Season 9

Episode 901: “A Rock and a Hard Place”

Episode 901: “A Rock and a Hard Place”
Original Air Date: September 28, 2002br/>
Written by: Martha Williamson & Burt Pearl
Directed by: Kevin Dowling
Produced by:

Martha Williamson
Jon Andersen
R.J. Visciglia, Jr.

Guest Cast:
Joe Robert Pastorelli
Mildred Lois Smith
Ricky Taylor Handley
Sandra Mary-Margaret Humes

In the middle of the wilderness, at the base of a mountain, a ways from the road, Monica and Tess discuss the perfect décor for a remote hotel. Meanwhile, in Glendale, Joe Collette arrives at his former home to pick up his 16 year old son, Ricky, for a weekend camping trip. Joe’s separation from his wife, Sandra, has had a negative effect on the whole family, but mostly on Ricky, who acquired a drug problem and then spent sixteen weeks in rehab. The two of them hit the road despite Ricky’s lack of enthusiasm. Several hours into the trip, Joe stops the car to stretch his legs and check his map. As he and his son stand outside of their vehicle, a tiny asteroid, smashes through the windshield of their SUV cutting a hole straight through the seat and the floor.

Andrew shows up, with a tow truck, but even he is surprised by the reason for the breakdown. He offers to take their car to the nearest town, and drop them off at a little hotel that he knows. Tess and Monica check them in and settle them in their room, but they aren’t the only guest this weekend. Just before dinner, a motorcycle roars up to the door, and a little old lady named Mildred hops off. She’s ridden through this area for years with her late husband, and she’s never seen this place. She wants to know where it came from, who’s running it, and how she can go about getting a room.

Later that evening, Joe tries to connect with his son, inviting him to take a walk with him, but Ricky refuses. He blames his father for all of his troubles. Joe walks off by himself, eventually coming upon Gloria, who has set up a telescope outside. She has no trouble engaging the astronomy-loving Joe in an in depth conversation about the cosmos, and asteroids.

After Joe leaves, Gloria maintains her watch on the stars, and sees something that shouldn’t be there, an asteroid. This one is huge, and it’s hurtling right toward earth, looking to do to the planet what its little brother did to Joe’s car. Gloria runs into the lodge to tell the other angels what she has found. They are shocked, but Tess says that they still have a job to do, and it won’t help to tell their assignments what she saw.

Of course, the secret refuses to be kept. Ricky “borrows” a portable television from Mildred’s sidecar and catches a report of the asteroid on the news. He hurries inside to tell his father, and soon everyone knows. While the reports go on, and experts speculate on the fate of the planet, Joe and Ricky realize that they are stranded in the middle of nowhere without a car, and no way to reach the rest of their family. In the midst of this worry, Mildred surprises them all by saying that she wishes for the asteroid to hit, and quickly, too.

As the day wears on, and Mildred explains that all she wants is to die so that she can be with her husband again, in heaven, Ricky grows more frantic. All he wants to do is get home to his mother and sister while he still can. Joe feels the same way, but admits that he’s powerless to change it. Ricky decides that if Joe won’t do anything, he will. He punches his father and runs off, stealing Andrew’s tow truck, and taking to the road, despite a stern warning from Tess. Away from the lodge, Ricky runs over a rusty muffler, and tears the fuel line. With the truck out of commission, he is more alone than ever. But he’s not alone, there are angels around him, and one pulls up beside him on Mildred’s motorcycle. It’s Andrew. He takes Ricky back to the lodge, where Mildred insists they all climb the mountain to watch the asteroid approach. Once they reach the top, Joe’s cell phone miraculously comes to life, and he and Ricky are able to talk to Sandra and Erica. Over the phone Joe reconciles with them, and in person he does so with Ricky. As the asteroid fills the sky, all is well with the Collette family. When it skips off the atmosphere, sparing the world a catastrophic impact, Mildred has a heart attack at Andrew’s side. She has seen a miracle, and now she is going home to the Father and to her husband.

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