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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

About: Supernatural "Meet the New Boss"

After a long summer hellatus Supernatural is back with what I thought was a very strong premier. After a season chock-full of story lines and unanswered questions it was really nice to see some loose ends tied up quickly. Granted, these answers came with more questions but that's to be expected.



We pick up right where we left off. Castiel has just demanded that Dean, Sam and Bobby bow before him and they're actually about to which is the strangest part. of course they weren't doing it out of any kind of love or respect which Castiel points out. But that moment made me very aware of just how much they were up against. These men don't bow before anyone. But then again they've never been up against a juiced up angel with a God complex.

To say that Castiel has become unraveled would be a gross understatement. He has completely lost sight of the principles he once risked his life for and it shows more than ever during his monologue among the massacred angels. It's no longer team free will. These angels need a strong leader to guide them and hold them accountable for their actions. Fear will be the new motivator.

"It is a new day on Earth and in Heaven. Rejoice."



And he certainly doesn't stop there. There's too much injustice and too many sinners waiting to be punished. But what was his game plan, to wipe out sin completely? He really didn't think that one out very well, did he? And even though he's severely unhinged it was a clever move to make another deal with Crowley. Crowley is reappointed as king of Hell but Castiel controls the flow of souls thereby building up his own army and downsizing Hell while still controlling both. It's a pretty good idea in theory but isn't there reasoning behind who goes where? What would happen if Heaven filled up with souls that were meant to be in Hell? Even with Cas in charge it would be chaos.

Crowley accepts the deal of course; because it's that or death but he does seem apprehensive. If they agree on one thing though it's that Michael and Lucifer need to stay in the cage. Which got me thinking there may be a great escape at some point in the upcoming season. This is a complete shot in the dark but what if one or both of them found a way out of the cage? Can you imagine the complete and utter chaos? But who wouldn't love a scene between Mark Pellegrino and Mark Sheppard?

While Cas is going around making deals and smiting evil, Dean, Sam and Bobby are trying to figure out their next move. Poor Sam is not much help since his wall collapsed. His terrifying hallucinations and pretending to be fine for Dean's sake are not giving him much time to think about anything else.  And Dean is ready to give up completely. He wants to believe so badly that they've finally caught a break and Sam is okay. And as long as that is true, he doesn't seem to care about much else besides fixing up his baby. No big surprise there. This isn't the first time Dean has used fixing his car as a coping mechanism. So that leaves Bobby to be the brains of the operation.

Binding death was a bold move but it was really their only choice. Dean and Death have spent a fair amount of time together, they've even shared a few greasy meals. Even I thought that maybe Dean would be able to reason with him. But Death is nobody's bitch. He's never done anything for Sam or Dean out of the kindness of his heart. Even retrieving Sam's soul from the cage was meant to tip Dean off about the power of a soul. A lesson he didn't learn fast enough.



But Castiel shows up before an agreement is reached and he's not looking good. When his skin began to break down earlier in the episode I wondered if he as experiencing the signs of stigmata but Death cleared that up for me quickly.

"There are things much older than souls in Purgatory and you gulped those too."

Not only is Cas crammed full of thousands of souls, but he's also housing who knows how many Leviathan. As Death explains it, Leviathan are the creatures for which Purgatory was created. And if Castiel were to explode, he would release all those creatures into the world. That's just what we need.

Death does try to set one thing straight. He attempts to remind Castiel of what he's not.

"I know God, and you sir are no god."

Why is that the first time someone has said that to him? Sam, Dean and Bobby believed that Cas was God simply because he told them he was. And what makes him God exactly? Just the fact that he was more powerful than any of his fellow angels? I was confused by that and I was glad to have Death clear it up. Castiel isn't God, just an extremely powerful angel. The real God, wherever he/she may be would probably be able to easily contain that type of power without fear of imploding.

After Castiel flees, Death tells the boys that he will create another eclipse and they are to open the door to Purgatory and "compel" Castiel to give up the power. Dean argues that Castiel is too far gone to be reasoned with, but Sam insists that there have been times when he's been off the rails and Dean has never given up on him. A valid point in my opinion but Dean remains unconvinced. So it ends up being Sam who prays for Castiel one more time. And he shows up. I was really happy to see Castiel asking for help. His attempts to mend his broken relationships were heartbreaking. But I knew that Castiel changing his ways so quickly was no a good sign. Of course they couldn't just open Purgatory, deflate Cas and go about living their lives. That would be way too easy. But now the question remains; is Castiel still in his vessel with the Leviathan or is he really dead? Can he really be dead!? My obvious worry is that he is. But I'm also worried that maybe he's still alive and the writers plan to bring him back in another vessel. I don't think I want to see anyone but Misha Collins as Castiel. So if the writers are listening, please just find a way to bring Castiel back in his original vessel, ok? Thanks.



It should also be mentioned that I am so confused about what is going on in Sam's head! According to Lucifer, Sam isn't hallucinating. He's been in Hell this whole time only thinking he's free. The ultimate torture. I'm inclined to think that Sam is just hallucinating but how crazy would it be if last season was one big hallucination? Dean would still be living with Lisa and Ben, Castiel may not have taken gone off on his power trip, so many people would still be alive but Sam would still be in the cage and way past repair. I can't decide if I want the show to go in that direction. It would certainly be interesting but it could get pretty messy and confusing trying to remember what's real and what isn't. What do you guys think?

All these questions and we're only just beginning the season. I think it's off to a great start though, don't you agree? I'm feeling really good about this season but I want to know what you think.

There are a few random tidbits and lines I also want to mention.

*What did you all think of the new title card? I'm interested to figure out what it symbolizes. So far it looks like black goo but it could end up meaning a lot of things.

*Crowley lives in a trailer and listens to Nancy Sinatra. I kind of love it.

*Cas: "Tell your flock where your genitals have been before you speak for me."

*Witness: "We all saw him. No beard. No robe. He was young and sexy. He had a raincoat."

*Dean: "Excuse me, you got any Grey Poupon?"
Sam: "Grey Poupon. Seriously?"
Dean: "It's what popped in my head."


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

About: Supernatural The Anime Series


I've never really gotten into anime. To be fair, I really haven't given it a try. So what better time to test the waters than when the CW offers two free episodes of Supernatural: The Anime series on their website. The episodes posted are All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1 and 2, two of my favorite episodes of Supernatural to date. So right off the bat I knew this anime version had big shoes to fill.

I do have to say I was pleasantly surprised. It helped that both episodes were voiced by Jared and Jensen. I understand that Jensen only voices a handful of episodes in this season. I really can't imagine anyone else as Dean so I think this was a huge plus. The episodes run 22 minutes as opposed to the regular series 42 minutes so things move quickly.

All Hell Breaks Loose Part 1 starts with Sam disappearing into thin air. We later learn he was transported to Cold Oak (although I think they referred to it as Cold Creek at one point) a ghost town where Azazel has gathered all the special children. It is discovered that only one of them can leave Cold Oak alive and the killing ensues. Poor Sammy. Part 2 picks up with Dean talking to Sam's dead body; A scene that has always tugged at my heart strings. I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up but this abbreviated scene just didn't have near the emotional pull of the original series. Dean goes on to make the deal at the crossroads and bring Sam back to life. They reunite with a shell-shocked Bobby and begin to discover Azazel's plan to open the Devil's Gate.



The basic premise of these episodes follows the regular series closely. It's the details that are the big difference. For instance, Jake is a Sasquatch. Not a real one, of course. But he is huge. Bigger than Sam if that's possible. And they definitely cast him in a bad light from the beginning. There is no mistaking that Jake is a force to be reckoned with, something that I didn't necessarily get from Jake in the original series. It also comes up that Sam and Dean had saved Jake's mother and sister from some kind of Supernatural attack in the past, which I thought was an interesting twist from the original episode. Missouri, the psychic who appeared in a handful of original episodes also plays a significant role in these episodes, taking the place of Ellen. Dean and Bobby even go to Missouri's house to see if she can help them find Sam only to find it burned to the ground, much like The Roadhouse. I have always liked Missouri's character but I don't see her as a fair replacement for Ellen but maybe that's a personal preference. Anyone out there who has watched the whole season, is Ellen in any of the episodes of the anime series? I'd be interested to hear.


The anime series also relies heavily on effects; something they have the liberty to play around with much more than the regular series. When Jake uses his super strength he basically Hulks out, ripped shirt and everything. Even Sam seems to have heightened powers he doesn't normally possess. When Sam sleeps and Azazel talks to him, it is in a much more dream-like state in the anime episode. He watches Azazel feed him demon blood while perched on top of a giant, very veiny, yellow eyeball. (I'm really glad the regular series didn't go that route.) Things are also much more bloody in the animated series relying less on guns and more on brute force. I gotta say, I missed the guns a little. And when Jake sneaks up on Sam for the final blow, it's not a knife in his back. Instead, Jake shoves his entire fist through Sam's abdomen. Talk about bloody.

If I had to use one word to describe these two episodes I would probably call them stunted.  That's not to say they were bad, just condensed. Some aspects of the series suffered more than others. For instance, the emotional moments between the brothers don't read quite as well in this format. Some of that may be because Jared and Jensen aren't really voice actors by trade (although I think they do a pretty good job). And some of it may be the lack of their pretty, pretty faces on my screen. Who knows? But lines like "I've got a year to hang out with you, Sam" certainly didn't help the depth of emotion any. I also found that the plot moved so fast that at times I actually got a little confused even though I know the general premise like the back of my hand. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has seen the anime without ever watching the original series. I'd be interested to see if they were able to follow the story easily. Although I think it's a safe bet to say that they aren't reading this.  

So, I did it. I finally gave anime a try and I liked it. Did these episodes change my life? Not really. But I enjoyed them for what they were; more Supernatural. And that's never a bad thing.

I'd love to hear what you guys think of the anime series. Should I buy the whole season and give it a once over?



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ten Ways to Survive the Hellatus

With the hellatus in full swing, you may find yourself already counting down the days until Friday, September 23rd. I know I am. So in order to help ease the pain of a world where Friday nights don't mean new episodes, I came up with a list of ten ways to survive the hellatus. Hope you enjoy! Feel free to add any other suggestions. I'm sure we could all use them!

1. Re-watch all the episodes with commentary. It's really fun to hear stories from behind the scenes and learn about how they achieved certain camera angles and effects. Plus, who doesn't like to hear Jared and Jensen's pretty voices? 

2. Read the Pilot as it was originally scripted here. Sam and Dean Harrison? It's a really fun read, in fact I've read it more than once and always enjoy it.


3. Read 'In The Hunt', a collection of unauthorized essays about Supernatural. It's a bit dated at this point and only makes references through season three, but it's an interesting read nonetheless! With essays like Dean Winchester: Bad-Ass...or Soccer Mom?, Good and Evil in the World of Supernatural and Back in Black, there's a little something for everyone. Plus, it's really fun to see how the characters have developed since the book was written and how the essay authors predicted future events correctly and incorrectly.

4. Check out some Supernatural fan fiction. There are tons of ways to get it. Whether you're a fan of wincest or not, there's definitely something for everyone. There is a whole database of Supernatural fanfic at http://www.fanfiction.net in fact, last I checked there were 49,923 entries. That should be enough to last the hellatus! Suggestions are welcome, that's a lot of entries to sift through!

5. There are also plenty of Supernatural novels out there to fill that summertime void.



You can check out the graphic novel prequel 'Supernatural: Origins' written by Peter Johnson, series Executive Producer, Geoff Johns and Matthew Dow Smith (ISBN 140121701X)

'The Unholy Cause' is another Supernatural novel written by By Joe Schreiber and Eric Kripke (ISBN 1848565283)

Keith R. A. DeCandido has also written a series of Supernatural novels including 'Nevermore' (ISBN 0061370908), 'Bone Key' (ISBN0061435031) and 'Heart of the Dragon' (ISBN184856600X). I haven't 
read any of these books so I don't know how good they are. Has anyone else read them? I'd be interested
to hear what you thought. Did they stay true to the characters and overall mythology of the show?

6. Sometimes when I'm having a bad day I really love to watch the bloopers from season one all the way 
through season five. Sure it only takes 45 minutes, but it's 45 minutes of bliss. I love a good blooper reel, and one 
with Jared, Jensen and Misha is even better. 

7. Check out past articles on The Winchester Family Business. The site is updated constantly and there
are so many talented writers, not to mention the insightful comment section! Since I just found the site 
this past year I've had a great time catching up on back articles.

8. There are also tons of games on the WinFamBuisiness site like Supernatural Bingo, word searches and scrambler games. Why not throw a Supernatural themed party? Just don't forget to invite me!


9. On July 26th you can own Supernatural: The Anime Series. The series will make history as the "first-ever live-action series to be re-imagined in Japanese anime style". With a whopping 22 episodes, it's sure to help you fill the Supernatural-sized hole in your heart.

10. If you've already completed the first nine time-killers, desperation may begin to set in. So you may need to resort to things like photoshopping your head on to the Winchester's various love interests, memorizing episodes word for word and reciting them for your friends, staring at Alice's countdown clock watching the seconds go by. I didn't say these were healthy ways to pass the time...


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

About: Supernatural Season 6 Episode Titles


Believe it or not it’s already time for the season six episode title origins. Was this not the quickest season ever? As usual, there are plenty of interesting references. Enjoy!


6.1 "Exile on Main St."

“Exile on Main St.” is the title the 12th American studio album by The Rolling Stones. The album received mixed reviews at the time but has since been hailed as one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. The album has a more complex sound than the Rolling Stones were known for and explores many new genres including rock and roll, blues, country, soul and calypso.

It’s interesting that this album was the inspiration for the season opener. I would argue that season seven played around with lots of new ideas, themes and the overall season structure. Plus, it has also had some pretty mixed reviews. Coincidence? Maybe.

You’ll remember that this episode picks up a year later where we find Dean living as a civilian with Lisa and Ben when Sam pays him an unexpected visit. As it turns out, he’s been alive and well(ish) almost the whole year. 

6.2 "Two and a Half Men"

This episode title is taken from the CBS television show Two and a Half Men which follows Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) a self-indulgent jingle writer. When his uptight brother Alan and impressionable nephew Jake move in his bachelor pad is compromised.

In this episode Sam calls Dean for help when he finds a baby at the scene of a crime. They later discover that the baby is a shapeshifter and they must decide what to do with little Bobby John. Watching Sam and Dean try to care for a baby was pretty great too.

Sam: “Dean, make it stop.”
Dean: “How?”
Sam: “Everyone’s staring at us like we’re child abusers. Feed it!”

6.3 "The Third Man"

This title is taken from the 1949 British film noir of the same name. Staring Joseph Cotton, Alida Valli, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard the film follows Holly Martins as he arrives in Vienna to accept a job offered to him by a friend Harry Lime. He quickly realizes that Harry was recently killed in a mysterious car accident.

This season seven episode has its fair share of mysterious deaths that the boys quickly find are associated with the Biblical plagues of Egypt. Castiel reveals that there are many weapons of Heaven missing including the staff of Moses. And they set off to find the angel responsible.


6.4 "Weekend at Bobby's"
This episode title seems to come from the 1989 movie “Weekend at Bernie’s” in which two slackers pretend that their dead employer is still alive. Meanwhile, the person who murdered him is out to “finish him off”.

In this episode, directed by Jensen Ackles, we get to see life from Bobby’s point of view; answering phones, researching and hunting on his own all without so much as a “thank you” from the boys. Poor Bobby.

6.5 "Live Free or TwiHard"

This title is a play on the 2007 Bruce Willis movie “Live Free or Die Hard”, the fourth movie in the Die Hard franchise. The movie follows John McClane as a group of cyber terrorists attempt to wage a cyber war on the United States infrastructure. The term “TwiHard” is used to describe a fan of the Twilight franchise. You know, like Misha’s Minions?
This episode finds the boys dealing with an outbreak of vampire attacks. But this is no ordinary vampire activity; instead, they are luring young girls in by acting like the vampires from a best selling twilight-esque series. When Dean is bitten (While Sam watches) all hell breaks loose.

Vamp Kid: “What the hell are you doing?”
Dean: “Open your mouth! Take those out. Take 'em out! Ohhh, for the love of... what are you, 12? Are you wearing glitter?”
Vamp Kid: “I only do it to get laid, man.”
Dean: “Does it work? (Vamp Kid shrugs) I'll be damned.”

6.6 "You Can't Handle the Truth"

This title is taken from a memorable line in the 1992 film “A Few Good Men”. The movie follows a Neo military lawyer as he defends marines accused of murder who claim to have been acting under orders.

The truth is hard to hear sometimes; especially in this episode where the goddess Veritas is forcing people to tell the truth. When Dean becomes a victim, he hears a few things he wishes he didn’t. Mainly whatever Bobby’s first girlfriend turned out to be.  But he is also given the opportunity to question Sam who has been acting strange since he showed up on Dean’s doorstep.

Bobby: “I get a pedicure once in a while. This nice Vietnamese joint. This one gal, Nhung Phuong, name means ‘velvet phoenix.’ Tiny thing, but the grip on her. She starts on my toes and I feel like I am gonna…”


6.7 "Family Matters"

This episode title most likely comes from the long running sitcom of the same name. The show follows the middle class Winslow family and their nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel living in Chicago. The show is a spinoff of  “Perfect Strangers” (not relevant, but I just found that out and I thought it was interesting!).

There are all kinds of family matters at hand in this episode. Castiel reveals that Sam has no soul and his soul has been left in the cage with Michael and Lucifer. Despite his many concerns, Dean decides to go along with Sam and the Campbells on a hunt to take down a nest of vampires and they discover that Samuel is not killing the alphas as promised; instead he is torturing them for advice on how to find Purgatory.

6.8 "All Dogs Go to Heaven"

This title is taken from the 1989 animated film of the same name. The story follows a dog, Charlie B. Barkin a con-dog of sorts who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and ends up dead. With the help of a magical “life watch” he is able to return to Earth but only as long as the watch keeps running. Charlie makes friends with a young girl he saves, Anne-Marie, and begins to change his ways.

This episode features its own bond between man and beast, make that woman and beast. The boys encounter a skinwalker who poses as a dog and lives with a family. As it turns out, the skinwalker is one of many who await orders from their Alpha to bite and transform their owners creating a growing army of their own.

6.9 "Clap Your Hands If You Believe..."

This episode title is taken from the book The Adventures of Peter Pan. The line refers to clapping your hands if you believe in fairies. The actual line is “If you believe than clap your hands.” Side note: this is one of my favorite children’s books.

This title could not be more appropriate for this episode. This was our first encounter with fairies or I guess I should say “faery” since we didn’t only encounter tinker bells in this episode. At first the boys don’t know what to think. I didn’t really either! But it turns out that making deals with faery people is not as magical as it may seem.

Glitter Glue: “Personally, I think they’re taken to Avalon to service Oberon, king of the faery”
Sam: “Dean, did you service Oberon king of the faery?”


6.10 "Caged Heat"

This title comes from the 1974 movie of the same name. “Caged Heat” is an exploitation movie about women in prison. The film follows Jacqueline Wilson who is imprisoned for illegal drug use.  When in prison, Wilson bands together with a group of female convicts to fight oppressive prison policies. 

This episode deals with a prison of sorts as well. Castiel and the boys decide to work with Meg to gain entry into a building where Crowley is holding all kinds of monsters as prisoners while he questions them for information. While there, they are betrayed by Grandpa Samuel and taken prisoner themselves.

Dean: “I’ll tell you who I am. I’m the guy you never want to see again. ‘Cause I’ll make it outta here, trust me. And the next time you see me, I’ll be there to kill you.”
Samuel: “Don’t think there’s gonna be a next time.”
Dean: “Whatever gets you through the night.”

6.11 "Appointment in Samarra"

This title has a bit of a trail to follow. “Appointment in Samarra” is the title of a John O’Hara novel from 1934. But O’Hara’s title is in reference to an old story retold by W. Somerset Maugham that appears as an epigraph to O’Hara’s novel. Confused yet?

Here is Maugham’s retelling:

The speaker is Death
There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me.  She looked at me and made a threatening gesture,  now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate.  I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me.  The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went.  Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, Why did you make a threating getsture to my servant when you saw him this morning?  That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise.  I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

In this episode Dean makes his own appointment with Death. After a risky procedure Dean is able to contact Death long enough to make a deal. Dean does Death’s job successfully for one day and Death get’s Sam’s soul out of the cage. Meanwhile, Sam makes a little deal of his own.

Tessa: “Just so you know, when people die, they might have questions for you. Well, not you, but Death.”
Dean: “You mean, like "How did Betty White outlast me"?

6.12 "Like a Virgin"

“Like a Virgin” is the title track of Madonna’s second studio album. I think we’re all familiar with the lyrics but I’ll give you a little taste anyway!

I made it through the wilderness
Somehow I made it through
Didn’t know how lost I was
Until I found you

I was beat incomplete
I’d been had, I was sad and blue
But you made me feel
Yeah, you made me feel
Shiny and new

Like a virgin
Touched for the very first time
Like a virgin
When your heart beats
Next to mine

This is the perfect title for an episode dealing with “Virgins, Sam. Virgins”. The boys take a case involving missing virgins and gold. After ruling p. diddy out, they decide they are dealing with dragons.

Dean: “I’ve decided I’m going to give Stan my most precious gift”
Sam: “Wow, that sounded really creepy coming out of your mouth.”
Dean: “I think I delivered it.”

6.13 "Unforgiven"

This title has a few possible origins. There is a 1992 Clint Eastwood film “Unforgiven” which follows a retired gunslinger, William Munny, as he takes on one more job to find justice. In a review I found, they describe Munny’s character as “blurring the lines between heroism and villaniny, man and myth.” Sound like anyone we know?

There is also a song my Metallica called “The Unforgiven” featured on their fifth album “Metallica”.

What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never be
Never see
Won’t see what might have been

What I’ve felt
What I’ve known
Never shined through in what I’ve shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

This kind of sounds like the anthem for Sam dealing with his soulless past. What do you think? Which one is a better fit?

In this episode Sam and Dean follow coordinates to a small town where Sam and Samuel once worked a job. Many townspeople recognize Sam and he learns a little bit about how he spent his soulless year.

6.14 "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning"

This title seems to come from The 1987 movie “Mannequin” and it’s 1991 sequel “Mannequin Two: On the Move. Before I go into the plot, I have to ask why? Why are there not one, but two of these movies!? The film follows an ancient Egyptian named Emmy who is hiding from her mother because she is trying to make her marry a man who sells camel poop. Yes, you read that right. So she prays to the gods to save her. It also follows modern day, Johnathan Switcher, an employee of a mannequin manufacturing company. Switcher creates a mannequin that comes to life as the reincarnated Emmy.

This episode also features mannequins that come to life. Only in this episode the mannequins are killing a group of men that all took part in a practical joke that cost a girl her life.

Dean: “Maybe we’ll have a Snooki sighting.”
Sam: “What’s a Snooki?”
Dean: “That’s a good question.”

6.15 "The French Mistake"

This title seems to come from a scene in the film “Blazing Saddles”. In the scene, there is a brawl between the good guys and the bad guys. The film proceeds to parody itself by pulling the camera back and revealing that the scene is being shot on a Hollywood set. There is a musical number (“The French Mistake”) being performed on an adjoining soundstage by a cast of gay men. The song goes as follows:

Throw out your hands
Stick out your tush
Hands on your hips
Give ‘em a push
You’ll be surprised
You’re doing the French Mistake
Voila!

If ever there was a show that liked to parody itself, then Supernatural would be it! In the episode, the boys are transported into some kind of alternate reality where they are actors playing Sam and Dean Winchester on a TV show called Supernatural. Oh sweet meta goodness.

Dean: “Why would anybody want to watch our lives?”
Sam: “According to the interviewer, not very many people do.”

6.16 "...And Then There Were None"

This title comes from the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. The book follows 10 people of different social classes who are invited to a mansion on a fictional island. When they arrive, they are told that their hosts are away. At dinner, a gramophone record plays that accuses each guest of murder and they realize they were tricked into coming to the island but they are unable to leave. The ten guests are then murdered one by one.

Sam, Dean and Bobby search for The Mother of All’s newest creation, a black worm that crawls into the ear of its victim and possesses them. They run into Samuel and Gwen who are hunting the same thing and the monster starts picking them off one by one. Farewell Rufus!

Dean: “Well, hey there, you little herpe.”
Sam: “Why do you keep talking about herpes?”
Dean: “What? I don't. Shut up. Shut up.”


6.17 "My Heart Will Go On"

This title is taken from the theme song of the 1997 movie “Titanic”. Music by James Horner, lyrics by Will Jennings and recorded by Celine Dion (Alice’s favorite gal!) It became one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Every night in my dreams
I see you. I feel you.
That is how I know you go on.

Far across the distance
And spaces between us
You have come to show you go on.

Near, far, wherever you are
I believe that the heart does go on
Once more you open the door
And you're here in my heart
And my heart will go on and on

This title works well for this episode that shows us what would have happened to the Winchester’s world if the Titanic never sank. As it turns out, Balthazar and Castiel worked out a plan to reverse that historical event in order to collect more souls for their war machine.


6.18 "Frontierland"

This episode title is taken from one of the “themed lands” at Disney-run parks. Frontierland is themed after the Old West of the 19th century and features many classic western elements like cowboys, saloon, gold rushes and pioneers.

This aptly titled episode finds the boys taking a trip back in time to pay a visit to Samuel Colt and collect the ashes of a phoenix, their only weapon against the Mother of All. There is nothing quite like a strategically placed cowboy hat!

Bobby: “You goin' to a hoedown?”
Castiel: “Now is it, is it customary to wear a blanket?”
Dean: “It's a serape. And yes, it's... never mind, let's just go”

6.19 "Mommy Dearest"

This title is taken from the 1978 memoir “Mommie Dearest” written by Christina Crawford, adopted daughter of Joan Crawford. The memoir depicts Christina’s childhood and her often rocky relationship with her mother. The book was later adapted as a film in 1981.

In this episode Sam and Dean hit the road with Castiel and Bobby to hunt down the Mother of All. They find her in a small town in Oregon where she is experimenting to create the perfect monster. Dean actually references Crawford’s memoir saying to the Mother “Beat my with a wire hanger, the answer’s still no.”

6.20 "The Man Who Would Be King"
This title is taken from an 1888 short story by Rudyard Kipling that was later adapted to film in 1975. The story follows two British adventurers who become kings of a remote area in Afghanistan. The story is believed to be inspired by the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan and Englishman James Brooke.

In this episode we are given a look at things from Castiel’s perspective. The episode serves as an outline of his unintended “adventures” on his path to becoming his own kind of king. Castiel explains to us just how the dominos lined up to get him to the point of his secret partnership with Crowley.


6.21 "Let It Bleed"

“Let it Bleed” is the title of the tenth American album by The Rolling Stones. In a 2001 Stones bio, author Stephen Davis describes the album by saying that “No rock record, before or since, has ever so completely captured the sense of palpable dread that hung over its era.”

Dread seems like a good theme for this episode. When Crowley kidnaps Ben and Lisa, Sam and Dean join forces with Balthazar and Castiel to save them. The episode ends with Dean’s final request of Castiel; wipe Lisa and Ben’s memory so that they don’t remember him. Ironic that the final track on the Stones album is “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”; seems to be the anthem of Dean’s life.

6.22 "The Man Who Knew Too Much"

This title is taken from the 1934 Hitchcock film of the same name. The film was remade by Hitchcock in 1956. The story follows a family vacationing in Morocco when the accidentally find themselves in the middle of an assassination plot. The conspirators kidnap their daughter to keep them from reporting the plot to the police and the couple must track down their daughter and prevent the assassination before it’s too late. 

In this season finale episode Castiel causes the Great Wall of Sam to crumble as a means to distract Dean and Bobby.  Sam is trapped inside himself and is forced to confront what the wall had hidden from him. Meanwhile Dean and Bobby hunt Castiel and Crowley as they attempt to open the door to Purgatory.

So there’s season six. It may have had its rocky moments, but looking back through the episodes there was a lot of really great storytelling. As usual, if I missed any references be sure to post them below! And if you just want to chat about what you did and didn’t like about the episodes, you can do that too. Who’s ready for season seven?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

About: Supernatural "The Man Who Knew Too Much"



This season finale had a lot to live up to. Last season we got the beautifully written, acted and directed Swan Song; Eric Kripke’s “love letter to the fans”. It was a poignant look at the tragic lives of the Winchester brothers; their sacrifices, their losses and most importantly, their love for one another. That is a tough act to follow. So consider this my disclaimer. Swan Song is one of my favorite hours of television, ever. And try as I may, I can’t help but compare every season finale to it from here on out. Don’t worry, I’m not going to rip The Man Who Knew Too Much to shreds, in fact I enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, but few episodes are.

We opened the episode with Sam running from the cops. Being the spoiler-phobe I am, I avoided anything that might ruin any season-end surprises for me so I really had no idea what was happening. It would seem that with angels and demons on their trail, the cops would be the least of the Winchester’s worries. But we soon came to find that Sam didn’t have any recollection of who he was. Of course the wall would crumble now when we need it most! This was the moment I realized just how separate these two season finale episodes were meant to be. Let it Bleed left off with Dean’s painful decision to let Lisa and Ben go and all of a sudden Sam is running from the cops with no memory of who he is.

Of course, I was immediately suspicious of the bartender. If Supernatural has taught me one thing, it’s to be careful who you trust. A lesson we’ve all learned well as of late. It didn’t help that she was a little too eager to help Sam; offering him a ride to a neighboring town. Sure he’s handsome (understatement), but have some common sense, lady. He’s huge and he’s being chased by the police. My initial thought was that she was a demon or an angel and I hoped that Sam remembered enough to catch on quickly.

If I have one complaint about this sequence of events, it would be that it felt a little long. I understand that Sam needed to put the pieces together and remember who he was before he could even begin to put himself together again. And maybe it’s unrealistic to wish that figuring all that out would have taken less time. I don’t know, but there was a lot to cover in the episode and I wished we could have spent more time on some of the other parts.

Is it strange to say I liked seeing Soulless Sam one more time? Jared did such a great job playing him this season and it was fun to see the two side by side. Once I realized what Sam needed to do to put himself together again, I had another question. Assuming Sam can only be truly complete with all three pieces, what is he without his soulless side and memories of Hell? In other words, has he been incomplete since the wall went up or are his memories and soulless side still a part of him regardless? Any thoughts?

Once Sam defeated Soulless Sam my doubts about the bartender were confirmed. Sure she wasn’t a demon or an angel, but she wasn’t what she seemed. She was merely a memory of Sam’s Soulless year acting as a warning for him to turn back. But being the Sam he is, he can’t do that.

Poor Dean left agonizing over the loss of Sam, yet again. Castiel had taken the wall down for reasons I don’t fully understand. Was it just to distract Dean from the hunt? If so, it worked for a while. But even after all the bad blood I still thought Castiel cared about Sam and he surely knows that taking the wall down could kill him. Did he anticipate becoming the new God and restoring Sam at that time? Either way, it was a cruel move.

“I will save Sam, but only if you stand down”.

Castiel should know better by now. Dean won’t stand down, especially now that he’s endangered Sam.

Once Castiel and Crowley obtained Elle’s blood, they had everything they needed to open Purgatory. So naturally this was the moment that a betrayal was bound to happen. A fact I’m positive Crowley and Castiel were both conscious of.  Of course, I envisioned the betrayal going the other way. I assumed that Crowley would be the one to betray Castiel, leaving him friendless and on the bad side of Heaven and Hell. But Cas beat him to the punch with his plan to renegotiate the terms of their agreement. “You get nothing”. Cocky as it was, I was proud of Castiel in that moment. Giving any souls to Crowley could have been detrimental.

“I’m neither stupid nor wicked”

I’m not sure Sam, Dean and Bobby would agree with that statement at this point, but I naively hoped, as I always do, that this was the moment Cas would come back to us. But when he killed Balthazar for leaking information to Dean and Bobby I knew that my naïve hopes were just that. I felt bad for Balthazar. As far as moral compasses go, his wasn’t exactly pointing due north, but he saw wrong being done and he took steps to make it right, even if it meant betraying a friend. 


Sam arrives at Bobby’s house to find the final piece of his puzzle; the Sam who remembers Hell. This is the Sam I was most scared to meet. By now we know what to expect of Soulless Sam. We spent the whole first half of the season with him, but until now we don’t know much about this other Sam. Truth be told he was much more miserable than I expected. He wasn’t menacing or wicked like I thought he might be. Instead he was deeply scarred (physically and emotionally) by the memories of Hell and even tried to look out for Sam; offering him the chance to escape the memories. He explained that Sam could just stay inside his mind forever, even offering the chance to go and find Jess. But Sam wouldn’t do it. “I’m not leaving my brother alone out there.” And that was enough for Hell Sam to hand the knife over and allow himself to be killed.

As expected, Crowley wasn’t planning to go down without a fight. He just needed a little insurance which he found in the form of Raphael. Something it seems Castiel half-expected. I should have seen the blood switch coming, but I didn’t. It was a pretty slick move on Castiel’s part; a surefire way to ensure that his spell would go uninterrupted. 


So Cas was right, his plan worked. He defeated Raphael and stopped the Apocalypse again, but at what cost? He is a ticking time bomb and a shell of the Cas we once knew. It was hard to watch Dean put himself out there again only to get shot down.
“You’re not my family, Dean. I have no family.”

And when Sam stabs Castiel and nothing happens I realized that we were dealing with a whole new animal.

“I’m not an angel anymore. I’m your new god, a better one.”

Something tells my Cas will pay for those words in the near future. I’m possible the only fan who still thinks the real God/Chuck?  is out there and he won’t be pleased with Castiel’s transformation.

So we have some questions going into season seven. To me they don’t feel as substantial as the question we usually end the season with. But to be fair, the season finales up until this point have ended with deaths or near-death experiences. So this is new territory for the show. In fact, this whole season seems like a bit of twist. By that I mean there wasn’t an identified big bad, but rather a string of unfortunate circumstances that snowballed across the season.  It’s nice to see Supernatural shake things up a bit, even if it’s not perfect. There are definitely still enough questions to keep me coming back next season. As if they could keep me away. So here are the main questions we have going into season seven. Let’s speculate. We have nothing else to do for the next four months!

How far will Castiel go to make the boys bow down to him? They won’t do it and he can’t kill them. So where does that leave us?

What will a world where Castiel is god (or thinks he’s god) look like?

What is going to happen to Sam? He was strong enough to regain consciousness but I think his “eggs are still a little scrambled” to steal a line from Dean. Will he suffer seizures or headaches a la second season? Will the memories haunt him and turn him into a different Sam than the one we know and love?

Cas said he has plans for Crowley. I wonder what these plans are? I’m sure he’ll kill him, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there was a little torture or servitude that went along with it.

There were, of course, some great one liners that I wanted to mention

  • I loved Sam describing Dean and Bobby as a “male model type and an older guy”
  • Bobby: “We’ll ninja our way in." ”Dean: “Till they hear your knee squeak.”
  • I liked the Jurassic Park nod. I loved that movie growing up!
  • Crowley: “Sweaty hands, mate.”
  • Sam: “I guess I’ll take my car.” Yeah…in your dreams, Sam.
  • Soulless Sam: “My god, am I really that gawky?”
  • Balthazar: “How’s sleeping beauty? You didn’t steal any kisses, I trust?”

Saturday, May 21, 2011

About: Supernatural "Let it Bleed"

 
I can't believe it's over already. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were welcoming Sam back from Hell with semi-open, extremely cautious arms? And look where we are now. This season has felt like a blur, yet so much has happened. In order to give this finale its due justice, I want to take a look at both finale episodes separately since they were intended to be that way.

'Let it Bleed' opens 1937 Rhode Island. H.P. Lovecraft, who we later discover to be a horror writer who dabbles in the occult, is furiously typing out a novel entitled 'Haunter of the Dark'. As he types 'The End' there is a squeak outside his door. And in true Supernatural fashion, that squeak leads to a blood squirting death. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was taken aback by this scene. What are we doing wasting our time talking about some fiction writer that died in 1937 when we've got C2 to worry about? We soon find out that Lovecraft and his friends successfully opened the door to purgatory and something got out.

Unfortunately, we're not the only ones who have that piece of information. It's bad enough that Castiel and the boys are on the outs but to steal from Bobby's house under the guise of an apology? I have to think that Castiel really meant what he said about patching things up, but from where I'm standing it seems like he had a back up plan when he let himself into Bobby's house. He had to know that stealing the journal would only push the boys further away but he's in too deep to care. So it's no wonder that when Lisa and Ben are kidnapped by Crowley Dean wants to assume that Castiel is in on it.

The phone call between Dean and Ben was emotional on many levels. Dean loves Ben like his own son and this is exactly the moment that he was dreading; the moment that kept him awake at night.  He removed himself from their Lisa and Ben's to save them from this kind of danger and to watch him realize that it wasn't enough was heartbreaking. And what was Crowley thinking? In what world would kidnapping a Winchester's loved one be cause for them to back off? Of course I realize that it takes Sam and Dean off the Purgatory hunt for the time being, but either way, they're coming after him, guns blazing. That's usually not a place you want to be.

Since they couldn't trust Castiel, the boys summon Balthazar for help. While he's not the most trustworthy of angels, (although at this point, who is?) they really don't have many other options. I'm not sure whether I was surprised that Balthazar was as much in the dark about Crowley as the boys were. I mean, Castiel was able to hide it from Sam and Dean for so long. But Balthazar is an angel. It's hard to believe he wasn't suspicious. But then again, Castiel hadn't really given him reason to be until now. It's clear that Balthazar was taken aback by the news of Castiel's betrayal. It had to be embarrassing for him thinking that they were friends when all this time Castiel was lying to him.

With no leads on Lisa and Ben Dean resorts to "questioning" any demons he can find. It was obvious that he was losing his cool. The time was ticking and he wasn't any closer to finding Lisa and Ben. So I have to admit I agreed with Sam. They really were "grasping at straws" and even though Castiel had proven himself to be a liar it seems impossible that he would knowingly seek to hurt Dean in that way. I was glad when Sam took matters into his own hands calling for Castiel's help. Sure, he didn't show himself but he was there and I think Sam knew he would be listening. 

When Balthazar summoned Castiel to confront him, we learned a little something about a flaw in Castiel's plan. Well, a flaw we didn't already know about. Apparently, Castiel if Castiel sucks up more juice than he can handle he'll explode and take out any and everyone around him. The pitfalls of this plan just keep on coming. I have to keep reminding myself of Castiel's side of the story. Remember? That heartbreaking tale of how he sacrificed everything to ensure that what he, Bobby and the boys had fought for would not be in vain? It's moments like this that I struggle to remind myself of how this all began as a good intention.

Finding out that Dr. Visyak was actually a centuries-old monster was definitely an unexpected twist. I had hoped to find out a bit more about she and Bobby's past, so I guess I go what I was hoping for. I do wish we had found out what kind of monster she is though. Not that it really matters to the story at hand, but I'm still curious. Bobby was surprisingly protective of Ellie. From the sounds of their conversation, they were in a long term relationship. I wonder what caused them to break up? Maybe we'll never know.

Castiel comes to the rescue once again when Dean's devil's trap fails and the conversation they have re-opens last week's wounds. Castiel seems very sincere about seeing Dean as family but Dean can't see past the lies and secrecy. I can't say I blame him, especially now with Lisa and Ben getting dragged into the mix. Still Castiel brings up some good points too. He has been there for Dean, answering his every beck and call and saving his life time and time again and all he asks of Dean is to trust in his plan. This is when I had to remind myself that his plan kind of sucks. It's dangerous and the chances of it going over smoothly are slim to none. Still I found myself wishing that there was a way that they could somehow be on the same side again.

Why, oh why do Sam and Dean always split up? I don't know about you, but if I'm in a big abandoned building with my brother and God knows how many demons I'm sticking pretty close to my brother. I know, I know, you cover more ground that way. That is why I would be a terrible hunter. I did love the scene where Dean takes out all the demons on patrol one by one. They just keep going out like lamb to the slaughter. It was actually kind of comedic. And maybe I should have expected Lisa to be possessed but I didn't. And I certainly didn't expect her to stab herself. I felt so bad for Dean and Ben in that moment. Ben lost any shred of innocence he had left after that moment and Dean watched his nightmare come to life. The car ride to the hospital was miserable to watch, there was such a tone of desperation and for the first time I really thought Lisa wasn't going to make it. And she wouldn't have if Castiel hadn't stepped in to save her.

If ever there was a reason for Dean to trust Castiel again, this was it. Not to say that this rights Castiel's wrongs but it certainly makes up for some of the pain. Of course, Dean is much less of a sucker than I am, and while he genuinely thanked Castiel, he admited that this doesn't change anything. But he does make one final request. In a last-pitch effort to keep them safe, he asks Cas to erase him from Ben and Lisa's memory. It's no doubt a painful request to make and I sincerely hope that it keeps them out of harm's way, but isn't it better to know what's out there so you can be prepared? Maybe it was mostly about their safety but also because seeing them reminds him too much of what he's lost? Sam tries to question his decision, but Dean makes it clear that Ben and Lisa are no longer acceptable topics of conversation.

"You ever mention Lisa and Ben to me again, and I will break your nose."

It sounds like a threat, but there is a desperate plea behind that statement. Dean has lost so much and the only way he knows how to deal with loss is to ignore it altogether. Not the healthiest coping method, but it seems to be working for him alright so far.  I expect that this really is the last we'll see of Lisa and Ben, and I'm sorry to see them go. They brought out the best in Dean and gave him a shred of hop that maybe one day he could have a normal life. I'm sorry to see that hope disappear.

Well on that cheery note...there were a few funny lines that I want to mention to get me out of this funk.

*Bobby: "Glad to meet you. Bobby Singer, paranoid bastard."

*Dean: "So who's this Phillips guy?"
Bobby: "Phillips aint his last name, it's Lovecraft"
Sam: "H.P. Lovecraft, let me see that."
Dean: "Am I supposed to know who that is?"
Bobby: "Horror writer. At the Mountains of Madness? The Call of Cthulhu?"
Dean: "Yeah...No. I was too busy having sex with women."

*Crowley "Your chocolate's been in my peanut butter for far too long"

*I love that Crowley referred to Sam as "Jolly Green"

*Bobby: "Wow, you must be catnip to the ladies."
"I'm in a long-term, online relationship, so... "

*"You know, trench coat, looks like Columbo, talks like Rain Man."

Friday, May 20, 2011

About: CW Upfronts

It's time to take a look at the CW upfronts. Earlier this week I looked at the new shows coming to Fox that caught my eye. If you missed that, you can check it out here. There aren't quite as many new shows coming to the CW this fall, but there are a couple that look intriguing.

'Ringer'

Ringer marks the return of Sarah Michelle Gellar to the small screen. Can you hear the squeals of Buffy fans resounding? I sure can!

Here is an excerpt from the CW press release:

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as a woman who, after witnessing a murder, goes on the run, hiding out by assuming the life of her wealthy identical twin sister - only to learn that her sister's seemingly idyllic life is just as complicated and dangerous as the one she's trying to leave behind.



The CW snapped this pilot up from CBS, and for good reason. I think this is an intriguing concept and I know it will do very well for the CW. I'm curious to see how the story develops because this promo doesn't give us much to go on.

'The Secret Circle'

Here is an excerpt of the press release:

Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl - until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington - the town her mother left so many years before - where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they've been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them - until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers.





This show is based on a book series by the author of the Vampire Diaries. With Executive Producer  Kevin Williamson ("The Vampire Diaries", "Dawson's Creek", etc.) and paired up on Thursday nights with, you guessed it, The Vampire Diaries, I'm sure this show will be a hit for the CW. I don't know that I will tune in myself, but I have to admit that Kevin Williamson knows his way around angsty drama and suspense! 

Can I also just say that I hate the way shows are written up for these press releases. No matter how good the show, the release rarely does it justice and usually says things like "As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen." Why does there always have to be a brooding loner? 

'Hart of Dixie'
Here is an excerpt of the press release:

Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out - after graduating top of her class from medical school, she'll follow in her father's footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will. She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn't always so hospitable - the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe. Zoe's only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker - who just happens to be Lemon's fiancé. Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe's decision to stay in Bluebell for a while, discovering small-town life and a side of herself she hadn't known was there.   



'Hart of Dixie' marks the return of Rachel Bilson ('The OC') to the small screen. I can't say I'm terribly intrigued by this concept. I expect it to be a lesser version of Doc Hollywood. That's right, I said lesser. Love me some Michael J. Fox! I'll be interested to see how this show rates, especially paired up with Gossip Girl on Monday nights.  

There are a couple more shows coming to the CW lineup this fall. H8R, which I refuse to watch because of the name, The Frame and Re-Modeled. All three of which are reality shows. Something the CW doesn't do very well, in my opinion. Although I have been caught watching America's Next Top Model from time to time. What can I say, Tyra is fierce.