Last week’s Supernatural won’t go down in history as one of my favorites – it was at times downright unpleasant to watch, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t impactful. Luckily, the difficult to watch scenes were interspersed with some lighter moments that I enjoyed and some excellent acting, which helped. And I just had the opportunity to re-watch after spending the weekend at a Supernatural convention in Nashville, which gave me some different perspectives on the episode, especially Mary’s situation.
The opening scene is classic Supernatural – dark, full of foreboding, and scary as hell. I don’t know if it’s just left over from childhood and none of us ever really outgrew it, but fear of the thing hiding in the closet or grabbing us from under the bed is always lurking underneath our adult composure. The opening scene played on all those fears, leaving my heart pounding by the time we transition into Sam and Dean at home in the bunker.
I will never get tired of seeing Sam and Dean in the bunker, so I was happy just to see them researching a case, hunched over Sam’s laptop together like it was Season 1 all over again.
My happy place was jolted, however, when the boys called Mary and she lied to them outright about where she was and what she was doing. I know she’s not the first Winchester to lie, and she undoubtedly won’t be the last, but it rankled anyway. It’s impossible for me to get myself out of her sons’ headspace – they are heartbreakingly vulnerable when it comes to their mother, and it’s very hard to watch her let them down. Her ‘I love you’ made me grimace, which can’t be a good sign.
I’m seriously behind on everything, including my con coverage for 2017. Between trying to finish up the new book (which I’m ridiculously excited about – have you pre-ordered your copy yet??? If you do, you get free goodies and can win even more free Supernatural stuff! Check it out at https://www.familydontendwithblood.com/!) Anyway, with that and starting off a new semester of teaching and Supernatural episodes returning, there aren’t enough hours in the day. So here, belatedly, are some of my favorite moments and photos from the first con of the year.
The 2017 Supernatural con tour kicked off in sunny warm Jacksonville, Florida. The sunny and warm part was definitely relevant to me, coming from cold and rainy dreary Philly. I love my hometown but Januarys are hard! So I was pretty euphoric just being able to walk around in my flip flops and lay by the pool in the sun for a while.
Say what you will about Supernatural, the show is not afraid to mess with form. Last week’s episode, written by Davy Perez and beautifully directed by fan favorite #SPNFamily member Richard Speight, Jr., brought a Tarantino-inspired aesthetic to a very Supernatural story. Together with Serge Ladouceur’s gorgeous cinematography, some kickass VFX and some superbly choreographed fight scenes, these all combined to make for an outside the box episode that still felt like the Show I love. I’m often struck by Ladouceur’s work, and his and Speight’s direction together made for a visually striking episode.
The Tarantino touches were spot on – a slow motion montage of Team Free Will Plus Two walking toward danger, with the added bonus of Ackles’ and Padalecki’s long long legs eating up the screen (and in perfect sync because Sam and Dean).
This week’s Supernatural made me emotional before we even knew what was happening, simply because I knew that this was it – the Dean loses his memory episode. The tiny preview clip shook me weeks ago, and then I asked Jensen about it at a recent con. Would it break my heart? He said that it at first would make me laugh, but then…
His silence spoke volumes. He knows how much I adore the fictional character he plays, and I’m quite certain he knew the scene with Dean in the mirror was indeed going to destroy me. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just say I was looking for signs of the impending amnesia even before they came, which made the opening ten minutes full of trepidation.
It’s been a while since I had the pleasure of chatting with Tahmoh Penikett, who memorably played Ezekiel/Gadreel on Supernatural a few seasons ago. Tahmoh just finished shooting on a new digital sci fi adventure series called Deep Six, which caught my attention as a unique and exciting project. Deep Six is a digital sci fi adventure series that follows a group of astronauts and their military escort on the first deep space mission. They find themselves stranded after an unanticipated accident, and – wouldn’t you know it – also confronted with a first encounter that may not be very friendly. What makes the series unusual is its focus on realism – the creator is a scientist, and the show has two real life experts as consultants, including a professor of astrophysics and a space historian. With their help, Deep Six aims to portray space in all its beauty and majesty as well as its terrifying silence and endless expanse. Much as sci fi classics like 2001 and Alien anchored their stories in realism and thus amped up the terror, Deep Six aims to be both accurate and scary. Sign me up!
I caught up with Tahmoh today after a week of our schedules absolutely refusing to mesh and me coming down with a truly horrifying cold. But we persevered!
Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets is an odd title for a Supernatural episode. It sounds like something I might pick for a big bang fic that I can’t figure out how to title, because it’s unusual and might make people go, huh, I wonder what that one’s about? I sometimes really miss the days of classic rock episode titles. But other than the unusual title, this was a solid episode. I will always prefer the Winchesters onscreen 100% of the time (Jared and Jensen do not appreciate my preference, but this hasn’t deterred me), and I haven’t always been a fan of the angels/heaven storyline in the past, but this episode was less about angels in general and more about the one angel I care about – Cas.
Much as we’ve been witness to the evolution of Sam and Dean’s views on when killing is justified and when it’s not, increasingly falling into the gray areas instead of black and white, we were able to see some growth in Castiel’s views in this episode. I was chilled by his coldness in the flashback scenes to the execution of Lily’s husband and child (though even then Cas was the only angel who flinched when the human in the house cried out). But other than that flinch, Castiel was at that time truly the ‘good little soldier’ that Dean has often been disparagingly called. The events of the present were a sharp contrast to that way of being, a reminder of how far Cas has come – and that, in contrast to what Ishim believed – that change is in large part due to his relationship with the Winchesters.
This was one of those Supernatural episodes that didn’t leave anyone shrugging and going eh, it was pretty good – you either loved it or hated it, if my timeline is anything to go by. I mostly loved it, but there were some things that were an exception. Let’s cover them first, shall we? Then I can go back to my happy Winchester place.
The first quarter – that big chunk before the first commercial – was oddly slow. We jump back and forth between the Winchesters being put into solitary confinement, stoic and silent and looking RIDICULOUSLY hot….but wait, that belongs in my happy Winchester place section…
Then back to Mary and Castiel feeling bad about letting the boys get captured in the first place. I liked the Mary and Cas interaction, both of them clearly struggling with some guilt. It made sense that they might snap at each other, but eventually decide to work together for their common goal. And then Mic the Man of Letters trying and failing to recruit American hunters. His soft hands clearly worked against him, as did his insistence that hunters would take orders – which goes against that independence we know hunters value.