"Magnificent Seven"
--Robin's Rambles by Robin Vogel

Welcome to the first new episode of season 3! I was disappointed after the beauty of "In My Time of Dying," which was about as perfect as a SUPERNATURAL episode can get, but this episode had its high points, too. "Hell's Bells" plays over the re-cap, which was wonderful, and so we segue into what's going on only five days after the release of all the demons from Devil's Gate.

In a too-long, too-expensive (Kripke even said so) scene, we watch a flock of CGI demons criss-crossing the sky. One shoves itself down the throat of a hapless Chicago man named Walter Rosen, who stupidly put out his garbage. His eyes glow black.

Outside a motel room, Sam sits in the Impala, reading Dr. Faustus, already trying to find a way to break Dean from his deal. Dean? He's wearing a wife-beater and from inside their hotel room, he gives Sam two thumbs up. He's about to have sex with a gal he calls "The Doublemint Twins," presumably because of her lovely breasts. When Bobby calls Sam to find out what Dean's doing, Sam's reply is, "Polling the electorate," which is one of the highlights of this ep for me. VERY funny--and dirty! Bobby tells Sam that he and his brother need to high-tail it to Lincoln Nebraska; there have been omens of demonic activity.

Poor Sam peeks around the motel room door and catches Dean en flagrant dilecto. Later, as Dean wildly drives the Impala over a hill, he reminds Sam that he caught him performing a beautiful, natural act. All Sam wants is to borrow Dean's knife so he can gouge out his eyes. The house Bobby wants them to check out has extraordinarily loud cicadas and three stinky dead bodies sitting on the couch. There's no sulfur and no apparent cause of death. When Dean hears a noise out on the porch and goes to investigate, he's struck by the gun butt of a man named Isaac, who Bobby greets as a fellow hunter and friend. "Bleeding here!" gasps Dean, reaching a hand up for help.

They go to the home of husband and wife hunter team Isaac and Tamara. The two argue fondly over the location of palo santo, a wood that keeps demons nailed down while you're exorcising them. Sam asks how they got into hunting in the first place, a question that disturbs the couple, and Bobby, too. Dean, on the phone with a coroner's assistant, agrees to have an. . .appletini with her, even though he has no clue what that is. She does tell him those three people died of starvation and dehydration, even with a stocked kitchen right at hand. Isaac refuses to hunt with the Winchesters; they let the Devil's Gate get open in the first place! When Dean starts to get huffy, Tamara wisely pulls her husband out of the room before the testosterone gets too thick.

Bobby draws the curtains, not knowing there is a blond hunter woman who steps from the shadows and is intently watching the house.

The following day, Walter Rosen goes into a store, rubs a blond woman's shoulder, points and says, "Those are nice shoes." Another woman, brunette, has already decided to buy the hideous green shoes. The blond follows the brunette to her car, brutally smashes her head into her windshield until she's dead and her car alarm is blaring, then picks up the bag with the shoes and walks away with it. (A terrible but very effective scene.)

Later, inside the store, Sam finds Dean "comforting" a bereaved woman, obviously with more horizontal pleasures in mind. Dean fake coughs, reminding Sam he's sold his soul (and this seemed very out of character for Dean and bothered the hell out of me. I simply couldn't see Dean rubbing Sam's face in it, knowing how upset Sam was). Bobby, all dressed up in a suit, played fake DA and questioned the woman, who didn't respond to being splashed with holy water"”she just REALLY wanted those shoes!

Dean proves he's not just working on the ladies by pointing out the security tape camera. They watch the tape together and notice the man who touched the blond who went crazy and killed the other woman. They suspect he's a demon. Later, Sam's walking down the street and feels he's being followed, which he is"”by the same blond who was watching the house the previous night. When Sam turns around, no one is there.

Dean and Bobby are on stake-out in the latter's truck outside a bar; it's shortly after midnight. They showed Walter's picture around and this is his usual hangout; they're waiting for him. Sam bangs on the window, causing both men to jump. Sam laughs and climbs into the back seat. Sam has ID'd the guy"”Walter Rosen from Oak Park, IL, went missing right after the demons escaped the gate. They spy Walter heading into the bar, and Bobby and Dean argue over whether they should enter now or wait. Spotting Tamara and Isaac heading in, they realize they must act immediately.

Tamara and Isaac are seated at a table, awaiting drinks. Isaac has a flask of holy water. He tells her to bring the truck around to the back. "I love you," she whispers. When Isaac stands up, a bouncer comes over, revealing black eyes. "I don't like hunters in my bar!" he declares, grabbing Isaac's flask and hurling it away. Suddenly, Isaac and Tamara are surrounded by demons, crowding in with malice in their black eyes. Dean, Bobby and Sam are trying to get inside the bar, to no avail. "I like the girl," says the waitress salaciously, "there are a thousand things I could do with her." "Wish I had me a girl like that," says Walter eagerly. Isaac warns them away from his wife, but he suddenly finds himself chugging down drain cleaner"”to Tamara's horror. Isaac, blood falling from both sides of his mouth, falls to the floor. (This was so gross"”I was imagining what it was doing to his insides and feeling the burn.) Tamara becomes hysterical. "All right, honey, YOUR turn!" exults Walter. At that moment, Bobby's car screeches right into the bar, leaving wood in its wake. They splatter the demons with holy water, grab Tamara, who doesn't want to leave with Isaac, and end up shoving Walter into the trunk before Dean throws himself into the shotgun seat and they take off.

Tamara has only one thing on her mind"”getting Isaac's body back home. Dean is willing to go with her to retrieve it, since he's already dead, something Sam really isn't pleased to hear him say. Bobby reveals that he finally knows that they're up against"”the SEVEN DEADLY SINS! Gluttony got Isaac, Envy the shoe shopper, sloth those who sat and died. These demons are a whole new variety, and he isn't sure how to go up against them, so when Tamara starts insisting on going back for Isaac, he screams at her, reminding her she and her husband went off after these demons half-cocked before and things turned out badly; they have to THINK about their next move this time! Gently, Bobby tells her he's sorry for her loss, but they're doing it his way this time.

They have Envy tied up under the Devil's Trap. Asked what he wants, he says he already has it"”freedom, fun"”he likes seeing people's insides on their outsides. Then he accuses Dean of being a walking billboard of gluttony and lust, Tamara of harboring wrath"”so she punches him, twice. You're all horny, greedy, hungry and violent, accuses Envy, no better than us demons. When Dean volunteers to stay behind and face the other six demons who would be showing up to save Envy, Sam's response is, "If we're going down, we're going down together." Handed a bible, Tamara is only too happy to exorcise the demon, and is indifferent when the host body dies, too.

In an attic room lit only by candles, Sam fills bottles with holy water while Dean cleans guns and fills them with ammo. The brothers don't speak, but the communication going back and forth between them speaks volumes of hope and love. They hear singing: "I shall not be moved." Isaac's corpse, reanimated by one of the demons, calls for Tamara. Bobby tries his best to talk to her, convince her that's not Isaac, but it has and uses his memories, reminding her that she left him to die and left their daughter, too! Tamara screams and runs outside, opening the door and the protective salt line, allowing the other six demons into the house. She uses the palo santo stake to shut Isaac up. Bobby easily traps an overweight demon under the Devil's Trap, and taunts, "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son." (A line taken right out of ANIMAL HOUSE.)

The pretty Lust demon captures Dean, who seduces him into a heavy lip-lock. Sam is attacked by three demons, headed up by Pride, who is able to break a Devil's Trap. He calls Sam "Boy King," but mockingly, he's not impressed and won't bow before him, now that Yellow Eyes is dead"”it's Open Season on Sam! Dean controls his lust well enough to break the kiss and push Lust-gal's head into a bathtub full of holy water. Pride had Sam in a chokehold. The mysterious blond appears with a magic knife, easily, quickly killing the other two demons. Pride drops Sam and turns to Blondie, who then needs rescuing by Sam. Between the two of them, she's able to thrust her knife into Pride's throat, where it glows inside his mouth (wonderful special effects with that knife on the demons), and he goes down. "Who are you?" gasps Sam. "The girl who saved your ass," she gasps back. "I saved yours, too," he counters. "See you around, Sam," she says, grinning, and disappears. Sam is unable to find her.

In the aftermath, host bodies are salted and burned; Bobby reports two are alive but will need extensive therapy. Isaac is given a proper hunter's burning send-off and Tamara, after a warning from Bobby that the world is a far more dangerous place now, leaves, alone and much sadder. Dean teases Sam for having to be saved by "that masked chick," whoever she was, and they all wonder what kind of knife could kill a demon. When Sam asks Bobby if they can win this war, the old hunter doesn't answer.

Left alone, Sam and Dean begin to argue over Dean's decision to sell his soul to bring Sam back. The latter wants to go to Louisiana to consult a hoodoo priest, while Dean prefers Reno. Sam's pissed off at his brother, but Dean tells him, "We welch, you die." How could you make that deal? asks Sam. Because I couldn't live with you dead, replies Dean. So you're doing the same thing to me, says Sam, which is selfish. Dean is OK with that, he's tired and sees a light at the end of the tunnel. "That's hellfire, Dean," says Sam sourly. All Dean wants to do is make the most of the time he has left"”kill some evil sons of bitches and raise a little hell"”he feels good! You're unbelievable, says Sam.

"Very true," says Dean. They climb into the Impala and drive away.

1. The suits at the CW requested they make the show less dark, and season 3 was the result. This episode was far too bright for me, and I didn't like it. Like they said in "Hollywood Babylon," horror is supposed to be dark. I agree.

2. This episode introduced Ruby, the mysterious woman who will have a huge affect on the brothers' lives, especially Sam's. We already know the end of that story, here is the very beginning. She swoops in and saves Sam like he's a damsel in distress, but she gets in trouble, too, and needs help from him. Many people despised her before she ever showed up, and hated the slow motion of her demon-killing scene. I liked that. I came to like Ruby, too, but many fans wanted her gone when she was merely a concept. How about you, now that her story arc has come and gone?

3. Sam says everything to Dean he couldn't say at the end of S2, about how selfish he is for making the deal, that Dean is forcing HIM to live without his brother, etc. Yet Dean says he's fine with that and wants to spend his last year killing evil SOB's and raising a little hell. Is he justified? Does he really expect his loving brother to just accept this and shut up?

4. Given that we really only "met" Pride, Lust and Envy (and briefly, Sloth), did you think Bobby made too big a deal about the SEVEN DEADLY SINS? Did you think perhaps it might have been better if they had two in the episode or three, instead of all of them at once?

5. How horrible was the bar scene with Tamara and Isaac? I FELT their terror. First time around, I was sure both were going to die. Forcing Isaac to drink drain cleaner was one of the worst things I've ever seen on this show. Then sending Isaac back reanimated by a demon was so cruel and terrible for Tamara, but effective in getting inside the house. I still hope we'll see Tamara again someday. She lost her husband and child to the supernatural, and probably became as driven as John.

6. I was disappointed with "Magnificent Seven." In comparison to "In My Time of Dying" and "Lazarus Rising," it left a lot to be desired. It had good points"”the introduction of Tamara and Isaac, married hunters; effective MOTW in Envy and Pride (I did like Envy's speech about how humans are no better than demons, especially talking about hungry, horny Dean); that terrifying bar scene with its horrific death for Isaac; Dean's Doublemint Twins scene while Sam waited in the Impala, then had to go in and interrupt him; and the final discussion between the brothers, where Dean told Sam how it's going to be, period. Your opinion?

Comments  

Karen
# Karen 2010-03-10 11:48
Hi Robin

1. I would have to agree, having the darker scenes does fit the mood of the show.

2. I liked the Season 3 Ruby, she was snarky and straight to the point. She had me convinced that she really wanted to help Sam. Of course I didn’t doubt for a minute that it was going to somehow benefit her in some way, but I never would of believed it was to Raise Lucifer.
As for Season 4 Ruby, to me I could never associate these two as the same character. I always looked at her as a completely different character, just with the same name.
Their personalities were just too different. I could never of seen Katie’s Ruby ever getting sexually involved with Sam or being subservient or coddling to him.

3. I think Dean was justified to a point, he had sacrificed his whole life to Sam and he wanted to be able to live the remainder of his life his way. I also think Dean truly felt Sam would be ok, because Sam was able to go off to school and not keep in touch. But what Dean didn’t take into consideration was when Sam left for school, both John and Dean were alive and well. Sam had left them in each other’s care and doing what they both wanted to do with their lives.

4. No I think Bobby was right to be concerned. If the seven deadly sins got freed then what else had been released. I liked that they had them together and didn’t have this story line dragged out.

5. What happened to Isaac and Tamara was horrible, but the only problem was I really didn’t like the acting from these two actors. I found they really over acted, it seemed like they were trying way too hard.

6. I didn’t mind this episode other than the acting issues I had. However I have to agree for a season opener I was expecting something more. This would of worked for me if it was episode 2 or 3.
Randal
# Randal 2010-03-10 13:52
Anytime SPN can give a shoutout to Mayor Quimby, it's alright with me.

1. Agreed. I do like a little bit of light for some noir-ish nuance, a Poe-esque pigment, but a bit too much.

2. What Karen said. I think both actresses did a fine job with what they were supposed to do, but there was such a difference in their approach. It didn't feel like an organic progression. Very rarely did they have Genevieve get snarky (which they should have done more often) and when she did, it was invariably directed at Dean.

3. Karen, stop stealing my thoughts. And I think Dean's way of dealing with it was spot-on. Of course he's going to joke and be dismissive of his impending trip to hell; that's his defense mechanism. I loved the tension that that created.

4. Like the two Rubys, there's a disconnect here and I think the fault lies with the writers (sorry, Mighty Kripke). You can't go OMG THESE ARE THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS RUN FOR THE HILLS MA BARKER then have them vanquished by the end of the episode. They could have been excellent foes throughout the season.

5. Loved Isaac's death scene, and hey, I get a chance to (slightly) disagree with Karen! :D These two were so visceral in their reactions, all guns-a-blazin', that it worked for me.

6. The least effective of the season openers, but as you said, it had its moments ("what's in the box!" "See, I'm working.") and introduced an important character and helped establish the dynamic between Sam and Dean for the season.
Sablegreen
# Sablegreen 2010-03-10 14:18
I liked the look into other hunter’s lives. I wish they did that more often. And what became of Tamara would be interesting to find out. I preferred Katie Cassidy’s to Genevieve Cortese’s Ruby. She just seemed to be more of a devil. They didn’t seem to be the same character at all.

The interaction with the brothers was epic, especially when Sam interrupted Dean with the twins, as was their interaction at the end.

For me this was an okay episode.
Suze
# Suze 2010-03-11 17:59
Bit of a waste of the Sins, they should have been far more hardcore.

I really liked EvilBarbie (TM) Ruby and while Whisper-In-The- Shadows Ruby was OK she didn't come across as being the same being at all, but that said I loved the Stealthy Seduction Of Sam storyline and although I was bursting to find out what was at the bottom of her scheming I rather miss her now she's not there to piss Dean off and twist Sam up in knots. Sigh ...

Also, that Isaac was really getting on my nerves so good riddance :twisted:
Supernarttu
# Supernarttu 2010-03-14 05:40
Hi Robin. Great review, thanks.

1. I too wasn't a fan of the lightness and color. Horror = Dark. Agreed.

2. I love Ruby. Both, even though Katie was snarkier and I liked her better, I understand why she changed her approach in S4. She sure was a master manipulator. Loved her rant in the end of Lucifer Rising, old Ruby was present there. Poor Sam. He just wanted to help his brother/ avenge him. His moral lines got blurred, but I can't blame him. Ruby was a brilliant catalyst of Sams downfall and made his arch muy muy interesting :-)

3. Deans allright with his decision, Sam isn't, ,but Dean thinks that he will be. Boy, he has so much faith in Sam but he can't see how much Sam loves him. Comes back to Dean feeling himself worthless. And Sams desperate enough to ally with the enemy, Dean is not going to hell. And we know what happens in the end... Oh boys... They kill me.

4. Yeah, I like the idea of the 7 deadly sins as demons, but the way it came out was too all over the place. They should have been in smaller doses. They could've delved in to the different demons more, if they'd had more episodes. I still liked Envy and Pride though, good casting.

5. The bar scene was gross, but I felt kinda "meh" for Tamara and Isaac on the whole. They just felt kinda disconnected or something...

6. Agree that compared to other season openers, this one's the weakest. But it had its' moments. I like this eppie. S3 is next on my watch-list so nice to watch them and then come and read your reviews :-)