So far, the thing that’s surprised me most about this season is how funny it is. I mean, we’ve got our fourth apocalypse incoming, Dean encountered a soul-eating baby, Sam was infected with a zombie virus, Cas turned into an attack-dog. Yet the show’s here joking about mega-covens and- ahem- “Uncle Crowley“.
This episode opened with Rowena and her Mega-Coven plot (facepalm). I love Rowena. She’s apparently, as of today, the woman with the most appearances on the show. In the teaser, one of the unimpressed witches was the woman from Crossroad Blues who got mauled by a hellhound, just so you know.
Then we have chained-to-the-bunker-floor Cas (and come to think of it, how, exactly, did they work that? Was there already a hook in the floor? Did they install one or something?) No doubt there is somewhere a sector of whiney Cas fans moaning about how abusive it was to chain the little guy up.
Misha, of course, is great. All his shivering and seizing and foaming at the mouth is pretty bloody convincing. And clearly, so are J2 and Ruth Connell- the Winsync is glorious but while each scene has something to commend, I’m not sure the episode really holds together . It reminds me a little of Girls, Girls, Girls in that respect; there’s just a leetle too much going on.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable, because it was very much so. It just felt to me like something of a comedown not necessarily a bad thing, given the point we’re at in the season. Of course, after Form And Void- which was unbelievably tense, Sam and Dean separated, with long stretches of silence, and the menacing song of the reaper pretty much anything would be a comedown.This was, in essence, a funny, well-grounded, if a little overcrowded exposition episode. We’re being set up for things to come particularly with regard to Amara.
Who is getting increasingly interesting. The little girl who played her here was so great. She’s been conceived to be amoral, not evil; she doesn’t seem to see the point of the latter. Hell, she’s disappointed. There’s a menace to her, of course, but also a slightly petulant air.
The mirror scene reminded me strongly of Snow White. I can’t say it was like anything we’ve seen on the show so far, to be honest. It makes so much sense that Sam and Dean would end up pitted against or negotiating with this sort of dual character. The two Amaras, the two Winchesters- the show is, at the moment, basically a seething mass of possibility.
On the other hand, I’m quite nervous about the state of Hell. When did it stop being scary, seriously? All due respect, but the set looks like papier-mache (less so than usual in this episode, probably thanks to JA’s directorial flair). I wholeheartedly disapprove of Taxi Driver, but at least the Hell we saw there was horrifying and Dantesque.
That said, I kind of enjoyed the conversation between the angel and the demon. It reminded me of this
Oh, and before I forget to mention it: Fortune Nookie, Dean? Fortune Nookie?
This episode wasn’t as emotionally grounded as the last two, for obvious Reasons Of Plot, but it did carry a few things over nicely. This seems like the season that’ll cure (at least temporarily) the Winchesters of lying to each other, going by the scene in the car with Rowena (her goading and Sam and Dean’s simultaneous disgusted responses were sublime, by the way). People have worried that the writers will try to ‘fix’ Sam and Dean, i.e make them less codependent. I highly doubt this. We wouldn’t have any show left, for one thing. But if anything, lying less would increase their reliance and trust for each other. So I’m happy to keep on in this direction.
I also liked that Dean apologised to Cas (after being beaten up by him for, what? The fifth time?). I’m not one of those fans who demand things from the writers and have tantrums if they don’t receive them (I find them pretty contemptible, actually). But it was some emotional closure for the beat down in The Prisoner, which was a genuinely upsetting scene.
The Dean we see now is miles away from the Dean who nearly killed Cas and Sam. When Dean’s fully himself, there’s an extravagance to him. He snickers at his own crappy jokes and flirts with anything that moves and eats enough to feed a small village, and there’s a softness to him in such moments. With the MoC, that had to go, and now it’s returned. I’m officially happy.
I’m not going to talk about Action!Ackles, partly because I have an essay to write about Gladstone’s reforms and my eyes are already itching, and partly because I’ll be covering his directorial style in my next VS essay (seriously, guys, I just need to re watch his earlier episodes and then I’ll get down to it. Honest). I will say this, though: JA, take a good break. You’ve earned it, goddamnit. And that Hawaiian shirt? Just. I can’t.
One last thing. People really, really need to stop crapping on Buckner & Leming as writers. criticism’s one thing, but they’re practically demonized in some areas. Yes, they’ve written some pretty godawful episodes (yo, Route 666), but they also gave us Blade Runners, Soul Survivor, and now this. Yet they’re insulted all over the place. This has to stop, give credit where credit’s due, guys. Save the wank for people you actually know, because the amount of shit going round is giving these two writers a bad name.
Oh, and one more thing? It’s just plain rude.
So leave a comment and tell me what you think.
Read my Vivisecting Supernatural essays here.