One thing we've learned here at TWoP is not to underestimate who's reading these recaps. So by way of an opening disclaimer to any of the friends and family of the late Staff Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan who might stumble across this: I have nothing but respect for anybody who risks his life on a regular basis in order to keep others safe, and my dislike of this very awful episode should in no way be seen as criticism of Staff Sgt. Morgan. I can only hope that he is looking down from Heaven -- or Valhalla or Xanadu or wherever -- and laughing his ass off at the unwarranted sense of self-importance exhibited by the people responsible for putting together this episode.
The strains of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" lead us into tonight's "special" episode. After a brief establishing shot of the CamPound, we cut inside to see a video camera set up in front of a microphone. Ruthie Camden walks into the frame and up to the microphone. She's wearing a black t-shirt with military rank patches of some sort on the sleeves, a camouflage-patterned miniskirt, a necklace with a military dog-tag painted in the pattern of the American flag, and a million little bracelets. She looks into the camera and starts singing along with the music and flailing her arms about in a sorry attempt at choreography. Happy the dog sits nearby, watching curiously. I physically cringed in discomfort when I saw this for the first time. Not at Ruthie's singing, which isn't very good, but less screechy than you might think given who it is. I'm discomfited by the creepy way that this scene accidentally (at least I'm hoping it's an accident) attempts to eroticize Ruthie. She looks kind of like one of those twelve-year-old girls who dress up like Britney, except with a military theme. I'm wondering why no adults involved in this show didn't say something during either the filming or the editing like, "Doesn't this look like one of those creepy Calvin Klein commercials from way back?" It's that creepy. Anyway, she starts playing air guitar very poorly, and a kindly cameraman pans away from her and rests on a framed picture nearby of a Marine in ceremonial dress. Text is superimposed over the picture, explaining that "Tonight's episode of 7th Heaven is dedicated to Staff Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan and The United States Marine Corps." Since this episode actually has nothing resembling a plot, that's essentially our "theme mallet" for the week. And like the usual theme mallet, it's going to be hitting us again and again and again.
Credits. My god, that's an awful theme song. This episode is sponsored by Target. I just felt that a coincidence that strange needed to be mentioned. This week's Opening Credits Timewaster features Ruthie wandering around the kitchen, looking through various drawers for something. A script that has a plot in it? Better dialogue? Her dignity? SuperMom is also in the kitchen, possibly ruining some other complicated ethnic dish, like spaghetti. She looks like she's looking up recipes in a dictionary. Ruthie has no luck finding what she's looking for and eventually has to ask Mom where her school pictures are. Annie pulls an envelope down from a cabinet, and asks Ruthie who's "lucky enough" to be getting her picture. Ruthie explains that she's been sending emails to a Marine in Afghanistan, one Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan. For some reason, she feels the need to clarify that Dwight's a "real" Marine. I guess she needs to differentiate between him and that stripper who dresses up like a Marine for bachelorette parties and has been teaching her how to dance. Ruthie explains that Morgan helps deliver supplies by helicopter. Annie asks Ruthie when she started corresponding with the troops overseas. Way to be involved in your children's lives, "SuperMom." Ruthie explains that it's a volunteer class project; the students are sending emails to various people in the armed forces to let them know they're appreciated. Annie asks Ruthie what she writes about. Ruthie explains that she tells him interesting or funny stories about the family. Then she runs back upstairs with her picture. Do they have a scanner? Somehow I can't picture that. Maybe she's going to try to stuff the picture into the disc drive.