"The Whole Truth and
A review by Jenni:
What I love about this episode:
I know I watched this episode as I could recall basic plot
elements (i.e. Lauren was the mysterious woman, the two female
leads were sisters, etc.) and know "The Good Earth" is the only
episode I never saw. But not a single shot here actually
looked familiar. My guess is I watched this once when it
aired and, because it was neither highly relatable for me nor
featured much Andrew, never again. So that made it kinda
cool to watch this as it really seemed new.
I totally agree with Tess that there are too many ads in the
news! Granted, I don't read print news much but I've had to
leave some news sites cause the ads were so freaking
annoying. Too bad an old problem had to leak into new
technology... I don't even mind banner ads. The sites
gotta make money somehow. But the full page ones that you
have to click out of... bad.
"There's more to the truth than just the facts." I
love that quote from Tess because it's so true. At least
with people, the full truth often involves an entire underlying
psychology that may not be obvious to anyone but you may not get
the full truth without knowing it.
Wow. I was really struck by Tess' statement that
cynicism is the most contagious disease. I'm inclined to
agree. And it can be really hard to treat. I know
because I'm trying to "cure" my own and it seems like one step
forward, two steps back.
Why am I not surprised that Monica's handwriting features
hearts? Nice, albeit slightly cringe inducing, touch.
It fits her.
I have that frog of Liz's!!! At first I wasn't 100% sure but
I totally do. It even has the tan oval tag on the
back. I have its mama, too. There's a larger size and
they're both near my computer (my entire office is decorated with
I thought it was striking that the dancers were former political
prisoners from China. Coincidentally, I'd just watched
"Liberty Moon" last night. I try to always watch it around
the 4th. It added a new, hopeful element to this episode for
me to have witnessed the sad fates of Jean and Gus and to then see
these people celebrating and free.
So, once again, I'd like to say how fresh this episode seemed with
its focus on philandering politicians and irresponsible news media
with messed up priorities. Good on the TBAA writers, kinda
sucky for us.
I love that when Monica confronts Lauren about the affair and
Lauren insists she doesn't have a choice but to keep quiet, Monica
counters that she does have a choice but just doesn't like the
choice. How often is that statement true for people?
Sometimes we need to make a choice even when neither option is
Banner day! I actually feel sorry for *Monica* in this
episode. It must be very tough to be an angel and to
sometimes have the job you're doing go against what you as an
angel would do. Like here where Monica the reporter must rat
Lauren out. She handles the tension between her two jobs
very well here.
I think it's very cool that Tess was Liz's beloved teacher.
While I'm a sucker for a good revelation scene, I also loved
seeing the angels come to humans and just fill a seemingly human
role. The whole "angels unaware" concept.
I liked that Monica's revelation scene with Liz incorporates the
big journalist questions: who, what, where, when, how, why?
It's another example of the angel's words being perfectly tailored
to suit the person hearing them.
Liz tearfully recounting how children suffer, heroes lie, and
people kill was all too relatable to me. Sometimes I get so
horrified at the enormity of all the pain in the news that I just
shut down. I could see all too well how a reporter could
just cut off their emotional side and report the facts with little
thought to what they mean or how they'll impact others.
"The world can be a different place... if only the hearts of the
people can turn towards hope instead of despair, towards
forgiveness instead of condemnation, towards love instead of
judgment." Excellent quote from Monica to Liz.
"God is truth but He is also love and unless you tell the truth in
love, it's not the whole truth." Another great Monica
quote. It reminds me of Tess in "And a Nightingale Sang"
when she urges the other angels to ask not what the right thing to
do is but what the loving thing to do is. As important as
truth is, carelessly throwing it around can sometimes be extremely
I know it's hardly a very original statement but it's always good
to be reminded that at the end of our lives God's going to be far
more interested in the loving we did than the stuff we did on the
One of the overarching themes of this episode, especially Liz's
part, seems to be the importance of having good role models and
listening to them. When Liz loses sight of Tess' teaching,
she loses herself. And when Ray chooses Liz as his mentor,
he finds himself making the same cold mistakes she does. It
makes a person think about who they just might be responsible for.
What I didn't love about
I just can't believe that Lauren, a reporter, would be so
stupid as to dump unshred, incriminating papers in the very
visible trash can outside her office... which is filled with other
reporters. I don't know. Maybe we missed
something. Maybe Lauren drove somewhere, dumped the papers,
and then walked back to her office or took a taxi. But even
at that... why would she then leave her car? That's also
incriminating. It really seemed to be her building's parking
garage. Stupid! Then again, I probly shouldn't count
that as bad writing. Look at all the public figures whose
scandals are unleashed because they do something sloppy and stupid
(leave an incriminating voice mail, take video, etc.)
I felt that Lauren was entirely too calm about Monica telling Liz
she was the mystery woman. Of course, this may be due to a
THC cut but it just seemed odd to me that in one scene she was
adamantly against being identified and then next time you see her
she just calmly cops to her role and doesn't seem at all bothered
by what Monica's done. Maybe I just don't get the
character. Highly possible.
While I totally get and appreciate the idea behind Tess' frog
parable as related by Liz, as someone who once had a pet frog...
it kinda made me want to throw up.
I think it's very cute that Monica thinks of Tess as a "sister in
a motherly sort of way." That's the perfect description of
their relationship. However, watching them exchange messages
of love as Andrew just stands there looking at them... ouch.
OMG! It's TBAA's very own Awkward Family Photo!
There's something troubling to me about the fact that Liz only
turns her life around when her sordid style of reporting sucks in
her sister. That's probly realistic but I wish she wouldn't
have seemed to get a pass on it. While I agree that Monica
needed to get her to think about the public, I also wish she'd
spent part of the revelation getting her to see that just as
Monica's and Ray's stories about Lauren hurt her, so previous
stories have hurt families and individuals who may be as deserving
of privacy as Lauren or the mayor.
Do they seriously still wrap fish in old newspapers as
Andrew says? That majorly grosses me out. Have you
ever touched a paper for a while and then noticed that your
fingertips were gray with ink? Do you want that on your
Wow. This episode raises a lot of big questions. Maybe
that's why I don't recall it. I don't see myself, senior
year of high school, really pondering any of the following:
What is the public's right to know as far as public figures?
Are their personal lives exactly that: personal?
What does that knowledge do to us? Does it make us more
What is a reporter's responsibility to the public?
I don't know the answers to any of this but they all seem so
pressing even today.
Parts that made me feel
I thought it was cute and amusing that Andrew got a lil indignant
about an obituary being wrong. Who knew he read
obituaries? Love the cozy looking sweater, too.
Yeah... so I spent a chunk of this episode concerned that Andrew
had been made to witness something seamy. Very happy to know
that things were pretty tame when the mayor shuffled off the
mortal coil and that it didn't happen during the heavy breathing,
talk alluded to later. I can't help it. I want to
shelter Andrew even though intellectually I know the guy has
probly seen so much that he's not very shakeable.
Poor love is barely in this but... he did look quite nice
when answering the mayor's door.
Cut scene notice: Please see the third item in that
section. This doesn't make me swoony but Andrew's statement
about Lauren does interest me. I actually think it's good to
know he's not just majorly bothered by adultery when the focus is
on the male adulterer a la "Labor of Love." Although it
kinda begs the question... why, of all the vices, does Andrew seem
especially bothered by adultery? Or am I just reading into
things cause I'm really bothered by adultery?
I want to hug our Angel Boy at the end when Tess and Monica are
being all affectionate and he's just left to stand there
listening. It just looks awkward. He seems so left
Andrew gleefully reporting to Tess about the rumor she invented
the printing press was cute. And then he kisses her
cheek. It's adorable but kinda makes me sad. If Andrew
wants affection, he seems to need to initiate it.
Music: I didn't
notice anything on my first viewing. I'll recheck when I
watch the VHS. Duh. There's music during the Taiwanese
TBAA seems to have a favored theme in women who settle for the
wrong man just because he gives them some attention. Lauren
here reminds me of Megan in "An Unexpected Snow." That's
just so sad.
This episode made me grateful that some news outlets now have
uplifting news segments. Like TBAA, I do see a direct
correlation between optimism and what we see, hear, and read in
Scenes Hallmark cut:
-After the scene of Monica and Andrew at the hotel, the CBS
version goes to commercial and then returns to Lauren at her desk
with her head bowed. Liz approaches and demands to know
where she's been. Lauren shoots back that she's been
working, looking for mud for Liz to sling. She tells her
sister that her only story is that the mayor had a nice dinner
with the Taiwanese. Liz asks why Lauren needs to turn
everything into an argument and not just have an adult
conversation. Lauren informs her that it's because Liz
thinks only one of them is an adult. Lauren's phone
rings. Liz answers. It's Monica calling from the
hotel. Liz is ticked that Monica called the police before
checking out the room herself but tells her to look around.
Liz then tells Lauren that Monica found the glass with the
lipstick. Lauren feigns surprise over the mayor's death and
then leaves supposedly to help Monica. Then it goes to
Monica speaking to the cop which THC kept.
-THC cuts short the scene of Monica discovering the manuscript in
the trash. After what THC shows, Tess appears alongside and ponders why humans
haven't learned that you can throw away evidence but not the
truth. Tess tells a startled Monica that Lauren was the
-Oh good freaking gosh! Andrew barely has any scenes and, of
course, THC cuts one! The segment after Liz discovers what
Lauren's done begins with Andrew getting a Guardian paper from out
of the stand outside the office. He's wearing the outfit we
later see him in at the end (it's occurred to me that I should
describe him in these cut scenes). He rolls the paper and
then approaches a cart near which Tess and Monica stand and shows
them the cover. Lauren's photo with the lurid headline is
right there. I can't believe this was cut! I watched
the entire THC version of this episode thinking Liz never actually
broke the full story (as in she broke the affair story but that
the issue about Lauren never got into print). Totally
wrong! She did! Monica says she doesn't believe Liz
did the right thing. Andrew adds, rather passionately, that
they know Lauren did the wrong thing. Tess informs him that
it's not their job to judge right and wrong (true but why does it
sometimes feel so right to me when they do judge a bit???) and
that the paper is yesterday's news. Andrew indicates the
dateline and tells Tess it's actually today's. Tess tells
him not to get smart with her. She stresses that tomorrow it
*will* be yesterday's news and tomorrow is what they need to focus
on since it can be changed. Cut to Monica greeting Ray at
the office which THC keeps.
And further on down the road...
Snow day! So another episode for me!
I still love Andrew's fuzzy sweater at the start...
I'm looking right at that frog Liz keeps at her desk. And
his mommy. Actually, I was rearranging my frogs just a bit
ago and that's when I decided to watch this. :-)
Really not finding I have much more to say on this one. It's
another reason I wanted to watch it today. I have a feeling
this week may be a bit trying so I'd rather have "Then Sings My
Soul" at the end of it than this episode. It's not that I
have anything against this episode. It just doesn't really
speak to me.
The cut scene! And another awesome sweater. While I
agree with Tess about not judging... I see Andrew's view.
God was pretty clear about adultery. Although I would like
to point out that *both* Lauren and the mayor screwed up and, in
fact, I think he was worse. He had a wife who loved him.
Liz is a hypocrite. Totally fine to make a name for herself
on others' misery but, God forbid, the tables get turned...
I still wish someone had called her out about that specifically.
Amen to there being good news. We were just talking about
this in my Bible study. A lot of people say this world is
worse than it's ever been. I disagree. I just think we
have more ways now to learn about all the bad things that
happen. It doesn't help that the media over-reports negative
stories... and it doesn't help that the ratings support that
position. Someone should have a program of only good news.
"Did you love, every day, no matter what?" Monica says God
will ask us that. Wow. Something to think about.
I think of that frog metaphor often of late... while trying not to
think of the poor actual frog. Just the idea. And not
just in a bad way. I think about it from a perseverance
standpoint, too. We sometimes think "I'll just die if this
happens..." or "I will freak out if I have to..." But when
things happen gradually, sometimes we find we're able to do what
we thought impossible even if it's something we would have jumped
away from had it come upon us all at once.
Aww... that adorable kiss. Lucky... naw... blessed Tess.
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