Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Something Boring This Way Comes - Review of Supernatural S9x04 "Slumber Party"

First, I want to propose that we start a drinking game.  Every time Sam gets knocked unconscious and Zeke shows up, take a shot.  Every time Sam wakes up all "bzuh?", take a shot.  Every time Dean tells an even more convoluted lie, take a shot.  Every time Zeke brings someone back from the dead, take a shot.  By the end of the episode, you'll be good and drunk.  Which would make "Slumber Party" infinitely more enjoyable than the choppy mess it is.

Written by the usually reliable Robbie Thompson and directed by Bob Singer, "Slumber Party"s premise is to mix the Winchesters with that most magical place, Oz.  The show sends a fair amount of time destroying the basic plot line of the books, and turning L. Frank Baum into yet another crappy father. What is it with these writers and their goddamn daddy issues? 

For the record, L. Frank Baum had four sons. He was a supporter of women's suffrage, and all of the Oz books he wrote featured heroines, not heroes.  TMI, but the least they could have done was have Dorothy's back story make some kind of sense.

The show blew the budget on absolutely stunning visual effects.  They certainly didn't spend it on the script.  The beginning is beautifully shot in black and white, a shout-out to the original movie.  It's 1935.  Two men open and start the Batcave.  Their first visitor: Dorothy from Oz, a tough customer in a leather jacket, dragging the Wicked Witch in a bag behind her. spn904-720p-0193
Guess what?  This is the best part of the episode! Wah-wah...

The dialogue has no relation to the 1930s, particularly when Dorothy refers to her "lady parts."   Using the same maneuver the Alpha Vamp used in "Caged Heat," the Witch saws through her binding with a long fingernail.  Chasing the Witch into the lab, Dorothy works a spell that binds her soul with the witch's, and they end up in a jar.
spn904-720p-0874 "BWAHAGLAURYEEEEEAAW"

Wicked Witch
"I scared the crap out of generations of children and you replace me with a gurgling freak?"

The present day.  There is some ludicrous dialogue about Kevin being in a warded motel room (?) and Cas having disappeared.  My brain already hurts.  Sam wants to build angel finding equipment to keep Cas safe.  How come Sam hasn't put two and two together and said, "Dean, this is the safest place on earth.  Why isn't Cas here?"  I'm guessing Dean isn't too wild about the angel finder, because the first angel it will spot is Zeke. I gather that much of the show was shot during Creation's Salute To Supernatural in October.  It can be seen in Jensen Ackles's and Jared Padalecki's performances.  Thank God they're both so gorgeous.  Even though they're phoning it in, at least one can still look at them.  Dare I note that Jared Padalecki's Twitter feed was half as long as usual?

Down in the MOL basement, the brothers discover a circa-1950s room-sized computer.  Dean knocks over a bottle containing the soul goo.  Oopsie.  To make the computer work, they call in Charlie Bradbury.   Usually she's cool, but in "Slumber Party" she's teeth-gratingly cute.  Conveniently, before Charlie can flip the switch and Zeke lights up like a Christmas bulb, they find a giant cocoon containing Dorothy and guess who--!  She Who Speaks Gobbledegook!   She escapes by streaming into the air vents, like most of the monsters, demons and assorted things.  At least her smoke is bright green.  She finds her way into the dungeon, where Crowley sits in front of a huge metal table. spn904-720p-0434
"Someone remembered I'm on the show!"

As another reviewer pointed out: a table?  Why?  Crowley doesn't even have a deck of cards.  Why doesn't he scrape part of the devil's trap away with a table leg?  There's no point in his being in this episode, just as there's no point in having the Winchesters exposition dump during a hunt so that we know why Sam doesn't feel like the Batcave is a home.  We already know from the jump that Sam will end up saying, "There's no place like home" (watch the actors trying to keep a straight face).


They run around the Batcave until the Witch shows up in Dean's room, where she zaps Charlie dead.  What KILLED me about this scene (pardon the pun), is that Dean gets 1,000 times more upset than when Cas died. Uh, Cas?  BFF? Purgatory?  Never mind, I already bitched about that in my previous review. They go to a commercial break so we can return to see Dean cradling Charlie in his arms!

"This is so much worse than when my dearest friend/soulmate died. I don't know why, but it is."

Dean yells, "ZEKE!" as Sam charges in (take a shot).  Zeke brings Charlie back to life (take a shot).  Sam/Zeke collapse.  (shot!) Both Charlie and Sam wake up going "bzuh"? (double shot!)  Dean tells an obviously bullshit lie that both can see through (shot!).

There's a lot of running around and shouting and we see the cool MOL garage where Dorothy keeps her bike--with the Tin Man's head in it.  Way to harsh my mellow, show.  Dorothy shows Charlie the extremely modern LaBoutin stiletto heels that will kill the Witch.  But She Who Speaks Gobbledygook has possessed Sam and Dean! Their eyes turn green!  Their voices sound like those distorted voices crime reality shows use! (I burst out laughing at this point.)  I mean, c'mon, guys, you're not even trying at this point.  "We Must Find The Girls And Kill Them," one of the Winchesters robots. 

They do, they try, they fail. The Witch has cast a spell that has her grunting like a hog, and then squealing like a pig when the magic door to Oz opens.  Again, the VFX guys did crazy good work here.


But just in the nick of time, Charlie and her magical Laboutins kill the Witch!  Oz is saved!  Sort of! At the end, Charlie joins Dorothy on her quest to save Oz, and they walk away down the Yellow
Brick Road.


I turned off my TV and sat back with the current issue of Entertainment Weekly.  There's no place like home.

Since there is no gratuitous angel nudity this week you'll have to make do with this. Rawr!

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