Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dull Edge: Supernatural Review, Episode 9x12, "Sharp Teeth"

After the high-octane intensity of the recent episodes, it's FILLER TIME!  "Sharp Teeth," written by Adam Glass and directed by John Showalter, was took one of the most fun, quirky characters, Garth, and turned him into a sweet, skinny guy.  And I think removed Garth from Supernatural.  Quit doing that! Kevin's dead, Charlie's in Oz, and now Garth is a werewolf living in a good Christian pack.  At this rate all we'll have is Sam and Dean standing there staring at each other across the Impala, endlessly talking.

From "The French Mistake" (written by Ben Edlund):
BOB You know, the part where they hit the window is the good part.
KEVIN Well, we can clean up, reset the window, takes about 95 minutes, basically. So, we'd have to blow off the scene where they sit on the Impala and talk about their feelings.
BOB Ha. Right. You answer the hate mail.

Episode by the Numbers!
1) Man is saved/changed by love of a good woman:  check
2) A tremendous amount of clunky exposition and virtually no action: check
3) Dean clenching his jaw, raspy voice, and wanting to kill everything in sight: check
4 ) Monster talking about why they are good monsters, even if they used to be bad: check
5) Sam tied up: check
6) Unexpected (but not really) villain who gives one of those lame this-is-why-I'm-killing-you speeches which give Dean enough time to bust in and save the day: check.
7) Talk at Impala at the end, which was by far the best part.

THEN:  Dean tricked Sam, Kevin is dead, "I'm poison, Sam!" "Go" , the mark of Cain will make the First Blade work. Montage of Garth being delightful, including my favorite moment.  When he looks at the funny papers and says, "Marmaduke, you so crazy!"  So we're in for delightful shenanigans?  Uh, no.

NOW:  Wisconsin. A dark farm.  A cow howls in pain.  The farmer comes running, gun in hand.  A tall skinny man runs out.  The farmer shoots at him, but misses.  The man is Garth, and he runs into an oncoming car.

As usually happens, Dean and Sam both arrive to investigate the case.  They find Garth unconscious in a hospital bed. Dean's ready to pump Garth full of adrenaline to wake up him, but Sam slaps Garth in the face, which does the trick. Garth wakes up, hysterical, and runs into the bathroom to puke up what sounds like an entire cruise line buffet.  While waiting, FOR ONCE they have a straightforward conversation. Sam tells Dean about the Gadreel trace, Dean tells Sam about the mark of Cain. Sam doesn't seem to care, except Dean was on a hunt with Crowley.  Both are tentative, and Sam is decidedly wary throughout the episode.

The vomit-a-thon has stopped.  When they investigate, the window's open and Garth's hospital robe is on the ground.  The car belongs to a Beth Myers.  They go into her apartment, bust in, and find Garth.  A female werewolf jumps out, but Garth begs the brothers to chill, because he's a werewolf, too.  If I hadn't seen this 50 times in the promos I might have been surprised. I was soooo hoping this was a misdirect.  My bad. 

Garth takes Dean to meet Beth's pack.  Beth was born a werewolf, whereas Garth is a "bitten," which is a nice callback to the Alpha story in season six. Garth got bitten, became a werewolf, yada yada, met Beth and turned his life around.  Wait, wasn't that the last episode?  No, wait, it's only similar, not exactly the same.  Right.  What is it with this damn show that keeps saying that getting with a good woman is the only way to change your life?  Not moral reasons, not intellectual choices, but the love of a good woman.  Excuse me, I have to go imitate Garth and puke.

SPN_912 Bess
"Meet the wife."

The pack turn out to be humble hymn-singing Christians, their leader Reverend Jim, Beth's father.  Her stepmother, Joy, is a sweet home-maker type who assures Dean that he's safe.  The next scene is great: Dean sits at a large table, surrounded by polite werewolves eating bloody entrails, hands and faces bloody.  "There's pie!" Joy assures him.  Heh.

spn_912 family dinner
The werewolf equivalent of the Atkins diet

Joy is a fourth-generation werewolf (they prefer "lycanthropes").  Forgive me if I don't remember exactly what happened for a bit, Dean going to the Reverend Jim's church to find there's a cult that wants to destroy mankind, Reverend Jim shows up and is all, no, that's not the way we are, we're good now.  The brothers are called to see a ripped-up deer, the sheriff is a werewolf, Sam gets hit by a tire iron and wakes up tied to a tractor.  We good?

Oh, right, short heartfelt scene between Dean and Garth where they compete to see who's guiltier of Kevin's untimely demise. "It's on me," Dean declares.  No it isn't, it's on the angel you let into Sam and then lied about to both Sam and Kevin.  Especially Kevin.  You'd explain that spell to Kevin, he might still be with us.  But let's not cry over spilled prophets.

Back at the barn, Beth and Garth are chained up, and Sam's tied up.  Must be Tuesday.  Do you think having Sam tied up keeps the fights from being short and simple?  Sam's bigger than anyone in the cast ever and he could take out most of the villains without trying too hard.  They probably wouldn't need this trope if Jared Padalecki was 6 feet even.  Then Jensen would be "the tall one."  Boy, I bet that gets Jensen pissed.  But I digress.

spn_912 lame villain
"I don't need this gun, I'm going to exposition-dump you to death."

Outside, Dean fights with and ices two cousins. At the time, I'd wondered why they'd mostly shot Garth in the dark, especially when he wolfed out.  Now I know why:

SPN_912 Garth werewolf
Garth makes a really sucky werewolf. The sweater vest doesn't help.

Joy blathers on about being in the Bad Werewolf Cult which will exterminate humans--evidently she hasn't run the numbers--and repeatedly slaps Beth.  Earlier Beth said, "she couldn't have been more of a mother to me."  Mommy Dearest slaps her again.  Sam kicks the gun out of her hand with his long, lovely, strong legs...gimme a minute...okay...Dean busts in, ices yet another cousin, then he shoots Joy through the heart with a silver bullet.

spn_912 lame villain two
"Shit! I just bought this blouse!"

The next morning, Beth is consoling her father.  Garth sees Sam and Dean to the door.  Sam and Dean hug Garth and leave.  Sam's driving a really cool bright blue Dodge Charger.  "Send me a postcard," Dean says, and Sam gets out of the Impala.  Then Dean thinks, and also gets out of the Impala.  "Hey," he calls to his brother.

Dean: That night that we went our separate ways--
Sam: You mean the night you split?
Dean : Fair enough. I was messed up. Kevin was dead and I...I don't know what I was.
Sam: Okay.
Dean: Hell, maybe I still don't. But I took a piece of you in the process and for that... *Somebody changed the playbook, man. Right is wrong and wrong is more wrong. I just know that when we rode together....
Sam: We split the crappiness.
Dean: Yeah, so....
Sam: Okay.
Dean: Okay. Sam: Something's broken here, Dean.
Dean : I'm not saying it's not. I'm just saying...we put a couple of W's on the board and we can get past all this.
Sam: I don't think so. I wish, but...we don't see things the same way anymore. Our roles in this whole thing. Back in that church...talking me out of boarding up Hell...or tricking me into allowing Gadreel to possess me. I can't trust you. Not the way I thought I could. Not the way I should be able to.
Dean: Okay, but...whatever happened...we're family.**
Sam: You say that like it's a cure-all.  Like it can change the fact that everything that has ever gone wrong between us has been because we're family.
Dean: So...we're not family now?
Sam: I'm saying, you want to work, let's work. You want to be brothers.... Those are my terms.

SPN_912 Dean end
"Sammy, don't be so meeaan!"

* How about a nice "I'm sorry" right there, Dean?  Would've worked wonders.
** "We're family."  You told Kevin you would die for him.  He's dead.  You told Cas he was family. Then kicked him out of the bunker without explanation.  Walter White's mantra "I'm doing this for my FAMILY."   Which kind of means nothing here, but it's what I hear every time the word "family" comes up.

Dean comes closer to an apology, but here's the thing: he's still not really apologizing.  He told Garth, "Kevin's death is on me."  If you mean, "Kevin's death is my fault," that's right, but why are you erasing the part where Sam's possessed body, his possessed hands, killed Kevin?  And the others?  And now Sam knows about it?  I still can't believe Dean doesn't get how violating that is.  Particularly Sam, who keeps trying to do the right thing but ends up doing the wrong thing.  He drank demon blood in the mistaken belief that killing Lilith would prevent Lucifer from walking the earth.  Both brothers make mistakes, but it was Souless!Sam who actually did shitty things to Dean.  Like throwing him to the vampires.

Do I think Dean hurts?  Oh hell yeah.  He's heartbroken.  Sam is his whole life, and Dean can't evolve past that point.  Which means Dean will always be let down, because his brother is a grown man with different needs.  Dean is not Sam's whole life any more.  Sam told Death that when he died, "This time will be final.  And nobody gets hurt because of me."  We know he meant Dean.  And now not only Dean, but others have been hurt because Dean could not respect Sam's choices, his autonomy, the fact that Sam is a separate person.  So Sam doesn't trust Dean.  Frankly, I don't trust Dean either.  Sam gazed at Dean during this scene as if he was thinking, "Oh, shut up."

SPN_912 Sam
Sam is so done with this crap

Next week promises the boys in workout gear.  I don't care if the episode sucks donkey balls because BOYS! WORKOUT GEAR!  DEAN IN A HAIRNET!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Citizen Cain - Review, Supernatural 9x11 "First Born"

"First Born" was written by Robbie Thompson and directed by JOHN FUCKING BADHAM, y'all (Psych! War Games! SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER! RESPECT!).  That probably accounts for the excellent intertwining of the two stories, the admirable acting, and the great little comic moments.  The latter are brought to you by the consummate ham Mark Sheppard as Crowley.  He's just adorable.  Or maybe I'm more twisted than I realize. There is never a shot he's in that he's not stealing the scene, even when he's not in focus.

As I've written before, I love episodes where the brothers are separated.  They have to react in new ways with other people.  In this episode, Sam and Cas get to have some serious bonding time. THEN: We open in 1863, where terrified soldiers are yawping "He's coming!"  And herewith enters Timothy Omundson.  And
damn, is he HOT.

SPN_911 Cain superhot
hubba hubba!

It's Cain, from the original band, Cain and Abel.  He takes out the soldiers.  We see the outside of the cabin, where red light streams out in the patented Supernatural "big effin' lights" manner.

NOW: Dean is drinking in a bar.  He's scruffy.  Throughout the show it's distracting how perfectly the scruff is angled over his cheekbones and the sides of his mouth.  His jaw is so clenched he needs a mouthguard before all of his teeth break.

SPN_911 Dean clenched

Crowley appears next to him, flirtatiously twirling a carnation.  Dean pulls out the demon knife.  Uh, Dean?  Yes, Crowley is an evil King of Hell, but he pulled your brother out of the crapper last week, then let you escape when he faced down Abbadon.  Crowley wants to find the one thing that will kill Abbadon: the First Blade.  The information is in "John's Man Cave," as Crowley calls the storage unit. "How do I know this isn't a trap?" Dean demands.  "You don't. That's what makes it fun," says Crowley.

Meanwhile, Castiel discovers that he can no longer enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the way he did when he was human.  Now he tastes all of the molecules, and finds it disgusting.  "I miss you, PB&J."  Immediately I thought of the half-eaten sandwich and glass of milk on the table that Kevin left behind.  Cas has been healing Sam.  But when Cas gives the finishing touch he discovers that Sam is still "resonating."

SPN_911 Dean jaw

In John's storage room, Crowley makes a joke about being "practically family."  Dean slams the King of Hell.  "We are the furthest thing from family!"  In this episode, Dean says a lot of stuff about "family," which kept distracting me.  Because Walter White on "Breaking Bad" was always saying "I am doing this for my FAMILY" while shoving someone's head into a meat grinder.

Dean discovers a an 8x10 headshot of a woman, which leads them to "Tara's Pawnshop."  She is a retired hunter, and a hot muscular woman over 40.  She's also a great character, which means she's toast.  Tara went demon-hunting with John Winchester, as well as a frisky weekend.  But he never called.  So John didn't only suck as a father, he also sucked as a hunter with benefits.  When Crowley and Dean enter her shop, Tara splashes holy water on Dean (that never gets old).  She has a tracking spell for the First Blade but lacks "essence of Kraken."  Crowley has Kraken in a warehouse in Belize. So Tara shoots a hole in the Devils Trap under the rug and Crowley disappears.  He reappears and the three of them brew up some disgusting guck that burns a map, leaving Missouri.  (Does anyone remember Ruby burning the map and then saying, "Out!"  No, neither do I.)  Once they leave, a trucker demon comes in. Tara is screwed.  No Devils Trap. Wah-wah.

SPN_911 Tara

Back at the bunker, Sam and Castiel research what is resonating in Sam's head.  Turns out the MOLs were onto how an angel works way before Crowley stuck a pin in Samandriel's head.

SPN_911 Inner Workings of Angels

Sam is still carrying some of Gadreel's grace inside of him, a holy thumbprint.  If Castiel can remove the grace, they can track the angel.  It involves an enormous phallic needle.  Major fanservice ahoy!

SPN_0911 Cas Sam give it to me
"Come on, Cas, push it in deeper, keep going!"

OH yeah.  Originally Jared Padalecki was supposed to play the scene shirtless.  Too many fans would have died, so he had to keep his t-shirt on. Cas pushes in further, Sam screams (why do these reviews end up sounding porny?  I'm looking at you, Supernatural).  As Cas removes more grace, Sam's body regresses to the state it was in when Gadreel took over.  Sam is ready to die“My life isn’t worth more than anyone else’s. Not yours, or Dean’s… or Kevin’s.”

Ever since "Sacrifice" Sam has been suicidal.  I don't get it...isn't Sam the one who saw the light at the end of the tunnel?  Doesn't Sam understand possession? Why is he okay with dying?  Isn't that Dean's attitude?  Maybe Carver thought the show would benefit from two suicidal brothers, not just one.

Dean and Crowley pull up at a rundown house.  A beekeeper tends bees outside.  Crowley freaks, saying they should leave.  But it's too late.  The beekeeper takes off his hood, and it's Cain.  The deadliest demon that ever walked the earth.  But he seems nice enough.

SPN_911 Cain hot

He invites the lads in for tea, with honey he gathered himself (shades of Crazy!Cas).  Crowley is shitting his pants, but Dean gets a whole new level of clenched jaw and gravel voice.  Is he in a contest with Crowley? Cain trained the Knights of Hell, but now he's "retired."  Basically, he doesn't give a shit, and warns Dean and Crowley that he's going out to do some errands and they better not be there when he gets back.

SPN_911 Dean Crowley Cain
You're grinding your molars, Dean, loosen up!

So of course Dean and Crowley search the house.  When Cain returns, so do dozens of demons, eager to get I'm not sure who.  Crowley?  Cain?  The First Blade?  Cain's really amazing entertainment system?

Cain sits at the kitchen table, shucking corn, and lets in a few demons in for a fight-fest with Dean.  It's an action-packed scene, one of the best fight scenes in years.  Jensen Ackles did all of his own stunts, which gives it that kick from knowing that "Dean" won't be doing that stunt guy thing of averting his face.  As the brawl swirls around him, Cain shucks corn and gets himself a beer.  In the front room, Crowley offs a young demon, with a great line:

SPN_911 I'm Crowley
"You're good...but I'm Crowley."

In the end, Cain confesses that he slew the Knights of Hell.  All except Abbadon, who possessed his wife Colette.  Cain carried the first blade (it's the jawbone of an ass, easy to see why they didn't put that into script), and tried to kill Abbadon, but she smoked out and his wife died instead, first begging him to stop killing.

SPN_911 Bobby redux
Bobby redux

Cain rolls up his sleeve to show them a large red scar. “From Lucifer himself,” Cain says. The mark and blade work together, one is useless without the other. And then Cain drops a bomb on Dean and Crowley: “Abel wasn’t talking to God. He was talking to Lucifer. Lucifer was going to make my brother into his pet, and I couldn’t bear to watch him be corrupted, so I offered a deal: Abel’s soul in heaven for my soul in hell. Lucifer accepted, as long as I was the one who sent his soul to heaven. So I killed him.”  Cain doesn't have the blade--he threw it into the deepest part of the ocean.

Back in the bunker, turns out there was not enough grace to accomplish the spell.  Sam is completely healed--what?  He went back to "almost dead" while Cas was pulling out his grace.  "Sam is damaged in ways that even I can't heal," Cas had said back in Season 8.  So why does it work in the blink of an eye?  Continuity be damned. But Sam understands what Cas said to him.  He wraps the surprised angel in a bear hug, then says, "now you hug back."

  SPN_911 Cas Sam Hug SPN_911 Sam Cas Hug 2


Cain gives the mark to Dean (more SPN armpreg) because he and Dean are "kindred spirits", in other words, killers.  Dean doesn't want to know the cost or burden of having the mark.  "Let's dance," he rasps out.  Oh, Dean, when did you decide to be the toughest guy in the prison yard?  Cain tells Dean the story about Collette, and Dean's all, "yeah, yeah, too bad, but enough about you."

He makes Dean promise to come find him when he calls, and kill Cain at that time “for what I’m about to do.” He puts Crowley and Dean outside the cabin with a single touch, then lets all the demons in and wipes out every last one of them.  Cue screams and red light pouring out of windows.

It's nighttime by the Impala.  "You are worthy, you know," Crowley says.  Again, this is that speck of humanity that's been peeking out around Crowley's edges.  "Nobody hates you more than you do.  Believe me, I've tried."  Truer words were never spoken.  By now Dean is being driven by despair, self-hatred, and guilt, all turned up to 11.

Dean calls Crowley out for his "trap."  Crowley freely admits he knew all about Cain, the First Blade, all of it.  When Dean gets upset that Tara was killed, Crowley shrugs, "Omelets, eggs. etc."   Dean punches him. 

Crowley broadly hints that Dean should contact his brother, but Dean brusquely tells Crowley to go find the Blade. With Crowley gone, Dean rolls up his sleeve, grimacing in pain as the mark of Cain glows bright.

Stray Thoughts:

Two phrases need to be stricken from all further SPN scripts:  "I get it"  and "I'm/we're done."

In an earlier Kripke season, we were told that Dean and Sam are directly descended from Cain and Abel (correct me if I'm wrong).  Even though it's not brought up, the parallels in the stories are well done and not anvilicious.

Could Dean smile or make a joke?  Just once?  I miss goofy!Dean.  While life has stomped the goofiness out of him, he still has a sense of humor.  It would be nice to see it once in a while.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It's Freezing and My Dog Has Cabin Fever

It is in the single digits here.  I'm thankful that the heat has been fixed! ("Thankfully" is a descriptive term, as in "He received the presents thankfully".)  The apartment is still somewhat cold, but we're not running around screaming as we pull our clothes on! The vet has told me not to take Fletcher out in this weather. 

Which means he's using the wee-wee pads in the bathroom (ugh) and going crazy from lack of exercise.  I play with him for a few minutes, but then he loses interest.  But once I start something, he bats me with his paddle-sized paws.  Right now he's stretched out in the sun.

Fletcher sleeping soon as I wrote that, Rupert the cat drove him off the sunlit couch and took it over.  Fletcher is now looking at me pathetically from the other side of the room.

I'm having some trouble concentrating because I haven't taken my meds yet.  Crap on a cracker. Remember, kids, take your medicine or you'll end up sitting slackjawed in front of a computer like me!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Today, In Embarassing News

We were running late to go to the opera (la-di-da!) and as usual my hair refused to do anything but look wrong, I was stressing out on what to wear on a freezing night, and by the time I got those issues straightened out, I realized I hadn't put any makeup on.

Those who have met me personally know that I don't often wear makeup, but going to the opera calls for makeup.  I squirted this Almay stuff that says it will magically match your skin tone.  Mine was "light to medium." I think I got a mislabeled bottle. It was a strange greenish color out of the tube, and as I rubbed it vigorously on my face, it turned...deep tan.  Like raven-haired sun worshiper in August tan.

For some reason I kept rubbing it, somehow hoping it would change color again.  I've never had a really deep summer tan.  So it was pretty cool to look at.  But with zero minutes to go, I washed my face, slapped on some eyeliner and mascara and we swanned off to the Metropolitan Opera. Of course, when I saw myself in the mirror in the ladies room while on the line waiting for a stall, there was a thick dark brown smudge running from my temples to under my chin.  I'm not sure what I wanted more, for people to think it was weird makeup or if it was a nascent beard.

Friday, January 17, 2014

What We Did On Our Winter Vacation: Florida, Part Four: Bern's Steakhouse

I realized that I never finished this series of posts, and this is the last one.  The only scheduled activity we had was dinner at Bern's Steak House in Tampa.  Again, I didn't take my camera, so I snitched these from the Internet.  This is a legendary restaurant, said to have formerly been a bordello.  The entrance and most of the dining rooms sure look like it. Berns-dining

On entering, you walk into a red wallpapered foyer with way too many ornaments and a huge gold staircase, which is not used.  On the right hand, one of the dining rooms.  Each dining room is fairly small and decorated differently.  And has a different name: "The Rhine Room," "The Florentine Room," and "The Bronze Room."  The latter is the largest, decorated with bronzes from the owner's collection.  Our room was tiny, and we sat in the corner.

Berns Bronze Room

The menu is extraordinary.  Of course the big attraction is every cut and variety of steak you can imagine.  Much of the menu is a guide to steak.  Even so, we needed a waitperson (in suit and tie; the busboys dress in short white jackets) to help guide us to what we wanted.  We intended to order a Delmonico steak after reading a few reviews, but after carefully explaining to the waitperson what we each liked in a steak, she advised us to order a Chateaubriand, 17 ounches (7 for me, 10 for Jeff), on the rare side.  When she brought it to the table, she brought a platter that cooked Jeff's steak some more.

From previous experience, I knew not to order appetizers, eat from the bread basket, or the French onion soup.  I did all that the first time we went there and couldn't eat more than a few bites of steak.  A $50 steak does NOT taste as good out of a motel room fridge the next day! 

The meal was incredible.  The steak was more than incredible.  Soft, tender, crisp crust...gah...We were surrounded by large raucous groups of businessmen and some couples.  Bern's has a dress code: jackets and ties for men, dressy dress for the women.  Nonetheless, there were a number of people in beach-casual gear. Upstairs they have the Harry Waugh dessert room, in which dozens of small booths are built like wine casks.


The desserts aren't impressive.  My opinion is that the majority are designed for tourists, because they're so overly artsy.  Or enormous (the bread pudding was downright scary).  But we were having such a good time it didn't matter.  One large room lined with booths has a miserable piano player in the center.  Last time it was empty except for us.  This time it was completely empty.  The piano player looked just as miserable.  Every musician we saw in Florida had a "I hate my life" expression.  There were cognacs that cost $1200 a glass.

That's pretty much it for Florida.  We flew back to cold, raw New York and real life.  It was a fantastic vacation in every way.   Fletcher was hysterically glad to see us.  The cats, as usual, lifted their heads and looked at us as if to say, "Oh, you're back?  Do you want us to show you where the catsitter left the can opener?"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Demons Are A Guy's Best Friend: Review, Supernatural 9x10, "Road Trip"

After "Holy Terror" and Kevin's death rocked the Supernatural world, could "Road Trip" match that intensity?  Not quite, but close.  You are warned, a lot of this review is going to sound porny.  Even if I don't mean to. Just look for the Ding!

Robert Singer does a phenomenal job directing, especially the visuals.  Written by Andrew Dabb, it is fast-paced, witty, with unexpected twists and turns.  Like "Sacrifice," this episode belongs to Mark Sheppard as Crowley.  In this episode the King of Hell is truly hard to read.  Has he become more humane?  Is he capable of giving a shit?  Does he care about Sam's welfare?  Or is it all a pose to free himself?

THEN: Sam is dying, but Dean tricks him into being possessed by Ezekiel. But he isn't Zeke, he's Gadreel and Metatron wants to rule heaven with Gadreel as his dupe, while Abbadon wants to rule everything and then some, and Cas gets his grace back and Gadreel kills Kevin.

NOW: The opening shot is Dean, alone, standing at Kevin's burning pyre.  In the bunker, Dean looks at the PB&J crusts, milk, where Kevin's dead body lay, a photo of Kevin and his mom on his phone.  Then he trashes the room, reminiscent of when he beat Baby with a tire iron in rage and grief at his father's death at the conclusion of Season 2's "Everybody Loves a Clown."  This time feels slightly rote, quite a bit of the Winchesters' reactions to each other have felt somewhat rote this season.  But Jensen Ackles must be relieved to have something to do with the A-story besides sulk and look guilty.

 A Justin Beiber clone singer listens to his manager as she runs down the set list, all of which are songs with "Baby" in the title.  Hee.  He shuts the dressing room door and finds a pissed Gadreel.  Turns out Justin is the angel who tortured Gadreel for centuries in Angel Alcatraz.  Justin gestures to the screaming audience waiting for him and says, "Why be a human when you can be a god?"  Hee.  Gadreel kills Justin, natch.

Dean is moping around the bunker when Cas shows up, suited up, in trenchcoat but without tie.  This costuming suggests a looser, more humanized Castiel.  Dean tells Cas everything.

SPN_910 Cas codependent
Oh, Cas, you codependent little schmuck

Dean: “God, I was so damn stupid."
Cas: “You were stupid for the right reasons."
Dean: "Yeah, like that matters."
Cas: "It does. Sometimes it's all that matters."

What?? Dean hasn't been stupid, he's been a manipulative, lying jerk-off.  Right reasons or not, Kevin is dead, Sam is possessed and doesn't know it, and Gadreel is in charge of Sam's body, presumably forever.  I don't think "right reasons" apply here.

Meanwhile, Metatron is hanging out in a bar sipping cosmopolitans (heh). It's tended by Gadreel's first vessel. Gadreel is still uncertain that he is doing the right thing. How many more enemies does he have to kill? It's clear he feels bad about Kevin.  Metatron says that if Gadreel bails, he'll be forever remembered as "Heaven's biggest joke." Like Sam, Gadreel needs approval, in this case, Metatron.  He doesn't know enough about humanity and emotions to see that Metatron is a lying weasel. “We are writing our own epic story here. To make that work, sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” (I love you, Andrew Dabb). 

He gives the angel a new name to kill.  Turns out it's Gadreel's boyfriend from prison, Abner. (Ding!)  What? Lucifer was Sam's "bunk buddy" in Hell, wasn't he? Gadreel seems to be getting more comfortable with killing people as he goes along, hardening himself in order to be Metatron's second in command. (Ding!)

Dean and Cas go to Crowley to ask that he torture Gadreel to get him out of Sam. (Ding!)  Crowley agrees, provided they let him have some "fresh air. Chains on."  They get into a huge Lincoln Continental--with hydraulics, no less.  "I like it," Cas says defensively.

Crowley has a mole in the NSA, which is masquerading as a financial firm.  There, the demon Cecily, who I fell in love with immediately, fills Crowley in. "Hell doesn't give a damn," she snarls, annoyed that they're ignoring the data she sends every day.  “That B with an itch ain’t the boss. I mean, she’s got a few of the more agro types on her side, but most are just waiting to see who takes the belt, you or her.” She admits she's playing both sides.  "Wouldn't you?" Once again, between Cecily and Justin, wonderful secondary characters.  Stop killing them off, dammit!  Abbadon doesn't think so, and offs her.  To be honest, when Abbadon pulled out the blood-slicked angel blade, I hoped she would lick it.  That would be soooo wrong, and soooo sexy. (Ding, my bad.)

SPN_910 Cecily

“Your phallus on wheels just ran a red light in Somerset, Pennsylvania 10 minutes ago.” (Do I even need a ding here?) Crowley informs his buddies, and off they go, to the latest murder scene. Dean threatens Gadreel, and gets the de rigeuer tossed-into-the-nearest-heavy-object.  Doesn't this man ever learn?  Gadreel starts toward Dean--but Gadreel is sucker-punched by Castiel!  Bad-ass motherfucker Cas is back!

Sometimes I wonder if there are certain empty basements and warehouses scattered around the country that the Winchesters already know about.  Since they end up in them so often.  Gadreel is strapped to a chair, and taunts Dean about putting a blade through his brother's heart.  Whoops!  Crowley sticks the first pin into Gadreel's head. Torture Time, kiddies!

spn_910 Ouchie

When the barely conscious angel reveals he is Gadreel, Cas goes berserk. “It’s his fault, all of it. The corruption of man, demons, Hell. God left because of him. The archangels, the apocalypse. If he hadn’t been so weak, none of it would have happened. You ruined the universe, you damn son of a bitch!”

SPN_910 Cas enraged
DO NOT piss off the nerd angel!

Dean pulls off his attack-dog angel.  Gadreel taunts them that he can endure much worse torture than having pins stuck in his head, that he can sit there for years.  He's put Sam in a dream where he's on a hunt that involves ghouls and dead cheerleaders.  Dean orders Cas to get into Sam (Ding!) but Cas needs Sam's permission.  Crowley, on the other hand, does not. He saves Sam, they let Crowley walk out a free man.  “I keep my bargains. Besides, I don’t want to be inside your brother any longer than I have to. I’m not one for sloppy seconds."  (Whole buncha Dings!)

Dean takes the deal.  He tells Crowley to say "Poughkeepsie." Their "safe word" (Ding!) for "drop everything and run!"

spn_910 Red smoke
Ding! Ding! Ding!

What I wouldn't give to see footage of those two actors minus the smoke.  It must have been side-splitting.

We FINALLY get to see real Sam, even if it's only a dream, researching a hunt where ghouls eat dead cheerleaders.  Dean's voice calls from a distance, "you want a beer?"  Sam leaps up when he sees Crowley, who says, "Poughkeepsie!"  Crowley tells him what's happening: Sam's seen everything the angel's seen and tells Sam to remember -- and Sam remembers Kevin's death.  He asks in a soft voice if he killed Kevin and Crowley says with complete sincerity, "No. You didn't. He did."

spn_910 Crowley dream
"You need to take control and CAST THAT PUNK-ASS HOLY ROLLER OUT!"

Gadreel (in the form of Tahmoh Penikett) appears, and proceeds to beat the shit out of Crowley, before Sam tackles him and they fight.  Crowley yells at Sam to take control.  Sam puts his foot on Gadreel's neck and says, "I said, get...the...hell OUT!"  Man, homicidal Sam is hot.

Sam's mouth flies open and a stream of angel light pours out.  (Ding!) Elsewhere, Metatron is at the same bar. Glass starts breaking, bottles explode--the bartender says yes, his mouth opens, white light, and he swallows! (Ding!) KAPOW!  He's Gadreel. Jared Padalecki has been doing a great job, but when Penikett returns as Gadreel he plays it seamlessly, losing the stilted manner and infusing Gadreel with depth. Perhaps that is because Penikett has played multiple characters, while Padalecki has been playing variations on the same character for nine years.

Sam's mouth again flies open (Ding!) and the red smoke pours back into Crowley.  While Cas and Dean tend to Sam, Crowley mutters, "I'm fine, thanks for asking."  Dean says to Crowley, "This don't make us square. I see you again--"  Crowley nods.  "I'm dead, I know. I love you, too."  Heh.

Abbadon shows up, in all of her red-haired, red-lipsticked glory.  Crowley stays while the others flee.  He greets her, not a care in the world.  She is there to kill him.  Of course.  Boy, this episode has been full of empty threats.  She's ready to take Crowley on, right there, right now.  But he has news for her--the demons (who are squirming uncomfortably during this exchange) are waiting to see who wins.  This isn't a fight, it's a campaign.  The demons can "take orders from the world’s angriest ginger, and that’s saying something, or join my team, where everyone gets a say, a virgin and all the entrails they can eat.”

spn_910 Abbadon
All hail the Queen...that is, if it's okay...

I was reminded of this exchange from "Weekend At Bobby's", written by Dabb and Daniel Loflin:
Crowley: You know what the problem with demons is?
Bobby: They're demons.
Crowley: Exactly. Evil lying prats. The whole lot of them. And stupid. [...] You know, there's days that I think Lucifer's whole “Spike anything with black eyes” plan wasn't half bad.

With a snap of his fingers, Crowley's gone.
spn_910 Crowley vote
Vote for Crowley!

We come back to a bridge on the rain at night.  Even though it's raining, miraculously, neither Dean, Sam or Cas get wet. (Ding!)  Cas says he can heal Sam, in stages.  Then he walks away to let the brothers talk. Dean knows that Sam is pissed.  Sam is not "pissed," he is seriously furious.  He was fine with dying, but because of Dean's needs, Dean went ahead and let a "psycho angel" possess him.  As they argue, Sam says again he was willing to die.  He was tricked into saying yes.  In fact, Ezekiel-as-Dean pushed him into it, asking, "Is that a yes?" after railing on about "you gotta let me in, man, there ain't no you if there ain't no me!"  Of course Sam says "yes," and is ZOMG WHAT THE FUCK when Ezekiel grabs him. 

And Sam feels responsible for Kevin's death. Now wait just a minute, bucko!  Nobody gets to feel bad about that but Dean. Too bad you were possessed when Gadreel killed Kevin, Justin and Abner and felt the whole thing, too bad you were helpless and lied to for months, too bad your brother screwed with your head because he couldn't stand losing you. It's still all about Dean's pain.  "Kevin's blood is on my hands."  He goes on, "but I'll find Gadreel and I will end that sonuvabitch. And I'll do it alone." Sam asks, "What's that supposed to mean? "I'm poison, Sam!" Okay, we get it: "Poooor meeee, I get people killed, waw!" Strap on a pair, you big baby. You can feel him waiting for Sam to say, "It's okay, Dean," and follow him to the Impala.  But Sam says, "Go." And calls after him, "Don't go thinking that's the problem, 'cause it's not."

Damn straight that's not the problem.  The problem is that Dean never apologizes, and once again he co-opts Sam's emotions.  "I'm sorry I did that terrible thing to you and I'm the worst person in the world and I hate myself and it's all about meeeee--so you're not allowed to be upset because I'm upset for both of us!"  Painting himself as the victim, he's astonished that the real victim lets him go.  For once, Sam is well, boo-hoo, Princess, I'm done. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, Dean.

spn_910 Sam crap
Sam is so done with this crap. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

What We Did On Our Winter Vacation, Part Three: Sand Sculptures

Sorry I'm so lame about posting this stuff in timely fashion, but that's how it this.  This entry is about the sand sculpture contest that had been held two weeks earlier.  Sand sculptors from all over the world come and create amazing sand structures.  Some were blobby, but others were amazing in their intricacy.  I could see them from our room.  I'm only sorry that I didn't get a picture of the colored lights around each sculpture and the early morning lights along the boardwalk.  It was incredibly beautiful. Here is the sponsors' sculpture, which of course had to be done first:

Sponsor sand sculpture

Next, this is a sculpture that seemed creepy but okay... Sand sculpture 3 Closer... Sand sculpture 5

AAAAYEEEEEE!!!! Sand sculpture 4

Somehow after that soul-curdling experience, the other sculptures weren't quite as scary impressive.

Sand sculpture 2 Sand sculpture 1

As you can see, the beach was incredibly wide.  Jeff estimated the distance from the hotel to the water at half a mile. This was one of the views from our room to the water, with the sculptures visible.

View ocean

The yellow things are "cabanas."  Basically covered beach chairs, available at an exorbitant rent.  This was one of the days we spent lying around the hotel. Next up, Berns Steakhouse, which is in a former bordello!  I'll try to get to it in more timely fashion.

What We Did On Our Winter Vacation, Part Two: Snakes and Stripping

As our vacation recedes from my memory, I know I have to keep writing before it vanishes altogether!  Not only that, the hideous low temperature had me longing for those beaches again!

We went to a street fair. I thought it would be the usual boring tents, so I left my camera in the car.  (I don't know how to download photos from my phone.)  MISTAKE!  There was a phenomenal tent for Matthews Wildlife Rescue. He seems to be a one-man operation with volunteers.  Based in Bradenton, he specializes in rehabilitation and pest control.  He had a variety of animals on display, including a huge owl.  He re-nests fallen chicks (apparently the "human smell" is a myth).  When he found this owl chick, it had a broken wing.  He nursed Marvin to health, and now he's the owl's "mother".  There was a big sign, DO NOT TOUCH THE OWL.  Its claws have 300 lbs. of crushing power. Owl

There were, of course, a number of other animals on display.  These are taken from his website, since I DIDN'T BRING MY GODDAMN CAMERA.


This iguana jumped off the table when a snake was given lettuce. Justin put it back on the table and gave it some lettuce.  It was tethered to the table.  What was great to see was how easily he handled the animals.  He showed us a tiny screech owl.  There was a picture of a fawn who can't handle being in public. male-fawn-1

For me, the best was a HUGE, movie-sized python.  For $5, you could hold the snake.  I love snakes, so I ponied up.  He moved my hair, then placed the snake across my shoulders.  I was holding its head in one hand, and Justin told me to keep him away from my face.  The snake twined around my right leg. One woman was virtually screaming, her hands over her mouth.  Here's a funny website photo.  You can't really see how big the python is.  Have to say I had tight shoulders, and have a fuckton of python on my shoulders was really pleasant.


It's actually bigger now.  The woman who was freaking out was saying, "How can you touch that thing?"  Jeff doesn't like snakes, but not to that extent.  I would urge folks reading this to send donations to Justin Matthews.  He does presentations for schools, teaching kids to respect animals.

Jeff went into this incredible shell store to buy a gift for his sister.  The owner was an old coot, who took me through dozens of shells.  There was a family with a large beaded dragon lizard on the son's shoulder.  He put the dragon on my shirt.  "If he shits on me, I'll have the honor of wearing dragon poop," I said. 

We went to a wheatgrass stand.  Jeff loves the stuff.  I tried some, and proceeded to have a toddler-level attack of EEYUW BLECH!  I ran to a fudge stall and wolfed down several samples.  Then I had to buy a package of maple fudge (go ahead, twist my arm).

From there, we drove to a St. Petersburg beach.  The water was PERFECT, and there was a swimmer in the ocean.  I started tearing off my clothes, the way I had in Miami a few years ago, when I raced into the ocean in my bra and panties.  Jeff sat on a blanket, trying to figure out what he'd tell the police.  This time, he came racing down the beach, yelling "You promised!  You promised!"  So I put my clothes back on, and bust out crying.  It felt like wanting a drink, that's how intense it was. 

But the air was too cold, we had no towel.  Thank God, Jeff started laughing and put his arms around me when we walked back to the car.  As he said the other time, "you are never boring".   I couldn't stop crying.  I wanted the ocean.  Thank God our hotel had a pool. Next installment sooner, I promise!!!