Episode #822: “For All The Tea In China”

Sarah and James Berrington are unable to conceive a child. They have tried everything, including in-vetro fertilization. Nothing works. When their final pregnancy test comes out negative, Sarah weeps, devastated. On the other side of the world, a Chinese woman staggers down a dark road with a small bundle in her arms. Finally she comes to the gate of a building and lays her bundled baby against it. As snow starts to fall, and the woman walks away from her child, she cries out in anguish. Back at the gate, Gloria cuddles the baby in her arms, waiting for morning.

In New York, at the home they share with his grandmother, Lady Penelope Berrington, James and his wife consider adoption. Though they know that Penelope will react poorly to decision, they decide to visit an adoption counselor. Everything seems to be in order, but they will need to be evaluated in home by a case worker. They take a series of pamphlets about adopting from various corners of the globe and return home to look them over. Penelope is not thrilled about ending her noble bloodline with an adoption, but she realizes that this may be the only way for Sarah and James to have a child. She gives her consent, and after they are gone she looks at the pamphlets. She freezes on the pamphlet about adopting from China, and tosses it into the fire.

When Tess, the adoption case worker, arrives, Penelope gets stand-offish and makes a scene which may hamper their chances of being approved. James confronts her about it, but she holds her ground.

Back in China, Gloria watches over the baby, Rose, as she is admitted into the orphanage by a kind Matron. Gloria tells Rose of the parents that are waiting for her in America. But the adoption may never happen. Tess returns to tell Penelope that the adoption was not approves, and that she is to blame. She gives Penelope the opportunity to tell James and Sarah. She admits to them that she has been lying about her identity all these years, that she is not a noblewoman, that she started her tea company with a stolen identity, and when it became a success, she used it. She tells them about her upbringing in China, where she lived with her missionary parents. She tells how she and a friend, Li Na, were separated from her parents during an evacuation, and how she never saw them again, returning to England on her own. When the truth is out and accepted, Tess clears the adoption and they head to China to meet Rose, and to allow Penelope to come to terms with her past.

At the orphanage, the family is finally formed, and another miracle takes place. Though Penelope will never be reunited with her parents, she discovers that the Matron that runs the orphanage is actually her childhood friend Li Na.

Episode 821: “Forever Young”

One year ago the Costellos were a happy family. Now, Don is losing his touch at work, his wife Stacey is wandering the park at all hours of the day, and their son Justin has been suspended from school pending therapy. The root of the problem is the murder of Kimmie, their daughter and Justin’s sister.

Stacey shows up at one of Don’s motivational speeches so they can drop Justin off at the office of his new therapist, Gloria. Don agrees and apologizes to Monica, the company evaluator, saying that he will meet with her later at his home office. At the therapy session, Gloria tries to discover the reason for Justin’s fights at school, but he refuses to answer her questions.

Later on, Monica tells Don of the negative feedback that he’s been getting from his audiences. It seems that no one appreciates the mention of his dead daughter, it makes them feel manipulated. Before he can respond, Justin enters, telling him that Stacey never came to get him at the therapist’s. Monica offers to continue the next day, and sees herself out.

In the park, Stacey sits on the swings, reliving memories of times spent there with Kimmie. She is so engrossed, that hours slip by without her noticing. While  Monica and Gloria ponder their assignments, Tess begins tracking down a number of people to help the Costellos come to grips with Kimmie’s death.

The following day, Monica returns to apologize to Don about her previous comments. She tells him that she only wants to help and that she thinks he’s letting Kimmie’s death overrun his life. During a second therapy session Gloria finally gets Justin to talk. He admits that Kimmie is dead because of him. She takes him home to talk to his parents, and Justin tearfully admits that he told Kimmie’s ex-boyfriend where she was the day that he killed her. Don assures him that it’s not his fault, that Blake was sick and that he would have found her anyway. Stacey loses touch with reality, says that Kimmie is fine, and leaves to go find her.

At the park, Andrew confronts her with the truth.  He then brings her to Robintino’s, the Italian restaurant the family went to regularly when Kimmie was alive.  Inside they are having a private party, which she is told is for her.  Justin and Don are already there with their angels.  And so are a number of other people that none of them recognize.  These are the people that Tess found, the people who’s lives Kimmie touched.  They stand up one by one and tell how their lives, or the lives of someone they love were saved by Kimmie. Kimmie was an organ donor, and her memory lives on in the hearts of everyone present.


Episode 820: “The Impossible Dream”

Reggie Hunter has the voice of an angel and the love of his family. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had the courage to sing in over twenty-five years. Instead he works as a janitor at his former high school, even though he was once good enough to audition for Berry Gordy of Motown Records. Every Sunday, he, his Aunt Charlotte, his brother Martin, and his sister Eleanor sit down to supper with the rest of their family. It is a family tradition that they have kept throughout their lives, missing only once for their parents’ funeral On this particular Sunday, news of Aunt Charlotte’s impending retirement makes its way around the table, distressing Reggie. The only reason he can even tolerate his job is because Aunt Charlotte teaches choir at the school. The thought of her leaving upsets him so much, that he leaves the table.

On Monday, Reggie goes unhappily back to work at the school, breaking in a new janitor, Andrew. Meanwhile at Detroit Metro Bank, Martin hires Monica as a new loan officer, counting on her to take his place when he is promoted to Vice-President. He brings her along with him when he speaks at the high school’s career day. During the course of his speech, he sticks up for Reggie, who is seen as a failure by the kids. When Martin returns to the bank, he is confronted by Mr. Stoecker, an investigator from the Michigan Bank Examiner’s Office. A man that Martin approved a loan for is being charged with investment fraud.

Tess, who has been working as the new interim choir director, puts together a meeting to plan Charlotte’s retirement party. Eleanor suggests a barbeque, but Charlotte isn’t interested. Finally, Reggie suggests a concert, performed by some of her former students. Eleanor thinks it’s a good idea, and that Reggie should sing. Charlotte promises to give it some thought. The following Sunday she has decided, she wants to have the concert and she wants Reggie to sing. Before he can object, lunch is interrupted by Mr. Stoecker and a federal marshall. Martin is under arrest.

In an attempt to raise bail money Reggie attempts to sell the 1914 Steinway piano that his mother left him. Charlotte stops him, caving in and finally telling him the truth about his audition with Berry Gordy. He had wanted to sign him, but Martin said he wasn’t interested because he wanted him to go to college. Reggie goes to the jail and fumes at Martin, accusing him of ruining his life. When next he tries to sell the piano, to get the money to move out, Andrew and Tess appear and speak to him of lost dreams and the importance of family. Reggie forgives Martin and new evidence clears him of all charges. When the family is reunited, the concert is on, and Reggie sings once again with the voice of an angel.

Episode 819: “The Bells Of St. Peter’s”

Rose is the loving mother of Maggie, an oncologist. She is also her office manager, a meddler in her personal affairs, and a collector of various superstitions and faiths. In an attempt to ease tension in Maggie and her husband Brian’s marriage, Rose has planned a trip to Rome. She is counting on her son-in-law and daughter to insist on accompanying her. She thinks that if they make the trip to Vatican Square on Easter Sunday to hear the bells of St. Peter’s Cathedral, the miracle they need will happen. She has even gone so far as to hire Monica to temp in the office while they are away. Unfortunately things don’t go according to plan. When a patient named Annie dies, Maggie is devastated, closing herself off to Brian, and canceling their plans for Rome. Rose tries to persuade her, but Maggie erupts in anger at her mother’s meddling. She even takes Rose’s fatigue to be nothing more than a sympathy ploy, her blood-work however tells another story. Rose has leukemia.

Maggie becomes utterly focused on saving her mother, but continues to keep Brian at a distance. She tries to get her mother to agree to a cranial shunt, a bubble-like apparatus that will administer her doses of chemotherapy, but must be installed in the top of her head. Rose refuses, saying that she bought a new hat for Easter in Rome, and it won’t do to have something sticking out of her head.

Several weeks pass as Rose takes the more painful form of chemo, and Maggie becomes more isolated and obsessive in her attempt to save her mother without actually connecting with her. Just before Easter, Rose, at her weakest, attempts to leave the hospital and catch her flight. She collapses just outside. When they get her back inside, the diagnosis is poor, Rose isn’t expected to live through the night. As Maggie stands in the room with her dying mother, Tess, who has been posing as a hospital administrator, gives her a revelation. Despite the sense of Tess’s words, Maggie is still reluctant to believe. Meanwhile Rose wakes up, stepping clear of the bed and out of her body. Andrew is there, ready to take her to heaven, but Monica intercedes, telling him that she has a message for Rose. Andrew nods and exits, leaving Monica to talk to Rose. She tells her to trust in God, not to immerse herself in the various superstitions and sayings that she is so fond of. She tells her that she can’t go out in search of miracle, true miracles come to you with the love of God. Rose nods and listens, weeping with joy as the peal of the bells of St. Peter’s echo throughout the hospital room.

The next morning, brings with it a miracle that even Maggie cannot refute, Rose is alive, and her cancer is gone. Maggie is overjoyed, and finally breaks free of her emotional shields. She has no choice but to believe the truth of Tess’s words and to work at being the best in all aspects of her life, not only professional but personal as well.

Episode 817: “Secrets and Lies”


Allen Lowry is having a great day at the gym with his wife, Suzanne and their 17-year-old daughter, Erica. Things couldn’t be better. Unfortunately they could get a lot worse, and they do. In the middle of a one-on-one basketball game, Erica collapses. When Allen and Suzanne rush to her side, they discover a series of dark bruises across her back.

The next day, at the hospital, the family waits for Erica’s test results. When Dr. Nathans arrives he is accompanied by, Monica, a counselor from the organ donor department. The news is grim. Erica has leukemia and if she doesn’t get a bone marrow transplant she is going to die. Allen heads downstairs to get tested for bone marrow compatibility while Suzanne comforts Erica. While Gloria draws blood for the test, she explains to Allen the odds of finding a match. Since Erica is a mix of the genetic material of both Allen and Suzanne, chances are that neither of them will be acceptable donors. She says that a brother or sister would stand a much better chance. Allen thanks her and heads home. Once there, he rummages through a box hidden in the attic and pulls out a mysterious address.

The next day, Allen arrives at the address and knocks on the door. Robbie, a boy of about sixteen answers. Allen asks if his mother is home, Robbie says that she’s out and offers to take a message. Allen tells him his name. Robbie recognizes it as the name of his father. He lets Allen in and they start to talk, but Robbie’s mother, Debbie, arrives and tosses him out. Before Allen goes he tells her about Erica and pleads with her to let Robbie be tested. She refuses.

Robbie skips school to go to the hospital. He meets with Allen and agrees to the test. Monica reluctantly allows it when Allen signs the release form as Robbie’s father. Later on, the news comes in: Robbie is a match. Allen and his family are relieved, but Robbie wants to meet his sister. Allen eventually lets him when Robbie promises not to tell Erica the truth about who he is. Soon Debbie arrives to drag Robbie away. The confrontation forces Allen to tell his wife about his infidelity. Suzanne is crushed by the news, and shattered by Debbie’s refusal to allow the transplant.

Everything looks hopeless, but soon the angels are there to talk to Debbie about understanding, and to Suzanne about forgiveness, and to Allen about truth. The transplant goes through, the truth is uncovered, and a life is saved.

Episode 818: “The Princeless Bride”


Liz and Jonas are in love, it’s the day before their wedding and everything is perfect. The only thing that could go wrong is an act of nature. And the only thing that can make it right will be an act of God.

The wedding is to be held at the Peery Hotel in Washington D.C., the very spot that Jonas and Liz met. Liz arrives in a great mood only to be met with a new staff, a loitering homeless man, and an unwanted wedding guest, Aunt Meg. All of this she can handle, just as long as Jonas makes his flight into town. Unfortunately Jonas decides to squeeze in one last meeting, and must take a later flight. Even more unfortunately, all later flights are canceled as a monster blizzard sweeps across the eastern seaboard. Forced to seek alternate transportation, Jonas catches a ride from a helpful cabbie, Andrew.

Back at the Hotel, Liz is shattered as she receives phone call after phone call from guests unable to make it to town. Her wedding is ruined, her parents won’t be there, the groom may not be there, and Aunt Meg is. She is so upset, that she gets into a fight with Jonas on the phone, causing him to call off the wedding, and ask Andrew to take him back to New York. Liz breaks down at Jonas’s decision not to show and tells Monica, Gloria, and Tess about the wedding she always wanted, and how she’ll never get it. Later that evening, the angels show up at Liz’s door to throw the pre-wedding slumber party she wanted to have.

Around the same time, Jonas wakes up in the cab to find that Andrew drove him to the hotel despite his request to the contrary. Angry at the interference, he storms out of the cab and into the blizzard. He quickly gets lost, and is forced to call another cab. As soon as he’s made the call, his cell phone rings, it’s Liz. She tries to apologize but Jonas is forced to cut the call short when he is held up at gun-point. Andrew and a homeless man (sent by Tess) help Jonas to his feet, replace his stolen clothes and help him back to the hotel. Tess has spent most of the day and the evening bringing the homeless off of the street and into the boiler room of the hotel.

The next day, the wedding banquet is prepared yet none of the guests have arrived. Monica tells Liz that just because things aren’t turning out the way she expected, doesn’t mean they won’t turn out well. At Monica’s prompting, she invites all of the homeless people to attend the wedding banquet. Making the most of the disastrous wedding, she sees that all of her new guests are well fed and entertained. Jonas watches from the hallway, dressed as a vagrant. He falls in love with her all over again, but can’t bring himself to go inside. Liz comes out of the banquet while his back is turned, she mistakes him for another homeless person, and invites him to have the last plate of food, the one she was saving for Jonas. He turns around, revealing his identity, and they reunite.


Episode 816: “The Blue Angel”

From being televised at the 1939 World’s Fair, to finishing out his days as the director of a community access station in South Bend, Indiana; Max Blandish has run the spectrum of television’s growth. Once he had ideals and dreams, now all he has is a lump of bitterness and emphysema. His failure to make the right choices has brought him to the bottom of the entertainment barrel, and his cigarettes have brought him to the end of his days. Now, he tries to hide his ailment, while filling the airwaves with: singing cowboys, Elvis impersonators, chicken farmers, and the pinnacle of bad taste “the Blue Angel”.

Gloria arrives with a respirator, as a representative of “Life Support”. Max has a fit and insists that he ordered no such thing, his longtime friend and cameraman, Elmer, admits that he did. Max storms off, and Monica appears to tell Gloria all about him. When she first met Max, he made the right choice to put a young Japanese girl on the air, and was fired for it. That was the last time he took a stand. When Monica finishes the story, Elmer calls for Gloria to get the respirator, Max can’t breath. They attend to him, and Max comes back to himself. Shortly thereafter, Tiffany “The Blue Angel” arrives. She has the flu and won’t be able to go on at midnight. When Max takes her out of the room to get some tea, Tess appears and tells Gloria of her experience with Max. It was 1954 and Max was back at the top of his game, directing a variety show for the 4th of July. Everything was perfect, great television waiting to happen, except for one thing. The blonde singer the sponsor hired is terrible, despite Tess’s attempts to instruct her. Max is so impressed with Tess’s voice, and so eager for the show to go well, that he replaces the singer with Tess. When the sponsor finds out, he insists that his singer goes on as planned. According to him, the American people don’t want to see a black woman sing “God Bless America”. Max reluctantly agrees. Because of this, he keeps his job, but loses his dream.

As Tess finishes her story, Max enters and baits Gloria into taking over for the Blue Angel. When Max leaves, Tess tells her what the blue angel does. She’s a stripper. Gloria doesn’t think she can do that, but Monica tells her not to worry, to let God do the directing. When the time comes, and she’s on the air, Gloria drops her trenchcoat to reveal her angel garb and glow. She gives Max an entirely different kind of revelation than the one he was expecting. She tells him that it’s never too late to do the right thing, and that he doesn’t have to let his dreams die just because they didn’t turn out how he thought they would. On the air, Max accepts this truth, and God, and admits that “TV didn’t ruin me, I ruined TV.” With that said, he vows that from now on, he’ll put out the best programming that he can. He throws away his cigarettes and begins his new life.

Episode 815: “Hello, I Love You”

In the small town of Wells, Nevada, good news travels fast, almost as fast as gossip. Danni Blake has been plagued by the latter for all of her short life. The shame of not having a father has kept her down. What’s worse, is that her school is planning a father-daughter dance. After a few scornful comments from her classmates, Danni storms home, upset. Her mother, Nicole, tries to comfort her, but in the end, the only comfort that Danni will accept is in the form of information about her father. Nicole relents and gives Danni a card that he sent her on her first birthday. Danni cheers up considerably. Nicole goes to work, leaving her in the capable hands of Monica. That night, Danni wakes up to a roomful of people. There was an accident at the factory and her mother was hurt. The next day, after visiting her still unconscious mother in the hospital, Danni uses the address from the birthday card. She hops on a bus and heads to Silver Springs in search of her father.

With only the last name ‘Jackson’ to go on, Danni begins flipping through the phone book. Monica arrives and makes her call her aunt to tell her where she is. The two of them then go off to check the addresses. After several dead ends, they come upon the house of Walter Jackson, a young man with a pregnant wife. Monica thinks that he must be the father, because Andrew is in the driveway working on Walter’s car. When Danni introduces herself and asks if he is her father, Walter’s wife, Kim, has a fit. They had had trouble in the past with his infidelities, and despite their reconciliation, Kim has been bottling it up inside. Monica and Danni leave them to argue, and come upon a handyman named Dan Jackson, who Gloria is working with. Now Danni thinks that he is the father, and Gloria does too. Monica is unsure, but after a bit of questioning, they discover that Dan is unable to have children, though if he could, he’d want one like Danni. Returning to Walter’s house, Danni asks him about Nicole, and mentions her birthday. Walter realizes then, that he and Kim weren’t even in the country when Danni was conceived. Dejected, Danni and Monica return home.

During all of this, Tess has been driving, and she’s been driving fast. Soon she is pulled over by a motorcycle cop whose name happens to be J.T. Jackson. He is Danni’s father, but Nicole pushed him away, not wanting to get in the way of his life. After she was gone, he gave up on his other dreams to focus on finding her and Danni. Now he has a chance. Tess takes him to them.

When Nicole wakes up in the hospital, it’s to the possibility of family.

Episode 814: “Ship-In-A-Bottle”

Tevis Lockwood is starting a new life with his daughters, Ashley and Jasmine. Leaving behind the sun and heat of Los Angeles, they move to the cold and rainy Seattle suburbs so Tevis can take control of a large shipping company. His daughters are not overly enthused about the move, particularly Jasmine who fears that the cold and rain will bring illness with it. As they set about unpacking and arranging the new house, Jasmine is increasingly worried about the weather and the effects it might have on she and Ashley. Monica arrives as part of the transition team for the shipping company and with Gloria’s help, looks after the girls while Tevis gets situated at work. Tevis arrives at the office pleased with his new station in life and eager to make an impression on the world. When he finds the reception desk empty, Tess shows up with a resume and answers the phone for him. Impressed by her initiative, Tevis hires her on the spot, not a moment before Joaquin, the real receptionist arrives. Joaquin explains that his doctor’s appointment ran late and that it won’t happen again. Tevis agrees and fires him.

Later on, at home, Ashley begins coughing. Tevis, panicked, and fearful for her health rushes her to the emergency room, where she is diagnosed with the same stomach flu as all of the other patients. She is released despite Tevis’s protestations that her sickle cell anemia makes this particular flu a more serious illness. Once home though, her flu goes from bad to worse, and she is in the midst of a sickle-cell crisis. Tevis, no longer trusting the local doctors, insists on taking her all the way into Seattle to the Sickle Cell Clinic. He refuses to wait for an ambulance. Halfway to the clinic, Ashley dies.

After the funeral, Jasmine is still having a hard time accepting her loss. Tevis on the other hand doesn’t have time to feel the pain, he’s too busy trying to inflict it on others. He hires Andrew to sue the hospital and the doctor who treated Ashley for malpractice and wrongful death. As a result of his drive to go on, Tevis pushes his other daughter away when she needs comfort the most. Finally Jasmine runs away, without a coat unmindful of the weather and her own sickle-cell. Monica and Gloria are pretty sure they know where she’s gone.

Jasmine sits on her sister’s grave trying to make sense of the changes in her life, when Andrew appears and assures her that both her sister and her late mother are in a place of peace and happiness. He tells her that she needs to live without fear, to be more than just Tevis’s daughter or Ashley’s sister. She needs to live as Jasmine. When Tevis arrives, it’s his turn for a revelation, and Monica offers one. He needs to stop trying to control every aspect of his life, because its just not possible, he needs to trust in others to do their part, and mostly he needs to trust in God to look after everyone. Tevis’s drive to succeed is a virtue, but not at the cost of his faith, and not at the cost of his family. If he doesn’t take the time to live, he’s not really accomplishing anything.

Episode 813: “A Winter Carol”

In a small New York town, just a short commute from NYC, a lone Volkswagen Beetle sits abandoned in the train station parking lot.  It hasn’t moved in months, not since its owner, Bill Harper, took the 6:15 train into the city on the morning of September 11th.  No one knows why he went to New York that day, and no one knows what became of him.  It just makes it that much more difficult for his friends and neighbors to accept that Bill Harper will NOT be home for Christmas.  This year Mr. Harper will not be around to plan the Christmas Pageant, or to give drum lessons to Benny Lewis.  Benny however, refuses to give up hope, everyday checking to see if Mr. Harper’s car has moved, or if anyone has gotten word from him.  But Benny’s fear for Mr. Harper is nothing compared to the fear that has consumed his mother, Victoria, since that awful day.  She, as mayor, refuses to have the Volkswagen towed despite the persistence of Charlie, the town sheriff.  She is reluctant to let someone else work on the pageant, and she refuses to go into the city to have her chronic sore throat looked at.

Her older son, Patrick urges her to abandon her fear, but she dismisses his concern.  Her only desire is to move on with the Holidays and pretend that nothing is wrong.  In an effort to keep things moving along, she grudgingly let’s Monica, who has opened a Christmas store on Main St., begin planning a pageant.  She hires Andrew to continue Benny’s drum lessons, and she is overjoyed when Patrick begins working at Monica’s store in place of the restaurant job he was laid off of.  When they receive word that Mr. Harper’s wallet had been found among the wreckage of the WTC, everything falls apart:  Benny takes the news hard, Victoria refuses to let grief overtake her, and Patrick decides that something must be done to make his family feel safe again.

In an act of selflessness, Patrick goes into the city, and enlists in the army.  He is set to leave for boot camp the day after Christmas.  Victoria has difficulty accepting this decision, and accuses her son of abandoning her and his brother.  The next day, she accompanies Charlie to Mr. Harper’s house, where she discovers that Benny has been leaving hopeful messages on his teacher’s answering machine, ever since 9/11.  She also uncovers some clues as to what Mr. Harper was doing at the World Trade Center, and what he was planning for the pageant.  After a revelation from Monica, and allowing herself to finally mourn, Victoria takes the train into New York City, and solves the mystery surrounding Mr. Harper’s last day.  Picking up where he left off, she arranges for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the pageant, where she wishes her son good luck, and God Speed.