"Shallow Water I"

A review by Jenni:

Here's hoping this viewing experience ends up less spastic and involving less Kleenex than the last.

What I love about this episode:

I'm struck by Monica talking about how she returns to the mountain, just as she feels us humans do.  I can relate.  Although I think it's more often I return to the place I was *before* everything changed. 

Well, I'm feeling hopeful.  I know that I won't morph into a devoted Monica fan in Seasons 8 and 9.  But hopefully this change she's talking about means I won't be so irritated with Monica so often.  Honestly, I mostly just remember Andrew from Seasons 8 and 9 so I really dunno.  Maybe I will like this changed Monica.  I'd like to go back to not just tolerating her.  I like feeling hopeful in the first lil teaser part and NOT guilty which is what I got from the "Netherlands'" opener.

"He took your mistakes and made something new and good out of them."  Love that quote from Tess to Monica.  I think God does that so often with us all.

I like what Diana says about how people can have problems and still believe in God.  Unfortunately, I think some people equate seeking help for problems with a lack of faith.  Not so.

In general, I think this is one of the better portrayals of grief.  I was particularly struck by what Rebecca says about blocking the loss and how Diana exhibits that behavior.

It amuses me that the same actor plays both Satan and a gospel singer in TBAA.  Good for Mr. Schneider.  Way to not limit yourself.

Sibling dynamics intrigue me.  Looking forward to seeing this Jed and Joshua thing play out.  Starting to feel grateful for my college-era distraction.  I seriously don't know how this all plays out beyond there being a fatal accident.

It's highly believable that Monica assumes that jealousy tore the family apart.  I'm finding that while things bug me about Monica, they do have an internal logic within the show.  Monica definitely had her jealousy issues with Andrew in the beginning so, naturally, she would see Jed's and Joshua's relationship as the problem.

Diana's descent into delusion to deal with her grief is pretty poignant.  Not too many of us actually hallucinate.  But I've done my share of disappearing into fantasy or indulging in "magical thinking." 

Joshua is cool.  I love how he goes against his dad and gives Jed his moment.

Another good in-character writing moment: Jed goes off on his dad for always calling Joshua "son" but him "boy."  And not two minutes later, Carter calls Andrew... who isn't, of course, even his... son.  Whoa.  Way to show how outta touch this guy is!

Keb' Mo'.  Enough said.  I really like him.

I like how J.D. (yeah, it's a lil hard to type those initials and not mean John) mentions feeling a pull the day of the bus crash.  I've come to firmly believe that God whispers to us and prepares us when things are gonna happen that may be hard to take.  And I like that here God gives J.D. another chance when he doesn't originally heed that whisper.

What I didn't love about this episode:

Daddy needs to get off his high horse.  I can't imagine being so crazily favoritist with my kids!

This is not a complaint about this episode but a problem I have with the series in general: "I can only imagine what it must have been like to watch all of those people die and not be able to do anything about it."  Monica says that to Rebecca about Diana.  And therein lies the heart of what I don't get about Monica in regards to Andrew.  How does Monica so easily grasp the pain of that in Diana but it never seems to cross her mind that this is what Andrew does day after day?  Granted, he takes them Home which is doing something.  And he has vastly more experience.  And his assignments are not his family (well, in a way they are but you know what I mean).  But most any TBAA viewer can think of moments when Andrew wished to do more, to stave off death for his assignments.  Yet he couldn't.  And that hurt him.  But I don't recall one moment in 7.5 years in which Monica grasps this part of him and voices it with as much clarity as she does with Diana.

Lingering questions:
Am I the only one who thinks Andrew has probly always, or at least for as long as we "knew" him, had this seeing people from the inside out gift?  Maybe do all angels eventually get it?  Cause it seems like Tess knows the gist here.

Does Monica's new gift ever resurface?  I don't recall it in Seasons 8 and 9 but, like I said, I mostly remember Andrew.

Once again I must ask... did the angels ever think it awfully odd that some of their assignments were identical to others?  Or that some were identical to fellow angels?  ;-)

I wonder how many people were surprised that Diana's son was dead?  I wonder if I was?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Fifteen minutes in and no Andrew.  I'm getting nervous.

Over halfway through.  No Andrew.  Really nervous.

Gah.  I'm desperate.  Just mistook Randy Travis for John.  That makes zero sense.

ANDREW!!!!!!  I'm sorry.  I know this is a bad sign.  But I just needed to see him and he looks adorable and I would totally let him in my bus.  I could never just leave him...  And he has a book bag.  Aww.  I have no idea what I'm awwing about in regards to that book bag.  He just looks cute with it.  I wanna take him home.

And now I am having inappropriate thoughts about seating arrangements on the bus...

He said "ya'll"!!!  He's so adorable.  And then he said " 'kay " instead of "Okay!"  I know I probly sound psycho but this is all vital somehow, I'm sure.

His telling Jed "Ya'll take it real slow" makes me wonder how many times Andrew makes a last ditch effort to avert a tragedy and isn't heeded.  I wanna hug him in those times.

Poor love looks so sad before he boards the bus. 

Let it be known... one Andrew scene is not enough.

Random thoughts:

Music: In the opener, Monica hears the Winslow family singing "Shallow Water" led by Randy Travis.  In the first flashback, the family sings "Oh, What a Time" led by the Gaither Band.  John Schneider leads em in "Feet on the Rock."  On the bus and at the diner, they practice "Shallow Water."  Diana sings it alone in her room.  During another concert flashback, the group sings "Because He Lives."  Keb'Mo' is strumming along when Monica meets him.  The church choir towards the end sings "Down By the Riverside."

I've had Randy Travis songs stuck in my head all day.  Guess I was psyched for this.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
 - Saw this one coming.  The cut to the scene of Randy Travis playing outside the hotel is so abrupt that I knew something must be missing.  And here it is: that segment actually opens with Monica and Tess on the bus.  Monica is troubled by the fact that she's just sitting on a bus, listening to the past, when clearly she needed to find Diana right away.  Tess counters by asking what she would say if she found Diana right then.  She goes onto tell Monica that "The truth is coming, baby.  You've got to learn to wait and learn to listen."  Monica silently nods.  Then it goes to Diana in Rebecca's office.  She tells her therapist that the song is driving her crazy.  Apparently Jed had written the song the morning of the accident and they'd only sang it once.  Rebecca comments that Jed wrote many songs.  Diana agrees and tells her that he's so talented and that this had been the problem.  Rebecca asks how.  Diana says she has to back up a bit.  She tells Rebecca that they'd needed to get an early start that morning cause they had a concert that night in Charlottee.  She adds "Not that schedules meant much in our family."  As she's saying this, the scene shifts to an exterior of the bus and the family boarding and prepping for the ride.  Carter has the driver blow the horn to get everyone to hurry up.  That's when they go to Jed, writing "Shallow Water," when the Gaither guys approach and ask if he's writing a new song.

Further on down the road...
Well, I've more or less worked through my "Netherlands" issues.  By that I mean that I still don't like that episode.  But I've mentally spun it in a way that doesn't make me want to rage at Monica.  So that's good.  Hopefully I can enjoy this one a bit more though I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd rather be watching Sleepy Hollow.  Really I'd rather be watching S9 of TBAA but that's not in the cards... yet.  Soon!

I just really am still surprised by how often the writers had Monica go I, I, I... in this trilogy of episodes.

I am very glad that Tess refers to Monica's mistakes.  She was losing me with the veiled reference to Jesus.  Jesus was tempted because why would Satan not give that a go?  Monica was tempted cause she made a mistake, pure and simple.

I know it won't make sense but I started laughing when Diana says "God doesn't need my protection."  Well, there goes part of the plot of "The Carpenter."  ;-)  Not really.  God doesn't need protection... but that doesn't mean someone wouldn't unwittingly end up protecting Him.

Joshua's gonna screw me up.  I basically hear that name as Jesus now.

So glad that, at least last I heard, Randy Travis' health was improving.

Sigh... almost time.  Yay!!!  At about 28:30, Andrew finally shows!  But then it makes me sad when he tells Jed to take the drive slow.  Poor love really tries to not have to do his job...

I really, really want to love these two episodes because I know some fans absolutely love them and the cast is great.  But for some reason, my mind always wanders during them.  And I know it can't just be the lack of Andrew cause there are Season 1 episodes that keep my attention just fine.  This is just one of those episodes that it's not at all that I dislike it.  It just doesn't work for me somehow.
  I do love the music.  Something with the pacing maybe.  No clue.

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