Wait, Is That Eileen?? Supernatural 12.21

The past week has been a whirlwind, much of it Supernatural-related, and now I’m writing this from family vacation, so my review of last week’s episode is influenced by the context in which I watched the show and the fact that right now my feet are up and it’s a sunny spring day in San Francisco. And that’s probably a good thing, because – like the majority of Supernatural fans – I had a lot of issues with last week’s episode.

I did, however, have a good time the night I watched it anyway. That’s because the book release party for my new book, Family Don’t End With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives, happened the night before at The Study Hollywood in LA. It was an amazing, inspiring, emotional night, where actors and writers and producers and fans all came together to celebrate this amazing show that we all love. The next night, a group of us gathered in our hotel room to watch the episode together. It was the first time most of us had watched together an episode of the show that made us friends, so it felt very special. We ordered Grub Hub, shared some delicious nachos, and waited with a mix of anticipation and trepidation for the show to begin. Literally sitting on the edge of our seats (on the hotel beds…)

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Ouch! Supernatural Gets Emotional with Twigs & Twine & Tasha Barnes

Sometimes it’s downright painful being a Supernatural fan! But I don’t mean that as a complaint—this is part of what the Show has always been. Two weeks in a row that were painful is tough to take, there’s no doubt about that, but there was a lot to appreciate in this week’s episode. Even the painful was just done so well! Grudging admiration, Steve Yockey, for the writing, Richard Speight Jr., for the directing, and all the actors for conveying the pain so brilliantly.

Before I do an actual recap, here are some of the reasons for my grudging admiration.

First, I love when an episode is a mirror for the Winchesters. This is a tradition going back all the way to the beginning, something Kripke liked to do and made work extremely well. Sometimes the mirror is a little too large and obvious, but in this case, I didn’t think we were too pounded over the head with it – or maybe I just enjoyed the pounding. Which sounds really wrong.

Max and Alicia, the witch twins, were immediately seen by fans as a mirror of Sam and Dean in their first episode. Their closeness, the way they talked at the same time and finished each other’s sentences, the way they squabbled but clearly always had each other’s backs – all of that reminded us of the Winchester brothers. Sibling pairs often are used in the show as a mirror for the brothers, so that wasn’t a surprise.

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Dean Winchester and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day – Supernatural ‘The Future’

It has taken me another 24 hours to figure out why I had such a strong emotional reaction to this episode – and to give the episode more props for where it intended to take me even if I didn’t enjoy the ride. The thing is, I loved the last major Cas-centric episode, as my reviews loudly proclaimed. I’ve empathized with Castiel’s painful sense of not belonging anywhere, because there’s nothing in the world more painful for humans and sometimes Cas is just as human as the rest of us (thanks to Misha’s ability to invest the character with emotional nuances). I was moved by Castiel’s near death and his need, in what he thought were his last seconds, to make his feelings clear to Sam and Dean; I was moved by their reaction too, that powerful moment when they each clasped a hand and pulled him up. I had to gush to Misha about his performance in that episode repeatedly (sorry, Misha) and to Richard about his directing (sorry, Richard) but that scene really worked. That scene was Team Free Will re-established.

And it wasn’t one way. Sam and Dean also took down their barriers and made themselves vulnerable in their relationship with Cas; not as explicitly perhaps, but Jared and Jensen are so good at what they do that we could clearly feel it and see it. Castiel was accepted as family. So that’s the lens with which I viewed ‘The Future’. That the bond between the three of them was close and tight and important. That made the things that happened in this episode very painful.

I’ve felt the same way when one of the Winchesters lies to the other(s). It’s such an extraordinarily painful thing when someone you love and trust is deceitful, so it hurts to see it. As much as Dean is repeatedly angry in this episode, it’s clear that underneath that anger is hurt. He allowed himself to love and trust Cas, so perceived betrayal hurts like hell. Hence my frequent use of OUCH in this review. It HURT.

That said, perhaps that’s exactly what Show wanted me to feel. That last episode did such a good job of setting up the emotional connection between Cas and the Winchesters, and sometimes that is exactly what this Show does when it’s getting ready to punch you right in the heart. It’s a bit of a Supernatural tradition dating back to Kripke, and it’s most definitely been the cause of entire lost days of my life railing and screaming and generally shaking my fist. That’s because I care – a lot. I care about Cas and Sam and Dean and I care about how they care about each other.

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A Chat With Shoshannah Stern –Bringing Kickass Hunter Eileen Back to Supernatural

I’m not alone in loving the return of Eileen Leahy on Supernatural a few weeks ago, so I couldn’t wait to interview Shoshannah Stern again. She’s crazy busy right now (with all good exciting things) but still took the time to answer my questions – which just proves all over again how awesome she is.

In her most recent Supernatural episode, the character of Eileen gets to flirt with Sam Winchester, prove what a badass hunter she is by singlehandedly taking out a demon, fire the Colt, and accidentally kill a particularly annoying British Man of Letters, for which she needs a Sam hug. As you do.

Lynn: Eileen was a fan favorite by the time that first episode in Season 11 (Into the Mystic) was over, and fans—me included–were so excited to have her back. What is it about the character that you think has clicked so much with fans?

Shoshannah: I know that for me, when I got the first draft of the script for Into the Mystic, Eileen leaped off the page and into my heart. There were just so many dimensions to her. I love that both of her episodes so far haven’t really been about her taking down monsters, but the different sorts of emotional baggage that’s left behind in their wake. There’s a side to her that’s hard, and I think that’s the side you see first, but then there’s another that’s vulnerable, and it’s kind of surprising. I also love that she can take some things seriously and take the piss out of others. And yeah, she’s deaf and shoots a Colt. None of these things are exclusive.

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Supernatural 12.18 – This Episode is a Memory that will Definitely Remain!

Phil Sgriccia, Steve Boyle (twitter) and the boys

It’s been a while since we’ve had a Supernatural episode that made me so euphoric that I could barely contain myself – those kind of episodes are what made me the passionate fan I am. When it’s been too long between them, my enthusiasm quiets down a bit. Not that I don’t always love the show, but not with the OMG this is the best show in the history of EVER OMG jumping up and down that an episode like this one brings. And damn, does it ever feel good to be that squeeful again!

I would like to give writer John Bring lots of hugs, and my highest compliment – he wrote a scene that could have been written by former Supernatural writer Robbie Thompson. And that, for me, is REALLY saying something.

I’ll get to that wonderful scene soon, but I loved the entire episode. This was an old school Supernatural monster-of-the-week episode, reminiscent of the early seasons in so many ways. I liked the twists and turns of the case, first thinking it was a monster, then a human, then lo and behold it ended up being both. Bring didn’t forget Castiel either. We got another Cas phone call, leading up to the next episode when Castiel reappears. And we got Dean cleaning the Colt and then aiming and fake firing it, which never fails to do things to me.

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