"'Til We Meet Again"

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:
I think this is a really well done depiction of the many faces of grief.  So much of this was very relatable to me from the short tempers to the lame jokes and even to Kate's home makeover.  While I don't generally undertake something that massive while grieving, especially outside my own home, I do tend to immerse myself in projects to cope.  I'm not at all surprised to learn that Martha Williamson drew from personal experience in creating this episode.  It shows.

I was relieved to see how this episode handled communications between Joe, his family, and the angels.  Because in JABB I've never gotten down who Andrew can talk to and when.  And this episode gives me a look into why that is.  In the scene when it's just Andrew, Joe, and Chris in the bedroom, Andrew seems able to talk to Chris on some deep level.  Yet at the end, Monica needs to repeat Andrew's words from Joe in order for the family to hear.  So... this tells me there's no set in stone pattern.  Sometimes people can directly hear the angels and spirits, sometimes an intermediary is needed.  So, basically, we can do whatever we want with that in our JABB stories!  But the underlying message is... talk.  The frustrated communication between the family members in this episode is sooo familiar to me and I doubt I'm alone in that!

I appreciate TBAA pointing out that often family secrets really aren't very secret.  While my family hasn't faced anything like the Carpenters, we've had some things that were kept quiet.  Darn thing was it proved more difficult dealing with all the half-truths than if someone had just been honest from the start.  I could also relate to the big secret getting spilled, accidentally, during an emotional moment.  That totally happens in real life.

I'm very fond of Monica's quote: "All prayers gets answered. Sometimes the answer is ‘No.’ But sometimes the answer is ‘Not yet.’"  It's a good one to remember.

This Tess quote is another favorite: "God is not the author of confusion. He likes to write happy endings."

I like Monica assuring Kim that her existence is proof of God turning very sad things into beautiful things.  Cause that hope is one of the central tenets of my faith and likely that of others, too.

The way the family's song transitions into Tess' song, both featuring the words "'Til We Meet Again," is really lovely.

What I didn't love about this episode:
I'm sad that Tess took playful Andrew's football.  We so seldom see Andrew being playful that it was a shame to cut such a moment short.  Although I understand the TBAA writers not wanting to turn this episode into "Andrew's Goofy, Fun Time Football Spectacular!" 

You may not believe this but... I'm gonna have to side with Monica over Andrew in one case.  I do think Andrew seemed pretty teasing when he repeats Monica's statement about how prayers get answered.  Look at how his lips kinda purse.  I think he did think it was goofy and then just covered it up when Monica seemed a lil offended.  I don't get what his deal is, anyhow.  I thought it was a great quote!

Okay... I'm having a hard time with the adultery theme again.  I'm not questioning Joe's decision to forgive his wife.  As he puts it, he "chose to love" and that's commendable.  And I applaud those who can heal their marriage after infidelity.  But I really woulda loved to have seen TBAA challenge their selves by showing a different angle.  I just don't believe all marriages can or should be salvaged after someone cheats.  Did they ever have a show where someone cheated and the marriage wasn't saved and the angels accepted that?  Maybe they did and I'm forgetting. 

Lingering questions:
Can one really order "munchies" from a pizza place?  Was it actually a grocery that also makes pizza that Kim called?  I've just never heard of people ordering pizza delivered with munchies...

Why does the bit of conversation between Tess and Kate when they're discussing upholstery get repeated?  It's when Kim has her flashback to the family around the piano.  You hear the exact same exchange before and after the flashback.

Does it have to be Andrew or any angel of death that requests a special dispensation?  I kinda got that impression here but why doesn't make much sense to me.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
Andrew's all adorable big brother-y when he's trying to teach Monica to toss a football.  As a rule I am completely uninterested in sports but something tells me that if Andrew had his own football show... I would watch.  Especially if he was wearing a beige sweater.  And made that cute, lil sheepish smile like he does when he trips here.  In short, Andrew is very cute in the opening scene.  I even like his use of receiver and passer imagery for describing how Monica's and his roles work together on assignments.

I wasn't so much swoony in this case as intently interested: Joe Carpenter guesses that Andrew is Death and Andrew assents.  Andrew adds that he's an angel.  However, I still find it curious that he agrees to simply Death first.  Cause I think in later episodes he tries to distance himself from that.  Maybe he just felt right then wasn't the time to get nitpicky.  And he woulda been right. 

Right after that Andrew asks Joe "Do I look scary to you?"  Sigh...  Nope, not at all.  Ya look very, very handsome. 

I just love how calm Andrew is when he talks to Joe.  He counsels him so gently and honestly.  It's really wonderful to watch. 

I think the scene where Chris confesses that he didn't always see his father as a strong man but now does is really beautiful.  Watching it this time I wondered if, reading some of the stuff I've written, people might conclude that I don't see Andrew as a strong person.  Cause I do tend to fret over him and wonder why he doesn't stand up for himself when he gets pushed to the side.  I guess, like Chris, I believe that his true strength comes in being able to cope with a flawed relationship and make the best of it.  So I believe both Joe and Andrew are patient, good, AND strong.

It's sweet when Andrew tells Monica to "go get em, girl."  That cheery and cutesy of an Andrew pretty much disappears later on.

Random thoughts:
This exchange jumped right out at me:
Kim: I thought I had more time.  (With her dad.)
Monica: Everybody always does.

Monica looks almost wistful when she says that.  And for a moment I envisioned Monica, post Season 9, missing Andrew and remembering that exchange with Kim and truly feeling it.  Maybe Monica didn't mean to brush Andrew off or take him for granted.  Maybe she just thought she had more time with him to open up.  But she didn't.

Like Tess I never know how to pronounce Ralph's last name, either.  Sometimes I do say "Lauren" but other times it does come out more like Tess' "Loren."  Oh well.  Not like I have much to do with designer duds!

I would have loved to have revisited this family a couple years later to see how their lives were changed after their miracle.

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