Thursday, October 8, 2009

Natalie's Recap-That's-Not-Really-a-Recap of "Fallen Idols"

Many fans of Supernatural had issues with the first four episodes of this season. They felt it was too dark, too depressing, that everything they'd loved about the first four seasons was gone. I never felt that way, so I can't speak for those who did. But I hope this week's show was at least a few steps toward bringing back that love.

For me, after the intensity and suspense of the last several episodes, I felt like something was missing. I'm not sure the simple plots of these stand-alone episodes can satisfy me anymore. On the other hand, it had a classic feel and self-contained story, with lots of humor and brotherly back-and-forth. They even had the Impala-road shot from "Monster Movie," the road (maybe even the actual shot, with some trees added and the sign removed) from "Phantom Traveler," and the parking lot from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester" (and maybe that was also the hotel from "Something Wicked," but I'm not positive about that one). And any remaining tensions and push-pull between our boys seems to have been taken care of by the end.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My apologies to Kripke and all other car geeks for not knowing what "Little Bastard" was. I knew, however, that Dean would explain it, and guess what! He does!

We had an obligatory discussion setting up how they can get away with a traditional hunt in the midst of the apocalypse. Can't find the Colt, timeline established (three weeks of searching), get back into it slow, Dean still doesn't trust Sam but relents and says they both need a fresh start, so Sam can give in rather than keep butting heads. Okey-dokey.

So this monster-of-the-week-style ep mixes it up a bit. The pre-show hype re: Paris Hilton always referred to her as a demon. Deliberate misdirection? Apparently, because first they think it's ghosts. Celebrity ghosts, to be specific, and they're killing fans of those celebrities. Why here? A local wax museum (with really good wax figures, BTW, I wonder if they made them or borrowed them?) has actual effects of the actual celebrities. Remains!

Dean was pretty clumsy in his interrogation, and it wasn't the first time. Would you believe I'm not sure if that's an aberration or not? I mean, yeah, it's a given that Sam has always been better at drawing people out and Dean's not known for his subtlety. But the museum curator's looks at him were quite amusing. As was his wearing of the Fonzie jacket. :)

Eventually they figure out that it's not a ghost, and they didn't kill it when they evaporated Ghandi. Quite telling, beyond Dean's brotherly ribbing, that Sam is a fan of Ghandi. And very in keeping with who we all thought Sam was, back when we were saying stuff like "No way! Sam's too good! You can never convince me that he'd go bad!" Maybe that was just me.

Anyway. They learn Paris Hilton has taken a teenage fan, which helps them figure out--as, "as far as we know," Paris isn't dead--what they're actually dealing with. I'm not sure why Sam decided to cut open a body. I was too distracted by his scrubs. Yummmmmm.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Why did Sam go digging in the body cavity? Who knows, but he found The Clue, the one that leads them to a pagan god (they used that screenshot on his laptop in "A Very Supernatural Christmas," too) who drank his victim's blood, and cue the annoyed fans for the pagan-god-bashing. *sigh*

That reminds me. In the beginning, when the blood poured down over the car name, I thought, "Nice effect, but not realistic. That's too much blood." But it was a clue! I felt both smug for noticing and chagrined for criticizing. :)

Some random comments:

Jared was totally making his Blue Steel face when he was doing stuff in the trunk. I wish they'd used a different shot--it's too jarring, takes us out of the show, and makes him look silly. I'm very tired of seeing it, after the overuse in the outtakes. I think, if I were a crew member, I'd have threatened him with face-slapping every time he did it. If I weren't too scared/star-struck to speak to him, that is.

I loved the Spanish conversation, and how I could follow it without knowing any Spanish at all, and therefore believe Sam could do it with his "freshman Spanish" despite how many years have passed since he took the class. :)

Research squared! Yes, Dean ditches Sam to go bar-hopping, but I love the little detail of them both having laptops now, obviously related to the rift because Dean didn't have his geek research brother with him anymore and had to do his own (which we know he's capable of doing, ref. "Wishful Thinking"). I also loved that, apparently, Sam is a Mac and Dean is a PC.

Okay, now, show of hands: When Dean tells Paris he's not her BFF, so she can't drink his blood, she says she can read his mind and knows Daddy's his hero. How many of you held your breath, hoping for the best kept secret surprise in the history of fandom? *raises hand* Alas, Jeffrey Dean Morgan did not magically appear for a 30-second showdown. *sigh*

I laughed a lot in this ep, but danged if I can remember any of the funny lines, except Dean's crack about not seeing House of Wax, and Sam's reaction to that.

The show ended with "Superstition," which meant it left me bubbling with happiness.

Okay, so let's talk about the most important thing. No, second most. Where Dean Stops Being a Dick, Sammy is the Mature One, and The Boys Are Really Back Together.

First, Dean levels a truly dark look at Sam when he mentions the apocalypse. Then Sam overhears Dean saying something about "we know who's fault that is, I'm sorry, but it's true." Sam of course thinks Dean's referring to him, but he could just as easily be talking about himself. Or both of them, as they are equally to blame. Then Sam says look, this isn't working, it wasn't working before, we need to be partners, not boss and baby brother. *cheers* It didn't even break my heart when he said he went with Ruby to get away from Dean--his frustration has been evident since the last few episodes of season 3, when he kept trying to assert his plans and ideas and Dean just kept cutting him off.

Finally, at the end, we get Dean admitting they were both at fault but neither knew it. He's sincere when he says "who would have ever thought killing Lilith would be a bad thing?" I'm pretty sure we saw Sam driving the Impala already this season (though I could be wrong), so the handing over of the keys didn't have the impact for me that it had for many other people. Still, it feels like we're finally where we were meant to be. I'm sure the boys will still have some struggles. Dean's not going to get over the habit of being "in charge" that easily, and Sam may have grown up, but his own habits are just as ingrained. It will be great fun to see how they manage this.

Which brings me to the most important point of discussion: SOON.


I won't list all the awesome things we saw in the extended promo, like Sam getting hit in the balls *pauses to wait for inevitable offers to nurse his injuries* on a Japanese game show, Dean's perfect 50s sitcom smile, the oh-so-sexy CSI sunglasses, the shock and horror of the half-demon baby and Castiel's intentions toward the child, the awesomeness of the upcoming guest stars (the demon-baby mom is from Eureka, the guy who wins years of his life from Dean in poker is most recently from Kyle XY)...and all that stuff.

The question is, WHY did we get a SOON? Number One (my oldest daughter) and I both cried "No!" when we saw it, and all the people I chat with after the show thought it meant hiatus. I mean, historically, that's when we get it. But also historically, they usually go 10 or 11 episodes before they start breaking it up with reruns.

Luckily, my DVR lists "I Believe the Children Are Our Future" as next Thursday's episode, as does IMDb. The other two eps on IMDb are "The Curious Case of Dean Winchester" and "Changing Channels," which certainly looked like the scenes we got in SOON, right? The Buddy TV recapper said it must have been a short episode, and it definitely was, so that explanation rests much easier with me than my friend's comment that we started earlier in the season than we normally do.

No matter what, "SOON" definitely got me excited for what's coming!

Okay, your turn! What important bits did I miss? Did you like or dislike this ep? Meh or yeah! ? Good break from the hard stuff, or a let-down? Comment away!

Images all courtesy The CW


MJFredrick said...

ME! I held my breath! I was thinking, "Oh, they did a good job of keeping that secret," but alas, no. Didn't take away my enjoyment of the show, esp. the last scene. And I'd forgotten about Paris being in House of Wax until she showed up on screen.

The dh knew who "Little Bastard" was. He doesn't know how he knew, though. His reaction was similar to Dean's.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

No, I definitely think the tease enhanced the show. :)

Good for your dh! I'm sure mine didn't know. I think I knew the history somewhere in the back of my mind, but never would have been able to pull it out.

Unknown said...

Oh, SHOW. Just seeing the boys finally talk like grownups was enough for me, really, and both so honestly. I'm not sure if this was a new writer -- Dean was a little more of a dick than I expected, until Sam finally got fed up. But it was worth it, and even though I was yelling, "Hug it out!" at the end, I thought the offer to drive was even better.

I was so flabbergasted by Dean having his own laptop! Makes perfect sense, of course, but for a moment I was like, "The natural order of things has been shaken to its core!" And despite how much I would have LOVED to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan, I was relieved we didn't have to see them behead him. ;-)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, Amy!

The writer this week was Julie Siege, and she did "The Monster at the End of This Book," "Criss Angel Is a Douche Bag," and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester" (according to her IMDb page); plus, the dickiness has been present in other episodes before this, though maybe not always quite so blatant. I'm hopeful it was part of the arc and will go away now. :)

"The natural order of things has been shaken to its core!"

EXACTLY! Such a small thing to show such a huge shift. :)

And despite how much I would have LOVED to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan, I was relieved we didn't have to see them behead him. ;-)

Gah, I was thinking the same thing this morning. And that would have had no place in this episode, though I wouldn't have put it past Kripke and Co. to use something like that.

Unknown said...

I agree -- I think she over-emphasized Dean's attitude with Sam, but hopefully it's over. I'm just glad it's out on the open that Sam knows Dean broke the first seal, too. She was also a little anvilicious with the whole, "What do celebrities have but small dogs and spray tans?" but Paris actually handled the role better than I thought she would, so.

For the first time, too, Sam's sideburns bothered me! I'm not usually a real nitpicker, but somehow I noticed them last night and thought, "Sam is *not* taking time to style his sideburns. PLEASE."

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL on the sideburns. They've been bugging me ALL season. They encroached a little less in this ep, I thought, but that might have just been because in some scenes, his hair was just too long (or not behaving).

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I def held my breath waiting for JDM, but it was good he didn't show up. I enjoyed the episode, but thought it was a weird balance of serious and funny. Definitely a bridge episode, but I'm so glad the brothers are doing better. I was thrilled when Sam spoke up for himself.

Natalie, your memory for details scares me. LOL. I'd never remember a screensaver from an episode. I'm in awe.

LOVED the tease. Wow, good stuff coming up.

I thought Paris did a really good job. Better than I expected and, of course, I was happy to see her get chopped. Although, man, was Sam a little zealous about that. LOL. The comments at the end about Dean getting whaled by her and an APB going out cracked me up.

Unknown said...

A friend on another board also mentioned, last week, Dean's habit of using Jewish or Yiddish expressions, which is really interesting. I'm rewatching right now (what?! I can't help it, okay?) and he just said "bupkis"!

Paired with the use of kibbutz where he might have said commune, and dayenu, which is a little more obscure, and it's just a fascinating little tidbit. Sam doesn't do it and neither did John, so it makes me want the backstory where they had a Jewish grandmother type as a babysitter for a while when Dean was maybe six, or he fell for a Jewish girl in high school at some point.

Welcome to the random that is my head on a post-show morning. ;-)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You know, I hadn't thought of it like that, but you're right! (I had to look up dayenu. *is shamed*)

Of course, I use bupkis and kibbutz and oy vey with absolutely no Jewish connection whatsoever... :)

Unknown said...

That's true, Natalie. I do, too! But it was fun to think about.

What I'd also like is an episode about Sam's foibles. It's probably too late to do it this season (S2 would have been perfect), but we get so much of Dean's quirks -- pie, womanizing, cars, music, horror movies. Sam is always the straight man, the tragic one who tried to be normal and lost his girlfriend.

Here, we get a little glimpse of fun, geeky Sam with his Gandhi love, but an episode about his ... I don't know, childhood love of baseball or his favorite author or something would be a nice change.

I will ... stop spamming your blog now, promise. ::sheepish::

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You're right! What did he do in all those long hours holed up in hotels while Dad was on a hunt? I suppose his constant collection of knowledge is a foible, but there have to be more.

And it's not spamming, it's discussion! :)

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Terri, some would say my memory for detail is pathetic. LOL It comes from watching the eps over again every summer, I suppose. But my daughter is even worse! (better?) She recognizes not only guest stars, but actors who had bit parts and less than five minutes of screen time!

Trish Milburn said...

I thought the episode was fine, and I guess it was time for a bit of a lighter episode. I guess this just seemed like something that would have been in an earlier season, a bit out of place in the apocalypse season. I do have to admit I laughed at the House of Wax comment and Sam's reaction to that.

Okay, am I the only one who when they first showed the car thought it was one of the horses for the Four Horsemen? I mean, just a couple of episodes ago, we had one of those.

The scene of Sam working over the car truck -- the way it was shot, it almost seemed like Sam was up to something he didn't want Dean to know about.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I agree, it definitely felt out of place here. But it was necessary to appease all the fans (especially casual fans) who prefer these types of episodes.

I have to admit, I never once thought of the Four Horsemen! I was assuming all the cars will be Mustangs, though. :)

Yeah, you're right, that did look a little like that, but I attribute that to the Blue Steel face again--where he purses up his lips and twists his head back and forth.

Anonymous said...

The ep won't rank among my top favorites, but it was nice to see the guys finally hash it out--and see Dean acknowledge Sam's valid points. (No offense to Ghandi's great memory, but the fruitarian bit cracked me up *g*) The keys at the end were predictable but nice anyway (my husband was hollering at the screen, "Let Same drive!")

I'm actually more excited about the stuff we saw after "SOON" than the actual ep we got :-) But I was worried this meant an unexpected hiatus, which would stink.

Anonymous said...

Two more things I wanted to add...I LOVE the pic you posted of Dean and I was VERY impressed with how well the stunt person taught Paris how to throw a punch!