"The Sign of the Dove"

A review by Jenni:

I have been waiting and waiting to get to this episode.  I knew, when I did, it would be a lil bit sad cause of Mr. Rocket's passing.  I could never have predicted that when I sat down to review this, John Dye would be on the other side, too.  And yet I don't feel nervous about watching this.  I love these guys.  It's still them.
What I love about this episode:

I think it's awesome that Andrew and Adam both know who this Mabel lady is.  AODs are a friendly bunch!

I'm glad Andrew felt like he had a second home.  Yay.  :-)

Well... it is comforting to think that both John and Charles most definitely knew the territory when they went Home.  Andrew and Adam sure stress the importance of that.

I really like how structurally this episode is so different.  Andrew's day off.  Flashbacks.  Everyone thinks they're working solo but aren't.  It's not at all like the usual Tess gives Monica and Andrew their assignment, the trio work together through out set-up.  Nice to see something really different play out.

I just love how proudly Andrew speaks of the Masons.  True, he kinda takes it to a negative, slightly possessive place eventually.  But that's a pretty big deal.  To think of an angel being that much into your family's history and feeling that attached to you!  I want one! 

I get goosebumps when 1859 Mason (not too good with names here!) tells Mason Freeman that it wasn't a lie when he claimed him as his brother.

"Bringing people peace is part of an angel's job."  A quote from Andrew to Ben.  He does it so well.

Andrew has such beautiful handwriting.  I'm glad we got to see it.

"God is love and peace and hope."  Monica quote to Nick when she's trying to get him to abandon his plot.

I'm realizing this section is deceptively short thus far but it's mostly cause most everything I love wound up in the swoony section.

I like that Monica kinda rubs Andrew's arm right before he goes to visit Ben.  Yay, affection.

"You're the chair."  And Andrew nods in answer to Nick.  Serious moment but I just love that.  Andrew is a chair.

"Ya know, sometimes in, umm, in the course of human events... one man's history actually is another man's future."  Andrew to Ben again.  And I love that "umm." 

What I didn't love about this episode:
Okay... so I love seeing Andrew in all the different costumes so I really would hate to give up the Patrick Henry and Mason Freeman scenes.  But it has to be said: Andrew was not yet an AOD at those times.  He was promoted in 1865.  Being one in 1244 is also off.  Oops.

While I know the situation is serious... I wish Tess had played along just a lil with Adam's "last call" remark.  I don't ever want his sense of humor to die.

Adam's predestination line has always bugged me.  I don't think that could have ever been legitimate.

This isn't a criticism cause it makes the episode work but... I hate the emotional roller coaster poor Andrew is on.  He's proud of his bond with the Masons, then he's devastated it'll end, then he makes peace with it, then he realizes he won't get to be there when Ben dies, then he thinks Ben won't die at all, then he learns that's a faulty hope...  Poor man.  At least he winds up blissful.

I think Tess missed the point.  Andrew may have a pride issue but I don't think Andrew's brain was the problem.  Andrew's heart was.  I don't think he *thought* he knew better than God.  He just *felt* awful about losing Ben and then not being with Ben.

Lingering questions:
How much fun must this episode have been to film!?!  I hope John liked wigs and elaborate costumes!

Can't we be Andrew's family and God's?  Please...  :-)

Adam says "4:28.  Do you know where your assignment is?"  I know that's some sort of cultural reference but what was the original?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I haven't even seen Andrew yet but I already know that I think his teal shirt with brown jacket ensemble is sooo good on him.  And it's even better to think it's probly an outfit he chose for himself since it's his day off.

I also remember that when I first saw Adam with that beard, I about fell over.  Sooo attractive, too! 

They're adorable talking shop and bouncing thoughts off each other!  I so wish we'd seen more of this AOD banter.

Poor Adam!  I wanna hug him when he says "It takes a lot out of ya, though" about disbelieving assignments.

And the orange juice and ginger ale mix is born!!!  Love the lovely wild man.

How adorable is it that Andrew brought a wedding gift?!  Love him.  And he put such thought into it, too.

Giggle.  Andrew even looks cute in that awful wig with the funny curls.  As eye-catching as they are, they don't detract at all from John's ever-active eye brows.  Love them.

Why do I feel like I coulda done far better in history had Andrew taught me?  That's a darn stirring rendition of Patrick Henry's speech.

This is such a lil thing but I love how often Andrew looks over to Monica.  Even on his day off, it's like he can't quite detach from being the more senior angel, watching over her.  Adorable.

I love it when he laughs.

I wanna hold him and tell him everything will be all right when he's talking to the dove.

That mustache is thankfully much larger than my dad's.  I don't think I have ever been attracted to a man with a mustache sans beard/goatee because that's what my dad and most of my uncles have.  So it's strictly a dad/uncle look to me.  (Doc Hock is the exception although, to be honest, I was happy to see that go... sad about the circumstances, though.)  But Andrew's is so huge that I do not see him and think "Ack!  My crush looks like a family member!"  ;-)  Cause, in truth, Andrew looks super studly when he speaks up to that awful bounty hunter.

It's kinda sweet that, as torn up as he was, Andrew still found a positive in contemplating Ben Mason's death.  Instead of angsting out and railing at God, he was grateful to be able to finish with the family... of course, he didn't stay that way for long...

Ya know, when I first saw this... I think I was kinda ticked at Andrew and more on Adam's side.  Adam was being honorable and obedient.  Andrew was being whiny and bratty.  Now... I dunno.  I do feel bad for Adam insofar as he is left to think that Andrew doubts his abilities.  At the same time, Andrew asks so little and makes due with, honestly, so little as far as non-God associates.  It does seem cruel to take this one lil family away from him.  And it was pretty jerky of Adam to say "It's not like any body's gonna miss you."  (That line hurt to hear.)  Although Adam's tone of voice kinda makes me think he wishes he had a family so then I feel sorry for him.  But mostly I think I feel for Andrew.  He's so much more invested in this case than Adam.  Confession: I also happen to think it would be nice to have Andrew feel a bit possessive of me.  Not, of course, in a domineering way which he never would be.  But I have a hard time faulting him for something that I see as a plus.  Whatever brattiness Andrew displays is the direct result of Andrew feeling really connected and loving towards the Masons. 

I feel bad but Andrew's "Whatever..." as he starts chowing down made me giggle.  I half expect him to have on baggy pants and be playing video games when he says it.  With a backwards cap.  That scene may be the closest I've ever come to crushing on a teenage boy.  So thank you, Andrew, for that.  :-)

Gotta love Andrew's look of pride when Ben asserts that, yes, Andrew is real.

The Red Cross scene is a lil hard to watch for me.  Although Andrew is all sorts of beautiful in it.  But I had that scene in mind when I wrote my sympathy cards after John's death.  I just thought of how much care and tenderness and love Andrew put into that note and how, then, I wanted to bring those qualities across in writing about John.  "He was a credit to the family that he leaves behind," Andrew wrote.  How true that wound up being of John.

And, as a means to cope, I have dubbed Andrew His Studly Awesomeness of the R
ed Cross in that scene.

I love how, for a moment, Andrew looks so distant and is rubbing at his hands after Ben shows off the note.  Like, for a bit, he was right back in that room, covered with the grime of war.  There are so many lil mannerisms that John brought to the character and every time I notice something else that's endearing and touching.

There's something so desperately sad about Andrew smiling the whole time as he urges Ben to get to the church early.  I just wanna hug him.

No tie.  Yay. 

The two boys are very adorable when Andrew tells Adam to give Ben his best and then Adam promises it'll be beautiful.  Rough moments aside, these are two really amazing angels.  They really do remind me of brothers.  They can say some kinda cruddy things to each other but there's a lotta love and respect.  I wish they woulda had more episodes together.

Adam trying to convince Ben not to run is also sweet.  They always want what's best for us.  (Plus I like to think Adam was also pulling for Andrew's family to survive.)  Still... it makes me think how frustrating it must be to not be heard.

Adam is an awesome older brother!  Distracting Tess with lil weenies when she's pestering Andrew is classy.

I so want to be Monica in this last scene... dancing away with Andrew into eternity.

Random thoughts:

Music: I can hear soft music at the pub but not clear enough to determine what genre even.  There's Irishy fiddle music at the awesome reception.  Seriously, if I do ever get married I want this reception.  I soooo wish we coulda heard more of Charles Rocket's rendition of "Sunrise, Sunset."  There's WWII era music during that flashback.

I had my first rocky moment when John Mason died.  It actually took me a few seconds to realize I was watching a heart attack happen.  And then right after I realized it and thought "Oh no..."  Andrew said "It's your heart, John."  And that's when I fled the room.  Although in typical neatnik fashion, I took my plate with me when I ran off so I could throw it in the sink as I ran by.  But now I'm back and I'm going to watch this.  Okay.  He said "The pain will be over soon."  I hope it was.  It actually helped me to hear John say that.  Sometimes I still feel like this all can't be real, though.  Rewatching the CBS version, I just felt dumbfounded again.

I'm gonna be putting random trivia here cause one never knows when they may need it...  Adam's tentative is at 4:52.  "Obadiah Mason's" funeral was in 1859.  Ben got hitched on April 27, 2001.  His bride was named Rebecca Bradstreet.  Ben's middle name is Zachery.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
 -Sad.  They cut the opening of the scene that follows the one wherein Andrew talks to the dove.  After the commercial, it returned to Andrew and Adam at the booth. 
Andrew: Look... I've just... I've been with this family *so* long.  Ya know?  It's just... it's disappointing to see it end.
Adam: Yeah, but this family has had a pretty good run.
Andrew: Yeah.  ::doesn't make eye contact, begins flipping through Bible::
Adam: ::singing:: Sunrise, sunset.  Sunrise, sun...
::Andrew looks up at him... sorta amused, sorta bothered, I think::
Ben: ::approaching with decor:: You guys doing okay?
Andrew: Yeah, Ben.  We're... we're good. 
Adam: ::turning to face Ben and pointing at him::  More importantly, though, how are you doing?
::Andrew looks up, kinda aghast::
::Adam turns back to Andrew, winks::
Ben: ::smiling giddily:: Well, me?  I'm about to marry the woman I love.  Ya know.  I got a roof over my head.  It's old and it leaks but it's more than a lotta folks have.  And, of course, we're not gonna be that rich but we're gonna be happy.  Not to mention... ::looks to chair:: got an angel keeping his eye on me."
::Andrew smiles, looks down for a moment::
Ben: So... all in all... I have to say I'm doing all right.  Thanks for asking.  ::walks away::
Andrew: ::leaning in towards Adam:: What was that about?
Adam: Well, the man is gonna die, right?  I mean don't you want at least some idea on how it's gonna happen?  Heart attack.  Car accident.  Choking on a cocktail weanie, perhaps?
Andrew: ::visibly upset::  No!  I... I don't need to know that yet.
Adam: Well, personally, I like to be ready with something to say.  I mean the cocktail weanie death requires a little different speech I think than, say, getting hit by a bus, for example, or...
::Andrew is gaping at him this entire time but now blinks and looks still more bothered::
: What?!
::Darling Boy then turns away from Adam and rests his head against his hand.::

Poor love...  Then it goes to Nick entering his shop with the bomb which is where THC resumes. 

-Augh.  I had a feeling they cut an Adam scene and they did.  It's after Ben leaves the pub and is walking to the church.  He's patting his pockets, making sure he has the rings.  Adam assures him he does (unheard).  Then it hits Ben that he's forgotten the Bible.  Adam tells him "You don't need that right now.  You can always do that later."  Ben shakes his head and says "Tradition.  I gotta do it right" then darts off.  Adam grimaces and groans and then runs after Ben.  Then it's back to Nicholas who is about to meet Andrew. 

Further on down the road...
I wonder how many humans AODs typically know of on a somewhat personal level at a given time?  It's striking to me that Andrew knows about Mabel Murphy when she's not even his assignment.  Did she do something spectacular or does Andrew seriously know about tons and tons of people?

Adam concerns me sometimes.  He'll make little off-handed comments like "It takes a lot out of ya" and then moves on.  I think he needs a good, long talk.  Or maybe just a hug.  I miss his gravelly voice...  That being said, I think it's a good sign that it took me 6 minutes into this episode to start thinking about death.

Andrew's so adorable with those fly reels.  You can tell he's pretty proud of em.

Andrew's revolutionary hair is weirdly blonde.  It's interesting to think of how different styles are between eras.  Those curls are ridiculous.  But back then it was probably way cool.

Oh... I always forget about this heart attack.  I'm actually doing okay, though.  No running.

Andrew is pretty snotty in parts of this episode and I feel bad for Adam.  But, at the same time, I kinda like the dynamics.  It's almost like Adam's the big brother who has been off to college for most of the time leaving Andrew to be the big brother.  Then when the actual big brother returns, Andrew reclaims the middle child role and gets bratty.  But they still all love each other.

To think a 50 cent piece coulda sustained people for a while back in the day...  Now you can't even buy a pop for that.

It's kinda interesting that for the bulk of this episode, Andrew is the only angel not in beige.  Tess, Monica, and Adam all match perfectly.  Then there's Andrew in brown and turquoise.

I do still think Andrew is snobbish here.  However, Adam is a lil too blase about the whole thing making a crack about predestination and Andrew not being missed.

"With the thanks of a grateful nation"... That's the form I hear most often and I always assumed it was scripted.  However, the officer in the scene where the news of the death of the first Benjamin Mason is shared with his family uses slightly different words.  Is it a Hollywood stereotype that those 7 words are used or is it up to the officer to express those sentiments in his or her own words?  And do women ever have the role?  I've only ever seen men perform it in TV and movies.

I love that exchange of looks between Monica and Adam after Andrew goes upstairs to see Ben.  You can tell they really care about him.

Sigh...  I feel bad for Andrew when he makes that last ditch effort to get Ben to leave in a hurry.  And then he's in beige...

I wonder how many times we make our angels do that frustrated noise and grimace Adam makes when Ben runs back to get the Bible?  ;-)

It's just occurred to me that it still doesn't really make sense why Andrew had to be with Nicholas.  Andrew had just told Mason Freeman's story to Adam.  Wouldn't Adam have then made the connection?  Maybe we're just meant to understand that, without the deep bond to the family, Adam couldn't have given so passionate an argument for Nicholas following Mason's example and living.  Or maybe Andrew gave Adam a more vague retelling than what we actually saw.

In any case, minor issues aside, I still love this episode! 

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