“Your gift, you try to force it down to make yourself happy, you’ll only make yourself miserable.”
The story sounds familiar doesn’t it? “Supernatural” going into the thematic vaults to tackle the whole “accepting who you are and the gifts you have been given despite the side effects” storyline. Will pursuing those gifts make you a freak, turn you evil or harm others in the process? When your name is Winchester, opinions definitely vary. They also seem to vary in ways that suit the writers rather than following any real character growth patterns.
Before I go any further, yes, a review from me! Life has been very hectic for the last several months, so much so I haven’t been watching much TV. After letting the latest three episodes of “Supernatural” fester on my DVR, I finally sat myself down Sunday night and watched in succession “Lost and Found,” “The Rising Son,” and “Patience.” After taking it all in, naturally, I have a few things to say.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on “Lost and Found” or “The Rising Son.” I really have nothing to add to what was already said about those episodes on this site. “Lost and Found” didn’t really bring us anything new thematically, but I was definitely sucked in by Jack’s plight. It was a good evenly paced story that kicked off the season right. Dean is off the rails and Sam isn’t ready to give up hope, which is called another day at the MOL office. Naturally I’m siding with the latter because, without hope, this show kind of sucks.
As for “The Rising Son” honestly, for a Brad and Eugenie installment, I was only mildly irritated. Oh yes, watching a Colonel Sanders reincarnation as the new villain induced an extreme eye roll from me, not to mention the toss of a few foam bricks at the “Hell on Earth” lair still being in existence (clueless camp fest!), but bringing back Donatello was inspired. The rest was meh. Sam taking the opportunity to be a good influence on Jack is intriguing, but I’m already tired of Dean acting like a toddler having a tantrum. He has a right to grieve but not be a total irrational dick. I’ll elaborate more on that later.
So that brings us to “Patience” and boy do I need it. This episode failed to take advantage of many golden opportunities available and once again I’m very disappointed at the end of the hour. Since the choice has been made to do a slow rollout of the “Wayward Sisters” concept rather than go with the disastrous one shot episode that was “Bloodlines,” I held a lot of hope the writing would do some dynamic world building, essentially capturing our attention and hearts and leaving us wanting more. Sadly nothing about “Patience” delivered any confidence that this spinoff is going to work. As a matter of fact, it’s exactly what sunk “Bloodlines.” Shallow characters, a weak plot, and zero charisma. It suffered from the exact same problem that has been dragging down the quality of “Supernatural” for the last several seasons - piss poor characterization and lack of bold storytelling.
Let me knock out what did work in the episode for me. The MOTW, the Wraith, was a good choice for this story. A creature that lives on brain juice craving psychic brains. That’s pretty clever. Also, I LOVED the ending. Castiel in the big empty for the win! I’m very happy they went there. I have a feeling they will cop out and keep the mysteries of the big empty a secret, but that is about the only place Castiel should be. If if turns out that Jack has the power to bring people back from the big empty, then, well, that makes him a better God than Chuck!
Yep, there’s where my enthusiasm ends, probably because of the failure in the writing, editing, and directing to grasp TV 101. When introducing a character to a story, whether a long term or just a one time wonder, that person needs to have some sort of connection with not only with the other characters (preferably your main ones) but with your audience as well. The best way to illustrate that is to look at the other episode that featured Missouri Moseley, season one’s epic “Home.” When comparing the two, “Home” makes you yearn for when stories were told with heart and a deep emotional connection.
If you remember, “Home” brought to the surface the deep internal struggles in both Winchesters. Dean was tortured by having to go back to the house where he saw his mother burn and face those long buried feelings. For Sam his psychic powers were starting to manifest, a similar parallel to Patience in this episode. The whole idea of being psychic tortured Sam to his core and rattled Dean quite a bit too. Missouri was the glue that held everything together. She helped calm a mother over the danger her children were in, while guiding Sam and Dean through a difficult time in their lives all by using those natural gifts that were blessed upon her. I felt every ounce of character pain and the intensity of their struggles through the somber tone, moving score, and of course riveting acting. Sure, Eric Kripke did water down the tale a bit throwing in some cheap horror with a plumber’s hand and a garbage disposal, but that was the episode’s only hiccup. This was the first deeply emotional episode to connect with me in “Supernatural.” This was a big turning point in the series. It was never the same after that. To date it remains one of my all time favorite episodes.
With “Patience,” everyone was just…there. No, I didn’t expect “Patience” to be the riveting and tearful powerhouse that “Home” was, but if you’re going to chase those parallels, especially bringing back the actress from that episode twelve years later, it would have been nice to get at least one or two emotional sucker punches like we got in the season one classic. A meaningful tie-in would have been nice. Where were the clever connections to where it all began that would aptly bring Patience into new generation? The type of storytelling that pulls the audience into the story? If I were a high school kid and I found out I was psychic, I wouldn’t just conclude in the end, “Oh, I’m psychic” and go back to math class.
There are so many different ways this could have been done, all delivering a better impact than what we got. Why was Sam sidelined? I know that Sam needed to help Jack, and those were the strongest parts of the episode, but having him there trying to help Patience deal with her psychic powers would have been a much better choice. I was dying to see him reunite with Missouri, get his hand held, and she see all that’s happened to him in the last twelve years. Big potential lost there. Sam’s presence, all those feelings awakened, could have brought out Patience’s internal anguish more, providing that much needed connection between past and present. This episode could have easily been pushed out a few episodes later when Sam wasn’t preoccupied with the next antichrist.
How about Jody? If a child ever needed a mother. She could have given Patience that much needed shoulder and warm guidance since it’s supposed to tie into her spinoff. We got one awkward scene that was shoehorned into the end that setup a possible meeting in the future. Oh wow, I’m stoked. Anyone remember how strongly Jody connected with Alex in “Alex, Annie, Alexis, Ann?” That’s the type of bond that was desperately needed here. Instead she was wallpaper, forced by bad writing to mechanically walk through the whole thing because hunting is what she does. Since when could she just go hunting? Last I heard she was a sheriff in Sioux Falls.
How about Dean? He has some experience with this psychic stuff and not just with Sam. Remember Andy actually giving him that psychic vision in “All Hell Breaks Loose Part I?” He gets the whole concept. Instead of him pouting like a child who has been denied candy, he could have actually build a rapport with Patience and her Dad and get his lessons learned through them. Remember when Dean would easily bond with the victims of the week? That’s how he’s always dealt with his internal ghosts in the past. Heck, he didn’t even get some motherly advice from Jody this time. That’s always the best part with Jody being around. She centers the boys and talks them off of their existential ledges. That all didn’t happen so Sam and Dean could shout at each other in the end?
Or, HOW ABOUT MISSOURI? In ‘Home,” the emotionally killer line, the gut punch that tears me apart to this day, is Sam with his despondent “What is happening to me?” to Missouri on the front porch after his encounter with Mary’s ghost. It was so raw, so desperate, and when you see all that’s happened to him since then, oh so tragic. He had no idea what was coming. Patience could have found herself on the same emotional path, showing with deep intensity her struggle over these new found powers, reeling from the extreme danger and terror to her family, all with her grandmother there offering that tender support in a time of extreme confusion and desperation. Could you see a closing scene of Patience torn apart emotionally with Missouri offering a tender hand? No, instead Missouri was discarded in useless manner, a stunt that has grown so tiresome and repetitive in “Supernatural” that it makes you wonder why they even bother writing characters. The deaths, plain and simple, have become a tactic of lazy writing rather than delivering any emotional impact or sense of sacrifice. It most bothers me when a senseless death robs a story of a golden opportunity.
But, that’s only one side of a missed opportunity. The other is with Jack and Sam. I know, Jack has been our one bright spot in this new season. Add me to the chorus of those that think Alexander Calvert is brilliant. I feel his bond with Sam too and no wonder. They’re both misfits, they’re both dealing with an evil inside of them they can’t control. It’s a very endearing relationship and I’m eager to see it develop more.
However, their storyline suffers from a major shortcoming, the elephant in the room so to speak, aka TPTB choice to not address Sam’s demon blood situation since “Swan Song.” It was mentioned once, in season eight’s “The Great Escapist.” Sam said then that the trials were purifying him. Well, did they? We have no flipping idea. No writer on this team decided to run with that and once again that was all brushed under a rug. Does Sam still feel that evil inside him now, or was he just remembering what it was like? Does he still have demon blood? The ambiguity has done nothing but drag down Sam’s story for seasons and this would have been the perfect time to bring it up. Instead, it’s the same old thing. He feels like a freak and now he wants to help one. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if Sam’s powers resurface because of Jack? Yes, I’ll never let that go. I’ve always hated that Sam’s feelings and darkness inside him has been reduced to nothing in terms of connection with others and stories not digging deep into all those layers of anguish. I’ve always hated that the choice is pretend like Sam’s ordeals and abilities in the first five years never happened. He could have turned those into good. But that blatant neglect of character development is really glaring when he’s paired with Jack.
That brings us to Dean, aka, my most vehement complaint of season thirteen so far. I was very pleased to see Sam calling out Dean on his behavior. His words were perfect, Dean didn’t give up on him, why should he give up on Jack? Because Dean blames Jack for everything bad that has happened. Oh okay then…wait a second…what???
Actually, I’m going to let an old friend handle that one. After all, It’s been a long summer and she’s chomping at the bit! I haven’t let the monster out of the cage since last season...
The Red Headed Monster
WHAT THE HELL HAVE THESE WRITERS DONE TO DEAN WINCHESTER?!? (Breathe deep, breathe deep, namaste, namaste). So, how was your summer?
Hear me out. I get it, fan girls love man pain. His actions in “Lost and Found” were classic Dean and my heart tore in pieces for him. These are some pretty devastating losses for him and feeling abandoned by Chuck is understandable. He’s also done some unhinged things when grieving. Just look at the early part of season two. But to say that Dean “lashing out” is in character for him is true only to a point. Usually he has his tirade and then finds his center. He doesn’t carry on like this. That’s where I’m having an issue with his character.
Just look at recent history. Dean just went through the whole ordeal of the intolerant British Men of Letters who killed not only every monster, but anyone that got in their way. They tried to kill him and Sam! He fought hard against that single minded thinking, knowing that there is always grey in every situation. Now he’s suddenly subscribing to that mentality? Jack’s a Nephilim so he has to die because he’s a monster? Solely because Lucifer is his Dad, even knowing his mother was good?
I’m really sick of the “I’m going to kill you” tirades. I get that his little speech to Jack is solely based out of fear, but gee Dean, how did that work with Amara? Did you just notice the angels couldn’t do it? Just how do you plan on doing that? Why are you poking the bear? After all these years, after all the compromises he made, even cozying up with Crowley, I really thought he had grown beyond idle, empty threats. Even under the influence of the Mark of Cain he wasn’t this pissy.
Anyone remember “Who We Are?” That was only four episodes ago! I just can’t believe this is the same Dean that triumphed over extreme forces by putting his faith in his family…ESPECIALLY SAM! Why is he jumping on Sam now and not backing his play? Because things suddenly went bad for them so now Sam is an idiot? Back in season four and five Dean had good reason to be angry with Sam. He lied to him and essentially betrayed him. They’ve moved way beyond that though and have been on equal terms for a while. Now Dean is afraid and it’s time to admonish Sam again? Ugh. What a puzzling regression.
Although I wasn’t very happy with the way Dean handled Castiel last year either. Castiel had a big moment bonding with Jack while he was still in the womb and Dean was adamant that Castiel was brainwashed? So it was Cas’ belief in this child got him killed? Where did that come from? Last I remember, that fatal blow came from Lucifer. Misplaced anger, oh boy, nice to see all that maturity being thrown out. Dean wouldn’t make idle and angry threats to an innocent kid, no matter who his father is. Dean has NEVER subscribed to the notion that the sins of the father become the sins of the children. He knows that first hand! So now he’s changing his tune because…well…I’m at a total loss as to why. I don’t see how events have led to his extreme behavior.
I’m just really really tired of Dean’s rut, which is being dragged out for nothing more than the sake of forced drama, another tactic this show is way too guilty of. Anyone remember that Dean is supposed to be the hero in the story? He’s acting like every single vengeful villain in every genre show. I don’t care what you say writers, Dean Winchester is better than this.
Lost and Found - B+
The Rising Son - B-
Patience - D+
All in all, a meh start. Not bad but not great. Safe and serviceable. Unless the writers as a collective try to properly connect past with present for both the characters and the storylines, then these episodes will continue to be a scattered mess every week.