I’ve had so many different thoughts about ‘Thinman’ that my head is still spinning – once again, I woke up this morning already writing this review in my head, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing (unless of course I was supposed to do something else this morning….cough…work…cough…) There was alot I loved about this episode. In fact, Jenny Klein should expect a tackle hug next time I see her for the Weechesters flashback scene alone (fair warning, Jenny).
I love that we saw some progress with the Mark of Cain story arc, which is a road I’m anticipating going down even as I’m biting my nails about the dark places Show intends to take us. I’ve been theorizing about the Mark and what its impact on Dean has been already, and am intrigued by the possibility that part of what it does is pull the wearer away from those he loves, isolating him from family and turning him away from love and affection and his own humanity, so he can kill without remorse or regret. It’s a punishment more than a gift, influencing those he loves most to turn away from him. And that’s terrifying. One of my favorite themes of the Show is Dean’s understanding of why he and Sam are better together, especially after he glimpses a future without Sam in ‘The End’: “We keep each other human.” It’s true. Sam has repeatedly been the one thing that keeps Dean from going darkside, from becoming the vicious killer that he secretly believes he is. If the Mark can separate Dean from Sam, how close to that internal self image will Dean become?
It’s been a long time since a new episode of Supernatural didn’t inspire a whole lot of mixed reactions among its fans – from squee to sobbing to gnashing of teeth to threats to flounce from fandom all together. I’ve written elsewhere (http://www.winchesterbros.com/site/index.php/articles/10224-only-love-can-break-your-heart–or-what-fandom-wank-is-all-about ) that there are reasons for that range of reactions that run the gamut, and for the passionate disagreement that follows. As I was watching ‘Captives,’ I thought for a while that this episode might be an exception. For one thing, there was so much going on, I didn’t have time to dwell on the fact that Sam and Dean continue to ignore my desperate pleas for them to get back to being brothers. There were, as often happens in Cas episodes, two story lines running simultaneously, which always makes me feel a little disoriented every time we switch between them. This is far from unusual in a television show, but for many years Supernatural was an odd exception, with Sam and Dean (and the probably very tired Jared and Jensen) in every story line and nearly every scene. I still subconsciously hang onto that expectation.
For another thing, there were some delicious tidbits of consistency, which invariably make me smile foolishly at the tv. Castle Storage reappears, and I love that we’ve seen that distinctive sign in so many pivotal episodes. It even appears in our next book, Fan Phenomena: Supernatural, in the chapter by SPN’s brilliant cinematographer, Serge Ladouceur. That’s how iconic it is!
Supernatural fans need something to smile about right now — we’re stuck in a two week hiatus and gnashing our teeth over what’s happening on the Show right now. So what better time to share a chat with one of our favorite Supernatural actors, Richard Speight, Jr.? Lynn caught up with him on the fall convention circuit. Richard was one of the very first actors we interviewed for our books, which means we’ve known him for seven years (that’s a photo from our very first chat above). This explains why our interviews with him now tend to cover a rather broad range of topics and possibly even get a little rambling. (Yes, even more rambling than our interviews usually are…) But chatting with Richard is always interesting!
In fact, we jumped right into some sociological analysis. And some talk about hotness. Probably nobody who reads this blog regularly is all that surprised, come to think of it. And Richard has read our books (as well as contributed to them), so he probably wasn’t all that surprised either.
I’m assuming Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder intended that title to refer both to the physical transformations of the MotW’s victims and to the emotional purge of Sam’s speech to Dean in those all-important last five minutes of SPN. Nice touch, writers.
Once again, the episode was split into two parts – and once again, I have more to say about the second. The first was a rather tragic story of a monster-trying-to-be-normal, a classic Supernatural theme. I was a bit worried that there would be too much insensitivity and ‘fat jokes’ for me to just sit back and enjoy, but I think the script did a decent job of avoiding that, so I was able to enjoy the ride. The special effects were disgusting (and awesome), the guest actors were memorable, and despite the chill between the brothers, the humorous scenes still worked. Dean with powdered sugar all over his face (and Sam’s expression haha), the awkward conversation about sex and ‘extra padding’, even some of their snarks at each other made me laugh. There was suspense, some scary scenes, some gorgeous cinematography with the boys and their flashlights. The brothers worked together as seamlessly as ever – there’s nothing wrong with their working relationship at least. We got boys in suits, and in dress shirts and ties lounging around motel rooms, which is always a big plus.
It’s almost impossible to review this episode as a single thing. There was the Monster of the Week episode, which had to do with Garth and the definition of ‘monster’ that SPN has often considered. And there was the last three minutes, which was something completely different.
First, the MotW portion. I’ve liked Garth well enough in the past, but not so much that I was clamoring for his return. I liked him in this episode, though. He’s more interesting as a werewolf – sorry, lycanthrope – than as an unlikely (often comic relief) hunter. Adam Glass let us get to know Garth a bit better, and DJ Qualls gets to invest the character with some emotional vulnerability. His relationship with his new wife comes off as touching, even if it did apparently get very serious very fast (I suppose becoming a werewolf and then having one sniff you out and save your life will move you to the alter pretty quickly).
Last night’s Supernatural, First Born, was so jam-packed full of action, adventure, angst, plot twists and episodes of nail-biting OMG NOOOOO screams at my poor abused television, that this morning left my head still spinning. Waking up the day after a new SPN episode bursting with thinky thoughts and eager to see what everyone else thought is the way the early seasons of Supernatural were for me – this is not the first time in Season 9 that I’ve felt exactly the same way. How awesome is that?
Binge TV watching is the preferred method of viewing for many people now that it’s fairly cheap and easy to inhale an entire season (or 2 or 3 or…) of a show. It’s the way we watched Season 1 of Supernatural, after watching only sporadically when it was broadcast. There are certain benefits to binge watching – no commercials for one, and you don’t have to sit through an entire summer hiatus biting your nails and worrying about whether Dean will get out of hell. On the other hand, that anticipation, agonizing though it may be, is part of the thrill that comes from loving a Show. Once we were hooked, we became fans who planned their social lives (and sometimes family lives, but shhhh) around whatever night and time Supernatural aired.