Do the post title mash-ups help indicate which episodes are discussed? E.g., Route 666, Devil’s Trap, Southern Comfort. Not so much? Yeah, I was afraid of that. (But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.)
Route 666 (113)
One of season 1’s worst episodes, unlucky #13 had a lot of problems, not the least being written by the team many consider Supernatural‘s weakest writers. Initially set to take place in Mississippi (or Alabama?), unseasonably cold and snowy weather in Vancouver, Canada (where the series is filmed) forced the setting to move further north, to southeastern Missouri. Exploring racism in the turbulent ’60’s was a worthy topic, but making the evil spirit a racist ghost truck was rather preposterous. Even Sam, reminiscing about college, noted “I miss conversations that didn’t start with ‘this killer truck.'” Casting beautiful but wooden Megalyn Echikunwoke as Dean’s implausible love interest did the show no favors, either.
There were, however, some excellent moments. The brotherly bond is in full effect here. This time it’s Sam who’s happy to see a softer side of Dean. Kathleen Noone as Cassie’s mother was riveting as she told the history of the events which led to the supernatural deaths. And the episode ended on a high note with “Can’t Find My Way Home,” by Steve Winwood and Blind Faith (my absolute favorite song from season 1) playing as the Impala (Sam driving!) rolled down the road. Together, they make it worth adding a second star to the episode rating.
Devil’s Trap (122)
What the hell? Where’s the original music? “The Road So Far” isn’t the same without “Fight the Good Fight,” and the ending without “Bad Moon Rising” isn’t nearly as dramatic (and traumatic).
I’m probably the only person on earth who doesn’t care for this episode. Then again, I’m not a big fan of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and really not a fan of “sucky” John Winchester. Still, I’ll give it three stars for being an important episode—and introducing us to Bobby Singer.
“Devil’s Trap” has always felt like the second of a two-part episode, and it’s no more apparent than when watching it without having seen “Salvation,” the previous episode, recently. Without the context of the Winchesters’ run-in with the Yellow-Eyed Demon (at this point we don’t know his name is Azazel), the beginning of the episode feels choppy and incomplete.
It picks up when Dean and Sam seek help from a man who really “knows his stuff,” the aforementioned Bobby Singer. He teaches them about the Key of Solomon, used to trap demons, and gives Sam a book which includes a Devil’s Trap, a different sigil which guards against demons. Of course, since that episode, the Devil’s Trap has come to serve as both guard and trap; which is ok, since drawing a lobster with spray paint probably isn’t very easy.
Top guest star billing did not go to Jeffrey Dean Morgan or Jim Beaver (who have since earned it), but to Nicki Aycox. She played Original Meg, and she was superb. She brought just the right amount of brashness, cynicism, sex appeal, and downright evil without being over the top; something Rachel Miner never managed to achieve.
True Supernatural fans probably already know these two bits of trivia, but I’ll mention them just in case:
- The character of Bobby originally didn’t have a last name. But when the production crew created the auto salvage sign, they named it “Singer Salvage,” as a joke to executive producer Robert Singer.
- Bobby was supposed to appear in only one episode. When he made a brief appearance in “In My Time of Dying,” chronologically the next episode, he became a fan favorite. Personally, I fell in love with him here, scruffiness and all.
Southern Comfort (806)
Conventional thought among Supernatural fans states that the sixth episode of the season is usually a clunker. I don’t always agree, and actually rated “Southern Comfort” quite high initially. However, given the context of the entire season, I’m downgrading it just a tad, primarily because the hunt itself wasn’t all that interesting.
But the hunt really wasn’t the main focus of the episode; it was the hostility between Sam and Dean. As we approached the penultimate scene where Dean, under the influence of a spectre, pulls a gun on Sam, I prepared to cringe (being one who hates conflict). But the scene was well acted and moving. Interestingly, Dean’s tirade was a “prehash” of all of Sam’s faults he mentioned in “Sacrifice.”
After this episode initially aired, I attempted to enter the rarified world of the Supernatural forum at Television Without Pity (not linking out of spite). Boy, was that a mistake! In that world, Dean, no matter how self-righteous he acts or how unnaturally tan his face is, can do no wrong. We Supernatural fans are certainly a passionate, vocal and opinionated bunch.
P.S. Still haven’t found the picture of LCDR Comfort and RMCM Southern. (And just to date myself, RM [Radioman] isn’t even a Navy rating any more!)
– Written by Adam Glass, directed by Tim Andrew
– TV Fanatic fan rating 4.4 (out of 5); IMDB rating 8.1; TV.com 8.6