Touched By An Angel (“Cassie’s Choice”)

Season 1, Episode 5
Date of airing: October 26, 1994 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.0 million viewers, 8.6/13 in Households

For the second episode in a row, I was about to open my tear ducts again, because the scene between Cassie and her mother at the end was sweet and heartbreaking. It proved that there will never be friction between the two women, even after this difficult time they have been going through separately, and it showed that Cassie has been raised right by her mother, who may or may not have been a single mother and would also have had to go through her teenage daughter’s pregnancy alone (since there was never a father in the game, I assume it was just the two of them). I also almost opened up the flood gates when Cassie had her final moment with her daughter, lying her in her crib and playing the flute, giving Cassie the bestest of opportunities to say goodbye to her daughter. And let’s not forget that I also had a few problems getting AMERICAN PIE out of my head and the story of band camp, where she stuck a flute up her vagina. Alyson Hannigan was typecast for just a second here, and it does make me wonder if she had a few jokes about the flute during production of the teen sex comedy, considering the last time her character was playing the flute, she also had to cry a lot.

Even angels are fighting about a convertible.

So, this was an episode about teenage pregnancy, eh? Consider me surprised that it never even went down that road and instead came straight to the point where Cassie had to give up the baby for adoption, yet decided that she would like to be a mother herself. First of all, is this considered kidnapping? Since she had already given up her baby daughter (or else the adoptive parents would not have had the opportunity to hold her and keep her for themselves), running away with her would mean in legal terms that Cassie became a kidnapper. Secondly, was no one super worried about the fact that Cassie may keep the baby girl for herself after taking her from the hospital? The writers seemed to have chosen to neglect that story and stay with Cassie and Monica on their little trip, but I would have loved to see what the situation back home was like, and how the adoptive parents were going mad and crazy and sad over the fact that they may have lost their daughter, not unlike Cassie’s mother thought she lost her daughter. I don’t quite know if it was a good idea to keep the story focused on Cassie all throughout the hour, because it the episode does miss the emotional angle from the points of view of the adoptive parents, but at least it gave Cassie a chance to ask herself all those questions — can she be a good mother to her daughter? Can she live life as a single mother without failing her daughter, while also growing as a person herself? Besides that, I was loving the moment when Monica finally became Cassie’s angel and told her what her baby daughter will become in the future (of course, Monica neglected to tell Cassie whom her daughter is falling in love with — it could have been other girls).

This episode tried to be a little funny at times, which was not such a shady idea at all. Tess’s insecurities and trust issues about giving away her car to the always optimistic and euphoric Monica was one such good plot that could be part of the show more often, but another thing I laughed about was regarding the flute. Cassie pawned it to pay the rent for the hotel room, and later Monica gave the flute back to Cassie, telling Tess that she made a deal with the pawn shop owner. It made me realize that Monica is such a great angel, she does not steal the flute from the pawn shop (as in, having it magically disappear from there and magically appear in her hands during the scene with Cassie in the woods). She is making a deal with the pawn shop owner, just so the viewers don’t confuse Monica with a thief, which may shine a bad light on her angelic purposes. I’m pretty sure that was a rule in the writers room, never to be broken by any of the writers of the show, but in this particular case I found it amusing that Monica had to mention the deal with the pawn shop owner, just so no one thinks she ripped him off.

The young mother is ready to step foot into her life.

One final note about Alyson Hannigan: She was fantastic in this episode. She made me remember that TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL must be filled with guest spots for what are today’s A list television stars. Hannigan is essentially the first guest star of the show whom I would consider an A lister of television, and I can’t wait to find out how many more and which made the trip to this show, making me cry in the process. But yeah, the only question I would love to ask her is what she thought of her AMERICAN PIE character in 1998 and 1999, as she remembered that she one held a flute in her hands in 1994.

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