"Sins of the Father"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
I'm quite fond of the Andrew and Tess interaction in this episode.  It's all good and fun and just plain cute.  And even though I think Andrew's good looking even with greasy hair, I do agree with Tess that he was a "sorry looking angel."  His smile after she says that is adorable!  And I like that Andrew really does try to explain to Tess about borrowing the car.  He doesn't truly steal it... his request just got interrupted is all!

"The angel of death done killed my car!"  I love that line from Tess cause it's just so versatile when it comes to paraphrasing.  You
know like: "the angel of death done stole my heart!" or "the angel of death done killed my love life."  Things like that...

On a more serious note, I like the line TBAA takes here regarding parental responsibility.  They don't excuse Willis' abandonment but Monica also doesn't let Luther blame his own bad choices completely on that.  I think they struck a good balance.  I do think parents need to be responsible for and care for their children.  But I know too many people with apathetic parents who still took responsibility for their own decisions.  It can be done.  And Luther does eventually take charge of his life which is great.

I *love* when Debbie Allen's character (Valerie) stands up in church and asks Tess if she knows what it's like to work three jobs and raise a family.  I truly admire the angels when they take a stand and do their utmost to help us humans out.  But they don't really know the stress and the conflict humans face day in and day out so I like their occasionally being reminded.

"Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous."  A Tess line but I think I heard/read somewhere that John Dye's mother said that often.  Wherever it originated it's a truly great quote and one I very much believe.

I think one of the most touching moments for me is when Andrew tells Willis he can die with God or without Him.  Willis nods a little and then says "Show me the way to go Home."  Great last words and while I can't say they make it all better, they are filled with

I'm glad that the children of the cop Luther shot are not forgotten.  I would have really been angered by this episode had it focused solely on Luther's and his family's pain.  But Monica will not let Luther forget about them and Luther himself even brings them up to Samuel.  It also makes one appreciate the sacrifice police officers and their families make for us.

People who have read many of these probly know I'm on shaky ground with Monica.  But I think her rant about the street lingo and the messed up priorities of gang life is awesome.  The way she delivers it with righteous indignation but eventually compassion... good job!  Just sorry that a few weeks later she did something I will likely never forgive her for...

Tess praises Andrew at the very end.  I hope Andrew got that down.  He may need to mentally replay it in loop later on...

What I didn't love about this episode:
This is purely a theological difference of opinion and not something I fault TBAA for.  Cause the writers have the right to voice their opinions.  And I have a right to disagree so...  while I appreciate the Dante-esque nature of Monica's statement that there's "no hope in Hell for anyone," I don't agree.  I'm more of the C.S. Lewis/George MacDonald view of Hell.  Lilith and The Great Divorce typify my thoughts on Hell more than TBAA does.

But I am genuinely bothered by Monica talking to Willis after the guard tells her only to speak to the inmates once she's given permission.  I get that Willis needed someone to talk to as much as Luther did.  But there are reasons for guidelines like that and Monica really should have respected the prison guard more, IMO.

I'm not crazy about Christopher Darden being cast in this.  I dunno.  I guess I remain uneasy with the celebrity status given to people who participated in the OJ Simpson trial. 

Lingering questions:
Okay... how does Andrew and/or God make Tess' car disappear without anyone noticing?  I mean I realize there was a car theft problem but a car disappearing without actually been driven away???  You'd think that might get some attention!

At what point did Willis figure out that Luther was his son, I wonder?  Did he know the whole time? 

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Any time Andrew appears in the church.  Cause that white shirt... very nice.

I feel so bad for Andrew when he sees that it's Samuel stealing the car.  The way his face falls... augh.  I wanna hug him.  And tell him he did his best. 

I'm really chilled by Willis' account of the "white dude" he saw during the gun fight that he was surprised didn't get "put out."  I'm obviously not surprised Andrew wasn't shot but I just really hate that image.  Just because I know Andrew can't die doesn't mean I want to think of him in that fatal of a situation.  I wanna go sit with him under the Dyeland willow tree when I hear that sorta stuff...  I really hate it in "The Root of All Evil" when that guy's plotting to kill Andrew.  Same thing.  I know he can't but... don't like the idea at all. 

I also get chilled when Andrew follows Willis and the "processional" out of death row.  Precisely because it does look like a really creepy processional with him the last member of it.  I just don't want Andrew to be in those sorts of situations...  I just want him to see nice things...  It's one of those times, though, when I'm so impressed by him.  He's so calm and dedicated and strong...

The white shirt returns at the end...  And Andrew's so cute when he assures Tess he actually upgraded the car.  Even though he seems a lil unsure about it.  Lovely, lovely man... 

Random thoughts:
I felt for Monica walking through the prison.  That is *not* a comfortable feeling.  Although I did find it odd that they did the pat down in a large hall with windows.  When I toured a prison for class it was a small, windowless room with just the visitor and a same sex cop.  That was better.

While I have my issues with Pastor George, I did feel for him when he had to urge Valerie to let Samuel be arrested.  And then he went to pick Samuel up himself.  I know my pastor has shown up at court dates for his parishioners so this episode makes me think of him and his dedication.

A Word from Travis:
This is my second favorite episode of season 3 as I enjoyed the acting, the surprise family connections and the overall storytelling. Iím aware of Ms. Debbie Allenís work as the producer-director on ďA different WorldĒ but I wasnít so aware of her work as an actress. I realize that sometime after, De'aundre Bonds (Luther) spent several years in prison. This episode is great to show to middle and high schoolers that they can see that violence isnít the answer. With choices come consequences and both Luther and his father, Willis, paid the price. However, God gave Willis a second chance and he was able to enter into heaven and Luther was able to speak to his brother so he didnít go down the same destructive path. The most emotional part of the episode is when Luther was able to speak to his brother, outside of prison, briefly, encouraging him to make better choices. The scene with Tess revealing herself as an angel to the mother, encouraging her that, with God, her life as well as Dreís life would still be worthwhile (coupled with the background music) was just excellent.

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