Monday, 20 February 2012

Review: Supernatural 7.15 - Repo Man

Warning: contains episode spoilers. 

He’s a psychopath Sam, that’s what they do all the time, is act.
Act like they’re normal, act like they’re not balls to the wall crazy. 

I agree with Dean, demons I get, people are crazy. In fact, I’m pretty sure if I utter an exorcism in my daily life at least 2 people would spew forth demon smoke. At least. Maybe I’ll try that on Monday, just for a lark. Note to self: remember to wear your anti-possession pendant….. So I guess it’s no surprise that sooner or later we’d revisit the fact that sometimes the brothers are going to come across humans who are as evil as even the most evil of supernatural things the Winchesters hunt. But like so many episodes this season, “Repo Man” was not about that. It was about parallels. It was about Jeffrey and his dependence on his Demon paralleled with Sam and his growing dependence on his Devil. It was about how the serial killer fakes being ok, hiding what’s really going on inside, just as Sam fakes being ok and hides the truth, day in, day out. There was even a parallel between Jeffrey and Dean and how loss had affected them both, the drinking, the suicidal thoughts. There was a lot going on in “Repo Man”, it was a damn smart episode, but I’d expect nothing less from Ben Edlund.

Ah Mr Edlund, let me kneel in worship before your weird genius. Yes, yes, you all know how much I adore him. I won’t bore you with my devotion again. But….what a lovely writer this guy is. With the amount of subtext in “Repo Man”, you never once felt like you were being hit over the head with it. It was all there for us to discover and explore, layer upon layer. Then, because we’re Supernatural fans, talk about and dissect incessantly. It was creepy and suspenseful and it had me on the edge of my seat.  I love how Edlund writes the Winchesters, he absolutely gets the depth of their characters and the words he creates that come out of their mouths are always pitch perfect. I also love how he writes Lucifer. I dig how Lucifer is portrayed in Supernatural. I thought it was ballsy back when they introduced him and I still think it’s ballsy now. It’s not your typical picture of the Devil, but then this isn’t your typical show is it? Add to all of the above, the dark and rather twisted story that unfolded in “Repo Man” and we have another highlight episode of the season.  We’re on a run!

The whole demon waltzing with Jeffrey thing really wigged me out. That was so strange don’t you think? Really hammered home the unnaturalness of the supernatural. And the poor puppy! Did he have to go and be so gosh darn cute as to pick up his cone in his mouth and wander off to his death wagging his tail? I mean really! As soon as I saw that fluff-ball I thought, “Nuts! The dog’s a goner!” It’s funny (or it’s probably not actually), but kill as many humans as you like in TV and movies and I’ll pretty much shrug it off, but kill an animal and I sweat on it for days! Bad Mr Edlund (p.s. I love you).

There’s been a lot of back and forth about whether the flashback in “Repo Man” took place in season 3 or 4. It really doesn’t matter one way or the other, but I assumed it was 3, due to the ferocity of the interrogation of the demon inside Jeffrey. My assumption was, this was about finding Lilith to release Dean from his Hell deal and wasn’t about the breaking of the seals. The knife used by Dean, that he then covered in Holy water, was not Ruby’s knife and they did have her knife in season 4, so you’d expect to see them using it. You get a good look at the knife when Dean draws it out and sharpens it. I did see commentary around the fact that Dean was a skilled torturer in the flashback, which yes, could point to season 4. But surely he’d be more squirrely about torturing post Hell? He wasn’t even real keen about having to torture Alastair, who totally deserved it. Also, you’d think the Winchesters would be able to put two and two together and realise a Holy water soaked knife is more powerful than just a knife. I don’t believe Dean would need Alastair to teach him something so basic. The boy has brains after all. I’m sure his dad taught him plenty too. Maybe even Bobby. This is what these guys have been doing their entire lives and they’re not stupid. I’m sure they have plenty of tricks up their sleeve. But then again, maybe Dean never thought of it for some reason and the Holy water soaked knife is the only thing that definitively points to the season…without asking Ben of course. Seems flimsy but…. My assumption that it was season 3 also does not allow for the ‘lost year’, but that seems to have been totally ignored by the writers in the past. If you remember the calendar in “You Can’t Handle The Truth” showed the year as our current year and not a year ahead. So if they’re not paying attention to Dean’s year off, then neither am I. Therefore, depending upon which timeline you follow, four years back could be either season 3 or season 4! Geesh! Look, we could all go down the rabbit hole with this one, I think we over think this stuff anyway. Like, way over think it! Season 3 or 4, who cares, I don’t think it has any significance. That’s not what this scene was about. The importance of this scene was to set the storyline in motion, introduce Jeffrey and establish a solid reason for Dean to feel empathy and then guilt regarding Jeffrey, allowing the later to use this to his advantage.

The other thing that seemed to throw the cat amongst the pigeons was the torture scene itself. You know, this didn’t even remotely bother me. I don’t know what that says about me, but anyway. The brothers needed the information. They explained to Jeffrey what the deal was and what they’d have to do, and as my friend Kara put it, he signed the permission slip. Then they went for it. They’re not going to snuggle the information out of the demon. They’re not going to get the information by asking nicely. They’re going to do what they need to do. These guys aren’t there to provide therapy, they’re warriors, they’re soldiers and sure, they’re the good guys and they’re incredibly empathetic (to a fault more often than not), but in battle, choices have to be made. This is how they were raised and somehow they’ve managed to balance it out pretty well, all things considered, and hold on to their humanity. But unfortunately, sometimes the innocent are going to get hurt. Not that Jeffrey turned out to be innocent! I literally had not one single issue with any of it. They got Jeffrey out, they got him to the hospital and they cleaned up the mess left behind so he didn’t go down for a murder he didn’t commit. There you go…that was thoughtful wasn’t it?

Oh dear, poor Sammy. So we finally got a little peek at what Sam sees. 24/7 Satan-Vision. Lucifer babbling away at him. Following him around like an evil imaginary friend. Whispering not so sweet nothings in Sam’s ear. Wow, I’ve got to say, I’m super impressed that Sam has held it together for this long. I’m super impressed he’s managed to keep his fragile state of mind hidden. How exhausting. But now, he’s let the Devil in and there’s no going back. There’s no pressing the palm to get rid of him again. His stone number one has crumbled. He blocked him out for as long as he could and now Sam’s booked a one-way ticket to crazy-town. Well let’s hope it’s a return ticket, because we need sane Sammy back. The Devil is a nasty piece of work. I say that like I’m surprised! He played on Sam’s weak spot. Dean. Helping Sam to find the answers that he needed to find his brother. He seemed to know things that Sam didn’t. Interesting that Sam's manifestation of Lucifer can tap into Sam's subconscious. The more desperate Sam got, the more necessary Lucifer became. Forcing Sam to break, acknowledge and turn to him. Lucifer finally managed to loosen Sam’s lid. It was such a beautiful dance.

Mark Pellegrino is something else. Lucifer is one of my absolute favourite characters. How can he not be? He’s a total brat. The way he tried to block Sam’s vision in the library. Creating hallucinations of the people banging their heads against the desk. Pouting because Sam wouldn’t speak to him. Poking out his forked tongue. Goading Sam into being tough and harsh with Nora. What a right bastard. The closing image of Sam sitting amongst the Hellfire as Lucifer screamed out “Good morning Vietnam!” I think every hair on my body stood up. O-oh. Sam’s face. Once again a fabulous job done here by the entire cast. Jared’s eyes in that final frame broke my heart. He managed to find a beautiful balance between stoic and cracked. Agh. Poor Sam.

This was the second week in a row we didn’t see Dean drink. Mind you, he didn’t have a lot of time being all bound to a chair and all……… wait, what was I saying? Oh yes. Apparently he’s oblivious to Sam’s true mental state. Sam seems to have done an excellent snow job on him. Or maybe Dean’s simply believing what he wants to believe. Believing Sam is ok because that’s better than the alternative. Good grief, I’m antsy about how he’s going to handle it all when his brother’s last shred of sanity finally goes down the tubes. The possibility of losing Sam on top of everyone else he’s lost this past year. Damn.

Jeffrey easily sniffed out Dean’s emotional frame of mind. Though Dean didn’t seem to fall for a moment of it. He looks a bit stronger don’t you think? Jeffrey used the drinking, emotional shell line, but it seemed to wash over Dean this time. Sure, he’d been feeling like crap for the chaos they left behind in Jeffrey’s life, but like he said, they’re the good guys. He apologised and he didn’t look too beaten up by the whole thing, for a change. That for me, felt like an improvement! Or have I got my rose coloured Winchester glasses on again? He didn’t seem to be mulling over Jeffrey’s emotional manipulation either, when he got back to the motel, he simply wanted to crash out. He felt less, I don’t know, tortured? Or self-torturing? Not that I think he's out of the woods, that's for sure. But with what’s coming, I hope he is in a bit of a better place…. He’s going to need all his Deanness to get through.

I also want to say that Russell Sams, who played Jeffrey, did an amazing job. He had that whole vulnerable-turn-on-a-dime-to-crazy thing really working for him. You know who he reminded me of? Kevin Spacey’s character in The Usual Suspects. Maybe it was the limp? But more likely it was (look away if you don’t want to be spoiled for that movie), the complete turn around, the twist when you find out he’s the big-bad after all. Of course, in our case the CW in all their brainiac glory popped the twist in the promo, so, well I wasn’t surprised. Promos 101 people! Don’t give the damn twist away. Geeze.

And demons. I miss demons. I miss their black eyes, snarky humour and billowing smoke. By the way, I loved how the demon smoke in the teaser interacted with the opening titles. Very cool. So what do you think that demon meant at the end, when he said they’d be back, back in black. Think that was a reference to the Leviathan? Or that Crowley might be rallying his demon army against Dick friggin’ Roman? I mean, surely Crowley has to be back. He wouldn’t slink away like that. Or slither away. We really need to get the Leviathan arc back on the front burner please. Frank, do your job! Stop finding dick and find Dick!

“Repo Man” was a first rate, clever episode, with the luring of the brothers back to town, the manipulation of Dean by Jeffrey, the manipulation of Sam by Lucifer, the insight into Sam’s melon and the parallels between the brothers and the ones trying to pull their strings. There was lots of lovely stuff for us to mull over. As we do. Like recognising the aftermath of a Winchester visit. There are people all over small town America who carry the scars of a supernatural encounter and a Winchester rescue! Of course the boys save their lives, but then they move on and the people left behind probably don’t. I thought that was an interesting thing to investigate. Oh and…we got a little glimpse of the amulet and of the Impala. I miss the Impala. I want her back. It was very nice to see the amulet again too. All in all…totally excellent.

Next episode…which is weeks away on March 16 (the agony), looks like we’re starting down the road to the end game, at least it looks like we’re going to see the aftermath of Sam’s mental break and then the following week, the reintroduction of a certain character and all the confusion and stress that’s going to bring! Sounds like we’re in for a bumpy ride…..again. We best all come together for regular group hugs!

So, how did you feel about “Repo Man”?

I’ll see you in a couple of weeks after LAcon with some reports! I’m doing both the Jensen and the Jared Q&As, so I’ll write them up and share. You should see my grin right about now…

I have no excuse for this cap….I included it just ‘cause….well it’s obvious isn’t it?

I have no excuse for this one either....

Thanks for reading!

Here's a preview of what looks like 7.16 & 7.17.... But it's March 16...



  1. Oh Amy, what an awesome recap, as always!! This episode really blew me's one of those ep that makes you watch it again right after you finish it the first time! thanks Mr Edlund! I loved the flashback, the Chevy (yay!), the ring (yay!), the amulet (yay!), even the bracelet (yay!!). The scene was pretty intense, and I loved it. I guess sometimes we kinda "forget" that Sam and Dean can be quite scary when they need to get something at all cost. Sammy, oh Sammy, I see dark times ahead, the last scene made my skin crawl with anticipation... as for Dean.. no drinking, no self-torturing, and that crashing on the bed muttering "screw consciousness"...? To me Dean looked during the whole ep. I don't know, kinda.. numb? like he's truly faking it like Frank told him to, convincing himself that everything is fine with Sam, avoiding to investigate further his brother's mental state... which means that when Sam will finally loose it in the next ep, I think Dean will let all his suppressed rage and grief flow freely.. and I really wouldn't wanna be Dick Roman when that happens.. not at all.
    ok, sorry for the long long rant!! :)

  2. we hit a lot of the same points again! I didn't go too much into Dean's manipulation by jeffrey because, well,, Sam was snowed by him too. I saw the Jeffrey snowplow as more of a full Winchester thing...Although yes, he totally played into Dean. One of the reasons I love Dean so much can best be quoted with something Lynne said about Buck to Edmund in LA Confidential (one of my favorite movies ever)--That she loves him because he can't hide the good inside of him. I feel that way about Dean. I always have. He is tough, and he is jaded, but he wears his heart on his sleeve. But I don't need to preach to you about Dean love! :D
    The episode was wonderful, but it has me so worried about Sam--well Edlund is such a genius. I didn't talk much into Luci using Dean as the way to get Sam to pay attention to him--although I was going to mention it (review. too. long. as. it.was.) Especially we see it start in the library when Luci starts showing Sam crap, and he just keeps trying to block it out. Then after he is seriously getting worried...Luci remarks that was Dean's last cell, something must be wrong. Big Brother's probably dead. That got Sam to finally say "Shut up" to Luci...D:

    But what was ingenious about the Sam/Lucifer talking scenes were that the way that they went, they really were like someone working things through in their heads. without the assistance of lucifer, or some other demon. In creating this Lucifer persona, Sam has attributed some of his more self righteous smart boy reasoning skills to Lucifer (probably a personality trait he feels was something that made him an appropriate "vessel" for luci in the first place. Sam needs to take from that that it isn't LUCIFER giving him the answers, he is figuring them out himself. there is no real lucifer in his head, it is only a fractioned off portion of his own psyche... what a wild ride this has been. This season has been so amazing. and I found the need to tweet when he called the dog over for butchering "NO ACTUAL ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS EPISODE!" well, long comment is long...not nearly as long as my review...but getting there! great review as always Amy :D

    p.s. sorry this posted 3 times on the web site! D: it was freaking out on me!

  3. and oopsy, BUD White not, that's what I get for racing through comment with diarrhea of the pen!

  4. The Supernatural Seasons 1- 7 dvd box set is an American television series show, SUPERNATURAL SEASON 7 is on are hotly now. While investigating a number of murders, Dean as well as Sam learn how the Egyptain lord Osiris accounts for the killings. A lord with only revenge upon his thoughts, Osiris is actually putting arbitrary people upon trial for just about any mistakes they have made previously and after that promptly eliminating them in the event that they're discovered guilty. On sensing Dean's shame, Osiris places him upon trial along with Sam getting Dean's attorney.

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