We see a slow-mo shot of a girl down the hall as Mrs. LandingGod says, "There's Laura Eason, ninth grader. She plays the flute. She would have been one of the first to go." There's a quiet gunshot and the camera freeze-frames her. "Coming out of orchestra at the wrong time." Down the hall, we see a couple of jocks, and there's another shot and a freeze-frame as Mrs. LandingGod continues, "And Andrew Bayer, he would have tried to save his friend Lawrence DiStasi and lost his life." Then we see Price, marching down the hall to harass yet another student. Gunshot, freeze-frame. "And Gavin Price, and three other students in the cafeteria, and Mr. Harvey, and Ms. Schmidt in the library, and finally, Steve Ramsay himself. And for each of these faces, Joan, there are twelve more whose lives would have come to an end today." I'm not quite sure how to take that: One hundred and thirty two dead? That'd be an astonishingly large massacre for one person to carry off. I presume it's a reference to the victims' loved ones. Mrs. LandingGod continues, "Lives altered forever by you, by the simple effect of being present...by entering the light, by joining the dance." Joan is quite moved by this. A tear escapes from Joan's eye, and she quickly wipes it away. It strikes me that she's gotten over a lot of her concern about appearing normal and fitting in.
And this is the halfway point of the season; eleven episodes in, Joan's had a lot of experiences and her faith has obviously been tested and strengthened a lot. I agree this episode was pretty heavy over all and the ending is probably a bit heavy-handed, but it's also time God let Joan in on the bigger picture just a little more, and it was necessary for God to spell things out for her. Joan and Mrs. LandingGod stand there in the middle of the hall watching the students streaming around them, untouched by a potentially enormous tragedy, first in slow-motion and then normally. Reed Foehl's song, "When It Comes Around," plays. I couldn't find the lyrics online, so here's my best attempt: "Here it comes, there it goes / Only life, I suppose / Hearts get torn, love is born / We're gathering stones / We're rolling home / Growing up, falling down / On this merry-go-round / Start the race and again / Over and over, it never ends..."
Okay, that was a heck of a half-season. I think the TV gods were trying to make up to me for inflicting the third season of The West Wing on me. Here's what I want Barbara Hall et al. to bring me for Chrismukkuh: 1. More Adam. 2. More Grace. 3. For Joan and Adam to work out their problems and be a couple. 4. Definitely for Grace and Luke to get together, but I don't mind if it's a bit rocky. 5. No weapons pointed at any Girardi heads for a little while. 6. More theological and philosophical contributions from non-Judeo-Christian spiritual traditions, especially Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and neo-paganism. 7. Rebecca and Kevin? Sure. 8. Lots of long, complicated, subtle story arcs. 9. More of the interesting and uncommon music, though I'm good with the Macy Gray. 10. This show not to suck, ever.