Twice in a Lifetime

Season 2 Episode 16

Moonshine Over Harlem

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Feb 07, 2001 on Ion Television
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Moonshine Over Harlem
After a brief appearance at a school, Charlie - a gang member in the 1930s and 1940s - is killed. Othniel tells him that he has redeemed his bad ways ever since, but that he can get a second chance anyway, to solve his conflict with the love of his life, Rose. Mr. Smith follows Charlie back to Harlem during the Prohibition era, where Charlies interracial relationship to Rose is something strange and frowned upon. But the real problem is that Rose´s father is with the FBI, and that Rose will turn Charlie in. Now Charlie must somehow convince himself to get out before the deal that will be raided by the FBI, or get Rose to not turn him in.moreless

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  • Good time period, odd premise.

    This was an episode that, once upon a time, I watched repeatedly. I loved the fact that it took place during Prohibition and involved gangsters and G-men and all those good sorts of things. (I also enjoyed it because of getting to hear Paul Popowich play the jazz piano.) And I still love those elements. But when I watched this episode again recently, I found something very strange that reminded me of why I don't agree with the show's premise anymore and which seems to contradict everything.

    Othniel says to Charlie during the life review that he has been paying for his crimes ever since he was arrested. He has "paid his debt to humanity, but now must pay his debt to himself." So he is sent back to be able to keep Rose as his love. But if he never got arrested, he never paid his debt to humanity, and all the good things he did are null and void because, frankly, they never happened. When I realized this, it seemed to me that the episode was saying that love was more important than anything else. True, they did go out of their way to show that Charlie was a basically good person, who loved his music, but he was still involved in the moonshine racket. And judging from the beginning of the episode, after Charlie got out of prison, he later went around teaching children about the dangers of getting involved with gangs and such. Mr. Smith makes no mention of Charlie doing any such things in his "new life." It was apparently only important for him to get Rose. Nothing else mattered, including the fact that all the people whose lives Charlie had touched before would now never have those experiences.

    If one wishes to ignore all of that and to just enjoy the story, however, they will not likely be disappointed; especially if, like me, they enjoy the time period this episode is set in. And there's always Mr. Smith's excellent piano playing, not to mention that the fedora looks perfect on him.moreless
Earle Hyman

Earle Hyman

Charlie Freeman / Jack

Guest Star

Candace Cameron

Candace Cameron

Rose Hathaway

Guest Star

Le Schawn Ward

Le Schawn Ward

Young Charlie Freeman

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The Judge sends Charley back to the Depression era, when Prohibition was in force in the United States. Later in the show, Smith is attending a 1932 World Series game. The 1932 Series featured the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs. The Yankees swept the series 4-0 and Babe Ruth homered twice in Game 3, the only game in which he hit a home run. That game was played at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Judge Othniel: Mr Freeman, when was the last time that you were truly happy? So happy that the ordinary became the extraordinary, that every color looked brighter and every fragrance smelled sweeter?
      Mr Smith: But sir, what you're describing sounds a lot like ...
      Mr Freeman: Love.

    • Judge Othniel: Mr Freeman, you denied yourself love under the mistaken notion that you were no longer worthy of it. Without love, your life became a mere shadow of itself.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Additional Credits:
      Do it Daddy by Glenn Morley
      Our Love is True by Paul Leishman
      Trumpet Solo: Guido Basso
      Saxophone Solo: Verne Dorge