Angels and Blimps
Air date: February 8, 1999
Summary/Review by Dana Hagerty

Skip summary and go straight to Dana's "Bits and Pieces"

Ally and Greg are walking together in the hospital. Just like the last time she was incredibly happy about Greg, she is again walking in the clouds. She tells Greg that she once thought of becoming a doctor, but she has a thing about blood, she doesn't like death, and she looks terrible in hospital green, "but if I knew there'd be blue…" Ling is at the hospital, and she walks up behind Ally and calls her name. When Ally turns and sees her, she comes down off the clouds. Ally asks her what she is doing there and Ling says that she sent flowers to a friend but she died, so she came to the hospital to take them back. Ally begins to introduce Ling to Greg but before she can get the sentence out, she imagines Ling turning into the alien from "Alien." She finally does introduce her as "my very good friend, Ling." Ling says she needs to get the flowers into fresher water because "hospital chlorine is poison." As she walks away, a man in a wheelchair runs into her. "Watch where you're going," she says. "It's bad enough you people get all the parking spots."

Greg enters the room of a patient. It's a little boy and he's obviously very sick. Greg says he heard the boy didn't have a very good night, and he admits that he was 'puking' but says he feels better today. When he looks up he sees Ally standing in the doorway. She is backlit by a light in the hallway, and appears to be an angel. The boy asks Greg if, when it's time to go, do you see an angel. Greg turns and sees what the boy is seeing and invites Ally to come in. He introduces Ally to Eric Stall. Eric asks her if she is an angel. She says that sometimes she is sweet. He takes her hand and asks, "Is it time to go?"

Back at the office, the rest of the crew gathers for their morning meeting. When someone asks where Ally is, Elaine says she was meeting Greg at the hospital, "probably to get a hickey suctioned under sterile conditions." Nelle comes in with black makeup around her eyes and Richard asks her what is up with the 'Rocky Raccoon look.' She says that she doesn't have any meetings today and she just felt like it. Richard reminds the group that he and John have an attempted murder case going to trial today. Richard admits he is a little nervous ("I packed the extra pair of jockeys in my trial bag") but tries to reassure everyone by telling them that he and John are a team. "Do we look like a team or not?" he asks. Everyone looks at John and Richard as bells ring and cowbells clank, first separately, then together.

Ally is still talking with Eric as Greg examines him. "First they let Clemens go, now Mo Vaughn," Eric says. "I'd given up on them winning the series in my lifetime, but now, even forever looks bad." Ally tells him that the secret is we don't actually want the Red Sox to win a World Series, "because if they did, they wouldn't be the Red Sox, would they?" She goes on to tell him that what would be worse is that "the curse of the Bambino would be over and we wouldn't get to keep reminding everybody every year that Babe Ruth was really ours." Eric's mom enters the room and Eric tells her that "this lady knows her Red Sox better than me." Ally introducers herself to Julie Stall. Eric tells his mom that Ally is a lawyer, then he asks Ally if she knows O.J. Ally says she hasn't had that pleasure, yet. Eric asks Ally if he wanted to sue somebody, would she help him. She asks him who he wants to sue and he says he wants to sue God.

John and Richard's client, Harvey Kent, thinks that maybe he should plea and wonders if the DA would take manslaughter. John explains that in order to get manslaughter, you first need to actually kill somebody. Harvey says he tried, but John says the man he tried to kill survived. Richard says the moral is, "next time, finish him off. You'd do less time." Renee comes up to them in the hallway of the courthouse and asks where Billy is. She is surprised that John and Richard are handling this case on their own. She takes John to the side and tells him that this case isn't fun and games. John reminds her that he always beats her. Renee says, "If you think by letting him first chair you are setting up some inadequate counsel defense, you can forget it." She walks away. A woman exits the elevator, walks by the men and into the courtroom. Harvey is surprised that she is going to be in there. Richard tells him that she is a witness because "some of those bullets went by her head." Harvey asks if she is testifying for the prosecution. Richard and John look at each other then nod their heads 'yes.'

Julie Stall tells Ally that first Eric's father died, then he got leukemia. Things got worse when their insurance said it wouldn't cover experimental treatment for leukemia. They asked their church to help out but they said they couldn't. Ally tells Julie that she really doesn't think that Eric can sue God. From the doorway, a woman says, "Yes he can." Ally turns to see Ling standing there and she says her name. "That was a hard 'L'," Ling says. Ally introduces Ling to Julie. "He's bald," Ling says, "does he have cancer?" Julie tells her that he has leukemia. Ling walks over to Eric and asks him his name. He tells her, then asks her what her name is. "Weren't you listening, she called me Ling, that would be my name, only with a soft 'L'," she says. She asks him if he wants to sue God and he asks if he can. Ling says "yes," Ally says "no," and Greg asks Ling to leave. "I'm talking to the little boy if you don't' mind," Ling says, in her 'your bothering me' tone of voice, then immediately changes to a nice voice, "Of course you can sue him." Eric says he can only do that if God exists and asks Ling if she thinks there is a God. "Of course there is," she says, "Who do you think these doctors walk around pretending to be, Moses?" Greg again tries to get Ling to leave, but she interrupts by telling Eric that if he is going to sue somebody, he can't lie around in bed all day. She asks him if he can be strong. He says yes, and she tells him that she has this great law firm she uses. Before she can continue, Ally grabs her arm and throws her out of the room. Eric looks at his mother and tells her that he wants to do it.

Ally and Ling go back to the office together. Ling doesn't want Ally as the lawyer on Eric's case. Billy, Georgia and Nelle join them and ask what is going on. Ally tells them that Ling has convinced a dying boy with cancer that he can sue God. Ling asks Ally if she knows how his father died, and she admits that she doesn't. Ling says she does because she overheard the nurses talking about it. She tells them that Eric's father got hit by a falling branch after a tree was struck by lightening. She says that is an act of God, so they go after the church, 'House' of God. She announces that she needs to pee and walks away. Georgia asks where Ling comes up with these ridiculous theories and Nelle says, "She didn't make editor of law review for nothing, Georgette, she's almost always right." Surprised faces stare back at Nelle. Billy asks her what she meant by that. "She was editor of law review at Cornell," Nelle says. She tells them that is where she and Ling met. Georgia asks, "Ling is a lawyer?" "You didn't know this?" Nelle asks.

In the courtroom, a man is on the stand explaining that he and a woman were in bed when they heard a noise and then Harvey came crashing through the door and started screaming at them. The man says that Harvey was out of control and that he raised a pistol and shot at him. He was hit twice, once in the shoulder and once in the chest. Renee has finished questioning the man, and now it's Richard's turn. He asks him, "You were in his house?" The man answers yes. "In his bed?" Richard asks. Again, the man answers yes. "In his wife? You were making love to his wife?" The man answers yes. Richard asks him how long this affair between him and his client's wife had been going on. The man says for about six months. "All the while having adulterous sex," Richard says. "Was it good sex?" he asks. Renee objects and Richard tells the judge that the man testified he heard screaming, "maybe it was her. Withdrawn. Probably what you said when you saw that pistol, huh?" Renee objects again and Richard apologizes. "You know my client very well, don't you, Steve. Can I call you Steve?" Richard asks. The man says "My name's Rodney." "Yes or no will do," Richard says, then again asks him if he knows him well. Rodney says he does. Richard says they were business associates for 11 years. Harvey even thought they were friends. Richard asks him, "Isn't it true when you saw this man come into the room while you were engaging in adulterous acts with his wife, you knew he was going to shoot you?" Rodney says that isn't true. Richard says Rodney knew Harvey to be a volatile man, but Rodney says Harvey is a gentle man. He says the Harvey Kent he knows would never pull out a gun and just open fire. Richard says that Harvey must have been outside of himself at the time and maybe even temporarily insane. Renee objects and says that 'temporarily insane' is a legal term. "I'm a lawyer," Richard says. The judge tells him that he believes Renee's point is that the witness has no foundation to render a legal opinion. "I see. That's right, he's a lay person," Richard says. "You're a 'lay' person, right Rod?" Renee again objects and Richard withdraws the comment. When he goes to sit down, he tells John that he felt in a zone. "Was I?" he asks. "Indeed," says John.

Eric and his mom exit the elevator and walk into Cage/Fish & Associates. Eric sees Ally and calls her name. He tells her that he's there about his case and asks if she is going to be his lawyer. Ally hesitates for a moment then says 'sure.' Eric is distracted by and goes over to play a game of office basketball. Julie explains to Ally that Eric wanted to come down there and that this lawsuit has given him some bounce. She begins to ask Ally to truly take on this case when Ling comes up. Ally tells Ling, "You remember Julie?" Ling says "No." Ally tells her that she is Eric's mother. "Who's Eric?" Ling asks. "The boy who has a case against God," Ally says. She tells Ling that Julie was asking if there was anything the firm could do. Ling tells her that her first thought is to bring the case before that naked big-haired blond thing. "She'll buy anything," Ling says. "I think she's senile." Eric runs up to Ling, very happy to see her, and calls her name. Ling smiles and says hello, then adds, "Soft 'L' next time, okay." He asks if she is going to help with his case and she tells him that she would love to, but that she has better things to do. "The thing about lawsuits, Eric, you can't be a little weakling," Ling says. "You have to be a fighter. Are you ready to fight?" He says yes. "You have any strength, stomp your foot hard, right on her foot." She points towards Ally. He stomps on Ally's foot. "Very good," Ling says. "I need to shop. I'll check back later. I bet he was cute with hair." She leaves and Eric turns to Ally and says, "She is so cool!"

In court, Shelia Kent is on the stand. She says that everything happened how Rodney described it. Renee asks if Shelia heard Harvey say anything, and Shelia says while he was pulling out his gun he said 'I'll kill you both.' Cage goes to stand up to question the witness and Richard keeps getting in his way. He finally just steps over him. John asks Shelia if, when she took her wedding vows with her husband, she was being truthful. She says yes. He asks her if during the six months that she was deceiving her husband, did she ever make up any stories about where she was going. Shelia tells the court that she did all the deceptive things that cheating spouses do when they don't want to get caught. When John asks her how the affair happened, Shelia says that she just fell in love.

Ally is sitting in her office with Eric and his mom. She starts to tell him that she is going to consult with someone, and he asks "Cool Ling?" Ally says yes, she is going to talk to 'Cool Ling' about this. She then asks him what he hopes to gain by suing God. Eric says he just wants to tell Him some stuff, face-to-face, and he thought that if he sued Him, once he got to Heaven God would come up to him and say 'What's up with that?' and then he could ask him some questions. Ally wants to know what kind of questions Eric wants to ask God, and he says that is between him and God. Eric looks seriously at Ally and says, "There is no God, is there?" His mother tells him, "Of course there is," but he thinks God is about as real as Santa Claus. Ally tells Eric that when she was two, she asked for a baby sister, and when she was three, she got one. At first she wasn't really thrilled because all she did was cry, but when her sister was two, she became a lot of fun. (Ling has walked up and is standing in the doorway, listening to this conversation.) Ally says that when her sister was four, they became best friends. She says that at the movies, they would hold each other's hands because they thought fear came in through your fingers. Ally tells Eric that when her sister was five, she got sick and died. Ally says that she stopped believing in God that day. Then, one day she looked up and she saw a blimp. It was in town for a football game, but she had never seen one before and didn't know what it was. Her mother told her that it was God. Eric can't believe that Ally thought a blimp was God and asks, "Were you a really stupid kid?" Ally says, "Maybe." She continues her story and tells Eric that her mother knew that she would figure out that God wasn't a blimp, so she changed the story a bit. She told her that God had man make the blimp to remind people that He was up there watching, because that's all blimps do, they just look down. Eric says he has never seen a blimp, except on television. Ally tells him that God probably communicates with different people in different ways and that "maybe the Red Sox will win the World Series this year, just to remind you that He's up there, looking." Eric says, "Or, maybe He sent you." Ling, who has been listening to all of this and actually smiling at times, turns and leaves before anyone notices that she was even there.

Ally and Ling are in the unisex and Ally is trying to convince Ling to help her with this case. Ally reminds her that she's a lawyer. "But I don't practice," Ling says. "Practice causes wrinkles. Look at you," she adds. Ally tells her that Eric lights up around her and asks her if she can't just take half a day out of her busy schedule. "I'm sure you can catch up by catalogue," Ally says. Ling growls at her. Ally says she doesn't think she can sell this lawsuit like Ling could. Ling agrees to come out of retirement for one case. She looks in the mirror and says "Members of the jury." She smiles, then stops smiling and turns and stares at Ally. Ally whimpers like a puppy.

A psychologist is on the stand explaining that he examined Harvey for about three hours after the shooting and determined that he was in a state of severe agitation, but it didn't rise to the level of insanity. He says Harvey knew both the nature and the quality of his act when he pulled that trigger. "So you admit there was quality to my client's act?" Richard asks. The doctor asks, "Excuse me?" Richard says to skip it. "You also said 'nature.' Nature played a part here, too, didn't it? A man finds his wife in bed with another man and nature says, take action." Richard says that it was natural what his client did, even if he was completely insane when he did it. Renee objects again. The judge tells Richard that the way this works is, he is supposed to ask questions and he "should appear to be drug-free while doing so." Richard says that adrenaline can work on the brain like a drug. He asks the doctor if during his career he has ever been wrong. The doctor admits he has, but he says he's not wrong in this case. Richard asks him, "On those occasions when you've been wrong, did you know it at the time?" The doctor reluctantly says no.

Ally, Eric and his mom are meeting in the conference room with a representative from the church. He tells Ally that she can't expect him to take this seriously but Ally reminds him that lawsuits are serious. Ling comes in and Ally introduces her to Arthur Gale, counselor for St. Christopher's. Ally tells Ling that Mr. Gale is appalled at their lawsuit. He asks Ling how she expects anyone to take the case seriously. "Would you like to know how I'll keep it from getting tossed or why you'll settle?" Ling asks. He says he'll start with the first one. "Eric's parents contributed pretty generously to the church," Ling starts, "There's no contractual quid pro quo but I can make out an applied covenant of good faith under which we could argue a duty for the church to give back in Eric's need. He has cancer and his father's dead." Mr. Gale starts to say, "So you expect," but Ling interrupts with, "I expect it will survive a 12-B6. As for why you'll settle, you already know why. By naming God as a defendant, there isn't a newspaper in the country who won't glom onto it as one of those insipid human-interest stories, and with the text under the headlines detailing how the boy's church won't help him pay for the experimental drug that could save his life, it makes my veins crimp." She continues, "Come on Mr. Gale. You'll pay out because the amount would add up to less than the salaries of a full-time publicist and press secretary, which you'd need just to fend off all the negative publicity. Somebody here ate onions. I'm allergic. Was it you?" She looks at Eric. Mr. Gale can't believe that Ling expects them to roll over just because they have named God as a defendant. "That, and my client has a bald head and a big smile," Ling starts, then, "add to that this family gave to your church. The moral thing here would be to give back. We're not talking that much money and we all know how you churches stash it." She tells Eric to smile. He does, but it isn't a big smile. "Okay," Ling says, "it's just a medium smile, but the head is bald."

Harvey takes the stand. He says that when he saw his wife and his best friend in bed together, his head felt hot and he went into a rage. He grabbed his gun out of a drawer and he doesn't remember much else. John asks him if he wishes that he had killed them. Harvey says no. John asks him if he still loves his wife and Harvey says he does, very much. John then asks him if during his adult life he has loved anybody else. Harvey says no. When John asks him if he thinks he ever will, Harvey again says no.

Eric is talking to Nelle about her little facemask. He thinks it looks a little goofy, but Nelle tells him that older guys kind of go for it. "See that guy," she says, pointing at Billy. "Looks like a Ken doll. He likes it. But it bugs Barbie," she adds, this time looking over at Georgia. Ally comes out to tell Eric and his mom that the church is willing to settle, and that she is going to call Greg so that he can call the oncologist and get Eric's treatment started. Eric says that he's not sure he believes in God, but he does believe in angels. He tells Ally that when he first looked at her, he knew she was his angel, but now he knows it's Ling. "Between the two of us," Ally says, "you're covered."

Later that night, Ally and Greg are at the bar. Greg says he thinks they will be able to get the drug for Eric in a day or two. Ally asks if the drug could really save his life and Greg says it could work. She crosses her fingers. Greg asks her if she knows what he is thinking and she says, "maybe what I'm thinking?" She tells him that one of her New Years resolutions was to have less fantasy and more reality. She stands up, sits in his lap and kisses him.

John is giving the closing. He says that when he was 17, he was leaving school one day and saw Sharon Johnson standing by the bike rack. She was the most beautiful girl in school and the only thing Cage had ever said to her was 'oops' when he dropped a snow cone on her foot. But when he saw her that day, he got this insane idea to ask her to the prom. He did, and she said yes. John says that he knew that love could produce mind-altering chemicals. For three weeks he walked around as Sharon's prom date. Joyous things were more joyous and sad things were more sad. "So powerful the drug of love can be," he says. He tells the jury that his love for Sharon was just puppy love. "Imagine committing your life to somebody," he says. "Your heart, and then walking into that room to see….Well, we can't really imagine it, can we, unless you've been through it. And, if you have been through it, imagine NOT experiencing a little insanity."

Renee stands to give her closing. "You've got to be kidding," she says. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but touch my heart, I'll shoot you?" She says legal insanity isn't rage or shock, but it is the inability to distinguish right from wrong. She says that when Harvey picked up that gun and shot his wife's lover, he knew it was wrong. "Just like his 'Mutt-and-Jeff' lawyers know it and just like you know it," she says. "Their defense is achy, breaky heart? Please."

Ally's phone rings and Elaine answers it. "Ally McBeal's office. Elaine Vassal speaking. How may I improve upon your day?" Her face gets serious and she tells the caller that Ally isn't there but she can page her. Georgia has come into the office and asks if everything is okay. Elaine says no as she pages Ally.

Ally comes into the hospital and sees Julie in the hallway, crying. Julie tells her that she tried to wake Eric but she could barely get him to open his eyes. Greg and another doctor come out of the room and tell them that the news isn't good. Greg says Eric's t-cell count has just dropped off the chart. The other doctor tells them that Eric isn't in any real discomfort, other than fatigue. Julie asks if they are telling her that he's dying. The doctor says yes. Ally asks Greg what happened and he says he doesn't know. Julie asks if Eric is awake. They tell her that he is but he's groggy. "Does he know?" Julie asks. The doctor says that he believes he does. Julie goes into his room. Ling has come down the hallway and when she sees Ally's face, she turns and simply looks into Eric's room.

At the courthouse, Richard, John and Renee sit on a bench, waiting.

At the hospital, Ally and Ling sit together, waiting. Julie comes out and tells them that Eric wants to see both of them. They go into the room and Ally sits on the end of the bed. Ling stands behind her. He tells them that he is scared. "When it's time to go, you see you're angel, that's what they say," Eric says. Ling walks around and sits right in front of Ally. "Who's they?" she asks. "My grandfather was in the proverb business. It's all a racket to sell cheap cookies." Eric says that when Ling talks to him, he never feels like he has cancer. He asks where Ally went. She tells him that she's still there and comes in front of Ling so he can see her. Eric says he had a dream that he was her angel. Ally says that she thinks he is. In fact, she is sure he is. "But, you're maybe going to need to get a new one," he tells her. Ally says she is sticking with the angel she has. Eric asks his mother where he is. She tells him he's in the hospital with her and his friends. He asks her to sing him his song. She tells him to close his eyes and she starts to sing. "We're always chasing rainbows," she sings, "Watching clouds drifting by. Our dreams ending in the sky." Ally and Ling watch as she continues to sing. Ally is crying softly but Ling watches with no emotion at all. Julie finishes the song and leans over and kisses Eric on the cheek.

The jury comes back and finds Harvey not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Harvey thanks his attorneys, and as John and Greg bend down to get their briefcases, they bump heads. Harvey turns and sees Shelia. He starts to tell her he is sorry, then pauses and says, "I never shot at you." Shelia says she knows. She apologizes for what happened then leaves with Rodney.

Ling is standing outside Eric's room and Ally is sitting. Greg comes out and tells them that he's gone. Julie comes out. "He lived, right up until the end, in part because of you two," she tells them. "These last two days…I don't know how to express how grateful I am," Julie says. Ally hugs her, and she goes back into the room. Ally and Greg sit down. "Well, he was right about one thing, there's no God," Ally says. Greg attempts to comfort her, but she says, "There couldn't be a God. God wouldn't let that…." Ling says, "We knew he was dying, Ally. This isn't the world's biggest shock. The boy had leukemia. Get over it." She picks up her jacket and walks away. As she walks down the hallway, the camera shows us her face. She is fighting to hold back tears. The hospital doors open and Ling comes running out, stopping only when she gets to the other side of an ambulance, where she finally breaks down and cries.

At the bar, Richard, John and Harvey are all sitting at a table, just thinking.

We see Eric walking down the hallway of the hospital, holding the hand of an angel. They are drenched in light and when they reach the end of the hallway, they disappear into the wall.

Billy comes to the office looking for Ally. He finds her at the top of the stairs and asks if there is anything he can do. She says she wishes there were. "I should be feeling lucky right now," she says. "He was going to die, probably no matter what. And, by a stroke of good luck for me, I got to meet him first. Not everybody gets to come face-to-face with their angel." Billy asks if he can walk her home but Ally wants to go solo.

At the bar, Nelle sits with Richard and asks if he has heard from Ling. He says that he called her but she told him she had to do something. Nelle asks if Ling is okay and Richard says he thinks so, but he doesn't know. He tries to call her again.

Ally is walking home alone when she hears a humming noise and looks up. It's a Goodyear blimp, and as it turns, the words "Just Looking" flash across the side of the blimp. We see that Ling is standing near a newsstand, watching, and once she sees that Ally has seen the blimp, she walks away.


This episode was in memory of John G. Heath, Jr. Heath worked with David E. Kelley for many years and he was the Construction Coordinator for "Ally McBeal." He was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago and passed away a few weeks ago.

This was Lucy Liu's chance to shine, and man, did she ever shine. I'm sure it's difficult to showcase your talent when you aren't given much of a chance to do so (when was the last time Georgia was in the courtroom?), but the fact that the other characters have had less to do lately didn't bother me at all during this episode. Because Lucy took this script and made it hers. Ling touched me more tonight than any other character has done so far. I know, I always say that characters touch me when they show their emotional side, but Ling showed us a side that I never in a million years would have imagined her having. Not only does she have emotions, but she is able to spend money on someone other than herself. I wonder if that final gesture was her little way of saying she is sorry, or rather, thank you, to Ally? (Yes, I know that Ally didn't realize that Ling was responsible for the blimp, but Ling knew, and no matter how much emotion she showed to us, I have a feeling that she still wouldn't say 'thank you' or 'I'm sorry' to anyone's face.)

Calista looked great in this episode. Especially at the beginning, when the light made it seem to Eric that she was an angel.

I wonder what is really up with Nelle and her little jabs at Georgia? Is she just trying to get back at her for the way Georgia has treated her, or does she really have a thing for Billy? I guess we will all have to wait and see.

I know I don't have much to say tonight, but this is one of those episodes that simply stands on its own. Nothing I could say would ever do it justice.

My favorite line goes to the judge, when he says to Richard:
"The way this goes -- you ask questions, and you should appear to be drug-free while doing so."

Copyright © 1999 Dana Hagerty. All rights reserved.