Sunday, 6 November 2011

Review: Supernatural 7.07 "The Mentalists"

Warning: Contains episode spoilers and just a little gushing
Never ended well for the siblings
I’m not going to lie, I loved The Mentalists. And you know what? I’ve loved the last two episodes too. I thought Shut Up, Dr. Phil and Slash Fiction were rippers….excuse me for not reviewing them, but with ChiCon and just getting back to stupid real life, they fell through the cracks…but I’m here now and like I said, I loved The Mentalists. So can everyone stop trashing the show for a moment and appreciate how damn good it is? I've read some really disturbing commentary over the last few days and I'm baffled at some of the 'insights'. This is my personal blog space, so this is my personal opinion, but I think those of you who know me and have been reading my reviews for the last 2 and a half seasons, know that I try to remain balanced at all times. I try to put forward an honest opinion and I will call the show out on its failings when I see them. But I don't believe we always have to try to find something to fault. Sometimes it should be enough to just sit back and enjoy the ride. I really dug every second of this episode, so I'm just going to write it up like that. In fact, this might well be my favourite episode of the season. 

Didn’t it feel good to have the brother’s working together again? Even if they were cranky with each other. Figuring it all out on their own without Bobby or any Heavenly help. Salting and burning. Didn’t that feel good? YOU BET YOUR ASS IT DID! It felt real good. It felt real good to see them relying on each other, on their skills and on their smarts. It’s been a while. You know it felt so good, I kinda don’t want to go into the nitty gritty too much! In fact….let’s just end this right here....

I KID! But seriously, this was too much fun for me to want to go too deep. Like I said, sometimes it should be enough just to sit back and enjoy the ride.

So we finally get the script from the Bens Blacker and Acker. I’ve been waiting for this one. I’m a huge fan of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, if you haven’t listened to their podcast, you really should. Ben Blacker also hosts The Nerdist Writer’s Panel podcast, once again, a must listen as far as I’m concerned and I’m sure we’ve all enjoyed them toying with us on twitter. I loved their script and I told them. Ben Acker said, “thank you all the way!” I think he’s been very busy getting back to everyone’s very positive tweets! What I loved about their script was, even though they’re the new kids on the block, new to the writer’s room this season, it felt like they really did their research. There were quite a few shout outs to early seasons, like Pamela and Missouri and even the MOTW was old school, an old school nasty ass ghost. Good on you boys and welcome aboard! That’s two weeks in a row new writers have knocked it out of the park and knocked the more established writers on their asses. Mmmmm fresh blood.
So Sammy went awol and Dean was looking at his phone hoping for a message. Nawwww. Yeah we’ve seen this before, but you know what, so what. I had an interesting rant on Facebook the other day about this very thing. Someone was bitching and moaning about how there’s no character development any more and that the boys keep doing the same thing, making the same mistakes and I said….well, these boys are actually men in their 30’s….well Sam’s nearly 30 and let’s face it, you get to a certain age and really, you don’t change that much, you’re kind of who you are. Sure you learn a little something here and there, but essentially, we all keep making the same dumb mistakes because you get to a point where that is just who you are and how you react. This is not repetition, this is being true to the characterisation of Sam and Dean that has been meticulously created over the past seven years. Yes, they’ve matured and grown. After everything they've seen and been through how could that not change them on a cellular level. I mean, every now and then they even seem to be able to talk a little bit about their feelings…God forbid….but at their essence they are who they are and who they've always been. Dean has always flown off the handle and Sam has always run away. Dean would rather not talk, Sam wants to talk about everything. They’ve always got on each other’s nerves from the first moment we met them. They’ve been living in each other’s back pockets for pretty much their entire life, they're gonna bug each other. They're very different people. They're going to do things the other one doesn't like and they're going to have their secrets occasionally. That's family after all. To be any different would be out of character for them. This is who they are, who they've become, who they've grown in to for good and for bad. But at the basis of everything is love. They are siblings, siblings fight, but they usually find a way to get past their differences and find common ground. This is what Sam and Dean do. This is what they always do. People don't continually change, that's a fact of life, for them to be in a constant state of growth and transition is unrealistic. And don't forget, sibling acts always have it hard!
I loved Dean in this episode (redundant statement is redundant). He seemed to have some form of verbal diarrhea! I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him talk so much. He just babbled when he ran into Sam. Obviously his ploy was just keep talking and Sam won’t be able to get away! I loved how at the end of his diatribe about the case he just goes “Anyway, this is good. And, uh, how you been?” Haven’t we all been in that situation, where someone’s had the shits with us and we just kind of talk in the hope that we can just talk them in to submission? I was laughing my ass off. Also the fact he just kept throwing out the jokes and one-liners and Sam’s bitchface never moved. Never moved! 
Sam’s bitchface was EPIC! I want a sequence of all his bitchfaces from this episode, they were brilliant. I'm quite sure Sam thought Dean had tracked him down and his annoyance was palatable. I like that they'd just ended up in the same place because, this is what they do and who they are. They can't keep away from each other even when one of them is trying to keep away from the other. I wonder how long Sam would have stayed away from Dean had Dean not stumbled upon him? Another thing I liked about this diner scene was how the crazy pregnant yoga woman thought they were Leviathan Sam and Dean. Nice. Really, their faces were everywhere and you know, those are faces you take notice of, so it was awesome to see that recognised, dare I say, for a change. It was also awesome to recognise that Dean IS a virile manifestation of the Divine. Yes indeedy he is, actually he literally is if you think about the whole Michael’s vessel thing.
So the case involved a nice girl who made woo woo eyes at Dean. Yay! Once again, so old school. The girls of the week always go for one of the brothers and I was glad to see, this time around, it was Dean getting a bit of female attention. Lord knows he sorely needs some. I think it’d do him the world of good…………………………………………..I’m sorry what? Oh right, where was I, oh yes, Dean needs to get a bit. Wait, no, Melanie. I liked her, did you like her? I know someone who will complain she was a brunette (you know who you are >:D) but I really liked her. I thought her scene with Dean at the end of the episode was just too gosh darn adorable. He was all leg twitchy and awkward and he literally threw his hands up when Sam went outside to “do something.” Nawwww Sam! Oh, just, bless! I liked Melanie a lot and I liked their flirtation a lot. More please.
There were so many moments in The Mentalists that pointed at the Winchester’s relationship. Apart from the ‘psychics’ all accidentally reading them, “You’re pissed and you’re stressed” and “A loss weighs on you, your angry, it’s complicated,” there was Camille with “Family is a pain in the ass” and the whole  “Never ended well for the siblings the strain of working together or maybe being around each other all their lives.” But it was the Fox sisters analogy that I really dug. One sister was psychically gifted and the other was not. The one without the apparent psychic gift took care of the other sister, “Sometimes one’s true gift is taking care of others.” I loved this whole thing. Dean has always been the caretaker in his family but for some reason, he doesn’t seem to recognise the importance of this and yet without him, I hate to think where John or Sam would have ended up. Taking care of people is his true gift….*sigh*.  I also wondered if this was a little bit of a thumb on the nose to the fans who don't think the writer's give Dean a purpose. I've never thought that, Dean is essential to the balance of, well everything as far as I'm concerned. Anyway, grist for the mill, thank you museum man.
Then out of the blue, Ellen! I adore Ellen and I adore her even more now that I know she’s still looking out for the boys from the other side. She always called Dean on his bullshit; hey, doesn't everyone. I loved what she said to him, but it also made me worried, because he really must be in one hell of a dark place to have her reach out like that. I think hearing this from 'Ellen' shook Dean into action. Brought the Dean out in him, if you will. I hope Dean continues to to think about what she said, because if anyone could kick his ass from the beyond, it's Ellen! Maybe this spiritual ass kicking will start him on a more healthy path…emotionally speaking…wait…was that another pig flying past my window? That always seems to happen when I’m writing reviews!
The argument out of the footpath reminded me of when Sam took Dean to task for being a dick in Fallen Idol. Though he thought Sam deserved it, Dean really was being a bit of a dick to Sam in that episode and he got called on it and in the end, after some pondering, he saw Sam's point and took it on board admitting that maybe Sam was right. This time the shoe was on the other foot. I like. I think Sam had every right to be pissed with Dean for lying to him, he felt betrayed and I think Dean had every right to tell Sam to stop being a bitch, it'd gone on long enough. I’m pretty balanced on this one; I think they both had a pretty good case in this argument. But Dean simply had an 'I'm over this' moment and called Sam on the silent treatment. What I liked about this though, was Dean knows Sam well enough to say his piece and just walk away. You could see straight up, as Sam glared daggers at Dean’s exiting back, that Sam was already thinking. These boys sure do like to brood and over-think and they always seem to find some way to punish each other, but eventually, they see the light, because as I said earlier, at the basis of everything in their relationship is love. There get’s a point when you’re dealing with someone you care about, who’s angry with you, where you just go, "I get it, now get over it!" That’s what Dean did and it worked. I thought the exchange on the footpath felt good and honest and very 'them'. Maybe the fact that Sam had to kill someone, a human, in The Mentalist also helped him better understand Dean and question his own anger over Dean's motivation for killing Amy. That Sam didn't get all fretty about it was a little mind-blowing. Still, the last thing we need now is Sam to get the guilts on top of everything else he's dealing with. Really, I can do without that. I've had my Wincherstery angst quota for a while.
Look, I never had a problem with Dean killing Amy, I got why he did it from day one and I never thought Amy was actually the issue for Sam or Dean, it was the lying plain and simple and anyone who thought this was all about Amy really has to question their understanding of these characters. It's always going to be about Sam and Dean and how they effect each other, everything is always about them on some level, that is how they effect each other and it was good to see that recognised. Sam finally said he got why Dean killed Amy and that if he was honest with himself, if it was any other monster he’d have a hard time letting it walk away. Amy wasn't just an innocent single mother, she was a killer, who had killed at least 4 people that we know of. There could never, ever be any guarantee she wouldn't kill again if the same circumstance arose, regardless of her good intentions. Hopefully this is the last time I'll have to say anything on the Amy issue. Then Sam challenged Dean on his gloomy, boozy behaviour of late, mistakenly reading it as guilt over the killing. This time, Dean answered Sam honestly and said, killing Amy felt right in his gut, but lying to Sam didn’t, he didn’t like lying to his brother and Sam said, “I know how that is.” Yeah he does, because he’s kept a couple of pearlers from Dean in his time. When it comes to laying guilt, you can’t point the finger at one brother and not at the other, to do that is incredibly one-eyed. I saw their coming together at the end of this episode as very mature and you know what that is? Character development.
Dean also mentioned Cas. Losing Cas and Cas betraying him with Crowley weighs heavily on Dean. We’ve seen him dreaming about Cas, he says he’s having a hard time trusting anyone since Cas. He's  not going to go around talking about it or openly mourning his friend because that's not who Dean is, he has and always will swallow down his sadness, but that doesn't mean it's not weighing on him. It's obvious and I don't need that spoon fed to me by the writers, I understand Dean enough to know how this is effecting him. Saying that lying to Sam was making him “climb walls” is just the tip of Dean's iceberg. I think Ellen was saying a lot more. There's a lot more to Dean's current dark mood. But hey, it’s a start right? Opening up to each other even just a little, (over a car other than the Impala - SACRELIDGE!) that’s got to be a step in the right direction (except for the car). Here’s to the end of this Amy nonsense, I only ever saw that as a plot point that would eventually bring the brother's closer together and re-establish their relationship, which I know I've been sorely missing and here's to a little bit more open dialogue between the Winchester boys….HA! Yeah right! Did you see how Dean could barely look at Sam most of the way through that little opening up session. Really uncomfortable with sharing there Dean! Nawww but at least he's trying. Jensen rocked that scene. Both Jensen and Jared were fabulous in this episode.
So is that it? Is that all I have to say? Yeah pretty much. Like I said, you don't have to always find something to fault. I would like to add….I really liked all the gore of the last few episodes. The spoon bending death, the Leviathan chowing down on someone, the decapitations and the beating heart cupcakes. They made me gag…quite literally…and the only other time that’s happened was when zombie guts were rubbed over everyone in The Walking Dead! Ewwww! I loved that we found out a little more about Bobby. I always enjoy a bit of Bobby back story. I also thoroughly enjoyed Bobby and Sheriff Mills' little flirtation. Nice. I loved a bunch of lines in The Mentalists, particularly “Probably should’ve bent those with the power of his mind.” Dean! How Sam kept his bitchface in place with that one beats me. I love how perfect the graves the boys dig always are. If ever this monster-hunting business doesn’t work out for them I think they’d have a nice career ahead as symmetrical gravediggers! I also loved how Dean couldn’t get his lighter going. That whole scene was reminiscent of The Real Ghostbusters right down to the ghost warning them and then the boys going and accidentally salting and burning her! I loved that the nasty ass ghost called Dean handsome, I always enjoy it when their looks are referenced because, well....really! I loved that it was a pretty tense episode, which I think I’ll put down to Mike Rohl, a very experience director who’s been with the show since season 2 and directed On The Head Of A Pin, Appointment In Samara and And Then There Were None to name but a few, which may be three of the tensest episodes of the series.

I loved how we knew Sam and Dean were going to be ok when Sam moaned “Dean” in exasperation at Dean’s terrible boning her joke and then had to look away when Dean threatened to punch out the affirming waiter. I love that I feel like, finally, they are on the right track, that makes me incredibly happy and I really, really loved the nod to Chinatown, the only thing that would’ve made that more perfect would be if Sam had a plaster over his nose. “Forget it Sam, it’s Lilydale”. 

Thanks for reading this rather shapeless rambling review! Sorry about 7.05 and 7.06….you never know, I may get inspired to write them up….one day.

Let me know what you thought of the episode!
See you next week for THE WEDDING!


  1. Now THIS I LOVE::)))...No punching Sam....I loved the episode too was one that should have oleased ALL fandom..rofl::DD

  2. Wow, I love your review - it embodies everything that I think and feel about this season of Supernatural. The grave digging, the gruesome (AWESOME) death of the spoon bender and some tension between the brothers - LOVED IT!

    So glad to finally find someone out there who actually appreciates what the show gives us!

    Ps. posting this as anonymous because I'm on my phone and don't have a quick login :)

  3. I was so glad to read your review. What, no scathing comments about how there is no progression to these characters? Thank you. I am loving season seven. The MOTW, Sam & Dean back doing what they do best "Hunting things, saving people, the family business". And I loved the little flirtation between Dean and Melanie, it was so sweet. Thanks for pointing out the similarities to "Fallen Idols", I hadn't caught on to that one.