of my family call me with the most mundane computer questions.  ;-)

Kiki's a little snot.  Who talks like that?!?  Even in my worst of teenage brat mode, I wouldn't have dreamed of walking into someone's house and making like a teenybopper Catherine De Bourgh.

I wonder what my younger chat-happy self would think about the fact that I can't remember the last time I was in a chat room and I've disabled live messaging?  Email is much more my speed these days!

Just had a thought: was the dad's co-worker out for his job?  Apparently the company had a policy about inappropriate web use.  So why would you log onto a porn site from someone else's work station unless you wanted the wrath of HR to fall upon them? 

Andrew looks so darn cute in that lil apron!  (Had to say it again, apparently.)  And then he does look a trifle uncomfy during the guy talk scene...  Especially when he looks away from the man.

The scene where the dad confides in Andrew about the porn site still makes me wanna scream "Ahhhh!  Shut up!  Andrew is innocent!  He doesn't need to hear about those things!!!"  I know, I know.  Andrew has seen and heard a lot.  But still...  He shouldn't have to deal with ickyness.

Okay, I've wondered about this before...  What exactly goes into the casting call for someone like Dean?  I mean does someone willingly show up to play a pedophile or do they get blindsided when they show up?  I think with something like, say, SVU an actor might reasonably assume they could wind up playing a creepo.  But TBAA is a different story! 

Awww!  It just hit me again that it was during this assignment that Andrew first met the Dyelanders according to our timeline.

That sound of the ice cream truck adds such a sense of menace to Dean's and Sarah's meeting and I don't know why exactly...  Not that the scene wasn't already menacing.

Sigh...  There goes the hand through the hair and the neck rubbing.  I could never be an AOD.

Double sigh...  I don't think people should tell Andrew what he can't do...  He doesn't take kindly to it.  That look...  I love him.

OMG.  I wonder if this episode is why I dislike those bowler-like shirts that Dean is wearing.  Andrew even wore em a couple times and though I love Andrew, that was far from my favorite look for him.  Maybe this is why...

That sigh at the police station...  I wanna hug him.

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