Not too long ago, it occurred to me how comfortable the boys have become in suits. And that made me think of how the episodes now compare to previous seasons. Let us count the ways the Winchester Brothers have changed (or not) in four years...
Remember in "Phantom Traveler," they came out of a shop looking like the Blues Brothers in cheap black suits? Dean complained about that, and walked like the whole thing itched.
Contrast that with "Jump the Shark," when the bartender took him for a cop or fed right from the get-go. Both boys have a couple of suits stuffed in their duffels now, and not only don't hesitate to pull them out for a pretext, but wear them as if they were born to do so.
Their pretexting (cover stories) have gotten slicker, though Dean does still like to use the rocker names, and they even have backup for their covers (ref. Bobby in "Sex and Violence" with his wall of agency phones).
The brotherly comfort level has changed, too, but it's come full circle. In season one they had the same goal but different motivations. They butted heads because of it, and their methods often grated on each other. They held things back from each other, too, especially after Dad died.
When Dean saved Sammy and consigned himself to hell, they came together in a new way. They relied on each other more, and even though it wasn't all smooth sailing, they were closer to partners (at least at times) than they ever had been before.
But now they've come to the joining of the mobius strip (like "full circle" but twisted away from how it started), and they're once again keeping things from each other, with different motivations taking them toward the same goal.
Whew. Got dark for a moment there. Let's lighten it up.
Every Season Has Its...
Spirits manifest in different ways in the Supernatural universe. Ghosts are a classic staple, and they use them extensively.
Season 1: A dead boy gets revenge from his watery grave, a dead woman gets revenge from reflective surfaces, a dead priest gets revenge through his hook... And just to be a little different, a dead mother gets revenge on a poltergeist who dares to go after her sons.
Season 2: The ghost was good! The drug addict one, anyway. The HH Wells one was the epitome of bad. *shudder* The little girl ghost was just as vengeful/angry as any have been, but we got to see her as a normal person, and the resolution in that episode didn't come, for once, from the boys. (Aside: That ep provided one of my all-time favorite quotes, "Dude! You're not gonna poke her with a stick!" and the drunken exchange.) They took things even further with a ghost who didn't know she was a ghost, a bunch of celebrity ghosts being controlled by a vengeful writer, and one applying her own brand of justice to prison inmates in death as she had in life.
Whew. I never realized just how hard they ply the revenge theme in this show!
Truncated Season 3 only hit the ghost episodes twice, with a girl who wasn't actually dead and a lonely, creepy guy who was incidental to the real purpose of the show: bringing back the Ghostfacers!
By Season 4, they've really run out the genre. We saw some spirits conjured by Lilith (out for revenge) and the "Whoops! We're not really ghosts!" episode, also dealing with revenge. There were 3 other ghost episodes so far this season, but I've rattled on long enough. I'm kind of shocked there were so many, and used in so many different ways. Kudos to the writers for their creativity.
Every Season Also Has Its...
Imagined dialogue in the writer's room while breaking episodes:
Season one: "Let's explore how ephemeral yet powerful faith can be, especially in desperate circumstances."
Season two: "Faith was so much fun last year, we should explore it again. Dean is a non-believer, but Sam believes wholeheartedly. Won't it be cool if they both have good reason to feel the way they do, and it's the same reason?"
Season three: "Dean's going to hell and we're sitting on our asses with this strike. Let's just hold off until season 4."
Season four: "Eh, what the hell. Let's stop pussyfootin' and just go all the way."
Then there's the...
Flashback or Alternate Reality Episode
1.18, Wee!Dean rebels against his tedious, self-sacrificing role taking care of Sammy, and almost lets him get taken by a striga.
Michael: You said you're a big brother?
Dean Winchester: Yeah.
Michael: You'd take care of your little brother? You'd do anything for him?
Dean Winchester: [in a very heartfelt way] Yeah, I would.
2.20, A djinn gives Dean everything he thinks he wants, but it turns out to be...flawed.
Dean Winchester: Bitch.
Sam Winchester: What're you calling me a bitch for?
3.8, more Dean taking care of Sam, this time giving him girl presents and getting his necklace in return--something he almost never takes off.
Dean Winchester: Remember that wreath dad brought home that one year?
Sam Winchester: You mean the one he stole from, like, a liquor store?
Dean Winchester: Yeah, it was a bunch of empty beer cans.
Dean Winchester: That thing was great.
Season 4 goes all out, with TWO flashback episodes AND an alternate reality:
4.3, in which Our Hero learns his mother was a Hunter.
Young Mary Winchester: I want a family. I want to be safe... You know what the worst thing is I can think of, the very worst thing? It's for my children raised into this like I was.
4.13, in which Our Other Hero recalls high school and kicks some bully ass.
and finally, 4.17, where they put Sam in a snug, short-sleeved polo shirt and crammed his gigantic bulk into a cubicle a quarter of the size of a normal one, and...
I'm sorry, I don't remember anything else.
This is getting really super long, so let me rush through my other thoughts.
How much fun are "Hollywood Babylon" and "The Monster at the End of this Book"? The links will take you to the lists on the Supernatural Wiki of all the little self-referential things they tucked into the scripts.
You Think You Know All About X, But...Episode
Some redundancy here, but we have:
"The Benders" — "Dude, they're just people."
"The Usual Suspects" — Ghost who's actually being helpful
"Roadkill" — Ghost who doesn't know it
"Sin City" — Demons are actually kinda a lot like humans
"Lazarus Rising" — ANGELS, baby!
"Wishful Thinking" — Existential teddy bear
"Jump the Shark" — Ghouls. Whoa.
How Dare They Introduce Women Episodes
Cassie — everyone hated her (well, I didn't, but I seem to be the only one)
Jo — everyone hated her (probably wouldn't have if we'd been told she was a little sister type, which is how it came out, instead of love interest)
Ruby — everyone hated her (until we got a new Ruby, then everyone loved Katie better)
Bela — see Monday's post
I had intentions of talking about growth (Jared got...what's a word for "bigger than gigantic"?...and became a tremendous actor along the way; Bobby's influence on their lives increased; etc.) and the things that have remained constant (John's influence on their lives, Dean's beauty and heartbreaking pain, etc.), but obviously, I've gone on way too long already. So I'll just leave you with something new at YouTube.
Feel free to add stuff in the comments that I missed, or correct me if you think I'm wrong!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Not too long ago, it occurred to me how comfortable the boys have become in suits. And that made me think of how the episodes now compare to previous seasons. Let us count the ways the Winchester Brothers have changed (or not) in four years...
Monday, April 27, 2009
SPN is, deservedly, known for its masculine characters (Dean and Sam, obviously, and John, who continues to shape the boys' lives and the show far beyond the eps Jeffrey Dean Morgan actually appeared in; Bobby; Castiel). But the writers also give us recurring female roles. In Season 2, we got Jo and Ellen. In Season 3, we get the juxtaposed Ruby--a demon who, strangely enough, wants to help and has most of her scenes with Sam--and Bela Talbot, a human...an exploitative thief who has absolutely no interest in helping anyone but herself (although that doesn't stop her from asking the brothers' assistance) and has most of her scenes with Dean. For someone who only appeared in a half dozen episodes, Bela certainly got a strong fan reaction--much of it negative as far as I can tell. Several reviewers would devote whole paragraphs of their recap to snipe about her accent or what she was wearing; fans I've met at conventions turned nearly red-faced in their enthusiastic renumerations of why they didn't like her; some viewers were actually snoopy dancing in forums when Bela finally died in "Time Is On My Side." And I have to say, I don't get it. I actually liked Bela.
Okay, don't throw rotting produce at me. I know that Bela actively worked against our guys on more than one occasion and shot Sammy and snitched to Gordon on them. I mean, I'm not suggesting we nominate her for sainthood (which would be a waste of time anyway, since I think people who make deals with demons are automatically disqualified.) But I think she added a lot to the show.
A breath of fresh air
Bela was a thief ("a great thief") seemingly unencumbered with morals. And I don't know if you've noticed, but a lot of the people on Show are seriously encumbered. They're bogged down by curses, regrets, vengeance, angst. Oh dear heavens, the angst. You know I love Sam and Dean (especially Dean!) but between the two of them, they have enough baggage to put Louis Vuitton out of business. We began Season 2 with John's death and ended Season 2 with Sam's, so we came into Season 3 with a lot of heavy.* Bela's breezy unrepentance was actually kind of charming in the fun love-to-hate her way.
Maybe I was predisposed to like her because I thought that "Bad Day at Black Rock" (in which she was introduced) was a vastly entertaining episode that had good follow through with the past (Gordon in prison continuing to seek Sam's death) as well as forward momentum (setting up both Bela's and Gordon's return spots). Plus we got Bobby (calling Dean an ijit) and a slew of laugh out loud pratfalls and one-liners (Sam cracked me up as the world's tallest preschooler pouting, "I lost my shoe" but Dean's "I'm Batman" was probably my favorite.)
One criticism I've heard is that Bela's character, the "sophisticated" thief, is a bit of a cliche. And I'll admit, there was a similar character (Gwen) who guest starred a couple of times on Angel and Bela would probaly slip right into the ensemble of thieves and con artists over at TNT's "Leverage" (whose great cast includes Aldis Hodge, better known to the Winchesters as Jake Talley). Did the writers play off of a commonly established stereotype? Sure! But perhaps you've heard of the Chosen One, the Father Figure, the Trickster, the religious zealot? Kripke and Co. frequently borrow plot elements, folklore, familiar-feeling settings and archetypes. But then they weave it together and make their own show--in fact, I've argued before that their use of stuff already in our collective social psyche adds more oomph.
I also, personally, thought that the actress had good chemistry with Jensen Ackles. (I've always felt that, as a romantic, I should have been more affected by the season 1 ep where we meet Cassie, who was supposedly so much his True Love that he told her the family secret! Yet I got far more invested in his scenes with Lisa in season 3's "The Kids Are Alright" or even his brief interactions with Amy Acker's single mom in early 'sode "Dead in the Water.) When Dean breaks into Bela's loft to take back the rabbit's foot, she seems almost appreciative of that. And of him. (Some found her to be a little smirky and smug, but, um have you met Dean? Love him dearly, but argue that in this respect, Bela's a pretty well-matched opponent.) If she and Dean don't respect each other's professions (in light of Gordon's character, her comment about hunters being obsessed sociopaths wasn't completely off the mark) they seemed to respect each other's capabilities.
And Bela was capable.
I've heard people complain that there aren't strong or well-written women on the show. (Overall, I disagree, but we'll save that for another post). Bela had flaws--and, as it turned out, a relevant backstory--but she was strong, smart, sexy and occasionally got the drop on our boys. Honking her horn as she drove off with their lotto tickets and keeping the gun with the wine gave her style, and set her apart from the more frequent worlds of small town greasy spoon diners we normally see through the Winchesters' eyes. Even Bobby seemed to feel some grudging respect for her, if not affection. I wonder if people would have been more forgiving of her actions if they'd known sooner that she was a desperate woman looking for a way to break her deal with Lilith. Yes, she told Gordon where the boys were (although, he tracked her down and threatened to kill her), she shot Sam (in the shoulder. "I can aim.") and stole the Colt (not that it always worked the way it was supposed to, anyway). But she was trying to avoid a very specific and gruesome fate--the fact that she couldn't only added to the gravity and nail-biting tension of late Season 4, as we got closer and closer to Dean's own, er, expiration date.
Personally, I find it impressive that the writers crafted a character who, while bantering with Dean, could break the looming tension, then turn write around and use the same character's impending doom to heighten it! Besides, she also helped save Bobby in "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and she gave the boys info on Gordon. She wasn't all bad. She wasn't all good. She had some internal conflict, even if we weren't let in on it until late in the game, and her external conflict (scenes that pitted her against the boys) were often entertaining to watch.
Say what you will, I'll take Bela and Dean sizing each other up over watching someone get beat up/slice/tortured for ten minutes any day! (No, seriously, say what you will...I'm curious? Did you like her? Cheer when she left the show? Or was she so forgettable that you read this whole post thinking 'Bela who'? Share your opinion--and we know you have one--in the comments)
* Of course, when I watched Season 3, Season 4 did not yet exist. In retrospect, some of last year's "heavy" seems like cheeful children's programming...
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Oh, do we have good things in store for you this week!
Monday -- Tanya's post is called "In Defense of Bela." Hmm, I bet our readers have interesting comments on this one.
Wednesday -- Natalie does a four-season comparison as we get closer to the end of the fourth season.
Friday -- Trish recaps and shares her thoughts on this week's episode, "The Rapture."
Friday, April 24, 2009
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!!!!!
Wellll, just GREAT. Tonight’s the night to do the recap and my TIVO decided the first 6 minutes weren’t IMPORTANT!!!! Actually, I think it’s the network. 6 minuters of recorded static. Still, GRRRR. Anyway, I came in when Dean pulled a gun on the kid, John’s son, under the table.
Wow, Dean is defensive. Poor Dean. What a shock to hear that John took such interest in this kid, that he taught him to drive the Impala, that he took him to a baseball game. The kid (still don’t know his name) got the normal life Sam and Dean never did.
And now Sam and Dean have to help him find his mom.
What terribly Photoshopped pictures! It looks like John still had a relationship with this boy’s mother. Is that why the kid called John for help? How much younger is this boy than our boys? If John passed through the town in 1990, he’s about 9 years younger than Sam. So John didn’t learn about him until Sam was in college. (I’m thinking about Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s own secret baby, too.)
ALWAYS with the scissors, Dean! But Sam would have never fit in that vent. (According to my brother, all that crawling around would be impossible.) And ew!!! All that blood and bits. Is this a shapeshifter?
Now it’s time to take the kid’s innocence. Sam insists the kid needs to know. He’s a bit trusting, though, taking it all in, accepting. This should have been a clue to me. Hey, there’s the journal. Haven’t seen that in awhile.
Ah, Adam. That’s his name. I should have remembered from the previews. And he’s pre-med, smart like Sam.
Sam needs to trim those 70s sideburns, do ya think? And stop pointing the gun at Adam when he should be teaching gun safety?
Dean’s touring the mausoleum, but I don’t think I know why. Is this a new body snatching or is he looking into John’s old case? Blast you, local CW! Love the mortician’s line: “Have you thought about where you’d like to spend eternity?”
And Dean’s response: “All the damn time.”
So, graverobbers took corpses and opened them up. YUM.
So Dean goes into a bar and gives off a law and order vibe. There’s a joke.
It seems Joe the bartender worked the missing body case back in the day, and assured the locals they’d taken care of the culprit. Hm. And now the body-snatching creature wants Adam? And Sam is willing to use Adam as bait. Remember when Sam didn’t want to use the kid as bait in “Something Wicked This Way Comes?”
Sam is way hot shooting a gun, and also smiling proudly. Looks like he enjoys being the big brother for a change, having someone looking up to him the way he looked up to Dean.
Wow, Sam is telling the kid to cut off his life from friends, just like Dean told him in Season One, the first shapeshifter episode. Dean calls him on being like Dad, but Sam understands John’s attitude, now. He thinks whatever’s coming may be after revenge, but other creatures are out there who will want revenge against John and whoever John loved. Adam is meat if he’s not trained. Dean declares it’s too late for him and Sam, but Adam still has a chance to be normal. The brothers each wonder if the other is jealous of Adam’s innocence.
Here goes Dean, crawling through another tunnel. It’s gotta be a shapeshifter. Oh, YUCK, Sloppy Joe. Classic Dean.
And now, poor Dean, trapped in a crypt. I’m feeling a little breathless here. And of course he has to check out the coffin, which contains a blonde woman.
Hey, Mama’s home, and has gotten into the house that Sam thought he’d secured. Sam tries to drag the kid away from what he’s sure is not human. The kid gets the gun from Sam and his expression changes from confusion to wicked glee when he tells Sam he knows she’s not human, and plows the butt of the gun into Sam’s face, just as Dean opens another coffin to reveal the dead and mutilated body of….Adam.
Whoa. I bow to Kripke. Did NOT see that coming. (And I know I said that in my last review, but DAMN.)
And now Dean is desperate to get to Sam, who was so trusting with this kid.
What are these creatures, and what are they going to do to Sam? Hey, at least he’s not pinned to the wall.
Ah, ghouls. That’s new and unexpected.
Okay, I’m a bit jealous of the mama biting on Sam’s ear.
So Sam and Dean didn’t get the ghouls because of the fresh kills. Ghouls are usually scavengers, and they take on the forms of the last thing they ate, as well as thoughts and memories. “We are what we eat,” Mama Ghoul says.
I’m GROSSING out, the way they’re tasting Sam. Apparently John killed their daddy, who never hurt anyone alive (just ate dead bodies) but why did they wait so long to get back at him? It took 20 years to figure out revenge?
OMG, Sam is bleeding out! And what scars he’s going to have….all kinds. Dean busts out of the crypt (that has a stained glass ceiling? But is underground?) Why didn’t Dean shoot the kid in the head as soon as he was done with Mama Ghoul? That’s unlike him. Maybe if he’d aimed, and hesitated because he’d be killing his brother’s likeness, but no. He doesn’t even look at Adam, instead going straight for Sam, only to be attacked from behind. Dean comes out on top, but did go a little overboard on the beating in the head of the Adam ghoul. Ick. Why don’t they put tourniquets on Sam?
So the boys stand once again at a funeral pyre. What does Dean mean about Adam going out like a hunter? Just because the kid was killed by a ghoul doesn’t mean anything, right? Dean points out that Sam is more like John than Dean will ever be. Sam takes that as a compliment (!!) and Dean tells him to take it however he wants it. I don’t think Dean meant it as such.
Trish is here with me, and we’re puzzling over the purpose of this episode. What was the point? How did it move the story forward? Just to redeem John’s decisions to make his sons into hunters so they could defend themselves?
The dh asked why we’re surprised John had only one son we don’t know about. But in “Home,” John still wore his wedding ring. Being involved with a man like that would be weird, right?
So what do you think? Was this an important episode? Did it teach us anything new? Is it one you’ll watch over and over?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
As urban legends go, Bloody Mary has always been particularly scary to me, which is why episode five of Supernatural really freaked me out! I remember first hearing about Mary at a slumber party in sixth grade. My girlfriends dared each other to go into the dark bathroom and summon her. When it came my turn I flat out refused, persuading them to play Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board instead.
Strangely, although no one knows Bloody Mary’s true origins, this terrifying test of courage among teens has gone on for generations. The rules may vary, but it generally goes like this. Step into a darkened bathroom, heart hammering, hands trembling, light one candle, look into the mirror and say Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, while you turn yourself around and when you stop, and look back at your reflection, pray like crazy she’s not there to claw your eyes out.
(Sheesh, I have the heebies just writing this!)
Of course, there are variations to the incantation and the consequences. On SPN the victims’ eyes explode and bleed out. Others think Mary will drive you insane, appear behind you and claw your face or leap from the mirror and yank you in with her.
Why a mirror? Well, many believe mirrors are portals to the spirit world. In fact, some cultures will cover the mirrors in a home where someone has died so the soul can't get confused and become trapped in the looking glass. Makes you wonder what, er, make that who, is on the other side, doesn’t it?
Speaking of who…who’s Mary? There again the folklore is fickle. Some believe she’s a vengeful witch, others think she’s a terribly scarred woman who died in a car crash and a few call out “Hell Mary” to summon the devil himself. However, the majority seem to think she’s either Mary Worth, a child murderess, who can be summoned by saying, “I believe in Mary Worth,” or she’s actually Queen Mary I who had two “phantom” pregnancies and earned her nickname, Bloody Mary, by persecuting Protestants and can be called by taunting her with, “I have your children” or “I killed your baby.”
Whatever you believe, the question is, will you summon Mary? Or have you already?
As for me, in the interest of this article I thought long and hard about facing my fear. I even went into my dark bathroom, stared at myself in the mirror and whispered “Bloody Mary” once in my head. That’s as far as I got….
Monday, April 20, 2009
The lovely and talented Anne Mallory and I have been friends since 2003, the year we both (along with MJ) were finalists in the same writing contest. She has gone on to wonderful things, including publishing seven historical romance novels and finaling in the prestigious RITA contest this year. She is also a big Supernatural fangirl too, so I decided to talk to her about her love of the Winchesters. (BTW, that's me, left, with Anne, right, at a conference in San Francisco last summer.)
Q. Have you been a fan of Supernatural from the beginning? If not, how did you find the show and when?
A. I found the show about halfway through Season One when we were in of all places. They were re-running the first episodes, three in a row, and we kept catching them. We looked the show up when we got back to the States and have watched it ever since.
Q. Dean Girl or Sammy Girl?
A. Dean girl. All the way.
Q. What have you thought of this season so far? What do you think of the introduction of angels to the storyline?
A. I think it's interesting. I had wondered where they were going to go after last season, and they've really opened up the world of the show even more. There's some nice dread with what they've hinted at for Dean and whether being on the Angels' side is going to be a positive thing for him. I love how they've switched up the brothers and the theology aspects as well throughout the series.
Q. What is your favorite episode(s)?
A. There are so many great ones, but one that sticks out is the one with mini-Dean. Season three - The Kids are Alright.
Q. What about the show makes you a fan?
A. The relationship between the brothers and the witty banter. Great writing and great chemistry.
Q. To you, what has been the scariest bad guy/urban legend the boys have encountered?
A. The Season One episodes were the most suspenseful, I think. Followed by Season Two. They have gone more to developing overriding arcs than the monster-of-the-week types. But even when they do monster-of-the-week eps now, they still don't do the same edge-of-your-seat, peeking-through-your-fingers, holy-crap-I-can't-watch suspense, I don't think. I remember the painting one making me peek through my fingers. The most powerful bad guy has probably been the trickster, but not the scariest. The guy who took parts to make himself immortal was pretty creepy. Wow, it's kind of hard to choose!
Thanks so much for being with us today, Anne. You'll have to let us know what you think of the remainder of the season and what you think Kripke and company have in store for Season Five.
For everyone else, has something Anne said ring particularly true for you? What do you think has been the creepiest urban legend or bad guy?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
More fun on tap this week:
Monday -- Trish does a fan interview with author Anne Mallory. I'm pretty sure she's a Dean girl. Maybe we'll find out.
Wednesday -- Terri will take a closer look at the urban legend about Bloody Mary. Personally, this one creeps me out way more than lots of others.
Friday -- MJ walks us through this week's new episode, "Jump the Shark." And you know what's cool? I'll be at her house Thursday night to watch it with her. :)
Friday, April 17, 2009
This post contains mild spoilers of the level of short episode descriptions/titles, as well as wild speculation.
The countdown has begun. Starting next week, we have four episodes remaining. I can't believe we're this far along already, that the season is almost over. It feels like it just started.
I had a need to kind of coalesce the season, condense it into its essence. I intended to rewatch the whole season again before I wrote this, but of course it's not summer so I didn't have time. So instead of doing a one-line recap of each episode, I'll explore the season's main parts.
In many ways, this has been Dean's season. When the show was conceived, Sam was the focus, the hero, but immediately the brothers became intertwined and inseparable (in a metaphysical rather than physical sense). When a guy gets dragged from hell by an angel, though, he tends to become the center of attention.
Poor Dean has really struggled this year, and he still can't catch a break. Being selected by the angels seemed to indicate he was special, but Dean just felt like a tool for dicks...until he found out he was the first seal and therefore is destined to be the one to stop Lucifer from rising. Just a little pressure there.
In the meantime, he's struggled with finding out that his mother was not only a hunter, but the reason Sam got marked, she got killed, and they wound up on the path they did. Sam's marking has led to his use of this suspicious demon power. Dean still doesn't know the extent of Sam's secrets, and it's tearing him apart. If he can't save his brother, how can he save the world?
Sam may not have the heavy storyline this year, but it's not like it's light, either. With Dean gone, he turned to what he knew and what he had in order to keep hunting and to try to track and kill Lilith to punish her for taking his brother. He hasn't adjusted all that well to being in charge and then having that taken from him. He also sees himself as his brother's protector--maybe he truly believes Dean was damaged in hell and left something behind, but I think he's trying to justify his need to run things now, or at least to not be run by Dean, as well as trying to do for Dean what Dean has done for him for so long.
Certainly, once we got past all the hints of what he's chosen to do and found out what he was really doing (i.e., drinking demon blood to turbo-boost his demon-fed powers to better defeat his enemy), his storyline expanded.
The whole angel thing delights me to no end, because it fits my own logic. If there is a God, he made humanity in his image, and we're inquisitive children. God also made angels, and angels are rebellious teenagers (ref. fall of Lucifer). So that makes God a parent, and any of us who have or are parents know that we're not infallible. So God's not infallible.
So why wouldn't angels make mistakes, too? They can crave something they can't have and make bad decisions and question themselves and their father. Faith doesn't have to be about God. In fact, it usually isn't, or if it is, God's mostly a filter. Faith and belief are about ourselves and each other, and in that context, the angels in Supernatural aren't that different from humans except for the PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS (but no iiiiitty bitty living space).
Essentially, the humans and the angels are fighting the same internal battles as well as the same external one, with often oppositional methods.
The Big Plan
Seasons 1 and 2 had the same Big Bad: the Yellow-Eyed Demon, later known to be Azazel. Season 3's Big Bad wasn't known for much of the (truncated) season, but when Lilith appeared, she was truly scary. So it's been interesting that she remains TBB in season 4 without showing up for 18 weeks. Of course, Alistair was a pretty good fill-in, if only for his effect on Dean.
It's still a bit fuzzy whether Azazel/YED and Lilith were after the same thing, if he worked for her, or if she just took over the plan once he was gone. Said plan is to break 66 of the 600 or so seals that exist to keep Lucifer imprisoned, which, once broken, will allow him to roam free and bring hell to earth.
The first seal was for a righteous man to spill blood in hell. Alistair explained that John was to be the righteous man, but he held strong. That's got to be devastating to Dean, but John had at least one thing, maybe two, that Dean didn't have. One is his sons. A father who would go to hell to save his son's life has a sphere of love that will give him strength. The other is experience and knowledge. I think he probably knew the scripture or lore that described the breaking of the first seal, and knew if he gave in, he was condemning his sons to the same fate he suffered. That's powerful motivation, even for 100 years.
We've got three parties that seem to know the future. The Prophet Chuck, who saw something really bad but is being prevented from telling Dean and Sam what it was. I'm latching on to the nuances in Chuck's writing of his visions. His interpretations of events aren't always what happens.
Zachariah, a powerful angel, seems to know what Chuck saw, so he has some prescience, too. How firm the future is, how unchangeable, is one of the big questions of the season, stemming from Dean's trip back to his parents' younger days. My interpretation of Zachariah's hold on Chuck is that it is fluid, and he believes the boys expectations will affect outcomes in a negative way, so he doesn't want them to expect what's coming.
And finally, high level demons like Lilith apparently can see or sense the future, too, because she claims to know she won't survive the war. Not news to Sam, who is of course bound and determined to take her out, even if he goes with her. But how much does she see? Can she only see what pertains to her? Again, fluidity seems to be a factor, because she offered to stop her quest, which would mean the war would cease and she wouldn't die, presumably.
Is it me, or is there an awful lot to happen and be answered in just four episodes? Next week we meet the third Winchester brother (and apparently never see him again, so that's why I think he's the "person close to the Winchesters" who is going to die). Then we learn about the man Castiel is possessing. Neither of those premises seems to lend itself too well to progressing the main storyarc, but then, I didn't think the meta episode would when I first heard about it, or the Prius-driving, latte-sipping Dean episode, either, and both did a great job of doing so.
The final two episodes are just starting to be talked about, and I haven't been seeking info. But they're called "When the Levee Breaks" and "Lucifer Rising," which inspires all kinds of fear. And questions:
1. Is Lucifer going to make it to earth?
2. If he does, will season 5 be about putting him back?
3. If he doesn't, what will happen in season 5? (Killer robots, supposedly.)
4. Are Sam and Dean going to take the final step that makes them mortal enemies?
5. If so, will season 5 be about them being apart?
6. If so, is Kripke insane, or just ensuring we'll hate the show by the end of season 5 so no one will try to tempt him to come back for a season 6?
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your personal viewpoint, we'll know many of these answers in five short weeks.
Your turn. What details did I leave out that are particularly important? Where do you think we're going? Are you excited, sad, apprehensive, or all of the above? Sound off in the comments! First-time commenters especially encouraged!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
It seems like any time I thumb through a magazine on a plane or at the grocery checkout, there are an abudance of quizzes designed to give you "insight" about yourself. So, in that vein, I thought it was high time for a Supernatural quiz. All right, maybe your current job is teacher/journalist/lawyer/stay at home mommy, but hey, lots of people are seeking alternate employment these days--in case you ever decide to add "Demon Hunter" to your resume, wouldn't it be nice to know ahead of time what your hunting style is?
Unless you happen to live right on top of a Hellmouth and can do all your exorcising/slaying/etc. in one convenient location (see: property listings, Sunnydale), the Hunting lifestyle often requires a lot of travel. Which of the following most closely resembles your road-trip philopsophy?
A) I can handle the crappy hotels and diners as long as there's a stable Internet connection--which reminds me, don't touch my laptop.
B) Driver picks the music, shot-gun shuts his cakehole.
C) You do what you gotta do. Even if you can't get on the road because you're, I don't know, in prison, you can still send people out on murderous errands for you. Being behind bars is no excuse for slacking! Get out there and kill!
D) Great, I love to see new places! Just don't tell my mom I'm here.
Obviously, the very root of Hunting is to, you know, hunt. Before you apply for this job, take a long hard look at how you feel about nonhumans and possibly having to kill them. Which of these best describes your philosophy?
A) I'm often conflicted--and often have sex with nonhumans.
B) I'm often conflicted. Especially since my brother may be nonhuman.
C) I say, as long as your knife's freshly sharpened, sticking someone with it is perfectly humane.
D) My biggest conflict isn't an ethical choice, it's why so many fans seem to loathe and despise me. What the hell did I do to you?
Admit it, we all have family issues. Which of the following most closely describes your baggage?
A) I have sibling issues--specifically, trying to get mine to butt out and let me make my own (bad) decisions.
B) I have unresolved Daddy issues but am still trying to live up to his expectations.
C) I have sibling issues: ie, I killed mine.
D) I have unresolved Daddy issues and am rebelliously trying to live up to his larger than life memory.
Heroes, from "Greatest American" to Firefly's space cowboys, deserve theme songs! What would yours be?
B) Eye of the Tiger
C) I'm Going Slightly Mad
D) Can't Fight This Feeling
In my job as a writer, editors and agents sometimes ask us to define ourselves by comparisons to other authors. (This always stumps me, but here's what I've concluded: I aspire to the umatachable wit of Jenny Crusie and the award-winning warmth of Holly Jacobs, but the family-centered chaos is pure Tanya.) Along those lines, I thought giving you a specific comparison might help you better understand your Inner Hunter.
Mostly A's: You're a Sam Winchester type
Pros: Diligent, smart, sensitive to others, phenomenal shoulders
Cons: Hard-headed and moody with high potential to go Dark Side; also, pheonomenally bad luck in love
Mostly B's: You're a Dean Winchester type
Pros: Quick thinker, great in a fight (unless caught off guard in bar by petite blonde), longstanding ability to repress emotions and solider on alone in missions
Cons: Rash, reckless, serious Achilles' heels when it comes to family (or pie). Increasingly given to weary indifference--all that longstanding repression that comes with the job (not to mention the Hell-torture) ages a person before their time. Also, possibly unnaturally obsessive relationship with inanimate object, i.e. your ride.
Mostly C's: You're a Gordon Walker type:
Pros: Effective, perserverant
Cons: Batshit crazy, sadistic and vindictive
Mostly D's: You're a Jo Harvelle type:
Pros: Has moxie and can even hold her own in some combat situations (see above, re: Dean, barfight), already familiar with the ins and outs of Hunting lifestyle
Cons: Arguably lacks the stamina/depth of character to go more than four episodes; could end up needing rescue instead of actually kicking bad-guy butt
No Overwhelming Majority: You may be a Bobby Singer type!
Although lacking in a glamorous ride and perhaps the well-defined torsos of some of his younger counterparts, this seasoned Hunter is probably the most balanced and wise of any in his profession, the one we should strive to be like "when we grow up." Though not without foibles and regrets, he is educated in the ways of demons and an experienced fighter. He provides necessary perspective others lack, allowing him to routinely save our heroes' butts. Plus, give him a weekend and he can build you a nifty iron panic room!
So, tell the truth, which Hunter are you most like? And, irrespective of the multiple choices listed, what would your theme song really be?
Posted by Tanya Michaels at 7:53 PM
Monday, April 13, 2009
They were the first murders in the history of the island…
…They will not be the last.
So begins Harper’s Island, CBS’s new “event” murder mystery. Likened to a cross between Lost, Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians and One Tree Hill, the show strikes me more like Clue meets Scream with a vicious Survivor tribal council thrown in each week.
The show was originally conceived by Ari Schlossberg, but since this was his first TV venture Jeffrey Bell (Angel) was brought on board to retool the script and Jon Turteltaub (Jericho) took the executive producer reigns and directed the pilot.
The series opens in Seattle where we’re introduced to Patricia Wellington (a brunette Katie Cassidy) and Henry Dunn (Christopher Gorham), a happily engaged couple who are ferrying their family and friends to Harper’s Island for a week of wedding festivities. Reluctant to join the party is Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy), Henry’s best friend and the daughter of one of John Wakefield’s victims. Abby hasn’t been home since her mother’s death and she’s not sure she’s ready to return. Too bad she doesn’t listen to her gut instincts. As the boat motors up the audience is privy to its first murder as missing cousin Ben has his head chopped off by the propellor. The rest of “Whap” hits on the traditional horror movie components you’d expect: false scares and jump moments, sex and skin, bad personal histories, an anonymous figure watching from the shadows, a creepy kid with a questionable new “friend,” threatening notes, love triangles, lots and lots of secrets and poor Uncle Marty (a hammy Harry Hamlin) ends up sliced and diced in half.
In the next 13 weeks people will be killed off in every episode. There are 25 suspects, guests and locals, and the killer will be revealed in the finale. This kind of close-ended series is a brilliant idea because viewers know right off the bat they’re going to have instant gratification at the end of the season, unlike shows like Lost and Heroes where viewers often get frustrated with convoluted storytelling and little pay off and the show’s ratings suffer for it. Should Harper take off, a new stint could easily be created by changing the setting, mystery and cast, with maybe a couple survivors staying on as is often done in slasher sequels. The real fun of Harper’s Island is going to be seeing who bites it each week while you whittle away your suspect list and try to figure out whodunit.
* It’s odd seeing Katie as a non-kick ass chick, but she’s got incredible chemistry with Christopher Gorham.
*I know Christopher is best known for Jake 2.0 and Ugly Betty, but I’ve never watched him before. He’s too adorable for words!
* I like that the actors were kept completely in the dark from script to script. Their character’s fate and the killer’s identity was as much a mystery to them as it is to us so there was no chance of accidentally skewing their performances with inside knowledge.
* Jim Beaver plays the island’s lone Sheriff and Abby’s estranged father. We only see him for a short time, but the scene between him and Abby in his truck, when he tries desperately to reconnect with her, is physically painful and poignant. Their words were few, but the emotional punch in that tiny scene was amazing.
* I could swear…and I’ve watched it several times…that I saw Jared on the boat. Just after Mr. Wellington tells the captain to start the engine you see a guy leaning against the railing in a green army jacket. They don’t show his face, and I may be crazy, but he sure looks familiar. The show is filmed in Vancouver and Jim has said he was going back and forth between the shows so I think it’s plausible….
Finally, CBS has a Pick the Victim game you can plays for a chance at $1000 and Harpers Globe is an online show and social network meant to give you a deeper understanding of what’s happenin’ on Harper.
What did you think? Did you like seeing SPN alum? Do you plan to stick with it?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I think we had a first week of going to three posts per week. Thanks to all of you who commented. Coming up this week, we have:
Monday -- Terri will be talking about the new show, Harper's Island, which has several Supernatural connections. Katie Cassidy and Jim Beaver star, and Gina Holden, who was a guest star way back in "Wendigo," also has a role.
Wednesday -- What's your hunting style? Tanya will help you find the answer.
Friday -- Natalie shares her thoughts about what she foresees for the rest of the season and beyond.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I REALLY wanted to make this into a You Tube, but I don’t know how to get the video onto my computer and Mr. Emmy Award Winning Editor wouldn’t help because of the whole copyright thing, so we’re doing this with stills. Just imagine it’s a fabulous You Tube video.
A = Action – lots and lots and lots of it!
B = Beer – okay, it could have been brothers, but they do drink a lot of beer!
C = Colt – the only thing to kill the demon
D = Devil’s Trap – to keep demons out – if I were a Winchester, these would be EVERYWHERE!
E = EMF – how the boys identify spirits and possessions
F = Family
G = Ghosts (duh)
H = Heroes
I = Identities
J = John’s Journal – with everything he’s learned about evil the past 22 years
K = Killer Clowns
L = Lawrence, Kansas – where it all started
M = Metallicar
N = Nightmares
O = Old Sins – as in, paying for them!
P = Psychic Power
Q = Quick Thinking – what the boys have to do when they’re caught by the law
R = Rock Salt – keeps demons and spirits away
S = Shovels
T = Trust (or Towels)
U = Urban Legends
V = Vampires
W = Winchester
X = Xtra Lives (Hey, that was HARD!) Both have had a couple!
Y = Yellow Eyed Demon
Z = Zepplin
Posted by MJFredrick at 12:53 AM
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Probably very few of our readers live in or near Hollywood, but just in case...
Skills Like This had a great opening weekend and has been extended another week at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in Hollywood California!
The people who created the film will be at the 5:30 showtime this Saturday for a Q&A. This includes the sweetest guy in Hollywood, Gabe Tigerman (who played Andy in Supernatural.
SKILLS LIKE THIS
"Audience Award" winner SXSW Film Festival
"Best of the Fest" Edinburgh Film Festival
For tickets click here.
To view the trailer click here.
"Eye-catching direction...off-beat chemistry."—NY Times
"For pure comedy this is the nuts."—Ain't it Cool News
"Cheerfully anarchic...indescribably genuine."—Salon.com
"Deftly directed...considerable intelligence and chemistry."—Variety
"An engaging and genuinely funny indie comedy."—TV Guide
"The ultimate tribute to smart, disaffected youth."—High Times
"Comedic chemistry that makes the film shine."—The Denver Post
"My favorite film of SXSW...for it's humor, honesty, and drive."—The Austin Chronicle
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I wear my Supernatural fandom on my sleeve. Okay, so it's more on the torso. When I find a show I like, I tend to obsess about it, and that obsession usually leads to the purchase of T-shirts related to the show. I have ones that celebrate Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, Battlestar Galactica and, of course, Supernatural! Let's just say that the T-shirt vendors at Dragon*Con like to see me and my credit card walking toward them.
Wearing these badges of fandom is a great way to find kindred spirits. They're great conversation starters, and they're memorable. Tanya and I had to laugh at Dragon*Con last fall when we went to a fan panel about Supernatural and met two ladies who were wearing simple black T-shirts -- one said "Bitch" and the other said "Jerk." Only Supernatural fans would get the reference, but when you are a fan it's hysterical.
To prove my devotion, I'm even willing to put up a photo of me -- gasp! -- sans makeup and with I-didn't-leave-the-house-today hair. Here's my Winchester Demon Tour shirt.
And here's the genius of the shirt on the back. It looks like a concert shirt, but instead of concert dates and cities, it has the bad dudes and towns where they're located listed.
Here's the one that says "Winchester Bros: Hunting Evil Since 1983"
And finally, a silhouette of of the boys and the words "Wow! I'd say we've finally crossed over into weird."
If you can't get to a fan con, you need go no farther than your computer to add to your fanwear. One great option is...
CafePress -- My personal favorites here are:
"Dude. You Fugly."
"Hope your apple pie is freakin' worth it."
"I lost my shoe." -- Sam Winchester
"It's okay. I'm a teddy bear doctor."
"a proud walking encyclopedia of weirdness"
"Driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cakehole."
"Is it Thursday yet?"
"Vampires. It gets funnier every time I say it."
Scrolling through the offerings is sure to induce laughter, which is half the fun of shopping there.
So, do any of you have any fun Supernatural shirts of other attire?