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Getting A Clue About Where We’re Going From Here: Supernatural ‘Ask Jeeves’

November 23, 2014
Cap by homeofthenutty

Cap by homeofthenutty

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.

If there's a lock...

If there’s a lock…

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.

xxxx 10.06 home samnotsosure

Cap midnight-road

Cap midnight-road

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.

xxxx 10.06 idnight woah

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.

Cap homeofthenutty

Cap homeofthenutty

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

Cap midnight-road

Cap midnight-road

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?

Cap midnight-road

Cap midnight-road

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?

xxxx 10.06 jerryw

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?

–Lynn
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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Erika Callahan permalink
    November 23, 2014 2:09 am

    I absolutely loved this episode. Clue is my favorite board game and Show brought up some very nice childhood memories. I’d still play it, but never have enough people. Hoping Santa (me) will pick up the new SPN version soon. Found a number of SPNFamily who live within driving range at BurCon & hope to remain in contact over the year instead of just meet at the con. First up, we are all going to hang out at Misha & Jason Mann’s Christmas Shenanigans. That should be fun, except parking in LA is a pain. I drive a huge Buick and was never good at parallel parking to begin with. Anyone who has ever driven in LA knows how utterly patient LA driver can be. ***SARCASM FONT HERE***

    I’m glad I caught you at BurCon before you left. Next year, I will schedule a time earlier in the weekend to chat more. 🕐✔

  2. November 23, 2014 2:10 am

    The last scene was CGI. The crew member that did it tweeted out a vid of all the renderings of it. Bit odd for Supernatural to go CGI on that but maybe there was some production reason for it. (shrugs)

    This was a giggle episode for sure but I am glad that brought the story arc back in so well at the end. Sam needs to just knock some sense into Dean, literally.

  3. Marika permalink
    November 23, 2014 2:21 am

    I thought he final drive away baby scene was fake as well when I saw it. I did see a video on twitter that did show how heavily the scene was cgi’d.

  4. November 23, 2014 3:19 am

    Great review, as always, Lynn. As always, I agree with all of it.🙂 Just a few thoughts I had:

    First, I had the exact same reaction to the key scene (flashback to The French Mistake), but even more so because it directly followed the guy telling Sam and Dean that the pendant was made from “fake rubies and cubic zirconia.” So I was yelling at the TV, “You married Fake Ruby??!!” and then immediately “If there’s a key, then there has to be a lock!”

    Second, it was Werner who tweeted about doing the CGI Impala scene. I assumed there must have been some sort of production reason for it also, but maybe they were just trying to create a certain mood that could only be done with CGI? Dunno.

    Finally, while I appreciated some of the continuity coming off the 200th (Dean continuing to work on fixing up his Baby after the way he treated her when he was a demon, the brothers agreeing that they need to be out on the road together looking for cases at the moment, the BM in the car at the end, etc.), I was disappointed by the absence of musical-prop!Samulet. Why isn’t it still hanging on the rearview mirror? Did Dean decide to put it away for safekeeping? I think it would be nice to have it visible for at least a little longer.

    Overall, though, I was entertained. I feel like a light-hearted-ish MOTW was what we needed right now.

  5. November 23, 2014 4:16 am

    I agree with Lynn that following up the 200th was going to be tricky, and this goofy but not meta episode fit that nicely. Honestly, having to bridge the 200th episode and the main story arc is really just setting up an episode to fail, and this one did better than I expected it would. The mark of Cain reference helps move the bigger story forward, but was able to be a small part of this stand alone episode and pull the audience back to the dark, torturous parts of Supernatural that we love.

    That said there were a few things that really stayed with me from this episode.

    One, I’m going to have to find a reason to call someone Clown College Colette. That’s just a solid nickname.

    Two, I’m a little disturbed by Bobby’s inheritance. Basically, Bunny’s last wish turned out to be, “Okay Bobby, now that I’m dead you can *finally* kill my daughter.” And she didn’t know Bobby was dead, which means she wasn’t in touch with him about her demon spawn. She just set expiration date on her kid. Then again, so did John Winchester, more or less.

    Three, the ‘something’s afoot’ soundtrack was a nice touch. I can envision Jared and Jensen tiptoeing through the set Scooby Doo style on the gag reel.

    And four, I loved finding the clue weapons throughout the episode, although once I saw the ladies flirting with Sam, I said “I’m solving it. It was Professor Plaid, in the bedroom, with his DeathPenis.”

  6. November 23, 2014 3:40 pm

    The “cougars loving Sam” thing makes me twitch more than a little. I guess this is how some of the fans reacted to Becky–it’s a really unflattering portrait. While it’s true that older women who watch the show are necessarily objectifying the gorgeous actor, it feels icky and reductive to have one’s devotion categorized like that.

    • November 23, 2014 4:14 pm

      As a ‘woman of a certain age’, I didn’t take offense to their ribald characterizations at all. (Maybe I would if I were, indeed, a wealthy older cougar but since that’s not my groove, I just saw it as a farce. Which is what it was.)

      I think sometimes we’re too quick to be offended at what are clearly just broadly-painted tropes, played for laughs. This completely fit the style of episode they were shooting for. (Did you see the movie “Clue”, by any chance? If so, hello, Miss Scarlet!)

      Did I think the writers were representing all older women as ‘sugar mommas?’ No, of course not. Not every character is going to be portrayed in a “flattering” light, always. Did anyone complain about Dash’s spoiled, rich-boy sterotype? Nope.

      It didn’t feel “icky” or “reductive” to me, and I’m even a devoted Sam!girl! Not everything the writers pen is designed to be some meta commentary on US. It simply felt like the writers were enjoying watching Sam squirm, not trying to laugh at us because we find JP attractive.

      (Actually, come to think of it, it would’ve been kinda adorable to have one of the cougars be male! Dang…why didn’t they think of that??)

      • spnfans permalink
        November 23, 2014 4:49 pm

        I actually didn’t see the ‘cougars’ as representing fans at all, just was pondering that part of the humor came from them being ‘older women’, if you consider forties to be older women… I laughed, and I get that the humor came from more than their age and was broadly played (and a successful farce), I’m just pondering the whole cougar thing in general, not specifically here on SPN. Hah! And yes, having one of them be male would’ve been adorable🙂

    • November 23, 2014 4:22 pm

      I didn’t see the “cougars” as a comment on fans at all. I just thought they were spoiled, rich WASPy types who were used to getting whatever they wanted.

      I think the reason some fans felt that Becky was a slap in the face was that she was in meta episodes. She broke the fourth wall and therefore is often seen as straddling the real world of fans and the Supernatural TV universe. As I’ve said before I don’t see Becky that way. Her most questionable actions were in an episode that was clearly all tv world. She was tricked by a demon who she thought was her best friend. I view the characters in Ask Jeeves the same way: fictional characters – not commentary. They were no worse than any of the other women who have hit on Sam or Dean in the past decade… these women just happened to dressed like extras on Dynasty. They aren’t meant to be more than morally questionable individuals within the context of the episode.

  7. AndreaJoan permalink
    November 24, 2014 12:42 am

    Personally, as an 81 yr old fan, I did not take offense at anything- I just sit back, laugh my rear end off and love the SPN family- old and young- this is a great series and I love it- have made a few of my friends (all younger than I) fans too- lots to love about this SPN family- I intend to spread the love-

  8. November 24, 2014 2:50 pm

    In response to the fouble standard – and i agree there is one i general – i finally remembered a movie that makes fun of the older guy/younger woman angle. Hall Pass (which is surprisingly good) does play ‘men in their forties or older hitting on younger women’ for laughs. And it nails it without being creepy, just funny.

    • November 24, 2014 2:51 pm

      And I apologize for the typos. Thumb typing on the phone today…

  9. Laura in Denver permalink
    November 24, 2014 9:32 pm

    I enjoyed the episode a lot. The shout out to “Clue” was great! The cougar thing I think is funny! I have never been offended Movie or TV fiction having cougars or old guys (for lack of a better catch phrase) hitting on younger men/women. I thought it was pretty clever of Sam to use the situation to his advantage and hide the silver butter knives in his sleeves so he could test cougars. This characterization was better than the cougar from Season 3 Red Sky at Morning. The last scene was set up nicely to bring us back to the problem at hand with the Mark of Cain. Excellent choice of the Bob Seger song “Travelin Man” too! Thanks to Lynn again for a great review!!!

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