Posted in Supernatural

Wayward Sisters Review

I don’t normally review individual episodes, but as my reviews of the previous seasons suggest, I love Jody Mills, Alex, and Donna Hanscum, and after last night, I love Claire Novak, Patience, and even poor Kaia, too.

Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers….  You’ve been warned, so read on but I spoil the crap out of a lot.  Even the ending which you really don’t want to be spoiled.  Trust me.

This might be more of a post game analysis than a review, so if you haven’t seen it, this won’t mean much to you.

 

Right off the bat, this show has me just with the “Then” portion where they show the flashbacks that have led us to our current episode.  The music used was “I Am the Fire” by Halestorm and I cannot think of a more perfect song for this show – needless to say, I downloaded the song off of iTunes after my second viewing of the backdoor pilot episode.  Starting with Jody telling Alex that she will be whatever Alex needs, I’m in tears and we’re still just watching what happened before this episode even starts.

Wayward Sisters starts off with Claire rescuing a young girl from some werewolves that were clearly the bad kind of werewolves.  This scene is super important, because it shows us that Claire is a capable hunter, and pretty funny.  The package that has his name on it, is for Mr Werewolf and that really cracked me up.  She takes out three werewolves with skill and much weaponry.  Claire’s insistence on being a hunter has long been something that defined her, but until now, she hasn’t been shown to be a fighter.  Knowing she can actually kick some ass was wonderful to see.

Jody calling her home had me in tears, not just because of the throwback line of the boys are hunting and we haven’t heard from them in a few days, but also because of Kim Rhodes’ delivery.  She made the words her own, while also showing us how much she loves and needs Claire.  She calls Claire home and I wish I could go help them, too.

Claire is a great character but is by no means perfect – she gets home, cops an attitude with Patience pretty much immediately, and then gives Alex a hard time about wanting to be a nurse instead of a hunter.  Ok, Claire, so you are the only one that gets to chart her own destiny?  If we have to honor your choices, then you can shut the fuck up about Alex’s decisions.

That said, she and Alex get along in a fun, somewhat kindly antagonistic way. Clearly, they’ve become true siblings – sisters, if we want to reference the title, and I do. Claire sees Alex at the hospital and makes fun of her scrubs, while Alex calls Claire “Biker Barbie” – which Claire takes as a compliment.  Alex shows a willingness to help Claire and an accurate idea of exactly how Claire reacted to Patience having a vision of Claire’s death.  I couldn’t love Alex more, and on a purely superficial note Katherine Ramdeen is so beautiful she hurts to look at.  Later when Patience accusingly tells her that Jody’s burying a monster in the backyard, I love Alex all the more for saying, “Gotta bury ’em somewhere.”

Her nonchalance at this and the monster dissection shows the type of strength she brings to the team.  She isn’t easily grossed out – as I reminded my husband, she was raised by vampires who disposed of bodies via wood chipper, so she is not going to be grossed out by much.  Claire tells Alex at one point that she left so Jody wouldn’t have to worry, and Alex, so far the realist of the show, said, “She never stopped.”  Perfect moment.  Just because you can’t see the worry, doesn’t mean it ceases to exist.

The cadence and pacing of the show felt very true to most Supernatural episodes, which I really appreciated.  While we don’t see much of Sam and Dean in the Bad Place, Dean eating lizard over a campfire is one of my new favorite brotherly moments.
“Don’t tell me it tastes like chicken.”
“No, Sam, it’s a lizard.  It tastes like a lizard.”  I guess we know how Dean survived in Purgatory.

That said, the part of the show where the hooded figure kicks both of their asses felt very wrong to me.  Seriously?  They can’t fight back against a girl with a fucking stick?  Also, how exactly did the girl with a stick tie up two unconscious, fully grown, massively tall men?  It’s not like they woke up on the ground, they were tied to posts while standing.  Sam’s 6’4″ and Dean is 6’2″ and that little slip of thing carried them and then tied them to posts?  You couldn’t come up with anything more believable?  This type of crap frustrates me because either they are the greatest fighters and hunters in the world – after all they took out how many elite soldiers in season 12? – but yet, one girl armed with a lance can get the drop on them?  Whatever, writers.  Super lame.

What wasn’t lame was the rest of the episode – Patience tries to leave and go back to her normal life, but another vision of destruction stops her.  I have to say I took her father’s words to mean that once she starts down the hunter’s path, there isn’t a good way out, as opposed to never come back here ever again, but maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, I really adore Patience because she takes Claire’s hostility and is able to not only stand against it, but she delivers a wonderful “I told you so” to Claire.

Claire’s awesome, but she’s as flawed as Dean (who is also awesome).  Also, Alex the younger sibling wants a normal life, while the hot headed, older sibling hunter doesn’t understand that.  Sound familiar?  Wonderful parallels to early Sam and Dean here.  (This isn’t my observation, but my husband’s, but he’s super accurate.)

Kaia is a humanizing element to Claire’s hotheadedness and impulsivity, and watching them compare scars served not only as a bonding point, but also shows us that Claire has hunted ghouls and vampires in addition to werewolves, and clearly survived the encounters.  Also, her tripping and bashing her head against a doorknob was another moment where Claire’s sense of humor got to show through her attitude and bravado.  More of Claire being funny, please.

Kaia is also the one that Claire shares that dying didn’t really phase her because as long as it is while she’s hunting, she dies for a good cause and because she’s helping to make the world a better place.  It also must not be too terrifying when you know that heaven is real. However, knowing it is going to actually happen really does scare her – and she steps up to save Sam and Dean anyway.  Because that’s what heroes do and she knows they’d do it for her.  Kaia agreeing to go with Claire to a place of her nightmares, a place she hates so much she used drugs to escape from sleeping is also unbelievably heroic, too.  I love these two so much.

I’m a little too happy with this episode and a little bit too excited about the potential for a series.  As a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of backdoor pilots.  Usually, they steal attention from the main characters and feel contrived.  This backdoor pilot flowed with the universe really well.  Honestly, while it’s a great pilot in and of itself, it’s also an excellent episode of Supernatural, too.  It manages to be new and interesting (like most of Supernatural season 13) while still expanding the world we already know and love.  For contrast, I watched “Bloodlines” once and have never bothered repeating the experience.  Awful, awful pilot.  Like, were they trying to make it as horrible as possible?

That said, and this is a major fucking spoiler so turn away now because its a doozy – Kaia fucking dies (because of course, I love you Supernatural, but you really are “women in refrigerators” a little too fucking much for my tastes) and then we find out the hooded figure is the “Bad Place’s” Kaia.  Who apparently can open dimensional rifts?  Cool concept, but I really adored the sweet and kind Kaia that Claire befriended, not the murderous Kaia in the hood.  There had to be a better way of getting Claire to stay in Sioux Falls than killing off a potentially awesome character like Kind Kaia.

However, this type of ending is also a good one because it returns to us an actress we love – with a character that I hope can be redeemed because Kaia as a series regular and ally is more my taste here.

The possibilities for this series are huge and I really wish and hope that this gets picked up for fall.

OH!!!  I forgot the best part!  Donna Hanscum shows up with a flame thrower and teaches Patience how to shoot a gun (although, clearly more training is needed).  Donna brings a certain humor to the show, but she also brings a deadly capability that I forever adore.  Her ex once called her a “wolf in sheepskin” which is really quite accurate and quite a compliment coming from anyone else.

Donna is nice and sweet and wonderful, but she will kill the fuck out of you.  I love her and her relationship with Jody.  I really hope if the series gets picked up that they figure out a way to include her in every episode in some big way.  She’s just too interesting and too awesome to not give more screen time.  Also, she has a lot more hilarity than just a Minnesotan accent, and I can’t wait to see them expand on that.

Jody telling Donna that she can’t lose another kid is one of those lines that shows that Jody and Donna know each other very well at this point.  Jody isn’t emotionally closed off, but she also doesn’t broadcast her sorrow, so clearly these two have had quite a few heart to hearts.  I love it when so much backstory can be felt with a simple line.  Much like Castiel and Dean watching Tombstone together, some of the best moments of Supernatural aren’t the monster hunting, but the relationships between the characters.

I was incredibly excited about this backdoor pilot, and the entire WaywardAF movement has meant a lot to me.  I’m not sorry to say I teared up several times during the show simply because of it being a dream realized.  With such high expectations, I thought for sure I’d be disappointed, but I not only wasn’t disappointed, I was really impressed with how well it all came together.  We’ve got new monsters we’ve never seen before and dimension walker!!  How cool is that?

Also, I love Dean warning Jody that more monsters must have made it through the rift and Jody saying to Dean that he and Sam can save the world and she and her group will take care of Sioux Falls.  Just so brilliant and something that should set the MRA’s fears and the fear of so many fangirls who complained about only wanting to see Sam and Dean, to rest.  The pilot of this show doesn’t mean that Sam and Dean are going to be gone – they are still saving the world, but our Wayward Sisters will make sure their neck of the woods is safe.

Can this show get greenlit already?????

A+ for this in spite of my complaints about killing off women and Dean and Sam being beaten up by a girl with a stick.

Posted in Supernatural

In Defense of Claire Novak

Tomorrow night, Supernatural will air its backdoor pilot, Wayward Sisters.  I’ve been waiting for this for a few years now, ever since Jody met Donna in the episode Hibbing 911.  After the god-awful travesty of a backdoor pilot that was “Bloodlines” I wrote a blog entry here about the MANY other backdoor pilots that would be acceptable to me, and then I discovered there was already a Wayward movement – sometimes, many people have the exact same idea.  Sometimes, their idea is even better than anything I could think of – as if the case with Wayward Sisters.

However, in recent days, there has been a huge amount of negativity on Twitter and Facebook about this pilot.  Of course, there are the usual misogynists and MRA’s complaining about how awful it will be for 6 women to save Sam and Dean, let alone giving them an entire series.

This is to be expected – we all know how people freaked out over Ghostbusters having vaginas.  These types of negative comments can be largely ignored, but many of the negative comments came from women who don’t want to watch women, but rather they want to watch men, a sentiment which I find pathetic.

You want to watch for the men only?  Cool, just watch the men, but maybe shut up and don’t ruin it for the rest of us?

One of the recurring comments that the moderate complainers have is about Claire Novak.  The writers did Claire very few favors in the first episodes she was in.  For some reason, television writers can only write one type of female teenager – the sullen bitch.  This is how they wrote Claire in the first few episodes, so it is no wonder people aren’t terribly psyched for her appearance.

Part of the problem is the horrible “Mark of Cain” storyline.  In her reappearance in “The Things We Left Behind” (10.9) she’s loyal to a man who sold her out to be raped simply to pay off his debts.  I know, we were supposed to be aghast that the Mark had Dean killing everyone there, but a group of men who will sit by and listen to a 16 or 17 year old girl being raped deserve a more horrible death than they got.  However, Claire didn’t feel that way (mainly because she didn’t know her father figure set her up) and sets Dean up to be hurt in the very next episode.

This isn’t the best introduction for a character – we all love Dean so this of course made many of us dislike her.  Including me.

However, all of the bad writing and bitchiness they heaped on Claire’s character evens out by the time we reach season 12, and there are little signs of a compassionate human inside here and there.  When she was searching for her mom in “Angel Heart” (10.20), Claire goes from badly written teenage bitch, to lost little girl grieving for both of her parents.  In this episode, she finds out that her mother didn’t just abandon her, but was kidnapped and held for 2 years by a Gregorian angel.

It also helps that the very first thing her mother said to her upon being reunited was “I’m so sorry.”  If you can watch that scene and not cry for both of them, you are made of stronger stuff than I am.  This episode shows that Claire is not only badly hurt but full of love with no outlet for it.  She is also the one who manages to kill the Gregori after he kicks the snot out of everyone else.

Up to this point, Claire believed that her father died so Castiel could have a vessel and Jimmy “has it easy in heaven” while also believing her mother just abandoned her entirely.  On top of that, her lone remaining guardian, her grandmother, died, too.  Then Dean kills the asshole who was masquerading as her guardian (even though he was a monster and deserved to die.)

That’s a hell of a lot of loss for anyone to handle, let alone a 16/17 year old.  It wasn’t until playing putt-putt with Dean that she even found out that Castiel saved the world, so Jimmy’s sacrifice becomes heroic to her, instead of being merely another abandonement.

Her tearful thanks to Castiel and Dean for finding her mother was the very first glimpse we have that Claire wasn’t just a cookie cutter sullen nightmare, but a real girl in real pain from the many losses she’s experienced.

This is also the episode where Castiel gives her a stuffed Grumpy Cat from “the Hot Topical” and while she blows off Cas when he gives her the gift, she puts the stuffed animal in her bag.  When we see her in her room at Jody’s house in “Don’t You Forget About Me” (11.12), she is curled around the Grumpy Cat stuffed animal, which was more than a little heartbreaking to see – and something I didn’t even catch until my 3rd or 4th viewing.

Claire’s complete redemption for me came in “Ladies Drink Free” (12.16) where she is bitten by a werewolf and starts to turn into one.  In this episode she earned a lot of love from me by going by the fake name “Beatrice Quimby” from the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary.  I loved those books.  Also, she beat the boys AND the British Men of Letters to the scene, which shows that she has the raw material for a good hunter.

In this episode, she manages to get a lot of backstory on the case, and when she goes to share it with Sam, saying “I did good,” she’s wanting a pat on the back.  She’s wanting a “Hey, good job” or other simple kudo from Sam, but true to Sam form, he goes straight to the next problem instead of giving her even slight praise.  This is typical Sam who can’t celebrate the death of the yellowed-eyed demon for a few minutes with Dean, but has to press about Dean selling his soul.  Sam does this often – and as pointed out by my husband, Sam never got any praise so he has no concept of how to give it out to Claire.

Instead, he pisses her off by asking why she’s lying to Jody.  I will say that the exchange between Sam and Claire where she tells him to stop treating her like a child and he tells her to stop acting like one was pretty perfect.  She deserved that line, but Sam could have picked a better time.  Especially considering she runs away (still acting like a child, Claire) and immediately gets bitten by a werewolf.

This episode really redeems Claire because the way she handles being bitten shows her true colors.  Dean tries to tell her she can deal with it and she says to him “I can barely keep it together on a good day,” which shows a self-awareness that I didn’t think she was capable of.  It’s understandable that Claire is kind of a basket case.  I was in my mid-30’s when my father died and was a complete wreck for years.  That same loss as a child multiplied by 2?  Holy hell, Claire’s actually functioning pretty well.

Another great line between her and Dean here is Dean telling her she doesn’t get a vote and she responds, “It’s my life.  I get all the votes.”  Dean is so used to controlling Sam and Castiel and the others around him that he cares about, I think this is the first time anyone has ever told him no so perfectly.

However, what really makes this episode for me is something super small.  As she is turning into a werewolf and freaking out about it, she realizes she should call Jody and let her know what’s happening.  She says in the small voice a much younger girl, “She’s going to be so mad at me.”  How perfect a line is that?  It shows very clearly that she does consider Jody her mom, without those words being said.  Claire is pretty much dying, and she’s worried about Jody’s anger without the realization that any Jody anger springs from love.

It was that moment that I realized that I really liked Claire, in spite of the typical sullen teenage BS the writers kept heaping on her.  After she turns back into a human she even jokes with Sam and Dean about “craving a milk bone.”  This episode takes Claire and makes her not only likable but understandable.  Her mom (Jody) wants her to go to college, but she’d rather learn a trade instead.  That’s a normal family thing to have happen, just with the hunter spin on it to make it Supernatural.

She continues to be likable even to the end of this episode where she calls Jody and comes clean about not looking at colleges, but rather hunting instead.  She also calls Jody her mother, but she still has enough insecurity about being loved that she practically whispers the word.  She goes from being a brat to being a complex character in one fell swoop.

Also, she makes a joke!  Not the funniest of jokes, but still, it shows there’s a sense of humor hiding in there somewhere.

I get people hating on Claire, because the first several episodes with her, she was a total pain in the butt and more than little unpleasant, but her story didn’t end there.  She grew as a character and she lowered her defenses enough for us to see the broken-hearted girl within – and kudos for the actress who portrays Claire, Kathryn Newton, who flawlessly shows us the vulnerability of Claire over several episodes.

I would groan when I saw it was going to be “a Claire episode” but honestly, given all the character has been through and the fact that Sam, Dean, and Castiel destroyed her family – and hey, they saved the world a lot, but they did tank her life completely – she’s much nicer to them than I would have been.

Furthermore, from the promos I’ve seen for Wayward Sisters, she not only feels loyalty towards Sam and Dean, she’s determined to save them.  That’s a huge evolution for the character.  She’s gone from seeing them as the enemy to seeing them not only as allies, but as family.

So, I do understand hating Claire, but I really think that given her evolution, it’s short-sighted.  She has so much potential and Kathryn Newton is such a fantastic actor that I am more than happy to see her continue to grow surrounded by supportive women like Jody, Donna, and Alex.  I’m also excited to see her interact with the two newer characters, too.

The harsh Claire judgment makes sense to me in the first two episodes where she’s reintroduced, but this character has grown and changed enough as her story went on, that I think this potential Wayward Sisters series (please, please, please, PLEASE let there be a series!) can show her as not only likable, but heroic. I personally cannot wait for this episode to be available on the CW app (we don’t have cable) and I’m sure I’ll watch it several times.

 

Posted in Reviews

Supernatural Season 11 Review

Spoilers abound for all of the season, so reader beware.

Season 11 was a bit of a mixed bag for me.  The episodes I like, I really intensely love but there are a few episodes that simply left me bored or meh.  That said, this season has two episodes that are easily within my top 10 favorite episodes, if not the top 5.  One of these episodes is called “Baby” and the entire thing is just pitch perfect.

Baby is Dean’s name for the Impala, who is the third character in the show who rarely gets an episode from her point of view.  While Sam’s tenacity saved the world and caged the devil, it was memories of the Impala that helped him do it – the Impala is as iconic to this show and the Mystery Machine is to Scooby Doo, so hell yeah, bring on an episode from her point of view.

This episode has a lot of mundane things I just love.  First of all, this episode shows the brothers bonding, laughing, and interacting in a way we don’t normally see.  If you think about the sheer number of places they drive, they spend a huge amount of time in the Impala and because driving cross country is mostly boring, we rarely see this aspect of their lives for long.  This episode gave us a little glimpse of that togetherness and the fun they have together.  It was a joy and relief to see an episode where the brothers get along well, laugh together, and even sing along to the radio.

I could honestly go scene by scene with the episode to tell you why it’s brilliant, but I’ll hit the highlights for me, personally.  Sam having a one-night stand in the Impala and Dean’s pride – and musical humor – is just delightfully funny.  Sam tells Dean he tried to give the woman his number.

Sam: I tried to give her my number. You know what she said?

Dean: ‘We got tonight; who needs tomorrow?’

Sam: Is everything a Bob Seger song to you?

Dean: Yes.

This is exchange followed by the conversation the brothers have in the car really make this episode shine.  For an action horror series like Supernatural, there aren’t a lot of slow moments of conversation, so when they happen, I really enjoy them.  Not finding a hotel (maybe not having money?) the brothers are sleeping in their car with Sam in the backseat and Dean in the front seat.  Sam wakes up, talks about his dream of their father, and the ensuing scene is just wonderful.  It’s just them, sitting in Baby, having a heart to heart and I can’t say enough good things about it.

This episode also has one of the funnier sequences of the series when Dean has to deal with killing “Deputy Dumbass” the were-pyre they are hunting.  Dean is having a phone conversation with Castiel, trying to determine what type of monster they are hunting, when the Deputy attacks Dean.  The fight scene is filmed from the inside of the car – Baby’s perspective – which allows for hilarity.  Castiel’s voice misheard through Dean’s phone as Dean shoots, beheads, and otherwise damages the were-pyre – Dean finds out beheading doesn’t work when the severed head on the windshield continues to growl at him.  This whole sequence is incredibly funny and wonderful.

This episode also sees all three of our main characters – Baby, Dean, and Sam – return home injured and limping, as even Baby got involved in the were-pyre fight.  I honestly think this might be my all time favorite episode of Supernatural, but then “Fan Fiction” and “Don’t Call Me Shurley” are also contenders for that title.

One of the best aspects of this season is that the brothers are on the same side, and Castiel is around during the beginning of the season and on the same side as the brothers.  I love it when our heroes are actually working together.  Their ability to work together so smoothly was what drew me into the show in the first place, so it’s nice to see a return to them functioning as a unit.  I didn’t mind season 10 having Sam working to cure Dean behind his back, because that was still working on the same side, even if Dean didn’t know about it.  Seasons 6-8 where it was brother fighting brother and angsty-drama all the time was wearying, to say the least.

To hit one of the down notes of the season, ugh, Lucifer.  Fucking again.  They killed off Raphael and Gabriel, both archangels, can’t we manage to stab this fucker with an angel blade already?  But no, instead Castiel says “yes” like a total moron and we’re stuck with Lucifer as Castiel, which is a bit more entertaining simply because Misha Collins makes such a more interesting Lucifer, but can we be real?  Lucifer is written as a sociopathic 5 year old complete with tantrums.  LUCIFER IS BORING.  I don’t care that Daddy hurt his feelings, after millennia, get the fuck over it and stop whining and exploding people.  Dick.

While Misha does an excellent job with Lucifer, I still hate the storylines with Lucifer for the most part, although because they are working towards the same purpose, Lucifer is a bit more fun this season, but barely.  Also, making Crowley Lucifer’s “dog” is just gross.  I know he’s the devil and all, but come one, really?  Why on earth do demons have this devotion to Lucifer?  He’s shown no leadership, absolutely detests demons, and generally is a sociopathic 5 year having a permanent temper tantrum, so what gives demonkind?  Just that stupid?  If he’s this charismatic leader that people fall in love with, I’d really like that aspect of him shown, because otherwise, he’s just BORING.  A walking bag of hate isn’t really that interesting to me and Lucifer’s daddy-issues have long stopped being interesting.

It helps that Misha Collins is clearly having fun as Lucifer, so that does get me to enjoy him a bit more as a character, but still, let’s kill Lucifer and never speak of him again, ok, Supernatural writers?

One of the episodes where Misha Collins is playing Lucifer who is pretending to be Castiel is called “The Vessel” and it is another really great episode.  Dean is sent back in time to retrieve a Hand of God, which they hope can defeat Amarra/The Darkness.  He’s sent back in time to the Bluefin, a submarine in World War II.  Lucifer, being an archangel, has the power to send Dean back in time, but due to the warding on the ship he can’t actually get on the ship himself.

This is one of the few episodes I really enjoyed Lucifer, because he’s pretty funny.  Lucifer walking down the steps of the bunker soaking wet always makes me laugh, in part because Lucifer looks so annoyed and pissed off about it.  Lucifer is interesting in the episode because he’s acting like a warrior of god and like an ally to the Winchesters, instead of being his usual petulant, whiny-baby self.  It’s a refreshing change for a boring and tired character.

This episode isn’t really about Lucifer, though.

Dean: Captain James Dearborn, my name is Dean Winchester and I am on a mission from the future, the details of which I am not a liberty to discuss. But know this: within the hour, a German destroyer will find and attack this submarine and you will go down.  [This line doesn’t seem like much, but in the context of episode itself, it’s powerful as a punch to the gut.]

It’s barely about the Winchesters and is instead about Delphine, the Woman of Letters who is transporting the Hand of God via submarine after stealing it from the Thule, the evil Nazi Necromancers.

Delphine: You save this ship, get us to the surface, and then what? The power of God will consume you, and you’ll have merely brought the weapon closer to the Nazis’ grasp. We are supposed to die, let us do it with a purpose.

Delphine warns Dean of the dangers and then takes the task on herself, sacrificing herself and the submarine to take out the Nazi Thule ship.  How badass is Delphine?

At the end of this episode – which never fails to bring a tear to my eye, because of the bravery and commitment of the soldiers and Delphine in the past – Dean tells Sam that he wasn’t really a part of things, he was just a witness.

This is the type of episode that I really love, simply because even the throwaway characters aren’t two-dimensional.  I’d watch a show just about Delphine, or many of the characters on the submarine.  This was just such a great and well written episode all around and it’s one that I love to watch, even though it seems to be more about the WWII action than the Winchesters, which is just fine by me, considering how well it was done.  This episode and “Baby” are excellent examples of why so many people are devoted to this show – they are just brilliantly written and unbelievably entertaining.

“Don’t Call Me Shurley” sees the return of Chuck/God as well as Metatron.  First of all, Rob Benedict who portrays Chuck/God, I could watch just type.  He’s magic on screen and this episode was a revelation of Rob Benedict’s true talent.  HOW IS HE NOT IN EVERYTHING ALL OF THE TIME?  He seamlessly moves from Chuck to God and back again, and then he tops it all off by singing a song that blows all the doors off the episode.  I know writing God must be a difficult task, but more Rob Benedict, please.  Dude is ridiculously talented, so if you don’t want to write an all powerful being, simply have him hanging out and playing guitar, because holy fucking cow is he wonderful at it.

Metatron is portrayed by Curtis Armstrong, an actor who has been in practically everything, but is best known as Booger front he “Revenge of the Nerds” although I always think of him as his “Moonlighting” character Herbert Viola.  As a bad guy, Metatron was obnoxious and devious and killed Dean once, so you know, hated Metatron.  However in this episode, Curtis Armstrong shows what a brilliant fucking actor he is by making us feel sympathy and even a little love for Metatron.  Armstrong and Benedict are what make this episode probably my all-time favorite episode.

First of all, this episode confirmed what most of us thought after the season 5 finale – Chuck is actually God.  This episode reveals Chuck being God, but it’s the interplay and history between God and Metatron that really infused this episode with such life and character.  I could watch God and Metatron sit in this bar and talk writing all day.

Metatron: You know, I was a crappy, terrible god. My work was pretty much a lame, half-assed rewrite of your greatest hits. But at least I was never a coward. [God throws him through the front doors of the bar with a flick of his finger.  Metatron walks back in, smiling.] There he is. That’s the guy I know, the guy I love. I remember the first time I saw you. All the angels were terrified, but I wasn’t. The feeling of your light was… was just beyond measure. And then the unthinkable. You picked me to help you with your tablets.

Chuck: You were just the closest angel to the door when I walked into the room. There’s nothing special about you, Metatron. Not then… not now. Now… I’ve been called many things — absentee father, wrathful monster. But, coward… I am not hiding. I am just done watching my experiments’ failures.

Metatron: You mean your failures, Chuck.

The way he spits out the name “Chuck” like an epithet is wonderful.  Chuck’s words deeply wound Metatron.  Armstrong plays the craziness and cunning of Metatron expertly, and he even shows the broken heartedness all of the angels felt when god left.  Armstrong does restrained tears so very well in this episode that it breaks your heart.  Later on in the episode, when Metatron says that he doesn’t care if he was “the angel closest to the door” he can barely say the words without crying – Metatron the clever and awful enemy who killed Dean once, has me broken-hearted and in tears this episode.

Metatron even tells god that all of his previous bad behavior was a sad attempt to get attention from Chuck.

This episode is just brilliant.

Metatron:  No, look. I know I’m a disappointment, but you’re wrong about humanity. They are your greatest creation because they’re better than you are. Yeah, sure, they’re weak and they cheat and steal and… destroy and disappoint. But they also give and create and they sing and dance and love. And above all, they never give up. But you do.

At the end of the episode, Chuck sings “Dink’s Song” aka “Fare Thee Well” and the first several times I watched this episode, I just sobbed through the whole song.

One o’ dese days, an’ it won’t be long,
Call my name an’ I’ll be gone.
Fare thee well, O Honey, fare thee well.

I’m not a Christian, but the idea of the Christian God of Supernatural being gone is a terrifying prospect just the same.

From this episode on, everyone seems to be on the same side – Lucifer and God hash out some things, although Lucy’s still a dick; Rowena and Crowley join the fight; even Billie helps out.  However, what defeats the Darkness/Amarra in the end isn’t a weapon, but rather it’s love, forgiveness, and family.

I’ve spent a lot of time gushing about the great episodes this season, but I haven’t even gotten to how awesome Jody Mills is this season.  You know I can’t write a review without a huge heaping spoonful of love for Kim Rhodes and her expert portrayal of Jody Mills.  We pop back into her life and see how things are going with her, Claire, and Alex in an episode that I really enjoyed, although for the love of God Claire is such a bitch it’s painful to watch her sometimes.  Can we please either write her as less of a dumbass OR less of bitch?  The combo of bitchy dumbass is really grating, although her cuddling the Grumpy Cat stuffed cat the Castiel bought for her at “The Hot Topical” is a cute moment.

Anyway, Jody is amazing as always and watching her care for her two wards is really awesome, including a discussion of STD’s at dinner, which was funny.  Jody is a great mom, but that isn’t what defines her as a person.

Jody: ‘Kay, well, um. I may have definitely seen birth control pills in your backpack.

Sam: Oh, we’re going there.

Dean: Okay.

Alex: Oh my god.

Jody: Hey, if we can’t talk about it, we shouldn’t be doing it, right? Right?  [Right on, sister!!!  I absolutely agree!]

Dean: What?

The bonding between the women is awesome and in the end Alex offering to sacrifice herself for Claire (prompting Claire to tell the vamps that their intel is wrong, Alex hates her) and Jody is just wonderful.  Katherine Ramdeen as Alex is a great character full of complexities, but really she just wants to live her life without monsters.  Good luck with that, Alex.

“Just My Imagination” is another fun episode that has me laughing hysterically, especially in the beginning of the episode.  Sam’s imaginary friend from childhood shows up and needs help.  The whole opening sequence with Sam waking up and finding an offering of all of his favorite foods from childhood (marshmallow nachos, for one) and then discovering his long ago friend is priceless.  Adding Dean to the mix, “Are you having a stroke?  Do you smell toast?” adds to the overall hilarity.

Season 11 clearly has a lot of really good episodes and excellent writing.  That said, lots of boring Lucifer crap happens throughout the season, but that is why we have fast forward.

Overall I give the season a B – lots of Lucifer boringness brings the season down, and while this season has several just completely wonderful episodes, it also has a couple of meh ones, too.

This season is one where my respect for Sam grows by leaps and bounds.  He addresses the craziness of them rescuing each other at the expense of the world.  He tries really hard all of the time to do the right thing, but the road to perdition is paved with good intentions.  Sam and Dean working well together makes this season a good one, but Sam does a lot of impressive things on his own this season and it’s fun to watch him grow and change over the course of the show.

The superstars of this season are Rob Benedict and Curtis Armstrong, though.  They give the mythology a weight, history, and emotional resonance that really makes the larger conflict more believable.  I know Curtis Armstrong has no problem being called “Booger” by most people, but he is so amazingly talented as Metatron that I simply can’t write him off as just “Booger” or just a character actor.  He’s a fucking powerhouse of awesome.

I’ve complaints about the God/Amarra storyline, but it didn’t bother and I didn’t feel like it went “too big” or jumped the shark.  Amarra was an interesting bad guy, in part because while she was pissed and powerful, she also was innocent and naive in many ways, too.  I enjoyed her storyline and the overall arc of the season.  I’m also glad that – unlike the Lucifer storylines – this one was finished up in the season.

Posted in Reviews

Supernatural Season 10 Review

Spoilers for all seasons abound, so don’t read if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Season 10 has some really excellent episodes throughout, and overall I really enjoyed all of them with a few exceptions.  The first few episodes deal with Dean having become not only a demon but a friend of Crowley’s.  He’s ditched the bunker so Sam has been searching for him for several months.

They introduce Cole as this seeming badass who is after Dean and while he could certainly kick my ass, he’s not that impressive when compared to the Winchesters.  Anyway, he nabs Sam easily enough (to be fair, Sam’s injured so only has one arm working), he’s simply no match for Dean.  Demon Dean shows coldness throughout the beginning episodes, but nothing too dark, although he and Crowley have a disturbing conversation about “what they did to those triplets” and I just hope to Goddess they are talking kinky sex and not, as Kevin would say, “sex torture dungeon” types of things.  With demons, so many things seem to overlap hideously.  Dean ordering for Crowley is pretty funny.

Dean: Two shots here, and he’ll have something fancy with your tiniest umbrella.

The scene where a basically one-armed Sam is in the bar with handcuffs to bring Dean back, Dean who has mostly always kicked Sam’s ass (except for that one time when Sam was on demon blood) when Sam wasn’t injured and Dean wasn’t a demon.  This shows that Sam isn’t really thinking clearly about this issue.  I know they make a big deal about Sam going all “dark side” to find Dean, but honestly, they’ve caught and tortured demons for way less, so him doing so to find Dean and Crowley didn’t seem out of character.

Also, no pity for Lester – that dude not only jumped at the idea of killing his wife, he wanted to watch.  That sicko can go to Crowley’s hell, the sooner the better. (Also, for anyone keeping track of Stargate bingo – Lester is portrayed by David Nykl, aka Dr. Radek Zelenka from Stargate Atlantis.)  Anyway, none of this struck me as really out of character for Sam (“Mystery Spot” for example) as he’s proven without Dean he’s a bit of a wild card, which is really dramatic when the person in question happens to be a Taurus.

Anyway, right before Sam gets Dean back, Demon Dean kicks Cole’s ass.  Kind of a lot.  Cole says that he learned “everything” but can’t even land a blow.  Jensen Ackles, as always, rocks as Demon Dean, even joking about Cole’s threat to shoot Sam. “Did you miss?” Demon Dean says jovially.  Very good fight scene, but I’m not that impressed with Cole.  Like, good job for dedication to your vengeance cause and all, but maybe next time just shoot first instead of talking so much.  Wallowing in your revenge only snatches it away from you.

Meanwhile, Sam and Crowley are fun to watch – Sam tries to threaten Crowley’s life, but it doesn’t really take..

Sam: This doesn’t make us square. If I see you again…
Crowley: Oh stop it Samantha, nobody likes a tease.

Sam taking Demon Dean home is a great relief even if Demon Dean is chilling.  This leads to Sam using the demon cure to restore Dean.  This episode has a lot of back and forth between Demon Dean and Sam, but what’s fun is Crowley saving Castiel.  Castiel won’t steal the grace of another angel, so Crowley does it for him, because he figures Castiel will help the Winchesters make Dean no longer a demon.

Crowley: Why can’t you people just sit on clouds and play harps like you’re supposed to?

Castiel with renewed grace is always an excellent visual as he glows angel white.  Him rescuing Sam from an escaped Demon Dean (Jared Padalecki is great here, especially the relief on Sam’s face at seeing Castiel has arrived) has the visual of Castiel with blue angel eyes and Dean with black demon eyes, and that has become a gif I’ve seen pretty much every where – no surprise there, it is a really well-done scene.  This ends the demon Dean portion of things, and gets us on to the meat of the season, including the 200th episode of the show.

Dean: Ugh, theater kids. Great.

Sam: What? I was a theater kid.

Dean: Barely. You did Our Town, which was cool. But then you did that crappy musical.

Sam: Oklahoma? Hugh Jackman got cast off of Oklahoma.

Dean: You ran tech, Wolverine.

Sam: Shut up.

“Fan Fiction” is the 200th episode of the series and I cannot gush about it enough.  I was dubious about it when I first heard the premise, but it really worked (if you forget entirely that they are dealing with teenagers at a school who would probably be way more supervised than that, but I am not going to nitpick a fucking fantastic episode.)  First of all, the music really is great.  Some of it funny, mostly sweet.  And these singers simply break your heart when they sing “Carry On My Wayward Son.”  I’ve said a few times that I originally thought of “Supernatural” as “pretty boys hunt monsters on the WB” until I was channel surfing and caught the song playing as the “road so far” from season two’s finale – I stopped for the song and stayed for the show.  The song starts off with “Mary Winchester” singing and by the time “Bobby” is getting up from his wheelchair, I’m in tears.

By 200 episodes, fans of the show are pretty invested in the characters, their backstories, and the mythology.  “Fan Fiction” plays on that in a fun way in the beginning that has you laughing, but by the end has you in tears for the loss they’ve had on their journey.  The music was excellent, and “A Single Man Tear” is both funny in a self mocking way and touching.  Well-done episode all around and a great gift to long time fans.  The expressions on Sam and Dean’s faces when they walk in and see a production of their life is priceless.   Dean blurting out, “There’s no singing in Supernatural” is hilarious.    Maeve (portrayed by Joy Regullano) was particularly fun.

Maeve is what Daria would be if she really cared about things.  When people are being taken by Calliope during the show, she calls for the understudies to get into hair and make-up.  She’s pretty unflappable, in that monotone, non-impressed way.  It was a great 200th episode, but I’ve gushed enough about it.  (Although, seriously, where are the parents???)

This season introduces one of my personal favorite villains of all time, Rowena.  Rowena is evil to the core and completely self-interested, manipulative, and all around bad.  She is also hilarious and crazy powerful.  She rescues two prostitutes who were forced into working for demons and simply kills the demon with a hex bag.  Meanwhile, Dean hooks up with someone from a dating site (Sam mocks Dean for his screen name, Impala67) and it turns out that she is working for a demon.  Sex for souls, basically.  It turns out that Dean isn’t really the ideal customer for that type of trade.  Just as the Winchesters have their sites on Rowena, Cole shows up and she gets away.

Dean and Cole fight again, and Dean who is not a demon still easily kicks Cole’s butt.  The fight scene is as good as the last one, but has a lot more heart to it.  Cole talking about his father begging for his life and Dean replying “It’s a monster’s trick,” was just horrifying and sad to me, because it means lots of monsters have begged Dean for their life.  His childhood must have been pretty scarring.  Anyway, Cole moves on with renewed perspective.

Season 10 has plot arcs that serve as book ends for episodes, but there are many stand alone episodes, something the series does really well.  I actually prefer the monster of the week episodes, and there are plenty of them this season.  One of my favorites is “Ask Jeeves” where throughout the course of the episode, Dean manages to pick up every weapon in the game/movie Clue.  It’s a fun and funny episode with excellent guest characters.  They do weave in a bit about the Mark of Cain as the episode’s bookends, but the rest of the episode is primarily funny.

Dean encountering Hansel and a witch that turns him into young Dean is another fun episode that has the return of Dylan Everett as a young Dean.  “About a Boy” is somewhat fun, simply because of the interaction between adult Sam and teenage Dean.  Also, bench seats are a real problem – I have short legs and I’ve put people’s knees around their ears before.  This is a good monster of the week episode even though there is Mark of Cain angst.

One of my favorite episodes, naturally, is “Hibbing 911” where Sheriff Jody Mills and Sheriff Donna Hanscum meet.  I love this episode so much and wanted immediately a spin-off with these two women.  #Wayward #WaywardAF  I clearly wasn’t alone.  One of the nice things about this episode is it shows the dynamic of female friendship really well.  Jody gets tired of Donna’s ex bringing up her weight, “You are SO not fat, by the way” is one of those moments.  These two work so well off of each other, and Jody needs someone who calls her Jodio.

Just Kim Rhodes body language alone in this episode is praise worthy, but what really shines through to me is that finally there is a heroic, kick-ass, adult woman who is a complicated and complex character.  Jody enjoys church but didn’t join their chastity group because she doesn’t make promises she can’t keep.  Jody lost both her son and husband in one night, but still manages to be sheriff, an elected position.  That alone is heroically impressive, but then she takes in Alex and later Claire.  Her life has tragedy, but where the Winchesters tend to become more closed off, Jody just opens her arms wider and her home even more in the wake of tragedy.

Jody Mills is great in this episode, where she is at a Sheriff’s retreat and pretty irked about having to go.  She calls Sam and Dean in to check out what might be a case and they ask after Alex.  She first tells them that Alex is captain of the cheerleading squad as a joke, but when Sam says, “Really?”  Jody replies that Alex is smoking pot under the bleachers but at least she isn’t luring men to their death anymore.  Jody is realistic about Alex’s reaction to 8 years of trauma and is prepared to grade on a curve.

Jody and Donna start off as a sort of odd couple, but by the end they are friends and it really does happen organically in the story in a really nice way.  By the end, Jody has offered to answer any questions about the supernatural Donna has, which is cool.  Also, I just love their exchanges, such as this one:

Jody: You okay?

Donna: Yeah, other than feeling like I wanna hurl. I just chopped off a vampire’s head.

Jody: You were great at that. [Kim Rhodes says this line in a such a wonderful, supportive, happy way that it’s a lot better than it looks]

Donna: Thanks.

Now as much as I love Jody and Donna, I really have to work to like Claire, because as written, she’s been pretty awful.  I know we are all supposed to freak out that Dean killed everyone at the end of her return episode, but these men were just hanging out downstairs while one of them tried to rape Claire.  I’m good with Dean killing all of them.  Randy, who has been “like a father” to Claire is willing to pay off his debts with her, as if he owned her or she were a commodity.  That dude can die and I won’t cry.  Sam and Castiel really overreact here.

Claire is just unpleasant, pretty much all around.  Finding out later in the season that her mom’s been kidnapped gives her some sympathy, but mostly she is just attitude and anger and bad hair and it’s annoying to watch her.  I’m hoping that they make her less of an intolerable jerk in the future.  The interaction between Castiel and the Winchesters is excellent in these episodes, but Claire’s dialogue is just sullen and hateful and bleh.

The return of Charlie Bradbury from Oz happens early on in the season, and it’s great episode.  I love Felicia Day as Charlie, and we get more of her than usual this season which is so great but then she dies and it’s awful.  Her death seems to be used as motivation for Dean to go dark side and kill all of the Steins, but honestly, I think he’d have done that regardless.  Anyway, Charlie died off camera, and while many hated that, I don’t think I could have handled her death scene.  She was too likable and too fun and too much of a straight shooter with the brothers for it to be anything other than a huge loss.  She could call them on their crap in a way no other character has ever been able to.

That said, Charlie died the way she lived, by choosing her direction.  She chooses to save Dean.  Dean tells her to give the Steins whatever they want, but having just figured out the Book of the Damned code she says, “I can’t do that, Dean.”  Her smashing her keyboard in the sink is devastating because it’s Charlie’s suicide, metaphorically speaking, and removes any bargaining chip she may have had for her life.  Charlie chose a heroes death, but I don’t have to like it.  She was a great character that deserved better than to die so Dean’s character could go dark side.  [Getting a little bit ‘women in refrigerators’ here, writers, so quit it]

And all of my favorite lines go to Rowena.  She’s an awful, evil, manipulative witch, but she is just so good at being awful.  Oh, and also a bad mother.

Crowley: You said, you’d be back in a flash and then you disappeared, I was eight-years-old, eight!

Rowena: Oh now, you’re being dramatic.

Crowley: I didn’t even have a father!

Rowena: Of course you had a father. You were just conceived during a winter solstice orgy, and it’s not like I was taking names.

She also has no problem with being evil.  She takes pride in it.

Dean: Rowena, what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this? I’m sorry did I say nice girl? I meant evil skank.

Rowena: You say that like it’s an insult. Nice girls, they’re pathetic. Here’s to ‘evil skanks.’

“Inside Man” sees the return of Bobby Singer in one of the more fun episodes of the season.  Bobby breaks out of his heaven and to distract the angels, opens the backdoors to all of the other Bobby Singers’ heavens creating one of my favorite lines EVER:

Angel: The Bobbys are fighting back. All hands, we need all hands. They’re surly, I repeat the Bobbys are surly.

“The Bobby’s are surly” has to be one of the best lines and this episode is full of that type of clever writing.  We have a throwaway character, Oliver, a psychic that Castiel and Sam go to in order to communicate with Bobby in heaven.

Castiel: I’m an angel.

Oliver: That-no, you can’t be.

Castiel: Why not?

Oliver: Because I’m an atheist.

Sam: Not anymore.

There was so much fun stuff in this episode but one of the visuals I always rewind when watching the episode is Castiel jumping through heaven’s gateway – the special effects are marvelous and Castiel really is so unbelievably cool sometimes – this is certainly one of those times.  A team-up between Sam and Castiel isn’t unheard of, but tends to be rarer that the Destiel team-ups (clearly) but this was a really fun one.

Although, I have to say that sometimes it bothers me that they steal cars.  Sam tends to steal kind of crappy cars and I always think that someone with a crappy car probably doesn’t have a whole lot of ways to replace the crappy car or get to work, so I hope they return the cars sometimes with a full tank of gas and maybe a better working carburetor (since they tend to steal older cars) or demon-proofing or something like that to offset what must be a really bad day for someone who is probably struggling to get by.  Sam stole a truck this season that reminded me of my own, but this isn’t the first time I’ve noticed this car thievery as being somewhat problematic.

While Charlie’s death was awful, the other death I hated this season was the death of Death.  First of all, never in a million years EVEN WITH THE STUPID MARK OF CAIN do I believe Dean Winchester will agree to a deal if it involves killing Sam.  He’s completely incapable of doing it.  Famously incapable of doing it.  He can’t even deal with it when someone else kills Sam, so it is incomprehensibly unbelievable to me that any writer of this show thought this was a good idea.  Were they high?  Or just wanted to get home early?

Death saying that if Dean doesn’t kill Sam that he will, probably wasn’t smart on Death’s part because of course that means Dean has to kill him.  I liked this Death a lot.  This episode just had my mouth hanging open at the stupidity of it.  It was very melodramatic and all, but completely unbelievable.  The best part about the season finale was that they played the “Fan Fiction” version of the “Carry On My Wayward Son” for the first bit, before they rolled into the classic rock edition.  Like seriously, the best thing about this episode was “the road so far.”

Season finale episodes are important, and this season’s finale was stupid.  It destroyed any suspension of disbelief I might have had completely.  I thought it meant the entire season sucked, but honestly, this was a really good season, with tons of stand alone stories that were fun.  The Mark of Cain histrionics got really tiresome really quickly, but I did enjoy seeing Sam working to save Dean for a change of pace.  Overall I’d like to give the season an A, but the season finale and the tiresomeness of the Mark of Cain and Claire Novak make it a B.

Posted in Reviews

Supernatural Season 5

Go, Team Free Will – spoilers for all seasons abound so don’t continue if you don’t want to be super mega spoiled.

First of all, much of this season is spent kicking Sam.  The Trickster shows up and does his level best to punish Sam for being a total prick the season before – granted, the Trickster isn’t there just to punish Sam, but still, it happens.  Dean’s fury at Sam is pretty huge, too, which sees the brothers separating for the first few episodes, something no one watching the show really enjoys.  However, in this context it makes sense, and the separation does allow for Dean to gain a better perspective of events, through some angelic help taking him to a nightmarish place.  Sam is punished a lot for releasing Lucifer and his guilt and self-punishment is pretty evident from episode 1.  After the last several episodes of season 4, this game of Kick Sam was needed to redeem the character, who was pretty irredeemable last season.

The goal of the season is for Sam and Dean to say “yes” to Lucifer and Michael, respectively.  Angels can’t possess someone without their acquiescence, so the angels and demons both want the brothers to say yes, so the apocalypse can come.  The whole season revolves around this plot.

One of the best – or at least most fun – episodes is Swap Meat, where a nerdy kid switches bodies with Sam.  This is a hilarious episode which starts off with the kid in Sam’s body being picked up by a woman in a bar.  The line that makes me laugh every time is “Crystal, I would love to have the sex with you.”  This is a fun episode and it’s fun to watch, much like “Changing Channels” is – Sam and Dean in TV Land?  Awesomely fun.  “The Real Ghostbusters” is another simply fantastic episode, where they go to a fan convention for Chuck Shirley’s, aka Carver Edlund’s, Supernatural series of books.  Becky, of course, invites them.

Becky is a character I love to see on the show, but if you analyze her appearances too closely, it seems as a fan of the series of books, the writers hold her in contempt.  Becky is the butt of jokes, called a loser, and generally treated like a loony nerd, even though she’s actually pretty, smart, and funny.

It makes me wonder if the writers think all of their fans are losers, or if they just like to beat the dead of horse of “you live in your parent’s basement” which wasn’t funny ever, and ceases to be funny from both overuse and inaccuracy.  Really using a line such as this to disparage nerds ignores the fact that nerds run the world, and not from their parents’ basements.  So Becky is fun and I like her, but I wish the writers weren’t so contemptuous – it’s insulting to their fans, especially the female ones.  That said, the fan convention is not only fun, but Becky provides them with critical information about the Colt.

This brings up another issue – if I were the Winchesters, I would have read every single book written.  Becky has information that they boys don’t because she read the books.  It’s beyond stupid and lazy that they haven’t read them all, too.  Becky’s information leads us to a plan to shoot the devil in the face with the Colt.  A plan I love because…

I’m sick to death of Lucifer.  Prior to Mark Pellegrino being Lucifer, he has been the bad guy in damn near every single show in the universe.  He shows up on screen and before the character introduction happens, my husband and I are telling whoever the main characters are to shoot him.  A lot.  Don’t even let this guy talk, he’s bad news, so please shoot him.

Needless to say, Mark Pellegrino showing up and being Lucifer, no big surprise.  My husband actually, “Seriously?  This guy again?”  During season 5 I wasn’t sick to death of Lucifer, yet, so it’s mainly pretty interesting (by season 12 Lucifer is such an old and tired-out bad guy, I have no idea why they keep bringing him back.  Fucking stop it, Supernatural, and get some different bad guys, ffs) but honestly as a character, Lucifer does come off as a petulant, spoiled brat, which is who he is.

The much better character that was introduced in season 5 is Mark Sheppard’s Crowley.  Now, let’s be clear, other than in “Warehouse 13” pretty much every time Mark Sheppard shows up on screen he is an antagonist for the main characters, much like Mark Pellegrino, but Sheppard’s characters are somehow much more interesting and charming.  “Sterling” from “Leverage” is a prime example of how fun an antagonist Sheppard is.  Sheppard on the screen is a delight, whether he is torturing the main characters or simply bantering with the Winchester boys.

Crowley is a delight to behold and his introductory episode is one of the season’s best.  I’d be hard pressed to say which intro I like better, Castiel’s or Crowley’s.  Castiel’s is immense and impressive and awe inspiring.  Crowley’s is fun.  “Abandon All Hope…” not only introduces Crowley, but it also gets the Colt back in the boys’ hands, complete with a whole new set of bullets.  Crowley is no fool, and knowing that the Devil hates demons, he’s going for self-preservation at this point.

In addition to Crowley, this episode sees the return of Ellen and Jo, two characters that were often underutilized.  While Supernatural has a tendency to do too much Women in Refrigerators  for my liking, because nothing upsets the Winchesters like a female death, the death of Jo and Ellen was beautiful and awesome.  Alona Tal and Samantha Ferris are great in every episode they are in, but in this one they break your heart in two.

While saving Dean from hellhounds, Jo is attacked by one, and dying.  This entire sequence shows what excellent acting the show has – Dean telling Bobby that he doesn’t think Jo is going to make it – Jensen Ackles does a great job of leaving words unsaid and here is a prime example.  He tries to tell Bobby this, but can’t get the sentence out.

Patrick Swayze once said in an interview about “City of Joy” that he filmed it after experiencing the loss of his father, so crying was no problem for this movie, what was difficult was the suppressed emotions.  Men in our society are taught (toxically) at a young age to not cry, to be a man, and those lessons run deep down to the bone.  Jensen Ackles does tormented grief, quickly suppressed, unbelievably well.

However, the most moving thing about this episode is Samantha Ferris, who is so fucking fabulous I don’t have the words.  Her character, Ellen, didn’t want Jo hunting monsters, but Jo did it anyway, so she figured they might as well do it together, so she could continue to watch out for her daughter.  When Jo tells them, “Stop. Guys, stop. Can we uh, be realistic about this please? I can’t move my legs. I can’t be moved. My guts are bein’ held in by an Ace bandage. We gotta… we gotta get our priorities straight here. Number one, I’m not going anywhere.”  She then tells them how they can make a bomb out of the conveniently stocked shelves of the hardware store they are hiding in.  She breaks your heart while also being a smart badass – Jo, you are missed.

They make the bomb, the boys say their goodbyes (another gut wrenching Dean moment) and Ellen stays behind.  “Somebody’s gotta let ’em in. Like you said, you’re not movin’. You got me, Jo. And you’re right. This is important. But I will not leave you here alone.”  Ellen stays because someone has to do it and quite frankly, she doesn’t want to live without Jo.  Ellen’s already lost her husband, losing her daughter is NOT something she wants to feel.  However, Jo dies a few second before Ellen does and it’s emotionally shattering to see the realization on Ellen’s face that Jo has gone.  She has time for a few seconds of grief, before she composes herself and destroys the hellhounds, herself, and the hardware store.

If I were in charge, Samantha Ferris would get all of the awards for this performance.  If there’s a way to bring her back for Wayward Daughters/Sisters, I would be totally on board.  Her character is tough as nails, smart, and doesn’t put up with any bullshit.  She’s a tough broad, and I use broad as the highest of compliments.

Speaking of tough broads, this season also introduces us to Sheriff Jody Mills, one of the strongest female characters I’ve seen on television, right along with Ellen.  Kim Rhodes brings to life the complex emotions and motivations of Jody right from the start.  Most shows think “strong woman” means “crazy bitch” but in this show, Jody Mills is strong and tough, but also full of love.

“Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” sees Jody’s son returning from the dead, so when Sam and Dean show up to kill some zombies, she’s not having it and takes them to jail.  When the dead turn evil, her zombie son kills her husband.  In one shattering second, Jody loses all that she loves and Sam comes in and helps her escape.  Jody Mills cries and is shocked and upset and then is able to think coherently and clearly a few seconds later to help save her town.  Most  people would be a basket case rocking themselves in the corner, but Jody womans up to it in an impressive way.  I could go on and on about how Jody Mills is one of the best female characters ever written, but I’ve already gone on too long.

Also, this season sees angry Castiel and it’s impressive.  When Dean’s on the verge of saying yes to Michael, Castiel pretty much beats the crap out of him, and with good reason.  Castiel has been cast out of heaven for helping the brothers, and is a fallen angel at this point.  He did it for Dean and Sam and Team Free Will, so Dean pretty much deserves the beating.  “I rebelled for this?! So that you could surrender to them?  I gave everything for you. And this is what you give to me. ”

Later after Dean has said no to Michael, Castiel apologizes in his brutally honest way, “You’re not the burnt and broken shell of a man I thought you to be,” which is a great way to describe Dean pretty much any season, but was particularly funny coming from Castiel.

Kurt Fuller makes an awesome bad guy in Zachariah, but I have to say he makes an even better good guy.  He plays a coroner in “Psych” and he becomes the most delightful and funny aspect of that show.  However, he is fearsome and great in Supernatural and a worthy adversary.

Season 5 is an A overall.  There are very few episodes I would skip entirely, as almost all of them are tied into the overarching apocalypse plot line.  Even the weaker episodes of season 5 are really good, although I have to say the killing of Gabriel still has me bummed out.  The show has a pretty high death toll, to be certain, but killing off the Trickster killed some of the delightful magic that’s been a part of the show every season he appears.  He’s another character I’d like to see return from the dead.

This season is the climactic finish to the overall plot line of the first 5 seasons.  As such, it is tense and funny and fun and violent and full of fantastically great moments for so many of the characters.  If I had the time to review each and every episode in season 5, I would, because they are all brilliant in their own ways.  Unless you’re a Sam-girl, because again, this season is designed to punish the crap out of him for releasing Lucifer, and boy howdy, do they.  Swan Song, indeed.

Posted in Reviews, Supernatural

Fan Girl Woes

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Anyone who has made a cursory glance at some of my blogs knows I’m a feminist.  More specifically a feminist who loves Supernatural.

My spouse pointed this out when I was watching a YouTube video that was simply guest stars talking about being on the show.  He wasn’t wrong.

Two shows I’ve been wanting to see for a long time are “Kings of Con” about two Supernatural actors on the convention circuit.  The other show is “Con Man” and has Alan Tudyk.  I loved Firefly (who didn’t, other than Fox?) and have long loved Alan Tudyk.  My short review of both:
Kings of Con is the funnier and more enjoyable series for me, but that is in large part because I’m not a fan of poop and Alan Tudyk really enjoys poop jokes that just make me gag.  Con Man is also a little more mean-spirited in general because the titular character is such an ass as to be almost irredeemable.  Both shows had me laughing out loud, by myself at least once an episode, so they are both enjoyable and worth the time, but with Con Man I did take breaks to watch things a little less dark.

I will say that one of the episodes of Con Man that appealed to my dark sense of humor was a musical version of  Of Mice and Men that the main character is forced into performing by Lou Ferrigno (who wrote it, of course).  The songs are horrifyingly funny – especially the recurring melody and line “Turn around and bang!” which had my spouse and I laughing in a horrified kind of way.  When Con Man is funny it’s hilarious.

Meanwhile, Kings of Con is a funnier show all around, in part because of the dynamic between the two leads, Rob Benedict and Rich Speight.  They are funny and have great bantering chemistry.  They also have a regular cast of characters that round things out in a wonderful way.  The show stealer for me was Kim Rhodes as Sue, who is so funny and sarcastic and badass.  Her lines almost always cracked me up the most.  “When I said go fuck yourself, this isn’t what I meant,” had me laughing so hard I had to pause the show.

Kings of Con is a show I would definitely watch again.

Kings of Con also has a show, Kings of Conversation which is the actors in the show talking about the show.  I definitely won’t be watching Kings of Conversation again.

I really wished I hadn’t watched it to begin with.  For the longest time, I simply wouldn’t watch actors I liked in interviews.  My best example of this is when I was watching BtVS a lot and I really liked Seth Green.  Saw him on the Daily Show one night where dude was so high he could barely talk.  I know that celebrities are human beings and I make a ton of allowances for that, but seeing someone incoherently giggle through an interview is a bummer.  I tried to write it off as a fluke, but most of the interviews I’ve seen with him have been disappointing at best.

Kings of Conversation was a bummer to me as a feminist and I couldn’t really put my finger on why it bothered me so much until the last episode.  The last episode all of these actors I would love to talk to or hear their stories were in the audience – Briana Buckmaster (Sheriff Donna Hanscom), Ruth Connell (Rowena), Julie McNiven (Anna), Alaina Huffman (Abaddon)and other women from the show I’d love to hear.

I get the main thought here – Supernatural is pretty testosterone heavy show with leading “lumbersexual” men as main characters.  The fans do tend to like men and some beefcake-y-ness (is too a word) in general, but one of the flaws of Supernatural (that seems to be improving in season 12 with Mama Winchester) is a lack of female characters.  The cool ones tend to get killed off (Charlie!!), which is why I say a prayer for Sheriff Mills and Sheriff Hanscom every night.

Anyway, the idea of these talented women sitting in the audience – some of whom never even got the opportunity to sit at the bar with the boys – just rubbed me the wrong way.  Especially after Lindsay Sloane was on the show.  This poor woman tried so hard to tell what might have been a simple story.  I’ll never know as she was interrupted so much she couldn’t even finish.  She was trying to talk about Jared Padalecki and her in California right when they first started acting, but in a show where the actors are trying to riff and joke, a slight slip-up means story derailment.

Lindsay said, “Fresh off the boat…” and Rich said, “From Texas??” and the laughter and joking from there meant that she had no opportunity to finish the story, not that she could have gotten a word in edge-wise.  This is something every woman I know has experienced at some point in time.  The look on her face of humor at her misspeak, but smiling frustration that she wasn’t going to be able to finish her story as well.  That smiling, fine, I guess I’ll just shut up look is one I recognize too well.  She still commented here and there, but she was mostly silent after this because why keep trying to swim uphill?

She was one of a handful of female guests – Kim Rhodes being the only other one I can even think of at the moment – who actually sat at the bar to talk and joke around with the hosts.

It’s a little thing to bug me so much, but it’s ok.  I can watch and like Kings of Con without having to delve further down the rabbit hole with Kings of Conversation.  But I really wish I hadn’t found out that God and Gabriel have the same inherent dismissal sexism of everyone else.

It’s disappointing.