"Psalm 151"

A review by Jenni:

So, according to the introduction by Martha Williamson on the "Hope" DVD, this is the top favorite episode among fans.  I always felt rather bad because it doesn't even crack my top ten.  It's NOT that I dislike this episode, it's just never grabbed me the way some have.  That being said, I do like it a lot.  So here goes...

What I love about this episode:

The lil party with the trio at the beginning is so cute.  I wish we'd had more scenes of them just having fun and relaxing.  Andrew seems so happy.  All three do, of course.  But sometimes I do worry a bit about his fun factor being low.

I *love*  Monica's coffee cup pajamas.  Those are adorable!  Yep, that's a really profound note to start this on!

I think Petey and Cornelia are portrayed really well.  Sometimes TV kids seem too scripted.  But these two are believable.  I laughed at Cornelia not imagining wanting to live past 30.  I can remember thinking that was really old.  Now I am almost 30 and don't even feel that mature all the time... let alone actually old.  Their friendship reminds me a lot of a couple of kids I know.  Almost brother and sister-like.  It's very sweet to watch without being saccharine.  They tease each other and maybe here and there ya get a hint of annoyance.  I think watching their relationship in this episode was my biggest hint that I've grown up.  (Another comes later and is covered in Andrew's section.)  I didn't see them as my generation at all even though they were when this episode aired.  I didn't feel exactly maternal about them... but close.  Like... future maternal.  When they're sleeping and Petey turns and his arm goes over Cornelia, I wanted to do a weepy "Aww" and put a blanket over them.  So, okay, maybe it WAS maternal.

This episode still seems new.  When Audrey was telling Petey about the health insurance company being the one to decide whether or not he could die at home, I half expected a senator to interrupt the program and tell me how such a scene wouldn't happen under this or that health care plan.

Celine Dion, who I have no special attachment to, works really well in this episode.  Sometimes when TBAA pulled non-actors in, it could get scary.  I don't want to directly call anyone out but there was one episode that was almost like fingernails on a chalkboard to me due to a real person stepping in.  But Ms. Dion plays this like you'd imagine she'd actually act in this situation.  It didn't seem like "Celine Dion plays Celine Dion."  She just was.  Whether it was her or the writing, I thought it was a great scene.  Of course, real people being in TBAA always makes me feel like Andrew should then be real, too, since he's conversing with this real person but oh well.  ;-)

I still get chills in the final scene when the choir starts up.

Petey saying "You're coming, too" to Andrew pretty much locks up my relatively newfound belief in angels of death.  If Petey wanted someone with him, it makes perfect sense to me that most people do.  Thus, the AOD is important.  And, yes, I know God is there.  But something about there being another *creature* there is important to me.  Petey's relief reminds me of that.

The flag switching from "Petey Lives Here" to "Petey Lived Here"... nice touch.

What I didn't love about this episode:
This is soooo nitpicky I almost didn't write it BUT...  This isn't Monica's 100th caseworking gig.  Because some episodes begin with her leaving an assignment that we never saw.  Plus there are some like the New Yorker in "The Pact" who she trades Rafael for.  Now, maybe he and others like him don't count because maybe Monica didn't complete that assignment.  Still, I'm pretty sure the count isn't exact. 

Kinda wanna whack those indiscreet nurses with those pillows they were fluffing.  Sheesh.  The scene where the kids inadvertently learn from them that Petey will soon die makes me wonder how often stuff like that happens.  I would hope not too often.  And I do understand that being a nurse is hard work and talking over its tragedies helps but... close the door!

And the receptionist or whatever she was at the insurance office...  Horrible!  When she chides Tess and Cornelia with their inability to promise that Petey will die in two weeks... wow.  I can get being trapped by a company's policies but that was just an inane, heartless thing to say.  I hope the copier ate her reports, her stapler got lost, and the water cooler was empty when she went to it.  And the coffee also out.  And I hope a telemarketer kept calling her line.  Also her computer should freeze.

I don't know why but Monica blowing the flag at the end just bugs me.  I would have preferred it being very still then just a gust of wind, seemingly from God, unfurls the flag.  Monica doing it just seemed weird to me.

Lingering questions:

Monica says she's been an angel from the beginning of time.  What exactly is "the beginning of time"?  Is "the beginning of time" the moment of the creation of Earth or something else?  And does this work with other episodes?  In "Life Before Death" don't we learn that Ireland was the first place on Earth that Monica set foot?  So was Monica in Heaven for a while before coming to Earth?  And doesn't she say in "Holy of Holies" that she's 5,000?  Maybe that works if you're a strict creationist.  But, personally, I think creation is older than 5,000 and "the beginning of time" either coincides with creation or precedes it.  So for me Monica
being 5,000 and existing since the beginning of time don't work but oh well.  Plus, why does she seem so much younger than Tess and even Andrew then?  Could they exist before time?  Here's my theory: The beginning of time is when Earth was created.  Why?  Because we're the ones hung up on time.  God didn't need it.  So I suppose it's possible that God created the Earth and Monica right around the same time (thus, for me, the 5,000 years age for Monica is wrong).  Andrew, Tess, and others are *older* than time and, for all we know, actually helped God create.  So then they're still older than Monica (I simply can't fathom her being as old as they.)  If you're confused reading that... you're not alone.

What would you put on your bucket list?  I tried to make one a while ago but then looked back on it later and realized I actually didn't care about half the stuff on it... just felt that I should.  Maybe Petey had the right idea.  Pick things close to home and go beyond your own wishes.  I was focusing on travel and stuff like that.  I just might need to retry drafting that now.

Parts that made me feel swoony:

Want to be Monica...  That was my thought when Andrew blew her that kiss.  Some girls get all the luck.  Sigh...

Andrew's just adorable through out.  But his looks when he's trying to help find a home for Fluffy... super cute! 

This didn't make me swoony but Andrew carrying Petey out of the ambulance definitely got to me.  And this was where I, again, realized I've gotten older.  When I first watched this, as tasteless and insensitive as this is gonna sound, I'm pretty sure a part of me was jealous of Petey.  Now I watched it and found it heartbreaking and sweet and beautiful.  And when Andrew rested his cheek against Petey's hair and just the look in his eyes, I mourned not only Petey but the fact that Andrew can't be a father.  So this is how I know I've changed.  At some point I shifted from solely "Drat it all, Andrew would make an ideal boyfriend but, alas, never shall be" to imagining the father he'll never be and finding that infinitely greater a loss.  And just when I get really depressed about that, I remember "As It is in Heaven" and feel better.  Also, I just watched The Nativity Story last night so... I'm a lil hung up on the idea of a compassionate, faithful man raising a child that's not his own and being outright awesome at it.  People, you should be seriously grateful I was not a TBAA writer.  Else you'd all have watched this wonderful show devolve into "My Father's an Angel" wherein Andrew adopts a slew of children whilst continuing to juggle the AOD gig.  Hilarity and drama and weepiness ensue.  Angst, too.

So Andrew definitely does say "It is finished" in this episode.  Once upon a time, some other fans and I were discussing Andrew echoing Jesus' final words.  His "into Your hands" from "Children of the Night" has always grabbed me.  And someone brought "It is finished" up but I had no recollection of it.  It's here.  Right at the end.  Very moving.

Random thoughts:
Cornelia kinda reminds me of myself when I was little.  Except it wasn't Celine Dion that I wanted to be but Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.  I had the dress and the glittery red shoes and, yes, asked to be called "Dorothy."  These days I'm glad it's not my name!

Music data dump time: Wynonna as Audrey sings a commercial jingle early on.  Later, Audrey and Petey sing "You are My Sunshine."  We get snippets of Audrey singing "Psalm 151" solo.  Mother and son also sing "Simple Gifts" (not "Lord of the Dance" as I first thought).  Tess and Petey play "Heart and Soul" on the piano.  Of course, we have Celine Dion singing "Love Can Move Mountains" which is later reprised by Cornelia, backed by Celine on the CD.  Wynonna sings "You Were Loved" over a scene.  Finally, "Psalm 151/Testify to Love" is reprised with Audrey leading a choir.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
I have not seen the Hallmark version of this episode.  But thanks to a JABB member, Kate, I know the following sad fact:
-Hallmark cuts the scene of Petey arriving home and Andrew carrying him inside (pictured above).  So apparently their version of the episode cuts from Cornelia singing in her dad's office to Petey automatically being home and in his own bed.  Very unfortunate cut.
Thanks, Kate, for reporting this!

Further on down the road...:
What a week...  Our family dog isn't in the best health right now so I've been majorly distracted.  I started watching this again last night and, half way through, realized I hadn't been paying attention at all and wasn't writing any observations.  So I'm trying this again... from the comfort of my bed.  Yay laptop.

I really do wish we coulda seen a party for Andrew... 

I do love seeing Andrew sneak some frosting off the cake.  Not hygienic.  But cute!

It's so weird to think these kids are in their twenties now...  And I'm 30!  So Celine's line about "Who wants to live to be that old?!?" probly has new meaning for each of us!  Eeek!

These nurses...  I still want to throttle them.  At the very least they should have shut the door before talking about a patient.

It's just so sad to think of a little kid having to 1. Think about his death and 2. Fret over not being able to die in his own home.

John really does sound twangier to me in this episode than in many others.  I love it.  And his "find a home for Fluffy" look makes me smile!

Wow.  Mini "Et tu, Brute?" moment when the insurance honcho is revealed to be Cornelia's dad.

That insurance lady is SOOO crass!  She should be fired.  Along with all the stuff I wrote above.

Teared up over Andrew carrying Petey.  So sweet.

"That's why God gives us inspiration.  He puts into our spirit things that could not come out of our own minds."  I believe that quote from Monica.  I love thinking about creativity as a sort of partnership with the Creator.

Monica talking about how Petey brought everyone in his life closer to Heaven really makes me think of John now.  He could definitely check that off his list.

I wonder if Petey saw Andrew glow or how it was he knew he was coming to Heaven, too?  That moment... it's beautiful.

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