"Random Acts"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

It's another in medias res episode!  I may even like this set up better than how it was used in "Crisis of Faith."  Hard call.

This is both something I loved and didn't in this episode: Monica.  I felt sorry for her at many points through out.  I was touched by her pondering why she couldn't prevent Mike's shooting.  It made me remember why she was once my role model.  At the same time it begged the question: And how often do you think Andrew feels like that, Monica?  This episode made me think a
lot about that friendship.  For better and for worse.  One thing's for sure, as a human it'd be good to have Monica on your side.  When she promises not to leave Mike, I'm touched.  I just tried to not think of the times she left Andrew...

Free will got lotsa play in this episode and I loved it.  I always appreciated how TBAA stressed that not everything that occurs is God's will.  I firmly believe that.  I also believe that, even when His will has been ignored, God will bring good out of the muck that human's free will has created.  This episode stressed that, too. 

I loved John Ritter as Mike O'Connor.  I know many teachers and so I know how much they sacrifice whether it be emotional, monetary, time, etc.  Mike was the epitome of the self-sacrificing teacher and the burn-out that so many of them come to feel.  Mr. Ritter did an awesome job portraying that.  He sounded like teachers I know. 

The way they utilized the students' video tribute was very touching.  When Mike first sees it in the trunk it was a welcome break from the tenseness of the scene.  When we later hear their voices, seemingly calling him back from the brink, it's especially touching.

This episode showed what's best and worst about being an angel of death.  The way Andrew's face lit up when he talked about taking Mr. Perkins Home and how the man danced when he saw the light...  It's a good balance to when we see Andrew torn up about his AOD duties.  I loved that scene.

Finally, this episode is home to my all-time favorite TBAA quote.  When Andrew said "On one side, there is life. And on the other...there is life, too," it changed my life.  That quote has been of so much comfort to me.  It has helped me in times of grief and it even inspired our domain name.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I'm undecided on a couple of scenes.  First, Monica seems like she's feeding lines to Mike when he's trying to get through to Danielle.  That's okay but I think it would have been more effective if Mike himself were coming up with those things.  It just kinda makes one wonder where the words that touch us originate.  Words are meaningful to me sometimes cause of who said them.  To find out later they were someone else's words might be upsetting.

I'm also a lil leary of the sorta "mind control" Monica uses with Danielle.  You see it happen in other episodes, too, and it kinda fits along with the feeding lines thing.  Part of me likes the idea that angels can inspire us with their words.  Another part of me thinks it kinda makes us seem a lil less free and creative.  Again, neither scene really bugged me.  Just something that gave me pause.

Lingering questions:
Why does Tess get a dog which she doesn't even seem to want yet here we have Andrew saying he wants a dog but can't have one!?!  It's no fair!!!  Thankfully, in Dyeland Andrew has Lulu but I still woulda liked to have seen him get one on TBAA.  Maybe the dog could have given him the attention and love Monica and Tess sometimes held back.  Humph.

I realize Lucas wasn't exactly a genius but I had to wonder if he had any sense at all when he seems shocked that Mike doesn't have cash and "good stuff" at his apartment.  What world is Lucas living in that teachers get well paid!?!?  If you're looking for that why would you choose to carjack a teacher?  Musta been the drugs talking/thinking there.

I'd like to know what happened to Danielle.  I felt bad for her.  She seemed like a nice person and it was sad that her brain seemed fried since Mike said she had so much promise.  I actually felt worse for her than I did Mike, I think. 

I'm intrigued by Monica hitting the record button on the camera and thus supplying evidence of Lucas' shooting of Mike.  It must be maddening to know who committed the crime and yet have to keep silent.  Yet it must happen to angels all the time.  Which just made me wonder why Monica was allowed to aid in exposing Lucas that time? 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
 The way Andrew holds Monica's hand for a brief moment near the mailbox... I wanted to be her in that moment.  And then he just sweetens it by offering to treat her to a frappuccino.   Andrew is like a Fr. Whattawaste times ten. 

At the scene where he and Monica are kneeling near Mike's fallen form, Andrew has a few lines where he assures Monica that everything makes sense to God and that sometimes angels can interfere and stop violence.  Something about the way he said it made me feel like he was not only trying to assure Monica but also reassure himself.  Which, of course, made me feel for him so... I was perhaps not swoony but definitely feeling attached to him in that moment.

Then after his lovely "on one side" quote, Andrew murmurs to Mike's dog.  Any guy who tries to comfort a scared dog is swoon-worthy in my book.

Finally, I love that Andrew opens car doors for Monica and Tess.  He's so gentlemanly and chivalrous in the best sense of the word!

Random thoughts:
Having my own dog has changed me.  My family has always had dogs but since I now have Danika who is completely dependent on only me, I find myself more moved by dog-related scenes.  So hearing Mike's dog whimper just tore at me!

This episode has become more moving since the untimely passing of John Ritter.  I've always been touched by this episode but watching it now and hearing "Mike" say "I wanna live for my kids" is difficult.  That's when it's good to remember what Andrew said about the other side.

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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.)