Monday, 11 February 2013

Review - Supernatural 8.13 "Everybody Hates Hilter"

The epicness of “Supernatural” has always been its heart and in recent seasons, that heart has been inconsistent. We’ve had episodes that have seemed to capture that feeling that won us all over in the beginning, but not as often as most of us would like. The perpetual struggles of the brothers, their destinies, quests, losses and misfortunes have more often than not, put that lovely heart, that ‘SamandDeanness’ in the back of the picture, somewhere behind the season mythology and the brother’s latest butting-of-the-heads crisis.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t dug plenty of episodes, I have. There’s still been plenty to enjoy. It also doesn’t mean I’ve ever doubted the brother’s bond or their love – when push shoves, they always have each other’s back and always will. They will always been the most important person to each other. But it sometimes felt like something was missing. That special something, that lightning in a bottle that made us all fall in love with Sam and Dean in the first place and as much as I’ve been thoroughly enjoying season 8 and as much as I also enjoyed seasons 6 and 7…that little bit of something-something that these two glorious brothers have, has not been as evident week in, week out, as I think most of us would like. Excuse me for speaking on your behalf, but I think a lot of fans missed a bit of epic broness, the fondness, or basically, a bit of warmth.

In the end, it didn’t take much to bring back something many fans feared might be gone forever…it didn’t take much to bring back that heart and warmth.... Just some quiet moments, some beautiful characterisations and a script by Ben Edlund.

When Sam said “Son of a bitch” and Dean called Sam “Little brother” I knew things were going to be good right there... From that moment I started smiling and I didn’t stop.....

I completely loved “Everybody Hates Hitler”. It made me happy. Not in the way that the LARPing episode did, which was simply geeky fun, but in a deeper, more familiar way. This episode was about the core themes of “Supernatural”. It was about family and legacy. Family and legacy have been the absolute guts of the story of the Winchesters ever since the beginning and to bring it front and centre once again, felt like an incredibly important turning point. It brought up so many familiar feelings for me. Everything about this episode hit the right notes.

It was a neat story. It was fun and funny. It had action, pathos and whack-a-doo comedy – as only Edlund seems to be able to juggle. It had great secondary characters – Hal Linden for heaven’s sake! It expanded on the newly introduced “Men of Letters” concept in a totally engaging and intriguing way. It had MOTW mythology rooted in reality and not everyone died at the end! Which means, that all the goodies and the baddies could make a comeback somewhere down the track! I love that! It’s always such a drag when they bring something neat into an episode and everything gets ganked and you think, well darn…they were kinda cool, I would’ve liked to see them again! I’m glad the Thule is still out there somewhere and that Sam and Dean now know about them and I’m glad that the Judah Initiative is still alive and kicking, because Aaron and his Golem are beyond awesome. This season the “Supernatural” Universe seems to be expanding and after the claustrophobic and dour vibe of season 7, I think that’s a great thing. But the best thing of all…”Everybody Hates Hitler” had some lovely Sam and Dean moments.

Oh the new Batcave, it’s so pretty. How wonderful was the brother’s reactions to the MoL lair? Both Sam and Dean were perfection. Sam completely geeked over the possibilities of all that information and what it could mean to them as Hunters, Dean geeked out over the power-shower and the boys-toys! Bless them both. The brothers were so great throughout this whole episode. Edlund really knows how to write them as individuals and as a duo.

I love this new place for Sam. It’s like he finally sees how he fits. He’s never felt complete at ease with the path of being Hunter, not all the time. He's half looked for something else, whether it was college, or a different life away from the Family Business. Whatever it was, something seemed to be missing for Sam. Now it’s like he has that final piece of his own puzzle. This legacy of research and knowledge, things that he’s interested in and enjoys, understanding and information which will only enhance his and his brother’s epic hunting skills. A sense of belonging. He looked like a kid in a candy shop. All those books, all that choice.

Dean at first, not seeing how anything from pre-1958 could possibly be of relevance, goes straight into creature comforts mode. He is nothing if not someone who enjoys the pleasures of life! The space, the shower, the dead-guy robe and slippers, not to mention the cool swords and he put in a mini-fridge to hold his beers! But as soon as he saw how the information in the MoL library led to a current case, he snapped straight into Hunter mode and was onboard. You could tell then, that though this joint is never going to hold the same kind of joys for him as it does for Sam, he understands its importance.

I love how Sam went off all dressed in his academic outfit! His jumper. His…what were they, Hushpuppies or something? He’s the hottest researcher ever! He was so quick to figure out the book thing and then he knew the library codes! Of course he did! And the way Dean pointed to him with pride like, "That's my brother!" I loved Sam so much in this episode.

I loved Dean and his getting flustered when he totally misread Aaron on their first meeting – thinking he was being followed and then realising he was being hit on! Hee. “Why you following me gingerbread?” I loved that line! Of course he was right he was being followed! Oh awkward Dean how I heart you. And look at him…I mean, who the hell wouldn’t hit on Dean Winchester quite frankly. Damn.

I also adored the entire conversation the brothers had outside the bar. A handful of words between them and they had a plan down pat. Wow, it’s like they’re a team or something! They were so on the same page in this episode, my Winchester brother loving heart runneth over. Little looks, little nods...they were connected and working as one.

Then there was Aaron and his Golem. A hilarious odd couple. I think these two are my favourite guest characters for a long time. As much as Aaron was snarky he was also nicely rounded out. There was a lot of depth to his character. You instantly liked him. You empathised with him. You understood his plight. The Golem could have been one dimensional, but instead he turned out to be incredibly human. When Aaron decided to accept his grandfather’s legacy, the Golem looked almost proud of him.

Aaron was also used nicely to show how others might see the brothers. I’ve noticed that a couple of times this season. I mean we’re used to what they do right? But to others, what must they look like? “What do you two just break in wherever you go?” Well, yeah they do. And what was one of my favourite moments of the episode, when Aaron was watching the brothers burn the Necromancer corpse. “Oh my God, these guys are psychopaths”. Ha! Sam and Dean were merrily chatting away as they poured the gasoline in the newly dug grave. So blasé about the whole thing, dropping the flame in and then the pièce de résistance, Sam warms his hands over the burning body! Oh my gosh I screamed with laughter! That was brilliance. I wonder if it was inscript?

One thing that really jumped out at me in this episode was that you can tell Ben Edlund is not only a damn fine writer; he’s an experienced writer. I loved his light touch with the family legacy parallel between Aaron and his grandfather leaving the J.I. legacy to him and the brothers discovering, via their grandfather, their “Men of Letters” legacy. For a change we didn’t have something like this dropped on us like an anvil from a great height! It was nicely integrated into the story, subtle – that’s experienced writing for you. The other thing I loved that Ben did was referencing Cass and Kevin. We go for episodes with characters that are key to the storylines of the season, not even getting a mention. All it took was a couple of lines to note that Kevin was doing ok, but didn’t have any answers, Garth said hi, and Cass wasn't answering the boy's prayers and we tied everything in. Once again – that’s experienced writing for you.

Did you also all notice the music choices? At the beginning of the episode the song playing in the MoL batcave was “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” and at the end it was “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” I mean…Sam’s been haunted by this horrific destiny of being Satan’s vessel and everything that came before and after that revelation…and now, here he is…a new beginning…a new place in his world. Something that makes total sense to him… Get thee behind me Satan indeed! I was IN LOVE with that song playing. Then finishing the episode with “On the Sunny Side of the Street”. The perfection. If that’s not a positive omen for where we’re going, I don’t know what is.

Then there was the closing scene. Dean can see how into this new legacy business Sam is, as he makes a catalogue entry from their latest case, and he can see it makes Sam happy. After all his inner turmoil about not wanting to hunt, wanting something else, Sam looks happy, he looks content. “So what, Aaron’s a J.I. and you’re a Man of Letters now, is that it” [Sam simply smiles to himself] “Good.” Man, I loved this. It makes Dean happy to see his brother happy. It’s been a while. They both sit there in silence, completely comfortable with each other, Sam writing up some research, Dean happily sitting with his brother, feet up on the table. Yes. Yes. Yes. It makes me all wibbly just thinking about it. I sighed out a great big sigh of pure joy.

I also have to mention Jensen and his comic timing…again. The guy is just damn funny. And for someone with a completely beautiful face…he has an amazing range of facial expressions! I always appreciate his commitment to a gag too. Like the sword…the look on his face just as he’s going in for that big swing and Sam turns around. He also delivered some cracking lines. Man, he’s wonderful…just…look…don’t start me ok...

I hope Sam and Dean keep the discovery of the MoL batcave to themselves at least for a little bit. The fewer people who know about the place; the less chance of any nasty coming in and trying to access its secrets. Besides that…I want the boys to have their own space. Geeze…they haven’t had a real home since Mary died. Sure there was Bobby’s and Rufus’ but nowhere actually theirs…that they could call their own. This “Men of Letters” secret hideaway is all theirs, their inheritance. I like it.

It’ll be interesting to see how far we go with this MoL thing. What this means for future stories – in say season 9 and 10 (yessss!). Say the boys end up closing the gates of Hell and all the demons are banished to the pit for eternity (I don’t think that’s very likely), the brothers now have enough information on hand to fight all kinds of other evil S.O.Bs. Or is there going to be some blowback from finding this place and not ditching the key as the old guy advised? Something that means they end up having to close it down forever or puts them both in jeopardy (for something completely different). Wherever it’s going, I’m excited. This feels fresh and big and like it has some legs and I have a feeling the rest of this season is going to be a corker!

This episode and last week's episode "As Time Goes By" nailed it because they were centred on what this show has always been about, Family and Family Legacy.

By bringing the story back to the heart of the show, it returned the heart to the show.

I think maybe there might be a bit of genius in the beginning of this season. Pulling the brothers so far apart that they weren't sure they wanted to be together any longer and then forcing them to make a choice - other people or each other. Of course, they chose each other, they chose family. Then bringing in this strong family storyline, making the brothers focus on family again. Bringing in the MoL, which gives Sam a clearer place in the Winchester/Campbell legacy. Giving him a reason to stay with hunting, outside of his sense of commitment to Dean. Allowing him to find some happiness - and through his happiness, Dean to find happiness, because that's who Dean is.

Edlund is a genius...and I have a sneaking suspicion Carver is too.

I look at all the new information and mythology that was delivered in the last two episodes with hopeful optimism. That it's an exciting new direction, that we’re on a good path and that the heart and warmth that was in “Everybody Hates Hitler” will continue to shine through future episodes. I know the brothers haven’t had it out, I know they haven’t discussed their recent issues, or any issues really. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Maybe they both just figure…ah hell, we’re in a good place now, why raise up old crap. I don’t really care, I’m just going to go with the flow and move forward with Sam and Dean, because that’s what they seem to be doing and I like it. I’ll watch and hope that this newfound harmony lasts and that if the brothers do clash again, they clash over issues that aren’t personal to them. I understand the need for conflict in drama. But there’s conflict and there’s conflict. It doesn’t always have to be about the brothers being at each other’s throats.

Sam’s right, they could use a break, so could we, maybe we all finally got one…at least for a couple of weeks…because you know, three weeks in a row a lot of us have been feeling pretty good right? And as "Supernatural" fans we know what that means right? We’re due to have our hearts ripped out right?! (Sorry...but I bet you were all thinking it too)!

But until then, here’s to Sam and Dean’s new digs, happy brothers, drinking scotch, power-showers, dead-guy robes, feeling comfortable around each other and a little bit of a break…

"Everybody Hates Hitler" made me realise I missed something I wasn't even aware I was missing - Sam and Dean. This episode was so cool. My favourite of the season.

(I have no reason for this cap...I just like that shirt and stuff...)

Thanks for reading…see you next time.

sweetondean is Chief Editor and writer for The Winchester Family Business

For all the latest Supernatural info and article links, follow The Winchester Family Business on Twitter at @WinFamBusiness

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