Supernatural Favorites: Season 5

The real March Madness is in full swing, and I’m not even half-way through my top 32 episodes.  Plus, new Supernatural episodes have resumed, so now there’s that delay too.

Season 5 was not a favorite of mine.  In fact, it was the first time I didn’t buy the season DVD set.  Thank goodness for TNT reruns.  If I’m on the ball, I can record my favorites when they come ’round.  Better still, I can now buy individual episodes OnDemand to enjoy any time I want, without commercial interruption.

My go-to sites say the top episodes of season 5 are:

  1. Swan Song (522)
  2. Two Minutes to Midnight (521)
  3. (3-way tie):  Dark Side of the Moon (516); Point of No Return (518); The Devil You Know (520)

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Supernatural: The Executioner’s Song (+2, or 3)

Your thoughts on “The Executioner’s Song?”  Here’s mine.

Dean Winchester does battles with Cain.  Yes, that Cain.

It’s the Battle of the First Borns.

1.  Jensen Ackles is back, baby!

In the past I’ve called him the most underrated actor in Hollywood.  But recently he hasn’t overwhelmed me.  His performances haven’t been bad—I don’t think Jensen’s talent or work ethic would allow that—but they haven’t been as riveting as I’ve come to expect. It was wonderful to see him back in full form again.  Every single one of Dean’s scene in “The Executioner’s Song” was magnificent.  Even before his confrontation with Cain, Dean’s fear and sorrow drew me in and didn’t let go.

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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.

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Supernatural: ‘Swap Show @ Midnight’

Swap Meat (512)

This episode gets 3 stars. Hey , there’s actually a SciFi Chick(s) review of this episode.  That makes my work here much easier.

Sam fnds an occult book in Gary's school locker.

Sam looks good in blue

There’s not much new to add. I still chuckled at the first scene of Gary-Sam admiring himself in the bar’s mirror. Jared Padalecki did a great job of channeling his inner teen.  I initially wondered why Gary chose Sam’s body for the swap when Dean is considered more classically good looking.  Of course, the question was later answered.  I doubt Gary would want to swap bodies with someone on the devil’s kill list.

Idle thought of the episode:  Gosh, it didn’t take long for “salad shakes” to become passé.

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Supernatural: Sharks, Children, Escapists

Jump the Shark (419)

This episode gets 4 stars.Wow, lots of things happened between “After School Special” and “Jump the Shark.”  We learn Dean broke the first of the 66 seals, Sam is drinking demon blood, and Chuck the prophet has been recording the Winchester gospels for posterity.

Speaking gospels, this episode had a lot of detractors before it aired.  How could the creators blaspheme the sanctity of the Sam/Dean relationship by adding another brother?

Sam and Dean's half-brother Adam has a family resemblance.

Jenson + Jared = Jake?  [credit Glogster]

It helped that Jake Abel, who played half-brother Adam Milligan, looks like (as one reviewer noted) the love child of Jenson Ackles and Jared Padalecki.

When Dean and Sam learn of Adam’s existence, Dean is certain it’s a trap.  But Adam appears to be simply a young man distraught over the disappearance of his mother. Although Dean is jealous that Adam got to spend some “normal time” with John Winchester, he’s also determined that Adam stay out of the life of hunting monsters.  Sam, on the other hand, wants to prepare Adam for what’s out there.

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Supernatural 516: Dark Side of the Moon

Oi.  Another depressing season 5 episode.  Even the good episodes deterred me from buying the season 5 DVD set.

Dean and Sam meet with the gardener-angel Joshua.

Dean and Sam meet with Joshua in the Garden of… Cleveland?

It wasn’t so much Dean’s disappointment that Sam’s “best” memories were those without his family.  It wasn’t that Zachariah messed with their heads (especially Dean’s).  It was that God apparently wants nothing to do with saving the world.  For me, that just didn’t make sense.

I did enjoy seeing Ash, and Pamela again, especially Pamela—with eyes.  Traci Dinwiddie has such beautiful eyes, it was a shame they burned them out in her first appearance.  I thought Pamela could have added a nice dimension to the show, a resource for the Winchesters to use now and then.  Which, granted, they did for a couple episodes, but not to the degree I’d have liked.  Instead, we got Ruby 2.0 and Anna (whom I liked, just not as much as Pamela).

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Supernatural 510: Abandon All Hope…

Ellen, Jo, Bobby, Crowley, Meg, Lucifer.   So many guest stars, so little time.  (Castiel was a regular by now.)

Ellen, Dean, Sam, and Jo search the disserted town.

Just before all hell breaks loose

Remember when Crowley was just a crossroads demon (albeit a senior one)?   Who knew he’d come to play such a big role in the coming years.  Of course, much of Crowley’s longevity has been due to Mark A. Sheppard, and his clever performance.  Heck, Crowley was almost likeable at the time, being almost simpatico with the Winchesters.  He wanted Lucifer dead too, citing self-preservation, believing Lucifer would wipe out demonkind once he’d finished with humankind.  But I wonder if this was all just a ruse so he could become the self-proclaimed “King of Hell.”

It’s a rather depressing episode.  The Winchesters fail to kill Lucifer, Lucifer accomplishes his goal of raising Death by  sacrificing (read “murdering”) an entire town, and Ellen and Jo die.

Lucifer traps Castiel and a ring of holy fire.

Just a couple of angels, talkin’

And yet, it’s very well done.  When Jo is gravely injured by a hell hound, the pace becomes frantic.  The camera is jerky, the cuts are rapid and shaky.  It serves well to heighten the sense of desperation the characters feel.

Over the years, Supernatural has brought tears to my eyes many times.  But this is the only time I have actually sobbed.  Alona Tal  and Samantha Ferris were superb at portraying the mortally wounded daughter and the distraught mother.  When Jo wept, I wept.  When Ellen sobbed, I sobbed.

One of the best episodes of the season, but it’s hard to give it five beer mugs for the sheer hopelessness of it all.

[Photos courtesy the CW]

Supernatural 501: Sympathy for the Devil

We tend to expect a lot from the season premieres.  Sometimes we’re rewarded with truly great episodes, as with “In My Time of Dying” and “Lazarus Rising.”  Other times, the episode is ok, but because our expectations are high, we’re disappointed.  I’m not sure if this was one of those times or not.  I confess, I found season 5 lackluster.  It was the first season I didn’t buy the DVD set.

Bobby helps Dean with some research.

Research the old fashioned way. With paper.

“Sympathy for the Devil” had its good points.  The entire storyline of Nick coming to accept Lucifer was well written and acted.  It actually made sense: a man with nothing to live for except a need for vengeance.  Dean’s “What I do have is a G.E.D. and a ‘give ’em hell’ attitude,”  has become a classic line; and the words have served him well throughout the series.

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Season’s End, sort of

With this  post, I’m adding a new category called Hahaha! since I’ve fallen in love with a couple of comedies.  And now, heeeere’s the post:

About a month & a half ago, Television Without Pity, that website I love to hate, had a blurb on the best and worst season endings this year.  They gave four different ratings:

  • Best
  • More good than bad
  • More bad than good
  • Worst

The article inspired me to write my own reviews, but I waited since a few of the shows I watch hadn’t finished their seasons yet.  Now that Merlin has ended, here’s what I think.  (TWoP’s ratings are in parentheses).

  • Supernatural:  (More good than bad) Agreed.  Not the best season ending they’ve ever done , but then no season finale has been among my all-time favorites.  While TWoP poo-pooed the idea that Metallicar saved the day, I think it was fitting.  After all, for 3 years the car was the 3rd character.  (It was replaced by an increasingly useless trench coat-wearing angel in the last 2 seasons.)
  • FlashForward:  (More good than bad, I think.  It might have been More bad than good.)  I didn’t watch the series consistently enough to get too be engrossed in it.  But it did get better as the season progressed.  As for the final episode, I didn’t hate or love it.  It felt rushed.  Everyone’s flash forward had to be resolved, and the cast is way too large.  Nonetheless, I would have preferred FlashForward getting renewed over V.   (As a side note, I did not recognize Annabeth Gish.  She’s come a long way since her  Mystic Pizza and Shag days.)
  • V:  (Don’t remember this one, either)  Hated, hated it!   Ryan turned (or did he?) and Joshua (whom I totally loved) was killed only to be brought back to life.  Probably to be tortured next season.  I’ll probably watch next season for the same reason it’s hard to look away from a wreck.  I doubt it gets a 3rd season.
  • Modern Family:  (More good than bad, I think)  I agree with TWoP here.  It wasn’t bad, but I’ve come to expect better of this show.  The episode with Benjamin Bratt is still one of the best from this season.
  • Cougar Town:  (Best)  Absolutely agree!  Remember when I said I thought it sucked?  Once they changed the focus of the show (from being about a 40-something woman bedding 20-something dudes) to the wacky family and friends, it got good.  The cast, for the most part, is superb.  And the season finale has  many great moments:  Travis learning to deal with a raging girlfriend by becoming the “yes man” (Dan Byrd is delightful!), the Cheeto shaped like Bruce Willis, the “Relationship” remix tape, and “An Ewok!  He wants to make love to an Ewok!”
  • Parks and Recreation: (More good than bad)  Again, I agree.  While maybe not as funny as “The Possum” (my favorite of the episodes I’ve seen—I didn’t start watching until about 2/3 of the season had passed), it was funny enough that I kept it on my DVR to rewatch.  The addition of Ben as a possible love interest for Leslie (or so I’ve heard), is definitely working.  Amy Poehler and Adam Scott work very well off each other.
  • Community:  (I think TWoP said it was “more good than bad.”)  I give it an F.  (Ok, maybe a D).  I so wish they hadn’t gone to Britta being in love with Jeff.  About mid-season, I thought they’d abandoned the idea because there wasn’t much chemistry between the actors.  But they did go there.  I figured Jeff would end up with Annie, especially after their debate team kiss.
  • Legend of the Seeker:  (I don’t know if TWoP even rated this show.)  Much like the entire 2nd season, it was forgettable.  So much so, I almost forgot to include it here.
  • Stargate: Universe:  (The season hadn’t yet ended when TWoP did their thing.)  I give it a D.  I hate cliffhangers.  Not only was the season finale one, so were the previous two episodes.  I was going to say it was overkill, but that was the season ender—literally.  It’s like the writers couldn’t come up with a good ending, so they left everyone’s life in the balance.
  • Merlin:  (Same as SGU)  I loved it!  A+!  Easily the best episode of the season.  I have so much love for this episode, I think it deserves its own post.

Leverage has started its new season, Warehouse 13 starts this week, and several others next week.  So much for waiting for all “my” shows to end.

Your thoughts?

Supernatural’s “Swan Song”

In a week of good episodes, with nearly all the shows building towards a season (and possibly series) finale, I would be remiss if I didn’t single out Supernatural.  Not just because it’s my favorite tv show, but because “Swan Song” was not only the season finale, it was the climax to a five-year story arc; and indeed, creator Eric Kripke’s personal swan song.

Dean and Sam in Swan Song

“Swan Song” featured Dean’s eyelashes and Sam’s furrowed brow.

When you have a show as consistently good as Supernatural, and the ending of a 5-year saga of two young men caught in the middle of a battle between heaven and hell (not to mention destiny vs. free will), anticipation is bound to run high.  And the odds of falling short of expectations are great.

I can’t say that “Swan Song” disappointed, but then I didn’t have grand expectations either.  In the past couple months, my passion for the show has been waning.  Perhaps it’s because I was growing tired of the apocalypse and just wanted it over.  Or perhaps it’s because I know Eric Kripke’s involvement with the show is ending and I worry the show may have outlived its time.  Or it may be that my real life is interfering.

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