Supernatural: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
|Written by April Yorke|
|Thursday, 14 October 2010 20:20|
Last Friday's Supernatural, "The Third Man," gave the fans some of what they are looking for (shirtless Winchesters, great gore, the return of Castiel) but somehow still managed to miss the mark. On the plus side, I think I'm starting to get a handle on what's missing.
In Easter, PA, a cop goes from nicking himself shaving to bleeding out every which place to totally liquefying in the locker room. Amazing!
Dean's snoozing in bed with no shirt on, then wakes up for some morning nookie with Lisa. Yup, that's a dream. In the meantime, shirtless Sammy is going through his morning workout routine while his hooker from the night before freshens up, offers a full service freebie, and gets denied. Not a dream. Also, fanservice!
The Winchesters find two more dead cops (boils and locusts) and track their deaths back to a family who's teenage son was murdered by the cops who lied about having a gun. Now, did they mistake something else for a gun, were they just murder happy, was the murder racially motivated? Don't ask because that's not relevant. What is relevant is the murdered kid's little brother, who sold his soul to an angel for a slice of Moses' staff (hence the Egyptian-style plagues). Castiel, who flutters his adorable feathery ass in when Dean calls but not Sammy, can get the angel's name out of the kids insides, but it's going to hurt like hell. There's about to be a moment of season arc significance here, but can we hang on a minute?
HOW THE HELL DID CASTIEL KNOW WHERE TO FIND DEAN? Remember those Enochian sigils Castiel carved into their ribs way back in the first episode of the last season? Yeah, me, too, because they came up in nearly every episode after that. They were very important. Yet now Castiel has absolutely no trouble finding the boys. What the bloody hell, show? If you want me to believe that Castiel's healing of Dean at the end of last season removed the sigil (heck, it seems to have healed his arm) or that Sam, like Dean, came back from Hell healed of all previous scarring, tell me that. I'm not a mind-reader, and I'm not interested in fanwanking this shit if you're not going to give me anything to go on. Plus, you would think that there would be scores of angels and demons ready to hunt these two down for permanently putting a pin in the Apocalypse.
Also, Castiel also delivers a hoary joke about his "rusty" "people skills" that saved by two things: 1) Mischa Collins' aggrieved delivery and 2) the last unnecessary quotation marks around the word "year." (I admit that may have been the set up in the first place) Something about his whole "what you humans refer to as a year" just killed. On the other hand, this particular joke, the humans are weird thing, is very difficult to balance (cf. Anya). It works a lot better when Castiel acts like Sam and Dean are kind of assholes for constantly saying things he doesn't understand ("I don't understand your definition of good news").
Anyway, back to the Moment of Season Arc Significance: Castiel tells them that he can get the angel's name out of the kid but not without causing him serious pain. Dean objects to torturing a kid, and, when he asks Sam to back him up, Sam merely asks if the kid will suffer any permanent damage. It's minimal, and they need the name, so Castiel goes ahead and sticks his hand right into the poor kid's chest. Turns out he sold his soul to Balthazar, a presumed dead angel that used to fight at Castiel's side in Heaven's not quite all out civil war. So, you know, Cas is a little put off by that.
They flutter on over to Balthazar's crib. He's doing to whole wine, women, and song thing, patterned after what he characterizes was Castiel's consequence-less rebellion. Well, he did die twice. Just something to think about. Anyway, Balthazar stole a whole bunch of Heaven's weapons, not just just Moses' staff (which he sawed up!). Castiel doesn't even think to ask what he wants souls for, which I think is sloppy but I have the faintest hope might be telling. All this catching up is great until Raphael, freed from that oil ring prison in Maine and engaged in a bitter battle against Castiel for control of Heaven/to turn the Apocalypse switch back to on (hang on to this for a minute), shows up to smite Castiel for a second time. He might have gotten his wish if Balthazar hadn't shown up with whatever was used to smite Lot's wife, turning Raphael's vessel into a pillar pile of salt.
Naturally, the Winchesters can't just take this shit lying down, so they trap Balthazar in an oil ring of his very own. He cryptically tells them that he's collecting souls to trade ("They're the only thing of value in this market!"), restores the now-abandoned tortured kid's soul, and is about to get smote when Castiel causes the flames to recede and declares he and Balthazar even. And just when Dean's ready to throw an ever-loving fit over this missed opportunity, Castiel follows Balthazar's suit and flutters away.
In one of the lovely Metallicar in Nature shots the show does so well, Sam and Dean have a little talk about how Sam totally did not have a problem with Castiel torturing a kid for the good of the case. Yes, Dean. When Sam told you that he wanted you with him because you care about the people you are saving and he no longer does, he was telling you the truth. Right to your face. As liars, I know that can get confusing for you, but there it is. "Too precious for this world!" Sammy no longer cares. Dean tries to be all, "Hell must have done a number on you. I've been there, literally, so let's feel our feelings together," but Sam says there's nothing to feel. Dean was haunted by Hell; Sam isn't. Dean gets his back up, asking if Sam thinks he's stronger/braver/a more special astronaut than he is, but Sam just says that they are different.
I'm going to give Padalecki some props here because he's doing something that's a natural extension of where his character's been headed (from "too precious for this world" to putting hunting first) but curiously affectless. I freely admit that while I still have my problems with this season, what the hell (or Hell, as the case may be) happened to Sam is intriguing.
Minute's up: HOW THE HELL DOES RAPHAEL EXPECT TO KICK START THE APOCALYPSE? Last time I checked, the key players were stuck in a cage, and Dean's got the only remaining key. Is he planning on busting them loose? Going back in time? In which case, why doesn't he just do that instead of all the infighting? Some third option that we know nothing about that will preset itself at a later time?
Which brings me to what I think I am getting a handle on: this season lacks vision. Whether or not you believe that Kripke had a plan all along, I can solidly say that I felt that the gears were turning from the moment Dean sold his soul, and they kept right on until the Metallicar saved the world. But we, the fans, have too much foreknowledge at this point. We know that the five year plan is up. We know that this season will be the last. So how do you build something that logically, seamlessly builds on that which should have ended? You don't. It's going to be bumpy and awkward. I don't have to like it, but I do have to accept it if I want to make it through the season without defenestrating my TV in frustration. So, I'll hang in there. Bobby's around next week, and I love Jim Beaver. Don't think I'm jazzed about this lack of Enochian sigil business, though.
In other news:
Next time: Crowley comes for Bobby's soul.
Soon: Bobby and Rufus agree that monsters sure are crazy lately; Dean breaks up with Lisa; Dean gets infected with some sort of truth curse and uses it to make Sam come clean.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 14 October 2010 11:51|