A review by Jenni:
What I love about this episode:
Yay! The opening of this episode gives me a good way to
justify it when the angels in my stories aren't exactly
truthful. Tess says Monica needs to "improvise" a last name
and address. So, in JABB stories, Andrew sometimes
improvises... not lies.
Welleye from "Well, I..." I totally forgot about how Monica
gets her last name in this. Fun!
Monica's glasses are cute. Yeah, it's kinda pathetic that a
lot of my "yay Monica" comments have to do with fashion. But
even when I was angry with her, I always thought she had awesome
clothes and accessories.
Monica's interview to get onto the jury is well done. Does
volunteer work, supported completely by her Father, etc. All
perfectly true, all perfectly legitimate and normal sounding.
"Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, ya know. Fear
being a healthy respect for, not terror of, God." I like
that quote from Monica cause "fear of the Lord" is so often
Another partial bottle episode! I'm just psyched that I've
learned that term from Community,
thanks to Abed. ;-)
I like hearing how the different jurors see their roles.
Maybe they're out to make an example of people. Maybe
they're bringing justice to those left behind. Maybe they're
being good citizens. It's no wonder some juries take forever
to reach a consensus... if they ever do.
Wow. I totally forgot they mentioned pour patterns in
this. I wonder if that makes it kinda dated cause I'd heard
that particular science is getting majorly questioned
lately. I thought I'd first heard about them when I was
reading about the Cameron Todd Willingham case but apparently I
first heard about them here. I find that impressive detail
given that this is not a police/legal procedural.
Wow again. This episode has a plot point I completely forgot
but is strangely apropos right now. We just had terrible
violence committed by a young man here in town and his parents, by
all accounts, seem to be good people. There was another case
over the summer that was absolutely horrible and, again, he had
good, committed parents. So Carlos' and Monica's discussion
about parental fault when a child unleashes violence really grabs
"Time can be a lot more valuable than
money." A very true quote from Monica. I'm thinking
time usually is the more valuable of the two.
"He understands the pain, the grief, the anger that you feel
for the world, for God, even for yourself." From Monica to
Carol Anne. I think when we're grieving we can sometimes
feel even worse because we wind up feeling guilty for our anger at
God. But I agree with TBAA. He understands.
I thought Carol Anne's second-guessing of the events surrounding
her husband's murder was realistic. How many of us, when
we've lost someone, have gone through that horrible "What if I'd
done this instead..." or "If only I'd said..." You can see
how that could wreck a life.
I really love that Monica outright says that Timothy's murder was
NOT part of God's plan but that it was His plan that he spend
eternity with him. That's exactly what I believe and yet
it's comforting to hear it from someone else. Even a
As difficult as it is to see, I'm glad they showed Elizabeth's
parents struggling mightily with the verdict. Anything else
would have been phony and dishonest and cheap. For the same
reasons, I'm glad that Falstaff was not portrayed as a good guy
and that the jurors never knew that he actually was
innocent. Because, in real life, that's probly the situation
most jurors face. I bet it's pretty seldom a uber-nice,
squeaky clean defendant surfaces and often jurors are left merely
to make the best guess possible on innocence or guilt without
access to the complete truth.
What I didn't love about
Really shocked that "nuances" is a novel term for Monica...
Yikes. And "condensed" is expanded vocab?! I like
humor in the episodes but sometimes it seems like the writers
couldn't decide how much of a neophyte they wanted us to think
Monica was. Here she seems kinda daft yet in other, previous
episodes she's very mature. Andrew knows the word
apocryphal, btw. He's a genius. ;-)
I don't really care for how "Render unto Caesar..." is used here
but am having a hard time verbalizing why. Monica asks Tess
how she could make a decision on the death penalty and that's
Tess' reply. It just rubs me the wrong way. Jesus used
those words in regards to taxes. I always took Him to mean
that He understood that governments need things and that one
doesn't always have to make a religious issue out of it. But
the death penalty is intrinsically different from funding a road
or building repairs or public services. For many people it
*is* a religious issue because it involves the potential taking of
a life created by God. Thus, repeating them in reference to
the death penalty seems like a misuse. I just really can't
see Jesus as seeing the death penalty as something to be
considered solely as in the domain of "Caesar."
Additionally, it's a lil weird to use the words of someone who
received capital punishment in that manner. If the quote had
come earlier, simply in reference to Monica being on a jury
period, it would work for me. But as a response to Monica's
specific query about the death penalty, I can't go with it.
Maybe they didn't mean for it to seem like potentially voting for
the death penalty was "rendering unto Caesar" but there's room for
error in interpretation the way it's used.
I have to fault Monica's logic on Gunderson's
testimony (pre-dyslexia revelation). It's completely
possible to recognize a license plate but not the make of a
car. I am hopeless with guessing makes of cars but typically
memorize the first 3 letters of license plates of people I know or
see regularly. But I still can't tell you their makes even
though I've rode in those cars hundreds of times. And how
does Monica not know that mailboxes are typically blue (on rare
occasion they are gussied up a la the Artoo ones)? She's
been a mail carrier and worked in a post office!
Okay... if they're sposed to be "rendering unto Caesar," how come
when Andrew follows the law, Tess feels free to go above his head
and consult God to get her way? Not cool. And I agree
with Andrew's scowl. Andrew was being good. Tess was
being pushy and wrong. (And just wait til you read about the
cut scene!) Unfortunately, that scene fits in all too well
with one of the core problems I have with TBAA. Andrew was
almost always a "good boy" and a far better angel than Monica
(and, obedience-wise, even Tess). Yet Monica got heaps more
praise and affection. Similarly, and I hate to say this, she
also seemed more loved by God. Think about it: He told her
about her promotion, Sam told Andrew. Monica lost her way in
"Groundrush" and God spoke to her. Andrew lost his way in
TDDUP and... well, he just got Monica. There are far more
Monica and God moments than Andrew and God ones. Sometimes
it just seemed like Andrew did everything he could to serve his
Father and yet Monica sometimes whined and complained and got more
attention. And I'd really prefer to think God is a far
better parent than that. Cause that right there is a problem
in many human families. I'd hope for better from the
Oh boy... I'd somehow never thought about lawyers asking
about romantic relationships in jury selection. I so would
not want to get into that. Do they ask that for all juries
or just ones for a case that involves a romantic (gone terribly
wrong) aspect of sorts?
Anyone else find themselves thinking an English major wrote
this? Falstaff (Shakespeare's Henry plays) is the potential murderer.
Elizabeth Bennet(t) (Pride
and Prejudice) is the victim. I'm hoping for a
witness named Heathcliff or Rochester.
Whoa. Maybe I'm reading too much into this but Andrew says
that if he was Falstaff, he wouldn't mind knowing an angel was in
the jury room. So does that mean that an angel would never
vote for the death penalty? I mean that's my belief but it
just seems striking that it would be implied like that as I'm sure
some people believe they most definitely would vote that
way. (They aren't exactly non-violent innocents in the
Bible...) Unless there is no established stance and Andrew's
simply assuming that Monica would be against the death
How can they control for pressure from other jury members as seen
here? Or do we just trust that no one votes simply because
they're worried about being taunted by the other jurors who just
want to leave?
So at one point someone says that if Monica was bothered by the
death penalty, she should have excused herself from serving.
Is that true? I don't see how it can be, though, because
then almost everyone would pretend to be anti-death penalty to get
out of serving. Plus, I don't think it *is* a good
excuse. I don't intend to turn this into a soap box but I
will say that I am against the death penalty. However, if I
were called to serve on a capital case; I would vote guilty even
if I knew it meant the person might be put to death if I firmly
believed they *were* guilty. I would never help to let a
murderer walk just because of my own moral position. Cause
if I did, for all I knew, I'd just be unwittingly setting up a
later murder. So maybe that's what Tess meant about
rendering unto Caesar? Regardless, I still think that was a
lousy quote to give her on multiple levels... hypocrisy chief
that made me feel swoony:
Loveliness in a uniform... Ha. And I love his
eye brow when he reads "Monica Welleye."
I could not
have been in Monica's place in this episode as I would have spent
far too much time daydreaming about the bailiff and trying to send
him psychic, uplifting messages. ("You are adorable," "I
love you no matter what your job is," etc.)
Andrew has been a victim of a violent crime (well, in
Dyeland-mode) so probly couldn't serve on a jury for this sorta
case. Not that I intended for him to in a story but just a
note to myself in hopes I'll remember not to let that
happen. Also... it's kinda a bad sign that I'm thinking so
much about apocryphal Andrew... This episode needed more
Andrew to keep my mind from wandering.
As adorable as he is in this episode, he barely gets to do
anything... And I wish I could hug him after Tess gives him
a hard time then gets the Father to get him to go into the jury
room. Andrew seems used by the Father (unless that buzzer
was merely coincidence which TBAA doesn't generally acknowledge)
to appease Tess...
Andrew's balking over Monica's use of "Tessify" is amusing insofar
as, in Dyeland-mode, he has to cope with made-up words all the
time. Well, it's also amusing and cute on its own.
Cause he is.
Vague memories of this episode really
helped me when I got a jury duty notice and was worried that I
might get assigned. It's not that I'm against the idea but,
as I don't drive, it would have been a logistical nightmare.
Anyhow, what kept me calm is by thinking how, if I did get
assigned, at least I could have the fun of daydreaming about
Andrew as the bailiff. So, ya see, this crush is totally
functional even at its advanced age...
Sadly, they cut my favorite Andrew scene. Read below for
details. But I just love, love, love that Andrew doesn't let
Tess push him around. He's right. He knows it.
He stands up in defense of his stance. And he's gonna do his
job and follow God's will no matter what Tess says. Plus,
he's just cute when he's stern. I'm sure he'd *love* to know
Music: Didn't notice
any. Not really allowed in court methinks.
This episode also reminds me of 30
Rock when Liz showed up for jury duty dressed as Princess
Leia in hopes they'd boot her. Hilarious!
This is set in Boise, Idaho, for the record.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-There's a brief scene cut in which Peter approaches Monica and
says that he wasn't trying to make her feel stupid with his
mailbox example. He goes onto to tell her that Falstaff must
be guilty, though, because with all the mystery novels he reads,
he would know if he were innocent.
-During deliberations, there's a scene of Carol Anne writing in
her planner. The young guy, Zack, approaches and asks what
she's doing. She says she's planning what she needs to
do. He comments that she's organized. She says she
learned it from her husband.
-Poor Tess. Her first cut scene comes when she approaches
the Bennets outside the court room. They think she's a
reporter. She denies this and says she's sorry for their
loss. She asks if they need anything. The mother
answers that she needs Falstaff to pay.
-Later, Tess is again outside the court room. She overhears
two cops speaking. One is the one who testified (Officer
Jarvis or something like that) in the Falstaff case. He
tells his buddy that he didn't
tell the court about the "homeless wino" who saw Falstaff putting
the gas in his car (thus proving his innocence and explaining why
he had an empty gas container.) The cop says that the judge
wouldn't allow the witness. The buddy makes some wry comment
about "Welcome to the justice system." Tess looks troubled
-This is a heartbreaker. Tess goes to Andrew who is outside
the jury room. She asks what's going on. He doesn't
know but says it's something quiet, possibly a vote. Tess
says she needs to speak to Monica because she knows the
truth. She tells Andrew to go in. He refuses.
(Good boy!) She says that if he doesn't, she
will. (Way to actually be a miscarriage of justice,
Tess!) She balks when he still refuses. Andrew then
tells her he has an assignment, too. She asks who. He
says "You." She responds "Me?!" He says "You" seeming
a bit amused and even kinda proud. And then comes another
"Me?!" with Tess looking even more incredulous. Andrew,
quite sternly, says "YOU!" and glares at her. Atta
boy. So sad that this was cut. Although if I were Tess
I'd be glad about it. It makes her look even worse. I
know I just love the part of the Bible wherein Jesus says "Render
unto Caesar what is Caesar's... except when it's inconvenient or
you just don't feel like doing it. Then feel free to bully
the AOD." ;-) Really, I'm upset this scene was cut
mostly cause it makes it clear God was on Andrew's side so really
must not have been using him to appease Tess.
Further on down the road...
So my initial review for this was the last one I did prior to
John Dye's death. I'm pointing that out only because the
next time I did one, I wondered if I could even keep going with
all of this. Obviously, I did. And given we've had a
number of new JABB members since that sad day, I'm really glad
that I did keep JABB going! Still... it is a lil melancholy
to think back on that viewing and know it was one of the last
times I would watch TBAA in a particular light. But, in a
lot of ways, my viewing experience is richer now. It means
Anyhow, I am also really exhausted. Just could not sleep
last night. So... hopefully I make sense. And I don't
think my ability to pay attention is very good. But I just
wanted to watch TBAA.
Yeah... still kinda troubled that "nuance" and "condense" are
vocab words for Monica. I'm hoping she knew what they meant
but was merely trying to be more colorful with her language.
I think it's quaint that Carol Anne assumed Monica is still living
at home. She coulda been living with a significant other.
I really like that the lawyer doesn't seem at all surprised that
Monica's never been in a romantic relationship. Yay for
And I still think Tess' use of "render unto Caesar" was
misguided. Like I wrote above, it's a little unclear what
they meant but it sort of gives the impression that voting for the
death penalty might be rendering unto Caesar. I just still
don't think Jesus' admonition was meant to cover capital
punishment. There are plenty of references in the Bible that
I do think can be fairly applied to the death penalty
argument. But not that one. Of course, like I also
wrote above... Tess doesn't seem to have a bloody clue what
"render unto Caesar" means, anyhow, so it's probably moot.
I'm still not sure
what to make of Andrew's statement that if he were Brendan, he'd
be glad to know there was an angel in the room. Does that
mean Andrew knows he's innocent and thus it's good that a bringer
of truth is in the room? Or does it mean that Andrew's
thinking that an angel would never vote for the death
penalty? Or maybe he merely means that an angel would work
at making people truly consider the case and what they truly
believe which is exactly what Monica does. And this is
probably a stupid question but do the jurors even have a say in
the penalty? Or do they just decide guilty or innocent and
then the judge picks the punishment? You'd think I'd know
this but I stopped watching courtroom dramas a few years
back. Got to be too much. Hmm... It really
sounds in this case like a guilty verdict automatically meant the
death penalty. But I thought there was a penalty
phase. I dunno... Okay, just rewatched bits after
having some caffeine. The judge says at the least it'd be
life in prison but the death penalty was possible. So a
guilty verdict would not have automatically meant capital
punishment. I thought that seemed odd... And he does
ask if the possible death penalty presents a moral issue for
anyone. I still wonder if that's for real. If yes,
wouldn't people abuse that just to get out?
The Wittenbergs had a neighbor with the last name of Gunderson if
memory serves. I wonder if this is the same
OMG. Tess makes me want to hit my head on this desk.
The Bible does not read "Render unto Caesar that which is
Caesar's... unless you are Tess. Then you can do whatever
you want and let Andrew deal with it." Well, at least God
seems to have realized Tess was going to be a problem and I spose
it's nice that He trusted Andrew with the job. Still...
woulda been nice to have seen some indication that God was not
happy with Andrew being held to a different standard.
I do like a lot that Monica stresses that God's plan was for Tim
to live eternally with Him... but that doesn't mean God willed the
tragedy and the violence that brought his death about. Oh
and I said that before. Oh well. Bears repeating.
Oh good. I'm glad that Andrew got to put his arm around
Monica. I don't like when they end on an awkward family
photo moment (i.e. Tess and Monica are embracing and Andrew stands
off to the side... untouched.)
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