"The Southbound Bus"

A review by Jenni:
So I've concluded I'm not really fond of this episode...  Probly a good thing that it wasn't actually the first episode I saw. 

What I love about this episode:
While I may not love this episode as much as others, there are points I really liked.  For one, I liked Monica taking on those bullies for David's sake.  Bullies getting freaked out is always good!  Plus she looked really fierce which I liked.  Because I grew up believing angels were mostly our protectors and, hence, could be some rather tough folks.  I've since expanded my belief in them but it's still nice to see that reflected sometimes.

Adam.  He's lovely.  More on that in the section I usually reserve for Andrew.

I'm amused by the scene of the two women seeing Monica seemingly talking to herself.  It's a wonder that didn't happen more often to the angels. 

I thought the red herring with Ruth Ann only borrowing Christine's star necklace was pretty ingenuous. 

The scene with Tess and David giving each other the evil eye is really cute.

This episode is chock-full of nicknames!  We have Dinosaur Boy, sweetheart and sister from Tess.  Probly others that I just missed.  Fun.

I *love* Monica's dress from the desert scene.  It's gorgeous and probly one of my favorite TBAA costumes ever.

While much of that desert scene strikes a wrong note with me, I do think Monica's line about "why did You give me a heart if You didn't want me to use it?" is where 90% of TBAA's psychological drama originates.  I think about that inner struggle the angels must feel a lot while watching episodes.

Finally, I thought the shot of David joining his parents' hands was adorable and heartwarming.

What I didn't love about this episode:
The snake at the beginning disturbs me.  I hate snakes.  But TBAA shouldn't be held accountable for that.

Monica walking barefoot on the gravel makes me cringe but, again, an idiosyncrasy of mine that really says nothing about TBAA.  My brother laughs at me cause I won't even go barefoot in my own house which I vacuum regularly.

Pretty annoyed with Monica being so dismissive when she says she thought caseworking would be "more than babysitting."  Babysitting is tough work, lady!  I'm even more annoyed that Tess doesn't chew her out about it.

I know the writers can't be expected to know where their show will go over 9 years during the pilot but... it really grates on me when Tess reminds Monica that she's not been in human form for more than a few minutes at a time.  So obviously we hallucinated "Face on the Barroom Floor" and "The Compass" and others.

I cannot believe that a cop would leave a child as young as David home alone.  Unless they were living in Mayberry.  Clearly David wasn't responsible enough to be home alone.  He was stealing money and trying to get on a bus!  What the heck!?!?!  And then dear old dad is totally unfazed by Monica being in his house.  I would so NOT be okay with coming home to find my kid there with a complete stranger.  He's lucky Monica was an angel and not some deranged person.  That character lost all credibility with me right there. 

Monica tells David's dad she has no vices.  Really?  I beg to differ.  I mean this episode even highlights a couple of them!  Monica often seems to think she knows best.  Which then leads her to disobedience.  Yep, no vices there!

I don't really get the Christ-like/Gethsemane thing Martha Williamson and the commentators are talking about when Monica prays in the desert.  Jesus was praying in Gethsemane because He'd obediently followed God's will to a very painful, demanding place.  Through no fault of His own, Jesus was going to die but He put all His trust in God while in that garden.  Monica, on the other hand, was disobedient and then got upset and doubtful when her efforts seemed to fail.  At the scene's end she seems lost and like she's given up.  At the end of Jesus' prayer, He gets up and goes to face His fate head on.  I sympathize with Monica a great deal there but I really don't see the comparison.  I think there are definitely other times Monica seems Christ-like (the end of "Liberty Moon" for one and the desert scene in "Netherlands" for another) but definitely not here for me. 

I believe God can take our mistakes and bring beautiful things out of them.  Nevertheless, I'm a little troubled by the message of this episode.  Disobey God and a family will be reunited!  It's somewhat saved by Monica telling Tess that she prayed.  Which makes it sound more like Monica's prayer, not her actions, helped bring the family together.  But still...  Really Monica's disobedience sunk a lot of this episode for me, I guess.

So after the family's reunited Monica exclaims "I pulled it off!"  Thankfully Tess adds "You and who else?"  Assumedly reminding Monica of God's involvement and maybe Tess' own.  But Monica doesn't seem to reply.  So could I please add "occasionally self-important" and "fails to recognize the successful input of others" to the vice list?

Lingering questions:
Do Search and Rescue angels, when they get promoted, always go to caseworking?  Because Tess tells Monica she has a promotion and unless I missed it Tess doesn't say to what.  Monica just replies "Hallelujah!  I'm a caseworker!" as if it's just an automatic process.  So maybe it is.  Just makes me curious.

If Adam doesn't handle SIDS cases who does?  Monica's later conversation with Christine seems to suggest that guardian angels do since she says the angel that was with the baby when she died is still with her.  But I dunno.  Until that bit I was thinking an archangel or even God.

I can remember at one point someone on some TBAA group or another speculating that Ruth Ann went on to become Sister Theodore from "Minute by Minute."  It's been so long since I've seen that and I can't recall if that works.  Anyone know?  I'd say we could wait til the S8 DVD release and check then but we might all be in retirement communities by then...  Grr.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Adam is a big relief in this episode.  As far as adult male characters with important roles, we've only got him and Officer Clueless so... Adam definitely gets all my swooniness in this episode.

First, he's so graceful looking when he's walking towards Monica.  But not in a manner that makes one feel klutzy in comparison.  That's what I liked about Adam.  He always looked much more dignified and even regal than even Andrew did yet he also had that same kind of warmth and approachableness.  You can totally see it here.

I would love to be Monica when she gets that big ol' hug from Adam.  He's so happy for her! 

And then sadly Adam goes away for the rest of the episode...  Sob.

Random thoughts:
Tess says it takes a century to take off weight once angels gain it.  I think she was joking but struck me as an interest tidbit, anyhow.

The score in this episode seems much giddier and more country-style than in later episodes.

I found it interesting that Monica describes herself as being in Public Relations.  I guess that makes sense but I think the later use of "counselor" and such makes more sense.

I forgot that Monica fixes the caddy up.  That makes her getting the car in the finale more acceptable to me.  For a while it made me annoyed.

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