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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

About: Supernatural "Unforgiven"

This week's episode of Supernatural, "Unforgiven", gave us a much needed look into Sam's Soulless year. I'm hoping it was the first of many glimpses into his dark past. We already knew that Sam wasn't himself without his soul, we saw his coldness from the first episode of the season. But I really appreciated seeing exactly what soulless Sam was capable of. It made the contrast between the two Sam's much more palpable. Not to mention it really highlighted just how versatile Jared Padalecki's acting has been this season.

Grandpa Samuel said it best when he told Sam "You're about as cold as they come". But I can't help but wonder why Samuel continued to hunt side by side with him. He seems more than capable of hunting on his own, so what was his reasoning? Not to mention, how did they even find each other? There had to be some outsider intervention that put the two of them in contact. Sam would never know to look for Samuel and Samuel may or may not have thought to look for a Winchester, but if he had I would guess he'd find Dean first seeing that he was a civilian living and working as Dean Winchester. At any rate, I hope we find out how they came in contact with each other because at this point it's a bit of a plot hole for me.

While I'm on the topic of things I hope to find out I'd like to ask another question. Who brought Sam and Samuel back? Two different people, one person? I assumed Crowley had brought Samuel back but if Samuel was snatched from Heaven that seems unlikely. And why Samuel? He's been dead for so long. If someone wanted him back wouldn't they have done it a long time ago? Why Sam is an easier question, he is obviously at the center of some cosmic something that he can't escape. No matter how good Sam tries to be he always ends up a little darker than before.

OK, on to more episode-specific discussion. Overall I really liked the pace and editing of the episode. I enjoyed the classic black and white flashbacks and I thought they were nicely organized to give away just the right amount of information so that we were right in line with Sam during his rediscovery of the past. The one thing I found a little distracting was the jarring camera work, especially during the scene when Sam beats the cop. Maybe it was an attempt to put us inside the chaos of Sam's brain, but I found that it overwhelmed the scene. There were also a lot of extreme close-ups, especially in the flashback scenes. I love a good extreme close-up but I'm not sure they were always necessary. Again, I'm sure there was an intended meaning behind these choices but to me, the just felt odd.

Poor Sam. His conscience has always been his greatest enemy. He just can't leave well enough alone. He has to keep picking at that wall until he knows everything. He needs to know what he did wrong so he can make it right. The problem is that not everyone is going to forgive him. We saw it in "Like a Virgin" when Bobby couldn't even look him in the eye and we saw it again this week when Brenna slammed the door in his face. How is he going to deal with that? The Sam we know and love would be torn apart from guilt. And that can't be good for the "The Great Wall of Sam". Speaking of which throughout the episode all I could think was stop scratching! I even tried to trend #StopScratching on twitter. Totally unsuccessful but I thought it was funny.

There is one plot point that really bugged me (no pun intended) and maybe someone can straighten me out about it. When Sam breaks into Brenna's house looking for the case file he has a flashback to when he and Samuel discovered that they were dealing with an arachne. In the flashback, Samuel is holding what looks like a piece of web. Sam leaves Brenna's house immediately after this flashback. When he goes out on to her porch it's clear that his "spidey senses" are tingling. And we see that he is being watched. He notices the same web on Brenna's front porch and then....he leaves? It is obvious that Brenna is in danger and it's as if Sam completely forgets what he just saw.

There were a few funny moments in "Unforgiven" that deserve mentioning.

*The oh-so-subtle nod to Days of Our Lives, was that for Jensen Ackles?
*The use of the word squirly
*When Dean attributes Samuel's absence to sex therapy. Now that's just funny.
*One thing that wasn't funny so much as it was touching was watching Samuel talk about Mary during the flashback. It's clear that he really loved her and it made him seem just a little less awful for selling out his grandsons to get her back. Only a little though.

Check out the preview for this week's episode "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning"

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