The Best of Supernatural Season 5, Part 1

Season 5 was the first year I didn’t buy the season DVD set.  Which means, if I missed the episode on TNT, there’s nothing to go on except my memory.  Could be scary.

#1.  The End (504)

This episode gets 5 stars.

Dean runs from those infected by the Croatoan virus.

Run, Dean, run! The future is none too bright.

My how time flies.  When “The End” first aired, 2014 was a long way off.  Now it’s only 3½ months away!  Should we worry?  Nah, According to the episode, the Croatoan virus starting hitting the big cities in around 2012.  Haven’t seen that around here.  Maybe in NYC or LA?  And to my knowledge, the Army still doesn’t allow the drinking of bourbon while driving a tank.

The episode was a tour de force for Jensen Ackles as he played 2009 Dean and 2014 Dean, often face-to-face.  His voice and mannerisms for each character were just slightly off.  He was the same person, and yet future Dean was cold and ruthless, while present Dean still had some humanity.  I’ve maintained for many years that Jensen is one of Hollywood’s finest actors, and this episode did nothing to dispel that thought.

Jared Padalecki’s screen time was minimal, yet he too was terrific.  As Lucifer, he was soft spoken, with bits of sarcasm, but his body language, while subtle, was commanding.  I love it when an actor inhabits similar but different roles.  With minimal changes in characteristics, we get two totally different performances.  Both actors rose to the challenge magnificently.

Several years ago, when this episode first aired, my friend Suzanne kept a blog of Supernatural recaps.  She wrote a superb one of “The End.”  Heck, I even wrote a lengthy comment on it.  Pretty much everything I said there remains the same.

And just because it bears repeating, “Do You Love Me?” by the Contours is still my favorite swing/jive dance song ever.  And obviously one of my top three or five favorite Supernatural classic rock songs.

– Written by Ben Edlund;  directed by Steve Boyum
– IMDB rating 8.4 (out of 10); TV.com 9.3 (out of 10)

#2.  Changing Channels (508)

This episode gets 4 stars.

Dean puts the Trickster in a choke hold.

Dr. Sexy, M.D. confronts Dr. Trickster, M.D.

I wasn’t as enamored with this episode when it first aired as most fans.  The idea of making the Trickster really an archangel felt like a convenience rather than a well thought out plot development.  Even earlier this year, when I tried to watch it on TNT, I had to turn it off because it made me so uncomfortable.

For some reason, I was able to watch and enjoy it this week.  Not 5-star enjoy it, but enough to understand everyone’s adulation.  Still, this episode would have been at least #2, possibly #1 on this list had my 4-star rating not pulled it down.

– Written by Jeremy Carver;  directed by Charles Beeson
– IMDB rating 8.5; TV.com 9.1

#3.  Abandon All Hope (510)

This episode gets 4 stars.Since I reviewed this episode not too long ago, I skipped watching it this time around.  Combined with my fall allergies, all the sobbing would have swollen my sinuses to the point of not being able to breathe for 72 hours.

– Written by Ben Edlund;  directed by Phil Sgriccia
– IMDB rating 8.5; TV.com 8.9

#4.  The Curious Case of Dean Winchester (507)

This episode gets 4 stars.Chad Everett as the aged Dean Winchester was some inspired casting!  Most Supernatural fans probably aren’t aware, but Chad Everett was quite the heartthrob back in the day.  He starred in Medical Center, a television show from the early 70’s.  My mother and I both had a crush on him.

Elderly Dean helps Sam and Bobby on a stake out.

Two and a half grumpy old men in a van.

With a classically handsome youth and stature similar to Jensen Ackles, he wasn’t just a physical approximation of what Dean Winchester might look like, he nailed the nuances of the character.

Bobby Singer, battling the physical and emotional problems of becoming a paraplegic allowed Jim Beaver to show a range of emotion seldom seen from Bobby.  He was more than a crusty, sarcastic database of supernatural lore.  He was lonely, suicidally depressed, and in need of his heart-to-heart talk with (young) Dean; even if he did immediately return to his curmudgeon shell hiding deep pain.

Supernatural is not known for portraying the elderly in a positive light.  While the light here may not have been positive, it was somewhat realistic.  Elderly Dean continued to see himself as Dean in his prime.  Even those of us who age normally have that misconception.

One final note, in case you missed it:  When the witch Patrick decided to kill Dean, there’s a small, touching moment that’s easily overlooked.  While searching for DNA in Patrick’s apartment, Dean is on the phone with Bobby.  Yet when he falls to the floor mortally wounded, he utters “Sam…”  It’s eerily realistic.  In times a great crisis and fear, we tend to murmur the names of those closest to us, regardless of our surroundings.

– Teleplay by Sera Gamble, story by Sera Gamble & Jenny Klein; directed by Robert Singer
– IMDB rating 8.6; TV.com 8.3

#5.  Sam, Interrupted (511)

This episode gets 4 stars.My rating skewed this episode into #5, edging “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Free to Be You and Me” out of the top 5.  If your a fan of those two episodes, sorry.   There’s a good deal of humor in this episode, always a bonus in my book.  Sam and Dean’s psychiatric interview sounded ridiculous, made all the more hilarious because it was true.  Plus it was a great synopsis of the past few years.

The episode steered clear of cliches.  The psychiatrists were reasonably competent (even the imaginary one), and the monster was not who we thought it to be.

Dean and Sam check themselves into a psychiatric hospital.

Episode bonus: Dean and Sam wear less than four layers of clothes.

What better place than a psychiatric hospital to get a look inside Dean’s and Sam’s minds?  Dean’s apparently thinks he’s a “paranoid schizophrenic with narcissistic personality disorder and religious psychosis.”  Of course, that’s in addition to his need to save the world and daddy issues.  Sam continues to struggle with his rage and guilt

I loved Martin.  He acknowledged he was “a bag of loose screws” and knew his limitations, yet he was knowledgeable to identify the monster, stop Sam from killing the wrong person, and sane enough to keep an unfocused Dean on target.  He had a sweetness and kindness totally absent in “Citizen Fang.”  I shall remember him as he was here.

– Written by Adam Glass & Daniel Loflin;  directed by James L. Conway
– IMDB rating 8.5; TV.com 8.2

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