There’s enough action and drama in this episode of Supernatural to satisfy me. There’s a few rough edges and plot elements that don’t make a lot of sense, but on the whole, I’m glad that we have this story where Sam and Dean are in-sync and working together…at least until the end.
Thoughts on Supernatural 13.17: “The Thing”
“The Thing” is hard to put a label on as an episode. It was sort of a mixed bag, almost like the recipe that calls for the odds and ends in your kitchen to be stirred together and thrown into the oven. The results are perfectly adequate, but it’s easy to discern from the end product that the starting point was a bunch of loose pieces that needed handling.
I really enjoyed Supernatural’s 13.17 “The Thing”! It was face paced and struck a balance between action and mystery! The brothers got to explore an entirely new MoL location shrouded in secrets. Who was the girl in the gorgeous flapper dress? Who were the cultists in the beautiful velvet robes? Why were the police complicit in the attack?
The Asmodeus/Ketch/Gabriel scenes were also unexpectedly satisfying. Asmodeus’ tedium and the time in that cheesy throne room were mercifully saved by David Hayden-Jones’ and Richard Speight Jr.’s stellar acting that kept me completely engrossed in their plights. Why did Asmodeus want to keep the brothers from opening a door to yet another world? “We have to stop them” he said, but I never understood why he cared. Did you? No matter, because the visitors to the throne room were much more interesting. Did you expect Gabriel to be so traumatized? His abject fear was palatable through his body language and the expressions in his eyes! It was especially poignant given Ketch was hiding his fear, or not feeling it at all, in the face of the first of what Asmodeus promised would be many beatings. The spectrum of breaking down a warrior to a whimper was alarming.
Now: It is night is Portsmouth, RI, in 1925. A beautiful and terrified young blonde woman in flapper clothes is being dragged by crimson-robed men into a temple-like room filled with candles, sigils and chanting. It looks like some evil Satanic ritual, but the emblems on the robes and wall are not the expected inverted pentagram, but the Men of Letters symbol. The panicked woman struggles vainly as she is chained to a marble table as the chanting continues. One man stands over her, holding up a crystal talisman. A purple lights shoots out of the crystal, opening a rift above the table. A long dark tentacle squirms out of the rift, and the captive screams.
In this crazy world and times, we all seek refuge. Some turn to sports. Others turn to gardening. Some immerse themselves in crafting while others spend their time recharging through chores or handy-man tasks. Whatever it is, we turn to those things to escape from the hectic realities we face in our lives---be it work, politics, family strife, illness, or financial problems. For others, refuge is found in story---books, movies, or television shows. Some we anticipate upon their release. Others we return to again and again for their familiarity. Stories allow us to experience so much that we'd rather not in real life. The best conflict is typically fictional---and it's one reason why we find refuge in them. Supernatural, as a television show, certainly fits that bill. Cross it over with another show like Scooby-Doo and you have the recipe for exploring story as refuge both on the metafictional and real level. Through Sam and Dean's experience of a realm they see as fictional (as we see them as fictional) we, too, celebrate story and its power to grant us refuge.
I should probably begin by stating my apathy for Scooby-Doo. I’m a child of the sixties and seventies, so yes, I did watch the show. There wasn’t much else on, in those days. If you wanted to watch cartoons with your morning cereal, you watched what three or so channels offered. Even though Supernatural did a wonderful job with the episode, overall…"Scoobynatural" isn’t going on my rewatch list anytime soon.
Let’s just cut to the chase: this episode was epic. To paraphrase Sam and Dean, the concept fell into the “beyond weird” category of TV show concepts and that’s simply what Supernatural delivers the best. This episode blended the classic elements of Scooby-Doo with the dark humour of Supernatural into a recipe for a near-perfect hour; undoubtedly an episode that will go into the Supernatural archives of classic episodes, alongside some of the other notorious and favourite landmarks of this series.
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