"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
"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
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
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
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...
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...
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
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.
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 animal 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.
- 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
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
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.
the Episode Guide
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