Season 1, Episode 2
Date of airing: September 28, 1994 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.7 million viewers, 9.3/14 in Households
It only took two episodes for Monica to be assigned a case in which the person she is supposed to help has already met her years before. I guess God has no problems doing that kind of administrating for their angels, because maybe it’s a little weird that humanity would know angels exist as a fact, when it’s much more helpful for humanity to learn of angels when they really need that fact. Then again, if humanity wouldn’t be believing in angels in this series universe, then I guess there is no series, as every character in this show would be flabbergasted by the realization that something supernatural is going on, and that will definitely be confusing to many of the people Monica is assigned to.
The story was solid enough. Two episodes into the show and the writers already went into America’s favorite pastime, which may or may not have trapped some potential viewers to the show, as baseball stories are quite easy to write, a little harder to execute, and fun to watch. The episode also made me realize that the cast could have had a lot of fun shooting the show, since Roma Downey and Della Reese’s characters were always put in a different setting. Monica basically was a babysitter in the previous episode and now she was an assistant coach to a high school baseball team. Who knows if she will coach a few more teams during the run of the show, or if she is going to do some of her case work like Sam Beckett was travelling through time in QUANTUM LEAP. It must be fun for an actor to shoot a show like this, since no episode is going to be the same as the one that came before — the scripts and story vary, the character is always a little different, and the excitement to play the role over nine years never ebbed and flowed. Maybe this is a reason why anthology-like shows with a minimal amount of main cast members tend to hold on as the years go by. Maybe it’s a reason why Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles played demon and monster hunters for a decade and a half, never losing interest in performing.
Earl could have been a more serious character in this episode, or at least one whose characterization wasn’t all over the place. He seemed like a great coach at first, but then he turned into a douche as a coach, only for the viewers to find out that he is about to die. Things didn’t get a whole lot easier when Peter said that he couldn’t play without Coach, even though the two pretty much had a huge confrontation just the day before, making me think that Earl was someone with more of an angry side to him. I never had any idea whether Peter loved his Coach like a father or if he hated him like an abuser in the family. The ending obviously made the case for Peter’s love towards Coach, but that still leaves the question open whether or not Peter saw a father figure in Earl, and if Earl saw a son in Peter that he never had. Also, consider me surprised that an angel can make a deal of sorts with the angel of death to keep someone alive for another day, just to advance someone else’s life. Delaying Earl’s death was kind of not really for Earl himself, and only helped Peter with his future, which begs the question if Monica saw something more in this particular case, and if she realized that Earl was’t the only one who needed her help. Is it one of those moments when Monica needed to break a few rules to deliver her message of peace and love and acceptance and happiness?
Meanwhile, if the writers were able to find any way to include Tess in the stories, I hope they did it after only a few episodes, because as of now she is sort of just Monica’s supervisor, maybe friend, and sometimes even a consolidator for him, in case Monica needs some guidance, too. At least Tess was more involved in this episode than she was in the previous one, even if she only tended bar for a few scenes and was able to put Monica under her wing.