What Is Happening?? Lynn and Nightsky Live on Supernatural ‘Devil’s Bargain’

Last week Lynn and Nightsky (from the Winchester Family Business) were at an academic conference on Popular Culture, giving carefully prepared papers on (what else?) Supernatural and moderating panels and generally working our butts off. So Thursday night was a welcome break to watch the new Supernatural episode with a room full of fellow acafans (academics who are also passionate fans). Oh, and pie. Lots of pie.  Being the resourceful women we are, we loaded up some plates with free conference food and then crowded into our friends Susan and Mandy’s room. Balancing overloaded plates precariously, we settled in to watch. Come along with us, if you will, to see what happens next…

The THEN came on and the room fell silent. For a minute anyway.

Lynn: KEVIN! Is Osric in this episode? Please let Osric be in this episode! (Alas, Osric was in fact NOT in this episode…)

The NOW begins, which repeats the scene we saw last week of Castiel and Lucifer having a tussle, and Lucifer full on lunging at Castiel and stabbing him in the stomach. Wait, what? Is that what we saw last week?

Nightsky: Hold on, when did that happen??

Lynn: He stabbed him last week but not like THAT, am I right?

Susan and Mandy (who remember things much better than the two of us) He did stab him last week, but he swiped high, it was a high slice not a gut stab!

Cas staggers through the woods, clearly way more injured than he seemed to be last week when he prevailed and stabbed Lucifer instead. He falls to the ground – to be found by the shocked teenagers of the week who of course do what? Poke him with a stick.

Everyone in the room: WHAT IS HAPPENING??

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Lynn and Kim talk Supernatural and its ‘Various and Sundry Villains’

I haven’t seen so much commentary on a Supernatural episode – and not just by the big outlets who routinely cover the show – in a long time. I’m talking fannish thinky thoughts – on Tumblr, on Twitter, on Facebook, even on LiveJournal! And that says something about ‘Various and Sundry Villains’ and the way Steve Yockey wrote the characters and the story arc this week. It was also the week to honor female directors and filmmakers, so having Amanda Tapping back to direct was wonderful – and she did an amazing job. Not only did the humor come through, but Tapping filmed the emotional scenes in a powerful way – often in ultra close ups, evoking the intimacy of the moment we were witnessing. (And also showing off our very beautiful cast…)

Ruth with director Amanda Tapping – tweet Ruth Connell

So here are my own thinky thoughts to add to the mix, and because everyone had something to say about this episode, here are some of Kim’s (my talented photographer friend) too. Amusingly, we agree passionately about some things and have a completely different take on others. But that’s how fandom should be! What we have in common is a deep love for this Show, which lets us disagree and still have lots in common.

Like most, I loved a lot about the episode, or at least I loved the overwhelming majority of the episode. The two very emotional scenes were award worthy, no question.  There were some times when the episode felt like a roller coaster though – or more accurately a Wild Mouse – because every so often it would lurch to a stop and leave me hanging onto the lap bar going wait, what? There was an unnevenness to it that was jarring at times, and that was confusing – perhaps because there was a TON happening. We’re back to multiple story lines, and that switch back and forth never sits entirely well with me. Every time I get deeply invested in what’s happening we switch to the other story line and I have a moment of irritation before I can make that mental switch too. It’s a common thing on Supernatural, but I don’t entirely enjoy it. My brain likes to go deep and then stay there, especially when my emotions are deeply engaged, as they were in much of this episode.

Kim is much more forgiving. At least she thinks she is…

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It’s Hellatus – So Of Course Supernatural Leaves Us In ‘The Bad Place’!

 

 

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I LOVED last week’s episode of Supernatural, so I went into this week’s with high expectations, especially because this was the lead-in to the Wayward Sisters pilot episode that happens when we return from Hellatus. ‘The Bad Place’ turned out to be a wild rollercoaster of a ride that kept me on the edge of my seat – it literally looked and felt like a feature film crammed into 42 minutes! That’s not to say I loved all of it, but it definitely did a great job of setting up the possible spinoff while simultaneously entertaining me throughout.

So, what I liked?  Well, I really liked Jack. It was nice to meet Alexander Calvert at last weekend’s Supernatural convention and to be able to tell him in person what a fabulous job he’s doing on this show, because DAMN. I have been rooting for Jack since the beginning, which says a lot about Calvert’s acting and the way he’s been written considering he’s Lucifer’s son. I didn’t think I’d like him at all before Jack was born, so I wasn’t even prepared to care about the character – but I do.

We open with a young Native American artist, Derek, and his girlfriend discussing the difficulties of making a living through art, which, YES.

Enter Jack, a prospective buyer.

Derek: You’re young.

Jack: I am.

I laughed out loud at Calvert’s delivery, and the fresh faced expression on Jack’s face. He manages to make Jack entirely likable while also playing him with a hint of wait-is-that-a-menacing-look so I’m always a little off base and unsure. I was so horrified when we thought that Jack killed Derek, it actually made me a little sick to my stomach. I don’t WANT Jack to go dark side, Show! And that says something very good about how the character is being written and acted, because I actually CARE about him.

Writer Robert Berens does a good job of incorporating a bit of Native American lore and casting does a good job as they almost always do with finding an actor  (Nathaniel Arcand) who makes us care about him even in the four minutes he was in the episode! Arcand is not just very good looking, he invests Derek with personality too.

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Yep, Those Are My Boys – a Winchester Win in The Scorpion and the Frog

Eight episodes in, and Supernatural Season 13 is still going strong. Last week’s episode, the oddly and ominously named ‘The Scorpion and the Frog,’ which I will probably always refer to as the Heist episode, kept the winning streak going. Some of my favorite episodes of this show are the throwback episodes that feel like the early seasons, especially the “monster of the week” ones that give the mytharc a rest and let Sam and Dean do what Sam and Dean do best – hunt. This episode was still mytharc-related, because Sam and Dean are motivated to undertake the heist in return for a Nephilim tracking spell, but it felt very old school. It was the Winchesters against the bad guys, and that was a lot of fun!

This season has been so dark (albeit with bits of humor tossed in that make it all so much more bearable) – that I think I started to feel a little beaten down just like Dean. So it was nice to see the Winchesters get some kind of win, even if it wasn’t the spell they were hoping for.

Perhaps even more importantly, for me at least, this episode felt like Supernatural. Sam and Dean felt like Sam and Dean. That’s my number one make-or-break point for this show, and Meredith Glynn writes my boys the way I see them. They talk like Sam and Dean, they feel the emotions that Sam and Dean would feel, they act like Sam and Dean. I recognize them; I feel like I know them. And it’s that familiarity that provides the emotional benefit that we get from our favorite shows. Without it, Supernatural is just another genre show. Glynn doesn’t make that mistake, and it makes all the difference.

We start with a little demon theft, and a double-crossing crossroads demon who immediately reminded everyone of Crowley. I’m assuming that was intentional, but I’m not sure it was a great idea – most of the reaction I’ve seen was the same as my own. TOO SOON. We’re all grieving the loss of Crowley and Mark Sheppard, so nobody who seems to be any sort of replacement is going to be welcomed. I’m having a similar problem with Asmodeus, but this character seemed even closer. David Cubitt did a fine job of making Bart a character with personality, and it’s not his fault that I couldn’t stop missing Crowley, but my reaction threw me out of the story a bit.

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Director Richard Speight Jr. Helms a Wild Ride in Supernatural’s War of the Worlds

There was a new Supernatural episode last week even though in the US that day was the Thanksgiving holiday, which meant I was at a big family gathering and not in charge of what was going to be watched at 8 pm. Lucky for me, I have really considerate family members, because most of us ended up watching my favorite Show. However, I couldn’t exactly tell people not to make a sound (which is how I like to watch Supernatural. I mean, I make a lot of sounds, but the rest of the family should be quiet. What?) I kindly said “oh no, please feel free to keep chatting” when asked, even though I might have been gritting my teeth.

But it turns out that the episode was engaging enough that everyone ended up watching instead of chatting – thanks, I think, to Richard Speight Jr.’s directing. I’ve loved every episode Richard has directed, especially the last two, and especially especially ‘Just My Imagination’.  ‘War of the Worlds’, is not going to go down in history as one of my favorites, but thanks to Richard’s directing there was never a dull moment and I definitely wasn’t bored. It’s just that my favorite episodes have an emotional arc for the Winchesters, some of the brother moments I live for, some psychological insights into the main characters who I care about – something that grabs me and reminds me why I love this show. This episode didn’t have those things, but what it did have is excitement and surprises and reveals and some pretty epic fight scenes. Speight made sure all of that came through and kept me riveted.

We start out with strikingly beautiful images, which were so serene they didn’t look like they belonged on Supernatural. But it’s only Michael invading Lucifer’s brain to see what Earth is all about. Michael is not nice at all, which should be no surprise because angels on Supernatural are just about the most deplorable beings ever. Except for Castiel, who (as is pointed out in this episode) is truly a renegade. This fact about angels was quite confusing to the extended family members who decided to watch with me.

Michael locks Lucifer in an iron maiden and brutally tortures him, Lucifer screaming plaintively.

Family: Uh, I thought you said that guy Michael was an angel.

Me: Oh yeah, he is. Typical.

Family: Typical? And who’s that poor guy screaming and bleeding?

Me: Lucifer.

Family: Wait, the Devil? An angel is torturing the devil??

Me (silently) This was such a bad idea…

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