Thursday, February 6, 2014

Suck It Up: Supernatural Review, Episode 9x13, "The Purge"

“I saved your hide back there. And I saved your hide at that church. And the hospital. I may not think things all the way through, but what I do I do because it’s the right thing. I’d do it again.” Oh, Dean. 

Finally, in "The Purge," Sam gets his brother to talk honestly about his motives for saving Sam and how screwed up they are.  It ain't pretty.  And the amount of meta it is going to kick off on the interwebs is mind-boggling.  BUT WHO CARES?

Sam in workout gear!  Dean making out with a bag of sweet potatoes!  Eating contests!  Secondary characters that aren't killed off.  This comic standalone episode was not a nail-biter, unless you were sitting in front of your set, stomach growling because you've given up fat, carbs and sugar.  Instead it was goofy, loose-limbed fun, with a tiny bit of social commentary on our obsession with diet and fitness. I laughed my ass off, as did my husband, who hates this show.

It gives one a whole new perspective to watch with another person who isn't invested in the Winchesters' epic story, who doesn't expect brilliance to explode off the screen.  Instead, he wants entertainment, and he covers his eyes when it gets gory.  "Can I look yet?"  Hee.  He gets entertained, and he knows the brothers are having a long-ass conversation at the end which means nothing to him.  As refreshing as a glass of lemon seltzer. Written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, directed by Phil Sgriccia, this episode had good mouth feel and undertones of chocolate.   The hostility and hurt Dean feels toward Sam is threaded nicely through the major story, with just the faintest whiff of stale bourbon breath.

THEN: Repeat of conversation where Sam says they're all business now.  Etc. Serious faces. Fans screaming the feels! The feels!

NOW: A hot dog eating contest.  Some of the reviews have said, in effect, "Bzuh? Professional eating contests?"  I live near Coney Island, folks, I know professional eating contests.  It looks like the skinny guy is going to win (in real life the skinny people always win--it's like Kenyans at the NYC marathon).* But his obese opponent beats him, and Fat Guy celebrates in his car, scarfing yet another hot dog.  But wait! What's in the back seat?  The Sucker of DOOM and Instant Weight Loss!  Fat Guy loses 250 pounds of ugly fat in 30 seconds.

SPN_913 Oprah
Oprah Winfrey and her 67 pounds of fat approve!

At the bunker, Dean has been sitting up drinking all night.  His liver is in the next room, sobbing quietly.  Sam asks if Dean is upset because of their previous conversation, and Dean says, "don't flatter yourself."  Really, Dean?  You might as well be in a bathrobe, scarfing chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and watching old episodes of "Law And Order: SVU". 

Sam has found a case.  Two people have been sucked to death, Fat Guy and a woman working out to get thin for her wedding.  But when she weighs herself, the scale says 180.  That is, until the Fat Sucker of DOOM gets hold of her!  She writhes on the scale, and the numbers go down from 180 to 74 pounds.  She'd get a full body tuck after that, but she's dead.

Pet peeve: the scale says she weighs 180, but the actress can't be more than 135.  A friend of mine who is 200 pounds can never get jobs for 200 pound characters because she's "too fat."  Ah, television. 

Anyway, the boys discover a big disgusting sucker scar on the deceased. After interviewing with Sheriff Donna (who overdoes the Fargo accent but whatever) and eating sugar-covered doughnuts, Dean finds the Canyon Valley Spa.  Don't ask me how, okay?

SPN_913 Dean sugar doughnut
Dean Winchester: hunter, hunk, compulsive eater

SPN_913 Fit couple
Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley touting their home exercise machine?

The airy, open spa building is in a spectacular location, snow-capped, lush, really amazing.  It's run by a married couple, Larry and Maritza. 

Remember Corey a few eps back?  There were posters and life-size cut-outs all around his dressing room.  Does the actor get to keep those?  Did these actors get to keep their cut-outs?  I digress.

Sam and Dean interview for jobs as personal trainers by the Fittest Couple In The Known Universe.  Dean goes into hilarious over-eager beaver mode, saying “Personal training brothers. Kind of like Hans and Franz, but less German."  When that fails to go over, Dean yells, "Kicking ass and taking names!"  So of course he's put on kitchen duty, while Sam improvises as a yoga instructor.  Can I have am AMEN for whoever thought to put Jared Padalecki in workout wear?
SPN_913 Sam yoga
It's not yoga.  They are bowing to Jared Padalecki's body perfection.

Too bad he's such a crappy instructor, all of the class gives him the side eye when they leave.  And not in a good way. Dean has to wear a hairnet and stand in front of blown up photos of fruit and quinoa.  When a spa resident asks him what something off camera is, he looks at it and says, "It's a pancake made of tofu."  (paraphrasing: the joke was better than that.)  Ummm, pancakes. Barf, tofu.

SPN_913 Dean hell
Dean is trapped in his own personal hell...fruits and veggies.  Heh.

Sheriff Donna comes in for a spa day, and is put in a room for a "cupping session."  Maritza heats glass jars and puts them on Donna's back, as Donna dozes happily, face downward.  And then Maritza's eyes turn white.  She gives Donna the most disgusting liposuction ever!  It's the Fat Sucker of DOOM!

SPN_913 Fat monster
Is that a kielbasa in your mouth or are you just glad to see me?

In the kitchen, Dean is given the job of dishing out bright orange pudding for the guests.  PUDDING! It makes a yucky "skwush" when he drops a spoonful into a container.  Still, it tastes good, so Dean pockets a container to enjoy later.  He sneaks into a storeroom to chow down.  When he tries to get up, he staggers, then falls over.  He calls Sam, but the only words he can manage are: "Sweet potatoes."  When Sam finds him, he says he's ready to go, but as soon as Sam leaves, Dean falls back down and starts making out with the bag of sweet potatoes.   With tongue.

SPN_013 Dean sweet potatoes
Poor Dean really needs a cheeseburger.

Sam finds the recipe, and the "supplements" the spa puts in the pudding.  His brother and the sweet potatoes have broken up.  Dean looks at the bottle. Dean: These aren’t supplements, they’re roofies. Sam: How do you know what roofies look like? Dean: How do you not know? You think I want to end up in a hotel bathtub with my kidneys carved out in Chechnya?

Larry discovers the Winchesters are hunters.  He tells his wife to dispose of the evidence.  She goes to a fridge filled with containers of human fat in savory blood sauce.  But she can't help herself.  Her big Sucker Tongue shoots into the container, and bam! Sam and Dean have their killer.  Except they don't.

Maritza: I'm a pishtaco.
Dean: A fish taco?

She lives on human fat.  "I'm not a monster, I'm a parasite!" she protests to the brothers.  Yeah, like that'll help. Exactly like last week and the week before, Maritza fell in love with Larry in Peru and returned with him to the States.  The spa allows her to feed and clients to lose weight.  Win-win, right? she asks. But wait!  She is not the Fat Sucker of DOOM.  She is the Fat Sucker of MODERATION!  That isn't scary, is it?  Actually, it's kind of depressing.  Is the hidden message of this episode that eating too much of anything--hot dogs, pudding, human fat--will kill you?  Her brother Alonzo has been put on a low-fat diet.  His cravings have gotten the better of him, so he's binging.  Larry goes to throw Alonzo out.  Bad move, Larry.

SPN_913 Suck it
"Suck it!"

Next thing you know, Larry's on the kitchen floor, his neck suctioned open and spouting blood.  Maritza has informed the brothers that Alonzo's in the basement, so they grab a couple of flashlights and go parasite hunting.  I had a hard time following the layout of the basement, because after a bunch of storage closets it seemed to open up into a cozy den with fine wood paneling. Sam is doing the flashlight and knife thing until a cabinet is pushed over on him, and Alonzo appears on top. The dialogue goes something like "MWUAUUAHAHHA."  Sam and Alonzo get into a big old-fashioned Supernatural dust-up, with Sam crashing through the wall.  Alonzo has Sam pinned, and his big sucker comes out--the mouth one, not the other one--but Dean saves the day by slicing through the sucker.  Alonzo is killed instantly, and his sucker rolls up like one of those dried up dead worms you find on the sidewalk after a rainstorm.  Except way more gross.

Aftermath: Maritza is mourning the loss of her husband and brother.  Dean's all for ganking her, but like Garth's wife, she's a friendly monster, so she gets to live!  One weird thing: the way she said "monster" sounded familiar, and then it struck me that Ellie in Season 8's "Trial and Error" said it exactly the same way.  That has nothing to do with anything, sorry.  Maritza gets a one-way ticket to Peru.

Back at the bunker, Dean and Sam have The Talk That Will Be The Source of Fan Crazy and A Metric Ton of Meta until after the Olympics.

SPN_913 Sam truth
Dean: You know Sam, I saved your hide back there. I saved your hide at that church — in the hospital. I may not think things all the way through but when I do, it’s because it’s the right thing. I’d do it again.
Sam: And that is the problem. You think you’re my savior, my brother, the hero. You swoop in and even when you mess up you think what you’re doing is worth it because you’ve convinced yourself you’re doing more good than bad... but you’re not. Kevin’s dead, Crowley’s in the wind, we’re no closer to beating this angel thing, please tell me, what is the upside to me being alive?
Dean: Are you kidding me? You and me, fighting the good fight together.
Sam: Just once be honest with me, you didn’t save me for me. You did it for you.
Dean: What are you talking about?
Sam: I was ready to die, I was ready. I should have died. But you, you didn’t want to be alone. That’s what this boils down to, you can’t stand the thought of being alone. I’ll give you this much, you are certainly willing do the sacrifice, as long as you’re not the one being hurt.
Dean: Alright, you want to be honest, if the situation was reversed, and I was dying, you’d do the same thing.
Sam: No Dean, I wouldn’t. Same circumstances, I wouldn’t. I’m heading to bed.

SPN_913 Dean hurt

Dean is absolutely destroyed.  His worldview has been broken to pieces.  But it's about time.  Earlier, Sam asked, what if a hunter had found Sam when he was possessed by Gadreel?  Dean shrugged that off.  But Sam is talking to Dean as one adult to another.  At the end of Season 8, when Dean told Sam he would die if he finished the trials, Sam said, "So?"  As he has said repeatedly, he was ready and willing to die.  More than anything, he sounds exhausted. 

But Dean can't bear to lose Sam. This conversation was overdue.  The writing was excellent, and the two actors played it beautifully. Now I'm going to read all of those reviews that say "Whyeee, Supernatural, why did you tear my heart out of my chest and kick it around the parking lot like a soccer ball???" 

I wasn't heartbroken.  I was relieved.  And intrigued.  This takes the brothers' relationship to another level, which has been sorely needed for some time. This is not "manufactured conflict."  The two characters have gone in different directions since Season (ugh) 7.  Sam is telling Dean, in no uncertain terms, who he is and what he wants.  Dean is forced to look past his knee-jerk defenses and emotional neediness and deal with the consequences.  I hope that "dealing" doesn't mean more drinking.

The show is off for two weeks because of the Winter Olympics in Russia.  If you want disgusting, look at their drinking water.

* Kenyans have won the NYC Marathon several times.  I looked it up.


  1. Yes, Yes, Yes. So many fans are freaking out, hating on Sam, but I'm rejoicing because it's all so necessary. When Crowley told Sam in the dream to "take control" I hoped he would take control of his body and mind AND he's doing just that. They have to discuss it openly and honestly and painfully before they can hope to rebuild a healthier relationship. Not perfect. That would be boring. But hopefully a more equal partnership.

  2. Actually our drinking water is not bad.
    As to your review I liked it, it was fun to read, and besides, I,too, never understood this over-reaction from fans after each brotherly rif - aren't they unavoidable with so much difference in Sam and Dean's characters and viewpoints?
    Not my business, actually, but since you mentioned it, why your husband hates Show so much?

  3. I wonder why my comment wasn't appointed?

  4. Gore and fantasy aren't his thing. He thinks it's badly written and silly. What can I say? We like different things. He likes sports!