Supernatural Season Three Hits and Misses - Part One

 

Hit: The Time Loop

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There probably isn't much need to explain why this is a hit - it was a pretty genius move. Not only was this episode full of hysterical moments like Dean's obliviousness to the entire loop and Sam's increasing deja vu to the point of taking an ax to the Mystery Spot, but it had such creative deaths. Finally, this was an episode that played on our emotions like no other: at the beginning we had a truly unexpected and emotional death. This was quickly followed by scenes of a soapy shower Mohawk, catching the falling hot sauce and being mauled by a golden retriever. And of course, at the half way point, hilarity at its peak, we are jolted back to a harsh death and even more alarming grief on Sam's part. Yes, this episode was creative, emotional, funny and above all, a hit.

Miss: Fairytale Horror

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Conceptually this should have been a hit. Taking the Grimm approach to those classic childhood stories and then giving the whole thing a very human villain as the cause of the girl's coma. Yes, it should have been a good run. It's hard to pinpoint the specific issue with the MOTW story here, but one way or another all these pieces just didn't come together for me. Okay - it wasn't a horrible episode yet somehow to this viewer it just felt lackluster. There were some great moments, such as Sketch Artist Sam, but in terms of the fairytale plot it just felt underwritten and forgettable. If this were a dress, it would have suffered from underdesigning. So, the fairytale thing - while certainly far from the worst thing Supernatural has ever done, it definitely falls under the "miss" category.

Hit: Magic and Spells and Witches, Oh My!

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Sometimes I like witches, sometimes I don't. This is one of those don't times. Let's just say I'm with Dean on the ick factor present with witches. Despite my own personal aversion to the more graphic bits of the episode, one cannot deny that the witches are a major hit. The witch storyline had some pretty solid writing, some incredible (if nauseating) special effects and overall a seriously ass-kicking MOTW.

Miss: Bela

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This is another one we probably don't need to discuss much. As a concept she was okay and if she'd simply appeared in that one episode or maybe, possibly a second she'd likely have had a lot less haters out there. My major problem with Bela wasn't that she was written badly as a character or that she didn't have chemistry with our leads but rather it was this: she ALWAYS won. More often than not our boys were tricked, conned, played to fit whatever agenda Bela had. Not cool. The boys don't always win - the show is deeper than that and we like it that way. But they are smart enough that if you fool them once, it's a lot bloody harder to get them a second time - let alone a third, etc. I like slick, strong female characters - but nobody is that slick. Miss.

Hit: Christmas Memories

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Truly the Christmas episode was a great one all around, however this hit is just in the form of the flashback memories. Any chance to see how little Sam and Dean got on in life on the road and to see the pure love between them is a hit. And having them relive that over a beer and some bad gifts as adults? Even better. Do we really need to even discuss this further?

Miss: Cougar Love

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The "romance" was overdone this season - especially the fondling of poor Sam by the elderly woman. Not to get too serious but if genders were reversed here, some of those touches would have been classified as borderline criminal/sexual assault. This may be a nitpick one, but I don't think so (sound off below!). For me, and I don't think I'm alone here, this was a definite miss.

Hit: Doppelganger Dean a.k.a. Ben

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Before the Lisa/Ben thing took on a life of its own, Lisa, or "Gumby Girl" as Dean lovingly remembered her, was a star player in Dean's bucket list. And on arriving at her door, not only is she not quite as Dean remembered - but she's a mom now. Of a son that is surprisingly near identical to Dean in personality and not too far off in looks either. The look on Dean's face as he's standing with young Ben eating cake and talking about the bouncy castle is brilliant. Even better was the decision the writers made to NOT have Ben be Dean's son here. Little chick-loving, booty checking-out Ben was certainly a hit.

Miss: Red Sky, Weak Execution

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This episode is another of the season three group that had potential just not fulfilled. I've already addressed the issues with the character Bela, so I won't dive to deep into that again but it is a fundamental issue with this episode. Personally, the ghost ship story here was weak and felt more like a vehicle for the Bela-Sam-Dean interaction, take two. This leads to the second core issue with Red Sky: Simply put, it's totally out of character to trust Bela in any capacity given the Winchester's history with her; particularly given her shooting of Sam. Additionally, if they absolutely had to work with Bela, there should have been that classic con-artist-drama-twist where the "bad" one thinks they're in the driver seat manipulating things and in the end they've actually stolen a briefcase full of shredded paper rather than the billion dollars in cash they thought they had. One final point - Dean + tongue tied around this chick? Umm, no.

 Hit: Cursed Rabbit Feet

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One thing great about SPN is the way it takes the everyday folklore and turns it on its head. The idea of a lucky rabbit foot is who-knows how old and here it's a real thing; but with a twist: lose that foot and you're beyond doomed. In this case there wasn't really a monster of the week so much as Sam was his own worst enemy (nevermind Bela and Gordon at this point). Such a small, innocent thing causing such deadly chaos? An unquestionable hit, to be sure.

And there you have it, the first half of the season three hits and misses. What do you think? 


 

Comments  

Bevie
# Bevie 2012-11-21 16:21
I'm loving all of your hits! But, then, I'm also liking all of your misses a lot. Nothing in season 3 was a miss for me, and the more I watch them, the more I'm liking them. I'm still getting more out of these episodes the more I watch.

I enjoy 'Red Sky' for lots of reasons. Yes, I enjoy watching Sam cope with the cougar. Who could blame Gert for how she's feeling about him? Even Becky couldn't keep her hands off of him when she first met him, yet I heard no complaints about sexual abuse for her. Is it because she was a young woman? :-?

And then there was Dean and Bela! Loved the snark, and whooeee! Dean doing a Bond walk down those stairs in a tux! I surely wouldn't have wanted to miss that moment! That little self satisfied smile on his face when Bela suggested angry sex was adorable. And even though she tricked them, he still helped her. That's Dean for you! :roll:

Loved 'Bedtime Strories' also. The doctor and his daughter and letting people go relating to Sam letting Dean go. When Dean told Sam the doctor gave good advice, Sam said "is that what you want me to do Dean? Just let you go?" And Dean gave him this enigmatic look that just about broke my heart and Sam watched him walk away down that hospital corridor while I'm sobbing to myself as that bow legged walk got further and further away. Geez!
I get tears just thinking about it! :cry:

Repeating I absolutely love love love your hits! Some of the best episodes ever in the whole length of the series. I believe Ben is Dean's kid, no matter what Kripke says or anyone else. I want to believe that so I do! :P

Looking forward to the next article, but be warned, I won't agree to ANY misses in season 3. Just IMO by the way! ;-)
percysowner
# percysowner 2012-11-21 16:51
I always felt that the biggest problem with Bela was the fact she was introduced as someone willing to let Sam die. Having Dean be willing to work with her after that was totally OOC especially after she had the Impala towed. I liked the idea of an ambiguous actor in the world of Supernatural. A dealer in magical items makes sense, because there are people who would be more than willing to make a buck off of the supernatural, not just fight it. But tying that to someone that Sam and Dean should never ever trust took a good concept and trashed it.

My big problem with the cougar in RSAM was the sexism of it. It just felt off that she was being sexually assaultive with Sam. If left the bad taste in my mouth that a woman couldn't be interested in a young man without crossing boundaries and being made an object of derision. I would have preferred it if she had expressed interest in Sam, but once she realized he was uncomfortable she had backed off and they could have had an enjoyable evening. She was obviously cultured and Sam could have had a chance to discuss things he learned while he was in college. Things that Dean simply wasn't interested in. Instead she became a mockery.

My only real disagreement is the Ben storyline. Ben was being raised by a single mother, yet he was openly contemptuous of girls and just rubbed me the wrong way. Lisa had every right to be angry with Dean for interfering with how she wanted Ben to behave. It was great that Ben showed courage and resourcefulness when he was kidnapped, but his attitude toward life, which is understandable in an adult Dean was obnoxious for me in a child.

I do agree with most of your hits and misses.
Ginger
# Ginger 2012-11-21 20:11
I loved all of S3. The only miss I agree with you on is Bela. I disliked her one step above Ruby, but in the end I loved Ruby1, could hardly tolerate Bela (because she made the boys, especially Dean, look stupid AND she always won). By the end of S4, my hatred of Bela was only over-shadowed by Ruby2.

I didn't mind Lisa in this one episode either, but hated the future use of her. At this point in the series, Dean was cute with kids. Now I can't stand them or the stupid teenagers.

I liked the cougar and Sam. It was new, hilariou,s and gave Dean some good lines....except , Bela won.

So even though I disagree with your misses, your points aren't weak. I really liked S3 overall.
MisterGlass
# MisterGlass 2012-11-21 21:29
Thanks for the article Elle! Oh, Mystery Spot. Of all the scifi show episodes about a time loop, you are my favorite.

I couldn't agree more with yours hits, but I would like to add a few. The dream scene between Dean and his demon future self shook me, and still stands out as a great Supernatural moment in my mind. The same for the ending of "No Rest for the Wicked." I was so proud of Supernatural for having the commitment and the respect for its story to actually follow through on Dean's deal. It was one of the show making moments to me.

Percysowner commented that Ben's attitude and disrespect of girls seemed wrong for a boy being raised by a single mother. To me, it seemed like Ben was trying to rebel against or compensate a little for his situation in a single parent family. He did appear to grow out of it, at least.

I wouldn't call the fairytale episode a miss myself, but I can see what you're getting at. I looked at the clock twenty minutes into "Red Sky", and that's never a good sign. Just didn't interest me.

And Bela...I agree, too slick, and too often successful. The only episodes in which I like (or at least appreciate) Bela are her first appearance with the rabbit's foot and in her last episode when her backstory is revealed.

Looking forward to Season 4!
Sharon
# Sharon 2012-11-22 04:19
Ah Mystery Spot a rare gem of a Sam episode amongst a sea of Dean one of my top two SPN episodes.

Bela would of been served better if the writers had given her backstory a little earlier or at least hints there was more to her than the Remington Steele persona she always seemed in the wrong show to me.
Spookysam
# Spookysam 2012-11-23 08:27
I agree with your list Elle, more or less.
Looking back I see that I was a bit harsh on the season, but now in retrospect, I like those episodes that were bummers then.

Anyway keeping my emotions aside, my misses would include Ghostfacers and The Magnificent Seven. See, I can't do it, I can't pick bad episodes from my third favourite season.It also has my no.one favourite episode "Mystery Spot"

My problem with The Magnificent Seven is that the premise had lots of potential that they wasted. Ghostfacers, cause the shaky camera hurts my head :-|

The face off between real Dean and Demon Dean in DALDOM! Jensen hit the ball out of the park.

I love Fresh Blood for Sam's whole speech about looking upto Dean. That is one of my favourite scenes in all the 7 seasons. Its moments like these that redeems the misses.

Ah Memories!!
Where did my show go :sad:
Sylvie
# Sylvie 2012-11-23 10:01
Thanks for these Elle, I always like your hits & misses lists. While I do agree with all your hits, I actually enjoyed some of your misses. I really liked the fairytale episode. And while Bela was in a few too many episodes, I didn't dislike her. I agree with Bevie about seeing Dean doing that little James Bond walk down the stairs. Va-va-va-voom! ;-) And season three brought us two of THE best episodes of SPN, "A Very Supernatural Christmas" & "Mystery Spot". Both have humour, but it's the dramatic moments that always get to me. Sam waiting for Dean to celebrate his last Christmas & Sam begging the Trickster to bring Dean back. :cry: Can't wait to see what's going to be on your next list.
PaintedWolf
# PaintedWolf 2012-11-29 03:58
I may be a little late commenting here, but I just wanted to say that I absolutely hate Bela, and my reason for that was exactly what you said here. She made the boys look like idiots and I just couldn't enjoy that. 100% agree with the rabbit's foot. BDABR is one of my favourite episodes, and the first one I turn to when I need a pick-me-up of the Supernatural variety.