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

A review by Jenni:

What I love about this episode:

I really like the idea of leaving letters, recordings, etc. behind for our loved ones when we die.  So I like that this episode explores the power of those messages via Darlene's poems to her daughter and mother.

I was bothered by how placid Nathaniel was when Sondra had him in the woods.  And when he pretty much said he wouldn't say anything about it being a kidnapping, I thought "Oh no...  Please tell me TBAA isn't gonna excuse this behavior just because Sondra is a sad, wronged person."  So I was very glad when Monica showed up and nudged Nathaniel towards telling the truth and letting Sondra face the consequences.  I remain bothered by the fact that she really wasn't punished but at least it didn't seem like God and the angels were giving her a complete pass on terrorizing a kid.

I really like Dinah in this episode.  She's very brave to ask to see Darlene and then to have the confidence to read her poem aloud to a virtual stranger.  I was impressed.  And it made me miss having characters on TV that remind me of myself as I was even a lil bit.  When I see teens on shows now, it makes me feel like I musta been of a different species entirely.  My friends, too.

Claire's quiet, emotional reaction to Dinah's poem really moved me.  I think it played so well because it was so understated.  I probly woulda had Claire bawling and that woulda distracted from the scene.

Frankly, I'm just impressed Tracey Gold took the role of Darlene.  It's really not what I would have expected and she does a really great job.

I love the part where Tess tells Sondra that God "counts every hair on your head."  It's such a visual, touching way to do what TBAA did so well: assuring us not only that God loves us but that He knows us, notices us.

What I didn't love about this episode:
What I didn't love actually says a lot for this episode because it's this: the good bye scenes with Darlene really get to me.  Too much.  I just have this sense of being compressed and suffocated.  So while I really dislike that feeling, well done to TPTB behind those scenes because I think they definitely work.

I love Andrew but it really bugs me when he, or any of them, use the phrase "the angel of death."  It would be like me saying "I'm the woman."  I'm *a* woman among many.  Andrew's an AOD among many.  It'd be fine if it was "I'm the angel of death assigned to you" but simply "I am the angel of death" sounds too singular.

I love Tess' last scene with Sondra cause she's so forceful yet gentle, too.  However, I can't help but feel she uses Andrew as a threat in telling Sondra she and her son almost met him.  It sorta strikes me as similar to when a parent says "Straighten up right now or you're grounded!"  Andrew is not a punishment.  Or if he is... I'm apparently an aspiring masochist and I really don't think I am. 

Lingering questions:

I'm left to wonder if I could do what Claire and Dinah did: reach out to someone on death row.  I'm not sure I could.  Death can be so difficult to face when we have to that I'm not sure I could willingly enter into a relationship of any kind that had a set end date.  And I really doubt I'd allow my child to.  So kudos to the Greenes for being braver and more generous than me.

Parts that made me feel swoony:
I'll admit I was a bit disappointed cause for some reason I remember this episode as having lots of Andrew.  Not so.  But what's here is very good. 

Is it just me or does his very short hair make his eyes look bigger and more puppy dog like?  They just seem really sad here.  And endearing.  Although I miss the hair.  I'll be happy with it again about mid-season.

When Andrew first strokes Darlene's cheek then holds her...  I begin to understand why I remember this episode as Andrew-filled.  That single moment looms so large for me.  He's so tender and loving.  Like one of the big brothers of the world entire. 

Random thoughts:
Dinah references the PL episode "Take Back the Night" wherein she was attacked (and escaped from) a rapist.  This just makes me less impressed with the Gospel Music Channel refusing to air that episode.  But I won't go into a full blown rant about that here, I promise.

Josh sometimes really reminds me of my brother when he's so practical and sarcastic as he is at the family dinner scene.  Eeek.  Almost scary.

Scenes Hallmark cut:
-Didn't notice anything here, either.

And further on down the road...

First, I remain really glad that this episode and other PL crossovers were included in the TBAA DVD sets.  I was concerned they wouldn't be as the 2nd halves were actually PL episodes.

Oh and I really like John's short hair now.  I know above I didn't seem to and I guess I didn't at the time.  But it's grown on me.  My new maturity, I guess.  ;-)

"Everyone has angels watching over em."  A quote from Monica.  Mine probly gets a bit tired of angst.  ;-)

"People stop listening to God.  They figure they can decide what's right and wrong for themselves and it leads to a whole lot of trouble!"  And that would be Tess.  Always good to look to God.  But I must admit sometimes it's hard to discern what He's saying back sometimes.

Among the human characters, I think Erasmus had some of the best quotes.  Here's one: "There are times when maybe the only thing we got to go on is not what we know but what we believe on faith.  And maybe this is one of those times."

Claire follows it up with a pretty great one, though.  "Haven't we learned by now that it isn't up to us to figure out how everything fits in?  It's up to us to deal with it."  Life in a nutshell.

Is it just me or do the episodes featuring death row have especially good scoring?

"You don't hit bottom.  You hit God."  Tess tells that to Sondra.  It also reminds me of the episode "Redeeming Love."

"God loves people so much that He gave them choices: the choice to love Him, the choice to listen to him."  Tess goes onto say we also have the choice to drive recklessly but out of context that seems odd so given these will end up on my quote page, I'll leave it at that.

"God's judgment and man's judgment are different."  Also from Tess.  That's a hard thing to live with sometimes.

From the same scene: "God will show you more mercy than you show yourself."  Love that!  We're so hard on ourselves sometimes!

"God made you.  He counts every hair on your head."  I know I mentioned that Tess quote in my original review but I wanted to note the whole thing.

"There's a whole bunch of people out there with their 'if onlys.'  Say goodbye to yours.  Step into the future!"  Gosh, this entire scene with Tess and Sondra is great (barring the aforementioned Andrew thing.)

"Where you're going, God is already there.  Yes, He is."  Same great scene. 

"The only thing better than forgiving is being forgiven."  Finally one from lovely, darling Andrew.  I'm glad I'm catching all these quotes this time.

Made it through that whole episode without crying then lost it in the final moments as Dinah read Darlene's letter.  There are a lot of open arms I'm waiting to run to.  Plus, it hearkens back to what I first wrote when I began this review back in 2009.  There is amazing power in the messages people leave behind when they leave us. 

I wonder why the episode title changed?

Back to the Episode Guide

(The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions. They are not being used to seek profit.)