"The Sky is Falling"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

First, it's about Halloween!  And unlike Andrew, I *love* Halloween.  So I've always been partial to Halloween-set episodes of TV shows.  I'm actually using this one as reward for finishing my Halloween decorating in one evening!

I loved that the "big boys don't cry" theme came full circle.  I am adamantly against the axiom and bristle when the dad says it to young Leonard.  Then Leonard repeats it to his older brother.  It's a bad cycle and one that I know very much exists.  What I thought was so great is that Leonard learns that's not true first from Penny and then gets it reiterated by Monica.  The fact that we then see images of both Leonard and Andrew crying really pulls it together: big boys do cry.  And that's okay and right.

Big fan of Dottie.  I love it when another angel stands up to Tess.  I do love Tess.  But sometimes she takes that indignation and anger thing WAY too far.  She definitely did with poor neophyte Monica.  Dottie calls her on it right away and actually gets through to Tess.  It's awesome to behold!  Dottie gets through to Tess enough that she actually admits to Monica that she was wrong.  Good work, Dottie!

A lot of things I appreciated most in this episode were just lil one-liners.  When Penny talks about how she still talks to her deceased father and called it prayer, my heart leapt.  That's how I feel and so often people seem to construe that as some sort of deification of our loved ones.  That's not it at all.  I only believe in one God but I think I can still talk to many, many people in Heaven.  So good on TBAA for stressing what I think is a very comforting practice.

I just may shock you all but... I thought Monica was cute in this.  I felt bad for her, too.  But the scene of her talking to the cow was pretty darn adorable.  And how can I, as a pet owner, not love that she assures the cow that God loves it and will help it?  I never expect TBAA to perfectly line up with my theology and spirituality but I do love it when it does.  And here we have it affirming after-death communication and God's love for His animals.  Awesome!

Another line I loved also came from Monica.  I don't read much sci-fi cause it freaks me out.  But when Monica assures Leonard that if Martians existed they'd be loved by God and created as we were it makes that whole genre much less scary to me.  She's got a point, after all. 

For some reason I really like this line from Tess, too: "The story isn't over til it says 'The End.'"  Not sure why.

Another one was this from Monica: "Sometimes all an angel can do is cry."  I hope Andrew heard that.  I think remembering that might help him get past his "I wish I could have done more" thoughts.  I'm not sure he realizes how meaningful and ultimately healing shared grief and sorrow can be and if that's all he has to offer sometimes then it's enough.

Finally, the love story aspect of this episode really got to me tonight.  I have never cried over this episode but tonight I did.  I think, cynic though I sometimes am, the idea of childhood sweethearts marrying and enjoying a near half century marriage is very appealing.  I got really invested in Leonard and Penny's story.  The scene where Monica and Penny briefly meet in the woods was where I started to tear up.  It was sort of like God was passing Leonard's well-being off to his future wife.  Even though I knew it was coming I choked up when it was revealed that Leonard's beloved wife was Penny.  Just the way he looks at the photo is so moving.  And when Monica reminds him of the pact he and Penny made and gives him the ring... time for a Kleenex cause all I could think about was this juxtaposition of a young Penny holding Leonard as he wept with Monica now doing the same in Penny's absence. 

What I didn't love about this episode:
I both love and dislike Andrew's poutiness about Halloween.  Don't get me wrong, he's so c
ute when he pouts!  But I'm just not sure I follow his argument that Halloween gives death a bad reputation.  For one, he's an angel.  So why isn't he taking comfort from all the kids, like Penny and Amy, who dress as angels?  Why is he relating to the death part of "angel of death" over the angel part?  Why choose to be insulted about the reapers and not also choose to be uplifted by the angels?  Second, I'm not quite buying that Halloween makes death look evil or gruesome or like a horror show.  I think that's intellectualizing things a bit more than most kids do.  A kid in a Grim Reaper costume just wants to be scary and get candy.  I highly doubt most of them actually think some black-cloaked monster with a sickle is waiting for them to die.  Maybe I'm wrong.  But if he's that concerned about competing with the Halloween propaganda let me assure him that if Halloween and him competed for my affection... he would win.  ;-)  I'm not complaining, though, cause JABB has gotten so much mileage out of his hatred of Halloween!

As alluded to before, I thought Tess was just plain too angry with Monica.  "Don't tell me God sent you" was an especially low blow, in my opinion.  Who else would have?!?  Maybe Monica wasn't terribly graceful with her entrance in the church but it's not like she was demonic. 

Lingering questions:
I'd like to know what the reaper kid's parents' thoughts were when the guy that answered the door didn't just give the kid candy but said he wanted a "little chat."  I love Andrew to pieces (strange phrase, btw) but it's a little odd.  I mean they don't know he's an angel.  Maybe they weren't around.

Odd or not from a stranger's perspective, as an Andrew fan I wanna know... what did Andrew say to that kid?!  Why couldn't we see that scene???

This episode made me wonder if there were actually any injuries or fatalities related to the broadcast of "War of the Worlds."  Anyone know?

What's this roll call Tess speaks of to Dottie?  And how long does that last cause there must be gobs and gobs and gobs, etc. of angels?  But I spose when one has an eternity it doesn't much matter.

How come Dottie could have Lifesavers yet when Tess is going through candy at the beginning none of it's brand name?  It's all ridiculously made-up stuff.  Maybe Lifesavers were sponsors.   Or was Tess making those names up?

This is gonna sound weird but... was John Dye actually driving/fake driving during his entire flashback scene?  I just ask cause at one point you see the driver's chin and cheek only and his cheek looks more sunken than I've ever seen his to look.

At first I wondered why Andrew just let Leonard run out of the car and see his father's dead body.  Andrew stopped the kid in "Til Death Do Us Part" from witnessing his father's death scene.  I understand Andrew couldn't drive another route but just sitting in the car as the kid fled seemed odd.  However, I'm now thinking it was cause God's plan was for Penny and not Andrew to comfort Leonard.  You think? 

Does anyone know if the girl who plays Amy, Leonard's granddaughter, also played Emily in "Operation Smile"?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
 This episode has some of my favorite Andrew shots.  I've always been partial to the head shots from the driving scene.  He just looks so... perfectly Andrew. 

I also feel a bit swoony at the end when he's teared up.  He just looks so compassionate and... flannel-y. 

And the thought may have crossed my mind that sitting on the arm of that chair he was pouting in might be a good idea...  He needed someone to cheer him up.  Ahem.

Random thoughts:
This episode, with the apocalyptic freaking out, was kinda weird to watch while some people are bugging out over that Big Bang machine those physicists are working with. 

I loved the parents dancing.  Makes me wish my parents had been like that but then maybe it's kinda awkward if it's your own parents dancing about your house.

I got to thinking about how "War of the Worlds" would never work today.  Like that lady crying about New York being destroyed.  Nowadays someone in NY would just hop online or text message or something and tell everyone it's baloney.  I'm kinda surprised it worked at all even back then since there were phones.

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