"Sympathy for the Devil"

A review by Jenni:
Here's me trying to delay gratification by getting through the non-AOD episodes first.  It's not that I dislike those episodes but... Andrew and Adam are lovely...

What I love about this episode:
Absolutely gorgeous opening sequence.  The dove flying, the horse running, the mountains, the gold and green high grass...  It could be an ad for tourism in Utah.

Always good to hear a Randy Travis song.  TBAA really introduced me to his music and now it's "comfort music" for me.  I feel like I'm getting sucked back into a kinder, gentler time when I listen to it.  I don't even agree with a lot of his songs but I don't care.  I like the sound.

Fun moment when Monica ponders whether she'd have more success if she dressed like Kathleen and Tess responds with "Absolutely!"  I'm kinda shocked for a second and then she explains that she just doesn't wanna think about what she'd be
successful at.  On some level, I like that female angels have to deal with those sorts of issues, too.  Kinda selfish but it makes me feel a lil bit understood in that department.

Good gravy.  That scene between Kathleen and Monica in the arena is deeply sad.  When they get to reminiscing and Kathleen brings up Monica's love of funny words...  You get a glimpse of what that friendship once was.  And the looks on their faces: sad, resigned, fleetingly happy... excellent acting from Ms. Downey and Ms. Guy.

There are occasional bits of TBAA that I think I must appreciate more now that I'm older.  One such moment comes when Matt tells Daniel about how it's not easy to love someone when you don't like them.  I think that's a paradox that gets all too familiar the older we get.  Good depth there.

I like the redemption of Ty in his first real visit with Daniel.  He defends Matt after Daniel says he's a jerk.  And he expresses regret over "Chicken Boy." 

A couple quotes from Monica that I really like: "Forgiveness won't change him but it will change you" and "We don't always know when it's too late until it's too late."  Although the latter makes me fret about Andrew and his friendship with Monica...

Another terribly sad exchange between Monica and Kathleen.  Monica asks "Don't you miss us?" and Kathleen's voice kinda catches and she says "What if I did?"  Augh!!!  Then Monica continues with "I'll never forget who you were... who I loved."  And on further reflection that seems a little rich when she's obviously not paid Kathleen any mind for who knows how long.  But in the moment... I'm very moved by the tragedy of that broken friendship.

At first I was really bothered by Matt leaving Ty alone when he knows that he's going to die by morning.  I just can't imagine leaving my father alone to die.  But I think the last few moments of the episode really justify that.  As Ty is dying, Randy Travis' "Eight Second Hero" starts up again.  The lyrics "He never does mention the pain, it's a matter of pride" really leapt out at me.  I don't think Ty coulda born Matt seeing him in pain.  So, really, it's a perfect death scene.  And it's interesting that Monica gets to be AOD. 

What I didn't love about this episode:
At parts Monica just seems really air-headed to me.  And over really important things so it's a kinda immoral air-headedness. 
She tells Tess that she heard rumors that Kathleen had fallen but didn't want to believe them.  What kind of friend is that???  If you heard something that terrible had happened involving a friend, wouldn't you want to look into that and not just go by rumor?

I continue to be bothered with TBAA's need to link psychic/paranormal stuff with evil.  I don't think fortune tellers are a gateway to the devil.  Maybe they're cons, maybe they have legitimate connections.  Who knows.  But I think there are a lot more dangerous things and this stereotype is beneath TBAA.  It wouldn't bug me if it was just the occasional fortune teller.  But every single time TBAA showed a Tarot card or something they had to turn it into a gateway to evil.

I'm rather taken aback that Monica asks Daniel if he doesn't have a brother he could take in the rodeo with.  Why would she assume he had a brother?  That just seems like she's needlessly stepping into a potential sensitive area.

I'm surprised Monica let Ty's use of "Chicken Boy" to Matt pass without comment.  In fact, she even apologizes that the meeting between Matt, Ty, and Daniel didn't go well.  Well, duh!  He called his son a name!  Tess had just complimented Monica on being strong and then she's just way too soft on Ty there.

The previous points bug me because I think they just seem wrong in the episode.  But this one just bugs me cause it's creepy.  Kathleen is waaaaay too into that kiss with Matt.  I am so not comfortable with someone who has kissed someone like that watching over us!  And I like to think Kathleen did redeem herself so... it creeps me out.  And begs the question how far she woulda taken that and I soooo do not want to think about that but it's just there!

I love that we get the idea that the demons can come back to God.  If they can't then why do the angels waste any time trying to get them to see the light?  Yet they do so it must be possible.  However, TBAA didn't seem to hold out the same hope for fallen humans.  Which bugs me because as Monica points out, the demons have seen God and even at that chose to turn against Him.  That makes them far more evil to me than someone like Booth who certainly never saw God.  It seems worse to turn away from a known love than to just not have enough faith to imagine that love.

Lingering questions:
So what is the purpose of a saddle?  Monica seems not to value them and says they're unnatural and not as comfy as bareback.  So are they better for the horse? 

How did Monica and Kathleen lose touch?  And how long before Kathleen's fall was that?

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Yet again Andrew haunts this episode.  The Monica and Kathleen friendship (or lack thereof) really made me ponder what his future with Monica would be.  The overall feeling I have from Monica in this episode is she cares very much about her friends but lacks something that enables her to stick with them during bad times. 

For me, one of the more distressing parts is when Kathleen says she "turned" because she saw evil as the winning side.  I got the impression from her words that there may have been a period of Kathleen-as-angel growing increasingly frustrated and distressed.  Yet Monica apparently either wasn't around for that or failed to see it.  So I'm more than a little concerned for Andrew when he's so visibly distressed in some episodes and Monica is just plain aloof.  It's not at all that I think Andrew will fall.  But this doesn't give me a very hopeful take on the future of his friendship with Monica. 

Of course, when Monica says "it's hard to forget about a friend" it's all I can do to not clear my throat obnoxiously.  But, alas, Monica would not hear me and even if she could I doubt she'd connect my annoyance to Andrew.

And, yes, I did spend part of this episode daydreaming about Andrew on horseback.  It was pretty darn lovely.

Random thoughts:
I can remember first seeing this and recognizing Jasmine Guy as Whitley from "A Different World."  I hope younger me wasn't shocked by her evilness.

Kathleen's cackle makes me laugh.  I don't think that's the appropriate reaction but for some reason I think it's hysterical.

Monica and Tess line dancing sent my memory reeling back to the line dancing craze.  Everyone I knew, myself included, could dance to "Achy, Breaky Heart."  It was the country Macarena.

Kathleen calls snow cones, ice cones.  I've never heard that before.  I've heard shaved ice used for snow cones but not ice cones.  Interesting.

I think it would have been amazing if, in the finale, Kathleen would have returned just very briefly as one of the angels being interviewed about Monica.  That would have been truly awesome closure for that character and that story arc.  This episode is aptly named as I do feel sympathy for Kathleen.

A Word from Travis:
I enjoy most of the season 2 episodes more than I did season 1. I enjoyed Ms. Guy’s performance as Kathleen. I’m familiar with her work on “A Different World”, a series I was privileged to watch in reruns. I do agree with your assertions that it was good that Kathleen wasn’t in the season 3 episode “Smokescreen”, as Mr. Kadeem Hardison guest starred. I sometimes wish Ms. Guy had never appeared as Kathleen but played Vanessa, Marc’s (Kadeem Hardison) wife. I too agree with your assertions that there should’ve been a better resolution to Kathleen’s character, especially when Monica was being considered for promotion. I would have loved to have seen Kathleen turn from her evil ways and went back to her Creator (God).

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