Archive for the Supernatural: Reviews Category

Review: Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Posted in Supernatural: Reviews on April 9, 2010 by brandex1

Season 5, Episode 15

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid

Summary: So it’s a stormy night in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (which many will recognize as Bobby’s home town) and we see a had come out of a grave, followed by a fairly dirt-caked zombie. Cut to a redneck in a trailer watching TV. He hears a jiggling at the door and goes to check it out only to find nothing there. He shuts it and sits down, but it then flies open. He investigates, turns around and is confronted and attacked by the aforementioned zombie. Cue title card. Sam and Dean walk in to a diner to interview a man who claims to have seen the attack and meet Sheriff Mills (a possible reference to Jim Beaver’s character in Harper’s Island) who asks to talk to their supervisor whose voice she then recognises as Bobby’s. The boys talk to Bobby about the attack and he claims to have investigated it and come up with nothing but on the way out of town they discover the freshly filled grave and find no body in the coffin. While checking out the zombie’s house they find him and take him outside to “kill” him but are caught and arrested by the Sheriff. Bobby bails them out of jail and while at his house they meet Bobby’s dead wife Karen who has also risen. Bobby tells them that death is behind it. While Dean keeps an eye on Bobby and has a talk with Karen, Sam goes to investigate the other people who have risen, the first of which he finds has turned and started killing. They tell Bobby about this who knowing what they want to do tells them to leave. At the car Dean tells Sam to go get help from Sheriff Mills while he takes care of Karen. When Sam gets to the Sheriff’s house he finds that her son (who was also one of the zombies) has turned and killed her husband. This forces him to kill the boy, and her to accept that they are dangerous. Back at Bobby’s Karen has also begun to turn and she tells Bobby he has to kill her. As Dean is coming inside he hears a gunshot and finds Karen dead and Bobby holding the gun. Sam is gathering the town’s people to help them fight the zombies but also finds that Bobby isn’t such a hero in the town’s eyes. While loading the car with ammo Bobby and Dean are attacked and in a shootout between them and the zombies are chased into a cupboard inside. When the zombies get into the cupboard they have to fight them off until Sam and the Sheriff come and kill the rest. The episode ends with Sam burning the dead bodies and then he and Dean finding Bobby where he is burning his wife and he tells them the real reason Death came to South Dakota.

There is a lot of thought involved when a show decides to use zombies. What type of zombies will they be? How can they be killed? Etc. I personally love these zombies. So far throughout the series there has been 2 types of “zombies”. First there was the zombie that was raised in “2.04 Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” who was completely aware and almost like a living human, then there were the Croatoan virus “zombies” from “2.09 Croatoan” and “5.04 The End”. This episode chose to go with the former and have their undead fully aware. They had even worked their way back into society and the town had accepted them. One theme of this episode was zombie ethics. As Dean was preparing to shoot one, the Sheriff appears and tells him just because he’s a monster, it doesn’t give him the right to shoot him. That leads to a brilliant quote:

“I can’t believe you were going to shoot me”

”You’re a zombie”

”I’m a taxpayer”

It was a good idea that got you thinking, “If zombies really did come, what rights would they have?” Although those ethics were thrown out the window once the zombies started turning and attacking the down.

The Horseman Death (Who is still yet to be seen) was, of course, the one behind the raising of the dead. Like Revelations states, the dead will rise in the final run of the apocalypse. Why in Sioux Falls, South Dakota you ask? That was my first though too. Turns out Death doesn’t like the way Bobby has been helping the Winchesters deny they’re destinies and he’s decided to take action, sending a plague of the dead to his town to deliver him a message.

This leads me to Bobby’s role in the episode. It was a fairly emotional episode for him as his wife Karen (who was killed by Bobby himself, as explained in “3.10 Dream A Little Dream Of Me”) is one of the dead, brought back to life. Bobby’s reaction to this was the same as the rest of the towns. It was his wife and so he went along with it. He even chose her over the boys when they told him she had to die. But panic set in when she collapsed and he realised she was turning. As she was lying on the bed slowly turning, she told Bobby he would have to kill her again. At the end of the episode, as he watched her body burn, he delivered a heart wrenching line:

“She was the love of my life… How many times do I gotta kill her?”

Needless to say, Jim Beaver’s (Bobby) acting this episode was superb (as it always is), but this episode was so much more. Not only would this part be hard for anybody to play, but given Jim’s past, it would have been that much worse and yet he still soldiered through and delivered a great performance. As stated in his autobiography “Life’s That Way” his wife Cecily died of lung cancer in early 2004. Having to then put himself in the headspace of “How would I feel if my wife came back to life” would have taken a huge emotional toll on him and he even said via his twitter that it was one of the most emotional episodes he’d done. This performance just heightens my respect and admiration of Jim as an actor and as a human being.

Usually I’m not very good at reviewing stand alone episodes (hence why there isn’t one for “5.11 Sam, Interuppted” and “5.12 Swap Meat”) but even though technically it didn’t have much to do with the mythology, it still had just enough to make it reviewable as well as having the amazing work that Jim did. Sorry for the lateness of this review, I’ve just gotten a bit lazy but hopefully 5.16 and 5.17 will be up within the next couple of days.

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Review: My Bloody Valentine

Posted in Supernatural: Reviews on March 27, 2010 by brandex1

Season 5, Episode 14

My Bloody Valentine

Summary: The episode begins fairly disturbingly with a couple coming back from a first date when things start to heat up ending in the two eating each other. Sam and Dean come into investigate and when another couple commit suicide, they study the hearts and find Enochian symbols on them. They contact Cas who tells them it is the work of a rogue Cupid. They track down the Cupid and interrogate him to find that he is telling the truth when he says he only caused them to fall in love, not the deaths. Sam finds a demon in town and when he confronts him with Ruby’s knife the demon runs, dropping his briefcase. Back at motel, Sam and Dean open it causing a momentary flash of light. Cas reveals it was a human soul and that the deaths in town were being caused by Famine, the third horseman of the apocalypse, who causes humans to hunger for their deepest desires. They figure out they have to cut off Famine’s ring to release the hold he had on everyone but Sam says he isn’t up for it because Famine has caused his hunger for demon blood to grow. Dean handcuffs him to the sink and traps him in the bathroom and he and Cas go off to track down Famine. Two of Famine’s demons find Sam in the hotel and when he gets free he manages to kill both and drink their blood. Dean and Cas find Famine and go in only to be captured. Famine tells Dean that the reason he hasn’t been consumed by hunger is because he no longer had a soul. Sam comes in amped up on demon blood and kills Famine’s demons who are then consumed by Famine. Sam tries to use his powers on Famine but he tells him that, as a horseman, they wouldn’t work on him. Sam replies with “No, but they will work on them” and then extracts the demons from him, draining famines power and freeing everyone under his spell. The episode ends with Dean and Cas standing outside Bobby’s panic room with Sam yelling through the door for them to help him.

What would a Valentine’s Day based episode be without a Cupid? Supernatural’s version of Cupid is a big, jolly, naked Cherub whose “handshake” is a bear hug. Originally the boys thought he was a rogue, massacring people but it turns out he was innocent. This Cupid is fairly emotional, bursting out crying when he was accused of killing people. He also shed some light on what Michael had said in the previous episode.

As previously stated, Cupid elaborated on what Michael had said about the boys existence not being coincidental. He tells them that originally John and Mary hated each other but with a little bit of help from a Cupid they fell in love, married and had Sam and Dean, ultimately dooming the world. Dean didn’t take kindly to hearing his parents were forced together and punched Cupid (which as we know from “4.22 Lucifer Rising” hurt’s him more than the angel) however, Cupid being as emotionally challenged as he is, took offence to this and disappeared.

Famine, of course, was the real reason behind all the deaths in town. The writers did a great job with Famine, as they did with War. They took their own take on his appearance. Famine is described as “Portly, and rides upon a black, sickly horse”. In the Supernatural universe cars are used instead of horses and so Famine road in a black SUV with an almost FBI type team of security demons. Famine himself was an old “sickly” man in a gopher. He was draining the town of their souls to strengthen himself enough to “march across the land.” His powers cause a person’s deepest hunger to eventually kill them. His team of demons then collects their souls and takes them back to Famine.

The hungers Famine caused weren’t just food related. He took what a person needed most and turned that against them. For many it was sex, alcohol or money. For Sam it was demon blood. Unfortunately the hunger made him relapse and he was forced to let Dean handcuff him to the bathroom sink. He then got free and fulfilled his hunger. The return of his addiction could likely be his downfall and from Dean’s reaction, it may also be the downfall for their relationship. The trust that has slowly built back up between them this season is in jeopardy and so is the fate of the world if this causes Sam to say yes. Cas (although he is an angel) was still affected by the hunger via his vessel Jimmy. Jimmy’s hunger after being trapped in his own body for so long was red meat. When I first saw Cas eating I thought maybe this was another step toward him becoming human but it turned out it was Famine all along. Maybe the fact Jimmy has been mentioned again could mean there will be another appearance of him as the season goes on.

The final and possibly most shocking revelation of this episode came from Famine while he held Dean captive. Throughout the episode it was obvious that Dean wasn’t being affected and he believed it was because when he wanted something he usually took it. It turned out that he wasn’t affected because, as Famine said, he was dead inside. This was a massive revelation. It brings up a lot of questions including: “What exactly caused him to lose his soul, Hell itself or the torturing he did while he was there?” and “How is this going to affect the outcome of the Apocalypse?”

The episode had a good cliffhanger making us wonder how long Sam would be kept in the panic room. Unfortunately there will be a 5 or 6 week hiatus between now and episode 5.15. But to keep you entertained for a little bit longer the next post will include the synopsis, trailer and hopefully a few previews.

– Dex

Review: The Song Remains The Same

Posted in Supernatural: Reviews on March 27, 2010 by brandex1

Summary: Dean is visited by Anna (Who has escaped from Heaven) in a dream and she tells him to meet her in a warehouse. Castiel however, not trusting Anna’s intentions, goes instead. An argument ensues in which Anna tells Cas that she has to kill Sam to save the world from the apocalypse. Cas tells her that if she goes anywhere near Sam he would have to kill her. To get around this, Anna instead goes back to 1978 in order to kill John and Mary Winchester and stop Sam and Dean from being born. Cas realises this and transports himself and the guys back to stop her. Sam and Dean find their parents and try to pass as Mary’s cousins, but after Anna attacks John and Mary is forced to fight her off in front of him, they finally explain that they are hunters. Anna calls on Uriel circa 1978 to help kill them by telling him they kill him in the future. Dean finally reveals to Mary that he and Sam are their sons and tells her to leave John so they are never born and the Apocalypse can never take place, to which Mary replies “It’s too late, I’m pregnant”. In the confrontation between the two angels and the Winchester’s, Sam is killed by Anna and John is thrown through a window. We see John outside where a bright light comes from off screen. Back inside Anna has Mary cornered when “John” comes in. Anna reveals that it’s the Archangel Michael before he kills her. With a click of his fingers he sends Uriel away. He then tells Dean that no matter what he does, there is no way to change his and Sam’s destiny. With that he revives Sam and sends the two back to the present.

Anna’s return to the show was quite a revelation. Since her departure in “4.21 When The Levee Breaks” we were all left wondering of her fate. I for one thought she could have been dead but this episode reveals she was imprisoned in Heaven which she likened to Hell with “All the torture and twice the self righteousness”. In season four I liked Anna but in this episode, while her intentions were good I still found myself disliking her for wanting to kill Sam. This increased more after she lied to 1978 Uriel about Sam and Dean killing him in the future (If you remember, she was the one who killed him in “4.16 On The Head Of A Pin). Her death at the hands of Michael, in terms of special effects, was possibly one of the most amazing deaths I’ve seen on the show. The above mentioned dislike for her also caused me to see this as a victory rather than a sad death.

The relationship between Sam and Cas was also shown in this episode. In the beginning of season 5 their relationship was strained due to the fact Sam had taken the wrong path and started the Apocalypse. This episode however showed how much that relationship had healed with him rejecting Anna’s offer to help her because Sam was his friend. The concern for Cas that Sam showed when he was injured from the time travel also showed the friendship between them. The fact that Cas has “friends” also shows his growth in character and his journey to becoming more and more human.

The main focus this episode was on the boys’ parents. We see John and Mary in 1978 living as a married couple in Lawrence. Mary, having given up hunting is just trying to live a normal life. Unfortunately she remembers Dean from 1973 (When he went back to try stop Azazel). The attitude John shows after finding out Mary was a hunter shows us that hunting may have just been in his blood all along. Being an ex Marine he would have had a soldier attitude, hence why he jumped at the chance to help with the Angel Banishing Sigil. The revelation from Dean that he and Sam were actually Mary’s children had her stumped. At first her reaction was disbelief but then after Dean told her some key moments from his childhood she began to believe him. The family dynamic of the episode also provided a chance for some humour. One of the episodes funniest moments was when they were all in the Impala and John said “Not another word or so help me I’ll turn this car around.” To which Dean muttered to Sam “Awkward family road trip. All in all the return of John and Mary to the storyline shed some more light on the story as a whole and left us with some things to ponder.

John’s reaction to hunting also caused a conversation between him and Sam in which he told Sam he thought it was wrong for a father to raise his kids in that situation. This then evolved into quite a heart-breaking conversation where Sam told him that he used to “hate the guy” but now he understood he was just trying to do the best he could in an impossible situation and that he died before Sam got the chance to tell him he forgave him and that he loved him. The fact that he was able to tell this to his father (even if John didn’t know it at the time) would have provided some much needed closure for Sam and maybe lessened the guilt he felt for John dying thinking he hated him.

Sam and Dean have made a lot of sacrifices throughout their lives but this episode had them making the ultimate sacrifice. Faced with a chance to stop the apocalypse, they were willing to give up their lives. After revealing to Mary that they were her sons Sam told her and Dean that there was no way to avoid what had happened, except one. If Mary left John, Sam and Dean would never be born. The fact that they were willing to give up everything in order to save the world goes to show just how selfless the boys are and the extent they are willing to go to stop the apocalypse.

The appearance of Michael in this episode was a major surprise and the things he had to say were even more so. I knew he would be coming this season but I didn’t expect it to be so early. Using John as a vessel he killed Anna and scared off Uriel and then approached Dean. Like most Archangels in the Supernatural universe he gives off a very authoritative, soldier vibe and seems to be 100% about getting his job done. The conversation he has with Dean reveals a lot about the Winchester family. He tells Dean that his and Sam’s destiny was long foretold and that nothing that had happened in their and their parent’s lives was coincidence. He also mentions that the reason he could also use John as a vessel was because it was in the bloodline, stretching right back to Cain and Abel. He then revived Sam, wiped Mary and John’s memories and transported Sam and Dean back to 2010. The abilities he showed in this episode remind us of just how powerful he is.

This was an amazing episode. Like all time travel episodes it took a while to get your head around some things and there were plenty of times where the writers could have gone wrong. The main worry I had whilst watching this episode was that the revelation to John that Mary was a hunter. This had potential to be a major plot-hole for the series, changing the entire future. But in the end, in typical Supernatural fashion all that was avoided.

-Dex

Review: Abandon All Hope

Posted in Supernatural: Reviews on November 21, 2009 by brandex1

I would like to begin by quoting Jensen from the end of the Season 4 Gag Reel:

DAMN YOU ERIC KRIPKE!

This may possibly have been the saddest episode yet (Or at least the only one that has made me sob like a little bitch). I’ll start with a brief summary:
Sam and Dean get the colt from Crowley. They then team up with Ellen, Jo and Cas and head off to Carthage, Missouri to take down Lucifer. In Carthage, Cas is captured by Lucifer and the others come face to face with Meg. After Meg sets the Hell Hounds on them, Jo is attacked saving Dean’s life. They then take up shelter in a hardware store and she says she’s not going anywhere and they’ve got the right equipment for a bomb to take out the Hell Hounds. Ellen says she’ll stay behind an sacrifice herself too and the boys run off, but not before Ellen tells Dean to “Kick it in the ass” (I’ll expand on this later). The boys find Lucifer making a sacrifice to raise Death (As in one of the four horsemen) and when Dean shoots him, find the gun won’t kill him. Cas then escapes and arrives just in time to watch Death be risen. The episode closes with Sam, Dean and Bobby grieving at Bobby’s as he throws the picture of them into the fire.

 

Ok I’m going to start from the start and get the lighter parts out-of-the-way first. I found it great that they threw in another anti-homophobic scene in there at the start. Like Ask Elton said in his review of ” (5.09) The Real Ghostbusters”, they didn’t have to put that in, and yet they did. It goes to show what a great show this really is.

 

Cas in this episode was great. I love how he is slowly becoming more human and less angel. Seeing him taking shots with Ellen and Jo was great (Although it got me thinking whether or not angels can become intoxicated). Some other random funny bits were Dean telling Sam “*Sam Winchester having trust issues with a demon, well better late then never” and also “Hey your…functioning morons…mor…”. I think Dean’s dig at Sam also showed that they have managed to put it behind them with it seeming more of a joke.

 

Ellen’s “Kick it in the ass” line was great. And, I didn’t know this until reading Samantha Ferris’ blog after the episode, but apparently it was also a bit of a shout out to Kim Manners. She said it was suggested to her by one of the camera guys while she was filming the scene.

 

Ellen and Jo’s death was amazing and sad at the same time. They have both always been favourites of mine and when I heard that 2 people would die in this episode my automatic thought was “Please don’t let it be Jo” (I have a bit of a connection to her because I’ve seen a fair bit of Alona’s other work). Those final scenes between the two of them and Ellen’s “It’s ok … It’s ok … That’s my good girl” to Jo after she was already gone made it feel like my heart was being ripped out. I have never cried so much over an episode of any show as I did this episode. I’m going to miss having them in the show, even in Season 3 and 4 when they weren’t there, at least I knew they were alive. I give respect to both Sam Ferris and Alona Tal for playing their characters so well and I will definately be following both of their future work. And who knows, they may find some way of coming back into the show, it is Supernatural after all.

 

My final point is about Eric Kripke and Jim Beaver. If anyone had read some of Jim’s tweets from a while ago, he made it sound as though he was finishing up with 5.10 and this automatically made me think he was going to be one of the deaths in this episode. I have a feeling this was Kripke telling him to lead us astray to keep a wrap on what really happens. Jim was even playing along right up until the last-minute. Just before the episode aired in the states he tweeted:

“It’s been a fun trip for 4 1/2 years, SPN fans. Bobby says thanks for the ride. Till we meet again.”
and then
“oh, jeez, I thought it was over. oh, shoot, i didn’t set the clock back in this room. sorry.”

My thoughts are this was again to throw us all off the trail, as if he would spoil the episode for us. I have to admit, it worked. I was fooled right up until the end. When both Jo and Ellen were in the explosion I was thinking maybe Ellen survives somehow becuase I thought Bobby was meant to die. But when the credits rolled I thought “What the hell? It can’t be over yet!” that’s when it clicked and I thought “Damn you Eric Kripke”

Over all it was a great episode, not happy, but good in a storyline sense. So now we wait about 2 months until it’s back with episode 5.11. Why do they insist on doing this to us? Thankfully Aussie fans have something to get us through the summer. Season 5 starts over here next Monday (November 30) at 8:30 on Ten with a double episode. Can’t wait to re watch the episodes.

-Dex

 

Review: The Real Ghostbusters

Posted in Supernatural: Reviews on November 14, 2009 by brandex1

Ok, so this is my first review and it is one hell of an episode to start with. First of all I’ll start with a brief recap of the episode:

Sam and Dean travel all night after receiving a “Life and death situation” message from Chuck. When they arrive they find the message was actually sent by Becky to lure them to the first convention for the “Supernatural” books. One activity of the convention is a fake hunt for the ghost of Leticia Gore, a carer in an orphanage, who brutally murdered 4 boys. Unfortunately the stories turn out to be true (at first I thought it could be a Tulpa like in 1.17 Hell House) and Sam and Dean have to hunt these spirits with distractions from some annoying “LARPers” (Live Action Role Players).

 

So this episode was pretty fun and showed that Eric Kripke has a fairly good understanding of his fandom (Which is more than you can say about most creators). Admittedly things may have been exaggerated in some areas but it just added to the laughs. Kripke cares about his fans and this is obvious from the amount of knowledge he has on us. He knows what these conventions are like with the cos-players (Of which there were a few such as Sam and Dean, Ash, Azazel, Hookman and the Rakshasa) and the fandom’s knack for reading too far into things like the “Frightened Little Boy: The Secret Life of Dean” and “The Homo-erotic Subtext of Supernatural” parts of the convention. It makes you feel safe and appreciated when a creator respects you enough to learn about you.

Another key part of the episode was Becky and Chuck’s relationship. I personally love them as a couple. When Chuck was trying to ask her out and he was interrupted because she had spotted Sam, I felt for him. But all it took for him to finally get the girl was for him to act the hero, which he did by swinging some iron through the freaky ass kid.

Sam and Dean’s problems with Chuck continuing publishing his books and the fans reactions to them was also a key part. Dean was pissed off that Chuck was using their lives to make his money,  the fans seeing their lives as entertainment and people such as the German (or Dutch? I’m not so good with accents) guy who brought up Ruby’s betrayal. He told 2 con-goers Barnes and Demian (Who were dressed as Sam and Dean respectively) that “It is not fun, it is not entertaining, it is a river of crap that would sent most people howling to the nut-house” and that “‘Their’ pain is not for your amusement”. Obviously Dean is pretty touchy on the subject of his life (and with good reason). But Demian’s speech at the end, telling Dean that, “To wake up every morning and save the world, to have a brother who would die for you” isn’t such a bad life, really seems to get to Dean and at the end of the episode we see him standing by the car and I can only assume he’s thinking that maybe Demian was right.

I was also proud to see the show take a step in the right direction to making it perfectly normal to have gay characters on TV. At the end it’s revealed that Barnes and Demian are actually gay and it is done so nonchalantly that it seems perfectly natural. This was almost as well done as they did with Corbett in “3.13 Ghostfacers!”

The last and possibly most important bit of this episode came at the end. Becky reveals that Bela never actually gave the Colt to Lilith, instead handing it to Lilith’s right hand man Crowley (Just an off topic thought, maybe named after “Mr Crowley” as in the song by Ozzy Osbourne?). I’ve read in other places that it seemed like a fairly random revelation and I have to agree but I really don’t mind. It helps to move the story along and is going to make the next episode even better.

Lastly, I’ve been reading some other reviews about this episode with some people thinking that Supernatural has finally “Jumped The Shark” with this episode. While yes, I think the meta episodes have been a little bit weird I still love them. I personally don’t believe they’ve Jumped The Shark, I think they just decided to try something a bit out there and the majority of fans have loved it. Some of these people were also saying they were unhappy that there have been so many comedic episodes this season. I personally don’t think there will be any more comedic episodes then their have been in past episodes, they just needed to find a place for them at the start of the season so that the last half could be spent on the apocalypse. Episode 10 (Which is the final episode of the year before the hiatus) is set to be pretty emotional and action filled with, I suspect, very little comedy.

So in conclusion (seems a bit of a tacky way to start but I didn’t know how else to) I loved this episode, like I’ve loved all the others. They had some great themes in this one and it was fun. I personally however hope that this is the end of the meta episodes and we can go back to saving the world from the Apocalypse.

Comments, thoughts and feedback on the blog are greatly appreciated (Any key points that you notice I’ve missed, please tell me)

Thanks

-Dex