"Til Death Do Us Part"
A review by Jenni:
I just want to open this by saying I have not been this nervous to
watch a TBAA episode since I watched "The 16th Minute." With
that, I was nervous because it was only one of two TBAA episodes I
had yet to see. (I'm still saving "The Good Earth" for "an
emergency" although I have no clue what will constitute a "Now
Watch 'The Good Earth'"emergency.) I haven't watched TDDUP
since Charles Rocket's sad passing and recently a friend was
diagnosed with breast cancer so I really wasn't sure watching was
even a good idea. As it was, I made it through but probly
burned a lot of calories cause I kept needing to run. This
is a great episode, maybe one of the best, but just a really tough
one to watch. At least for me.
What I love about this episode:
The opening scenes are so calm and beautiful. It really adds
to the shock and confusion a viewer later feels along with Molly,
Andrew, and Jimmy.
I am amused by Tess considering and then second-guessing the idea
that God had burgers in mind when He created cows. It was
especially amusing to me cause of some recent discussion I had
with a cousin married to a vegan. That would certainly shake
some people up if true. As for me, I think it's just as
likely He was thinking of ice cream. ;-)
Molly is a really well-written character, IMO. Very
strong. I have no idea how she kept focused after receiving
that call from the doctor. When I get bad news or even just
unexpected news, I can go into a daze for days.
I'm very glad Andrew assured Molly that women often survive breast
cancer. On a personal level, I needed to hear that.
But I also think it's important for everyone to keep that in mind
so they don't lose hope or grow too frightened about developing
cancer or having a loved one who does.
I really love the interaction between Andrew and Molly. I'll
expound upon this more in the swoony section but also wanted to
make mention of it here. There are parts that are difficult
to watch between them yet they always ring very true.
I think this episode did a really good job of showing how only
after the fact do certain comments make sense to us following a
tragedy. And then we beat ourselves up but the fact is most
people would never have read anything tragic into them.
I also appreciate that it showed Jordan and Molly as very
affectionate and loving. I think the stereotype of a
suicidal person includes withdrawn, lacks close relationships,
etc. But sometimes incredibly loved people, people who are
kissed and caressed and told they're loved, still kill
themselves. It makes Jordan's death even more difficult to
fathom but also stressed that it's NOT the fault of the
survivors. Jordan had to have known Molly and Jimmy loved
him. They were not cold, distant people. But he still
made the choice he did, independent of that. All that being
said, it's extremely tragic that Jordan walked out for the final
time before Molly could finish her "I love you" to him. I'm
sure that moment stuck with her. But it just stresses the
point: he was utterly loved and that was never kept from him.
As tough as it is,
I'm glad that Jordan's reasons for killing himself are never
explained. It would have been too neat, too much a fairy
tale to give one definitive answer. So many people are left
with only shock and grief and no answers. TBAA needed to
speak to those people.
I find myself really disliking Tess in this episode. It's
quite a switch from my usual anger directed at Monica.
Actually, this episode gives me a glimpse into why Monica
sometimes seems oblivious to Andrew. I can't help but like
such a novel feeling! Don't get me wrong, sometimes I think
she's just plain clueless to the point of negligent. But...
it's not all her fault. When Andrew tells Monica that he
feels he blew it with the assignment, she assures him
otherwise. He just dismisses that and keeps on blaming
himself. So here we have Monica trying to help Andrew and he
shoots her down. He's inside his own head and refusing to
open himself to her more comforting view. Further, his voice
takes on a downright scary edge. In Monica's place, I'm not
sure I'd feel brave enough to try to dig deeper with him in that
state. She did try. He didn't respond. Maybe
after that she began to wonder if it was pointless to even try
I really like Donna's response to Molly's accusations and think I
need to take a page from her book. I know we all lash out at
people when we're hurting. These past couple years I have
tried really, really hard to curb that impulse in myself.
But it seems others aren't. So I love that Donna assures
Molly that she is very sorry that she's in pain and confused but
she will NOT allow her to treat her poorly because of it.
Too often when people have hurt me and then cited something
painful happening in their own lives, I accept their apology and
assure them it's okay. But it is NOT okay. Hurting
people because you're hurting is never okay.
Another thing I really love about Molly is that she confronts her
own grief to help her son. I know it was very difficult for
her to enter that barn but she put her love for Jimmy above her
own horror at what happened there. That's a real parent.
There are so many wonderful quotes that Andrew delivers in this
episode. The first one to grab me was "Everyone struggles to
survive at one point or another and most do as long as they don't
give up hope."
Right after that, he assures Jordan that it's not his place to
judge him. That was an aspect of the angels I always loved
on TBAA. They were seldom judgmental and, when they were on
occasion, they learned quickly that it wasn't the way to be.
"God sends angels whenever they're needed." Another great,
comforting quote from the lovely AOD.
And another: "God loves you and He wants you to live."
Yet another: "God is extending His hand to you, to help you find
the courage and the strength to carry on, to survive this moment and then you
move onto the next one."
I really love this one: "You were born for a reason. Now,
that reason may not be very clear to you today. It may not
be very clear to you tomorrow but your Creator, the God who put
you here, He knows why."
I'm not going to quote this directly but I think it's cool that
Andrew reaches out to Jordan with a metaphor about seeds and
harvest. I loved that the angels so often used language that
had a special meaning for their assignments and drew on things
important to them.
I was very touched when Andrew, grieving with Molly, assured her
that while neither of them can know what Jordan experienced in his
final moments, God was there. He shared that moment with
Jordan. It's still tragic but there's a measure of peace in
And now another quote, from Andrew to Molly: "You know
something... I've been an angel for a long, long time. And
ya know what amazes me about people? It's not that a few of
you can't go on. It's that almost every one of you does
despite this tough business of living. Ya get up every
morning and ya start over again because there's this little voice
inside of you that says 'hope.' And most of you still listen
to it. And the ones who don't... we have to release and
return to the hands of the Father where hope lives forever."
What I didn't love about
Why the heck does Tess seem so antagonist with Andrew right
from the start??? Normally I think Tess' interactions with
Andrew are better than Monica's. But when Tess gets an
attitude with him it always seems to be at the absolute worst
times. Right off the bat here, in her first scene with him,
she's rather cold with that "Oh you do, do you?" when he thinks he
knows why he's sticking with the Averys. Why?!?! So
Andrew made an assumption. It's not the best thing in the
world but I highly doubt his assumption really fouled up the
assignment or anything like that. It's not like he focused
so much on Molly that he left Jordan alone. He tried to
counsel him. No reason for the snappishness at all.
Sometimes I really feel like the TBAA writers had some stubborn
refusal to let Andrew be anything but perfect. He's an
angel. Not God. Let him be.
Then, after the memorial, Tess jumps right to anger when Andrew
questions his continued presence there. It was obvious to
this viewer that he was dealing with some grief and doubt of his
own. How could Tess have missed it? I'm not saying he
didn't deserve correction but she was waaaay too harsh given the
circumstances. Maybe she just shoulda slapped him and really
gotten her point across... Crikey. I mean questioning
one's presence isn't necessarily the equivalent of questioning
God. Maybe Andrew wasn't expressing a lack of faith in God
so much as a lack of faith in himself. If the latter, as I
suspect, anger is the last thing he needed. NOTE: My opinion
of Tess' role changed a bit after I watched the CBS version which
featured a scene of the trio that THC cut. Please see the
last section of this page for details.
I wish Monica hadn't been glowing when she spoke to Andrew.
Here's the thing... I equate the glow with them carrying a
message from God. If they were going to show God reaching
out to Andrew, why not show God speaking to Andrew directly as
they did with Monica in "Groundrush" and other times? With
no other angel present. If they wanted to show Monica reaching out to Andrew,
the glow made it look "official." So it loses something by
making it seem like she was told to go speak to Andrew as opposed
to choosing to do so of her own volition. It's the free will
thing. As Monica stresses to Andrew, they have free
will. Andrew going back to Molly is impressive because he
chose it even though he didn't have to. It would have been
equally impressive to see Monica reach out to him even when she
didn't have to.
I hate that Molly slaps Andrew. I understand it, I
guess. But I hate it. And I think I hate more that he
doesn't react. Unlike Donna, he just takes it.
I wish Andrew wouldn't have answered Molly's question about
whether she'd see him again with "I don't know." If I met
Andrew and came to care about him, I would want to *know* I'd see
him again in eternity. This "don't know" stuff is
lame. I'm surprised the writers didn't catch it and think
Is it just me or does Andrew's voice seem twangier in this
episode? Or do I just hallucinate that he gets twangier when
emotional? Cause I seem to have written that into Dyeland
and I thought it had basis in TBAA but maybe not...
I think Monica's and Molly's conversation about Jimmy and Hannibal
was interesting. I could see why Monica was concerned by his
redirecting his emotions to the calf. At the same time, I
agree with Molly. Sometimes distraction and redirection can
help. But when do you know when it's just plain escapism
that will catch up with you later?
Is it just me or does this episode seem to have less scoring than
usual? We were talking on the YG about how some TBAA
episodes seem like plays. This one kinda does for me.
I feel like it could translate to the stage well and I think the
lack of scoring is partly why. Typically, plays seem to have
less of a score that a TV drama.
Would you have the guts to slap an angel? I just don't know
Parts that made me feel
This is gonna be one long section today...
First, something about Andrew saying he's "been down this road
before" with breast cancer and that it's a "hard way to go Home"
chilled me. I think part of it is cause of my friend, even
though her prognosis is very good (thank God). But it also
made me think of Dyeland and that troubled me. Plus, on the
JABB YG, LJA had just asked Andrew to "walk this road with me" and
he agreed and for some reason the two uses of "road" bouncing
around in my head made me nervous. How many roads has he
gone down with how many people?
When Andrew was consoling Molly after her call, I kept thinking
about how he's such a compassionate man. Emphasis on man. If I had
to go through something difficult, having someone like Andrew at
my side would be great. But this episode really made me
think about his identity and how compassion isn't the same as
understanding. This is NOT a diss directed at him. But
the truth is he can
no more truly understand a woman facing a biopsy than I can a man
facing prostate cancer. And that's just the most obvious
example: gender. But there are other distinctions,
too. I think this episode really highlights how differently
Andrew's mind works than Molly's, and likely other people's,
does. But more on that later.
Andrew carrying a sleeping Jimmy in from the barn... I would
once again seriously like God to make an exception and allow for
fatherhood by way of cabbage patch or stork or something for
I know when the shot is coming. All these years later, I
still know. But my heart still skips when it comes and the
look on Andrew's face... Pointless though it may be, I
always want to run out with him so he's not alone. And, yes,
I know he's never alone but still. I want to see someone
holding him when he blocks Molly and holds onto Jimmy so they
can't see what he already has.
Andrew helping Jimmy put on his tie before the memorial really
hits me hard, too.
Now here's me reading waaaay too much into a line but when Andrew
told Jimmy "Everything lives and everything dies," initially I
thought "Well, not *everything.* You won't." And I
remember thinking that the last time I watched this but now... now
it seems less true. I don't mean I think Andrew's apt to
physically die. But lately with the Dyeland stories, I've
found myself confronting Andrew's mortality repeatedly. I
know that sounds weird but that's the best way I can think of to
put it. He will never truly die but I think what has always
concerned me about his character is that parts of him seem all too
mortal, even more mortal than a human. Many people believe
that when we humans die, we go to Heaven where we will never feel
pain or grief again. Hope will never die in our
hearts. But what about Andrew? Will he ever be finally
and forever at peace? Or will hope die and be reborn in him
for all time? Further, I've found myself thinking about how
when someone dies, a part of us dies, too. When my grandpas
died, the variation of myself that I was with them died,
too. So over in Dyeland mode... I've sometimes found myself
thinking about how "Andrew: Beloved of LJA" will fade with her
last breath. "Andrew: Father-figure to Shelby" is as mortal
as Shelby. So, yes, everything dies. It's like some
minor incarnation that somehow makes me love the character more.
So back to Andrew and Molly. Another point at which I really
saw the divide between compassion and understanding is when
Molly's telling Andrew how much she needs to know why Jordan
killed himself. Andrew doesn't see how knowing that will
help her. Molly counters that if she finds out how he lost
his hope, then maybe she can make sure not to do the same. I
completely and totally related to that. When I heard about
Mr. Rocket's suicide, beyond greatly saddened, I was scared.
I wasn't in a very good mental space at the time and I just had
this wish to know why. Because I thought if I did, then
maybe I could be sure to not start down that road myself or know
when other people were so I could stop them. Andrew would
not necessarily understand that impulse and need. Andrew has
never been suicidal or feared becoming suicidal . So this is
just another example of how Andrew's compassion and love can reach
very, very far... but it's not a cure all. Sometimes a
person needs to reach inside of themselves for their
answers. I'm left hoping Andrew learned from this, both that
we think differently than he does but even more: he can only do so
much. When something bad happens despite his intervention,
it's not necessarily a failure on his part. He didn't "blow
it." Compassion just doesn't always win out over pain and
Sigh... He has such a confused, deer in the headlights look
when Monica confronts him after Molly throws him out. Of all
the emotions Mr. Dye brought forth as Andrew, I think it was when
he did confused that I felt most for the character. And,
admittedly, became most upset. I can handle his tears better
than I can him looking lost.
His "Please, don't," when Monica begins her revelation breaks my
heart. And, again, makes me see things a bit through
Monica's eyes... Andrew really does NOT accept help or even
comfort well at all.
Monica telling Andrew that "You're a servant of God before you're
a servant of your own heart," reminds me of why I admire the
character so much.
As much as I love
Andrew, he has his faults and this episode really shows them in a
much better, more believable way than some episodes. Like as
much as I love "Sign of the Dove," Andrew's pride issues seemed to
resurface out of no where after only being briefly acknowledged in
Season 2. And his brattiness to Adam has never really made
sense to me. They seemed written in out of
convenience. Here, it's all much more natural, IMO.
Like through out the episode, Andrew seems to be reaching out to
his assignments, as they need him, in very compassionate
ways. But he also seems to be operating from this place of
wanting to protect people... as he thinks they need to be.
He is very eager to assure Molly that she doesn't even know if she
has reason to be concerned about the lump in her breast until she
knows the biopsy results. And he also makes it a point to
tell her that even if it is cancer, women survive that... this
despite telling Monica and Tess that he's seen a lot people die of
cancer. Later, he refuses to tell Molly about what Jordan
says because he believes hearing it will be painful to her.
While none are coming immediately to mind, I know there are
episodes when Monica or another angel has said they wished they'd
been there for one assignment or another and he says some
variation on "No, you don't" then looks pained. Andrew seems
to consistently err on the side of protection over truth. I
don't think Andrew fully understands that we have horrific
imaginations sometimes and we can't always keep them from jumping
to the most negative thing. He can't protect people from
troubling ideas and visions. He can't keep people from
worrying. It's totally believable to me that he would make
the wrong choice to shelter someone from the truth when that's
really what they most need to hear. I'm not sure what to
actually call this fault. I spose pride may be part of it
since he is taking it upon himself to decide what's best for
people to hear and know. I can understand it. With all
Andrew sees and all the times he just has to stand back and wait
and not intervene on someone's behalf, he probly would jump at the
chance to protect people when he can. But it's not right and
I'm glad he learns that here... and for once I'm glad the lesson
was taught via Monica and not Tess who I'm still not happy with
It really breaks my heart when he talks about how an angel can
"lose his way for a while." And, yes, it kinda freaks me
out. Andrew only lost his way for a lil while here. I
would never want it to go on longer.
I'd just like to say that I'd really much rather Andrew cried than
did that shaky, cracking voice thing. That would pretty much
destroy me in real life if I heard it, I think.
Also destructive: Andrew saying he's been "torturing" himself with
"Why?". Don't do that!!! Also proof that Andrew is
really bad at taking his own advice.
I'm very happy for lovable and adorable Andrew when he gets that
hug from Molly after they talk. I hope it took away any
remaining sting from the slap.
music through out the party scene. The one guy plays "Old
Smokey" on harmonica. Molly and Jordan dance to a song with
lyrics like "From the first day...that's when I knew that you were
the one...it's only a dream...heart beat away...all I need is one
more chance...slow dance with you." I think it may have been
some local performer or something cause I Googled a bunch of those phrases
and turned up nothing. When Andrew and Molly are dancing,
there's an up tempo country song sung by a man but all I picked up
out of that was "down town." There's a slow country ballad
by a female vocalist while Jordan and Donna talk but I couldn't
pick up any of those lyrics. At the memorial, "Amazing
Grace" is played on harmonica.
I've sometimes found myself thinking "Augh, what's the point of
vacuuming, laundry, etc.? It all just needs to be done again
in very little time." And then I freak myself out by
thinking of Jordan right afterwards. So I keep on doing my
chores because there IS a point. They make life more
pleasant for the future.
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-After the shot goes off, that act of the episode ends on both the
CBS and THC versions. But the THC version opens the next act
with Molly and Andrew talking near the gun cabinet. But
really the act begins with Molly, alone, standing in front of a
mirror. She looks blank, sad, still in shock. The
phone rings but no one answers so the machine picks up. It's
Jordan's voice on the recording so Molly looks for a moment at the
machine. She mentally replays Jordan's comment about washing
the sheets. Back in real time, Donna leaves a message saying
they're headed over. The scene then goes directly to...
-Andrew is crouched outside near the barn, looking very
distraught. He mentally replays his "Glad you were born"
comment to Jordan. Tess comes and tells him he did his
best. He responds with a weak "Yeah" but proceeds to say it
wasn't good enough and that he thought it was Molly who was in
trouble. Tess explains that in his three months there, he
only knew that death was near. She goes on to say that they
never know what choice might push a person closer to death as
Jordan's choice did. Andrew heatedly says that Jordan must
have been thinking about it for a while and yet he didn't pick up
on it. Monica shows up and says no one except God can see
into hearts and that God saw into Jordan's and sent Andrew to
him. He responds with "I'm afraid He did." Tess
exclaims "Andrew!" in a correcting yet pretty gentle way.
(Interestingly, Andrew's comment here is waaay more negative than
anything he said to Tess after the memorial so why she was soft
here and sharp-tongued then is beyond me. Maybe she was
willing to excuse his defeated attitude once but not twice?)
Andrew then asks them to take care of Molly. He intends to
stay for the memorial but then go. "Of course, baby," is
Tess' response. Then it goes to Andrew and Molly talking
near the gun cabinet which is where THC starts. So Tess
*does* have a very gentle way with Andrew in this scene and it's a
shame THC cut it. Cause it's really her sole redeeming one
in this episode as far as Andrew's concerned IMO. I'm still
not happy that she was so snappish after the memorial but
whatever... The scene also lets us know that Andrew's been
there for three months which really gives you a better idea of why
he'd blame himself and also how close he was to the Averys.
And it also makes it clear that Andrew fully intended to leave and
only stayed after God via Tess said to. So it's a BIG shame
THC cut this.
-After Donna's earring is found, that act ends in both
versions. But whereas THC opens the following one with
Monica counseling Andrew as he cleans up, the actual version opens
with Molly leaving the room. Monica follows Molly out and
tells her that even if it's Donna's earring, it doesn't mean
anything. Molly counters saying Donna was Jordan's first
love and grabs the phone to call the bank... where Donna
works. Monica returns to Andrew.
Further on down the road...
Okay, so... I've gotten to a point where I can watch just
about any TBAA episode and not feel really sad. But guess
which episode is among the few I still feel shaky on?
Yep. This one. But I also love this episode and it's
been a long, long time since I saw it in its entirety.
Actually, I don't think I have since it premiered.
Wow. Here we go. Feel free to turn this section into a
drinking game if you so desire (just not with alcohol cause you
will be drinking *a lot.* Water is good. I'm going
with chai.) Anyhow, take a sip whenever I write some
variation on "He's so beautiful..."
To start... the episode menu on disk 2 of the Season Six set
features a lovely photo of John as Andrew. He's so
beautiful. And I haven't even started the episode yet...
Okay, the farmland is so beautiful. It makes me want spring
even more. I miss green... The white snow was
pretty... until it turned into gray sludge. But all that
green and life and trees and plants... Seriously tempted to
just hit loop and keep watching those opening shots.
However, then I'd miss...
Sigh... He's so lovely. Lovely plaid shirt...
Much appreciated after a stressful week.
"You just can never tell what the day will bring." Tess
speaking the truth.
Andrew has a job like mine... one in which the clause "other
duties as assigned" comes up an awful lot.
And "Glad you were born" forever enters the John Dye fan
lexicon... It's such a simple, meaningful thing to
say. But I never thought to say it til this episode aired.
Whenever I see a swing moving with no one on it... I like to
pretend an angel is on it. Or Jesus. Or some good
spirit. So I really love that part where Andrew joins Monica
on the swing.
Ya know, I just realized that I'm still not really sure who it was
who got into the gun cabinet during the birthday party. It
makes it seem like Molly but I dunno.
I'm pretty sure they changed the song when Andrew and Molly are
dancing. It sounded funny to me. What's weird to me is
there are so many folksy royalty free songs that would have worked
just fine there for them to use from the get-go. Huh.
The part where the calf is born is making me think of that "God
Made a Farmer" commercial with Paul Harvey.
No matter how much I expect it, that gun shot catches me off
guard. And I didn't realize that as that scene starts, you
see Andrew walking away from the barn.
"No one can look into someone's heart except the Father."
Monica tells Andrew that to console him. I like that for
reasons beyond that, though. It means there's a lot just
between us and God.
He looks so sad and lost in the barn... first crouching alone and
then even with Monica and Tess. John really is incredible in
Past the halfway point and really doing okay. Admittedly, I
have paused it a few times to go run around the living room.
But nothing hysterical.
Poor love... Picking up broken glass and be all
self-incriminating. Sigh... Now he's just plain being
As angsty as I am right now... I am still perfectly capable of
smiling dopily at the sight of Andrew doing manual labor. He
is awesomely strong.
Andrew touches his head a lot when upset. Not just his
hair. Note to self on that.
I still wish Andrew would have had his God moment here... I
always wanted him to have that sorta moment like Monica did in
"Groundrush" and "Netherlands." But he just gets
Monica. And I do love that she reminds Andrew the he has
free will yet she knows he'll do what God asks. But I just
needed that moment between Father and son and felt like it never
came. But I guess that's another thing I'll have to chalk up
to "Yes, but had you felt satisfied on that front... would you be
writing? Would you still have this web site?" And I
might not. At least not as it is now.
I just wanna hug poor Andrew and never let go. It's a
powerful moment when he tells Molly that he doesn't understand it
I keep wanting to take down these beautiful quotes from Andrew to
Jordan but I guess I got them all the first time around.
I am NOT blaming Andrew but I do wonder if maybe things might have
gone differently had he not told Jordan about Molly's
biopsy. I know Andrew was thinking that Jordan would have to
stay to support her... that's a very Andrew way of thinking.
But it may have put Jordan over the line to think that he might
have to live without her if he didn't go first.
I don't think I could ever slap an angel... especially not
Andrew. It really bothers me that a woman slapping a man
without provocation doesn't really rate yet if the same scene
played out with the genders reversed... there's an uproar.
And there should be an uproar... but regardless of which gender
does the unprovoked slapping.
I so love that denim shirt. But I still wish Andrew wouldn't
have said "I dunno" when Molly asked about seeing him again.
Heaven lasts forever... there's time.
And just one more time... He's so beautiful.
I'm glad I didn't read my previous thoughts before adding this
last bit. Then I probably would have cried. Happily,
my friend that I mention in the opening is now cancer-free.
Sadly, I did watch "The Good Earth." And the emergency that
made it okay for me to watch it? John Dye's death. And
while I still think of Mr. Rocket every time I watch this episode,
this last time around it was John's death that made me reluctant
to watch this episode. But I'm glad I did. He really
was so beautiful. And is and always will be.
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