Episode 922: “I Will Walk With You” Part Two

…continued from Episode #921.

As the uproar increases, Wayne whisks Zack off to the jail to protect him from the frenzied crowd and to ask him some questions. Unfortunately Zack’s answers are less than satisfactory and not entirely forthcoming. He is, quite simply, a drifter, and as such he has no way of backing up who he is or where he comes from. He does admit to being at the school on the day of the explosion, but he won’t say why he was there. There is already talk of putting him on trial.

Monica is dismayed, and sets to work getting Zack the best representation she can, i.e. Mike and Gloria. They are both certain that there is no case against Zack, and that even if it goes to trial, they should have no trouble getting a change of venue. They are both, however, wrong. The prosecuting attorney, Jones, is tough as nails and as twisted as a screw. He is also, according to Monica, the devil. Not only does he succeed in bringing the case to trial, but he also eloquently rebuffs all of the defense team’s motions for dismissal. He then proceeds to bring a barrage of witnesses to bear against Zack.

The townspeople testify that when Zack arrived in town, little things belonging to the children began to go missing. Soon after that, Jones calls an expert witness to testify that serial killers habitually collect tokens from the scenes of their crimes. When he gets Zack on the stand, he gets him to admit taking the items and to being in any number of towns when accidents claimed the lives of children. Gloria and Mike try their hardest to win over the court-members, but in the end, Zack is found guilty and given the maximum sentence for his crimes.

It is after the trial though that Monica makes the most progress. She helps the townsfolk to remember who they were and what they lost. She reminds them that it wasn’t until Zack arrived that they began to fall back into the rhythms of their old lives. When she guides them back to the church and back to the pastor who had let them all slip away, they realize the terrible mistake that they have made.

Back in the jail, Monica apologizes to Zack for not helping him in time. But she lets him know that she’s an angel and that she will forgo any future assignments and promotions in order to stay by his side and protect him. She will have to start almost immediately, as Zack is scheduled for transfer the next day. But when she arrives the next morning, Zack’s cell is empty. Everyone is surprised, though the townspeople make it clear that they will not be pursuing him. Especially after they learn from Joey, that it was he who set the boiler on its deadly course, tricked by the devil into turning the heat up to warm some orphaned kittens. Monica, perplexed, moves on to meet Tess back in the desert, but it is there that she finds Zack once again.

He thanks her for her service and devotion, and allows her to recognize him for who he truly is, her Lord, God. She will be promoted. Monica bids farewell to Gloria, Andrew, and Tess and drives off in the Cadillac, a goodbye present from Tess.


Episode 921: “I Will Walk With You” Part One

Monica meets Tess in the dessert, at the same bus stop where she began her job as a caseworker. It is from this, the place where her first assignment began, where she will take on her final one. If all goes well, Monica will advance from caseworker to supervisor. She can’t wait to get started, so that she can start work as a supervisor at Tess’s side. But Tess tells her that it won’t be that way. She’s put in for a new position as well, back in heaven sitting at God’s feet and singing His praises. She hasn’t been training Monica to be her partner, she’s been training her to be her replacement. Monica is upset to hear the news, but her goodbye is cut short by the arrival of the bus. She climbs aboard, wondering where she is going, and what her assignment will bring.

On board she meets Zack, a traveling handyman, seemingly without a care in the world. She asks where he’s going and he tells her he’s going where she is, Ascension, Colorado, the bus’s final stop.

When they finally arrive in Ascension, they are greeted by a feeling that something is missing. It doesn’t take them long to discover that thing that is absent, is the children. There are no kids here, but there is plenty of evidence that they once were. Bikes lay discarded beside the diner, toy trucks lie in the grass by the school, and joyless adults wander through their days pondering the emptiness in their lives. Two years prior, all of the children were killed when the school’s boiler exploded. Now, the only thing the adults want more than to forget, is justice for the person responsible.

It turns out there was a witness to the whole thing, Joey Machulis, one of Monica’s former assignments. And he’s not the only familiar face in town. His brother, Wayne, is the sheriff, and Sophie, a formerly homeless acquaintance of Monica’s is here too. Also, Mike, a big time lawyer who Monica saved during her search and rescue days, is the Mayor. Knowing that there is no such thing as coincidence, Monica tries to figure out what she is doing here and how she can help.

The answer soon becomes clear, as Carver, an out of town developer, claims to have seen Zack somewhere before. In fact, it was by the school the day of the explosion. Such a small claim, from an unreliable source, is all the grieving townspeople need to become incensed. While there is little justification, their small world turns on its end, and suddenly everyone is looking at Zack as a killer of children. Monica is astounded.



Episode 920: “The Show Must Not Go On”

There’s a lot to be said for a theater founded solely to celebrate children, but there is more to be said about a theater that, after 50 years, ceases to do so. This is the case for the Egyptian Theater, a little community playhouse, that has aged with its owner, Ben Horner. As the neighborhood grew dirtier and more dangerous, Ben grew more jaded. He began to view the children of the community as the enemy, and now his little theatre is in shambles; frequently tagged by graffiti and filled with self-important, part-time thespians. This is how things stand when the angels arrive with a camera to document the 50th anniversary of the Egyptian.

Never one to mince words, Tess almost immediately confronts Ben, revealing herself as an angel and pointing him back in the direction of his roots. She wants him to write a new song for the 50th anniversary show, something to set the tone for the next 50 years. Ben is inspired. He can already hear the song, and excitedly tells Wally, his all purpose technician all about it. Just as he begins to write though, he suffers a fatal heart attack.

Now the documentarian style interviews take on a somber tone, or they would if the regular cast members weren’t so full of themselves. But even they must put aside their egos and elect a new artistic director for the theater. At first they all vote for themselves, but unable to trust each other, they finally opt for the lesser of four evils, Wally. Who, as it happens, is the ideal choice. He takes charge right away, surprising even himself. His first order of business is to tell off the juvenile delinquents who continue to vandalize the theater with their cans of spray paint. This of course, backfires. The morning after Wally’s warning, the cast and crew find the inside of the theater trashed, with tags like “punks rule” sprayed on the walls.

All seems lost. But soon, with the help of a few angels, they begin to see that the only way to truly save the theater, is to bring the children back in. And the way to do that, is with a truly memorable anniversary show, dedicated to the memory of Ben Horner. With Tess and Wally shaping the show together, the show is a fantastic success and it seems that the Egyptian will live on with another generation of theatre lovers.


Episode 919: “At The End Of The Aisle”


Monica, Andrew and Tess are cordially invited to witness the joining of Audrey Carmichael and Scott Morgan in holy matrimony… or not so holy matrimony. While Audrey has been blessed with angelic visitations and knows for a fact that God exists and loves her dearly, she has no qualms about marrying a man who does not share her faith. In fact, Scott not only doubts the existence of God and angels, but he scorns the beliefs of those who do. Still, Audrey loves him and his son, and wants to be a part of their family. Scott is, after all, a good man and a good father. The difference between their beliefs would be a minor problem, if not for Audrey’s promise to preach the word and testify to God’s love.

It is that promise, which has allowed her to pull herself together and get on with her life after her son Petey died. But now, she is so eager to get on with her life, that she is ignoring who she is, and what she knows is true. When Monica discovers this, she begins to have doubts about Audrey’s impending nuptials, especially after learning that the word “God” has been replaced by “Universe” in the wedding vows.

At the rehearsal dinner, Monica broaches the subject briefly, but is rebuffed by Audrey who tells her that “it’s no big deal.” Monica looks to Tess for reassurance, but all she receives is more doubt. Tess points out how much Scott’s son, Kyle, looks like Petey, and how much Audrey dotes on him. Is she marrying the man, or is she marrying back into motherhood?

Monica corners Audrey on the issue that night. She expected a bit of anger, but was not prepared to be un-invited to the wedding. Still, she respects Audrey’s wishes, and leaves. But the next night, before the wedding, while practicing the lighting of the candles, Kyle accidentally sets the Wedding Room on fire. He tries to put it out, but the smoke overwhelms him and he passes out.

Outside, Scott is frantic, and is about to rush in to look for his son, when Andrew emerges from the building with Kyle in his arms. He is rushed to the hospital. Waiting anxiously for word of Kyle’s condition, Audrey realizes how much she has invested in Kyle, and how little she has in Scott. When they find out that Kyle is alright, Audrey thanks God, and Scott belittles her for it. She asks straight out whether, after all that has happened, he can honestly say that he has no belief in God or in angels. When he says no, Audrey knows that they are not fit to be together. Though she does love them, she loves God more, and cannot deny her faith in Him, or in the angels who have so touched her life.

This episode features the song “Testify To Love” by Wynonna Judd.  It is available on The TBAA Soundtrack.


Episode 918: “Virtual Reality”


Marissa Atkins lies in a coma in her hospital room. She’s been asleep for nearly six months, and shows no signs of recovery. Her future is locked away in a dormant mind, just like the future of the boys who did this to her are locked in the wheels of justice.

Victor Jackson is on trial, for what is essentially attempted vehicular manslaughter. The prosecution is trying to demonstrate that Victor intentionally ran Marissa over with his mother’s car. The defense claims that Victor tried to stop, and that it was the fear of an inexperienced driver that led him to flee the scene of the accident. The truth is somewhere in between, and must be discovered by the angels; Rafael for the prosecution and Andrew for the defense. With Tess acting as Judge, the trial begins. And while various experts take the stand, Monica tries to make some headway with the only witness to the alleged crime, Victor’s cousin, Josh.

Rafael brings to the jury’s attention, the fact that Victor and his cousin had been playing a video game called “Carjack 2000: Millennium Mayhem.” In this violent game, players get points for: stealing cars, killing drivers, breaking roadblocks and running over prostitutes. Andrew argues that the game bears no relevance to the case and that violent crimes are not spawned from representations of violence in entertainment.

Meanwhile, Monica is learning more about Josh. She finds out that he’s been living with his aunt and uncle, Victor’s parents, while his own mother and father are in the midst of a divorce. She learns of his victimization by tougher kids at school, and about his academic decline after he started playing Carjack 2000 with Victor. She also, using her God-given gift of seeing into the hearts of others, discovers that what happened to Marissa was no accident. She sees the boys driving through the rain-soaked streets, jamming angry rap music and getting into the Carjack 2000 mindset. She watches as Victor spots Marissa, scantily clad under a raincoat. He sees her as a prostitute, as “street-scum” from his video game, and he does what is needed to garner the 20,000 points, he runs her down. Now that she knows this, she works with Josh to humanize the victim, to put a person’s face on the unreal figure that his cousin tried to kill.

In the end, she is successful. With Marissa awake and in the courtroom, Josh breaks down and confesses. He says that Victor was trying to kill her, he was sick of playing the game on a computer screen and wanted to do it for real. Of course when you do something for real, you must face real consequences, especially when the angels are on the case.

Episode 917: “The Good Earth”


Stan and his friends are fascinated by the crazy old man who lives on their street. He’s an inventor, a mad scientist, and he’s building cars that run on chicken droppings… or so they say. There is also speculation that he is experimenting on dead bodies in his basement, but the truth is that Emmett Rivers is working hard to free the world from its dependence on oil. He is fashioning a device which, when it is finished, will convert hydrogen into energy. It will run on water. Of course, there are a few hitches.

Emmett, so far, is unable to get the machine just right. Everything is theoretically working, but it’s just a little off. It’s nothing a few months of fine tuning won’t fix. Unfortunately he might not get that chance. Monica has arrived, as an IRS agent, to look into Emmett’s tax deductions. While she is there, Stan finally gets up the courage to sneak into the house and see just what the crazy old man is working on. But elsewhere, Carl Northram, an oil magnate, has been informed of Emmett’s work via his new research assistant, Gloria. On this assignment, it is her job to bring the genius to the man who can put his ideas to work.

But when Gloria arrives to express interest in the invention, and negotiate with Emmett regarding its sale, she is rebuffed. Emmett is angry that they weren’t interested until he’d spent twenty years of his life working on it. Now, when it is so near to completion he is afraid that they will swoop in and steal the credit. Gloria assures him that no one is swooping, but Emmett is unwilling to budge. He sees this accomplishment as a way of living on, something he won’t do himself; he’s dying of stomach cancer.

When Gloria is gone, Monica and Stan, who Emmett has taken a liking to, try to convince him that it is time to share his genius with the rest of the world. So when Gloria returns with Carl Northram, Emmett accepts their offer and sells the nearly finished machine for one million dollars. Now he can finally relax and seek treatment for his ailment.

But all is not as it seems, Carl Northram has no interest in helping the world, he has bought Emmett’s invention solely for the purpose of destroying it. Gloria is devastated by her part in this and returns to bear the tidings to Emmett, Monica and Stan. They are equally disheartened, especially Emmett, who realizes that his work will not be rebuilt in his lifetime. “But it will be rebuilt.” Monica assures him. He just needs to teach someone to carry on his work. He needs to teach Stan, and his work will live on. Emmett does as requested, and realizes that sharing his ideas with even one more person, is better than keeping it locked in a basement, hoping for immortality.

Episode 916: “A Time For Every Purpose”


The Kellermans are the perfect American family: they’re business owners, proud parents, and they have a strong marriage. But life is about to turn less than ideal for Rob and Courtney and their son, Sam.

While working on pieces of their custom furniture and skipping stones with his son, Rob begins to notice a loss of strength in his hand. He can’t get a solid grip without his hand quivering. At first he thinks it’s nothing, but when the symptoms persist, he and Courtney decide to consult a specialist. It seems that their fears are not unfounded; Rob has ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

As Rob and Courtney struggle to adjust to the changes in their life, Monica, who was hired to set up their computers, takes a more active role in their life. She helps out where she can, and tries to get them used to the fact that Rob won’t be around for ever. She encourages him to cherish the time he has left and to involve himself in his son’s life while he still can. Rob though not thrilled, tries his best to carry on, but there is yet more tragedy to come for the Kellerman family.

Later on, with Rob’s conditioning deteriorating, the couple talk to their doctor, Andrew, about ways for Rob to communicate when he can no longer speak. This really hits home for Rob, and on the car ride back to the house, he and Courtney despair for the future. It is during this drive, that another car runs a red light and plows into them. Rob wakes up in the hospital, but Courtney died on the operating table.

Now Rob is given the responsibility of a single parent, when he is unable to take care of himself. During the funeral, Rob plans to kill himself. He intends to overdose on his medication. He thinks he’s no good to anyone, especially Sam, and no one will stop him from lightening the burden of the only family he has left.

Except that Sam isn’t his only family. Rob has a brother, Pepper, a trucker, who was also in love with Courtney and left when she got married. They haven’t spoken since that day, and Rob has written him off, all but disowning him. But he is on his way now. Gloria told him what has happened, and what Rob intends to do, and Pepper is going to do his best to save his brother. When he does arrive, Rob locks himself into his room, and tries to carry out his plans, but Pepper is persistent, and with the help of Monica, he gets through to his brother. They make Rob realize that with Pepper’s help, there is still time for Rob to see his son grow, that he isn’t a burden, but a valued member of the family: a father, a brother, and a child of God.


Episode 915: “As It Is In Heaven” (The 200th Episode Of Touched By An Angel)


Monica and Tess begin their 200th assignment together, on a sour note. While attempting to give Tess a gift, in celebration of their partnership, she accidentally takes her foot off the brake and nearly runs down her assignment. This does not go over well. Not only has she already alienated herself from the person that she is there to help, but she gets a ticket and must now attend traffic school. As a result, Gloria must fill in for her as the new volunteer at the community center. It is Gloria who must now assist Jessie, a smart urban youth who tutors underprivileged children. He is also the adoptive son of, Kelly, the woman who Monica almost hit.

When Monica arrives in traffic school, she is surprised to find that Kelly is in fact her driving instructor, and she’s not thrilled to see the new addition to her class. It is a grueling four hours of stop-sign quizzes and drunk driving videos. At the end, Monica tries to make peace with the woman she has come to help, but all she discovers is that Kelly is selling completion certificates to traffic offenders.

At the community center, Gloria learns that Jessie is a shining light in a gritty, harsh neighborhood. His student, Guillermo, strives to better himself, but he is one of several siblings, and his father is in jail. Jessie tells Gloria that prison is the only good thing that can be said about Guillermo’s dad. Unfortunately, the parole board does not agree, and they allow Lionel’s slick lies to convince them that he is rehabilitated. Soon he is back on the street, trying to re-enter his son’s life, and retake the streets he once roamed as a drug dealer. Jessie tries to get him to leave, but Lionel only laughs at him.

Meanwhile, at the second section of traffic school, Monica completes her lessons, and confronts Kelly about her discrepancies. She tells her that God sees what she has been doing. Kelly flinches, and stares Monica down. “You’re an angel aren’t you?” she asks. Monica is shocked, even more so when she discovers that Kelly is also an angel. She was on assignment when Jessie’s mother died, and she adopted him. She has been AWOL this whole time.

Monica tries several times to reach her, but Kelly won’t listen. She does listen however, when Andrew shows up with the news that Jessie is going to die. Kelly hurries out the door and drives as fast as she can to the community center. She is not quick enough. Jessie has gone outside to run Lionel off, when a drive-by shooting, aimed at the former drug dealer hits Jessie instead. Kelly is only in time to watch her son die.

Giving up hope for the world and herself, she gives the money she had been saving to move Jessie to a safer town, to Guillermo’s mother. And finally she accepts the fact that Monica has come to take her home. She even smiles when she realizes that Jessie will be there.


Episode 914: “The Root Of All Evil”


There are only a few hours left for the angels to infiltrate two sides of a heist that will go horribly wrong. Monica is not on the case, and so the angels must enlist the help of Adam, one of the angels of death. He and Andrew must insinuate themselves into the plans of two brothers on opposite sides of the law.

Adam must partner himself with Mike, the edgier of the two. Filling in for one of Mike’s associates, Adam must accompany him on what is essentially an arms deal in order to gain his trust. Meanwhile, Andrew is beginning his first day as an armored car guard. He set to be riding with the other brother, Pete, much to his surprise.

On the other end of town, Gloria is assigned to help someone desperately in need of God’s guidance, Father Madden, a priest. Gloria doesn’t know what it is that he needs, or how to convince her that she’s not a raving lunatic with a delusions of angelic grandeur. What she does know, is that Father Madden needs to be where he is, in the lobby of this building, near the ATM when the heist goes down in a few hours.

Adam is very reluctant to get involved with Mike. He doesn’t like his assignment, but sticks with it and accompanies Mike as he scopes out the very lobby in which Gloria is working the priest. Pretty soon it is apparent that Mike knows Father Madden, and is eager to avoid his attention.

Andrew makes the regular ATM pickup run with Pete. They’ve got an almost full load and Andrew has gotten to know Pete a little better. He knows that Pete made a great sacrifice in regards to his life plan, by sticking by his ailing father until his subsequent death. He also knows that Pete harbors some bitterness toward his rebellious brother, who was seeing the world while his father lay dying. Pete thinks it’s unfair that Mike was also bequeathed the house in their father’s will.

Soon Andrew and Pete arrive at the last stop of the night, an ATM pick up that will complete their heavy cash load. It is not surprisingly, the very ATM that Mike and Andrew are watching, and the one near which Gloria is waiting with Father Madden.

This is the moment they’re all there for. The ATM heist, brother against brother, one to steal, the other to stop. But it’s not quite how it seemed. It is Pete, the guard, who is in fact pulling the job. His elaborate plans of riding off into the sunset with the full armored car load have already been dashed by Andrew’s placement on the car, and now his brother is there too. Mike steps forward with his gun and his badge, a cop as it turns out, and he’s acting on a tip to stop the heist.

Soon guns are pointed, voices raised, and angels anxious. Father Madden tries to intercede, to bridge the gulf between the two brothers that he has known for so long, but in the heat of the moment, Pete shoots him. If they are to try and save him, and themselves, the brothers must set aside their anger and their guns and focus on the problem. In the end, there’s nothing they can do. Andrew and Adam take him home to heaven, but his death brings the brothers back together, and Pete puts himself into Mike’s custody.


Episode 913: “Song For My Father”


Sarah Dardenne is front-woman of an up and coming band called “The Jane Factor.” She is also a seventeen year-old who is at odds with her father about her music, her cigarette smoking, and the prospect of college. It’s bad enough that he calls her music “trash”, but he also is the music teacher at school. Either at home or in class, she must endure his lectures and his disapproval. The final straw comes when Richard forbids Sarah and her friends from practicing their songs in his garage.

Luckily, the new neighbor across the street, Tess, is a music lover and her house comes complete with a sound proofed garage. This is a small miracle, considering that the house was only on the market for an hour. But with Andrew as her real estate agent, and the fact that he works with her mother, Paula, at Wonderland Realty, all the pieces are in place for a garage band on the rise. Especially since Sarah’s boyfriend, Ty, has set up a gig for them at the Retro Club, where local DJ legend, Bumper Doorman, will be at hand. Sarah and her band-mates are thrilled, if only her throat didn’t hurt so much.

In music class, Sarah has a coughing fit during a solo, and Richard sends her to the school nurse while admonishing her about cigarette smoking. The school nurse takes a look, and sends a note to Richard, telling him that he is concerned. The next day, Paula takes her to the clinic, where Dr. Gloria takes a culture of the inflamed area. When she has the test results, she brings them immediately to the Dardenne household. Sarah has throat cancer. She will not be able to sing that night, and maybe never again.

As Richard and Paula discuss their fears with Gloria, Sarah sneaks out to the Retro Club. By the time her parents notice and get to the club, she is already on stage, singing beautifully. But before she can finish, she blows her vocal chords, collapses in pain, and is rushed to the hospital.

While Sarah is prepped for surgery, Richard alternately blames her, Paula, the cigarettes, and God. When he is at his most vulnerable and scared, Monica reveals herself to him. He finally understands. He walks along with Sarah’s gurney, singing to her, and assuring her that they all love her: he, Paula and God.