The ghost is scary, Sam’s pleasing, two familiar characters have reappeared, the guest stars are memorable, and Dean’s still gloomy in the fifth episode of Supernatural.
This review’s going to be a tough one to write because there are parts of the story that I really like, but also some parts that I don’t like. I think it’ll be better if I just review this episode in the order that it happens.
The “Then” montage really got to me because there’s so many sad deaths in it. After that, there’s a shaky-cam scene of a teenage boy goading his friend to investigate an old mental health center. Good idea, idiot. It’s bad enough when a dumb kid gets himself in trouble, but it makes me sad when that person has to drag a friend into it that doesn’t want to go. Let that be a lesson to you, kids. Just say “no” if you have a buddy that wants you to do something reckless that you don’t want to do. You’ll be happier in the long run, believe me. Anyway, that sequence is pretty frightening, if nausea inducing. The ghost doctor’s awfully spooky.
I’m cheered by the fact that Dean calls Jack by his name, not Damien. There’s a step in the right direction. Jack’s busy right now, so cutie-pie Sam wants Dean to go hunting with him; just the two of them, like the good-ole-days. When Sam and Dean arrive at their destination, I’m surprised to see them checking into a hotel with a parking garage. Maybe they sold one of those antique cars in the bunker? That’s definitely not a skeevy motel. They even have complimentary bacon! Sam’s wanting to keep the good times a-rolling, so he suggests a very nice strip club with great reviews. Since Sam wakes up in his bed and Dean’s a-snoring on the floor, I assume that either Sam came home early, or didn’t go at all. Dean’s momentarily happy, passed out like that, so that’s good.
When the boys go to visit Shawn, I’m happy to see that his mom’s being played by one of my favorite actresses. I’ll tell you more about her, later. Her poor boy isn’t doing well and Sam and Dean leave to search the haunted mental hospital. I’m impressed that Supernatural is trying to be scary, again. That ghost, in his freaky outfit, is strong and fast. I appreciate the fact that he seems to be a formidable ghost; more like the ones we might have seen, seasons before. I like the ghost hunting moments and Shawn's story. Just as I’m thinking that this will be an episode that I’m loving, then this happens: Dean “I’d Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me, than a Frontal Lobotomy” Winchester dies for the umpteenth time. Face – meet my palm.
Why, oh why, did we have to go here, again? I didn’t like it in “Red Meat” and I certainly don’t like it now. I do like Jessica the Reaper, though. She seems sweet and I also feel badly for Shawn and his mother. There are so many deaths on this show, main characters and side characters alike, that it’s hard sometimes to think about the lingering pain and mourning that must go on in the aftermath. Especially when it’s an only child or dead siblings. It’s all sad, I suppose. But…I don’t need Dean to calmly take out a set of syringes and stab himself with one; causing him to die, once again. (Note: according to SuperWiki – When Dean takes out the syringes to induce death and revive him, the masking tape on the kit reads: “Dr. Robert. For Emergency.” Dr. Robert was the doctor that first induced death on Dean in 6.11 “Appointment in Samarra.” Cool info, huh?) Sam’s not happy about this turn of events either, but while I’m thinking – what, Sam doesn’t know CPR? I’m also thinking – oh darn, it’s her.
My apologies to the actress, who’s a very nice person, I’m sure; I just don’t like Billie the Reaper. From the first sighting of Billie, I was just not a fan. I like her singing voice, but the character just annoys me. I think I wrote in the comments, at the time, that Billie’s threatening my baby boy Sammy and Mama’s not happy about that. I’m still not happy. I find the character to be arrogant and humorless. I like assorted villains all the time, but that’s usually because they are charismatic and funny, in some way. As of now, Billie just leaves me cold and wanting Julian Richings back. He was scary, quirky, mesmerizing, and just delightful. If I had to encounter Death, that’s the one that I’d like to visit with. I do try to be open-minded, so I’ll give her another chance and see how it goes. Grumble, grumble.
In Death’s filing room, Dean first says that he needs to get back to Sam, but later, he’s all simpatico with the idea of staying dead. Great, I thought that gloom and doom Dean was going to go away. Guess not. After some more depressing conversation, Billie realizes (finally!) that Sam and Dean are important and that they have work to do.
I did like the song that plays near the end while Sam and Dean are driving home in Baby – who, by the way, is very glossy and pretty in this episode. I like the ghosts and their story, the locations are interesting, and the guest stars are good in their roles (I’m sure Lisa Berry’s acting is great, it just doesn’t work for me, in this part). I just can’t accept the casual way that Dean decides to be dead, again, and I’m just tired of the way that Dean’s acting. It might be justified, even be in character, but I’ve had enough of it, thank you. Even though we get the return of “I’ll just wait here, then” Castiel…I’m thinking that if Cas is the same as he was when he just left, for Pete’s sake…then I’m not thrilled, but Dean’s going to be happy. I can’t help agreeing with some of the commenters, here on the site, that Cas may just have worn out his welcome. Another version of Cas would be nice, please. I liked Crazy Cas, Attractive Crying Man Cas, Original Recipe Cas - so, I could get attached to a more interesting Cas than we’ve had, for far too long.
My Random Musings
Shawn’s Mom is played by Alisen Down. She was also in season eight’s “Trial and Error,” but the first time I saw her was in the TV series Mysterious Ways that ended in 2002. Anyone remember that one? I loved it and her character was so socially awkward and funny. She’s been in many productions, since, and recently she’s been featured on 12 Monkeys, where she’s fabulous in a key part of the story.
Thanatology is an interesting subject; it’s the scientific study of death. I’ve always been fascinated by death. Not just the stories and theories of the Great Beyond, but the mechanisms of death. Have you ever stood in a cemetery and wondered what was under your feet? What the bodies and caskets look like, now? I’m morbid, I know, but I’m also pretty sure that the souls go on to a better place, so the body’s just an empty shell. I’ve always loved shows like Six Feet Under and when I need background noise, I usually turn on Discovery Channel’s Death and Murder shows. I even worked at a cemetery in California for a while – I worked in accounting and accepted payments from old folks that were paying for their own future graves. A lot of older people would pay in cash that smelled like it had been buried in their backyards, or stuffed into mattresses, I kid you not.
On Amazon Prime, they are showing a program called Lore. It features true stories of people’s experiences with things like haunted dolls and changelings. Anyway, one segment was about lobotomies and the doctor who thought that he was doing crazy people a favor by sticking a metal rod through their eye socket and poking their brain with it. I can’t believe that doctors once thought that this was a good idea. I’m so glad that modern medicine exists, but the things I’ve read about the practices of what we would today consider the torture of the mentally ill – it’s just awful.
One of my favorite episodes of The X-Files is “Unruhe” in which Pruitt Taylor Vince (another great character actor) tries to lobotomize Scully. She wasn’t having none of that, though.
Alright, I’m not really sure if I like this episode, or not. Some parts are well done and I can’t judge Billie as the New Death until I’ve seen more. I’m not liking how Dean’s being characterized, here, but hopefully he’ll lighten the freak up already! Sorry, I’m just not happy with the guy, at the current moment. What do you’all think?
Extra images courtesy of: HomeoftheNutty.com