Welcome to “Supernatural” Davy Perez. I got to meet this new writer at Comic Con this summer and it sounded like this new batch of writers were dedicated to telling unique stories while staying true to the SPN Verse. After seeing the first episode from this new crop, “American Nightmare,” it looks like they’re off to a good start.
Yes, I liked it. A lot of the complaints I had from last week weren’t set to rest, but they were at least set aside. For one, the whole hour focused on one story, the Sam and Dean monster hunt. Don’t get me wrong, I like Castiel and Crowley, but sometimes the constant bouncing around between stories gets a bit much week to week. Sticking to the basics is a nice change at times. This episode however had some big hints that what happened here is relevant for the story later, but it wasn’t weighed down too much by the previous events. That’s exactly the kind of episode I need in episode four.
The biggest strength of the episode though was the focus on the brothers themselves. For once, I didn’t feel like Sam and Dean were supporting players in their own story. Yeah, perhaps the religious zealot stereotype got a bit much at times, not to mention I absolutely hated that final scene (go away British MOL), but all in all, I wasn’t hurling stuff when it was over. That’s an improvement.
Last week I added this "Morning After" commentary to my traditional "Threads" review. This new section allows me to record then let go of any strong, emotional reactions to the week’s Supernatural story before I attempt to analytically examine it for plot threads. I write this section first, before time or analysis dilutes or changes my initial impressions. Usually I wake up and start writing it immediately, before breakfast. I sit in front of the television and begin my rewatch, pausing the episode after just a few seconds because I have so much to say I can’t wait to jot down my thoughts. This morning was different, though. Today I’m sitting in my office, at my desk. No rewatch. I think you’re going to be surprised by how I feel about “American Nightmare”.
This episode, titled “American Nightmare” and written by new writer Davy Perez, begins at a church in Iowa where people are praying. A young woman comes in, staggering toward the altar, as we see stigmata appear on her hands and feet and she seems to be beaten by an invisible force. She shouts out in what appears to be an ancient language and falls dead at the priest’s feet.
What can I say that hasn’t already been said? “The Foundry” was a well written, cohesive, dramatic tale that did everything in its power to effectively tell another chapter in the tragic yet heroic story of a family named Winchester. It hit all the right marks, had characters that were actually acting in character, and ran with two effective stories that both were strong from beginning to end.
Having said that, I still didn’t enjoy it.
I was at a loss these past few days, trying to figure out why this episode didn’t connect with me. Everything that makes an episode great was there on paper. Usually I’m very high on episodes with great writing and love to give credit where it is due. Once I gave it some thought though, the issue is really a continuation of what’s been bugging me all season so far. Tone. I realized that this shift to the more personal, “emotional” stories isn’t the kind of “Supernatural” I was hoping to see after all.
Wondering what our panel of "Supernatural" pundits had to say about the episodes from the last two weeks? Myself, Nightsky, and Christine Laskodi and Sean McKenna from TV Fanatic had a lot of ground to cover. What did we think of Mary's story? Lucifer? The British Men of Letters? It's all in these two links.
Here's Sean McKenna's reviews for 12.02 and 12.03.