It was inevitably going to be a challenge to follow up the 200th episode, so I’m thinking that a standalone episode that was quirky and funny wasn’t a bad idea. I thoroughly enjoyed most of Ask Jeeves, written by Nicole Snyder and Eric Charmelo and directed by John McCarthy, aka Johnny Mac. Here’s what I liked about it:
One of the best parts about the episode was Jay Gruska’s old style score, which was a playful accompaniment to some of the more humorous scenes and fit the “old school” vibe of the episode. I laughed out loud as Dean encountered one weapon after another from the game Clue; Ackles’ WTF expression as he picks up the third one was priceless. And the outline of the murdered guest, with the head a few feet from the body? I laughed so hard I had to put down my pie for a few minutes. Kudos, Show.
And apparently I can’t see Sam hold up a key without flashing back to my favorite scene in The French Mistake, which I cannot watch without falling over laughing.
Last week’s slashy shout outs continued with a nod to Wincest in a Flowers in the Attic line (“like in the book?”) and yet another assumption that Sam and Dean are “together together”, though in this case they’re accused of being “homosexual murderers” like real-life lovers/murderers Leopold and Loeb. Only hotter. Well, duh.
A large part of the humor hinged on the two “older women” who were heartily appreciating the Winchesters’ assets. Believe me, I don’t blame them – like at all. And I admit to laughing as they fought to sit beside Sam, giving him an obvious once-over and then remarking, “Did you see how long his fingers are?”
Does that make half the fanfiction on the internet sort of canon now? Hmmm.
The fact that Jared’s sexy Texas drawl came through as he crooned “Come on in, darlin’, the water’s warm” is definitely gif-worthy. Tumblr?
“I bet you could do a lot in ten minutes,” one of the women says, clearly dismayed when she doesn’t get a chance to find out.
I also loved Dean’s fond amused expression as he watches Sam get hit on.
The scenes were funny – even S.E. Hinton tweeted with the hashtag #CougarsLovingSam. But they also made me twitch a little. Would it be hysterical if a man in his forties ogled an attractive woman in her thirties? Even a man in his fifties or sixties? That’s never played for laughs, and we don’t expect the woman to be slightly horrified that she’s being hit on by a man a decade or more her senior. One of the actresses (Gillian Vigman) isn’t much older than Ackles, which makes the double standard stand out like a sore thumb. Is there even an analogous word for “cougar” if it’s applied to a man? Hmm.
At any rate, suffice it to say that those women have good taste and there’s nothing wrong with their eyesight. And I’d be grateful to be able to wear a form-fitting dress like that no matter how old I happen to be at the time! You rocked it, ladies.
The best parts of an episode for me are always the commentary on the Show’s ongoing relationships between the main characters, and I loved the brief conversation between Sam and Dash.
Dash: I’ll let you in on a little family secret. We don’t really like each other. Then again, what family does?
Sam: Mine does. For the most part. It’s just me and my brother, so…
So indeed. There’s something very moving about Sam saying that he likes his brother. Sure, we know the Winchesters love each other, but like? That’s something different, and it hasn’t always been the case for the brothers. It made me warm all over to hear Sam say that, especially now that Sam and Dean are back on the road, spending virtually all their time together. It’s the same way it warms my heart to see how much Jared and Jensen actually like each other, even after spending the last ten years together on set and off – so much so that they’re neighbors in Austin now.
There was also (shockingly) alot of hotness in this week’s episode. Yes, I know, I say that in every episode review – but that’s because Ackles and Padalecki and Collins keep looking like, well, Ackles and Padalecki and Collins. We got Dean working on the Impala again, this time in the requisite plaid, but plenty tight enough to show off some mighty nice biceps.
We got Sam trying so hard to escape while being chased by Olivia that he ends up sweaty and out of breath, and holy hell, that’s a nice combination! Just keep hiding in that cupboard, Sam, sleek with sweat and breathing hard, and I’ll sit here and watch, okay?
Tumblr: Sweaty Sam is my porn
Me: Totally understandable
Then there’s Dean going all mark of Cain on Olivia to save Sam. The close-up of his face as he fires shot after shot, stubbled jaw set, eyes slitted and looking nearly black? I think I said GUH out loud.
Interestingly, the case takes place in New Canaan – Tumblr helpfully informs me that the land that Cain settled on was Canaan, and it wasn’t exactly a paragon of upstanding moral virtue. Interesting that Dean seems to succumb to the violent urges of the mark again in New Canaan. Sam’s reaction mirrored the reaction of most of us watching, as the realization that the mark is still very much there and influencing Dean becomes horrifyingly clear.
There was also commentary on Supernatural’s long-running examination of what it means to be a monster and whether or not it’s a choice. “You don’t have to do this,” Sam tells Olivia. “Being a monster is a choice.”
It is, unfortunately, one that she chooses anyway.
The last scene was a little bit of Boy Melodrama (BM). Sam confronts Dean about the mark, clearly worried. Yay! I was so frustrated for much of S9 when Sam didn’t seem at all concerned that his brother had the freaking mark of Cain on his arm! Dean, falling back into Dean denial mode, denies it – and turns up the music for good measure. It’s frustrating, sure, but it’s also very Dean. I think he’s pushing any awareness of the effect of the mark out of his mind for now, wanting to just get back to hunting. That seems like a normal reaction, though I don’t think he’ll be able to stay in denial for long. I’m excited to see that play out!
We got an Impala driving away scene again, though it seemed a bit CGI or something. What’s up with that, Show?
Jared tweeted some of the west coast feed and threw out some jabs at his co-star, though it wasn’t nearly as fun to witness as when they’re both online and going back and forth.
Jared: The “cute, dumb one”. Hahaha @JensenAckles!!! She’s talking about YOU!!!
Ryan Curtis: Dean is going to come back for his [Dash’s] ass. Hmm. Okay.
(And btw, didn’t Dean sound almost like demon!Dean in that scene? #Goosebumps)
Jerry Wanek tweeted some shots of the amazing sets for the episode. How lucky are we to have had Jerry and his crew for the entire ten years of the Show, to make it look as incredible as it does?
Many fans, me included, tweeted Jay Gruska to compliment him on the score, and he tweeted back.
Jay Gruska: [non-twitterized version] So grateful for your music comments tonight. Supernatural is a big team effort. Writers, actors, directors, producers, editors, crew. Glad to be on the team #SPN.
I think we’re all glad to be part of the “team”, and part of the SPN Family. Next week promises to be a very interesting episode. Are you ready?
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Last year at Jensen’s meet and greet at Burcon, the unbelievable happened when I forgot to go to it. Yes, me. Forgot. Blame the Supernatural writers, who were such fascinating conversationalists that I totally forgot I was supposed to be somewhere else.
Believe it or not, I was almost tardy once again this year (though I can’t blame the writers again). Cue me frantically trying to figure out where the room is and then jogging over. I finally find it and compose myself, and am walking what I hoped was casually down the hallway to the room when someone comes up behind me and puts their hand on my shoulder and a deep voice says “I’m right behind you, Lynn!” Let’s just say I was already on edge, so I jumped a foot. It didn’t exactly calm me down that it was Jensen.
Me: I know, I know, I’m late again…
Jensen: Oh right, last year… [teasingly] So nice of you to join the party…
At least I didn’t actually miss any of it this time!
I fell in love with Supernatural almost nine years ago, and discovered the incredible world of Supernatural fandom shortly thereafter. It was, if you’ll forgive the obviously intentional use of the word, a transformative experience. We started writing books about the Show and the fandom because we encountered so much shame surrounding what we knew was a wonderful and positive place – a place that, when discovered for the first time, felt like coming home. A place of understanding and acceptance and validation, where we could let our creativity flow unfettered, expressing what we really thought and felt. What we feared and fantasized about. Why, we wondered, was there then so much shame about being a fan – especially being a fangirl? Why was there so much wank, in the midst of so much acceptance and support?
That’s why we wrote Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls, and its academic book cousin Fandom at the Crossroads. To peel back that layer of shaming-from-the-outside as well as internalized shame coming from the inside. To tell the “real” story of being a fan – a Supernatural fan. To challenge all that shame (and the wank that happened as a result of it), we sought validation, even if we didn’t at first realize that’s what we were doing. We spoke to all kinds of fans about why they loved the Show and how they expressed their passion. Fanfiction writers and readers, fan artists, fan vidders, bloggers, enthusiastic readers and fans who just loved to watch the show. Then we spoke to the ‘other side’ – the people who made the Show we’d fallen for. Eric Kripe. Sera Gamble. Serge Ladouceur. Jensen, Jared, Misha, and every other actor willing to sit down with us and talk about how they felt about the Show and the fans and their place in this crazy wonderful little ‘family’.
We had a lovely chat at NJCon with Mama Tran herself, the adorable Lauren Tom. You already know how much we love Osric – well, his ‘mom’ is just as awesome!
Lauren was doing a drawing at the con to benefit the charity Home Boy Industries, which would give a lucky fan the chance to have breakfast with Lauren and Osric. Osric’s mom joined in the last one, much to the lucky fan’s surprise. We all know Supernatural is a family affair, and Lauren and Osric have extended the tradition, both onscreen and off.
Lauren: My mom is going to come to the drawing breakfast in Chicago, where I’m from originally. She really wants to meet Osric. I met his mother, so…
Lynn: Well, he’s her honorary grandson.
Everyone who reads this blog or our books on Supernatural knows how much we enjoy chatting with the cast and crew of the Show, hearing their behind-the-scenes insights and being privy to their thoughts and feelings about the Show and the fans. We’ve interviewed Eric Kripke, Sera Gamble, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Osric Chau, Richard Speight, Rob Benedict, Kim Rhodes, Jim Beaver, Matt Cohen, Chad Lindberg, Gil McKinney, Serge Ladouceur….the list goes on and on. They’ve contributed fascinating insights to our books and we’re immensely grateful. But today’s interview is special – it’s our very first prop interview. Sure, we wrote an article in Supernatural Magazine about the amazing props department and got to chat with propmaster Chris Cooper and see the Colt and John Winchester’s journal and even the blow-up doll hanging in the props closet (see Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls for photographic evidence). But this week we were privileged to talk with one of the prop stars of the Show – the iconic Green Cooler of Winchester Feels.
I was lucky enough to attend both Jared and Jensen’s meet and greets at ChiCon, which meant double the thoughtful responses about the Show (and double the hotness). Both boys got lots of interesting questions, and I had one for each of them. Of course, as always, these are just a few tidbits from the meet and greets, and not a verbatim transcript, just from memory. (Though all the Supernatural actors are pretty damn memorable…)
Jared’s meet and greet was first, and as usual he turned the high chair around backwards and straddled it as he greeted the small group of fans.
As this week’s Supernatural episode ended, I found myself very emotional. Not just from the episode, though the last line hit me hard, but from the realization that I had just watched the 199th episode of the show that changed my life. In two weeks, we’ll all celebrate the amazing milestone of the 200th, hopefully with cast and crew joining in the online celebration. When we fell in love with Supernatural and decided this would be the show we’d research and write books about, we thought we’d be lucky if it stayed on the air another year. That was 2007. Here we are, with 2014 almost done, and the Little Show That Could is still going strong. Forgive me if I needed a few extra tissues.
I really enjoyed this episode. The story line played out in a linear fashion instead of jumping around, and the pace was even throughout. And oh how I loved the interaction between the brothers. I’ll wax poetic over that in a minute. Most amazing thing about this episode? My daughter and I agreed. On everything. Is the moon blue instead of paper??