Supernatural 12.18 “The Memory Remains” Review

This week, I find myself incredibly grateful Supernatural is available to watch in full, including the “Then” segment, on the CW app (or their website) because somehow my broadcast began after the first five minutes.

Though the first five minutes are almost always the same, they’re part of the whole formula that puts my brain in Supernatural mode. Without them, I end up feeling lost for a few minutes, especially when I know they’re missing. What they would have told me this week was that this episode was going to be, for the most part, a Monster of the Week. And the thing about monster of the week is that this show is expert at them. Like a well oiled machine. It makes me quite comfortable, knowing what to expect. Plenty of Sam and Dean, being Sam and Dean.

So, to the case. Sheriff Taxidermy was a great suspect for this case, considering the killer was wearing a stuffed goat head. But I also completely suspected stick-up-his-ass supervisor from the get-go. Especially once the boys interviewed him. He just seemed a little…you know. Off.

Guest star Ryan McDonald, not being suspicious at all.

Side note: in episodes like this, I enjoy the banter between Sam and Dean in places like the diner. Think that’s my favorite part. I mean, do Jared and Jensen even need a script for this anymore?

I love the diner banter more than I can adequately express

Meanwhile, Ketch and some of his boys “broke into” the bunker. I mean, one, I wish the Winchesters would get a run of the mill lock on that place. Something, rather than leave it accessible to the BMoL. And any other Men of Letters in the world. I mean, the Winchesters sleep there. I don’t know if I’d be OK with it once I’d found out there were other Men of Letters, and any of them could get into your home. The Brits have already shown they can’t really be trusted. I mean, the first time one of them came into the bunker, she shot Sam and then had him tortured. Not someone you want with a key to your house. And to top it off, they appear to be thieves as well.

How DOES Sam get his hair so shiny?

Side note 2: weekly shout-out to the set department. I’m pretty sure Bobby was a ghost at least twice on the Addams Family house set, and it’s hard to hide that staircase, but I appreciate the effort. I’m sure it takes a lot of imagination and hard work to make the same sets look different and I like to acknowledge how hard the set department must work. Seems like a huge undertaking. Your excellent work does not go unnoticed.

Backing the sheriff into a corner, Sam and Dean find out the truth about the killings. A pagan god. Yeah, pretty sure Dean was right in that the Colt can take care of this. I mean, we haven’t yet found out the fifth thing the Colt can’t kill (have we? Correct me if I’m wrong), but I doubt it’s some random pagan god. Not considering how many we’ve seen on this show.

As I said before, the formula makes me comfortable, and to my delight they continued to follow it. One of the boys, this time Dean, gets taken by the monster. The explanation of why the monster is getting fed adds up to Will Scarlet, the meat plant supervisor, and we find Dean in the freezer with two dead bodies and a pagan god.

And no Colt.

We know our Dean, though, and we know Sam will kill himself to save him, so the only worry we have is whether or not the good guy of the week will die to solve the case. He lives, Dean gets the crap beat out of him by a pagan god, and every time pagan gods get mentioned I think of the Christmas episode.mr6

All in all, I found the episode itself enjoyable, comfortable, and what makes Supernatural what it is. The backbone of my favorite show. Its meat and potatoes. Our reminder that Jared and Jensen are the heart and soul of this show. They could easily be phoning in episodes like this by now. But never, not once, have I gotten that feeling from them. Not in twelve seasons. Though we know neither Winchester is about to die by the hand of some random pagan god on a Monster of the Week, they still put every bit of effort in helping us believe they are fighting for their lives. And I love them, for that and for so many other reasons.

Notes and theories:

-whoever’s decision it was to not show the god in full form was a brilliant, and I’m sure, money saving one. In horror you do not always need to see the monster. Sometimes, suspense is better.

-poor Dean didn’t get to use the Colt. Again. Well at least he got laid.

-I liked the set-up of the town’s history. You really got the sense of a larger story that will continue once the boys leave.

-The boys carving their initials into the table definitely achieved the desired effect. Got a little misty watching that brother moment.

Seriously haven’t seen a bug this large since those 80’s spy movies about the Cold War I grew up on

-Alright, seriously. Was that a bug Ketch planted? The blond one already planted a bug in the wall speaker. What was up with the one Ketch slapped under the table? AKA the most obvious bug known to man? Even the one in the speaker was unrealistically large. This was is just impossible.

Naturally, I have theories. Was it really a bug? At first I worried maybe it was some sort of explosive device. Or some other sort of BMoL toy that will harm the Winchesters. But. The more I think about it, the more I think it’s some kind of clue for the Winchesters to find. I still think it’s probable that Ketch is going to switch sides. But seeing what he saw along with doing what he did when Mick tried it convinces me he’s going to be a hell of a lot more discreet about it. Some in the fandom have shown surprise Mick was killed so quickly. My answer to that is that he was to be an example. To Ketch, specifically. Don’t be an idiot about it, that’s the example. The old men and their dogs, they don’t care about individuals in the organization. They only, only, only care about their precious Code.

Not to mention Ketch stealing that photograph. What is clearly one of Dean’s favorite possessions. Not only is Dean sure to notice its absence, why does Ketch want it? Because it’s a picture of Mary? Because it stands for childhood innocence or a mother’s love? Maybe something Ketch never had? Or something he misses, perhaps.

Or something else entirely. For a moment, I’ll entertain that I’m giving him too much credit and he’s simply doing these things to follow orders. To find out and understand as much as possible about his adversary. By studying Sam and Dean’s relationships to others, he can understand where their weak points are and leverage them.

Time will tell. See you April 27th.

(All photos property of the CW)

 

Supernatural 12.17 “The British Invasion” Review

Sorry about the hiatus, again, but here we are. No surprise what this episode was going to be about, given the title.

To start, I love recognizing scenery. The set department always does such an excellent job redressing the same sets, and the directors do pretty well shooting them from new angles. Of course they know that we know it’s Bobby’s house, but they work very hard to make it look new. In this case it was their “college” set, where we see Hogwarts. Straight away, they give us an Umbridge to hate. And hate her, we can and do.

I must admit mild surprise to find Mick had ever killed anyone. He seems so soft.

Eileen makes a welcome addition to this episode

So real quick, I was super happy to see Shoshannah Stern as Eileen again. I loved her in the banshee episode, and also I think Sammy deserves to have something with someone. Last season, when they met the hunter couple in “The Chitters”, Sam asked Dean if he’d ever thought about settling down with a hunter or something. Of course, Dean poo-pooed the idea. But I still think Sam deserves it. And she’d make a lovely choice. 

Dean deserves no less than his goddess, but that’s a conversation for another time.

So Umbridge gives Mick the order to “assimilate or eliminate”. I really don’t think she knows who she’s dealing with, here. The BMoL are the ones on the eliminate end of that equation, she just doesn’t realize it yet. But she will. You know it as well as I do. She will.

For all their posturing, the BMoL were honestly impressed by the Winchesters when they learned they’d faced, and beaten, Lucifer. The Winchesters knew about the nephilim. The Winchesters face and destroy at least as many monsters, and those of higher caliber, than the BMoL. Yet the BMoL are coldly efficient. They have some really fun toys. Their research is, now that Bobby’s gone, unparalleled. In all honesty, the Winchesters and the BMoL would make a great team if they could just be friends.

Uhm. Yes, please.

And Ketch and Mary. Raise your hand if you were surprised. Anyone? No? Me neither. David Haydn-Jones is incredible at thinking about and then talking about his character. He’s given a lot of thought to Ketch’s back story, his motivations, and who he really is. I very much appreciate the depth to which he’s considered the character and the sincerity with which he plays him. He’s a credit to the show, and I truly hope we get to keep him. I’ve enjoyed discussing Ketch both with him and others in the fandom over on twitter. There’s a lot of ideas floating around. I’d like to be perfectly clear about mine.

Here is how I see Ketch. He’s a killer. He’s the BMoL’s dog. But he can easily become one of the good guys. He can give himself orders. He can become a true hunter. He’s not only strong enough, he has the emotional fortitude to do it. Someone pointed out he’s much like a Vulcan, and while I disagree with their initial statement he’s incapable of the same depth of emotion as the Winchesters, I do agree he’s been taught to suppress emotion. But he reminds me SO MUCH of the Dean we met in season one.

Take Dean’s conversation with Gordon the first time they met him. He believed it was black and white, us and them, monster=evil. Yet in that very same episode he learned that there can be shades of grey. That you don’t always have to kill the monster, because sometimes the monster is just like you. They just want to live their lives, and if they can do so without harming anyone, are they really so monstrous?

Is Ketch?

There’ve been a few cracks in his veneer that reinforce my belief that he is really just a Winchester in a fancy suit. For example, he has the feelings for Mary. He is definitely more into her than she is into him. So, she’s made a start in thawing the icy exterior he wears like that well fitting suit. He identifies with Dean, and I think it’s working more on him than it is on Dean. I do not feel he has friends, but if he did, Mick would have qualified as one. Though he followed his orders to the letter, it disturbed him. Not only because he probably liked Mick, but also because killing his own people is something he knows, at his core, is wrong.

A spectacularly nuanced and understated show of emotion from our Ketchie. Less than three you, DHJ.

He’ll change sides. Whether this will be his undoing or not remains to be seen. I hope he survives the switch, because I think not only is Ketch a dynamic and interesting character who would add to the essence of Team Free Will, DHJ is a wonderful and thoughtful actor. He does not take this chance to join the SPN Family lightly, and he is dedicated to his craft.

OK, that’s my Ketch/DHJ gushing for this week. Back to the plot. The things I left out.

Dagon, Lucifer, Crowley, the nephilim and its mother. First of all, Crowley cannot be that thick. Please, for the love of Chuck, tell me he’s not actually falling for Luci’s bullshit. Come ON, Crowley. You’re smarter than that.

There’s that scheming Luci we know and love.

Second of all, Lucifer is working on his escape plan, and not doing too bad of a job. It’s killing me to watch him tell everyone what they want to hear and getting away with it. Good gracious but he is smooth. Gotta love that about him. His game is just as on point as ever.

 

Dagon, loyal servant, well I’m still not sure how I feel about her. She’s doing alright keeping Kelly safe and pregnant but I just don’t know about her as a Yellow Eyed demon. She seems a little…I don’t know. I’m going to have to see more of her. I want to like her, but I just don’t have enough information yet.

And poor Kelly. I just don’t know how she’s going to survive this. I can understand her compulsion to save the baby. I honestly can. But. BUT.

All in all, this was a strong plot heavy episode. The fact that Lucifer continues to be a presence each time they also bring up the BMoL tells me these two storylines will converge, either during the penultimate episode or the season finale. The BMoL will, in fact, find out what it’s really like to face Lucifer. There will be blood. There will be death.

There will be victorious Winchesters.

Good to see you home, sweetheart.

(All photos property of the CW)

r/nosleep: what it is, and why i love it

I’ve been thinking about this blog for a bit, and since we’re on brief Hellatus from Supernatural, let’s talk scary stories instead.

I wrote this while it was all bright and sunny outside.

For months last year, I’d been seeing these compilations of “this happened to me and it was really freaky” stories. Some of them were super creepy. Gave me goosebumps creepy. Taking my sister in law’s suggestion, eventually, I looked up the source of many, r/nosleep. This is a subreddit, and on it, the rules are simple.

The stories are real.

Does this mean they are really real? Of course not. But they are told from first person, as though they were real. As the author, it’s against the rules to comment “out of character”, as it were, and indicate it’s a story. As a commenter, it’s against the rules to acknowledge it’s a fake story. It’s against the rules to debunk. Skepticism I’ve seen, but you can’t just say, “oh that’s an awful fake story, FAKER.”

The moon is the only light here.

Here’s the thing, though. This series (link to the first in the series) about the Forest Service? Go read some of that and see if you can tell me whether it’s fake or not. Either this author is crazy talented at sounding like an amateur (and goodness knows people can. Look at the way Jensen sings when he’s Dean), or the stories are for real. Do you know? I don’t.

Some of them are obviously outside the realm of possibility. Like this one (give it a chance. It takes an unexpected and enjoyable twist). But it’s fun to read, and well written. And just this side of believable, in most cases. Which is another rule. There’s also the collected works of Inaaace, including the one which got me started on him, some of which have been assembled into a book. He’s planning another, since he just returned from cancer treatment. Sure, his stories are stories. But writing them in first person grants the reader a feeling of immediacy you don’t get from third person.

The well written ones, the ones that drag you along, like the one that started it all for me, they get under your skin.

I don’t walk at night anymore. No kidding.

Make you think, wow, this could happen to me. And once they get you in that mindset, the goosebumps follow. The chills.

The looking over your shoulder.

Not hurrying down the dark hallway. Swear I’m just walking.

Now, when I read this story, I kinda wanted to give up writing. It flows so effortlessly from beginning to punchline. You can easily believe this is really a person who’s experienced the things they saw, and they’re simply relating the story to you. The ability to write a story so effortless is the result of lots and lots and lots of practice. I envy many of these authors. I haven’t dabbled much in first person, and I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to pull one of these off with the skill some of these authors have.

To me, that is the magic of nosleep. It’s reaching the end of the story and asking…

Was this real? Or not?

A casual walk. Leisurely, even.

Supernatural 12.15 “Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell” Review

In case you’re new here, just as a warning, there are spoilers contained in this blog for everything. All the things.

First of all, I need to address Lucille. I am not caught up on TWD (see this post) although I miss it dearly and intend to catch up after this season is finished airing. I just can’t stay away any longer. Plus I’ve heard good things thus far about the back half of this season.

Anyway, who can forget the twitter exchange that began with this?

I thought they were just joking, turns out they were for real. When I saw Lucille I laughed so hard, I missed the next three or four lines. Maybe even the rest of the scene. The important thing here, though, is that Dean was happy. Drenched in pieces of ghoul and whatever, he’s been out hunting, killing, and saving people. Busy Dean is a happy Dean.

Keep that in mind.

Immediately, Sam gets a notification from his made up computer program. Come on, Sammy. Why you lying? Our boys, off to solve the next case, mention Cass in passing. He’s off to see about some angel killings. Cass and his family aren’t on the best of terms, but random angel of the week was nice and convincing when trying to get him on their side. I felt for Castiel, really I did, when he talked about Heaven. I do hope, though, for Cass’s sake, that it was an act. He told the boys a few weeks ago they were his family and he loved them. But now he’s homesick for Heaven? I, for one, am not buying it. Probably because I desperately wish that Cass is just using the angels to solve the nephilim problem.

hnh 1
Excellent job by guest star, Nathan Mitchell

Knowing Luci is out and about, sort of, we’re going to need angel power down the road anyway. Let’s cover Lucifer though. From the moment those idiot demons opened the door to Luci’s room, I thought to myself, “this can’t be right. Crowley wouldn’t be so sloppy.”

hnh 2
Such a treat.

Also, I laughed and laughed and laughed as idiot demon #1 made his demands to Luci. We all know, due to season 5, Lucifer hates demons. Thinks they’re beneath contempt. It’s funny, then, that they love him so much. Indeed, they worship him. But Crowley is aware of both of these things. It made no sense to me he would be so careless as to get pick-pocketed by Demon-Dee and Demon-Dumb. It was worth it, however, to see Luci in the bridle. 

I thought Lucifer’s threat of eating Crowley’s soul was funny. Don’t we all know Crowley doesn’t have a soul? Either way, the banter between the two of them is delicious. I do hope we get to see a bit more of it before one of them dies. Because, make no mistake, I’m 98% certain that’s how this is going to end. Crowley won this round, and it was spectacular. He let the idiot demons pick his pocket just to torture Luci. I love he’s a witchcraft using demon, and I love it when he reminds us of this. He did learn from the best, and seeing him put it to use with Luci is pretty thrilling. But it will backfire, and when it does, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But Crowley is good at making allies, and when it comes time he’ll have the Winchesters, the BMoL, and probably the angels. Maybe the demons. It’ll take that army to defeat Lucifer + his yellow-eyed children. Sounds nice and epic.

The case of the week, AKA our reason for watching the Winchesters and not just the Cass and Crowley show, was interesting enough. Poor random people and their random getting attacked by a random Hellhound. I could understand why Sam Winchester and his much handsomer brother Dean didn’t want to tell her the truth at first. I’m just glad they didn’t leave before they could heroically save her. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have gotten my Superman in his Clark Kent glasses.

hnh 3a
Yes, please.

Now, I know Dean made that “heavy lifting” joke at the beginning of the episode, and it’s the truth, but that’s probably why Sammy got to kill the Hellhound. I felt a little cheated, though, because he got the last one. Dean deserves to kill a Hellhound. They’re one of the creatures on his very short list of things he’s actually afraid of. It’d be nice for him to be able to get one, considering he got dragged off by one. But the choice made by the creative team to film from behind the glasses was a beautiful one.

hnh 4
Bad doggy.

In the end, Sam decided to stop lying to Dean. Our other up from the case of the week. I loved that Dean paused, didn’t fly off the handle, and thought. I do think there are upsides to working with the BMoL, and it was good of Dean to think about it, too. I don’t feel Dean from two seasons ago would have done that, but working with God and being touched by the Darkness did something to him. And considering how happy he was when we caught up with them this week, he was willing to take it under advisement. His work with Ketch also influenced him, I’m sure of it. Ketch wasn’t wrong in the things he said. That said, this relationship is sure to be fraught.

Looking forward to it.

Notes:

-“Not Moose” on Crowley’s caller ID gets me every single time.

-Alien abduction conspiracy theorist guy was probably the first one of these types Castiel had to deal with (excuse me, Agent Solange). I thought he handled it well. Haha.

-The Hellhounds creation story was fun.

-I knew Sam’s “not a scratch” speech was going to go left. He is in So. Much. Trouble.

-Oh man. Looking for screenshots I discovered Nick (Luci’s vessel) still wears his wedding ring. *CRY*

-The demon making it awkward. Best interaction of the episode.

-Lastly, TPTB have given us an incredible gift, bringing back Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer. Incredible. Enjoy it while it lasts, though, because they are about to RIP OUR HEARTS OUT. And you can take that to the bank. 

hnh 5
Can’t tell you how nice it is to have you back, Mark.

(all photos owned by the CW)

Supernatural 12.14 “The Raid” Review

I’d like to begin by saying I’m sorry. My novel, Reclamation, has been taking up a lot of head space recently. It’s a trilogy, and I’m writing part two, and I’ve made some pretty disturbing discoveries about what’s coming. So I’ve missed a couple excellent episode reviews. Many, many apologies. Trust me, the fault is in me, not the episodes. They were brilliant.

Anyhow, the new episode, “The Raid”. Super ultra mega good.

the-raid-1
We are so lucky to have such a talented actor as one of our leads. He constantly amazes me.

The beginning of it just broke my heart for Dean. Finally pissed at Mary for all the wrongs she’s committed since coming back from the dead, he calls her “Mary” and is done with it. And as we know, Sam is usually on his brother’s side. Can’t say I was sad to see them so harshly judge her. She deserves it. Also, Jensen knocked it out of the park. My god.

So we find Mary with the BMoL at their little base camp. Very fancy, I might add. Though we find Ketch being a typical chauvinist jerk, I also still like him. It’s like I said before, he’s like a Winchester. Kinda stuffy maybe, but there’s nothing he’s done the boys haven’t. No mistakes he’s made in judgement we haven’t watched Sam or Dean make. If he can be given a pair of grey colored lenses, I still think they can be friends. I know, I said after the secret service guys they couldn’t be friends. I changed my mind. Consider me fully in the Ketch Kamp. 

the-raid-2
#KetchIsFetch

Side note, I had to chuckle when Sammy showed up at the BMoL base. Him and his modern muscle cars. Haha. Also, I will fully, shamefully, admit I said to myself “huh, that Pierce guy looks familiar” but didn’t put it together until David Haydn-Jones tweeted about it. 

the-raid-3
Chief!!!

Ps. no BSG spoilers, please. We’re still in season 2.

I must say I was mildly impressed by the BMoL effort against vampires in the US. They organize well, have a good plan, and a solid team behind them. I think they’re not quite prepared for the rodeo that is America, but that’s honestly exactly why they need the Winchesters. This episode backed up that opinion. I am still anti-BMoL, I really am, but if they’re going to stay they absolutely must recruit the Winchesters. And they cannot make enemies of our boys if they hope to make it. The way the Old Men had Miss Lady Bitch Pant Suit come in was a huge mistake. And let’s be clear. She didn’t “go rogue”. That’s crap. We saw her take the call from the Old Men.

Just like Ketch didn’t “go rogue” to make the play for Dean. He was ordered to. It just wasn’t Mick’s orders. This guy has got some rude awakenings coming.

The reappearance of Alpha Vampire was fun. I like him a lot. Mobilizing the troops against the BMoL was a smart choice. Catching them with their pants down.

the-raid-4
Oh see I got all distracted watching Ketch and Dean. It was fun to watch Dean play the good cop.

Back to the BMoL. It’s funny for people who claim to be so good at what they do they were caught so unawares. Have they honestly forgotten how to be defensive? They walk around without blades? Without guns? Totally naked at home? That’s just…not smart. I have trouble understanding that approach. But then I guess I forgot the Men of Letters weren’t hunters, they were scholars. Which is exactly why the American chapter got wiped out. You’d think the Brits would have caught on. One thing this episode certainly did was make me much more interested in their back story. Why are they the way they are? Why do they care about expanding into America? And what’s up with Ketch’s tattoo? 

The most fun part of the episode was, of course, Sammy saving everyone’s asses. Reinforcing why, if they’re going to come to America, the BMoL need the Winchesters on their side. And since they pulled off getting the Colt, it looks like the Winchesters could use their resources. It hasn’t been the same without their own scholar. Who I desperately miss at times. Bring back Bobby? 

the-raid-7
We miss you, Jim.

Speaking of the Colt, GO SAMMY. When’s the last time he got to kill a Big Bad? I mean, Dean usually gets them. I was quite pleased to see him get to kill something with the Colt. Quick notes on the interplay between Sam and Mary. Nice to see her admit the truth about the theft, I don’t think Sam would have gotten past it so quickly if Cass had died. No, not at all. As it was, he pulled himself together quickly, considering the circumstances. When he passed the spell to Mick, though, why did Mary ask about Bobby? Does she know him? And if so, how? Didn’t he become a hunter after she died? Maybe she just mentioned his name because someone needed to.

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode. One Big Bad down, several to go. Could we really get to that world Mary spoke of? A world without monsters? I’ll admit, I’ve considered that possibility once or twice about how to end the show. We’ve all, Jared included, pretty much accepted that the Winchesters’ deaths will end the show. One or both. But what if they didn’t have to? What if they could eradicate the monsters? Or at least most of them? I don’t think demons or angels will ever be gone, but then I guess they could be locked into their respective homes. Remember the Tablets.

What if the Winchesters could retire from hunting?

The other day, I thought about what the boys would do if they retired from hunting. We know what Sam would do. Find a girl. Finish college. Have that family he wants. What about Dean? Maybe become a real cop? A deputy of Jody? Can you imagine? Comedy gold, for one. Also, hunting doesn’t exactly provide a pension.

If for no other reason than those, I’d like to see them work with the BMoL. But also, Ketch is Fetch. We need more of him. I’d like to see him stick around.

the-raid-6

(Supernatural photos property of the CW)

 

Supernatural 12.12 “Stuck in the Middle (With You)” Review

This episode of Supernatural touched me in a way few have. I’m a Tarantino-phile and while I don’t know everything, and could very well miss a few things in this review, I’m officially placing this episode at #2 all time. Which I find interesting, seeing as how last season brought me a new #2 also, in “Baby”. What’s my #1, you ask? “Swan Song”, the season 5 finale. I don’t see that changing any time soon, but thanks for asking.

My game plan for the episode is as follows:

First, I’ll put it in order, including my feelings and conclusions. It’s going to be a little long (very) because I’m doing a full recap. And because this episode was wall to wall packed with goodies for the fandom.

Afterwards, I’ll point out as many Tarantino references as I can and their Tarantino origins. I could get into where Quentin got those from, but I think that would make this far longer than it needs to be. And besides, we’re talking about Supernatural here.

Directed by Richard Speight Jr., who you may know as the Emcee to end all Emcee’s for Supernatural conventions, who you may know as the guy in the Pepsi commercials, who you may know as the Trickster. Yes yes he was really Gabriel. Sorry, he’ll always be the Trickster to me. His chosen identity. The last episode he directed, “Just My Imagination” was nominated for Hugo award. I expected no less from this episode, and I was not disappointed.

First step: put it in order. Discuss the feels.

Mary and Wally sit in a truck, on stakeout. She has photos, photos I should have

middle-1
Remember the brother fight?

recognized. Unless I’m mistaken, we’ve seen that painting of Michael before. But I didn’t make the connection because by the time we got to this scene I was too in love with the episode’s style to notice. Anyhow, they sit in the truck and Wally alludes to the lie they’re going to be telling Sam and Dean. Why you lying, Mary? Don’t you know lying to your boys gets people dead? I think you don’t know them very well. And I don’t like you for lying. Also, all the good she’s been able to do with the BMoL sounds great and all, but who feels OK with that? Not me.

middle-2
If you didn’t get this Reservoir Dogs reference, you haven’t seen enough Tarantino films.

Next, Mary and Wally meet the boys and Castiel outside the diner. Introductions made, they walk inside to have probably one of the cutest scenes I’ve seen on Supernatural in seasons. The waitress flirts with a mildly hapless Cass, who knows what’s going on but instead of asking her out, awkwardly sniffs her. Sam’s question, “Why would you want them to smell like food?” pretty much perfectly sums up everything that was good and beautiful about this scene. It ends with Mary saying “Everything is going to be alright.” Much as I love the Winchesters, if you’re hunting with them and you hear them say that, RUN. Run fast, run far.

 

They arrive at the demon’s house, ready to set up. While the boys are painting devil’s traps, loading demon bullets, and in general getting ready, Mary disappears. Down to the basement where, honestly, I should have known what she was getting. All the weapons in the room? The freaking thing was right there in the “Then” portion of the episode. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. And again, she lies, when Castiel asks where she was. You know what, Mary? Your boys find out you almost got Cass killed, they won’t forgive you, no matter who you are. He’s proven himself as part of the family. Just because you’re blood don’t mean you’re family.

middle 3 (1).png
And if you missed Pulp Fiction here, I don’t know what to tell you.

 

So home comes the demon. Early, no less. Wonder why? Did someone tip him off? I find that not only possible, but likely. Probably the BMoL. Seems like something they’d do. Although it could’ve been Crowley’s demons. At any rate, he comes in and the boys hit him full force. Don’t even leave a scratch. Mary gets cornered in the kitchen and this is our first BIG revelation.

middle 4.png
The demon has Yellow Eyes. The demon has Yellow Eyes. This is not a drill, the demon has Yellow Eyes.

Sam and Dean fight the usual demons, Wally dies, poor guy I liked him, and Mary and Castiel fight New Yellow Eyes. This demon, he pulls some sort of spear (sorry Crowley, a lance) from nowhere. A magical lance. After he stabs Castiel with it, Mary runs his ass down. Pretty awesome. Taking Cass, she gets down the road and calls the boys. Blood in her hair and on her fingers, she somehow doesn’t get blood on her phone when texting the BMoL, asking what the hell they got her into. They claim “bad intel”. What would the Brits call that? Horse puckey? Haha, what’s the proper British term here?

 

middle 5.png
Stings a little, Dean.

The boys come to find her and Castiel. She and Sam discuss what happened at the farm, and Sam asks the same question. What did you get us into? Meanwhile, Dean checks up on Castiel. Cass says he thinks he’s dying and while Dean denies this possibility, he can hardly look at the wound. He does good not showing any cracks in the veneer though.

 

Then Crowley comes. You idiots, you’re all going to die.

Now, I didn’t start with this, because it is a true flashback. As such, it goes here in the episode, not at the beginning. In it, we see Crowley as he was back at the beginning of season 6. We know this due to the references he made to Azazel, Lilith, and Lucifer. It is at this point, in an incredibly enjoyable scene, we find out Azazel was not the only Prince of Hell. This is his brother, Ramiel, and there are two others. Another brother, Esmodius, and a sister, Dagon (sorry if I screwed up the spelling). Crowley plies the demon with gifts and offers him the throne in Hell. Ramiel rejects it, wishing to be left in peace, and so Crowley makes a deal for the mantle. And now we know. It wasn’t a coup. There was no war in Hell. Crowley was given the crown by the heir apparent. I must admit, I’d been curious about that.

middle 6.png
“Before I was King” Crowley

 

As he explains to the Winchesters, he also explains there’s no cure to heal Castiel. He’s going to die, a slow and painful death. Dean tells him to get out if he’s not going to help, which he does.

It’s at this point, Misha made me sob. For Castiel to say that the best thing to happen to him in a lifespan of over four billion years is the Winchesters, and for him to say they’ve changed him, that they are his family, and that he loves them? Misha delivered a pitch perfect performance. I’m getting a little teary just thinking about it.

But they won’t leave him. And they begin to set up for the demon coming. Because the Winchesters always keep fighting.

Ramiel comes down the road, running into Crowley. Crowley, admitting that the Winchesters are not only an asset but are also allies (yeah sure you don’t have friends. Uh-huh.) tries to broker a new deal. But Ramiel is uninterested, and throws him through the wall.

When Ramiel enters the barn and is trapped in the flaming circle, Mary has a chance to come clean. She doesn’t, though, and instead puts her boys in direct risk of a Prince of Hell. Yeah, that’s really not the most responsible thing to do. She’s about as good a parent as John, at this point. Here we also have a reference to some future plot, in which Dagon takes or joins forces with the nephilim.

The Winchesters win the fight, of course, and Sammy finally gets to kill his very own Yellow Eyed demon.

middle-7
On the wrong side of a few Winchesters. No demon can stand up to that.

But Castiel, still dying, calls their attention. Crowley, in a rare moment of sacrifice, breaks the lance to save Feathers. And, I don’t care what he’s done in the past, he is definitely a full fledged member of Team Free Will now. As they leave the barn, Mary has one more chance at absolution, when Castiel asks what Ramiel meant by someone stealing from him. But, she doesn’t fess up. Again. That’s three times she was asked, and three times she lied.

As she sits in the diner, telling the story to Ketch, she questions him about what the BMoL knew. He says they knew nothing about who the demon was and apologizes for putting her boys in danger. Also, Ketch is lying. Of course they knew about Princes of Hell. Give me a break. But, for all the things he does wrong, I still kind of like Ketch. I hope to see the actor at some cons. I wish the Winchesters could be friends with him, though at this point I’m sure that won’t happen. Unpopular opinion or no, I do like him. And what about what he was after?? The Colt?! After all this time, wondering where Crowley had stashed it, it appears.

middle 8.png
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

And then.

The icing on the cake.

The absolute proof the people over there doing this show love the fandom. Love us, beyond any shadow of doubt.

 

middle 9.png
DOUBLE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

As Crowley pours himself a drink back at the castle, a voice speaks from his dog cage. Now, we could spend a whole other blog talking about the fact that Crowley and Rowena double crossed the Winchesters back in that hotel room, but I’d rather talk about the fact that MARK PELLEGRINO IS BACK AS LUCIFER. I cannot believe this. Like, literally, I screamed. I knew Mark had been in Vancouver working, and I’d heard a rumor he was going to be on the show in the second half of the season, but I couldn’t hope to believe he’d actually be playing Luci. This was the best news of the whole episode. One that included the Colt resurfacing. I didn’t think anything could eclipse that. I was wrong.

 

What an episode. Applause to everyone who made it a thing, and to Rich for making it beautiful.

As promised, Tarantino references, in order of the episode. Let me know what I’ve missed, and if I got any wrong.

1-episode open, the coffee cup :  Pulp Fiction, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny

2-Episode title, “Stuck in the Middle With You” : Reservoir Dogs, Mr Blonde torture scene

3-Menu in the diner : Pulp Fiction, Jack Rabbit Slim’s

4-extra cheese, the wifi password : Pulp Fiction, Royale with Cheese (? kind of a stretch)

5-revolving camera in the diner – Reservoir Dogs, also in the diner

6-every single music choice. The whistling, the western theme, the oldies. Non-specific references.

7-Part titles, i.e. ”The Wounded Angel” : Pulp Fiction, i.e. “The Bonnie Situation”

8-Entrance into the diner from the parking lot : Reservoir Dogs, of course

9-whistling demon approaching : Kill Bill, Elle in the hospital

10-the thing Mary took from the basement safe, the glowing light : Pulp Fiction, the briefcase

11-Ramiel has a pocket watch. Haha : Pulp Fiction, Butch’s watch

12-$5 Milkshake on Ketch’s placemat : Pulp Fiction, Jack Rabbit Slim’s

13-the most obvious one, the layout of the episode. 100% Pulp Fiction.

 

**all pictures are property of The CW**

 

RECLAMATION chapter 1, Meet Addy and Jack

Feet tangled, Adelaide let the box go and grabbed the handrail before she took a quick trip to the bottom of the stairs. The box smashed onto a corner and tumbled into the drive.

“Shit,” she said, standing.

Jane flipped her long red hair out of the way. Once she’d secured it in a bun, she lifted the wooden box and tossed it in the back of the truck. “Addy, you’re the smoothest person I know.”

“Shut it, woman,” Addy said, grinning. “I’ll go get the next one.” Spinning to go back upstairs, she ran face first into her dad.

“Slow down, little girl. Let me help you,” he said, reaching for her arm.

“I got it, dad.”

“Hey, Mr. C., I could use a hand,” Jane said. She leaned against the truck, crossing her arms.

As her dad laughed, Addy stomped up the rest of the stairs and into the house. Leaning to get another box, a strand of her own dishwater brown hair fell in her eyes.

Blinking it out of her lashes, she lifted the box. It clanked against the handle of her machete as she shifted it onto a hip and spun towards the door.

And there was dad again, trying to take the box.

“Seriously, dad. I got it.”

He smiled, corners of his eyes turned down. “Headstrong, just like your mother, baby girl. Makes sense. You look just like her. Especially with those brownzel eyes of yours.”

The edges on her heart softened. Leave it to him to try and guilt her into staying by mentioning her dead mother. “Dad,” she said, easing the box back into her own arms, “by the time you were my age, you had two kids already.”

“Almost. I was twenty-four when you were born.”

“Whatever. Look, I get it. Believe me,” she said, frowning, “I get it. I miss her too. But dad, it’s been over ten years. And now there’s the Cure, and we’re all safe, and I think I can handle living in my own apartment.”

He sighed, glancing out the window. The light shone sideways through his eyes, turning the blue almost white. “We’re never safe. I hear that come out of your mouth again and I’ll chain you in your room till you’re thirty.”

“You know what I mean,” she said, stepping around him and out the door.

Managing to make it down the stairs without falling, she set the box in the truck.

Staring over the top of her sunglasses, Jane grinned. “We about done?”

“What’s this ‘we’ you keep asking about? You’ve carried like two boxes.”

“That’s because I don’t live here,” Jane said.

“Might as well,” dad said, coming down the stairs with a box on his right hip. Each time he stepped, the butt of his holstered gun slapped the bottom of the box.

Eyeing the box, one that had been marked ‘fragile’, Addy frowned. “That the last one?”

Without looking at the stairs in front of him, he nodded. Sure feet never missed a step.

Jane took it from him as he reached the bottom. “Thanks, Mr. C..” Standing on tip-toe, she stretched as far as she could and set it on top of the other boxes.

Reaching over her head, he gave the box an extra push. “Why don’t you just call me Jack, huh Jane? I don’t think we need to stand on ceremony anymore.”

“You got it,” she said, facing him before he leaned back. The corners of her mouth turned up. “Say hi to Michael for me.” She tugged keys from her pocket.

“I’m sure my brother would say hi back, Jane,” Addy said, holding her hand out for the keys. “Let’s get out of here before it gets dark.”

As Jack crossed his arms and stepped back, Jane handed the keys over, green eyes dancing.

“I’m going to come check out security at this new place tomorrow, Adelaide,” Jack said, frowning. “If it’s not adequate, we’ll make it that way.”

“You worry too much, dad.” Addy hopped into the driver’s seat. It took her three tries, but she found the ignition and slid the key in.

Jane jumped in next to her and smiled out the window. “We’ll be fine,” she said, bad imitation of Scottish brogue dripping from her voice.

Brow scrunched, Jack kicked a rock. “Look after each other.” Frowning at the ground, the curls on his neck bounced in the light breeze. “You’re always welcome back here, you know.”

“Of course,” Addy said, starting the truck and turning it towards their new home. Glancing at Jane from the corner of her eye, she whispered, “Dead Heads be damned, we are not moving back home again.”

Spinning to watch Jack recede into the distance, Jane pursed her lips. “You got that right, lady.”

***

Waving a hand in front of his face, Jack coughed in the dusty rooster tail Addy’s truck created.

And there went his youngest, off to face the world on her own.

Swallowing, swiping at his dusty, watery eyes, he spun to trudge back up the stairs. Raising her and her brother in all this hadn’t ever been easy, especially after their mother had died. He probably hadn’t done as good of a job of it as he could have.

Addy had a point, though. With the Cure, they had it a lot better than they had when she’d been born into this.

Top and bottom gates secure, he stood at the top of the stairs and swiveled a handle on the wall. Trip wires popped up along every other step, but the handle squealed as it spun.

Grimacing, he finished its rotation and retrieved the oil from its perch inside the house, above the fridge.

As he stepped away, oil can in hand, the refrigerator’s compressor kicked on.

He leapt eighteen inches from the floor if it was a day. Didn’t matter if they’d been living with electricity three days or three years, he wasn’t used to the sound. Gun halfway out of its holster, he reseated it.

“Damn jumpy ass.” Not quite a whisper, not really out loud.

Did it qualify as talking to yourself if there was no one to hear you?

Back on the landing, he oiled the handle and spun it a few times. The trip wires raised and lowered in silence.

One side of his mouth turned up. Nodding, he started back inside.

The crunch of gravel under a foot.

The hackles on his neck rose, painful pricks along his spine. The base of his skull tingled. Hand hovering over the grip of his gun, he waited for the owner of the foot to round the corner.

The feet took regular, measured steps, and Jack relaxed a millimeter. Only the living walked with a purpose.

As a portly, balding man stepped into view, Jack sighed and pulled his gun anyway.

“Whoa, hey Jackson, good evening,” the newcomer said, stopping at the bottom of the stairs and peeking through the gate.

Jack shook his head. “You can call me Mr. Cooke, Wade.”

Wade grinned, fleshy lips pulling back from his teeth. “OK, Mr. Cooke. Can I come up?”

Jack shook his head and spun, holstering his gun once again.

An audible sigh from the bottom of the stairs followed him into the house.

As the door snicked closed Jack exhaled, shoulders falling. The man might be a worm, but he was Mayor Worm. Frowning, he opened the door again.

Eyes narrowed, he spun the tripwire handle and trudged down the stairs. Dust assaulted his nose as he reached the bottom and he all but sneezed in Wade’s face as he opened the bottom gate.

Wade threw up a hand, spittle covering his palm as he did. “Whoa, hey Mr. Cooke, are you OK? Getting a cold?” His pleasant expression rippled, becoming something predatory, reptilian. His hands disappeared behind his back.

All at once Jack noticed the bulge beneath Wade’s armpit. The pommel of a knife peeking from his belt. Boots wider at the top than they ought to be.

He peered at the man, reassessing. “No, Wade. Just dust. Always happens, this time of year.”

The little man nodded, empty hands reappearing.

Jack shook his head and scratched at his salt and pepper beard. Only little more than stubble, it could use a trim. But who had time for such things? “Come on up.”

Following the mayor up the stairs and resetting the trip wires, he locked and barred the front door.

“Never too many precautions, huh Mr. Cooke?” Wade bounced on the balls of his feet, hands clasped in front of him.

Jack turned, cool blue eyes staring through him. “No.”

Wade bounced.

Jack stared.

Wade shuffled a foot. “Do you think I could get some water or something, please?”

Jack led him into the kitchen, motioning to the table in the center of the room.

Wade took a seat, wood creaking under his considerable ass. He sighed, a smile stretching his lips as Jack filled a glass with cold water and ice.

Setting the glass in front of Wade, Jack took a seat.

Wade took a swig, clapping a hand to his forehead as he sat the glass back on the table. “Brain freeze.” He tittered.

Jack’s mouth twitched, but he wasn’t sure if it was a smile or a frown. He opted for neither and pressed his lips together. Leaning on the table, he sucked a labored breath through his nose. Exhaled. “What can I do for you, Wade?”

Wade nodded, taking another sip from his glass. “Well Jackson, um mister, Mister Cooke, I, that is the I who is mayor, was wondering if you wanted to be on the security committee.”

Chuckling, Jack leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “You’re joking.”

“Oh no, Mr. Cooke. About town matters I don’t joke.”

As Jack exhaled a laugh, Wade picked the glass up again. His fingers slipped over the condensation, sending the glass sliding towards the floor.

Jack stuck his hand out in time to stop it falling and sat it back on the table, no more than two or three droplets escaping it.

Wade pointed. “See there? That’s one of the things I, that we, want you on the committee for. You’re so quick.”

At some point, the little man had begun to sweat, upper lip beaded with dirty, salty drops of it.

Also, the longer he sat in Jack’s quiet kitchen, the more it smelled a bit like stale bacon.

Jack lifted his upper lip. If it had taken all of his considerable strength, skill, and smarts to keep his kids alive for the last twenty-five years, how had this man done it?

He cocked his head, tightening his crossed arms. “No, Wade.”

Wade sighed, knocking back the rest of the water like it was a shot of vodka. The ice cubes crunched and squeaked between his teeth.

Nails on a chalkboard.

“Jackson. Jack. We need your help. You’re a great benefit to this community and we need you to take part in its safety.” Reaching to his face, Wade chuckled at his hand and glanced at Jack with the side of his eye. “Heh. I forgot I got contacts again. It’s been so long since I had them, I keep trying to adjust glasses that aren’t there.”

Jack grunted.

Wade stood, sliding the chair back under the table with a prissiness reserved for actors. No one else could be that over-the-top with it.

Herding him to the front door, Jack flinched as the floorboards creaked.

At the door, Wade stopped. He spun, muddy brown eyes narrowed. “Listen. We’re working really hard here on rebuilding this community. The state. Hell, the planet. We need everyone’s help. You have a skill,” he said, motioning to the bar on the door. “We need your skill. It’s been a long time since we were able to have stability. But it’s here now, and you can help us maintain it.”

Jack frowned down at him, nose itching. An interesting proposal, it also sounded like the kind of old world bureaucracy he did not miss. Rather than answer, he reached past the mayor, unbarred the door, and motioned for Wade to take his leave.

Repeating the process of entry in reverse, without all the flying spit, Jack slammed the gate and locked the chain.

“The next meeting is tomorrow. It’s at city hall, noon,” Wade said.

Jack grunted, sun-warmed lock gripped in a tight fist. He glanced up, meeting Wade’s eyes.

“I’ll think about it.”

***

Thank you for reading! Feel free to drop a comment below.

You can read the first draft version here

 

 

Supernatural 12.10 “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” Review

You know, every week I watch the recap and wonder how they’re going to tie in the elements they’re showing us. This week I knew there would be a story from Castiel’s past, but I wondered how we were going to get Cass’s past, the nephilim, what happened with Billie, Lucifer…seemed like a lot to cover.

The way writer Steve Yockey tied all these elements together was not only entertaining, it was seamless and fairly brilliant. Just now, while writing this, I looked up his other episode credits. Turns out he also wrote “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox”. Funny, considering what I said after watching the episode:

lily-sunder-1

I noticed this week they spoke about the lack of angel wings several times. This is the first time they’ve brought it up so often and said so much about it. So, either they heard us whining about Cass not flying, or it’s going to come up again in an important way. They also gave us a visual cue with Benjamin’s wings, so now maybe I won’t forget they can’t fly.

lily-sunder-5
Guest Star Ian Tracey

Now, on to Isham. I recognized him, figured it was from another episode. I was correct, he played Chrissy’s father. The merry go round is actually really fun, and it’s kind of a game now to figure out if it’s another episode I know them from or something else entirely. Like the X-Files, iZombie, or another Vancouver show. Timeless (hashtag #RenewTimeless) is in the rotation now, too.

 

Anyhow, back to the episode. This week was a great reminder that most angels are not Castiel. Most angels are dicks. Isham and his friend being no exception, it pleased me to watch Sam and Dean swoop in and stand up for their friend. The bonding between Cass and the boys was actually my favorite thing about this episode. We know Dean and Cass are close, Dean considers him a brother, but to watch Sam stick up for him as well, to watch Sam pull his Sam face on Castiel, it’s something special to see how far their relationship has come.

As they spoke with Isham, Castiel relating the story of Lily and the nephilim, (sorry I just have to mention that Destiel shippers are sure to have a field day with the fact Cass used to be a woman), who else questioned Isham’s version of events? Why didn’t we follow him into the house? Why didn’t we get to see what happened? Why did he leave the angel squad outside while he went, alone, to take care of this supposed dangerous creature?

Everything we know about this story, we know because Isham told us.

Never forget, angels are dicks.

So here’s dick #1, throwing Lily under the bus. And as she heals herself, we see she is most certainly human (no glowing blue light when the angel blade cut her), but she also has some kind of powers. And they are most certainly NOT demonic.

Come on. A deal with a demon to live for 100 years? Yeah, right. I’m kinda shocked the Winchesters fell for that line of crap.

Their little encounter with Lily in the hotel hallway had to be one of the best parts of the episode. I love Dean’s awkward face. It’s always a treat to see it pop up. And at the same time, I was pissed at this piece of garbage for wasting some of Castiel’s grace.

Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets
Really. Look her up if you don’t know Alicia Witt.

The rest of the episode went as necessary. Sam and Dean found out the truth about Lily’s daughter, we found out the source of Lily’s power, and she got her revenge. Guest star Alicia Witt was freaking excellent. I’ve been a fan of hers for a couple decades now. It’s lovely to see her popping up on some of my favorite TV shows recently. And I’m glad the character is still around because it would be wonderful to have her show up again at some point.

Let’s talk about Castiel. I’m certain I’m not the only one who’s noticed he’s more human this season. Sassy. Angry. Emotional. One has to look no further than last week, when he defended killing Billie, to see how emotional he can get. But also remember his smart mouth when dealing with Crowley. Exasperation. Frustration. At first, early in the season, I thought it was leftovers from Lucifer. That Luci had influenced him for so long, some of it had rubbed off.

lily-sunder-6
Misha’s been excellent this season, as well.

Now, I’m not so sure. I think Castiel has been on earth too long. I think his grace is wearing down. And I think our favorite thing about him, his affinity for our boys, will be his eventual undoing. But until then, watching his bond with the Winchesters deepen is the best thing they’ve done with his character in seasons. I fear where they’re going with him, but I’m enjoying watching him go there.

 

lily-sunder-2
This leads me to another aside, though.

 

So far, I feel season 12 has been fun but slightly uneven. It’s had highs and lows. Individually, I’ve enjoyed every episode, but the overall theme seems to lack a bit of cohesion. I’m not saying anything bad about it, exactly, it’s only that season 11 was so cohesive. It’s difficult to step back again to the smaller scale without feeling something missing. But “Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” and “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox” have been some real high points this season. I look forward to the next episode brought to us by Steve Yockey, because he seems to have a real grasp of what it takes to be Supernatural.

Supernatural 12.9 “First Blood” Review

Ahhhh return from Hellatus. Thank the dear, sweet Chuck.

No preamble, SPOILER ALERT.

So on the rewatch, I notice the title of the episode, and that I don’t understand, based on the events in the episode, what that means. “First Blood”. Hm. Could be bad. Let’s talk about that later, though.

Sam and Dean, arrested for attempting to assassinate, er um, save the president. You know, I literally hated that Castiel left them at the end of the mid-season finale. I thought it was a poor choice. In fact, as far as character motivations go, I thought their choice to stay was out of character and I’m still unable to understand why they would’ve. The best reason I can come up with is that the writers wanted them to. Wanted them to stay, wanted Cass to leave, wanted Sam and Dean to get arrested.

Anyhow, we also get a glimpse at mister BMoL, “Mike” Davies, attempting to recruit American hunters. Without much luck, haha. Now at this part of the episode, I thought we could really, truly become friends with Ketch. He’s so Winchester, just British and stuffy. I am pleased we’re seeing more of them again. I was wondering when we would.

Now, back to prison with Sam and Dean. It seemed quite boring, same old same old. Chow time, chow time, chow time, chow time. Who else just knew Dean was going to make that face about the food?

first-blood-3
This one.

Haha yeah. That one. But I thought, surely it couldn’t be worse than forty years in hell. I laughed when mister terrorist interrogator guy said he was going to break them. Break a Winchester? OK. Good luck. But when I saw them both dead on the floor, I admit I was taken aback. My mind riffled through the options.

first-blood-1
“I pity the fool.”

Well then, not Crowley.

first-blood-5
Poor, lonely Castiel.

Not Castiel. Aside: can anybody tell me why he’s not zapping around? I know why he can’t find the boys, that’s season 5 lore, but why isn’t he flying? Are his wings clipped? And if so, when did that happen? I seem to have missed it somehow. Poor guy/angel. Can’t even hunt properly.

Right, suspects. The only creature remaining I could think of which would make the boys either appear or be dead? Billie. And that’s a whole mess of trouble. For a bit, I couldn’t believe she would take them, and let them back in their meat suits. She’s just too eager to take them.

But indeed, the obvious choice was the one. Which pretty much told me what they’d given her in return. As I watched them take apart those “highly trained” soldiers, I thought about what they could offer to any creature which could have gotten them out of that prison. And realized someone was getting a hell of a prize.

I do have to take a moment and wonder, however, how Sam allowed this deal. Yeah yeah, they didn’t say which Winchester in the deal. We all know that’s crap. It was either going to be Dean, sacrificing himself, or it was gonna be the two of them arguing on the side of the road when the time came until Billie got fed up and took them both. I have a tough time believing Sam agreed with a clear conscience and a clear head.

Otherwise it wasn’t such a bad deal, I think. I know what they really thought is they’d weasel out of it some way. And they were right, they did.

But at what cost? At first, I poo-pooed any cost. They did not break their word. So the deal wasn’t technically broken. A friend asked what consequences Cass might have to face, and I said none. But. But.

What’s with the name of the episode? First blood? Is it a Rambo reference? Like their foray in the woods? Or, does it refer to Castiel drawing first blood in some war with the reapers? Geez at this point it could be anything all the way from nothing to something.

Either way, I thought the only way the BMoL could really impress was if they sprung Sam and Dean. And they certainly would gain some favor with the American hunters if it got back to them. So, they did. They helped our slightly bumbling, very depressed duo of Castiel and Mary, and delivered their boys to them.

But again, at what cost? You know that thought I had, the one about being friends with the BMoL? Ketch, in particular? No. Forget that. No and in all possible ways not no but hell no. Cleaning up monsters is one thing. People? That’s another. These BMoL’s might know what they’re doing in the fight against monsters, but in doing so they have become no better than the monsters they hunt.

Couple quick notes.

-It was super fun to watch “Mike” and Ketch be impressed by them not only taking on Lucifer and winning, but Castiel’s dismissive attitude about it. Like it was any old day at the office. Which it was.

-I love how “Dean’s mother” Mary is. She likes bacon, coffee, fast cars. She likes talks that go, “Good talk”. It’s really quite fun to watch.

-Castiel’s little speech after killing Billie? Brought tears to my eyes. They are his family, he is theirs, and they’ll all go to any length to save each other.

first-blood-2
Been among the humans a little too long, my fine feathered friend.

-I hope Mary is just fooling the BMoL to gain some kind of upper hand. I hope she’s not serious.

-”Who are you?” “The guys who saved the world.” I’m counting at least eight times, not counting regular keeping everybody from dying in some sort of werepire apocalypse by keeping the population under control. Eight, yeah?

Overall the mid-season premiere was a good way to end Hellatus. I wish there’d been more of the Winchesters doing what they do in the woods. It was truly beautiful. I’m not sure where the season is going, but it’s entertaining to watch it go there. I look forward to what more surprises are in store.

Also, THIS!!

 

P.s. Speaking of Asa’s kids, I’d watch a show about them. You?

The Walking Dead: Why I Might Never Catch Up

***THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD SEASONS 1-6***

I planned all these blogs for Hellatus, and I haven’t penned a single one.

My book, Reclamation, has been taking up a lot of brain space. So, why don’t we blame it on my insistent characters and move on?

I’m sitting here though, on a Saturday afternoon, watching the second Sponge Bob movie with the kiddo, thinking about playoffs in a bit, and writing a few words on the book.

img_20161209_222140
Meet Jack and the other Main Characters HERE

Here’s the thing about it. I cast people in my head to play my main characters. Actors, usually, although over time two of my side characters have become people I know instead. The point is, Andrew Lincoln is playing my male main character, Jack. That’s not exactly a secret, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned it in such an open forum before. And for those of you who don’t memorize actor names, Andrew plays Rick on the Walking Dead.

So, TWD. When there were only 6 episodes of the show and no season 2 in sight, I remember I had just begun dating my boyfriend. Sitting up in his apartment, not willing to leave or go to sleep, we watched all 6. We found them on YouTube, under the heading, “Funny Moments”. I found the premise intriguing.

Listen, zombies terrify me. They always have. Blame it on the babysitter that let me watch “Night of the Living Dead” when I was four. I’ll never not be scared by zombies, and I’ll never consider the market saturated. Watching their evolution to more romantic figures in things such as iZombie and the movie “Warm Bodies” has been a revelation to me.

But that’s off topic. Back to TWD, the topic of today’s blog. We watched those first six, fascinating episodes. I was uncertain how you’d carry a zombie story so long. A movie was all I thought it could sustain. As it turns out, sometimes even writers lack imagination. Because watching through Rick’s eyes as we learned what the world was now, I was both fascinated and held in thrall. What a sympathetic character he was. Honest, kind, loving, and consistently warm, even when dealing with such traumatic events. He was easy to root for.

I love many of the other characters, as you must in order to maintain interest. Carol has probably been my favorite character to watch evolve. I’ve also enjoyed much of Daryl’s evolution. There are two dimensional characters, but in the early days there just wasn’t room for developing them.

carol-and-daryl
Currently my second favorite Ship, behind my own characters.

Having watched TV evolve as well, I understand the long form of story even better than I used to. I understand that in order to support the longer arc, you must develop a whole town full of characters. South Park and the Simpsons have lasted as long as they have because they are about more than just two or three characters. So, it makes sense that TWD must delve into other characters and take the focus away from Rick. From time to time. But let’s be honest, it was his character that hooked me into the show. Much as I complain about Superman being a Boy Scout, I like heroes. I do enjoy more of a flawed hero, I think you know I love Dean Winchester more than any other hero, but there’s nothing wrong with a good Boy Scout.

rick-or-dean
Welcome to the Battle Royale in my head.

So here’s the thing. TWD had to branch out. And given our society’s love of flawed heroes, Rick had to gain flaws. More than just the pain of losing people, he had to have internal struggle. I know that. It makes sense. It’s appropriate.

But this is where it gets sticky.

Let’s back up to when there were only 6 episodes. They announce season 2 has been greenlit. Jubilation! Celebration! Get everyone you know to watch this little show so they keep making more! I convinced my best friend to give it a shot. She and her husband loved it, and when season 2 came on, my boyfriend and I watched it with them. We made a point to go over every Sunday when it was on to watch together.

The show exploded. Suddenly everyone was watching. Seriously, who’s ever heard of numbers that good? They got all the viewers. AMC made all the money.

We went to my friend’s house every Sunday to watch for four years.

Her husband passed away in February 2016. She passed away in July 2016. They were 60 and 53, respectively.

  1. Fuck 2016.
  2. We never finished watching season 6 together.
  3. I still haven’t finished season 6.

I figure there’s a few reasons for that. Trauma, for one. At this point, it was our thing. I enjoyed the time getting together as much as the show, honestly. No, it wasn’t the only reason we hung out. But being introverts, to be honest, my boyfriend and I need extra reasons to leave the house. And my friend was handicapped, requiring a lot of assistance. But when we watched TWD together, it was one of the few times we just got to sit and watch. No getting or doing things, just being friends again like we were when we began watching together. Does that make me feel a little bad? Yeah. But also not.

eff-you-2016
FINALLY.

Anyway. So then they were gone. And 2016 continued to suck ass. And we didn’t finish the season.

Season 7 began. We didn’t finish 6. Two characters died, and the internet spoiled it for me, not that I didn’t expect it not to. And I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), being the Supernatural super-fan I am. And still, we haven’t finished 6. We’re two episodes out.

I’ve given a mountain of excuses for this. And I’ve vowed to catch up. But here’s the thing. Let’s look briefly at my excuses, because I think they’re important.

OK, yes there’s trauma. But there’s also a few story problems. Season 4 began the real branching into other character’s stories, sometimes leaving Rick out for weeks. Season 5 continued that trend, and season 6 really kicked it into gear. How many times did we see a single episode featuring Rick in season 6? Three? Four? Seems like it. Maybe it was more, but it felt like less. So that’s problem number one. And I think that might be problem number biggest, but let’s move on.

To the problems with Rick, himself. Like I said above, yeah, he needed to evolve. Become the flawed hero. But who’s really convinced he’s a hero anymore? At first I was fine with some of the more questionable decisions he made. Killing Shane, for example. He didn’t do it until it was absolutely necessary, and it was kill or be killed. So, even though killing him was not the way to go, it was clear the decision had to be made. That’s something you can forgive him for, and the fact he wanted Shane out of the way was secondary to the fact he was forced to make the decision.

problem-biggest
Problem number biggest?

Fast forward to their arrival at Alexandria. Here’s a man who’s had to kill so many humans he probably can’t count them any more. Used to be, when he had to do it, it was so sparse that it was shocking. Powerful. But now we have a man who says things like, “They’re going to give us this place, or we’ll take it from them.” Not for their own good, though you could say that if you wanted, but he didn’t really care about the Alexandrians. He only cared about his people. He’s a man that literally ripped someone’s throat out with his teeth. Killed a man because he coveted the man’s wife. Cinematic, yes. Good? The actions of a hero? No. Not at all. Not a little.

But let’s leave Rick for a moment and talk about the other characters. The very safe, unkillable characters. When I found out Negan was going to kill someone at the other end of a cheap cliffhanger, I knew immediately who he SHOULD kill. Who’s with me?

Daryl.

one-man-army
I love you, Norman, but this one man army has got to go.

No question. I’m not trolling you, here’s why.

You can’t kill Rick. The show is supposed to be about him (remember?). But look. Daryl is unkillable. “If Daryl dies we riot”. Yeah that’s all well and good but guys, you’re killing the show instead. If someone is “safe”, the plot can be left to stagnate. If there’s no real danger, in this world where Rick’s wife died in childbirth and had to be shot in the head by her young son, where his his best friend might have fathered his youngest child and then tried to murder him, if you’ve lost the danger in that world, why are we watching?

Really. Why are we watching? I watch things because I give a crap what happens to the characters. Premise pulls me in, characters keep me.

Without drama, and without danger, it loses its appeal.

I guess the tl;dr version is this: I miss my friend, I miss my Rick, I miss the danger. If you choose a newbie – because let’s face it, Red was still new – and someone you already fake killed (and everyone knows he died this way in the comics), you’ve chosen the safe route. And safe is boring.

Let me say it again for those in the back. BORING.

But today as I wrote my little story I realized I think currently my biggest problem is I miss Rick. My Jack is heroic, and brave, and sometimes he doesn’t do things perfect. Sometimes he doubts himself. But in the end, he makes the right calls. You can root for the guy. I might be a little in love with him. But Rick? He’s no longer sympathetic. I can’t remember the last time I actually liked him.

likeable-rick
Probably sometime around here.

And if you don’t like the hero, and there’s no drama, what’s the point?

I’m afraid I’ll never finish season 6.