“I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here” – Supernatural

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.21.32 PMGreat return from Supernatural. Made even more great by the fact that we weren’t expecting much from it… The show can be quite hit and miss at times, and to come back this strongly bodes well for the coming season. We hope.

Frankly worrying, however, was that credit sting. As you devout members of the Supernatural fandom will no doubt have noticed by now, every new season is accompanied by a new title screen. This season’s? Angel wings. That tells us what we’re going to be focusing on this year and, devout PHG fans that you undoubtedly are, you know that’s not going to make us happy. We’re always wary when Supernatural strays too far into the religious. But, as long as Kripke et al. handle it as well this year as they did last – a profoundly heaven-and-hell season that somehow still felt monster-of-the-week – we should be okay.

The episode picked up just a few days after we left off at the end of the previous season, and really set the stage for a fantastic run. It opened with a standard Winchesters-on-a-roadtrip scene then cut to a Winchesters-in-hospital scene. For the majority of the episode, Sam is in a coma. And this is fantastic television. You wouldn’t think there’d be much scope there, but Continue reading

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“Sacrifice” – Supernatural

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 2.46.45 PMAfter all of that build throughout the season, Supernatural’s finale came very close to being anticlimactic. The story itself was, in actual fact. It was superbly written, tense and funny in all the right places, but the story itself left something to be desired. After a whole year building toward slamming the gates of Hell, a season finale that brings us so close and then stops isn’t cruel or suspenseful – it’s just pointless. Without some superb moments from Crowley and Dean, some unfortunate choices from Cas, and a few final moments surprises, this episode would have been a complete wash.

It started off fairly promisingly, with a Winchester bait and switch that led to Crowley in handcuffs, the angel tablet in the Winchesters’ possession and them well on the road to completing the trials. Cas was still chilling with Metatron, and the next trial for him was to get a cupid’s bow. And then it all went sideways. Metatron’s actually a little evil and more than a little vengeful. His Heaven-closing trials weren’t trials at all, but the ingredients in a spell to cast all the angels down to earth. When Naomi tried to tell Cas that, he didn’t believe her. He went to confront Metatron but instead found Naomi dead, and inadvertently provided Metatron with the last ingredient he needed. The fact that Naomi was right about that makes it likely that she was also right about the fact that completing the trials will kill Sam. The snag? He doesn’t care. And we have to say, we agree with him. He has Crowley broken and beaten, they are on the verge of closing the gates of Hell forever… why would he stop? Yes, he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice and give his life, but think of all the people he would save!

It may be a moot point now, however. As Metatron Continue reading

“The Clip Show” – Supernatural

supernatural-clip-showThere’s very little to say about this week’s Supernatural. It’s not that it wasn’t good, or even that nothing happened. There just isn’t much that we can offer beyond a plot run-down. You’ve heard all of our predictions already – Sam is turning into an angel, blah blah blah – ad nauseum, probably. So we will refrain from predictions. Mostly. This week, our review is going to be comment, not prophesy.

The focus remains on Sam’s trials. This week, we get research into how exactly one cures a demon. Thank god for the Men of Letters’ library because, otherwise, they never would have figured it out. Turns out it’s been done before, by a priest. He worked out that torture and negative reinforcement will bring a demon to the brink of atoning, and a carefully altered exorcism will do the rest. One demon, soul untwisted, please. So now the boys have their road map and know what needs to be done. One problem – Crowley’s grounded all demon traffic. Their one handy demon, Abadon (and a big welcome back to her!), has Ab-sconded. So they’re sort of out of options, temporarily. While that storyline was incredibly watchable – entertaining even – it wasn’t the arc that intrigued us in terms of forward momentum.

The first of those (and also the [slightly] lesser) is Crowley’s newly announced vendetta. He wants the demon tablet back. In order to get it, he’s determined to force the Winchesters to hand it over and to give up on the trials. How, you ask? By Continue reading

“The Great Escapist” – Supernatural

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 1.32.48 PMWe loved this episode. We don’t often get to say that about Supernatural. Lately we’ve enjoyed it a lot more than we used to. This season has gone a long way toward blowing out the cobwebs and cutting away some of the dead weight that’s been holding it back (if you’re a regular reader you’ll know we mean the heaven and hell thing that was too much at the forefront of Supernatural in Seasons 5, 6, and 7). But, this season, the writers have finally figured out how to get the balance back and how to return to a more watchable and enjoyable format without abandoning the (at times great) religion-based arcs.

This episode also rectified many of the issues we had with last week’s effort. It brought back Cas, with a bang. His storyline was really compelling. Tough to watch in places – Naomi and the band of angels (great name for a band) wrought destruction in an effort to stop Cas in his tracks, then Crowley took him and tortured him – it was nevertheless something that felt like it was advancing the story significantly. Cas returning to Dean and Sam at the end of the episode, with a screech of brakes and some very impressive driving by Dean, also changes the direction that the show is likely to take in its final few episodes.

The Sam arc continues, with the big man a quivering wreck. We almost worried about him this week. Even though we’re still certain of Continue reading

“Pac-Man Fever” – Supernatural

Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 2.39.09 PMWe really enjoyed this episode. We enjoy every episode that Felicia Day is in. She’s a rare burst of sunshine in the otherwise gloomy show. She never fails to make us laugh, and every moment in which she’s not reenacting that horrendous British accent she cracked out for Buffy makes us glad to be alive. In this episode, she excelled more than usual. We got to see a new side to the character of Charlie – fewer quips and a lot more heart. We learned something about her past and her family, and saw her vulnerable and scared. It was refreshing to see her doing more than just the comedy role. Now, more than ever, we’re anxious to see her picked up as a regular on the show.

The rest of the episode was more lackluster, as it focused on Sam’s ever worsening health. We’re not worried about him. We feel like we’re supposed to be, but we’re not. The show is about the Winchester brothers, not the sole Winchester survivor. And, with Supernatural picked up for another season, we can rest assured that Sam will survive the trials. Charlie said it best as she left the boys: “You know you’re going to be okay, right? Those books portray you as, like, one tough customer. If anyone can get through the trials, Sam, it’s you.” Also, y’know, continuity and ratings. He’s here to stay.

So, with just three episodes remaining in Season 8, what can we expect? Continue reading

“Taxi Driver” – Supernatural

Y’know what I really like about this season? The one thing that’s really made me eat my criticisms? The way that the writers have been dealing with Heaven and Hell. I have often complained about that aspect of Supernatural, said it doesn’t fit in, or that it was poorly written and unnecessary. But I think I’m beginning to realize that, for this season at least, I was wrong. Excepting the first few episodes, this season has got the balance completely right.

Take “Taxi Driver”, for instance. This episode presented a story about Heaven and Hell in a classic Supernatural monster of the week style. And nailed it. I wasn’t so wrapped up in seeing Bobby that I didn’t care about Naomi, or Kevin, and nor was I so bored by Naomi and Kevin that I just wanted their arcs to be over so I could get back to something more enjoyable. Neatly rounding all of that off with Benny making the ultimate sacrifice to save Sam was a nice touch, and brought some emotion to an otherwise action-oriented episode. As did Bobby’s return. And boy was I glad to see him, even if only for a few minutes. I’ve been missing the old guy.

The episode does set up the rest of the season as a scavenger hunt for Kevin, though, and I’m not really crazy about that idea. Kevin is one of those characters who is great in small doses. Hopefully the writers will maintain their recent good work and keep Kevin Search to a minimum. I don’t want to start hating Supernatural again. – K

Quoteworthy: “Patience isn’t one of my virtues. Well, I don’t have any virtues. But if I did, I’m certain that patience wouldn’t be one.” – Crowley 

“Freaks and Geeks” – Supernatural

This week’s episode, “Freaks and Geeks”, was… well, it was grand. That’s a very Irish thing to say, ‘grand’. But it’s the best way to describe this. It was nice to see the return of Krissy (Madison McLaughlin), and she and her friends made for entertaining viewing, but the episode on the whole was a smidge too predictable. From the moment Dean spotted the blue van and Krissy mentioned Victor, we knew – to borrow the parlance of numerous shows – something was hinky. Honestly, if you could read our notes now you’d see that 10 minutes in we more or less 100 per cent accurately predicted the way things would turn out.

Though, if we’re being honest, we weren’t even fully focused on the episode (it really wasn’t enough to hold our attention). Mostly, we were trying to figure out if we were imagining the similarities between the entrance hall of Victor’s house and the entrance hall of the house of one Buffy Summers. Was that a deliberate nod to that other, far more famous and significantly better-written teenaged vampire slayer? We like to think so. But, honestly, that’s the only correlation one can draw to the classic Joss Whedon show. We could have wished for a more tongue-in-cheek, overt nod to the Buffy ‘verse. Supernatural has never shied away from satirizing other shows, or even itself, so why start now? Perhaps taking a leaf out of Joss’s book (or borrowing the whole book) would have saved this episode. As it stands, it’s just instantly forgettable. – K

Quoteworthy:

“Some sort of kids’ school for Hunters?”

“Don’t be such a dweeb, okay? We’re not the X-men.” – Dean, Krissy

“Goodbye Stranger” – Supernatural

By all rights, this episode of Supernatural should have been fantastic. Meg was back – a treat, as always – as was Cas (Megstiel!). There was suspense, intrigue, revelation, sexual tension, surprise, and Lord of the Rings quotes… but it still didn’t come together into something that gripped you and didn’t let go. It should have been edge-of-your-seat right from the moment that Cas popped back into the picture, but somehow it just didn’t excite. At all.

There were saving graces. The aforementioned Meg brought much needed comic relief (and we were sad to see her die), and the sequence where Cas is vascillating between Heaven and Earth as he tries to avoid killing Dean at all costs was excellently shot and edited. It got us out of that interminable Naomi arc, cured Cas and brought Naomi’s control of him into the open. The episode also threw up potentially interesting storylines – Cas on the run with the angel tablet, for instance, or why exactly he’s supposed to keep it safe from Dean.

The storyline that will most obviously become a major arc, however, is Sam’s involvement in the trials and, more importantly, what it’s doing to him. This week we learned that Cas sees damage in Sam on a ‘sub-atomic’ level – damage that even he can’t fix, and damage that he doesn’t understand. We think (going purely on the light that filled him after he completed the first task) that Sam’s being turned into an angel, but we’re willing to admit that that’s a complete guess and we’re more than likely wrong. We’re going to have to keep watching to find out for sure but, in the meantime, what are your theories? – K

Quoteworthy: “I may not be able to carry the burden that comes along with these trials, but I can carry you.” – Dean ‘Samwise’ Winchester

“As Time Goes By” – Supernatural

I loved this episode. I always enjoy seeing the more tender side of the Winchester family, and the temporary introduction of their kinder, less rough and ready, less insane grandfather, Henry (Gil McKinney, Friday Night Lights, ER), gave the show a slightly more emotional core, for a change. We’re used to Sam being emotionally attached to girls, and Dean missing their dad, but this was subtly different. They got to meet the man who shaped the hunter their father became and learned that he wasn’t the villain they’d always thought. As he dies (he is a Winchester) in the arms of his grandsons, it’s a touching moment, and we remember that these two men are surrounded by familial tragedy. But it wasn’t all sob-fest – there was plenty of the show’s trademark humor and enough demonic activity to keep us all sated for weeks. We’re also presented with a Chekov’s Gun in the form of the little wooden box Henry brought with him from the past. This box is the key to the most extensive library in existence. Why do I feel like that’s going to be important later on in the season? – K

Quoteworthy: “All I see in our family tree is a whole lot of dead.” – Dean 

“LARP and the Real Girl” – Supernatural

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We loved this episode! There’s just something about Felicia Day – she brings much needed light-hearted comedy to the occasionally grim show and, this week, it was just what we all needed. After the previous episode’s heavier-than-usual offering, after Dean breaking up with Benny and Sam sacrificing his happiness with Amelia, Felicia Day and the LARPing community was just the ticket for bucking up our fragile and vaguely depressed hearts. The laughs were frequent and even the evil (fairy magic) was relatively joyous. If we have one criticism, it’s the same one that we so frequently apply to shows like The Mentalist and Castle – the villain was just too recognizable. We had Boltar the Furious (Gerry) pegged as the devious magic wielder right from the start. And yet that didn’t detract in any way from our enjoyment of the episode. We’re even given an extra little treat in the final moments, as Felicia’s character, Charlie, tells the boys that, if they ever need anything, she’ll be happy to help. With the prospect of more appearances by the nerd queen (we mean it in the best way imaginable), we eagerly await the rest of this season. – B+K

Quoteworthy: “The Queen needs some ‘royal we’ time.” – Charlie (Felicia Day)

PS A special shout out and an extra ‘Quoteworthy’ for our very new favorite member of local law enforcement, Sheriff Jake Miller: “These kids today, with their texting and murder.”