Episode 327: “A Delicate Balance”

In an empty gym, Tess “coaches” Monica on their next assignment. They are interrupted by the arrival of Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner, who will cover the gymnastics competition for a TV station. Andrew appears after they leave, and the angels then observe the Browner family. Rebecca Browner is a gifted gymnast, whose mother, Sandra pushes her to excel. Unfortunately, her younger brother, T. J. feels neglected. He and another gymnast’s brother dub themselves the “Nobodies” and visit a skate park. Andrew, the park’s supervisor, is concerned by T. J.’s disregard for safety equipment.

Meanwhile, Monica, Rebecca’s new assistant coach, learns she is highly driven and has never fallen during a competition. Displeased that the television crew has ignored her daughter, Sandra complains to Tess, the segment producer. T. J. steals money from Andrew’s cash register to visit the house where his family lived before his father died. He later confesses to Andrew, who makes him work off his debt. Sandra is unhappy to find him doing chores at the skate park. Back at the hotel, he tells his mother he “borrowed” the money to see a movie, but his sister sees through his lie. T. J. angrily exits, and Rebecca also leaves. Sandra later yells at her daughter for missing a meeting with a potential sponsor.

Rebecca confides in Monica that she visited the family’s former home. The angel urges the girl to recapture the joy of gymnastics. Returning to the skate park, T. J. ignores Andrew’s warning to wear a helmet and has an accident. At the hospital, Tess reveals herself to Sandra, advising her to grieve her late husband rather than immersing herself in her daughter’s career. Sandra then urges Rebecca to do her best for herself–no one else. While competing, Rebecca falls. Monica reveals herself and tells the gymnast she is never alone and that her father is with God and proud of her. She finishes the routine with grace, T. J. regains consciousness, and Sandra decides to move her family back into their old house.

Episode 326: “Inherit The Wind”

An orphanage burns on a dusty street as the Angel of Music observes, singing. The song continues although he has relocated to a rowdy party at a mansion. Tess and Monica, unseen, are chagrined by the excess as the host, Kevin Greeley, carouses with friends. His father, Edward, confronts him but angrily exits. Kevin glimpses Monica in a mirror, but she is gone when he turns around. As Edward ponders how to handle his spoiled son, Andrew appears, announcing God has granted the human one hour to set his affairs in order before his death. During that time, Edward gives his valet, George papers to sign and mail, says good-bye to his drowsy son, opens his Bible, and dies while reading it.

Days later, George is stunned that Edward left him one million dollars and a Bentley. Kevin, however, is furious to receive only his possessions until attorney Tess informs him he must locate Joseph Wells to claim the rest of his inheritance. He again sees Monica’s reflection in a mirror, but this time, she is there. She knew Edward and will help Kevin find Joseph Wells, but he must take the trip without his father’s help or influence. Carrying only his prized guitar, Kevin hitchhikes and is eventually picked up by the angel, Ruth. She, too, knew his father and eventually drops Kevin off at a diner.

There he meets the angel, Sam, after he is forced to wash dishes because he has no money. Sam also knew Edward and teaches the younger Greeley to take pride in work. Ruth again appears and gives Kevin a ride to Joseph Wells, Texas. They encounter the Angel of Music, and Kevin donates the dollar he mysteriously found in his pocket. Kevin also meets Andrew in a nearby blues club but refuses to sell his guitar. At the bank, he is livid when Monica and Tess give him his inheritance… Edward’s Bible. After Kevin storms out mid-revelation, the angels summon a specialist–Phil, the Angel of Restoration. Phil tells Kevin to thank God for what he has rather than blame Him for what he doesn’t have. Finding an abandoned baby, Kevin learns Edward grew up in the town orphanage, which is why most of his estate was left to the “children of Joseph Wells.” Kevin sells his guitar and decides to stay in town and take care of the baby by working at the orphanage and the blues club.

Episode 325: “An Angel By Any Other Name”

Tess works for a local nursery, and Monica is a postal carrier in the middle-class neighborhood where IRS auditor Carolyn Sellers lives. An avid gardener, she is eager to have her rose hybrid officially recognized but becomes dismayed when three people with Down syndrome move into a group home next door to her. Tess tries to convince the hardened woman to calm down and accept Taylor, Jeannie, and David for the loving, sensitive people they are, but she refuses. Andrew, the group home supervisor, is nonplussed when his first encounter with Carolyn is a tacit threat to “keep those people in line.”

After Taylor stops Stevie Sanders, a neighborhood boy, from playing in her vintage ’57 Chevy, the car rolls down the driveway, crushes Stevie’s bike, and just misses a young girl due to Tess’ sudden intervention. Furious, Carolyn blames Taylor and calls the police. She also works her neighbors into a frenzy to take action against the group home. The next day Taylor confides in Monica, who says God has a purpose for his predicament. Taylor responds he knows that because he’s an angel; she agrees he’s “the kindest, sweetest angel”she’s ever met. He goes to talk to Carolyn, who in the midst of berating him suffers a stroke. Thanks to Taylor’s quick response, paramedics arrive in time to help her. But upon learning his part in her rescue, Carolyn continues to hold a grudge.

Taylor continues to aid with her rehabilitation despite her constant rejection. Tess, Jeannie, and David have also tended her garden to prepare for the Rose Association’s visit. Realizing that Carolyn had started a petition to shut down the group home, Andrew asks Taylor to tell the truth about the car incident. He responds, “Everything in its time.” The night before the rose committee’s visit, a severe thunderstorm devastates the garden. The next day, Andrew and Taylor take Stevie a new bike to replace the one that got crushed. Monica and Tess reveal themselves to Carolyn and joined by Taylor, who is indeed an angel, encourage the woman to get out of bed. As Stevie’s mom announces the city has agreed to close the group home, the boy confesses his role in the accident. The rose committee arrives, and Taylor produces a beautiful, but lone rose blossom. Although the flower by itself does not qualify for the registry, Carolyn realizes it’s good enough for her.

Episode 324: “Full Moon”

As Ed Bingham prepares for a ceremony to honor his heroic efforts as a fireman, his wife, Sarah receives a terrifying letter. Carl Atwater, the man who raped her six years ago is eligible for parole. Frightened of Ed’s reaction if he found out, Sarah conceals the letter from him. Instead she visits a Crisis Center and meets Tess, the receptionist, and Monica, a counselor. Although the caseworker angel fails to draw Sarah out, the distraught mother invites her to attend the parole hearing. There Sarah is crushed when Carl, who apparently found God in prison, is released.

Despite a briefing by Andrew, his parole officer, Carl violates the most important condition of his parole by making contact with Sarah. Although he merely seeks her forgiveness, she panics, threatening him with garden clippers. Monica urges her to report Carl, but Sarah refuses. The angel does, however, convince her to confide in her husband. Meanwhile, Andrew witnesses Carl’s simmering anger that his ex-wife, Emily will not let him see their son. Sarah reluctantly shows Ed the letter regarding Carl’s release, and his annoyance is interrupted when their daughter, Lorrin has a nightmare. The next morning, the couple encounters Carl, who is working as a bagger in a supermarket. Ed loses his temper and attacks the ex-con. Later, the Binghams visit Monica where years of unspoken recrimination and blame for the rape come to the forefront. Unbeknownst to his wife, Ed goes to a gun store and starts the process to purchase a pistol.

After a sleepless night, he is unable to respond to a fire. Carl, in the meantime, grouses to Andrew that reforming his life is not so easy. The angel responds that quoting the Bible isn’t enough; Carl has to start living it. Afterwards, he doesn’t realize that Ed is stalking him while he himself is stalking Emily, and Andrew is observing the both of them. Upon returning home, Ed and Sarah argue when he won’t divulge his whereabouts. The next day–six days after he started the paperwork–the fireman picks up his gun. He catches Carl breaking into Emily’s house and plans to shoot him. Andrew reveals himself to both men, while Monica appears to Sarah. When asked where God was during the rape, the angel responds, “in the voice of a child.” Then-baby Lorrin’s tears stopped Carl from killing Sarah, which was his original plan. The police arrest him, and Tess informs him that God can still help him find his way.

Episode 323: “At Risk”

This episode is introduced and closed by General Colin Powell, U.S. Army (ret.), who served as General Chairman of the Presidents’ Summit on America’s Future, which was held in Philadelphia April 27-29, 1997 and aimed to bring America to a new level of commitment in volunteerism.

Jason DeLee, a troubled teen, steals a car but is promptly caught by the police. His mother, Lena can no longer deal with her son and releases her parental authority. Jason is placed in the custody of Denver Juvenile Services. Waters, the camp director, runs a tight ship and is taken aback when Tess arrives, announcing she is a new facility director and will be overseeing a new experimental work program. After the boys complete a survey, Monica, the coordinator for the work program arrives. A handful of the teens volunteer for the program; Jason is not one of them. Later that day, Lena visits Jason in Tess’ office. He is discouraged when his mother says she just came to bring him some underwear and car magazines. The angel informs them that Monica has selected him for the work program, and Lena urges her son to take whatever chance they give him. He just glares at them and exits. When he finds out that Rey Estes, his rival, has volunteered for the program, Jason decides to participate in it, too. Andrew, a Juvenile Services volunteer, drives the boys to their destination–the Linwood Children’s Academy, a school for disabled children. Inside, Jason is paired with Kelly, a girl with cerebral palsy. Her mother, Anita has reservations about a “gang banger” working with her daughter.

Jason is reluctant to bond with Kelly until Monica shows him that the girl shares his love of cars. Despite a few false starts, the two are able to forge a relationship. But Jason eventually panics and runs away. Waters wants to send the police after the boy, but Tess convinces him to wait. Monica, prompted by a Ferrari photo on Kelly’s gait walker, finds him at an import car dealership. She reveals herself, urging him to stop trying to outrun God. Jason returns to the school, where Anita, Lena, and the angels revel in his progress with Kelly.

Episode 322: “Missing In Action”

George Zarko, a.k.a. the “Colonel,” sits on a park bench watching kids play war. Monica thinks her assignment is to help the elderly Army veteran find the joy of living. But Tess responds that what he really needs is to be understood. She gives Monica’s swing a push… and the caseworker’s human form transforms into that of an 80-year old woman. Entering the retirement home where George lives, Monica meets him and Stephanie Hancock, the officious Nurse Director. Tess, the volunteer Activities Coordinator, persuades Stephanie to use pet therapy to alleviate the patients’ loneliness, while George grouses to Andrew, the facility’s cook, that a resident has recently died and no one seems to care.

Monica inadvertently inspires the veteran to rebel by lowering the flag to half mast. Irate, Stephanie plans to kick him out of the retirement home. But the caseworker intercedes on George’s behalf, vowing to be responsible for him. This selfless act endears Monica to him, and Tess warns her to be wary of how close she gets to the man. The supervisor’s suspicions are validated when he makes a pass at the angel. Matters worsen when Lorraine McCully, Monica’s new roommate, attempts to play matchmaker for the would-be couple. Despite Stephanie’s orders, Tess unlocks the piano in the social hall so Lorraine can entertain the residents. Wary of George’s affection for her, the caseworker agrees to dance with him but gets winded. Stephanie is furious that Tess disobeyed her and demands the piano key back.

Meanwhile, Andrew tends to Monica, who now understands the frailty of the human heart. Lorraine also frets over her friend and recalls the heartbreak when her husband was declared “Missing in Action.” Monica has a talk with George during which she reverts to her younger form. He hastily exits, but she finds him the next day back in the park. Though discouraged that the angel cannot return his affection, George is convinced to share the truth about his past. He publicly confesses that he was not an Army colonel but a cook. Lorraine, realizing that he served with her late husband, Jimmy produces a letter in which he praises George’s cooking. The veteran, in turn, is able to tell Lorraine how her husband died–sacrificing his life to save others, including George. As a content Lorraine plays the piano, Tess prompts Stephanie to admit she locked it up because it reminded her of a father who stopped letting her take music lessons.

Episode 321: “Last Call”

Monica, disappointed in the human race, watches as Tess performs in a small Chicago bar. She finishes and announces God has given the caseworker a miracle to give someone in this bar. Initially hesitant to decide, Monica observes the inhabitants: the owner, Noah, who is upbeat despite being wheelchair- bound; Claude Bell, a craggy Irishman obsessed with beating a mysterious stranger in a game of pool; Ernie and Marie Wachinski, a hotel employee with wasted ambition and his co-dependent wife; Loafer, an eccentric crossword- puzzle aficionado; Buddy Baker, a charming salesman who drinks to drown inner pain; and Amethyst, a young woman with a dubious plan for her future.

After observing awhile, Monica announces she is an angel with a miracle to give away. They respond with raucous laughter. Humiliated, she hides underneath a pool table. As the laughter continues, Andrew enters. He is the stranger whom Claude is obsessed with beating. Having been the advance angel for the assignment, the Angel of Death takes a cue from Tess to find out what miracles these people need. Someone else soon enters the tavern–Mr. Burns fresh out of prison. Following a pep talk from Tess, Monica again reveals herself, this time in glowing splendor. Though the people now take her seriously, she is frustrated when none of them want the miracle.

When Ernie’s lottery numbers appear on television, he and Marie mistake that for the miracle. But when he can’t find his wallet, he accuses Mr. Burns of stealing it. The ex-convict’s response prompts Noah to recognize Burns as the gunman who crippled him. Noah orders him to leave, but Tess’ dog soon appears with the missing wallet. Marie is shocked to learn that Ernie played the wrong numbers while drunk. Mr. Burns rebukes the others for squandering their lives, yet saves his harshest criticism for himself. Wracked with guilt, he asks for God to heal Noah. But Monica tells Burns the real miracle is for Noah to forgive him, which will heal them both. The men reconcile, and the others seize the opportunity to reevaluate their own lives.