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EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF GENERAL STORE - MORNING - DAY ONE 1
COLLEEN (holding KATIE) watches as MATTHEW, BRIAN and a few TOWNSMEN finish hoisting the town Christmas tree into place. Matthew looks over at her.
A little to the left.
(they adjust it)
Too far. Back to the right.
(they adjust it)
Matthew and the men set about to secure the tree in place as Brian steps over to Colleen to admire the tree.
Now comes the fun part -- decoratin' it.
LOREN, busily stocking Christmas goods (toys, ornaments, etc.) in front of the store, pauses to stare up at the tree.
What d'you think, Mr. Bray?
It's a fine tree, Brian.
Wanna help us decorate it?
Wish I could.
(back to work)
Too many things to do.
Maybe Horace'll help us.
He went to St. Louis for the holidays to see Myra and Samantha.
What about the Reverend? Ain't he the one who usually organizes this kinda thing?
Ain't seen him around.
GRACE hurries over from the cafe, interrupting the moment.
Loren, you got any pecans? I got six pie orders an' I'm fresh out.
Coupl'a pounds is all I got left.
Loren leads Grace into the store, nearly bumping into DOROTHY, who comes out, trailed by a persistent JAKE, who's not happy about what he sees in the Gazette he's holding.
This ad is too small. An' nobody'll even see it on the back page.
Exactly. But you didn't wanna pay for the front page, remember?
Forget what I said. I want the Gold Nugget to be noticed.
(as they pass by)
Hey, Miss Dorothy, Jake. You wanna help us decorate the tree?
Jake just gives him a look -- are you kidding? -- then turns back to Dorothy.
Front page. I want it noticed.
He hands her the paper and heads over to the barbershop. Dorothy looks back at Brian and Colleen.
I'd love to help, Brian, but I'm runnin' a little behind.
She heads off to the Gazette as Grace comes back out of the store, carrying a bag of pecans.
CONTINUED: (2) 1
Will you charge it to my account, Loren?
(before he can speak)
Brian starts to call to her, but she's already halfway to the cafe, not even noticing the tree. As Matthew, Colleen and Brian watch Grace go:
Looks like we're gonna be decoratin' the tree ourselves this year.
No, we'll find somebody.
Would you look at this...
The three look over at Loren, who's pulled a beautiful snowdome out of a crate and is about to set it on display.
Pretty, ain't it?
Loren takes in the beautiful tableau inside the dome (a country church on Christmas Eve, with a blanket of snowflakes falling all around) before turning back to the kids with a chuckle:
More snow than we've had around here in years.
He sets the dome on display and goes back inside the store. Brian regards the dome a moment before turning his gaze back toward the bare Christmas tree. Off his look...
EXT. ROAD IN COUNTRYSIDE - DAY ONE 2
MIKE and SULLY, ride toward town in the buckboard wagon.
I've been thinking about Christmas presents for the children. We won't be able to afford as much this year.
They'll understand. Important thing is we're together.
She's spotted something. Sully pulls up on the reins and stops the wagon. He gives her a look, and she points off toward:
+THE BUSHES 3
where a plump TURKEY pecks mindlessly away at some seeds.
+BACK TO MIKE AND SULLY 4
as she leans close to him, whispering:
I don't have my bow. I'll come back later and --
He stops short as Mike climbs down from the wagon.
What're you doin'?
She points out her plan -- you approach from one side, and I'll approach from the other.
Michaela, just let me get my --
But she's already moving off to get into position. Sully shakes his head -- he's not too sure this will work -- but he decides to go along with it. He jumps down from the wagon, circling around to one side of the bushes as Mike circles the opposite way.
The two move silently into place as between them, the turkey continues to peck away in blissful oblivion.
OMITTED (5) 5
+CLOSE ON MIKE 6
as she counts silently to three, then:
She leaps into action, followed by Sully. The turkey immediately sees what's happening and bolts, running this way and that, dodging outstretched hands at every turn.
+OMITTED (7) 6A
+MIKE AND SULLY 8
are laughing now as the turkey dashes between them, causing them to bump into each other. As the turkey disappears into the brush, Mike and Sully tumble to the ground in a cloud of dust. They settle a moment, catching their breath, then:
How 'bout meatloaf?
As the two resume laughing...
EXT. STREET - DAY ONE 9
Mike and Sully ride into town (from the direction of the train station). As they turn the corner to head to the clinic, they see Brian and a few KIDS making ornaments to hang on the Christmas tree. Sully pulls the wagon to a stop. As he helps Mike down:
Tree looks good, Brian.
Just tryin' to find some people to help decorate it. Matthew had to go to work, Colleen took Katie to Becky's.
I got some huntin' to do...
(a smile to Mike)
Gotta round us up some Christmas dinner.
(back to Brian)
But I can help you when I get back.
And I can help you, too, when I'm done at the clinic.
Mike gives Sully a quick kiss, then heads for:
EXT. CLINIC - CONTINUOUS - DAY ONE 10
Mike starts to unlock the door, when something catches her eye:
+ANGLE - THE REVEREND 11
walking slowly, tentatively toward the clinic from the church, a worried expression clouding his face.
+BACK TO MIKE 12
as she steps toward him, eyeing him with growing concern.
The Reverend looks in her direction, but doesn't appear to see her. Just as he's about to speak, he steps directly into the path of a moving carriage.
Reverend, watch out!
He jumps back at the last second, barely avoiding getting hit as the carriage rolls past. The commotion seems to disorient him -- he turns, looking back toward the clinic.
She steps right up to him, facing him directly, but yet he still doesn't see her. Mike takes this in a moment, then:
I'm right here, Reverend.
The sound of her voice draws his attention to her. Mike looks up at him, coming to the dreaded realization that he can't see, as we:
END OF TEASER
INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE 13
CLOSE ON A CANDLE, as a match lights it.
Are you able to see anything at all?
WIDEN TO REVEAL Mike, who takes the candle and holds a piece of reflective metal behind it as she moves the flame in front of the Reverend's eyes. She moves the candle closer to his eyes and then back again as:
A little. I catch a few things outta the corner of my eye. But things right in front of me are all blurry.
Did you sustain a blow to your head?
When did the symptoms begin?
Coupla days ago.
Mike blows out the candle and sets it aside.
Have you had any headaches, or problems keeping your balance?
What about numbness, or tingling in your hands and arms?
No, nothin' like that.
Good. That's good.
She gently turns his chin to face forward, then holds up her right index finger directly in front of his face.
I'd like you to look straight ahead. I'm going to move my hand. Tell me when you can see it.
Mike holds her left hand still as she slowly moves her right index finger to the side. When it moves into his peripheral vision:
Mike lowers her hands.
What's wrong with me?
I suspect a condition, but I won't know for certain until I can examine you with an ophthalmoscope. It's an instrument we use to look into the eye.
(glancing around at the clinic)
Unfortunately, I don't have one.
(back to the Reverend)
But Andrew does.
INT. ANDREW'S CLINIC - DAY ONE 14
ANDREW peers through his ophthalmoscope into the Reverend's eyes.
You're right. The optic nerve is inflamed.
Andrew steps back and allows Mike to look. The Reverend tries not to look worried.
What's that mean?
You have a condition called optic neuritis.
We don't know what causes it, but the optic nerve becomes red and swollen, impairing your eyesight.
It can happen suddenly, over the course of hours, or over several days. But in many instances the condition is only transitory.
Quite often the inflammation dissipates, and the symptoms reverse as quickly as they appeared.
A look of relief washes over the Reverend's face.
You mean I'm not gonna stay like this?
Mike and Andrew exchange an uncertain look, then Mike turns back to the Reverend.
We'll know more over time. I'd like you to stay at the clinic, where I can better observe your condition.
Mike turns to Andrew, growing self-conscious. She wants to ask him something, but feels uncomfortable about it. Before she can speak, Andrew hands her the ophthalmoscope, knowing this is what she wants.
Here. You'll need this.
Thank you. I'll return it --
Whenever you can. No hurry.
Mike gives him a grateful smile.
EXT. CLINIC - DAY ONE 15
Mike and the Reverend pull to a stop in front of the clinic, where Sully, Colleen and Brian have been joined by Loren, Dorothy, Grace and ROBERT E. Everyone's concerned for the Reverend, moving in to help him down.
Reverend, are you all right?
I'll be fine. [Don't worry.]
Is it true? Are you blind?
He's not blind, Loren. His vision has merely been impaired.
(clinging to hope)
And it's only temporary.
That's a relief.
Mike reacts, uneasy about this, but covers by turning to Colleen.
Colleen, would you *help the Reverend up to the recovery room?
Mike hands Brian the ophthalmoscope.
Would you please take this into the clinic?
Brian takes the ophthalmoscope as Mike turns back to the Reverend.
I'm going to wire some specialists in Boston and New York about your condition.
The Reverend nods. As Colleen ushers him into the clinic, followed by Brian:
We're here if you need us, Reverend.
Thank you, Robert E. [Thank you, everybody.]
The folks disperse as Sully and Mike start up the street. Sully waits until everyone is out of earshot before he speaks.
Is it true? Is it only temporary?
In most cases it is...
However, there are some instances where the condition becomes permanent.
The two exchange a quiet, concerned look as they continue up the street.
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY ONE 16
Brian and Colleen lead the Reverend in, being overly [careful.
C'mon in, Reverend. Do you wanna sit on the bed, or should I get you a chair?
You don't have to fuss over me.
Are you hungry? I can go to Grace's, get you some lunch.
I'm fine --]
How about some books, or your Bible --
She stops short, catching herself, feeling terrible.
It's all right, Colleen.
The Reverend knows Colleen feels terrible, and tries to help her out of it:
Come to think of it, some soup from Grace's would do nicely.
CONTINUED: (2) 16
Sure. I'll be right back.
She goes out as the Reverend sits down on the chair. Brian steps over to the dresser, picks up the ewer.
I'll get you some water.
He starts out, but as he gets to the door he glances back.
+BRIAN'S POV 17
of the Reverend, seated in the chair. Thinking he's alone in the room, his public facade begins to crumble, revealing his inner sadness and growing fear.
comes back to him, his voice soft, reassuring:
Don't worry, Reverend. Ma helped me get my sight back that time I hit my head. She'll do the same for you.
The Reverend manages a nod and a smile, but the worry is still there.
You just watch -- by the time Christmas gets here, you'll be good as new.
Think we're gonna get snow this year?
I hope so.
Me too. You gonna do another livin' Nativity for the Christmas service?
No. This year I was hopin' to keep it simple. Talk about the first Christmas... get the congregation to put themselves in the place of the shepherds, out in the fields --
When they saw the star over Bethlehem?
That's right -- the most brilliant, gleamin' star in the sky... and from it, a host of angels descendin' to earth...
Brian looks up, trying to picture the sight.
How many d'you s'pose are in a host?
Oh, hundreds -- thousands... their wings glistenin' in the light from the star.
Imagine how those shepherds musta felt, gazin' up at that incredible sight, listenin' to the news of the Christ child's birth.
Brian turns to the Reverend with a smile.
I've never even seen one angel, let alone a whole host of 'em.
The Reverend smiles again.
Musta been beautiful.
The Reverend quiets a moment, then:
God's greatest miracle.
Brian looks at him, touched by the Reverend's sadness.
EXT. COUNTRYSIDE - DAY ONE 19
Mike walks with CLOUD DANCING, who holds Katie in his arms.
Perhaps a tea made from dogbane will help the Reverend. Or alumroot.
Hopefully that will work. If it doesn't...
Mike falls silent, dreading that possibility.
That is for the spirits to decide. If they choose not to return his sight, then it is meant to be.
Mike stops walking, deep in thought. Cloud Dancing also stops, turns to her.
Why would they do this to him?
Cloud Dancing looks at her -- this doesn't unsettle him the way it does her.
The spirits do not punish us. They only show us which direction we need to go.
Mike looks at him, trying to understand.
Where one path ends, another begins.
Mike absorbs this in thoughtful silence, as Cloud Dancing turns his attention back to Katie.
Katie, each day you grow more beautiful.
He holds her up above him, saying something in Cheyenne. Mike looks over at him, wondering what this means. Cloud Dancing turns to her, smiles.
In her eyes I see her mother's.
Mike smiles back at him, but we can see she's still troubled...
EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF CLINIC - DAY ONE 20
Mike (with Katie in her *basket) pulls up in front of the clinic to find Colleen and Brian waiting for her. Mike immediately reads their worried expressions.
The Reverend. His eyes're gettin' worse.
As Mike hops down from the wagon:
Brian, would you ride out to the hotel and get Andrew for me?
Brian runs off as Colleen picks up Katie and follows Mike into the clinic.
INT. CLINIC - DAY ONE 21
The Reverend, now clearly worried, sits on the examination table, staring directly ahead as Mike examines him with the ophthalmoscope. Andrew and Colleen watch from nearby.
The inflammation is not dissipating.
Are there signs of atrophy?
I'm afraid so.
Mike sets the ophthalmoscope aside, then holds the Reverend's chin steady as she places her finger in front of his face (the same procedure she performed earlier).
Tell me when you can see my hand.
She slowly moves her right index finger to the side. This time, her hand moves further into his peripheral vision before he responds:
Now. But it's blurry.
Mike lowers her hand and exchanges a concerned look with Andrew. Their silence increases the Reverend's fear.
I thought you said it was gonna get better.
The condition may still reverse itself.
Isn't there anythin' you can do?
I've brought some herbs from Cloud Dancing that might help with the inflammation.
(a look to Andrew)
I also think I should wrap his eyes.
To decrease movement and allow them to rest.
Hopefully, after a few days, the inflammation will subside, and your vision will return.
The Reverend nods, but his optimism is fading.
EXT. CLINIC - DAY ONE 22
Several of the townsfolk, including Dorothy, Loren, Robert E and Grace gather in front of the clinic along with Sully, Brian and Matthew, their concern for the Reverend building.
Bandage his eyes?
Dr. Mike says there's not much else she can do. Said we have to just wait an' see.
Loren leans close to Dorothy, lowering his voice:
Don't sound very encouragin'.
Dorothy shakes her head in commiseration. Loren turns to discover Brian looking at him, having heard what he said. Loren sees the worried look on his face and gives him a compassionate smile, trying to bolster him.
But I'm sure everythin's gonna be all right.
+ON SULLY 23
as he and WOLF slip quietly away from the crowd (unseen). He walks up the street past the bare Christmas tree, on his way out of town as:
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY ONE 24
Colleen brings in the bandages and scissors, and sets them in front of Mike. Mike picks up the bandages and begins carefully wrapping them around the Reverend's eyes.
I'd like you to stay in bed the next few days. The less you move about, the better.
Mike looks to Colleen as she continues wrapping.
Colleen, the herbs Cloud Dancing gave me are in my medical bag. Will you boil some water and steep them into a tea?
Colleen goes out as:
EXT. CLINIC - SAME TIME - DAY ONE 25
The townsfolk are still gathered, staring sadly up at the recovery room window, their spirits spiraling downward.
Can't believe this is happenin'. And to the Reverend, of all people.
There's still a chance it's only temporary. Ma told him so.
I'm sure she's right, Brian.
Prob'ly just sayin' that to make him feel better.
Everyone turns around to discover Jake and Hank standing on the porch of the Gold Nugget.
Now Jake, that's not so.
(not harsh, just reminding them)
The man's gettin' worse, not better.
The crowd falls silent a moment, acknowledging this.
Well... it's in God's hands now.
Gonna need a miracle.
A few of the townspeople nod in agreement. Brian looks over at Grace, then turns to the rest of the people.
But isn't Christmas the time when miracles happen?
This single ray of hope quiets the crowd. They turn in silence, gazing back up at the recovery room window as:
EXT. WOODS - DAY ONE 26
CLOSE ON SULLY'S TOMAHAWK, cutting into the branch of an oak tree. Two more swings and the branch is cut free from the tree. Sully holds the branch, studying it a moment. Then, satisfied, he takes the branch and starts off as:
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY ONE 27
Mike finishes wrapping the Reverend's eyes.
I'll check on Colleen, see how she's coming with the tea.
Mike starts out, but the Reverend's voice stops her.
I'm still here.
(after a beat)
[Mike comes back, sitting beside him.
(trying to sound optimistic)
But we mustn't give up hope.
No... we mustn't.
He reaches out. She takes his hand.]
Will you pray for me?
The Reverend clutches her hand tightly, wanting to feel assurance. Mike hangs on, but in her eyes we see a growing doubt, and a weakening faith, as we:
_END OF ACT ONE_
EXT. STREET BY LIVERY - DAY TWO 28
A sullen Robert E works at the forge as Grace brings him a cup of coffee. He takes it, and they share a quiet look before Robert E sees Matthew passing by on horseback (coming from the direction of the train station).
Matthew stops, dismounts as Robert E and Grace come over.
Any news on the Reverend?
No. Dr. Mike says we won't know anythin' 'til the bandages come off.
He hardly said a word to me when I brought him breakfast earlier.
The man's worried. Who wouldn't be?
Now something off screen (down by the General Store) catches Robert E's attention.
Look at that...
+THEIR POV 29
of Brian, Colleen and several kids decorating the town Christmas tree. Some are busy making distinctive ornaments (designed to look like angels) while others hang them. They're starting at the bottom -- not much of the tree has been decorated yet.
+BACK TO ROBERT E, GRACE AND MATTHEW 30
taking in the sight. Matthew smiles.
Brian wants to make sure the tree is decorated for the Reverend.
He's been prayin' for him, believes God's gonna cure him.
Grace and Robert E fall silent a moment, moved by this.
Faith of a child.
Robert E looks at her, then makes a decision. He takes off his gloves, tosses them aside and starts over to the tree. Grace and Matthew exchange a look, then Grace starts after Robert E. Matthew smiles, ties off his horse and also heads over, joining Robert E and Grace as they begin helping the children decorate the tree.
INT. CLINIC - DAY TWO 31
Andrew sets a medical text in front of Mike, who already has two books open on her desk.
I've found a few case histories of optic neuritis in this text.
(opening the book)
The outcomes are varied -- about thirty percent of the patients recovered fully, with no lasting effects.
Are there any recommendations on treatments?
Some, but it's not clear whether the treatments are responsible for the cure, or simply just the course of time.
A LOUD BANGING on the clinic door interrupts the moment. Mike and Andrew exchange a look, then Mike stands and moves to the door, opening it to reveal:
hammer in hand, in the middle of hanging a wreath on the clinic door.
Oh. Sorry, Ma. I was just hangin' this holly wreath.
Mike gives him a smile as she stares at the beautiful wreath.
It's very pretty, Brian. Thank you.
I read that it "symbolizes the beauty of the Good News in a dark world."
Mike turns to him, touched by his hopeful attitude. It's now that something beyond Brian gets Mike's attention, and she steps out the door onto:
EXT. CLINIC PORCH - CONTINUOUS - DAY TWO 33
where she sees several townsfolk, including Colleen, Grace, Robert E, Matthew, Dorothy, and even Loren busily decorating the tree and several of the buildings in town.
Andrew and Brian step up beside Mike, who watches the town spring to life.
Everybody's helpin' to decorate the town. Even Mr. Bray's helpin' -- gave us four boxes of candles for the tree.
Mike looks across the street, where Jake and Hank stand on the porch of the Gold Nugget, also watching the action, but not participating.
Where are your decorations, gentlemen?
We been busy.
I got two businesses to run now.
Dorothy hears this as she passes by with another holly wreath, on her way to the Gazette.
(to the men)
I hope yours isn't the only place in town with no Christmas spirit.
(pointedly to Jake)
Now that's somethin' customers'll really notice.
She gives Mike a quick smile, then continues on as Jake and Hank exchange a look, considering this. They then start over to join the crowd, picking out decorations they can use for the Gold Nugget as:
turns back to Brian with a smile.
Well, I better get back to work.
Mike watches him go, her smile fading as she goes back into the clinic with Andrew to continue her work.
INT. HOMESTEAD - NIGHT TWO 35
Mike, tired after a long, arduous day, enters to discover Colleen and Brian hard at work, making ornaments for the town tree. Colleen's making more angel ornaments, while Brian is working on the beginnings of a star.
Hello, Colleen, Brian. Where's Sully?
Out in the barn. He's busy makin' somethin'. Katie's asleep upstairs.
Mike nods and comes over, regarding their work.
More Christmas ornaments?
She picks up one of the angel ornaments, admiring it.
You like it?
Mike nods -- she does.
We wanna make sure the *tree's filled with 'em.
And what are you making?
The star for the top. Gonna be a big one -- make sure it really sparkles.
Mike sits beside Brian. He stops working, turns to her.
I've been thinkin' about when I went blind... an' I remember how great it was to get my sight back in time to see the schoolhouse built.
So I wanna make sure the tree is finished by the time the Reverend gets his bandages off...
Give him somethin' to look forward to.
Mike watches Brian as he continues to work, wishing she could share his unwavering optimism.
INT. MIKE AND SULLY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT TWO 36
It's late -- the room is dark. Sully wakes to find Mike not in the bed. He looks over to discover her sitting in a chair by the crib, watching Katie sleep, a sad, troubled look on her face. After a quiet moment:
Mike turns to Sully as he sits up in bed.
I remember when the Reverend christened Katie. And I remember when he married us.
And he's done so many wonderful things for the people of this town. I can't help but wonder why this had to happen. Especially now, at Christmas?
Bad things happen, Michaela. And sometimes they happen to good people.
She comes over, sits on the bed beside him, her weariness showing.
As a doctor, I know it all too well -- children getting sick, people dying suddenly...
I try to accept that, I try to live with it. But still... with all the pain and suffering I see...
Mike pauses a moment, her voice quieting.
I suppose part of me will never understand why that must be.
Sully reaches out and puts his arm around her, pulling her close to him. She leans into his embrace, still deep in troubled thought.
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - MORNING - DAY THREE 37
CLOSE ON THE [OPHTHALMOSCOPE, sitting on the bedstand.
PAN TO THE REVEREND, asleep] in bed as early morning light streams through the curtains. After a beat, cigar smoke drifts INTO FRAME, waking him, and making him cough as we PULL BACK TO REVEAL:
Hank, sitting in a chair next to the bed.
'Bout time you woke up.
How you feelin'?
All right, I guess.
He coughs again from the cigar smoke. Hank [puts out the cigar, then] stands and moves to the window, opening it. He looks out the window, smiles.
Everybody's been decoratin' the town, talkin' 'bout makin' it the best Christmas ever.
CONTINUED: (2) 37
(looks back at the Reverend)
Who knows, might even get snow this year.
The Reverend's still having trouble understanding why Hank has come to visit. Hank walks back around to the chair and sits. After a quiet beat:
Been a long time since I been inside the church on a Sunday...
...'cept for that time when I tried to take it away* from you.
The Reverend can't help but smile at this.
Never been much of a prayin' man.
Hank looks at the Reverend, his voice growing very sincere.
But this time I'm gonna make an exception.
Thank you, Hank.
Hank nods, feeling for the Reverend -- and wishing he could do more -- as he goes out.
EXT. CLINIC - DAY THREE 38
Mike comes around the corner between the clinic and Gazette, carrying a tray of food for the Reverend. But just as she's about to go in the door, something catches her eye:
+MIKE'S POV 39
of Brian and a few kids continuing to decorate the tree. It's almost finished, with dozens of angel ornaments dangling from the branches. Brian is up on a ladder, decorating the top part of the tree.
+BACK TO MIKE 40
as she starts over, gazing up at the tree.
Brian, the tree is absolutely beautiful.
Brian stops working, turns to her.
Almost done. Only thing left is the star. But I'm gonna let the Reverend put that up.
I'm sure he'd like that.
Wait 'til you see it at night, when all the candles are lit. Gonna look just like the first Christmas, with the star in the sky, and the angels descendin' to earth.
(looks at the angels, smiles)
A whole host of 'em.
Mike is moved by this, swept up in the sight. Grace hurries over from the cafe, carrying a piece of pie on a plate.
Mike turns to Grace, who sets the pie on the tray Mike's carrying.
Forgot to give this to you. Pecan pie for the Reverend. Fresh outta the oven.
Thank you, Grace.
Grace takes in the tree with a smile.
Tree looks mighty fine, Brian.
Tomorrow's the big day? The bandages come off?
CONTINUED: (2) 40
I'm gonna organize a prayer meetin' in the mornin', at the church.
(smiles with conviction)
He's gonna see again, Dr. Mike. That's what God's been up to...
(starts back to cafe)
Gettin' ready to give us our own Christmas miracle.
Grace heads back to the cafe as Mike turns back to the tree, watching Brian hang the final angel.
INT. BARN - NIGHT THREE 41
Mike enters to find Sully (with Wolf nearby) hard at work, carving the oak branch (the one he cut earlier) into a walking stick. It's mostly finished -- he's now working on the final details.
Brian's finished the star for the tree. He wants to show it to you.
Sure. Be right in.
What're* you making?
A walkin' stick.
Mike gives him a troubled look -- she knows for whom he's making it.
Sully, in the majority of cases, there's at least partial restoration of sight.
But in some cases there isn't.
We can't just assume the worst --
No, but we can *be ready for it. Just in case.
Mike and Sully look over to see Brian standing in the doorway, holding his now completed star, having overheard their conversation.
The Reverend's gonna get better, I know it.
He's always sayin' in church how God tests us. That's why we can't give up. We gotta believe, we gotta show God we have faith.
Mike and Sully exchange a quiet look. Mike looks back at Brian, sees the utter conviction in his eyes. After a beat:
You're right, Brian. We must have faith.
Mike turns to Sully, sees the uneasy look in his eyes. He looks back down at the walking stick... then continues working on it as we:
EXT. CHURCH - ESTABLISHING - MORNING - DAY FOUR 42
A beautiful, spectacular morning. The church[ (with holly wreath on front door) ]almost glows in the early morning sunshine.
ROBERT E (V.O.)
I know you got a special plan for the Reverend, Lord...
INT. CHURCH - MORNING - DAY FOUR 43
The prayer meeting is in progress. The pews have been pushed aside -- the group stands in a tight circle, holding hands. Among them are Robert E, Dorothy, Loren, Jake, Colleen, Mike, Brian and Grace.
...An' I know you're gonna make him well again.
As Robert E finishes, Dorothy continues the prayer:
CONTINUED: (2) 43
Please, God, help the Reverend regain his sight. Touch him with your healin' hand.
Dorothy looks to Loren, who continues:
I know you* done a lotta miracles... but I'm hopin' you can find it in your heart to give us just one more...
And let him know you ain't forgotten him...
Jake quiets, and Colleen picks up the prayer:
The Reverend's a good person. He's always doin' what's right, helpin' others...
Colleen looks to Mike, who's standing next to her. Mike continues:
He means a lot to this town. He's not just our Reverend... he's our dear friend...
Beside Mike is Brian, offering the final, heart-felt plea:
He don't deserve this, God. An' I know you know that. So I know you'll help him see again.
Brian quiets, and Grace finishes the prayer:
Thank you for hearin' our prayers, oh Lord.
+NEW ANGLE - PUSHING IN ON MIKE 44
In Jesus' name, Amen.
As everyone says "Amen," Mike opens her eyes... and in them, we see hope.
EXT. STREET NEAR CLINIC - DAY FOUR 45
The townsfolk from the prayer meeting, joined by other townsfolk along the way, follow Mike as she makes her way to the clinic. Brian walks beside her, holding the Christmas star.
Mike moves with purpose, wanting to believe with all her might that the Reverend will see again. The townsfolk are excited -- they know he will.
Mike, Colleen and Brian go into the clinic, leaving the townsfolk to congregate out front.
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY FOUR 46
Colleen hands Mike the scissors. Andrew and Brian (still holding the star) watch from nearby as Mike turns to the Reverend, who waits expectantly, his expression revealing a strengthening faith.
Are you ready?
Mike takes a settling breath, then raises the scissors and begins cutting the bandages.
EXT. CLINIC - DAY FOUR 47
The hopeful crowd (which now includes Matthew and Hank) watches the recovery room window, waiting for the impending good news.
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY FOUR 48
Mike finishes cutting the bandages. She removes them from the Reverend's eyes, which remain shut. Mike, Andrew, Colleen and Brian wait with anticipation as:
+THE REVEREND 49
slowly opens his eyes. A moment passes... and then the Reverend's expression drains.
Mike raises her hand in front of the Reverend's face, moving it to the side to test his vision. But this time, the Reverend's eyes don't respond.
I can't see anythin'.
+CLOSE ON MIKE 50
reacting in stunned disbelief as we:
END OF ACT TWO
EXT. CLINIC - DAY FOUR 51
A clearly shaken Mike stands in front of the clinic, facing the equally stunned crowd.
What d'you mean, it's worse?
How could this happen?
(trying to figure it out herself)
I... I don't know. The atrophy has progressed. I was hoping to at least see some regeneration...
Thought you said it was only gonna be temporary.
Mike looks at them, struggling to find an answer. Andrew steps in to help out:
It's true, in most cases it is temporary. But there are some instances when the condition doesn't reverse itself.
As Andrew and the crowd continue their discussion, Mike notices something up the street:
+HER POV 52
of Sully, standing at the corner, watching.
You mean the Reverend's gonna stay blind?
+BACK TO MIKE 53
her spirits continuing to sink.
It's still somewhat [early --
Why don't you just admit it? He's gone blind.
(beat, to the crowd)
Lotta good all our prayin' did.
This quiets the crowd, hitting them hard. Jake heads off toward the barbershop, passing a stunned and silent Hank as:
Mike turns to Brian, who stands holding his star. He looks devastated, trying to understand what's happened... and now his disappointment turns to anger. He slams the star against a post, destroying it, before running off up the street.
But he keeps running. Sully tries to stop him as he runs past.
Brian, hold on --
Leave me alone!
He disappears around the corner. Sully steps over and picks up the smashed star. He looks sadly back at Mike, who just stands there. Like everyone else, she too is struggling to understand what has happened... and why.
INT. RECOVERY ROOM (FRENCH DOORS) - DAY FOUR 54
Mike examines the Reverend's eyes with the ophthalmoscope. The Reverend looks increasingly despondent, giving up all hope.
I'd like to continue with the herbs... and I'll examine you daily for signs of regeneration.
The Reverend says nothing. Mike lowers the ophthalmoscope, struggling very hard to be optimistic (she's grasping at straws here -- she's not sure he'll get better, but she's still refusing to accept the alternative).
I won't give up, Reverend. I've wired several additional specialists. I'll keep searching until I find a way to get your sight back.
A KNOCK at the door breaks the moment. Mike looks over to see Loren standing