Touched By An Angel (“The Heart of the Matter”)

Season 1, Episode 6
Date of airing: November 2, 1994 (CBS)
Nielsen ratings information: 12.9 million viewers, 9.0/14 in Households

In which Monica was more a matchmaker than an angel from Heaven, hired by a god to make life easier and more survivable for sorry humans, because the show can’t always be about troubled souls needing a new path of life before they destruct themselves on their current path. I’m a little surprised that the writers were moving away from the initial premise within six episode and decided to turn Monica into Cupid, but then again, it could be a sign of TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL always being a different show in every episode, surprising the viewers with the story ahead. The first two acts sort of felt like this could be a comedic episode, putting a little fun into the premise of an angel helping out a person, which makes me wonder what TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL would even look like if it delivered a humorous episode like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and SUPERNATURAL used to do, just to bring variety into the narrative and out a break on their ongoing storylines which were sometimes too dark and needed some lightening up. Will this show ever deliver an episode like this? Nine seasons of angelic stuff, most of the times with extended seasons of television, so there has to be at least one such episode, especially since the writers were kind of loosening up their fingers to get a bit more humor into their emotional plots. It would also make the show a lot more diverse when the writers didn’t just have to deal with the emotional plot points and could let loose every once in a while.

She also needs to return this half-eaten apple.

It was pretty clear who the story was about, but I got the feeling Monica wasn’t just responsible for Charles, but also for Robin. She changed both of their lives by playing matchmaker and it makes me ask if God sends their greatest angels down to the ground of humanity to not only save people from wasting their lives, but also finding their greatest loves, or if things like Robin and Charles’s love story are random and can come out of nowhere, while Monica is already on the case of whichever person she is helping. Because if the two were supposed to get together and save each other’s lives, I’m pretty sure there was a different angel from the love department ready to take over the job for Monica, while she is actually saving someone’s life for real. It begs the question what the mythology of the show really is and why Robin couldn’t have been helped out by a Cupid-like angel instead, or why Monica was suddenly thrusted into a different aspect of her angelic position under God. Because really, it’s pretty clear that by helping Charles, Monica also helped Robin, and Robin wasn’t even Monica’s official assignment. Maybe it’s God tricking angels into doing double duty jobs again, which could give the angels an opportunity to ask God for a raise. Doing the job of a life-saving angel and a Cupid-like angel? Yeah, Monica definitely deserved more than a week off after this.

Robin and Charles were weird characters though. Robin let loose for almost all of her life, which kind of means she didn’t have a lot of character depth. Her connection and back story to the home for orphaned kids may have saved her from becoming an obscure character in the show, but her behaviour over the course of the episode was more than weird, especially since she didn’t seem to be taking a whole lot of time to appreciate Charles as the love of her life. The same thing could be said about Charles, who took the “abuse” from Robin like it was part of his job, but in his case, the writers managed to forget all about the character depth. Okay, he had a heart problem — so what? Robin had a more “extensive” back story in comparison, and all Charles needed to do during this episode was realize his affection for the woman he just met. And let’s not forget that Charles and Robin were written as soulmates, who can only survive in this world when they are with each other, only days after they’ve met for the first time.

Angelic Hulk Mad!

The only interesting part of this episode came when Monica, Robin and Charles were dealing with some gangster biker dudes to get some money that was owed to them. Granted, the bikers with the Confederate flag were predictably evil and ready to cause trouble and violence, but the scene in the back room with Monica doing her Hulk thing of bending the rod was kind of cool, and it showed that Monica can be a superhero if she wants to (maybe she even needs to in some episodes). What a shame that TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL is not a show that will ever depict a bunch of angels facing off a bunch of evil white dudes for a fight-off, although I really have no idea and cannot remember if the show ever did something in that regard and if the angels were facing off against disciples of Hell and its main boss Lucifer by turning people towards the greater life or even towards the bad kind of life.

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