"Portrait of Mrs. Campbell"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
I think this episode has a pretty solid plot.  In fact, most of my gripes (below) only highlight how well done I think the plot is.  While I don't like making excuses for bad behavior, I do find it interesting to examine what in the past has made a person turn to less than acceptable modes of behavior.  So linking Marian's tragedy (losing her son) to her poor behavior in light of April's triumph (a healthy pregnancy) made this episode for me.

April being a military wife parted from her husband really made this episode seem more current to me than it actually is. 

I really admire April's ability to empathize with Marian's loneliness even after being bullied by her.  That's amazing to me.  Especially because I struggle with empathizing with loneliness. 

I like examining moral dilemmas when no one's going to actually suffer (like with fictional characters).  So I got sucked into April's struggle to determine whether she should donate bone marrow and risk her baby or not and risk Marian.  Wow.  I can't imagine really being in such a place.  Actually, I think I just liked the character of April a lot.

The conversation between April and the then unborn Jennifer/Marian really gets to me.  When she tells the baby to "hang in there" because she needs her... so beautiful and sad. 

I love this quote from Monica to April: "God has many names, you know.  Jehovah, Almighty, Everlasting Father, Alpha and Omega...  But do you know what He calls Himself?  'I Am.'  Ask God who He is, and that is what He'll tell you.  'I Am.'  Not 'I was' or 'I'm going to be.'  But "I am.'  'I am here for you now because that's where you need Me.'  And if God is here, right here, right now, what is there to fear?"

I thought it was rather novel to have a character leading a double life that was actually positive.  Not an affair or being a serial killer but being a benefactor to a facility for the disabled. 

I admire TBAA taking a stand against people being judgmental about children out of wedlock.  I think this is shown particularly in Tess using the word "mistake" in place of "sin" which is what Marian no doubt heard repeatedly.  I like that they stressed that God doesn't punish people like Marian thought she was being punished.

In another lovely mother/child moment, Marian tells Tommy "Everything you've ever done has mattered."  Wow.  Everyone should hear that at some point in their life.

What I didn't love about this episode:
It sounds naive to say I was astounded by Marian's overbearingness but... sheesh.  Insisting on driving her son to the base over his wife, banning photos, intruding on April's alone time, and then the two acts that just appalled me!  First, when she makes that dig about Neil not wanting a portrait of April looking like she was (in other words: pregnant).  That's way too tasteless, especially considering the fact that it was such a blessing April was so far along with the pregnancy.  Then hanging up before April could finish her conversation with Neil on the submarine...  Wow...  Definitely NOT a likable character although TBAA does let us see why she became that way.  I spose I might cling to a son if I'd had the other snatched away from me, too.  So while I liked the plot aspect, on her own this character just makes me cringe for most of this episode.

Monica's "Poof!" thing with getting April and Marian to realize they share a love for Neil reminds me of why I sometimes really, really don't like Monica.  She does tend to see the easiest and simplest route and want to take it even when it makes no sense.  And, yes, sometimes when it's not particularly sensitive to the people concerned.  I debate with myself whether Monica's just that much of an optimist (thus making this forgivable) or just plain careless at times (less forgivable).  I dislike that part because I dislike that aspect of Monica.  But, again, plot wise it's good because it seems very much in line with her character for me.

We didn't get to see Andrew holding the baby.  ;-)

April in the portrait so does NOT look like April to me.

Lingering questions:
Did Tess ever utter the words "I love you" directly to Andrew?  I don't mean "I love you, babies."  I mean directly to and solely to Andrew.  Because she says it here to Monica and it's so sweet but it made me wonder about that.  It's possible she does and I'm just blanking. 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I am so glad Andrew eventually went into caseworker mode, too.  Cause I get excited when he shows up and I have a feeling that had he stayed strictly AOD then that could have gotten weird for me.  "Someone might die!  Yay!  Andrew's coming!"  Eeek... 

Andrew looks darn good in that olive shirt and lab coat.  Maybe I'd go to the doctor more often if a doc like him was around...  But I wouldn't want him to be my doctor.  Too weird and far too much like a Robert Palmer song...

I love his cute, funny lil knock when he enters Marian's hospital room.  And his facial expression when he says of Monica's painting "It's coming along, isn't it?"  So cute and diplomatic!

Every time Andrew put his hand on April's shoulder I thought it was so sweet.  He's lovely and caring and attentive...

Because I'm a sap I'd have to get angsty at some point during this so...  When Tess is talking to Monica about there being more at stake than lives but, in fact, multiple souls; I wondered how such a hierarchy might apply to Andrew.  Like I know sometimes Andrew is devastated by not being able to save someone's life and intervene.  But maybe a person could assure him then that the person's soul is their true being and he *is* without fail there ministering to their soul.  So he shouldn't get that cloudy look on his face.  Sigh...

Onto happier things!   I love watching his eye brows when he's talking to April about fear.  And that lil smile.

I'm not quite sure what I think about Andrew's hair style in this as it's a bit different.  But I was just psyched to be watching an episode with him in it.

Andrew's cute when he pokes his head in between Tess' and Monica's to deliver the painting.  I love this guy! 

Random thoughts:
I so wish I had Monica's magical stenciling ability.  I do think stenciling is a cool look but I have zero patience or talent for it.  I envied Monica's ability to paint quickly, too, after I first moved into my house!

A Word from Travis:
This episode is my second favorite of season 2, with such great actors (Linda Gray from “Dallas” and Gabrielle Carteris from “Beverly Hills 90210”). I didn’t see the part regarding the secret coming at all. This episode had great plots, great surprises.

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.)