Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Starting With This Episode: Review, Supernatural S10 E9, "The Things We Leave Behind"

After last year's mid-season finale, "Holy Terror," I was a sobbing mess. Even though there were plot holes and messiness, Gadreel killing Kevin and then leaving after telling Dean his brother was gone, OMG DEAN CRYING IT KILLED ME.

This season's mid-season finale?  Meh.  Really meh.  Written by Andrew Dabb and directed by Guy Norman Bee, "Things We Leave Behind" was a great example of being out of ideas and sloppy writing.

Even though I should know better than to take the promos seriously, I foolishly looked forward to MOC Dean making a reappearance.  One of the unpleasant effects of watching the promos is seeing the footage in context, causing both disappointment and anger.  The laughing diabolically?  Dean laughing (badly) at the Three Stooges.  Dean in a room strewn full of dead bodies?  A dream sequence.  Fuck you, Warner Brothers promo hacks.

Like last week, most of the episode did not involve the Winchesters.  Unlike last week, the A-plot was a derivative, dull, badly written rehash of any typical Law & Order: SVU but without Olivia.  I like Olivia.  Olivia would be kick-ass...sorry, my mind wandered.  When you start thinking Olivia Benson could kick the Winchesters's collective asses, that is NOT a good sign.

We start with a repeat of the opener of "Annie Alex Alexis Anne," with an angry teenager being pulled down an antiseptic hall and locked up.  Only this time it's Claire Novak, Jimmy's daughter, and instead of juvie, it's a group home.  The door opens, and Castiel enters, looking adorable.  He looked so adorable during this episode that I didn't hear how bad the dialogue was until rewatch.  Claire is righteously pissed.

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"It's because of YOU that I have this ridiculous hairstyle!"

Cas wants to apologize, not realizing the humans can hold major grudges.  Claire has every right to be homicidal.  Her father is dead (answering the question of what happened to Jimmy).  Her mother ran off to "find herself," although that makes no sense given that when we last saw them, Claire and her mom were probably going to be found and tortured by demons.  I would have had an easier time with the notion that Mrs. Novak handed Claire a lunchbox, put her on her grandmother's doorstep and said "see ya!", roaring off in a car to live with a far-away Incan tribe.  That makes no sense, but neither does Castiel busting her out and them awkwardly bonding.  SHE'S LOOKING AT HER DEAD FATHER'S FACE!  SHE SHOULD BE CURLED UP IN THE FETAL POSITION, WHIMPERING!  Fuck you, Supernatural.

Meanwhile, at the bunker, Jensen Ackles is demonstrating an actor's truism: it's easy to cry, but incredibly hard to laugh.  I offer as evidence:

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Doesn't it look more like someone bit down on his penis? 

He's watching the Three Stooges.  Sam joins him, giving Dean a grilled cheese sandwich.  Dean is ravenous.  He eats during the entire episode.  Usually the warning is: DEAN IS NOT EATING THAT CHEESEBURGER.  Now?  Not even kapok is safe.  Sam gives him an uneasy glance, and goes back to reading The Catcher In The Rye, which he's been meaning to get to for years.  What?  It's more interesting than what he's actually (not) doing.

Cas summons the Winchesters when Claire steals his wallet and takes off.  Claire is not an emergency.  “An emergency is a dead body or a wigged-out angel or the apocalypse, take 3.” I agree, Dean, let's blow this hot dog stand.  No?  Shit.

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The reason Sam's hair is so godawful is that they hope you'll be distracted by that and not by his absence from the script.

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Castiel and Claire say stuff.  Doesn't matter what.

Castiel and Claire do above-mentioned bonding, then Claire and her awful hairdo are gone with the wind.  She runs back to some dude in glasses named Randy, who manages to have not only no personality, but a degree of minus personality which is quite impressive.  He owes loan sharks, there's a kid in a Weiner Hut outfit, blah blah blah.  Bad Randy asks Claire to knock over a liquor store.

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Meanwhile, in Mildly Interesting Land, Crowley talks to Rowena, his mother.  It's a lame scene. Prior to letting her out, Crowley bitches to Gerald (a demon I love, which means he's dead meat):
“She was a horrible mother. Did I tell you the time she almost traded me for three pigs? Three! I was an attractive child, I could juggle. I was worth five pigs at least.”

Once Rowena appears, however, the dialogue takes a downward turn.  She left him when he was eight!  Poor widdle Crowley.  That's the best the show could come up with?  Abandonment issues?  Gerald has a MUCH better issue with his mother--she burned him with cigarettes.  Definite points to Gerald.  Get over it, Crowley, you little pussy.  The only good moment is Rowena admitting that Crowley was conceived during a winter solstice orgy.

Another thing: why is Hell so chintzy? I'm inclined to think there have been some major budget cuts on this show, probably to pay The Flash budget.  That show looks amazing.

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The grip on the set wrote this dialogue.

Gerald takes her back, then decides for no good reason to kill her.  Damn it!  Crowley asks him mother to join him.  Didn't this show used to star two brothers?

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Good-bye Gerald.  You would have made a good sidekick.

Castiel and the Winchesters repair to a tiki bar.  Dean's voice is so low Jensen Ackles is going to need a larynx transplant.  They talk about fathers; Dean tells a funny anecdote about going to a club when underage and his father dragging him out.  But when I'm hoping Dean will repeat (from "Dream A Little Dream") that his father was an obsessed bastard, Dean sings his praises, joined by Sam.  Fuck you, John Winchester.

Bad Randy has been cornered by the loan-sharks, led by a stereotype in a leather jacket and gold chains.  Stereotype demands Randy pay back or else.  Bad Randy hands over Claire.  Stereotype takes Claire upstairs for the obligatory near-rape scene.  We know she won't be raped because this isn't Law & Order: SVU, which I don't even watch but I'm beginning to think I should.

She fights back, but Castiel blasts open the door and takes Claire.  Castiel, Sam  Aren't you leaving, Dean?

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Sam is only thinking of his copy of Catcher In The Rye that he left in the car

The Stereotype and his gang beat up Dean.  Why isn't Sam in there?  "Holden Caulfield, you poor misunderstood kid. I get you, man."  The Stereotype doesn't realize beating the shit out of a guy who used to be a demon? Not a good idea.  Sam stops reading Catcher In The Rye when he hears the commotion inside.

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Look, Dean!  Sometimes dreams DO come true!

Sam, freaked, begs Dean to tell Sam he had no choice.  No can do, says Dean's expression.

So, after slogging through the previous hour, there are two good minutes at the end.

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Jeez, Jared's hands are as big as Jensen's head!

Random Thoughts:

I can't help it.  When the guys bond or reminisce, they look too old to be in this universe.  They make self-referential jokes about it. It makes me uncomfortable.

Wouldn't it have been twenty times as cool if Sam came in, jumped his brother, and restrained him the way he and Cas did last season?  Wouldn't it be cool if Sam had done...anything?  Fuck you, Jeremy Carver.

Next year: Dean goes off the deep end, Charlie re-appears, and Metatron is back!  I love Metatron.  He is such a joyous asshole.  Even if everything rapidly turns to shit, Metatron will be fun to watch.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Review, Supernatural Season 10, Episode 8, "Hibbing 911"

"Hibbing 911," written by Jenny Klein and directed by Tim Andrews, is a light, entertaining comedy involving an odd-couple of female sheriffs. Kim Rhodes and Brianna Buckmaster have real chemistry as no-bullshit Jody Mills and ray-of-sunshine Donna. 

Unfortunately, the episode also has the Winchester brothers. They are real wet blankets. Honestly, they are useless except to remind us at the end that the Mark of Cain is screwing up Dean. Not as badly as it did last season, but hey, we couldn't have more than a couple of episodes as a crazed demon, could we? I sure could have. Damn, they are boring. They might have been neutered, for all I know. (Note to self: never watch an early season episode before writing one of these.)

 Sam gets knocked out in every fight, the brothers get tied up, they do NOTHING inspired to mess up the monsters. Do they even bother with story boards, or they just xerox the same one over and over? When Sam was possessed by Gadreel, he had some pretty impressive fights, including when he and a demon crashed through a glass door, or when he was thrown into a clothes closet. Now, as I mentioned in my previous review, one punch and he's out. Come ON!! I hate to bring up early seasons, but...BAMF Sam, Research Sam, snarky to his brother Sam, angry Sam...I miss Sam.

Meanwhile, the Mark of Cain seems to have changed its power from Dean needing to kill to Dean needing to rub his arm once in a while and be kind of tense. Honestly, I don't have anything else to say about this episode.

Sheriff Jody Mills arrives at a Sheriffs' Retreat. She doesn't want to be there, in part because she's worried about leaving her former vampire daughter, Alex. One of the best running gags is Sheriff Mills arguing with Alex over the phone about not throwing a kegger in her surrogate mother's absence.

Once she gets there, she is greeted by an overpowering dose of sweetness in the form of Sheriff Donna, first seen last season in "Purge".

Donna's ex-husband, Doug, is also there.  Jody is partnered with Donna for the weekend. Jody can't get over how masochistic Donna is about her ex-husband. They sit at the bar, and Donna looks into the next room, where Doug is dancing with a pretty sheriff. Jody: “Honestly Donna, I just met the guy, but Doug seems like kind of a dick." Donna: “But he was my dick."

When Dean and Sam arrive, in their Fed suits, Jody gives Dean a hug, but saves the real juice for Sam--as who wouldn't?

"Don't mind us, we're contractually obligated to be here."
"But this episode would be so much better if you weren't!"
"Sorry, no can do."

Dean: “How’s Alex holding up?" Jody: “Awesome, already head of the cheer-leading squad." Sam: “Wow, really?" Jody: “No Sam, she smokes grass under the bleachers. But at least she’s not luring men to their deaths."

The plot: a group of vampires (who, for reasons unknown because it certainly wasn't necessary), eat all of the victims' flesh off their bones. What the fuck? Just go with it, if the people in charge don't care, why should I? Even if in the previous episode where Jody rescued Alex from her vampire family, they stuck close to the established lore?

Sam and Dean show up, Donna sees what she thinks is her boss killing someone, they all get caught and tied up in a barn...what? Oh, excuse me, I fell asleep.

Dean frees himself and goes wild on a couple of vamps, and Donna beheads the head vamp, an annoying teenager who's thousands of years old but never learned not to stop whining.

Donna has seen her sheriff friend with vamp teeth. And now needs a change of pants
"Donna, I understand.  I too once needed a change of pants."
Sam dutifully lets himself be knocked out by somebody smaller...again.

Meet the world's most annoying vampire

"Oh, crap, the writers think I'm Sam!"

Look! Even when he moves, that hair ain't going anywhere!

"I'm fine! The Mark of Cain isn't screwing with me at all! No, my nose isn't growing!"

"Gee, Dean, would be more interesting if I argued with you, but I'm busy being set decoration."

Random Thoughts

What are they doing with Sam's hair this season? It barely movies! Why don't they put him in one of these beanies he wears off-camera?

Is it me, or are Jensen and Jared barely trying anymore? They must be so tired of doing the same crap every season, even if they're not allowed to say so.

Next week: the midseason finale, wherein we are promised all sorts of awesome stuff. Yeah, right.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Big Evil Comes In Little Packages: Review, Supernatural S10, Ep7, "Girls, Girls, Girls"

This year, "Supernatural" is preceded by "The Flash," the CW's biggest hit, which has three times the budget of the older show. On my DVR, there is always the last minute or two of the Flash. While not as ludicrously funny as last year's "The Originals," it's getting old listening to the sleek eevvilll dude mutter at some creature or another.

This week's episode had many plot threads intertwining. Some let the audience know the show knows the outstanding questions that have been around for a a long time.  The foremost one being, what happens to the angel's human vessel?  Castiel has been in Jimmy Novak--tee hee, I'm twelve--for six years.  This writer has assumed that Jimmy Novak was killed the first or second time Cas was killed in Season 5.  "Like a bowl of chunky soup," as Chuck Shurley described it.  There's a lot of plot in this episode, so to try to stay with me, okay?

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It's the Shondells - the white girl version!

"Girls, Girls, Girls", written by the estimable Robert Berens and directed by Robert Singer* is first about demons forcing human females into prostitution, and using them to lure clients into signing over their souls.  Berens is particularly adept at writing female characters.  And there are plenty of them, which is a change of pace.

And the episode asks, how fucked up is Dean right now?  Some fans complain that this season the writers don't seem to know what to do about Sam, but I strongly disagree.  In Season 3, Dean's going to hell drove the season.  Since then:

4. Sam drank demon blood; Dean was tormented about his brother 5. Sam turned into Lucifer; Dean was tormented about his brother 6. Sam came back from Hell without his soul; Dean was tormented about his brother 7. Sam went crazy; Dean was tormented about his brother 8. Sam hit a dog and had the dullest flashbacks imaginable, then went through the Three Trials and nearly died; Dean was tormented about his brother (and a flicker of PTSD from being in Purgatory) 9. Sam got possessed by an angel, then was too pissed at Dean to speak to him through much of the season; Dean was tormented about his brother and, well pretty much everything.

I grant you, there are long stretches during the last two seasons where Sam's usefulness to the story was gone and he got Castiel's job of standing around watching the exposition.  And last year he got knocked out and tied up almost every episode.  Huh? Jared Padalecki is so big that if he stood up straight in front of an opponent they'd back away, saying, "Sorry, dude, uh, I gotta--gotta--byee!"  But the guy's got a glass jaw, as they say. One punch to the chin and down he goes.

So why not have Sam being tormented about his brother?  It's a nice change.  Besides, Sam is fun, giving Dean shit as only a little brother can.

THEN:  A series of scenes throughout the series about witches and how their magic involves too many body fluids.  Tiny Crazed Marine!  Angel stuff.

NOW: A young blonde hooker is running down an alley from someone.  Her boot heel snaps off, she grabs it and keeps running.  DUN!!!  Her pimp stands before her, grinning.

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This is actually Genevieve Padalecki in a blonde wig...don't tell anybody.

She stabs him in the eye with her boot heel.  You go, girl!!  It doesn't phase him.  He snaps her neck.  'Doh!

Sam and Dean sit in a steakhouse.  To my astonishment, Sam has a big ole steak in front of him.  Did he already eat the salad?  Is this out of character?  I'M STARTING A META!  Whoops.  Sorry.

Dean's phone is pinging away.  “Dude, you are blowing up. Who is that?”  Dean attempts to dodge the question, claiming it's “monster stuff.” Sam grabs Dean’s phone and discovers that his brother has a dating app.  There's a picture of Dean, with his real name and location.  Dean, what is wrong with you?  Don't you know that anyone can come in the bunker by now?

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"Impala 1967..."  Thanks, Jared, I just came.

“There’s like a million messages here,” Sam says, from a woman named Shaylene.  The problems I had with this and the following scene are 1) since when has Dean had to drive any distance for nookie? 2) he's done it with plenty of hookers, and so has Sam.  Thank God you suddenly developed standards in time for the plot device, Bowlegs.  It's a fun, brotherly scene.

Meanwhile, Castiel and Hannah are holed up in the motel room.  They exposit that most of the rogue angels have been rounded up, which begs the question, now what is Cas going to do with himself?  Meanwhile, Hannah strips down and announces she's going to take a shower.

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Sorry, gang, this is only gratuitous angel nudity I have to offer this go-round.

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"Castiel, are you displeased that I am not Dean?"

Dean is about to do the beast with two backs with Shaylene.  But she's a prostitute.  For payment, she wants Dean's soul.  Not again, Dean groans inside.  When her pimp shows up with the paperwork, the Winchesters are waiting.  "Winchesters," he drawls.  Can they keep a straight face at the table read when an actor says this any more?  Shaylene stabs him.  Dead Pimp worked for Raul's Girls, a whorehouse.  It's forced prostitution, hookers working for souls.  Why don't they use demon hookers?  I don't know.  And where's the demon blade?  There must be a warehouse full of angel blades somewhere.

Raul, sporting a nifty eyepatch, is issuing a command to his minion to beat the shit out of a recalcitrant prostitute (like we need more proof he's scum?).  The door opens, and a small redheaded woman with Morticia Addams eye makeup, in a long black dress enters. "Is this Raul's Gels?" she asks in a thick Scottish accent...hmmmm...

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I knew there was something fishy about that lead singer...

She's Rowena, a powerful witch who looks to be this season's Big Bad.  Damn.  I had so hoped Dean would be the Big Bad.  Maybe he can be the Medium Bad?  She's awfully tiny to be a big bad.  But wow, she's fierce.  She tosses Raul a hex bag, and he barfs up more crude oil than the Alaska pipeline. His fellow demon smokes out and the host body drops dead.  Answering the what-happens-to-the-demon-possessed side, perhaps?  She leaves with the remaining hookers, and the trio go to dinner at a fancy restaurant.  When the waiter gets snotty, she puts a spell on him.  Instantly, it's a 10-course tasting meal, on the house.  Scottish actress Ruth Connell's performance verges on drag queen.  An extremely dangerous wee drag queen.  Rowena's a flirty sociopath.

She is recruiting for a new coven.  The other two women are eager to join, even when Rowena kills the waiter for what seems to be no reason.

We might have our new Magnus!

Once Hannah is dressed, she starts to check out of the motel but is stopped by her vessel's husband, who addresses her as "Caroline."    She babbles out a lie that she left him for Cas, then gives Cas a big, wet kiss that leaves Cas shaken (and probably with a boner) and her husband devastated.  The angels split.

Sam finds the hex bag and spell on a web page that says "Bind and Purge."  There are a lot of illustrations, which makes it a little odd when Sam says only the witch who created it--Rowena--knows the spell.  It's right in front you, isn't it?

Meanwhile, a big biker demon is tied to a chair in a devil's trap, being doused with holy water by--TINY CRAZED MARINE!  Who, if anything, looks another decade older than he did in his last appearance.  Stress will do that to you.  I'm still wondering if he killed that librarian from "Reichenbach".  Collateral damage and all that.  Not much happens, but we know Tiny Crazed Marine is here and shit will get real.  Only it kinda doesn't.

Caroline, Hannah's vessel, is still in there.  When she saw her husband, she screamed at Hannah that she wanted her life back.  Hannah agrees with the original mission, that humans come first.  To that end, she leaves, and Caroline wakes up in Castiel's arms. "Castiel?" she says.  It must be noted that Hannah is a tiny little angel.  None of the huge roaring and white light that's accompanied all other angel comings and goings.  But it's a lovely image.  (How's Cas's borrowed grace going?  When are we going to see Metatron again?)

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"It's going to be such a relief not to have a clitoris any more."

After she leaves, Castiel gets back in the pimpmobile.  He takes out his laptop and looks up Jimmy Novak. There are several pictures of different Jimmys (including one of JN as "Employee of the Year") and a picture of Jimmy with MISSING under it.  "Where's the porn?" Castiel wonders.

Rowena and her coven-ettes are lounging at a hotel when two demons show up to drag them to Crowley.  Who, in an earlier scene, is aggravated that Raul and Demon #2 opened a brother to collect souls.

Demon #2:  "Raul said, your decree last month, soul deals way down after the war with Abaddon?  He said that you were looking at proactive and out of the box strategies to get numbers back up."
Crowley: "So you and your half-wit pal threw me into the sex trade? I'm evil.  That's just tacky."  Hee.

Demons come to drag Rowena and her coven-ettes to hell, but the Winchesters show up.  Rowena puts a spell on the blonde woman that turns her into a human attack dog.  Dean runs after Rowena while Sam locks Pit Bull Blonde in a closet.  Dean catches up to Rowena and puts the gun to her head, while the other coven-ette runs away--

"Put the gun down, Deano."  It's Tiny Crazed Marine.  That line alone made me want him to die.  Dean puts down the gun, the witch scrambles out of there.

First, Dean tries to make nice with Cole, saying he's not a demon any more.  And that Cole's dad was a monster.  Doesn't work.  Dean and TCM go at it.  Honestly, Travis Aaron Wade looks ridiculous in a fighting crouch, in part because then he barely clears Jensen Ackle's belt buckle.  Lots of punching and kicking guns out of the way.  For me, the best part was this:

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Tiny Crazed Marine is bested.  But Dean is the better (?) man. He hands Cole his own gun, and proceeds to give a speech.  Cole's father was a monster, which ate human livers.  Dean has never seen such a monster before or since.  That sounds incredibly lame.  I was hoping Tiny Crazed Marine would yell, "My father HATED liver," take a shot, miss, and then get knocked out.  But no, he stares at Dean with big, teary eyes, with "I wuvved dead Da-Da" as Dean goes on about how he went into the darkness and was brought back by "people who loved me." But "I'm past saving," he goes on.  Sam gives Tiny Crazed Marine--Crazed No Longer--a pep talk about family.  Staring at Dean, he says, "You family needs you. Whole."  OUCH!  Fucking anvil.  Cole gets into his Hummer and drives off.

What?  A guy spends his entire life on a quest for vengeance and gives it up because of a teary smear of self-pity and a pep talk?  WHAT?  Farewell, Tiny Crazed Marine, we barely knew ye.  He's going home to one pissed-off wife.  "Now that your quest for revenge is over, you better get a damn job!"   There's a possibility he'll be back, either because he realizes how lame that scene was, or he turns into the same never-before-seen monster his father was.

After the break, Sam asks if Dean meant that part about being "past saving."  I hope so, but I know Sam disagrees with me.

Crowley is taken to the witch, who has been tortured.  Rowena is hanging by chains, bloodied but just as nasty.  "Are you the King of Lilliput?" Crowley stares at her. She goads him,  "Cat got your tongue?" and meows.  It's great.

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Crowley says, "Mother?"   AND into credits!

Next week, Sheriff Jody Mills and a new partner join Sam and Dean for "Hibbing 911."

Random Thoughts:

I loved the phone scene.  But honestly?  They both look a little old to be doing this. Marie was on to something.

Sorry I slagged off Rowena in "Soul Survivor."  She's a welcome addition.  Crowley is going to be soooo whipped.

Also sorry that Hannah is gone.  I didn't care one way or another whether or not she and Cas hooked up.  The less angel war, the more badonkadonk, the better.

*After 10 years, how do you "direct" an episode?  Is it just pointing and nodding your head by now?

Screencaps by Gifs by

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Personal Post: Our trip to Europe, Days 1 & 2 - Drugs Are Not Always My Friend

So! On October 25, we traveled to Europe to be in London for our wedding anniversary, and then Paris for my birthday.  We have never been to Europe together.  Jeff's family traveled extensively, and I lived in London during my late teens/early twenties before I was deported.  Long story.  We were total tourists; had sent me two Rick Steves guides for my birthday. Jeff had one or the other with him at all times, and we weren't afraid to stand on the street going "buh?" as we found our way around.

We flew on Virgin Atlantic.  Since I despise flying, I insisted we book Premium Economy, which is worth EVERY PENNY.  Large leather seats, more legroom, everything free.  If we were drinkers we would have made out like bandits.  It's probably their equivalent to Business Class, which we've never flown.  Also individual tvs and great meals on plates with real utensils. When we boarded, we were offered free champagne, but we chose orange juice instead.  Rather than the red eye, we decided to spend Saturday traveling, leaving around 7 AM and getting in somewhere around 8. Don't ask me--I was so bombed on drugs I could have been in New Jersey.  We checked in at the Windermere Hotel on Warwick Way, south-west London near Victoria Station. The underground looked EXACTLY the way I remembered it.  The entire street was hotels!  This photograph is not mine; it shows the front of the hotel.

Windermere outside

Our room was at the very top.  I knew European hotel rooms are tiny, so I reserved a "superior double."  Look at all of that space to luxuriate in!

Windermere bedroom
The door is about a foot away, and there is a teeny shelf called a "desk".

The bathroom had a skylight!!  It felt like the height of luxury.  The one problem was that there were no bars in the shower, so Jeff had to help me in and out.  Our view was of the council housing (in New York, housing projects for the poor) outside.  I smashed into the bed while Jeff went for a walk around the hotel.

Windermere Hotel
Sorry for the blurriness.  You can see the council housing behind the hotel

Jeff's pictures are much sharper; I might have to snag them off Facebook.  Anyway, you can see the council housing behind us.  We're in the tiny rooms on the top.

There was a little restaurant below ground.  Every morning they offered a "full English breakfast": eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, mushrooms and baked beans.  There was also a little buffet of cereal and fruit salad.  We did mixes of the English breakfast every morning.  Except you couldn't pay me to eat the baked beans.  I ate beans on toast and spaghetti on toast constantly when I lived there.

Our first day, we arranged to meet a friend of Jeff's at a traditional restaurant called Brown's, which has locations all over the place.  We wanted the roast and Yorkshire pudding.  I should warn you now, there are no pictures of food.  We got hopelessly lost, and were extremely late. Andrew, Jeff's friend, was too damned gracious!  I kept insisting they sit next to each other, because it was so loud.  Andrew was so polite, "oh, no, no, you stay right there."

What Andrew didn't know was that I was still drunk from the drugs.  Shortly after this picture was taken, I fell asleep at the table!  Even THEN Andrew insisted I sit between them!  The food wasn't very good.  I wanted the pork roast, which they were out of, so I had chicken. Jeff said his mother made much better Yorkshire pudding. After that we ate at ethnic restaurants or suggestions from the guidebook.

Yours truly, about to faceplant into the Yorkshire pudding

I had to ask Jeff what we did for the rest of the day. He says we went to Covent Garden, which I have no memory of. We walked all day, so I was happy to smash into the bed again. As an American, I'm slightly grossed out by there being a white bottom sheet and a large white duvet with no top sheet. It was the same in both hotels. Why? Especially with the high stain risk?

Glad to finally get this posted!!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

What Ho, Winchesters! Review, Supernatural Season 10, Episode 6, "Ask Jeeves"

Pity the episode that has to follow Number 200!  It could be "The End," and it would still be overshadowed by the massive hype and fan-love "Fan Fiction" engendered.  Written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, directed by John MacCarthy, "Ask Jeeves" is a lightweight comic episode.  In terms of the series arc, it felt strange to have one now.  But then thank GOD Dean busted out his dark side at the end, when he emptied his gun into the MOTW.  Oops, spoiler. 

THEN:  Dean as a demon (good sign!), shapeshifters, werewolves, you name 'em, they got 'em.

 NOW:  A rich woman, Bunny Lacroix, has died.  Philip, the butler, instructs two young maids to 1) get burial clothes for Bunny 2) clean the bathrooms.  Already I know the one who cleans the toilets gets to live because the promo picture showed the detective dead in the toilet.  Young Maid #1 decides to steals Milady's pearls, but Milady shows up, large as life in Chanel, and Young Maid #1 falls off the balcony, crashes through a glass table, and dies. 

Something I've observed is that when Jared Padalecki doesn't like a script, he mugs.  Why have only one facial expression when you can have seven?  Jensen Ackles's coping mechanism is phoning it in.  He doesn't, but Jared's ceaseless facial expressions are distracting.  Dean and Sam are once again outside a fleabag motel--why are they not at the bunker?--drinking teeny cups of flavored coffee.

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Don't you dare try to tell me this tastes like pie! 

Long story short:  Bobby has been summoned to the reading of Bunny's will.  Hoping for beer money, Sam and Dean head off to the Lacroix mansion.  There they are met by the Lacroix clan, a greedy group who can't stand each other.  I have a problem with casting a beautiful woman five years older than Jensen Ackles (Gillian Vigman) as a grotesque cougar, as is the other woman (Debra McCabe) lusting after Sam. 

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As you can see, a woman around 40 is disgusting. Eew 

At one point Sam is on the couch, testing visitors with a silver butterknife down his cuff.  Cuddled next to one woman,"Come on in, darlin', the water's warm," he says to the other with a smile.  I don't remember much after that.  

There are some nice jokes: after Collette, the first maid, dies, Philip the butler covers up by saying she went to clown college.  For the rest of the episode she is referred to as "Clown College Collette" and it gets funnier every time.  The ladies are into Sam (as they should be).  Dean is referred to as "the cute, dumb one."  Sorry, can't remember the context! This episode is based on the board game "Clue," about which I haven't one.  

The bodies pile up, and the killer is a shapeshifter.  Bunny's daughter Olivia, masquerading as a maid.  Olivia's father was a shapeshifter with whom Bunny had an affair.

Let's pause there.  It must have been a blast to be with a guy who could be ANYONE you wanted, from John Wayne to Marilyn Monroe to Lance Armstrong.  

Bunny passed off the child as Lance's.  The original father came back to get her and was killed by Bobby.  Bunny locked Olivia in the attic for the rest of her life.  There isn't a whole lot of logic to the story, especially since the attic looks like no one had been up there in many years.  Maid outfit or no maid outfit, Olivia sucks at housecleaning.  Not knowing Bobby is dead (for now), Olivia summoned him to the will reading.

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 The butler didn't do it.  Sam and Dean stand by and listen to the exposition. Dean is still mad about that coffee.

For those who drool over Sam Winchester, my main memories are the many times he got to show himself off like the man-cake he is.  When he and Olivia are circling around the kitchen with guns, I was more distracted by the lovely sheen of sweat at the base of Sam's neck then the tension.  His hair was short but oh-so-fluffy.

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 "Sorry, dude, but all the screencaps Elisa found are of me.  Can you blame her?" "Bitch."  

Dean gets the drop on Olivia and shoots her.  And shoots her. And shoots her and shoots her and shoots her and shoots her.  He is lit in close-up with his eyes hidden in shadow, making them look black.  

When it's time to leave, he almost punches out the one decent person there, a guy named Dash.  Sam looks concerned--now it's HIS turn--and asks Dean why did he empty an entire clip into the maid?  Dean blows him off with the kind of dangerous tone he used last season when he announced, "this is a dictatorship".  Then he leans over and cranks the music good and loud. That had me fist-pumping and yelling, "Now that's what I'm talking about!" at my cat.  My cat didn't give a crap. 

So that's it. I don't have much to say because...what can I say?  It was an entertaining hour, and one that I doubt I'll rewatch. 

Next week: "Girls, Girls, Girls".  Dean gets a dating app!  Crazed horny witches!  Crowley's--uh, oh, almost spoiled you there.  By one of my fave writers, Robert Berens. 


Does anyone actually use the word WASP any more? 

Did anyone else think the glass all over the floor around the maid looked fake?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Carry On, My Wayward Winchesters: Review, Supernatural Season 10, Episode 5, "Fan Fiction"

When Jeremy Carver said that the 200th episode of "Supernatural" was a "love letter to the fans," groans could be heard throughout the land.  Then came the promo stills of a girls' high school.  High school girls doing a musical about "Supernatural".  One fan tweeted it beforehand with the hashtag #Atrocity.  The knives were sharpened and ready.

This was the Internet's response after seeing "Fan Fiction," written by Robbie Thompson and directed by Phil Scgriccia.

9x16 boys dancing

 My twitter timeline exploded.  I rewatched three times in a row until my eyes felt like boiled eggs.  This is "Supernatural: The Musical" in the best possible sense.

 I'm stumped as to how to properly review this episode.  It is packed with in-jokes, fan references, and more meta than you can shake a wooden stake at.   Maybe I should have asked a non-fan to do it, because God knows, I'm biased.

A throwaway line from Sam wondering if there's anything there besides "The Charlie Kaufman of it all," is a brilliant reference to the film Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman about a blocked screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman (Nicholas Cage) who is trying to write an adaptation of the (real) non-fiction book The Orchid Thief.  It is trippy and hilarious, rather like "Fan Fiction."


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NOW: In a high school auditorium, a group of Catholic school girls are rehearsing "Supernatural: The Musical."  Marie (Katie Sarife), the director, is a tiny tyrant who stomps around in a director's beret (but no jodhpurs), accompanied by her technical director, Maeve (Joy Regullano, marvelously deadpan).  The rehearsal turns stormy and the drama teacher slams out, vowing to shut down the show.  "Theater is life!" she yells into her cell phone.  "Why couldn't they put on Godspell like good little skanks?"  Suddenly, a giant scarecrow creature wraps its vines around her and they vanish. Marie is looking at a cheaply made marquee sign saying "Supernatural."  "It needs something," she says:

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The only one they missed is my favorite, Season 4.  Dang.

We first see Dean in a tight t-shirt, cleaning Baby's fire-red engine, drinking a cup of coffee and standing like a male model, which is obviously intentional, playing on fandom's obsession with Jensen Ackles.

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"Worship my unreal beauty, slaves."

Sam steps out in a v-neck layer, hair oddly flat. It remains that way throughout the episode--one clanging wrong note.  But since my dream is to take down Jared Padelecki in a flying tackle, I'm giving it a pass. Both actors get to display their comic chops, particularly Ackles. Dean wants to work, so they speed off to the school where the teacher disappeared. 

They enter the auditorium only to see a girl with a trucker's cap and glue-on beard practicing saying "idjits." Horrified, the brothers watch a young girl dressed as "Dean," with blond wig and painted on facial hair launch into a song called "The Road So Far" about the beginning of their lives.  The camera tilts and swings as the Winchesters stare at the stage, replicating their brains imploding.

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Sam starts to say, "I think it's charming--" but is stopped by Dean's glare.  Sam was briefly a "theater kid" who acted in high school staple 'Our Town,' and did tech for 'Oklahoma'.  Marie thinks they're publishers, disappointed that they are merely "FBI hunters."  Sam sees the "Winchesters" onstage holding out FBI badges, so he quickly stuffs his into his pocket and introduces them: "I'm Agent Smith, and this is Agent..." "Smith," Dean finishes. "No relation."

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Marie and Maeve are not impressed.

Dean: "There is no singing in Supernatural! If there was singing, and that’s a big if, if there was singing, it would be classic rock. Not this Andrew Floyd Webber crap!" Sam: (under his breath) "Andrew Lloyd Webber." Apparently this was improvised.

"We're teddy bear doctors!"

 To keep his brother from completely losing it, Sam suggests he go with Maeve and Dean go with Marie to look in the teacher's office for cursed objects.  As Dean walks backstage, he sees "Sam" and "Dean" leaning against the prop Impala, talking.  When he asks what that is:

Marie: “They’re rehearsing the B.M. scene." 
Dean: “The bowel movement scene?" 
Marie: “No, the boy melodrama scene. You know, the scene where the boys get together and they’re driving or leaning against Baby, drinking a beer, sharing their feelings. The two of them, alone but together, bonded." 

Sam goes to up to the tech booth.  He starts to reminisce about his days as a techie, but Maeve shuts him down and leaves, warning him, "Don't touch anything."  Of course, Sam starts playing with the lights until the actors stare at him with "what the hell?" all over their faces.

When Dean and Marie go into the teacher's office (I demand to know who posed as Shakespeare holding a jackalope's instead of Yorik's skull), Dean puts his hand on a spaceship helmet.  Marie says since the Carver Edlund books had such an unfinished ending, Dean with Lisa and Sam back from Hell, she wrote her own ending. Dean: “You wrote your own ending? With spaceships?" 

Marie: “And robots. And some ninjas...and then Dean becomes a woman." BWAHHAAAHAA!  Since I'm not a fan of anything except Supernatural crack, I love that line. You could consider this whole episode (or most of it) as crack if you wanted to.  Which I want to. Marie defends it as "transformative fiction," which is an argument in fandom as old as time. 

Dean tells her what really happened.  This is done in a long, unbroken tracking shot as they walk back to the auditorium. “Sam came back from Hell, but without his soul. Then Cas brought in a bunch of Leviathans from Purgatory. They lost Bobby. And then Cas and Dean got stuck in Purgatory. Sam hit a dog. They met a prophet named Kevin, they lost him too. Then Sam underwent a series of trials in an attempt to close the Gates of Hell, which nearly cost him his life. And Dean became a demon, Knight of Hell actually."  He finishes with a proud smile.  Marie says that is the worst fanfiction she has ever heard, and says she needs to send him links (hee!)


Sam remarks that besides "the Charlie Kaufman of it all, I don't see a case." Of course they are leaning against Baby. The brothers also find out about "Destiel."  Going back to the car, Sam observes, "Shouldn't it be DEEstiel?" Despite the elder Winchester's freaking out, Sam muses, "Samstiel.  Sastiel.  CasDean?"  "SHUT YOUR MOUTH!"

When the actress playing "Sam" quits, despite Marie's pleas, she is also taken by the monster.  I'm going to skip ahead before this entire review turns into a moment by moment recap.  Suffice to say they discover  that the monster behind all of this is Calliope, the Muse.  She takes away all of those who interfere with the author's vision--then she eats the author.  This is extremely bizarre, but whatever.  The show must go on.  Marie grabs a wig to play "Sam," (from her one-woman "Orphan Black" show) and announces, "Let's Barbra Streisand this bitch!"

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Dean gathers the cast for a pep talk.  He admits Marie's vision isn't his vision, but hearkening back to his Braveheart speech, he announces that “there is no other road, no other way, no day but today.” Maeve: “Did he just quote Rent?" Marie: “Not enough to get us in trouble." (Hee!)

The show goes on.  Marie warns the audience to put on the ponchos under their seats after admitting the show could be a "Gallagher."

Sam and Dean prowl backstage.  It's a symphony of sight gags as "Dean" sings the opening song, "The Road So Far" (which is STILL running through my head, you bastards!).

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 Same production values as the show itself!

The monster appears and takes Sam away.  He wakes up in the basement, along with the teacher and the student.  Another fantastic moment is a parody of Sam being flung against the wall, this time sloooowly, his feet skidding across the floor.  Calliope appears, and explains why she is particularly interested in "Supernatural": “Supernatural has everything: Life, death, resurrection, redemption. But above all, family. All set to music you can really tap your toe to. It isn’t some meandering piece of genre dreck. It’s epic."

That sound you hear is the Internet breaking.

Dean chases the scarecrow monster backstage, but it throws him across the stage while "Sam" is singing a song about "Dean," "A Single Manly Tear."   In the basement, Sam kills Calliope. At the same time, bellowing "NO CHICK FLICK MOMENTS!" "Sam" stabs the scarecrow.  It shuffles towards the edge of the stage and explodes into a mass of purple goo.  Sam(s) save the day!

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I need to know what exactly this shot is imitating!  "Jeremy"?

At the end of the show, the cast joins together for a haunting acoustic rendering of "Carry On, My Wayward Son."  Not only was this the first time in several seasons that I haven't wanted to commit suicide upon hearing it (there will never be peace! They will never be done! Never, I tell you!), it made me cry.

"Who's he?" Dean asks, pointing at one of the actors.
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"Still in Hell, God, still in hell..."

“That’s Adam, John Winchester’s other kid. He’s still trapped in the cage. In Hell. With Lucifer.” THANK YOU ROBBIE THOMPSON, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

When the show is over, Marie gives Dean the prop "Samulet," which Dean hangs on Baby's rear-view mirror. Dean graciously tells Marie:


The Winchesters drive off into the sunset.  Back in the theater, Marie is accepting the last of the congratulations and flowers. Maeve told her that somebody picked up the producer's ticket.  Her mouth dropping in awe, as the camera slowly turns around, Marie faces:

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Rob Benedict has a renewed reason to do all of those conventions

GOD!  I mean, Chuck!  I mean Carver...oh what the hell, you know what I mean.  By the time this appears, the nit-picking will probably have started, but I'm satisfied, and that's what's important.  

Stuff: Thank you, Robbie Thompson, for the continuous fan-speak, making "fake" Destiel canon, Castiel's song "I Wait For You," and ADAM!!  A million fans will now stop bitching that the writers forgot about the poor bastard.  For saying that Sam and Dean are "too old" to be Sam and Dean.  All the characters: Crowley, Ash, Jody Mills, the Harvelles, the Samulet, etc.  AND NOBODY DIED.

 Canon Problems: You know I had to.  So, if Chuck has been alive all of this time, what's happened to Kevin?  Is Chuck back for good?  Does this mean there is a God?  Is God going to bitch-slap Dean, not to mention Metatron?  If Calliope the Muse is dead, does that mean that around the globe, all writers will instantly have permanent writer's block?  I had it for five years, and it's a bitch.

Hey, at least Dean didn't go demon on Marie's ass.  He's saving it for the next appearance of Tiny Crazed Marine.

Next week: "Clue" comes to life.

Screencaps courtesy of

GIFS courtesy of fiercelynormal at