"Vengeance is Mine (aka Saving Grace) Part I"

A review by Jenni:
Well, I decided to write reviews even as I'm seeing these again for the first time in years... rather than waiting til I re-re-watch them!  The sooner I can gush about Andrew the better for me.  :-)

I would also like it noted that I watched around 5-6 episodes of Promised Land every weekend for the past month or so just trying to get caught up to its S3 so I could get to this episode and proceed with my much-delayed (still waiting on those DVDs, Paramount!) viewing of TBAA's Season 5.  I did it!

What I love about this episode:

First of all, while it's sad, I'm glad baby Grace is referenced numerous times in this episode.  One thing that really bugs me about PL is the Greenes' lost a son and then that plot element just got abandoned.  This was revealed in a very touching episode called "The Secret."  But then that baby never seems to be mentioned again, even when Claire's pregnancy is so difficult and there were worries about whether Grace would even be born.  It just seemed so unreal to me that they would never bring up that little boy in light of that.  In one episode, Russell even talks about his first child being born (Josh) and then the second child (Dinah).  But he skips over the fact that the other son was before Dinah.  And Claire musta been pretty far along since lil Josh knew a baby brother was on the way.  Too weird.  So I'm very glad this episode doesn't repeat the same mistake. 

I like Tess' guidance about never touching a paper more than once.  I try to be like that at work and find it pretty effective.  Of course, these days it's more like "never open an email more than once."

This episode really hits me in a different way as an adult than as a teenager.  For example, I was much more struck by the boy's ideal city and the sheer number of bottles he used.  When I first saw this I remember thinking "Whoa, that's a lot of bottles."  But now I'm more aware of how much alcohol content is in each bottle and... geez.  How frightening.

How I relate to child abuse and neglect has also changed.  These days, I know a bit more about how widespread it is.  So I find myself really unsympathetic to Sondra.  But I do think the portrayal is good... up until she kidnaps Nathaniel.  But previous to that I do think TBAA demonstrated how a person could lose control and lash out at those they love.  That doesn't mean I understand how someone could hurt their kid, though.  The look on her son's face when Sondra yells and smashes things is so heartbreaking.  It reminds me of one time I accidentally kicked my dog (she was walking right behind me and I didn't realize).  She looked so hurt and betrayed.  I can't imagine seeing that look on a kid's face and knowing I'd caused it... willfully.

Dinah is a total nostalgia trip for me.  Those lil side braids and her choker were two things I remember wearing when I was that age.  Right around that time, actually.  It makes me happy and sad all at once. 

Now... I'm just hoping Part II (which I barely recall) doesn't make a big sympathy plea for Sondra.  When she threatens Nathaniel's life, I pretty much checked out of the Sondra Show.

What I didn't love about this episode:
Absolutely no offense to the actress playing Sondra but... as I said in my "Joe's Return" review, I find it distracting that the role is played by two different women who look and sound nothing alike.  You'd think they coulda found someone with an accent, at least.

I'm uncertain about getting a vibe that Claire needed Russell's permission to go to the jail.  On one hand, I guess I would want a say if the other parent of my children was going somewhere potentially dangerous.  On the other, it just doesn't sit well with me to think a grown woman needs permission for something.  So I dunno if I like that scene or not. 

Not a complaint but something that I find hard to watch: Sondra breaking her husband's mug in front of the lil boy.  It's just awful. 

I kinda find it hard to believe that Sondra didn't think Monica looked familiar given she was the one that spent time comforting her after her husband and son died.  But maybe that's realistic.  She did have a lot on her mind, of course.

Lingering questions:

Would a company seriously leave a fired employee alone at her workspace?  Sondra gets left for at least a few minutes.  That never happens in my office.  It's kinda a liability...

Does God worry?  Sondra expresses dismay that God is worried about her drinking and Monica answers "Yes."  It just struck me cause I never attribute worry to God.  Concern, yes.  Worry, no.  Even in writing about Andrew I generally try to avoid using "worry" but I guess I won't sweat it now!

Parts that made me feel swoony:
He looks so relaxed at the start... the way his foot is moving and he's just sprawled out on the grass.  I wish Andrew had seemed that peaceful more often in the second half of the show's run...

And his laughter over Tess teasing Monica about her desire for a yellow cucumber flower!  So cute!  Makes me happy!

Seeing Andrew behind bars always makes me uneasy.  Seeing Andrew behind the bars of death row makes me really uneasy.  I started to run around the room.  And wanted to pull him outta there and take him back to that lovely green patch.  Sigh...

I continue to feel bad for Andrew and want to hug him basically whenever the Greenes talk about him.  It always seems to be "Saw Andrew... something bad will happen."  No thought to poor Andrew.  Yes, I know I'm biased but show the man a lil love, people!

"Sometimes the only thing that we can do is just be there."  When Andrew says that to Monica, he pretty much encapsulates why I came to believe in AODs.  Because sometimes I just want to think "Someone was there.  They witnessed this.  They comforted that person."  No heroic rescue.  Just being there.  A warm, loving presence.  I love that TBAA gave us three portrayals of beings like that.

Random thoughts:
I got the giggles when Monica asks her class "Haven't you ever imagined living somewhere else?"  Yes, Monica, I have.  And your co-worker lives two doors down...

TBAA and PL repeat and swap actors A LOT.  I'm pretty sure some of these supporting actors have appeared on both shows, maybe multiple times.  Sondra's boss and the volunteer leader lady at the jail looked very familiar.

Eeek.  I'm watching this on a delay of several weeks and saw a Hallmark I Love Lucy banner announcing back-to-back episodes during TBAA's time slot.  I had to remind myself this was a recording and TBAA has its time back.  Yay!

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Didn't notice anything.

And further on down the road...:
Aww.  Didn't notice before how Andrew balances Tess and then puts away her chair.

Monica: Everyone grieves in different ways on different schedules.  Don't they, Tess?
Tess: Well, that's because every person they lose is different.  They love them a different way, they lost them in a different way.  They miss them in a different way.  The only thing that remains the same is the pain.

Uh huh...

"Get the old things behind you and move on.  You'll feel better about it."  Tess' advice on filing but I think it applies to a lot of life.

Augh...  I think my eye sight is not as good as it was three years ago.  This page and the "Miles" one seem more difficult to see text on.  I've bolded it now.  But then I was using a different puter so maybe the color on the monitor is just different.  I hope!  Anyhow...

Not sure but I think the lady showing Claire around at the jail also played a prisoner in "True Confessions."  Yep.  She did.  Ha. 

Kudos to Monica for keeping it together over Matthew's city.  I probably would have dissolved into tears.

"God is real."  Simple but true from Monica.  Followed soon after by "You cannot hide from God."

"God loves you...  He knows what you're going through.  He watches you going through it alone when you don't have to.  He's the restorer of souls: a husband to the widow, a father to the fatherless.  He can be your peace and joy right now if only you let Him."  Also from Monica's revelation scene.  Such a powerful truth: God knows what you're feeling.

"Sometimes the only thing that we can do is just be there."  I still love how Andrew says that.  Maybe cause it's how I felt about John.  How I still do.  It just mattered that he was there.

Considering Joe is calling all the way from Turkey, I find it odd Dinah didn't run after Nathaniel (who had left the house only seconds before) so he could talk to his dad.  There's no way he could have gotten out of yelling distance in that space of time.

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