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...


Monday, 13 February 2012

Review: Supernatural 7x14 - Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie

Warning: Contains episode spoilers…

Wait, so now Unicorns are evil?
Yeah, obviously.

I could say this week’s episode was a bit light on with the mythology. I could say the brothers seemed to be leaps and bounds away from last week’s mood. I could say what’s going on with the Leviathan, we really need to ramp that up don’t we? I could say all of that, but instead, I’m going to say this….. 


To quote one of my favourite cartoon characters… happy, happy, joy, joy! Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie was just too much gosh darn fun! I guffawed, I belly laughed, I clapped my hands, I may have even screamed a little and it felt good, because you know what, I needed it. It’s been such a loss filled, angst-ridden journey through season seven, it felt nice to take a break from the boy melodrama and have a good giggle. We know next week is going to be Hellish, no pun intended, and there’s plenty more soul destroying torture for the Winchester brothers ahead, so I’m just going to inhale and enjoy this breath of fresh, ridiculous air, while I can.  

First let me say…welcome back Misters Dabb and Loflin, good to see you again. I was a huge fan of this pair…until season seven, where they seemed to totally suck ass. I mean, we went from lovely scripts like "Weekend At Bobby’s" and "Frontierland" to "Season Seven, Time For A Wedding" for goodness sake. W’a happen? I was thinking they’d done their proverbial dash…but noooooo! They were back to their ever lovin’, pop culture referencing, snappy one-liner best with an episode that was not only buckets of fun, but also a great call back to so many episodes of the past, including a couple of their own, "Yellow Fever" and "I Believe The Children Are Our Future." Yay boys! Welcome back. Now keep doing this stuff and not that other stuff and we’ll stay friends. 

So…who isn’t afraid of clowns? I am. I really can’t stand them. I don’t like clowns, dolls or mimes. In fact street performers as a whole give me the irrits. Those people that just stand still on a box? If they didn’t give me the heebies to the level they do, I’d go give them a good shove. I often ponder what would be the most terrifying thing. I think it’d be a ventriloquist dummy dressed as a clown…no wait, a killer ventriloquist dummy dressed as a clown doing mime. Geeesh! Anyway, the point I’m working my way around to making is, many of us sympathise with Sammy and his clown-phobia. I love that this guy’s creeped out by clowns. Here he is, crazy enormous, kills anything, runs to the rescue of strangers, can stand up to the Devil, tough and strong and smart and he’s wigged out by clowns? It’s perfection. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Sam, that’s in between my laughing at him. Jared did an awesome job conveying Sam’s fear with a light comedic touch. When Sam got out of the car and turned around and saw that really icky clown with the stringing green hair and gasped, that was just beautiful. And did you notice how the clown was running? Oh my gosh, too brilliant. The clown-on-Sam fight scene never went into slapstick territory and it so easily could have. It was genuinely scary while being genuinely funny and completely ridiculous. Supernatural is at its best when it balances the humour and fear. This episode was a lovely example of that. 

Look, there’s not a lot to analyse in "Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie," which is kind of nice for a change, but I guess the thing that jumped out at me the most was the brotherly love. There was an old school Sam and Dean vibe throughout. Even right at the top with Sam’s little smile when Dean was forced to say to Frank on the phone, “I am the Egg-Man.” I love nothing more than when the brothers feel in sync and are obviously enjoying hanging out and working together. Their love for each other and their relationship can and has carried me through some of my darkest times, so whenever we have an episode where that love is clearly on display, my heart simply soars. The final scene with Dean laughing at his gigantic glitter-covered brother was just…well I’m not even sure I can put it into words. Dean laughing. Really laughing. Even Sam enjoyed Dean’s happy moment. They’re few and far between these days. Then Dean apologising to Sam for scarring him all those years ago, (which time - hee).  Then Sam giving Dean a giant slinky. I mean, Sam wasn’t even there when Dean, in all his adorableness, was geeking out over the giant, rainbow slinky. Sam just knew. Love. That scene was all about love pure and simple….even when Dean gave Sam the clown. How could he not. Then there was the awesome “The ball washer” “The what?” “The ball washer” “The what?” “The ball…” *cue exasperated Sam*. I miss moments like this between the brothers, but I feel like season seven has offered us more of these than any season since probably three and I’m very thankful for it. 

The other thing that jumped out at me was Dean didn’t drink anything but coffee in this episode. I was trying to think back to the last time where we didn’t see him with at least a beer in his hand at some point. I couldn’t, because that would involve hours of research for which I didn’t have time (feel free to do it yourselves and let me know), but certainly not in this season anyway. He wasn’t kidding when he said no bars, no booze…of course he couldn’t resist the lure of the hot chick in the guise of a naughty nanny. Did you notice him giving her the complete once over while she wasn’t looking? Ah Dean. Obviously he needs to drink a lot less, if for no other reason than his mood is much better without the booze in his system. I love this Dean…well I love all Deans but this Dean is awesome…well all Deans….ok, I’m going to stop. 

Some other highlights, in this highlight filled, glitter-exploding, rainbow-puke inducing episode for me were….. 

The Unicorn shooting rainbows out of its ass. I literally screamed. They went there. Excellent.  

“If it bleeds, you can kill it.” Thank you. Thank you. Predator is one of my favourite movies. Now at some point, if Dean could just say, “I ain’t got time to bleed” my life will be complete. 

Sam being all bad cop interrogating the staff. He just looked so silly trying to bully that lion. Also, I love the person who noted one of the staff rules was no sideburns! Ha! 

The ball washer (the what?), getting “Bruced” in the ball pit. Beautiful re-enactment of the first taking from Jaws and I loved the reference to Bruce, being what they called the mechanical shark which was named after Spielberg’s lawyer. 

The 70’s cop show music as Sam and Dean chased down the lion named Clif. Sam’s sidies work well with that music! And Dean, you can’t catch a lion by the tail! 

Dean giving Tyler the, be nicer to your mum talk. I love how Dean is so relaxed with kids and I love how this is a theme that is continually revisited. 

“So, what’s the lowdown with trauma town?” Really, Dean was having way too much fun. 

The clown losing a manky tooth, which goes flying slomo through the air. Lovely touch. 

Sam spitting out glitter at the end of the clown fight. In fact just the whole Sam being covered in glitter thing! 


Oh I could go on and on and on…..

"Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie" was a brilliant example of what "Supernatural" does so well and what makes it a stand out show. Mixing the laughs with the scares, adding a dollop of pop culture, a dash of lunacy and a nice helping of brotherly love, all mixed together to create forty-two minutes of pure happiness. Unicorns shooting rainbows out of their ass doesn’t even begin to cover it. Everything about this episode was on the money. The writing from Dabb and Loflin, the tight direction from Mike Rohl, the fantastically colourful set design which carried across into the special effects and title treatment, the comedic performances from Jensen and Jared and the moments between Sam and Dean that reminded us all of the beating heart at the centre of this show. It felt real good to watch. Real good. 

Of course, next week, it’s back to angst-city, but that’s ok, I had a little much needed respite from the darkness and now I’m pumped and ready to jump feet first into whatever lies ahead. So bring on the breakdowns, the Devil, the return of a certain Angel and the final showdown with the Leviathan. I’m good to go because the brothers are back on track; Dean has a slinky and Sam’s going to be finding glitter in his hair for weeks to come. When my heart’s breaking, I’ll just try and think of that....

Did you love the episode too? What was your favourite moment? 

Thanks so much for reading. 
And here's a preview for next week! -Amy

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Review - Supernatural 7.13 "The Slice Girls"

Warning – contains episode spoilers.
You’re just as screwed up as I am, you’re just…bigger.
Before I kick off this week’s review, let’s just get this out in the open shall we? It took me an inordinate amount of time to get through the first 10 minutes of this episode. An embarrassingly, inordinate amount of time. Pause rewind pause rewind pause rewind. Even I was starting to think “awkward”. But seriously, these precious, precious moments of Dean getting it on are so few and far between that a gal really has to make the most of them. It wasn’t only the bedroom frolic scene, (intercut with awesome gore and set to an ACaDaCa soundtrack), though that was a visual and sensory delight, it was also the bar room flirtation. The close-ups of the eyes and mouth, the little knowing smiles….. Pause rewind pause rewind pause rewind. Hey, no excuses….I go by the name sweetondean after all….
I was massively hesitant about The Slice Girls for two reasons. The first reason was, the concept of Dean having and instant-child bothered me no end, I mean, please no, we know how he is about family and kids in general, the whole concept squicked me out. I saw angst with a side order of angst and not in a good way. The second was, the episode was written by the same team who wrote Shut-Up, Dr. Phil, but more specifically Route 666, which is not exactly a favourite of mine. The Cassie word tends to make me spill forth with a tirade that is often peppered with expletives. Of course that routinely slammed episode also gave us a shirtless, sexed-up Dean…. Hang on a minute…. hmm…maybe I like these writers more than I thought! But I digress…what I was going to say is, I was massively hesitant about The Slice Girls, but it turned out not at all how I thought it would and ended up being a rather enjoyable, if somewhat sad episode.
You know what I’m really digging about season 7? It’s a character study. More than any other season, it’s seems to be about the nitty gritty of what’s going on below the surface of our beloved brothers. Their relationship and their individual character arcs have been put back into the forefront of the story and it feels like a long while since that’s been the case. Each episode looks like it’s going to be about some monster or another, but what we really get to see is how Sam and Dean are, or more often than not, aren’t functioning and coping with what the Universe is currently making them wade through. I like. The Slice Girls, once again, gave us a good, deep, kinda gloomy look at where the brother’s respective headspaces are at and I liked it, a lot. So you’ll excuse me if I don’t bother going into the monster storyline, as it was secondary to what I saw as the real story.
As I see it, we had two things going on with the boys here, we had Sam in uber hunter mode and we had Dean in I don’t give a flying fudge mode. Neither was surprising but both were pretty disturbing to watch. There was strong vibe of frustration. It was like the air was sizzling with mutual exasperation. Not that they were at loggerheads, in fact they’re working pretty well together, all things considered, but there were definitely a few internal throwing up of the arms moments between them.
At the end of Adventures In Babysitting Sam said that he wasn’t doing so great and he just wanted to work….yep, that’s what we saw here. He was hyper focused on the job. He was right, as Dean so succinctly put it, the murders were in the general vicinity of the ballpark of their kind of thing, but Sam’s drive, his ploughing ahead seemed to reinforce that this is how he's trying to deal, by not dealing. Kind of like his brother. The problem is of course; we know Sammy is hanging on by a fine thread of sanity. We know on the inside it’s 24/7 Satan-vision. We know this because the Leviathan told us. So while Sam is trying to block out whatever is happening inside his melon by throwing himself into the latest job, he also has to watch his usually stoic and resilient big brother continue his tailspin unabated. That’s a tricky balancing act. Stay sane while trying to keep your brother from going off the rails once and for all. He’s obviously very worried about Dean and he’s obviously trying not to beat his brother over the head with it. He even said it at the end, he doesn’t care how Dean deals, he just cares that he doesn’t get killed. Breaks my damn heart. That scene in the not-Impala as they argued about Amy and Emma and Dean choking and not having his head in the game, was so poignant. In that moment, when Sam asked his brother to just don’t get killed, he felt so small and young to me. He needs Dean and he needs Dean to be Dean, now more than ever. Dean’s all he has. He’s been Sam’s rock all his life, he’s always called the shots and now Sam’s in the driver’s seat both literally and symbolically because his brother is finding it difficult to be there. I really feel for Sam.
And Dean… Well I didn’t expect an overnight resurrection off the back of Eliot Ness’ very sage description of what it means to be a hunter, but I was hoping for just a little spark to be reignited. But Dean seems so apathetic. It’s really hard to watch. His drinking, his lack of engagement in the case. He doesn’t want to listen to anyone else because they aren’t Bobby. The “Our expert is dead” line totally floored me. He has been ‘wobbly’ ever since Cas died, but now…well he’s about to topple over. He’s letting his brother drive the car for Heaven’s sake. I mean sure, that’s responsible, being as he’s continually drinking from Bobby’s flask and I’m sure his blood alcohol level would be well and truly over the legal limit across all parts of the day, but he’s letting Sam drive and by that, I mean drive everything. Dean’s going through the motions in the worst possible way and Sam’s right to be worried that it’ll get him killed. I’m not one of those people who think Dean would ever purposely check out, not as long as Sam is in the picture. Even though I think he probably does just want gone, hence the carelessness, but while Sam is still by his side, Dean will keep putting one foot in front of the other whether he wants to or not; “I not going to walk out on my brother.” But is that enough to sustain him? I think somewhere inside he’s paralysed with fear that if something happens to Sam he’ll be totally alone and Dean doesn’t do alone. Neither brother does. There literally is no one else left. That must be a terrifying thought, for both of them. But Dean’s in a bad place and no matter what else is going on around you, it’s hard to pick yourself up when you’re free-falling through grief and despair. He’ll do it though…and when that day comes I’ll be air punching like crazy! I want my feisty, kick-ass Dean back as much as Sam does…maybe even more.
Oh gosh, well now I’ve depressed myself! Let’s talk about something else shall we?
I had zero issues with Sam killing Emma, but then again I had zero issues with Dean killing Amy…though let’s not go there huh? Emma was going to kill Dean pure and simple and had she made a move in his direction or even Sam’s direction I think Dean would have dropped her in the blink of an eye. But I’m very thankful Sam did it instead, as that’s a great big piece of baggage the elder Winchester really doesn’t need to add to his load. Whether Dean knew his daughter or not, it still smacked of tragedy. Here is a man, who all his life has been about family and who unsuccessfully tried to leave being a hunter behind and live a ‘normal’ life with a woman and her son and now after an athletic one-night-stand where he was obviously less than careful, he has a kid and that kid turns out to be a monster and she has to die... This is what squicked me out! No wonder he hesitated. That’s just too sad! How either brother is still standing upright about now baffles me. A testament to their fortitude.
And what about Bobby? Man, you could feel him in the air in this episode. It speaks volumes that the boys still talk about him in the present tense, like they can’t let go. They want to ring him; Dean carries around his flask like it’s part of him. He was everywhere….including prominently in the 'previously on'. Things that make you go hmm. Bobby being around made me happy. He should be everywhere, he was important, he is important; his impact needs to be felt, his loss needs to be recognised. I’m still in two minds about Ghost!Bobby though, but quite frankly, I so want the brothers to have some kind of happiness that I’ll roll with any idea at this point in time if I see a little joy or even some closure for Sam and Dean. I thought the scene where they talked about the possibility of it being Bobby’s spirit who moved the paper was fantastic. It looked like Sam was onboard for a moment there, EMF scanner in hand, but even he can’t get passed the fact that he can’t believe it could be real because that would be something that they’d want and they never get anything they want. Oh dear Lord. Seriously. Heart. Break. Now.
On a lighter note, I really enjoyed the banter in The Slice Girls. There was a fair amount of teasing from Sam of Dean. I figure he was trying to snap his brother out of his malaise with a bit of poking of the fun! Who hasn’t done that when someone around then is down, tried to make them laugh to brighten them up. Either that or Lucifer’s snarky sense of humour is leaking through! Whatever it was, it wasn’t working. Dean was resolutely grumpy….except maybe when he was banging Lydia. But it was fun to watch Sam having a go at Dean for a change! I love Dean’s come back “Are you deliberately trying to mess with me?” Well yes Dean, I believe he is! I also totally dug the moment they both realised that Dean was the baby-daddy and Sam trying to process this says, “But Dean, dude, seriously, a one-night-stand, you’re just going to roll the dice…” Sammy my boy, I was thinking exactly the same thing. I could go all deep and say this is part of Dean’s apathy towards life, that he’d take that kind of stupid risk, but his little remembering back smirk when he was saying accidents happen made me think it wasn’t him being careless, it was just, you know, one of those things and he was, you know, um prepared. Geeze, how often do we get to have these kinds of conversations around the show! Was or wasn’t Dean being ‘careful’! Ha! Anyway, I really enjoyed this whole scene. The dialogue between the brothers was spot on in this episode.
Another thing I enjoyed about this episode was the gore! Good grief, was that the goriest opening ever? When we pulled back to reveal that the dude had his hands and feet chopped off, I seriously gasped. Of course when the next guy was getting hacked up I was somewhat distracted….  I liked how Dean’s ‘love’ scene was intercut with the hyper-violence of that attack happening somewhere across town. This hammered home (no pun intended) two things, one being this was a fast and furious one-night-stand, no romance, no pretence, just need, as sweet as Dean looked about it... *sigh*... the other being this show has monsters, it has horror and as much as we like seeing the boys get, errr, lucky every once in a while, this is absolutely not what this show is about. As hot as the brothers are, it’s not a ‘let’s see them with their kit off week in week out’ kind of show and I’m thankful of that…most of the time...though someone remind me why…because I forget.
I’d also like to mention that Mayor Wilkins from Buffy was the Professor helping with the Greek translations etc. I clapped my hands when I saw him! I always loved that character, even if he was a snake…literally, plus young Missy Bender from the season 1 episode The Benders played Emma! Creepy hillbilly girl grew up into creepy monster girl! And Jerry Wanek’s directorial debut smacked of the beautiful, artistic style that we’re privileged to see every week via his stunning production design. He did some interesting visual work in this episode. I hope to see him get another shot in the director’s chair.
So, I enjoyed The Slice Girls, angsty, heartbreak and all. There was a lot of subtext, gore, brother moments and partially naked Dean! Weee! Plus it further reinforced for me, that as much as I love the characters that have come and gone and as much as I know and appreciate that the Winchesters need other people in their world, the real drama is with Sam and Dean and their journey is still compelling enough to carry an episode and I hazard to guess, given the chance, a season. It’s what it always was and what it always will be, their story…at least for me.
So what did you think? Did you enjoy the episode?
Thanks for reading!

And enjoy the preview for next week! Clowns...why'd it have to be clowns...

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Self Analysis via TV or How Supernatural Made Me Me Again

Recently I watched Sons Of Anarchy and by watched I mean devoured. I literally consumed it. I only stopped long enough to go to work. The minute I got home, BAM, next episode. I stayed up later than usual, got up earlier than usual, all to watch a TV show. I watched 4 seasons in 6 days. That’s 53 episodes in just under a week. Thankfully, most people I know don’t think that’s weird! Simply put, Sons Of Anarchy hit a nerve and it was that nerve that made me obsessively compulsively watch episode after episode until I had bags under my eyes and dreams filled with motorcycles and highways and hot biker boys.

It dawned on me, that that nerve might be the very same nerve that my favourite TV show hits. That show, of course, is Supernatural. I’ve often pondered why I love Supernatural so much. What connects me to it? Why this show? What makes me want to watch it over and over, talk about it, write about it, apart from the obvious; story, writing, quality of the production and whatnot. Of course, most of it is Sam and Dean and their relationship, their love, their bond, their everything, but is it more than that? Supernatural has changed me on a cellular level. But why? Watching Sons Of Anarchy helped me clarify why. It was something I always knew I guess. It’s that damn nerve of mine. I’ve started to call it….my freedom nerve.

I was about 4 episodes into Sons Of Anarchy before I realised something, the show has very similar themes to Supernatural. It’s about family, loyalty, love and destiny versus freewill. There’s a ‘hero’ who always tries to do the right thing, even when it goes against the grain. That’d be the right thing for his family and that’d be the family he’s created around him, because in SAMCRO, family don’t end with blood either. He lives a certain lifestyle and at his core, he loves it, though he won’t admit it to himself or anyone else and so he fights it every step of the way. He pines for normality, a ‘normal’ home, getting out of the life and raising a kid, though he knows that will never be his reality, because the life that chose him, will always call him back. He wishes he could just chuck it all and run, but he won’t because he’s part bound by history, part bound by loyalty and a lot bound by love. He’s freer than most people, even though he often feels trapped. He lives a life outside of societal norms. He won’t be pushed around. He stands up for what he believes in and will fight to the death for those he cares for. Plus he’s smokin’, rides a hot motorcycle and does most everything to a classic rock sound track. Of course I’m talking about Jax Teller, but I could just as easily be talking about Dean Winchester….just swap the bike out for the Impala.

But, but, the Sons Of Anarchy are bad and the Winchesters are good, I hear you all screaming. True. But even though they fight different battles for different reasons, a lot of where that fight comes from, a lot of why they fight is the same. Jax and Sam and Dean are archetypal heroes and they don’t want a bar of it, because great heroes never do.

It hit me like a tonne of bricks. These themes, the ones that are at the guts of Supernatural and Sons Of Anarchy, run through pretty much everything I watch. Everything. As I sat on the couch, remote in hand, Jax paused on my TV, I suddenly realised I’d been watching the same show for years. The same story, in one form or another, over and over with the same characters facing the same challenges. Heroes, people walking to the beat of their own drum. Outsiders, trying to stay true to what they believe in. Speaking their minds and living passionate lives dedicated to loyalty, family and love and most importantly, searching for some kind of meaning, some kind of connectivity in the world they find themselves forced to survive in. Yep, tonne of bricks. I laughed out loud.

My first loves, Buffy, Angel, Fox Mulder, even I guess, Agent Dale Cooper, were all individuals, outsiders, trying to live their life in a way that makes sense to them, whether through destiny, circumstance or choice. Being generally misunderstood by the masses and various authority figures, yet finding truth in the people that they connect with, as they build their own family. Finding people who do understand them. Being true to themselves…

It suddenly made a lot of sense why Supernatural means so much to me, why it’s pierced my heart and buried itself deep into my soul. Yes, sure, it’s absolutely about Sam and Dean, who they are and their story, absolutely….but it’s so much more. 

I’ve probably never been what you’d call, umm, like everyone else I know? I was a pretty rubbish student, even though I’m bright enough. I simply struggled to do what I was told. I think the word I heard a lot was stubborn. The only thing I ever cared about or excelled in was art and English. I was always the chick busted for daydreaming and doodling up the back of the class. I was always the chick that wore her uniform just a little wrong, had the wild haircuts, and crazy eyeliner. It wasn’t that I was trying to be bad or trying to stand out, good Lord no, it’s just how I was and even at 16, I guess I was being true to myself, without even knowing it.

That gets harder the older you get don’t you think? You find yourself somehow being sucked into the expectations of family and society. You find yourself bending and conforming to become who you think you’re supposed to be. Who you think you’re supposed to be to get the job you think you’re supposed to have and live the life you think you’re supposed to live. At least I did. Some people call it maturing, but I don’t know…. It wasn’t a complete transformation, there’s always a rebel living free in my heart, but I was definitely no longer being true to myself, without even knowing it.

Then….I started watching this show about two brothers.

I said earlier that Supernatural changed me on a cellular level, and it did. It all started there. I’m sure of it. I just didn’t really know why. Even though I had unwittingly always been drawn to TV shows with similar themes it all started with their story. The Winchester’s story. I loved everything about it from the first moment I saw it. From the moment Dean said I can’t do this alone and Sam said yes you can and Dean said yeah, well I don’t want to…. Hook. Line. Sinker. It just grabbed me by the throat and left me gagging for more. But, not one single person I knew watched it. Not one. So I kept it to myself. I quietly watched season after season, getting more and more involved and slowly but surely getting more and more affected by the story unravelling week after week before my eyes. Something inside me started to shift. Those themes, the ones that I’d been unknowingly seeking out and which had captivated me for years, suddenly started to build some kind of connective tissue inside me.

Then towards the end of season four, something big occurred. I discovered other fans. Holy cow! Where had they all been hiding! When that happened, the cellular transformation went into overdrive. I suddenly found a group of people who loved the show that I loved, who I could talk to about it, in detail. My secret show was now out in the open. What a relief. Not only that, these people, strangers, seemed to open their arms and accept me. They tolerated my eccentricities. They understood me with out even meeting me. They supported me and encouraged me. They let me be me, without any expectations, not one. Something in that released that little something in me that was still trapped deep down and voilĂ , my freedom nerve started hopping again.

After that, everything sort of changed.

Now I get why Supernatural resonates with me the way it does. It’s all my themes, the ones I didn’t even know I was watching, amped up on steroids! It’s the being true to who you are and fighting for what you believe in. It’s the family don’t end with blood and the finding people who get you thing. It’s the living by your own set of rules, the choosing free will over destiny. It’s love, it’s loyalty, it’s speaking your mind and being brave enough to be yourself…all set to a classic rock soundtrack, no seriously, you should see my iPod. Let’s face it; it’s the ultimate escapism but even escapism holds truth.

It even sounds a little nutty to me that a TV show could affect me on this level, but it did. Somehow, Supernatural, this story of these two magnificent brothers, helped me get back to being me…..

Of course the flip side of this is that now there are some people in my life who no matter how much they love me, will never quite get me. I know they try, but I know they don’t. Maybe they never did, but now it seems way more pronounced! Their bewildered looks seem way more frequent! Not only that, it’s harder to conform to the requirements of my day-to-day world, which I absolutely have to do if I want to, you know, eat! It’s harder to settle into the life I have, which ain’t at all bad I hasten to add. It’s harder not to daydream my hours away. It’s harder to do all of these things because every cell seems to urgently shimmer and every drop of blood gurgles and rushes through me making my freedom nerve twitch. Now, instead of ‘me’ being difficult to find, ‘me’ is difficult to contain! And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way because by rediscovering that pesky freedom nerve of mine, I’ve found a connection. I’m me again. For better or worse. And I have Supernatural and all of you, to thank for that.

A good friend of mine, who I’ve know for about 8 years, recently said to me that though I always seemed happy, now I seem like I’m who I’m supposed to be. It made me laugh. I said yeah, I feel like that too, (ok yes, we were a little drunk). She asked what’d changed. I said, well you know what, as buckets of crazy as this might sound to you…I think it was Supernatural and everything that’s come along with it. The brothers, the story, the friends, the conventions, the Js, the fans, the acceptance. She just smiled. She got it. I guess maybe my friends do get me after all…..

Why do I watch Supernatural? Because it’s who I am…. and as Ash would say.... I’m cool with it.