Color me surprised! I went into “LOTUS” with some incredibly low, sub zero basement low, if not totally despondent expectations. I mean, how in the world were they going to turn around this fiasco known as season 12? The synopsis had me believing this, to quote Comic Book Guy, would be the worst…episode…ever. Given the fact that I’ve been hardly impressed to downright angry with the episodes all season long, not to mention bitterly disappointed by all the midseason finales over the last several seasons, as well as my fear that the Lucifer storyline has dragged on way to long, it was going to be a near impossible task to win me over.
Go figure, it happened, and we can thank…*gulp*…Brad and Eugenie. Suddenly, I’m on board again. I loved it.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t call “LOTUS” epic or gorgeous, or even standing up to the series classics. But for season 12, I’m calling it the best episode so far. I liked that everyone played their part. Sam and Dean got to be heroes (with a twist), Crowley and Rowena had moments that were quite enjoyable, and even Castiel was slightly better than useless, getting to deliver the big news of Lucifer's offspring thanks to the angel radio. I also want the British Men of Letters to only be Mr. Ketch. He’s awesome!
I know, this wasn’t an epic emotional story that involved brotherly bonding or strong family moments. Emotional elements have never been Brad and Eugenie’s strength, so that expectation was never there for me. The episode dragged in parts like during the presidential scenes, which got too much air time, even if it was Lucifer. But overall the story had my attention the entire hour. It was actually fluid and moved very well. All the parts added up and had a logical progression instead of being a random mess. Tonally it was very even. It also moved forward a season that seemed aimless and going nowhere by merely presenting mytharc pieces in an interesting way. But best of all, the eye rolling moments were at a minimum. In today’s “Supernatural” landscape, I call that a win.
So what made “LOTUS” so extraordinary from all the other season 12 selections? Let’s take a deeper look.
We’ve had several great and introspective reviews this week on this site, digging into the deep layers that this great script offered. Trust me when I say, layers have been noticeably absent this season in most scripts so I’m clinging onto this gift like glue. But me digging into those layers would pretty much end up repeating what’s already been said in the last few days. In the vein of the episode, I’m going to focus more on the superficial stuff. Call this my “post-it note” review. You know, random thoughts focusing on the small little touches that made this episode extraordinary. Why? Because dammit, I’ve been dying for some sort of fun this season and this is the best chance I’ve gotten so far. Most episodes have just left me cold instead of the giant smile that was on my face Thursday night.
I’m going to tell you why I loved this episode so much. No doubt, “Stuck in the Middle (With You)” was a full blown homage to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and that makes me very happy. I love this man’s films and got every shout out they were going for. For the most part, the effort was brilliant. For those that aren’t familiar with Tarantino’s style (aka the young audience that now watches this show) I can tell you that it is very hard to copy. You don’t see a lot of filmmakers trying to emulate.
It takes a certain amount of skill to deliver on non-linear storytelling, aka showing scenes out of chronological order, using title cards, and bringing together in a scattered intersection individual plot threads. For the most part writer Davy Perez and director Richard Speight Jr. pulled it off. From the Reservoir Dogs-esque opening in the diner and the slow motion shot outside to the Kill Bill inspired fight scenes to the Pulp Fiction inspired use of “glowing” to show the importance of the colt to the The Hateful Eightinspired score (that film was scored by the original Spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone), it became obvious how much of a Tarantino study both these guys are. Yes, I loved the Spaghetti Western themed score. I may be the only one, but the music to me fit the style they were copying, even if it seemed out of place for this show.
I caught on what was happening within the first few minutes, but given my familiarity (and love) with this style of storytelling, I gave it a lot of scrutiny as well. While I applaud the effort and the risks taken to do this sort of story, there were rough spots in the execution here and there, but not so much to ruin the hour. Just knock it down a grade or so. Given the effort that was taken for a one hour TV show episode, all parties involved should be proud of delivering something with this caliber of cinematic quality.
Pardon me? Oh, you came here to read more than that? An adequate, perfectly descriptive one word review doesn’t suffice? Fine, I’ll elaborate.
It didn’t suck. How about that?
Yeah, didn’t think that would work either. Fine, but you know what happens when I have to analyze a Brad and Eugenie episode. The blood pressure tends to spike. Especially when something so tame follows something so brilliant.
The roller coaster ride continues. This week we're up, and suddenly there's a potential thrill to this ride. The question is, will we hit bottom again next week like we did last week? Personally, I don't care. I want to hang onto this little gem for a while and not let go.
So, a funny thing happen on the way to watching my DVR recording of “Supernatural” on Thursday. Everyone was pixelated, choppy, and talking in really strange voices. I swear it was possessed. Granted that actually improved the character of Claire for me, but that’s not the point (I’m kidding!). Bottom line, I couldn’t watch until it was available on CWTV.com
the next day, and given my weekend plans I couldn’t watch until Sunday.
What did I think? Maybe it was my mood after a good weekend, but I didn’t think it was half bad. Even the hubby, who pretty much thinks all of it is crap these days, thought it was one of the better installments. No, “Ladies Drink Free” wasn’t a series classic, but as filler goes, it was watchable.
What the hell? What in the world was that? How did anyone think that tone deaf hour would pass as…
(Deep breaths…High road, High road…)
Okay, let’s try again. How do I put this mildly? “The British Invasion” was bitterly disappointing. I, like most fans, have various reactions after watching a “Supernatural” episode. Back in the earlier seasons, I couldn’t wait to watch the episodes again. That rarely happens anymore. This season has ranged from “not bad” to “meh” to “WTF WHERE THEY THINKING????” After “The British Invasion,” my reaction was the latter coupled with, “Why do I even bother???”
But let’s focus on the positive first, shall we? Welcome back Shoshannah Stern. It’s nice to see Sam and Dean reach out to their hunter network and Eileen…well…isn’t she like the only one still alive? Doesn’t matter, because she’s awesome. Aww, she and Sammy have a little crush going. Isn’t Sammy cute when he gets to play shy school boy? And Dean gets to be sick about it. Big brothers for the win! Eileen was the catalyst of the story, not because she was smart and awesome and helped them find Kelly Kline, but because she accidentally shot the British Men of Letters tool with the colt. Now the BMOL want her dead. Really? I was thinking the only reason she’s marked for death is because they’re setting her up to be a Sam love interest. Can you see that, those two getting romantic and then she dies tragically in Sam’s arms? Then Sam in his grief goes after the BMOL. Actually, that’s about the only outcome I see. Sam isn’t allowed to have happiness and everyone is supposed to die according to the writers “code”. They’ll promote it as one of those spectacular, “shocking” deaths that we didn't see coming and means something. Man, that just took the wind right out of the sails of this story line, didn’t it?
Whew! What a relief. I was really starting to think that “Supernatural” had forgotten what it was truly about. Thank you John Bring and Phil Sgriccia for reminding everyone.
While I'm not going to go as far as calling "The Memory Remains" a series classic or even a totally brilliant hour, it was a most welcome hour. The last few weeks have been disconcerting so for this episode to address some of those issues itself makes it extraordinary. Who knows, I might even watch this again someday. There are very few episodes in this season where I can say that.
Huh, that was interesting. That’s good “interesting.” I can’t explain how or why, but I thought this was a well done hour. I’ve been really missing Castiel and I’ve been skeptical about this whole Luci baby drama. I like this turn. Is the baby good or evil? Please let it be good. That would be something different, wouldn’t it?
What I loved the most was Kelly and Castiel. Just about all the moments that they were on screen. There was something visually captivating about Kelly’s whole suicide in the bath tub scene, shot by first time for “Supernatural” director (and acting alum) Amanda Tapping. It was done with style and grace, which was kind of weird considering we’re talking a bloody death in a bathtub. I really felt for Kelly at that moment and she earned my sympathy for the entire hour.
Episode 20 in this show has always been a bit of an odd duck. It’s meant to be the warmup to the big climax that is coming. There have been huge classics like last season’s “Don’t Call Me Shurley” or what I call a true masterpiece of the series, season six’s “The Man Who Would Be King.” Then there’s the quirky fun episodes like “The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo,” and “Pac-Man Fever.” There’s also the fandom dividing episodes like “The Rapture” and “Angel Heart.” Don’t forget the total disaster too, aka season nine’s “Bloodlines.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you Robert Berens! I just can’t say that enough. I was left so speechless and emotionally drained after “Who We Are” that when I tackled the idea of a review, I just wanted to repeat “Thank You” a thousand times. Sure it would have been redundant to say the least, but wouldn’t it have gotten the message across? :). Don’t worry, I came up with some real words. Way too many probably.
It wasn’t just Robert Berens delivering the goods. This was an all out effort where everyone got to shine. The directing by John Showalter was a season best, so was the acting, probably because the actors were finally given some superior material to work with, the editing wasn’t choppy and annoying, the stunt coordination was amazing, and even the score was memorable (save for an interesting choice or two). All in all, I finally have one episode in season twelve that I can get excited about. A review where I can actually dig into character intricacies and layers! It’s an SPN reviewer’s dream. “Who We Are” will be my season twelve classic for years to come. My only one.
Honestly, I was ready to give it all up after “There’s Something About Mary.” I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to do a review for these finale episodes. After all, season twelve has been a bitter disappointment. But as I sat there on the couch gobsmacked with tears rolling down my face after watching this masterpiece from Bobo, I wondered if part of my deep emotional reaction was due to the mere fact that my show was back. It was like sharing a big hug with an old friend that hasn’t been around forever and that you missed terribly. That closing shot of the Winchester group hug wasn’t just a reconciliation of the Winchesters. It was a reconciliation of the whole SPN Family. Sure, by next episode things would be off the rails again, but we had this moment together and it was beautiful. Heck, it was freaking group therapy.
This review is just for 12.22. I have other thoughts about 12.23 (both good and bad) that I will share at another time. I honestly don’t want those thoughts to step on the beauty of this episode. I’ve even sent the Red Headed Monster to a Wine and Cheese festival. Trust me, the monster is in freaking bliss right now. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dig in.
I struggle with Andrew Dabb scripts. While Robert Berens turned his script into a work of art, Dabb’s “All Along the Watchtower” felt like a story was thrown at us with a lot of random bits and we got to see what stuck to the wall. Some of it that did stick just looked like a garbled mess in the end. I get that plotting mytharcs isn't easy, but often the movement from scene to scene felt jagged. There was too much story exposition in parts and some pieces just didn't fit well with others. Pacing again was an issue. However, the story that developed did come together in the end and there was plenty to absorb, but I'm still not sure how much I liked it.
Deadline Hollywood just announced that Supernatural will be coming back for season 12.