Thursday, October 17, 2013

Punched By An Angel - Review of Supernatural S9x1, "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here"

Now that I have watched the SPN premiere, "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here," many several times,  it's time for a review, albeit a short one.  Everyone else has weighed in and we all know what happened.  Overall, this premiere was excellent, but there were a few glaring problems. The trajectory for the the three main characters was intriguing, and the cross-cutting between the stories kept the pace brisk.

But at the end, the show took a hard right into all-too-familiar territory.  Sam's possessed/fucked up/sick (fill in the blank)!  Dean has to keep the Big Secret from him!  Uh, guys?  How come we couldn't have had a continuation of the brotherly honesty that made "Sacrifice" so incredible??

The "Road So Far" sequence--GEORGE THOROGOOD!  I adore George Thorogood.  Nice choice!  And the title card is equally awesome: burning angel wings along with that awful high-pitched angel noise.

Sam's dying (again), and for some reason he looks beautiful on his deathbed.  He looked a hell of a lot worse in the mental hospital.  Other than the scars on his cheek, he looks fine.  Even his hair is perfect. SPN 9 premiere 6 Fatal L'oreal

The opening sequence, where Sam finds out that Bobby and Dean are in his head, and that Sam is dying, is well done.  The lurching camera angles, the odd lighting, it all works.  Sam even jokes, which is rare:
DEAN Angels aren't our problem right now, okay? Or demons, or Metatron, or whatever the hell happened to Cas.
SAM Why? Because we hugged it out in that church and – and now we're gonna go to Disneyland?

Head!Bobby points out that Sam saved the world (something he is rarely given solo credit for), that he's leaving the world a better place for being in it.  This is Sam telling himself that he is worth more than he gives himself credit for, that he has done breathtaking things. And now maybe he needs to let go.  Head!Dean shouts that Sam has to fight, not die.  But head!Dean doesn't have a plan, so he resorts to beating up his brother.  Sam is resigned to dying--he must be so tired by now--and so he sends away head!Dean with an affectionate pat on the face.

Meanwhile, back in reality, Dean is freaking out that Sam is dying, and there's nothing he can do.  He argues with the doctor, and goes into the hospital chapel to pray, first to Cas, then to any angel who is listening.  Ooops.  How many seasons does it take to convince a Winchester that angels are self-centered assholes who think humans are only good for lying to and manipulating? (None, apparently.)

Two angels show up, one of beat the crap out of Dean so he'll confess to Cas's whereabouts, and another who says "Brother, there has been too much fighting."  Bad angel punches the crap out of good angel, Dean grabs the angel blade and stabs bad angel to death.  Sucks for the married father of two kids the angel was possessing.  Did anyone else think he bore an uncanny resemblance to Grandpa Winchester?

Meanwhile, Cas finds out that being human sucks.  He's hurt jumping out of the way of a truck.  In a very pleasant surprise, the truck driver is just a regular guy, and gives Cas a lift to a gas station and some pocket money (and the truck driver ignores the various things Cas says that sound truly batshit).  I was sorry to see this character go.  SPN is excellent at creating background characters.  Cas meets another angel, Hale.  She kidnaps him to go to the Grand Canyon (a wink from the writers about what an uproar the anecdote about the Grand Canyon caused in "The Great Escapist").  Where she will possess his vessel, which is made for angel riding.  How she will get Cas to say yes puts my mind right in the gutter.  Having more experience than Hale, he knows to buckle his seat belt and cause a car crash which catapults her through the windshield.  There is a lovely bit of "Walking Dead" style grossness with her limbs surrounding her.  She threatens to tell all of the angels where Cas is, so he kills her.  Nice to know he still has reserves of BAMF to call on. SPN 9 premiere 2
Gratuitous angel nudity

The "good" angel is named Ezekiel.  He agrees to help heal Sam, but says he is much weakened by the fall.  They go to the hospital room, but Sam is too weak.

Meanwhile, in Sam's noggin, he enters an empty rustic cabin and finds...Death.  God, I love Death.  There has been some debate about whether or not this is head!Death or the real thing.  I prefer the latter.  If Castiel could regularly invade Dean's dreams, why wouldn't Death be able to invade Sam's head?  Death is honored to be reaping Sam Winchester.  This scene made me lose it.  Validation from the oldest creature in the universe!

Back at the hospital, Ezekiel tells Dean they are out of options, and that the only way to heal both of them is for Ezekiel to take possession of Sam.  Since, as stated before, angels are lying assholes, this is going to end badly. Sam asks Death to promise that Sam cannot be resurrected in any way, shape or form, and that "nobody gets hurt" because of his death.  Death agrees, but before he and Sam ride off into the sunset, Ezekiel in the form of Dean appears and begs Sam not to die.  "It's Sam's choice," Death says reasonably.  Fake!Dean pleads, "There ain't no me if there ain't no you." * As soon as Sam says yes, PSYCH!  Ezekiel possesses Sam. SPN 9 premiere 1 "Wait, what?"

Sam, you really should have never left Stamford.  Or Kermit, Texas.

The agreement is made that Sam will not know he has an angel riding inside, and Ezekiel wipes Sam's memory. The last we see of Cas, he's in a laundromat, stripping off his clothes (YEAH! YOWZA!) intending to wash them.  Then, he catches sight of a vending machine, and someone else's clothing. He looks down at his bloody trench coat (there is a great shot from the machine's POV of Cas gazing sadly at his trench coat).   The clothes he steals are from somebody much larger.  We see him outside, in a hoodie and jeans, chugging water, and staring out at his unknown future.

The final act is yet another scene of Sam not knowing what is going on and Dean staring out the window, nearly crushed with guilt.  I was really, really hoping Dean would say yes, because how cool would Dean be if he had an angel inside him?  How many times can Jared and Jensen play this scene and not fall asleep in the middle of it?  "Dean, are you...zzzzz" SPN  9 premiere 3
Dean is so done with this crap.

All things considered, this was an excellent season premiere.  And I'm hoping that Cas's storyline won't be so much more interesting than the path the Winchesters are on.

I should tell you now that any flaming or crazy arguments about who suffers more, Dean or Sam, will be deleted and those users blocked.

*I know a lot of fans were all over that line *THE FEELS THE FEELS* but Ezekiel has already said, "He won't say yes to me, but he will to you."

P.S. I do not use the word "feels".  There's only so much fanspeak I can manage.

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