Touched by an Angel

Season 3 Episode 13

The Violin Lesson

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Dec 22, 1996 on CBS
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Violin Lesson
Apprenticed to jordan Du Bois, a violin maker, Monica must ensure he finishes a violin he started 30 years earlier on the Christmas his son was born. The unsuspecting father doesn't realize Tony has come home for the holidays with a devastating secret, which the angel soon learns that Tony has Aids and has returned home to die. The truth comes out while father and son indulge in a lete night snack. Disappointed, Jordan distances himsself from Tony. Discovering the unfinished violin he had started those years ago, Monica learns that Tess had revealed herself to Jordan back then. She announced his son's impending birth and also gave him a piece of wood. but Jordan never completed the instrument becauase a flaw in the grain has appeared when he startted planing the wood. Showing Monica the scrap heap where imperfect wood is discarded, Tony confronts his father, who disowns him. After his health takes a turn for the worse, Tony enters an Aids hospice on Christmas Eve. His mother, Willa and sister, Nora attempt to persuade Jordan to visit with them but are unsuccessful. Later that evening, the dying attorney hears carols down the hall and tells his hospice worker, Tess he would like to see an angel. She reveals herself, saying he has not disappointed God, but he panics, thinking the revelation is a morphine-addicted hallucination. Back at the workshop, Monica appeals to jordan to reconcile with his son and is joined by a passionate Andrew. Jordan's response is to smash the violin. Tess then admonishes him by not to judge him, just as he should not judge Tony. Monica reveals herself to Jordan, telling him God accepts Tony for who he is and urging him to do likewise. Miraculously, the ruined violin is restored, and he takes it with him to Tony. After reconciling wit his son, Jordan picks up the violin, and the blemish in the wood transforms into the shape of a christmas tree. He plays a lullaby as Tony succumbs to his illness and is greeted by Andrew.moreless

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  • God, AIDS and ***phobia

    Fictional television series marketed at a "religious" (read: Christian) audience tend to either totally ignore the issue of ***phobia and AIDS or gingerly deal with them in such a way as to reinforce fear, hatred and stereotypes.

    Strangely enough, Touched By An Angel actually had the moral courage to reject the fear, hatred and prejudice (often justified by faith) directed at gay people and people living with AIDS.

    Granted, having a gay man dying of AIDS mixes the two issues up in a somewhat cliche neat and tidy bow. The episode comes pretty darn close to saying that God is not ***phobic and frankly, for "Christian entertainment" it represents a moral courage that is all too often lacking in faith based entertainment in America.

    A 30 year old man returns home to tell his Christian parents that he is gay and dying of AIDS. His father started building a violin thirty years ago, when his son was born, but he cannot finish the violin or accept that his son is gay.moreless
  • An episode about homophobia

    The message I got from this episode was a lesson in homophobia.

    In a way, it wasn't so surprising that the Jordan was so quick to disown his son after discovering he was gay. Jordan's attention to his son seemed phony from the beginning. Maybe it was just the acting style, but it just seemed to me that Jordan was more interested in assuring himself that Tony had turned out as perfect as his violins, rather than just rejoicing at seeing his son for the holidays.

    The AIDS diagnosis didn't seem to faze Jordan at all. But the wife confronts Jordan in one scene where she scolds him for treating fatherhood like making a violin. Monica emphasizes the point when she tells Jordan she is going to relegate the unfinished violin to the scrapheap because of a single small flaw. Not that being gay is a flaw. But Jordan obviously thinks it is.moreless

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