Thursday, January 29, 2015

We're Off To Kill The Wizard: Review, Supernatural 10x11, "There's No Place Like Home"

In recent months, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles have been working the convention circuit relentlessly.   Videos of the panels show them having fun, cracking each other up, dancing, etc.

Video from SF Con 2015 courtesy of Shaunae Perry

"Y'all are the reason we're here," Jared says at every panel, and I'm starting to wonder if he doesn't mean the amounts J2 get paid to show up at these events.  Then they come to work and it's as if they're too tired and hungover to care.

The contrast between Jared in the show and Jared on the stage...does he even care any more?   Guest stars and series regulars with family issues are taking up the slack.  The show is only nominally about the Winchesters.  The credits should read: "Special Guest Stars: Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles".

This egregious pile of crap was shoveled on us by Robbie Thompson (who wrote the other episode about Oz, "Slumber Party") and directed by Phil Sgriccia.  It's as if the show reached out of the television and vomited directly into my brain.

THEN: A montage of Charlie Bradbury, adorably nerdy lesbian with mad computer skills and at times teeth-gratingly cute.  A montage from "Slumber Party," ending with Charlie and Dorothy going down the yellow brick road to fight a war in Oz.  Montage of Mark of Cain!Dean being murderous.  Oh, goody!  He's going to kill somebody again!  WOO-HOO!

NOW: Exterior of house, crashing noises and shouts.  A man in a bathrobe, hands bound, face bloody, tears ass out of his house.  He lands on the lawn where a dark figure looms about him.  It's--Charlie in black!  "Who doesn't love a little torture," she purrs and out!

We're in the bunker, where research!Sammy is looking for the lore on the Mark which we've already been told doesn't exist. about THE BIBLE?  Instead, having finished Catcher In The Rye, he's moved on to The Fountainhead. Dean is preventing the MOC from taking over by gagging down white-egg omelets, 8 hours of "rack time," every night, and no drinking.

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"Dude, you will not believe how shitty this episode is gonna be."
"Do I have dialogue?"
"A few lines. Nothing you can't read off a cue card."
"Fine by me."

These tidbits are by far the best part of the episode, particularly when Dean tries to eat a wrap and says, "What the hell is kale?" No clever retort by Sam, he's busy reading The Fountainhead and trying to make sense of Ayn Rand's worldview.

Sam finds a police report of two torture/assaults in Topeka, with a video of Bad Charlie beating the crap out of a local district district attorney.  They interview the DA...actually, Sam exposits and Dean goes MOC on his ass, crunching his broken arm to get the name of a prosecutor.  Sam stands by and gulps.  Which is pretty much all he does for the next hour, except for reading The Fountainhead and providing exposition.

They get to the woman's house to find Bad Charlie holding a knife to a woman's throat.  Charlie says that Sam is "all good guy code and no bite."


She calls Sam a "giant albatross around your neck".  When did this become a trope?

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"I get to act all mean and shit!"

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Aaaand there goes Sam's last attempt at dialogue.

Sam dutifully stays behind while Dean runs after Charlie. They have the tussle we've seen in the promos, then Charlie speeds off in the Impala. A moment later, a bright yellow car pulls up, and it's Charlie. "What's new, bitches?"  It's Good Charlie!

The three have a drink in a bar.  It seems that Bad Charlie resulted when the Wizard of Oz used the key of Oz to open Charlie up and let her Id go free.  Bad Charlie single-handedly won the war in Oz (oh, for cryin' out loud) blah bah Good Charlie can feel everything Bad Charlie does blah they escaped to our world blah blah key to Oz blah blah blah.  At some point Charlie says something about "we all have a dark side" or "we all have some monster in us" or "Geez, Dean, that Mark is fucking you up". That anvil broke my toes.  Dean, do us all a favor and kill both of them, okay?

Charlie shows Sam how to hack into a guy's bank account somebody drive steel nails into my brain blah blah blah Dean goes to protect guy who's going to be killed blah blah Bad Charlie shows up and convinces Dean to stand thirty feet away from the door while she goes in to "talk" her victim.  Guess what? She slams the door!  She kills the guy!  Dean's retarded!  I don't care!

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Dean's thinking her butt's looking mighty fine in those pants.

Yet ANOTHER surviving Man of Letters is somewhere--wasn't there a massacre at some point?  No, I don't remember either.

Blah blah old man is alter-ego of Wizard blah blah broken key of Oz they drive out somewhere old man denies being some old man who is also the MOL/Wizard/Good Guy...old guy shoots himself so Bad Guy/Wizard of Oz has to show up.  Why hadn't this happened before, say, when the old guy cut him using a can opener?

Green light!

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This is just in here because Sam looks so damn hot.

Wind blows!  Stuff shatters!  It's going to be EPIC!  THE WIZARD OF OZ IS COMING!

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You know it's bad cosplay when the headpiece is made out of cardboard

THIS is the Great And Powerful Wizard of Oz?  Some anonymous dick in an embroidered overcoat?  No magical powers?  What?

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"Dude, I've got like, this really hella great Goth band--"

Blah blah Sam tied up with magical rope blah blah I have no idea what's going on and I don't give a shit blah  blah.  The only good part is that Dean runs after Bad Charlie and proceeds to beat the life out of her while she dialogues all kinds of bad-guy taunts.  We see Good Charlie writhing in pain when Dean goes MOC on Bad Charlie.  Is it sick that I really, really wanted to find some good screencaps of Dean smashing Bad Charlie's face?

Old Guy gives Good Charlie significant look and points at his gun.  In any other episode this would make the villain kick the gun out of reach, but we're running low on time here.  Good Charlie shoots Old Guy, killing the Wizard at the same time.

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Crazed Dean thinks he killed Charlie.

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She's still alive.  Which means she'll be back. Dang.

Good/Bad Charlie morph into Original Flavor Charlie.There's a sweet moment where Sam cradles her as she weeps.  Meanwhile Dean looks on doing what he does best, dying of guilt.

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Back at the bunker, it's two days later, and the Mark has worked it's most wondrous magic of all--Dean still looks like he's had the shit pounded out of him.  Usually the Winchester's wounds insta-heal, even when Castiel isn't around to heal them.  This is honestly great.  The messed up face adds to his look of guilt, especially when he sees Charlie's equally messed-up face and broken arm.

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But!  They've found a book from Tuscany that might lead to important information about the Mark!  Charlie's going to Tuscany to find out what it is!

Say again?

Shouldn't Sam be doing this?  Mad research skills Sammy?  Fighting for his brother Sammy?  But honestly, he's digging The Fountainhead and Howard Roark and the chick smashing the vase because it's beautiful and--

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Don't worry, Jensen, we've got a convention in San Pedro this weekend.

Random Thoughts

Now we know what Sam's storyline is: worrying about Dean. Gulping. Standing around.  Meanwhile, Jared's thinking about his sons' college fund.  I can't think of any other explanation.

Felicia Day did a good job playing all three flavors of Charlie.  I was so disappointed when she became the "real" Charlie again, because that Charlie needs to never come back.

Next week: Dean's turned into a teenager.  Hilarity ensues, especially when teen Dean discovers the Mark is a chick magnet.

Screencaps by

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slicing And Dicing: Supernatural Review, S10 Ep10, "The Hunter Games"

Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner are fabled as the writers of the worst episodes. (Black woman in dog collar, anyone?) And while this script was no great shakes, the direction of John Badham and the high-powered performances by the cast kept the episode popping along.  The visual aspects were beautifully done.

What was missing was any feeling of resolution.  Still, it was fun.

Disclaimer: My reaction was colored by the fact that I was watching with my husband, who dislikes the show.  However, he was sucked into the scenes with Crowley and his mother, laughing his head off. He wants Castiel's pimpmobile.  He enjoyed the episode, particularly Crowley and Metatron.  Since I loves me some Metatron, this was a truly special occasion.  He was easily persuaded to walk the dog after the show.  I might never recover.

The Road So Far: Kick. Ass.  These segments are always the best part of any premiere or finale, tightly edited, packed with action.  Edited to ELO's "Long Black Road," this gets the main storylines across with a brevity I wish they could manage in the episodes themselves.  Plus lots of cool beheadings and crashes and stuff.

Now: A frightened Crowley runs through the corridor of the mens room castle or whatever. His demons surround him and stab him to death. He wakes up and finds mother Rowena (Ruth Connell) standing over him solicitously. The use of premonitions and dream sequences during the openings is really starting to piss me off. Do they write these solely for the purpose of the promos??

A-Story: Dean and Sam trying to get the MOC off Dean by any means necessary.  First, Castiel brings Metatron (Curtis Armstrong) to the bunker.  It kind of gets stupider from there.

B-Story: Crowley and his mother, Rowena. She is machinating all over the place. Crowley, initially mistrustful, loses 75% of his intellect and trusts her.  I do love that she calls him "Fergus".

C-Story: Castiel and Claire. That's all you're getting out of me. She and her annoying hairdo go off into the horizon at the end.  Please, please don't come back.

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"Bye, Claire. I have to get back to my true love, Dean."

My fervent hope for "The Hunter's Game" was for Dean would go crazy and slaughter Claire, thus driving a wedge between Dean and Castiel.  Alas, she lives.

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The MOC could probably use some antibiotic cream the way he keeps handling it.

Dean sits on his memory-foam mattress, having flashbacks from the massacre.  Very nice intercutting between now and then.  He looks at himself in a broken mirror (symbolism!).  Then he goes to the main room to jaw with Sam and Cas.  No lore about the MOC, no nothing.  Dean is seriously fucked.

Castiel calls in some favors and an angel named Ingrid brings a hooded figure to him.  Castiel removes the hood, revealing Metatron.  Now, you might think the hood shouldn't be revealed until after Metatron is in the dungeon, so that HE DOESN'T KNOW WHERE IT IS.  But that would spoil the reveal!  Jesus Christ, these writers are idiots sometimes.

Metatron, as always, brings the snark bigtime.  When he gets a look at the dungeon, he says, "Is this where you bring the kinky chicks?" Sam, who is not allowed to have any discernible personality, ignores him and chains him up.  He proceeds to grill Metatron, who is ecstatic that Dean is alive and completely out of his mind. "He's gone nuclear!" However, the Scribe of God stops laughing when Sam reveals Dean.  Who is, if you think about it, looking completely out of his mind.  In a quiet, brooding Dean kinda way. Oops.

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Metatron needs a change of pants.
Once Dean is in the dungeon, Sam loses all of the good lines. Metatron says the cure starts with The First Blade.  Sam and Dean do a walk-and-talk about why this is a stupid idea, which you know they're going to do because every tv show in the known universe has a character at some point say "this is the stupidest idea we've ever had." I can't remember why Sam leaves Dean alone with Metatron, but he does, and everything goes to shit.  Metatron baits Dean, activating the Mark.  Which is a really suicidal thing to do when you're chained to a chair and Dean has an angel blade.

Does anyone remember in Season 5 when Dean punched Castiel and nearly broke his fist?  No, I don't either. Since then angels have gotten a lot more spongy.  Dean not only beats the crap out of Metatron, he slices and dices.

Sam, who has been hanging out finishing Catcher In The Rye, hears the screams.  He and Cas run to the locked door.  Instead of having spare keys, Sam tries kicking in the door.  Instead of not wasting time by watching Sam kick in the door, Cas blows it open.  Sam restrains Dean while Cas doesn't heal Metatron (buh?) but takes him back to Heaven.

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"Say my name! Say my name!"

(I had to put this kid from Episode 1 back in!)

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"Listen, man, there is this incredible scene in Catcher In The Rye where Holden--"
"Shut the fuck up, Sam, you know you aren't supposed to have any real dialogue."

They call Crowley and have a meeting in the rain to convince him to get the Blade.  Crowley says no. "Can't we catch a movie? Hang out?"  Hee.  Back at the men's room, Rowena casts a spell to let her spirit find her son.  There's a nice visual of the city below, but then it keeps going and going and going until I thought we were going to end up in Jakarta.

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Rowena has an orgasm when she sees THIS:

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Damn, that's one fine looking hunk of man.

Back in the men's room, Rowena henchman blah blah blah Crowley finds First Blade missing blah blah blah Rowena kills henchman blah blah convinces Crowley everyone is plotting against him except his dear sweet mother.  Oh, for God's sake, Crowley, you didn't get to be the King of Hell without knowing who your enemies are.  You can't see through the obvious lies your mother is spewing?  It's just...MOVING ON!

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No, Crowley's not snorting cocaine.

Sam looks up from Catcher In The Rye and exposits that Cain had retired from killing for centuries, so Dean should be able to do the same thing.  This is demonstrated at the end where, instead of taking out two of Claire's buddies who are trying to kill him, he beats a park bench to death.

The closing scene is Castiel bidding farewell to Claire then running her over with his car.

Random Thoughts:

Beyond carving Metatron like an ice sculpture, was there any forward momentum?

FINALLY, Claire and her annoying hairdo acknowledged that she is looking at her dead father.

If Sam can't have any storyline, can he have good hair?  Please?  I saw some vids from the San Francisco convention and GOOD LORD THAT IS HAIR THAT IS A NATURAL WONDER SHOW WHAT ARE YOU DOING??

Next week: Stuff.  I forgot.  Sorry.

Photograph of Ruth Connell copyright Ruth Connell