"The Whole Truth and Nothing But..."

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 frogs.)

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 terribly appealing.

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 unloving.

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 clock.

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 this episode:
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. 

Lingering questions:
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 food?  Yuck.

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 callous?

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 swoony:
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, risque 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 out... 

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.

Random thoughts:
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 troupe's dance.

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 the media.

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 woman.

-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...  Cuddly. 

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.

Oh yay
.  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.  A lot.

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.

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.)