"Remembering Me, Part I"

A review by Jenni:

It's been a rocky week emotionally so I'm very glad to be sitting here in some of the ugliest but most comfortable pajamas with my chai and my blondie (forgetting about the semi-high cholesterol issue for tonight) watching TBAA...  This was an episode I wasn't crazy about when it first aired but I'm looking forward to seeing if and how my views have changed.

What I love about this episode:
I love Sam's "God bless you, my friend."

"Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do."  Truer words were never spoken by Tess...  Well, not counting "God loves you."

"You can lose the most precious things in the world and not even know they're gone."  Gah, Tess...  It's not even commercial and she's already made me tear up twice.  And neither time has it actually been about the plot.  That line's far too true. 

My conflicted thoughts on the plot aside, there is some fantastic acting from both Ms. Reese and Ms. Downey in this.  I especially thought so when Tess has problems in the car and stops driving.

Monica is right.  Flex days rock.

Wow.  Did not know Tess could draw so well.  The Noah's Ark scene is great. 

I am glad that Tess' Alzheimer's was used as a means of helping Satterfield see the light.  Cause it developing solely as a means of getting Monica to progress woulda really driven me batty.  I suppose cause it woulda fed into the notion that Monica is the sun around which everything orbits.

I really like Tess' doctor.  It's obvious he cares about his patients and even looks after their loved ones... namely Monica.

That distant shot of Monica and Andrew hugging in the nursing home common area made me cry.  It was beautiful. 

"Things happen in this world... and we sometimes aren't given the answers that we would like to have.  But we are always given the time with the people we love before it's too late.  Please... don't throw your time away."  Great lesson that Monica imparts to David.  I don't actually agree as we aren't always given that time.  But when we are... it is important not to throw it away.

I actually really love David's angry reaction to Monica.  No, I don't agree with his not visiting his mother and not spending time with his family.  But I understand why he made those choices.  Because it would be terribly, terribly hard to keep visiting your parent and have to wonder each time what's going to be missing next.  His final words to Monica about going there until she realizes she can't any more are frightening because I can see them becoming true.

There is still something about this plot line that seems over the top to me.  However... I think the comfort it probably gave to those who are dealing with dementia either personally or with a loved one vastly outweighs that.  So I am glad they did these episodes. 

Also, I'm glad it was just Monica, Andrew, and Tess for the most part.  With something this momentous, it seems right that that unit of three confront it together.  Gloria just woulda seemed out of place to me.  And I don't think anyone actually facing something like this woulda been comforted by her no doubt overly intellectual take on Alzheimer's.

That being said... I am glad Sam showed up.  Monica needed a talking to.  And I do feel like Sam's got much more history with them than Gloria.  For this episode, TBAA seems more like a drama about a family than anything.  And I always rather liked thinking of Sam as the dad-figure.

Monica's reaction when Sam begins his revelation makes me feel better.  When someone dies... I do know in my heart that God holds them close.  And that He holds me there, too.  But I still feel desperately sad and sometimes very angry.  And people don't always understand that you can have faith and still have those feelings.  I believe in Heaven.  I believe in God.  But that doesn't mean in that very moment when I badly want someone with me that knowing they're in Heaven is just gonna make everything hunky-dory.  Cause I'm still here.  Just as Monica is in this episode.

"All we need to know now, Monica, is that this, too, shall pass.  Perhaps not tomorrow.  Perhaps not for a thousand years but God will take the weaknesses of this world and use them to make us stronger."  I'm loving that quote from Sam.

"Terrible things happen in this world, David.  To humans and sometimes to angels.  But God is strong, strong enough to carry us through the pain.  He's strong enough to help us face the difficult days ahead.  God will hold us in His hands if we let Him because He loves us." 

"Even if we have lost those that we love, we can mourn them but we must never turn away from them.  We must never let the pain become so great that we lose our memories, too."  This and the one directly above it are spoken by Monica.  I think they say a lot about grief and loss in general, not just the loss that people face with dementia.

I was feeling like Rafael just seemed thrown in to get another guest star.  But his scene with Alex was great.  I wish someone could say that to all children in his position.

I think it was more the second part I disliked cause of the Kevin angle.  TBAA kinda had a problem in the last season of revisiting beloved assignments and just making their lives worse.  (See Wayne and Joey and also Audrey.)  Nonetheless, I'm glad this is a two-parter cause even though the depiction of Alzheimer's is not realistic in the sense that a human isn't miraculously gonna be fine a la Tess... it woulda really been too unreal to have Tess be cured and back to normal all in the space of a single episode.  This deserved a two-parter.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Not crazy about the fact that neither Sam nor Tess seem to give a second thought to how Andrew will take Tess' condition.  It's all about Monica.  I understand that this is leading up to her promotion and a sorta test for her but Andrew still has feelings...

Lingering questions:

I've always wondered how Andrew got brought in.  Did he just show up at the doctor's office wondering why he was there and Monica had to break it to him?  Did he show up knowing?

Andrew suggests that he and Monica just take Tess back Home.  They can do that?  Like if I was Monica and Andrew got really, really upset during an assignment could I just say "That's it!  We're going back Home for a bit!"  I would probly abuse that...

Parts that made me feel swoony:
One reason I love Andrew so much...  He has a really good head on his shoulders.  He would be the perfect person to have around during a crisis.  He'd support you but also probly stay reasonable enough to make the tough decisions.  Just like he does here with being the first one to bring up possibly having to get supervision for Tess. 

This episode perfectly illustrates why almost always, from third season on, I related almost exclusively with Andrew and no longer really felt any kinship with Monica or Tess...  It hit me anew when Monica flees to the hall crying when Tess doesn't want to stay at the nursing home.  Monica asks Andrew why it's happening.  And he calmly answers "I don't know but God reveals everything in His own time."  That's my role...  Be strong, hold it together, cry in private, talk about God.  And I don't even look as good doing it...  Gah, I just wanna hug him.  And run away with him.  And go somewhere that we could just be who we were.  I guess that's where Andrew does go in between assignments.  Same place John went. 

We all need an Andrew to show up sometimes and tell us to cut ourselves some slack.  And if he could be wearing a green sweater when he says it... even better.

He doesn't even have to be in a scene to be in a scene for me...  In a story I wrote for JABB in October 2010, Tess sang "Abide with Me" to an utterly distraught Andrew.  I'd totally forgotten that the song was in this episode.  It just fit well with that story.  It was the last really significant Andrew and Tess scene I wrote before everything changed.  So when Della Reese started singing that, I just... I dunno.  I guess I wished I could go back to when all sadness connected to Andrew was purely fictional.  Also, I put that song... the Mahalia Jackson version... in a mixed CD that I listened to repeatedly after John died.  It and the other tracks really helped me.  But that explains my reaction to the song.

Andrew's a rock in this...  And I always loved that about him.  Cause I wanted that rock.  But it also made me really nervous for him.

Random thoughts:

Music: In a flashback we hear "The Lord Moves in Mysterious Way" from "Show Me the Way Home."  And then Tess starts singing "Abide with Me"... and I promptly lost it.  I kept control a bit better when she started singing it again but I was rather glad when Monica cut her off.  Monica starts singing "The Lord Moves..." at the end.  And she's not awful.

The elephants are making me sad...  We had two at our zoo but then one died and apparently it's very bad and sad for the anima
l to be alone so they sent her to another zoo.  Obviously it was the right thing to do.  But how sad to lose your partner and home one right after the other.

With all the stops and starts thanks to my hormonalness... it took me an hour and 25 minutes to watch 40 minutes.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
- They cut a part after Tess has left Satterfield's office and he has told Monica she needs to give Tess some room.  While Monica and David proceed, David's daughter calls.  You can hear her on the phone telling him her play is that night.  He tells her he has to work.  You can hear her protesting and saying he promised.  He tells her he'll try to call later.  Then they begin to discuss mergers and acquisitions.

-They also cut a part at the nursing home.  Monica is arranging flowers in Tess' room and the nurse asks if Tess has any family.  Monica responds "Oh yes, she has lots and lots of family.  They're very far away.  I'm her closest friend.  She's always taken care of me."  The nurse responds that that's how life is.  Tess took care of her, now it's her turn.

-And some off the end of that scene, too.  After the doctor consults with Tess, Monica prays.  She asks the Father to help them.  Tess asks who she is talking to.  She responds "To God."  Tess answers "I talk to Him all the time, you know."  A nice moment, a shame THC cut it.

Further on down the road...
Monica not needing Tess anymore is a lil bit of a harsh observation from Sam...  She may not need her in the same way as when she was a new caseworker but she needs her as a friend.  So does Andrew for that matter... not that his feelings matter.  Typical...

How is the doctor being so open with Monica and Andrew?  I spose maybe Tess said there was no reason to hold anything back from them.

I will say this scene in the hospital room pretty well clarifies how different Andrew and Monica are.  Andrew's emotional but tempered by reason (usually).  Monica's all emotion and sometime an outside source has to provide the reason.

I do think it's good how the show highlighted how difficult it is to balance work obligations with caring for an ill loved one.  So many people find themselves run ragged between the two.

It is so sad when Monica has to leave Tess...  Yep, Andrew's like a rock.

That hug by the window gets to me...  Not even quite sure why.  Makes me sad, honestly.  I feel like Andrew and Monica coulda been so much more.  And I do NOT mean romance.  Just a more solid friendship.  Something more equal.

I don't know why Monica felt it was truthful to say we're always given time with our loved ones before it's too late.  That's simply not true. 

Good gravy, Monica...  Get over yourself.  Near as I can tell based on earlier episodes, Tess knew Sam long before she knew Monica.  So this "she doesn't even know me" snappiness...  I realize she's upset but geez.  Tess didn't spring into being just because Monica would eventually need her.  It's stunning how Sam continually uses "we" language and Monica uses "I" language.

I think I'd be really upset to know an angel had Alzheimer's.  David has no context of "sometimes bad things happen to these angels but then they're healed once the assignment is over."  It just makes Heaven seem less stable somehow to not know more about how an angel's compromised human form would be fine in Heaven.

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