Thursday, November 21, 2013

Watcha Gonna Do? Supernatural Review, 9x07, "Bad Boys"

What is with this "this recap contains spoilers" crap?  It's a recap. Grow up.  Where was I?  Oh, yes, this review contains spoilers.  The fan police are bitching.

There was a teaser there would be an "enormous revelation" of Dean's past this season.  As revelations go, this was pretty ho-hum.  Written by Adam Glass and directed by Kevin Parks, "Bad Boys" went for the feeling of earlier seasons.  Flashbacks wove in and out of the MOTW story.  Sadly, this episode was formulaic and didn't bring anything new to the table.  But it offered one of the grossest murders of the season. And a scene with a bully and a lawnmower that had me peeking through my fingers. (Spoiler alert: he lost his.) AND it was Zeke-free. The "enormous revelation" was that as a youth, Dean gambled away the food money, stole peanut butter and bread for Sam, and got caught.  The police officer brought him to Sonny's Home For Boys:

SPN_907 Sign
Is this place licensed?  And did the sign come from "The Andy Griffith Show"?

Dean gets a call from Sonny, who runs the boys' home, a working farm.  Sonny knows Dean's a hunter.  There's a ghost haunting the farm.  A worker at the home, Jack, was run over by a broken tractor inside the barn.  Actually impaled against the door, with the bloody spikes sticking through, dripping with gore.

Sam is, of course, gobsmacked that his brother was at a reform farm and nobody ever told Sam.  Dean blows it off as no big deal, and he agreed with John to lie to Sam (what's new?). "None of it was Dad's fault," Dean says.  Oh, really, Dean?  I'll just sit here and grit my teeth, you codependent moron.

John Winchester told Sam that Dean go lost on a hunt.  For two months. On the one hand, I have a problem with the idea of Sam not freaking out and at least something being really wrong around that time.  On the other hand, their lives were nonstop nightmares so perhaps this was just a blip on the radar. Several young actors have played Dean on this show:

SPN_907 Dean 1SPN_907 Dean 2SPN_907 Dean 3
This one                This one             But not this one

For obvious reasons (the third photo above), SPN has never cast an actor as pretty as Jensen Ackles is. At my high school, he would have had his ass kicked ever day. I had a problem accepting Dylan Everett as Dean:

SPN_907 Dean 4

In part because he has brown eyes and doesn't look like Jensen Ackles.  But, he nails the character (Everett watched 5 seasons and then spent a week watching can't get much more dedicated than that).  And he's wearing the SAMULETMEEEEGGG!  Oops, excuse me, every time a strangled scream is required MEEEEGGG comes out.  As written, Dean is 14, and the episode makes soooo much more sense if one keeps that in mind.  How strange is it when your fanwank has to be the way the episode was originally written??

John, once again winning the award for Abusive Bastard of The Year, says Dean can "rot in jail." Sonny takes him in instead, being a decent human being and a terrific father figure.  He's an ex-con who wants to prevent boys from going down the bad road he did.  Unlike JOHN ASSHOLE SELF-CENTERED DICK Winchester.

SPN_907 Sonny
"Dean, have you considered becoming an emancipated minor?"

While at Sonny's, Dean makes friends at school, joins the wrestling team, and meets a girl, Robin. She wants to get out of town and travel the world. He wants to become a mechanic.  "Fixing them is like a puzzle. And the best part is, when you’re done, they leave and you’re not responsible for them anymore.” We know you're not talking about the Impala, Dean. 

Then, Dean and Robin engage in an awkward first kiss.  This didn't play at all if Dean was supposed to be 16, because by 18 in "After School Special" he was nailing cheerleaders like a carpenter.  But if he was 14...sigh... it would play so much better.

In the present, Ruth, the housekeeper, tells Sam that before Sonny bought the place, it was owned by a couple, Howard and Doreen. Jack worked for them at the time, and Howard was sure he and Doreen were having an affair. Howard got drunk and killed Doreen.  Jack got away, and Howard always swore revenge on Jack. He died in prison last year, and that's when the strange noises, flickering lights, and sudden chills began.

The boys go salt and burn Howard's corpse, but we already know who the real threat is:

SPN_907 Timmys

I mean, look at this kid!  He's creepier than Bud Cort! (10 points if you get that reference.)  He does have a funny cape action figure called Bruce The Monster Smasher that says "I clobber evil." Jack yells and beats the boys.  He dies.  A kid bullies Timmy.  He loses his hand in a lawnmower.  My absolute favorite murder is of the housekeeper, Ruth.  There's really no reason for her to die except the show kills her in a really cool way!  Strangled by a living shower curtain while the radio blasts "Ave Maria" at top volume!  It was  so horrible I was barely able to watch.  Kudos, Supernatural.  I watch "The Walking Dead" and that doesn't gross me out nearly as much. 

Speaking of which, in the attic of the barn, Sam finds (Contrived Alert!) a drawing on the wall of a crashing car, mama and son: SPN_907 Wall

Which, oddly, looks like this: The Walking Dead panel
(This is a map drawn by a little girl, and "Nick" is her favorite zombie.)

Turns out Timmy's mom was killed in a car crash and his mother, now a blue-eyed charcoal briquette, is "protecting" him.  Grown-up Robin, who happens to be in the house to give Timmy a guitar lesson, gets caught up in the chaos when Timmy's mom goes Beetlejuice on them.

SPN_907 Mom
Now that's what I call a cheap Halloween costume!

The best moment is burning Bruce on the gas stove, whose "I clobber evil" repeats slower and lower several times, to hilarious effect.  Then, as Crowley would say: salt ring blown through blah blah de rigeur choking of the brothers blah blah blah.  Dean tells Timmy to man up and tell his mother to scram.  It's supposed to be touching when Timmy assures her he'll be okay, and she turns into her beautiful self and heads off to the afterlife.  Seeing this same scene with minor variations every week is getting on my nerves.  Come on!  When one of the best torturing of Sam and Dean is in the Racist Witch episode, in which the witch forces them to relive their worst memories, you know the sadism department is seriously running out of ideas. When it's all over, Sonny says that Timmy will have to do "some adjusting."  That kid will be strung out on heroin by next Christmas, I promise you.  Dean and Robin say goodbye.

SPN_907 Life
"I'm so happy I did what my dad wanted!"

SPN_907 Life 2
"I want to stab myself in the face."

The last scene is so damn heartbreaking it made me forgive the contrivances and foregone conclusions that went before.  Dean is getting ready to take Robin to his first-ever school dance.  He looks adorably goofy in a short tie and baggy shirt.  Sonny comes in with bad news.  John is outside in the car. There's a job.  Seeing the look on Dean's face, Sonny offers to stick his neck out and convince John that Dean should stay in the only healthy environment he's ever known for his entire life.  Dean looks out at the car and sees 9-year-old Sam in pajamas, playing with a plane.  Despite crying, Dean breaks into a wide smile at seeing his brother.  He refuses Sonny's offer and goes back to his family.  Better the living hell you know...

SPN_907 Crushed
"Sorry, Sonny, but I have to let my dad continue brainwashing me."

In the present, Sam says, “Dean, thank you. For always being there, for having my back. I know it hasn’t always been easy.”  It's not only lovely to have Sam recognize what Dean has given up (and given up and given up) for him, and for Dean to know that,  and we also get THIS:

SPN_907 Sam end
No gratuitous angel nudity needed, thank you.

Right now I'm fanwanking that I grab Jared in a flying tackle and we land on the grass and...spoiler alert!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hot Pink! Supernatural review, 9x06, "Heaven Can't Wait"

"Heaven Can't Wait" was one of the best episodes of what has been, overall, an excellent season.  I flat-out loved it.  Perhaps because this was by a new writer, Robert Berens.  The overall mythology arc was smoothly handled in small amounts and not jammed in arbitrarily ("Slumber Party," anyone?)   The A-plot and B-plot wove together nicely, providing crucial moments of growth for several of the characters.  It had humor, pacing, drama, and a large dollop of manpain.

I'm probably one of the only viewers who enjoys the episodes where Dean and Sam are separated.  It's refreshing to watch how each of them interacts with other characters.  The A-plot is Dean and Castiel; the B-plot is Sam and Crowley. Let's start with the obvious.  Dean is being a real asshole.   They can't use the word on the show, but it's my review and I calls it as I sees it.  Another complaint: Sam has been combing his hair with guck.

SPN_906 Sam
Girlfriend is bustin' out the Brylcreem

At a Gas-n-Sip in Idaho, Castiel is earning Best Employee of the Millennium.  He's known as "Steve" (no Clarence? MEEGGGG!).  We watch him happily make his morning rounds, filling the coffee urns, putting in the cash drawer, and just being too adorable in a dorky blue vest.  His boss is a blonde hottie (when she first entered, I groaned inwardly, anticipating sweet, sweet loving that wouldn't end up with Cas killed).  She finds his toothbrush, etc. in the supply room, and his sleeping bag in the back.  Cas says that he likes to stay late to do inventory.  He totes has a home with a bed in it. 

Despite this, she asks him if he's free the next night, saying it's so hard to meet a great guy these days, especially since she's a single mom.  She tells him to be at her house at 7 the following night and gives him a quick kiss.

Back at the bunker, Kevin has managed to translate the angel tablet into a dead language, so it's time for everybody to hit the books!

After a suicidal guy is blown to smithereens by a guy with a cross earring, Cas calls Dean.  Brusquely, Cas tells Dean there's a case. Sam says if there's a case, he should come along, but Dean waves him off with an excuse--who cares what by now.  He doesn't dare have Zeke and Cas in the same vicinity. Dean flees the bunker faster than a weasel on crack. Suicidal guy has coated his abode with a moist hot pink bleeccch.

SPN_906 pink
"I know it's vaporized human, but dang, this would be a great color for my kid's bedroom."

Dean hustles to Rexford, Idaho, and goes straight to the Gas-n-Sip.  Where, to no one's surprise, Castiel is none too pleased to see his former BFF.

SPN_906 Dean Cas
"Hello, Dean. Fuck off and die."

Dean wastes no time re-establishing his asshole cred by belittling Castiel's job.   He assumes it's because of "the girl."  But Castiel is proud of how he does his job.  "You're better than this," Dean claims.  Oh, yeah, a guy with no money, no resume and no fixed address has so many options.  Pot, meet kettle.  Cas says his work has human dignity, but Dean says, "Wow. So you went from fighting heavenly battles to nuking taquitos." "Nachos, too," Cas adds.

Meanwhile, a teen is wailing into her cell because her boyfriend had the gall to break up with her in real time, instead of Facebook.  Heh.   She turns, and Earring Boy puts his hand on her and she explodes in a cloud of hot pink liquid.  Wow, that sentence came out SO much more porny than I meant.  When Dean and Cas arrive, Cas freaks.  This is the work of a Rit Zein, the angels that put wounded angels out of their misery on the battlefield.  A Rit Zein has never been on Earth, so they have no clue as to the ebb and flow of human emotion.  All they feel is the pain.  Because Middle America is one big cauldron of despair, this angel will be racking up a triple-digit body count in no time.

Taking a brief break from being an asshole, Dean drives Cas to his date and helps him prep.  It's a really sweet scene.  Whatever their situation, Dean and Cas have great chemistry.  Dean convinces him to ditch the blue vest, and unbutton his shirt.  At the door, Cas waves Dean away like an embarrassed teen.  Only to find out that the hottie has a date, but not with him.  He's been tricked into babysitting.  "She never cries," the hottie assures him.  As soon as she's out the door, the baby starts yowling.

SPN_906 baby

Cas quiets the baby by singing the theme song to "Greatest American Hero," which is a tad anvilicious, but who cares?  (Note: the original script called for Cas to sing "Highway To Hell," but there were apparently budget problems.  Damn!!)  That Misha Collins manages to sing in Castiel's deep, growly voice is a real achievement.  When the baby won't stop crying, Cas rocks it back and forth, taking the opportunity to meditate how hard it is to negotiate a big, frightening world.

Back at the bunker, Sam is trying to get Crowley to translate the dead language.  The dynamic between Sam and Crowley has changed.  Sam is in charge now, and can walk away and shut the doors on Crowley any time he damn well pleases.  Crowley fakes being conciliatory, but then throws the balled-up paper in Sam's face.  Sam says he's going to hand over Crowley to Abbadon.  "She's scarier than you've been in years," he snarks. 

Crowley says he'll do it, for one phone call.  "Even Dahmer got a phone call," he points out.  Sam puts a bowl on the table and prepares to draw blood, but Crowley wants Kevin's blood.  Once the blood is boiling, Crowley discovers the hell of voice-mail, hell style.  "I've been put on hold," he grumps. Once he is put through to Abbadon, they have a satisfyingly nasty conversation.  She is voiding his contracts, taking souls before their time.  While he fumes, she snarls that he is "King of the Bureaucrats."  Abbadon intends to tear apart Crowley's orderly Hades.  I was reminded of "Season Seven, Time For A Wedding!" when Crowley admonishes a demon, "This isn't Wall Street, this is Hell!  We have a little thing
called integrity!"

SPN_906 Crowley pissed
"If I was Hannibal Lecter, you'd be scared out of your panties."

SPN_906 Abbadon
"I go commando, you pussy!"

Crowley translates the "doodles," and it's not good news.  Metatron's spell is irreversible.  Not that Crowley gives a fuck.  While Sam and Kevin are hyperventilating over this latest turn, Crowley palms the syringe that Kevin used.

The baby has a fever.  Earring Boy, aka Ephram shows up, presumably drawn by her pain.  But no, it's Cas he's there for.  He speechifies about how Castiel was once legendary, but has failed at everything.  His pain can be heard for miles.  Ephram berates Cas for choosing to be human.  But before Ephram can blast Cas into a big spray of pink liquid (okay, here comes the fanfic--geez, another double entendre--what is it with this episode?), Dean busts in with an angel blade.  The reason is too convoluted to explain.  You wanna know, watch the show.

Ephram does the de rigeur move of throwing Dean across the room, but Dean slides the angel blade across the floor to Cas.  Who promptly dispatches Ephram, earring and all.  It feels peremptory, as if there was a missing scene. 

Somehow, Dean and Cas manage to clean up the mess and hide the dead body before the single mom returns.  She tells Cas that he's "special" because he cares, or something to that effect.  Cas gets into the Impala with Dean.

Bunker: Sam is washing the blood bowl, when he spots something awry with his junkie kit.  A syringe is missing.  He heads to where Crowley is and peeks around the door.  To see Crowley injecting Kevin's blood, then sitting back, sighing with relief. What does this mean?  Is Kevin's prophet blood somehow purer than Sam's blood?  Is Kevin's blood helping Crowley get back to his demonic self?

The next morning, Cas is still in the Impala with Dean, and a million shippers go nuts on tumblr.  Dean compliments Cas on adapting, gives him a half-assed apology for throwing his BFF out, and then lies to Cas about the angel spell.  Cas feels he should accompany Dean to help save the angels. "You're human now, you let me and Sam take care of the angels."  That's DeanSpeak for "I don't want you anywhere near my brother, sorry, pal.  And I'll conveniently forget that you're Heaven's most wanted.  See ya!"

SPN_906 guilt
Yes, Dean, we're all done with this crap, too.

Between Dean and Ephram, Castiel's self-esteem has been ground finer than sand,  With an air of defeat, he starts his day. He flips on the overhead TV and hears newsmen talking about the "meteor shower."  He turns it off.  The episode ends with Cas sadly staring at the sky.

SPN_906 look
“Thanks for ruining my life, Dean.  Again."

Zeke didn't show up for this episode, so no drinking game.
 However, here's:
SPN_0923 For 9x6
Yucky gratuitous angel nudity

Castiel had better strip down again, because it's getting harder to find GAN pics.  On the upside, there's always Jared Padalecki.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Supernatural Ep. 9x05 Review, "Dog Dean Afternoon" Sex, Dogs and Rock & Roll

After three heavy-duty myth arc episodes (and one stinker), it's off to Crazytown!  Written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder and directed by Tim Andrew, this could have been a disaster.  Instead, it's hilarious, with a wealth of great gags.  As Eric Charmelo tweeted, "it's full of LOL wackadoo goodness".

Anyone who saw the promos knows the basic premise is that Dean not only mind-melds with a dog, he becomes a dog.  Barking at the mailman, playing fetch, scratching himself behind the ears, even getting the hots for a French poodle. This episode highlights how Supernatural can mix gross and funny like no other show.  (Sorry, Walking Dead.  But you do get to swear and have ten times the yuuuuuccch factor.) 

Jensen Ackles rarely gets to go all out and show his comedy chops.  Especially the past few seasons.  Here he plays the hell out of the part, and Jared does well as the straight man.

"THEN" gets the Zeke business out of the way, then a montage of clips from comic episodes from "Yellow Fever" to "Monster Movie" rushes by.  Any montage that has Sam saying, "I lost my shoe" has me from the jump.

Don't worry, we can still play the Sam/Zeke drinking game!  To recap: every time Sam gets knocked unconscious or hurt 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 or heals Sam, take a shot.

"Dog Dean Afternoon" opens with a taxidermist combing the fur of a rodent dressed as a "Game Of Thrones" character.  Hee. The weirdest one is the Daenerys Targaryen rodent, complete with long white wig and off the shoulder dress.  His German Shepard, Colonel, growls and barks at a mysterious stranger, a dude with a cowboy hat and forked tongue, who proceeds to squeeze the taxidermist to death.  This is seen through a scrim, and looks bizarrely sexual.  The episode is packed with the bizarrely sexual.

Cut to the usual Sam/Dean bullshit about Sam finding a case, Dean saying he's too weak yada yada (don't forget to take that first shot).  At the crime scene, they find out that the guy who disposes of the interiors of the animals found the slop box empty.  Usually, the guy says, "it's chock full a' guts." *snort* SPN_0229 Rodent
Sammy is going to sleep with this next to his pillow.

Then we get the first real treat of the episode: THE BOYS IN A GROTTY HOTEL ROOM!!! SPN_0295 motel
With obligatory purposeless room divider, no less

Shortly after their arrival, the same Evil Dude In The Cowboy Hat (Steven Valentine) pretends to be from a perfume company (probably one that proclaims nothing was tested on animals). He bribes an animal hospital attendant. Evil Dude goes to the cat section and wrestles all of the cats into a bag.  The attendant, hearing the noise, arrives just in time to see Evil Dude gulping down a kitty like a snake.  Evil Dude In The Cowboy Hat grows claws and slashes the kid to death. 

Aw, blood spatter, how I've missed thee.

At the animal shelter, Sam and Dean realize that Colonel the dog was a witness to both murders.  Sam calls Kevin for a spell to--well, you know.  Kevin is the new Bobby, because D.J. Qualls is too busy with his own series to even warrant a mention.  Sam mixes the potion, Dean downs it and says the spell, and soon he and the Colonel are arguing about classic rock.  (Colonel is voiced by Al Rodrigo.)
The shit would have hit the fan if the dog liked Perry Como

It's back to the shelter, but not before Dean discovers pigeon shit on Baby.  And a foul-mouthed pigeon ready to blast Baby again.  Dean whips out his gun--no one defiles Baby--but Sam pulls him into the car, after a friendly wave to aghast bystanders. SPN_0978 pigeon
Dean prepares to go all Sons of Anarchy on the bird

Outside the animal shelter, Dean's eye is caught by a beautiful French poodle.  With a pink leash and collard, and pink ribbons on her ears.  As Dean stares at her, first flirtatiously and then seriously turned on, the music in his head goes from romantic to bom-chica-wow-wow.  Yes, Dean wants to pork a poodle.  Heh. SPN_1032poodle2
"Some day, my prince will come..."

SPN_1038 poodle1
"He's here, baby.  Don't worry, I dig the whole collar and leash thing."

Sam grabs Dean away before things can get even more weirdly sexual.  I warned you at the top of this review, didn't I? In the shelter, the dogs all have cartoon voices (Jared Padalecki tweeted his disappointment). There are some great gags. "Shaking the fence, boss, shaking the fence" from Cool Hand Luke, "I need a Raquel Welch poster and a rock hammer" from Shawshank Redemption.  They're getting nowhere, until a Southern accent calls out, "Hey, pretty boy!" at Dean.  A flamboyantly gay Yorkshire terrier (voiced by Leslie Jordan of American Horror Story) saw the whole thing.  But he's not telling them a thing until the "big one" gives the dog a belly rub. SPN_1112 yorkie
"Oh, baby, you got magic hands...boom chicka-bow-wow"

More weirdly sexual stuff. The Yorkie really gets off by have Sam rub his belly.  As would we all. (Did Sam's hands accidentally stray lower?  Boy, that Yorkie better be neutered. Have you ever seen a dog boner?  *Shudder*)  They get the info they need, and put the protesting dog back in his cage. "I'm not above licking feet. Hey, big'un! Come back here!" Dean can't help it: he releases all of the dogs from their cages.  "Bacon bacon bacon!" cries a golden retriever.  If you've seen those commercials, you'll get the joke.  The Yorkie saw a bag the Evil Dude In The Cowboy Hat carried.  It was labeled Avant-Garde Cuisine.

Long story short, the boys break into the restaurant.  Sam discovers a drawerful of medications.  When they are caught by a sous-chef and a waiter, Sam and Dean pretend to be surprise health inspectors and get rid of both of them.  What no-one seems to notice is that the waiter is carrying a tray with octopus tentacles and a shark fin!

SPN_1316 sharktopus
Sharktopus! Quick, get Eric Roberts on the phone!

They find Evil Dude in the Cowboy Hat, aka Chef Leo.  He has stage 4 cancer, and has been ingesting animal guts along with a side of Shamanism to give himself strength.  He slashes Sam's jugular, but Zeke shows up (shot!) and heals Sam's neck (shot!) then Sam collapses (shot!).  When Sam comes to, Chef Leo demands, "What are you?" Sam goes "bzuh?" (SHOT!).  Chef Leo knocks him out, and ties Dean up.

SPN_1455 Leo
Chef Leo is enjoying tying up Dean way too much.

"Screw Sharktopus, I'm going to eat your brother!"  Chef Leo exclaims.  By now my mind is so deep into the gutter I'm wondering exactly what body parts Evil Chef is going to chomp off.

ANYWAY, Chef Leo has the usual villain's exposition dump, Dean frees himself, Chef ingests a wolf heart and grows big funny looking fangs.  Dean runs outside and sics an entire pack of dogs on Chef Leo.  They tear him to bits.  Dean runs back to Sam and shakes him awake.  "Don't make me lick your damn face!"  Heh.

Later: Colonel is adopted by a couple who run a vegan bakery.  They were in the episode earlier, but come on, I've only got so much room.  As an honorary dog, Colonel feels that Dean needs to know the big secret about dogs.  They're not really man's best friend, they were put here to--ARF ARF!  The spell has worn off.  Just in time to save Dean from sniffing anyone's butt.

At the end, for the umpteenth time, Sam, who is under a stupidity spell, questions Dean about what happened.  Why did Chef Leo ask what Sam was?  What happened to all of the blood on Sam's neck?    What the hell, dude?  Dean's lies are really getting stupid.  Rather than saying, "You shittin' me, bitch?" Sam gets in the car, and they drive off.  AND we are once again treated to the Dean face of crushing guilt.

SPN_1725 car
Dean is really done with this crap.

And now that you are all good and drunk: SPN 1 Cas 5 Gratuitous angel nudity!

Next week, most of the cast is actually going to show up in the bunker!  Let joy be unconfined!

And now, for our PSA: The Yorkie was queer-shaming! The bestiality was disgusting and an insult to animal lovers everywhere! Dean is bi!  How can he get together with a poodle?  The writers are destroying my OTP!  Besides, the presentation of the poodle was sexist! Show doesn't care about us!  We're only ratings cattle! Show hates vegans!

Ahhh, that's better.