I stopped buying the Supernatural DVD sets after season 4. Season 5 was tiresome and lackluster, what with the whole Apocalypse thing; season 6 was so forgettable I forgot what the season arc was; and season 7 was totally ludicrous. Even so, each of these seasons had some enjoyable episodes, which is why I’ve been watching some of them on TNT this past week.
Appointment in Samarra (611)
The episode’s title comes from an old story basically saying you can’t cheat death. In a nutshell, Dean tries to make a deal with Death (one of the Apocalypse’s four horsemen) to get Sam’s soul out of the cage with Lucifer in hell. But Sam doesn’t want it back.
Death says he’ll get Sam’s soul back (and put up a wall in Sam’s head to prevent Sam from going bonkers) if Dean spends 24 hours in Death’s place. Of course, Dean fails because Dean tries to mess with the laws of nature and royally screws up that whole “natural order” thing. But Death does get Sam’s soul back (and puts up the wall) anyway. I guess Death, just like the rest of us, is a sucker for a pretty face.
Meanwhile, Sam tries to damage his vessel to prevent Dean from shoving his soul back in by killing Bobby. Sam tells Bobby he’s sorry, but it’s obvious he’d rather not be bothered by having a conscious. Bobby puts up a good fight, but he’s no competition for the amoral ginormitron. Fortunately, Dean makes it back in time to save Bobby.
What I particularly enjoyed about this episode was Death’s talk with Dean (over bacon dogs and dark beer in Bobby’s kitchen, no less) about the fragility, endurance, and value of the human soul. I wish this had been further explored later in the season, but alas, what we got was the Mother of All (Evil).
The French Mistake (615)
Dean and Sam are sent to an alternate universe where they are two actors named Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki (“So what, now you’re Polish?” Dean exclaims to Sam) who play the Winchesters on a tv show called Supernatural. Many real world Supernatural folks show up, including actor Misha Collins, executive producer Bob Singer, creator Eric Kripke, lighting director Serge Ladouceur, and stunt coordinator Lou Bollo, played by Lou Bollo.
Virgil, the weapons-keeper of Heaven, follows the boys and wreaks all kinds of havoc. He slashes Misha’s throat (to make a blood-o-phone ala Meg in season 1), guns down Kripke (who ends up splayed on the pavement like a fallen angel, sans wings), and kills Bob. Serge, being the cool Canadian he is, easily dodges Virgil’s bullets to make it out alive.
I didn’t care for this episode when it first aired because it made me feel uncomfortable. But this time around, I found much to laugh about. Yet, the hilarity juxtaposed with the seriousness of the war in heaven and Virgil’s ruthless quest to find Heaven’s weapons felt awkward. And Genevieve Padalecki (nee Cortese) proved once again she can’t act, even when playing herself.
[Photos by Jack Rowland, © 2010, 2011 the CW Network]