Superantural Redux

TNT is hosting a Supernatural marathon tomorrow (Wed, Jan 28).  I’m not sure what the special occasion is, but since they’re currently on the back side of the Great Season 8, I’m there!  Sure, I could just pull out the season 8 DVD set, but this way is lazier, even if it means fast-forwarding through the commercials.

Sam and Dean visit a ranch in Idaho to find a hell hound.

The Winchesters show off their dimples.

As it is, I watched “Trial and Error” again today.  I loved it when it first aired (it’s possibly my second favorite episode of season 8, after “Sacrifice”), and I think I love it even more now.  As if seeing the guys in geeky glasses and getting a look at a hell hound for the first time (just as creepy as one would imagine) wasn’t enough, we got a couple scenes of the brotherly love which makes this show so special.

Dean’s determined to keep Sam safe, believing his own life isn’t worth much, and he’s willing to die.  Sam says Dean’s life does matter.  Because Sam can see a future at the end of the trials, he should be the one to complete them so that they both can survive.  It’s a little heartbreaking since we know what’s coming.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about my favorite Supernatural episodes through the years and doing a(nother) retrospective.  Hmm… Should I do another Supernatural March Madness this year?  Nah, it’s too time-consuming, especially since March is not a rerun month.  Perhaps a June/July Jubilee would be a better alternative?  Or just a “Favorite Five” for each season?  So many options, so little discipline.

Tonight the awesome Charlie Bradbury returns, but seems she may not be so awesome.  Man, I hope they didn’t make Charlie a bad soul just because Felicia Day cut her hair.

Supernatural: Agism Runs Rampant

The thing that really irks me about Supernatural is its blatant agism.  The writers constantly make unsavory jokes about the elderly.  It’s like they think they’re immune to the aging process.  They’re not.  Everyone ages.  And it’s a blessing to do so.  After all, consider the alternative.

Dean looks good in a tuxedo.

One tuxedo…

That agism is rampant in two of this week’s three episodes, and is alluded to several times in the third.  (With that little mini-rant out of the way, let’s explore this week’s regularly scheduled reviews before we enter the blitzkrieg.)

Red Sky at Morning (306)

This episode gets only 1 star.

Considered one of Supernatural‘s worst episodes, most people blame the “ghost ship” as a lame spectral enemy.  The ship and its associated spirit weren’t the problem.  That honor goes to Bela Talbot, one of the worst conceived television characters ever.

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Supernatural: Simon Said, Bad Sign, Slice of Kevin

Simon Said (205)

This episode gets 4 stars.

Gabriel Tigerman played adorable slacker Andy Gallagher.

Adorable Andy Gallagher

Aw, look.  It’s everyone’s favorite slacker, Andy Gallagher; played by the adorable Gabriel Tigerman.  For a character who appeared in only two episodes, Andy left an indelible mark on the Supernatural landscape.  One of the psychic kids the yellow-eyed demon had plans for, Andy’s special gift of mind control was so much cooler than Sam’s lame-o death premonitions.  Fortunately, Andy used his gift to live a life free of bills and debt collectors, and wasn’t interested in world domination.  That was left to Andy’s recently discovered twin brother.  (“I have an evil twin,” Andy says in shock.)

The episode is full of classic scenes and Star Wars references that live on in the annals of fandom.  The Winchesters break into Andy’s home-on-wheels van to discover classic philosophers, a disco ball, and Moby Dick’s bong.  When Andy confronts the brothers and orders them to “Tell the truth,” Dean begins rattling off about the family business, the yellow-eyed demon, and confesses he’s beginning to worry that Sam might turn evil.

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Supernatural: Southern Route Trap

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)

This episode gets 2 stars.

A truck approaches a car from behind.

Nothing says “scary” like a racist ghost truck.

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.

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Supernatural: Fundamental Brother, Man

Reading Is Fundamental (721)

This episode gets 4 stars.I didn’t pay much attention to this episode initially.  Was I so damned tired of the Leviathan story line I tuned out?  Or had I come to just not care about the series?  Either way, now that I’ve been fully rejuvenated by season 8…

Wow!  “Reading Is Fundamental” deftly set things in motion for season 8, while being action-packed and interesting on its own.

As the Winchesters unearth a stone tablet with strange writing on it, a teen from Michigan is struck by lightning, Castiel wakes up from his Sam-induced coma (from “The Born-Again Identity“), a storm covers the entire continental U.S., and thousands of babies are born.

Teen-aged Kevin Tran can read the stone tablet.

Meet Kevin Tran. He’s in advanced placement.

The teen of course is one Kevin Tran.  When he wakes from his lightning-induced coma, he goes in search of the tablet, although he has no idea why.  Not only does the broken tablet mend in his hands, he’s able to read its writing, albeit with difficulty.

The new, kinder, gentler Castiel has a sense of humor; but he’s also a bit philosophically wonky, which drives an irritated Dean nuts.

But even a wonky angel is useful.  He explains the tablet is the  word of God, written by God’s scribe Metatron.  (Interestingly, it’s Sam, not movie-obsessed Dean, who confuses Metatron with Megatron, the evil transformer.)  Castiel also tells us that Kevin is a prophet.

None of this meant much to me in mid-2012.  But now that we’ve actually met Metatron, it’s canon.  (Plus, I’ve since seen Transformers, so I have a point of reference.)

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Supernatural: Live Free or Sacrifice, Mannequin.

The season 6 title card caught me by surprise.  How did breaking glass tie in to it?  The Supernatural Wiki says it’s a reference to film noir, the genre season 6 was going for.  Ok.

Live Free or Twihard (605)

Every Supernatural fan has her (or his) own reasons for liking the show, and that’s no more apparent than in the wide range of ratings any episode receives.  TV Fanatic and gave this episode very high marks, yet it’s one of my least favorite episodes.  I’m not a big fan of vampires—nearly all of Supernatural‘s vampire-centric episodes are on my unremarkable list.  Or perhaps it’s because season 6 was mostly forgettable.

Dean infiltrates a vampiire nest

Dean Winchester: Vampire-hunting vampire

We know something is off about Sam, but don’t yet know what.  He watches (and even smiles!) as Dean is turned into a vampire. Fortunately, their grandfather Samuel shows up with a vampire cure.  How convenient!

Samuel, still one of the good guys at this point, chastises his namesake for not telling Dean of the “old Campbell recipe” for curing a vampire.  He says it’s as if  Sam  wanted Dean to become a vampire in order to search for the alpha.  The line inititally passed (by me) unnoticed.  We learned about the shapeshifter alpha in “Two and a Half Men” (which I haven’t covered yet), but was this the first reference to the vampire alpha?  Now that we know the key role the alpha vamp played in season 6, and what was wrong with Sam, Sam’s motivation is clearer.  Letting Dean be turned and not curing him was cruel.  But it worked.  By entering the nest, Dean learned how the alpha communicated with his minions, and what his plans were.

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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: No Rest for the… Taxi Driver

[This post originally aired at the New Stream of Conscience on June 29.  Its publication here completes the transfer of Supernatural reviews from there to here.  It seems as good a way as any to celebrate reaching 50 followers.  🙂 Thanks!]

Only two Supernatural episodes this week.  Tuesday on TNT was dedicated to a Rizzoli and Isles pre-season premiere marathon.  And the CW is once again showing Cult on Fridays. It should feel like a vacation, but this week’s episodes were pretty heavy, significant ones.

No Rest for the Wicked (316)

This episode gets 4 starsSeason finale means “Carry On, My Wayward Son” by Kansas.  Always a nice way to start the show.  It also means “Written by Eric Kripke” and “Directed by Kim Manners.”  Oh yeah, and for season 3, we’re left with the most frustrating cliffhanger ever.

Dean and Sam prepare to take on Lilith in hopes of saving Dean from hell.

The Winchester way: Silent and stoic.

The whole season has been building up to Dean’s date with destiny, hellhounds, etc, and here it is.  Sam tells Dean at the beginning of the episode he’s not going to let Dean go to hell.  But, like so many Winchester promises, he fails.

Ruby’s comments to Sam turn out to be much more prophetic than we ever could have thought possible at the time.  She tells him his demonic psychic powers are dormant, not gone; that she can help train him to use them; and he is the only one who can stop Lilith.  Of course, she fails to mention it involves drinking demon blood, and that killing Lilith also signals the beginning of the apocalypse.  (But then, Dean hasn’t broken the fist seal to set the wheels in motion yet.)

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Supernatural: Sin … and Geeks

Sin City (304)

This episode gets 3 stars.Season 3 crept up on me.  It’s kind of a game changer.  Sam died, Dean sold his soul, the gates of hell opened and let out a slew of demons.  Three events played heavily in this episode.

Sam and Dean think they should leave after the police talk to them.

Seeing favorite scenes from old episodes (such as this one) is like meeting an old friend again.

Two escaped demons wreak havoc on a town in Ohio by playing to human vices and desires.  Dean worries that resurrected Sam is cold-hearted and evil.  Dean views his crossroads deal as “liberating” since you can’t worry about the future if you don’t have one.

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