"Show Me The Way To Go Home"

A review by Jenni:
I decided it was about time for an Adam fix.

What I love about this episode:
Here's some fun dialogue ya just don't get from later TBAA episodes:
Monica: You said you got a job but a barkeeper!
Tess: Well, she didn't need a stripper.

Wow.  But I was amused.  And eating.  I'm glad my only reaction was watery eyes.  Still, I do miss the levity in some of the later episodes.  Yet watching early episodes I sometimes miss the drama.  So I'm glad TBAA brought us both at different times.

I really like how the coach's recognition of Monica plays out.  First, he gets kinda misty eyed and stunned in the bar when she says "It's the best I could do on short notice."  The later hospital scene where he recalls, in some detail, their first meeting is also very emotional.  It's a moment that makes me remember why Monica was once a role model for me.  It's just a shame the scene then turns into anger as Earl demands to know why he was saved and Monica informs him that he squandered his second chance. 
Sure keeps my attention, though!

Monica drinking the hot sauce is priceless.  Another fun moment, especially when she actually drains the bottle and then drinks

I like that Tess tells Monica that it's not her job to change the coach.  It fits in well with the show's high regard for free will.

The sequence with Monica and Tess watching the sunset in the field is gorgeous, despite some odd dialogue (more on that later).  The scenery is so lovely and when Tess begins to sing it's such a sweet, warm moment.  But, if you know me, you've probly guessed that at some point I began to wish that Andrew had gotten such a heart-warming moment with Tess.

The way it comes up I find this quote a little unsettling: "Some of our best living is done through the people we leave behind."  However, on its own I find it beautiful.  Yesterday I was at a memorial for a teacher and hearing that quote today I thought of him and how true it will likely be.  I hope it's true for all of us.

I'm afraid I just plain find sports boring.  True, I watch Friday Night Lights and I do find it odd there's not more football playing in it.  But the truth is that during the football scenes I am usually bored.  If it wasn't for the cuts to the crowd and sidelines, I would be seriously bored.  But the final play in the game in this episode is actually suspenseful for me as I watch it!  I love the way Peter running is interspersed with Monica telling him to stay and the coach whispering "Come home" over and over. 

I love the ending.  Tess singing.  Adam, Monica, and Earl walking into the rain and fading into it.  The rainbow.  Beautiful.  An awesome Going Home scene.

What I didn't love about this episode:
The coach really is hard to take at points.  I found myself considering how unlike Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights he was.  But then it's not fair to compare most anyone to Kyle Chandler.  Still... this guy makes me cringe at parts.  Especially when he starts pitting Peter and Dink against each other by making Peter assign laps.  That's just Machiavellian.  And when he shoves Monica on the field right before he collapses... eek!  Imagine if one of your school teachers/coaches shoved another right in front of you!

This features easily the second strangest use of slow motion for me.  Monica running onto the field in her uniform... in slow mo as we hear catcalls.  Classy.  In case anyone cares the number one weirdest use, for me, is in the TV movie Jesus when they show Jesus hauling around his carpenter tools in slow mo as Mary of Bethany looks on dreamily.  Nonetheless, I laugh at both scenes cause it is pretty darn hilarious.  Just kinda weird... and takes a person outta the scene as they ponder what the heck the point of that was.

There were some consistency errors in the writing, I thought.  But I mostly go into them in the next section.  It's not really right to get too negative about it when this is only the second episode.

Lingering questions:
Yeah, yeah.  I know TBAA has bad consistency in some episodes and I also know the writers could never have predicted "Face on the Barroom Floor" when they wrote this.  But weren't either or both Monica and Andrew barkeeps in that?  So Monica seeming surprised at an angel being a barkeeper is odd for me.  Course, due to the massive plot problems I'd probly do well to forget "Face" exists.  But Andrew looked so cute in a nerdy, Old Westy kinda way...

I wanna know what magazine Adam was reading as he was perched on the counter in the hospital waiting area.

Does anyone else think the TBAA writers hadn't really worked out the details on what the angels were yet in this episode?  First, we have Adam saying that Earl "fought me the whole way" by taking up exercise and shunning liquor once he learned he had pancreatic cancer.  That just seems an odd way to phrase things when Adam doesn't bring death nor even particularly want death to be the outcome in many cases. 

Second, Tess tells Monica "We all die by ourselves."  Oh really?  Were they still toying with the angels being dead humans at this point?  I'm thinking it's very possible since right after that Tess says "Some of our best living is done through the people we leave behind."  Although out of context I would justify that statement by saying that the angels do have a vast impact on their assignments long after they've left them, coupled with Tess' earlier remark it sounds like she's talking about their deaths.  Weird.

Will Tess' lace parasol really do anything for her?  I mean it's lace!  Won't the sun just shine right through?  Yes?  No?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Yay, Adam!  While his Caesar haircut (and I actually think Charles Rocket woulda made a great Julius Caesar) isn't as swoon-inducing as his long hair, I'm just glad to see Adam in any style!  The guy has truly magnificent eyes.  Look! 

Still... Adam's a lil harsh in this episode at points.  Yet, I think I caught a glimpse of some vulnerability on his part that got explored more later with Andrew though never really enough for my tastes.  When Monica protests his coming for Earl, Adam says "Please don't make this any harder."  For who?  I'm gonna guess Adam.  Earl doesn't seem to have any clue that Adam and Monica are there.  So I think Adam really, really wanted to avoid coming up against Monica or Monica being upset with him for taking Earl.  Monica does this "Not you!" thing repeatedly, sometimes vocally and sometimes not.  I always wondered why the AODs didn't call her on it.  But maybe that line is the closest Adam could get to telling her that acting as if he's a plague is hard on him.  If it is, I feel sad for Adam but glad that he actually voiced that stance however vaguely.

Right after that Adam voices his opinion that Earl doesn't deserve a second chance (ouch).  It's jarring to hear an angel say that even if I can't say I blame him.  Adam's a pretty jovial, openly affectionate guy.  I think it would be hard for him to accept someone like Earl whose attempts at humor are often mean-spirited and who Monica even says avoids affection.  But then a very enigmatic but pleased-seeming look crosses Adam's face when Earl *does* get the chance Monica so desperately wants for him.  It may seem inconsistent but I think Adam's rooted in that eternal optimism that all AODs must have.  So he is pleased and maybe even impressed by Monica when Earl gets his second chance, Adam's personal opinion of the man aside.  And, of course, what AOD is gonna bemoan God's mercy?  No one.  I like this scene because it shows off the various facets of Adam's character really well, I think.  He can be tough and very blunt.  But I think at heart he wants to believe people are good and will redeem themselves.  I also like this exchange because even if Adam seems something less than a holy, all-loving being... I gotta wonder if his voicing some negative opinions isn't why he often seems less troubled than Andrew.

Adam and Earl talking baseball at the end is cute.  Just goes to show how a shared interest can go a long way.  And I just like envisioning Adam relaxing and watching games.  Nice...

Random thoughts:
Tess knew Babe Ruth and Kirk Gibson, the former apparently quite well.  Just a random factoid.  Another one revealed in this episode: Tess invented putting a pimento in an olive.  Just in case ya ever need to know!

I kinda remember John Dye saying in one of the "True Stories" specials that this was one of the episodes sent to him when he was considering taking the part of Andrew.  I'm glad he must have enjoyed it!

Monica spent some time in Vietnam during the war.  Just might prove useful at some point.

Adam's a big fan of baseball.  We should work more of that into Dyeland.  Yay, another game I can write about without having any concept of how it's played!

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