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.
I’m noticing a pattern with these new writers. I think they were given an objective, take something old and create a new twist on it. For one, it’s a great continuity study. Second, fans love that s***. We love playing connect the dots. In this case, writer Meredith Glynn decided to tell a werewolf story, something very commonplace in “Supernatural,” going for the mashup of “Sharp Teeth” and “Alex, Annie, Alexis, Ann.” with a little “Heart” thrown in for fun. It was certainly better than “Sharp Teeth” but lacked the big emotional punch of the other two. Garth, who we last saw in “Sharp Teeth,” got a nice mention, and if you think about it, this was a continuation of his story. Instead of living as a werewolf, what if there is a cure? All that was missing was Garth (please come back someday DJ Qualls!)
As for the “Alex, Annie, Alexis, Ann” comparison, this time Alex’s adoptive sister Claire was the subject, and instead of going vampire she went werewolf. After all, werewolves are the yang to the vampires’ yin. Or vice versa. In other words, in every vampire story, there is a werewolf. This time, they’re sisters! Sort of. In looking back to that episode, I realized how much this episode would have benefitted if Jody was in it. Kim Rhodes really packs an emotional punch in her scenes and her seeing Claire go through this struggle would have delivered the teary moments that we got in Alex’s showcase episode. But no, we got a one sided phone call and no Jody in sight. I noticed.
To make the story modern, the lovable Mick from the British Men of Letters got to tag along on this hunt. After seeing how the British MOL do a hunt, suddenly these guys aren’t so bad. Seeing Sam and Dean in a regular hotel, with free shampoo and a pool, not to mention a restaurant and a bar, just feels so well deserved after all these years. But tell me, WHY OH WHY DIDN’T WE GET TO SEE DEAN IN THE POOL SANS SUIT? Why do you tease me show??? Oh, that’s so cruel. I would have settled for both of them in trunks swimming in the pool. There are pools in Vancouver, right? RIGHT??
Other than that visual of Sam and Dean in trunks planted in my brain, the story we got was pretty common and touched upon themes that have been done before. The series long question was again addressed, “Are all monsters bad?” Are there options when someone is turned into a monster? Is everything black and white? These were great questions raised by Dean in his talk with Mick, although I can’t help remembering Sam have this same conversation with Dean back in season two (and other seasons too). Everything comes full circle I guess.
As we learned from season two’s “Heart,” in the case of a werewolf, there are no options once you’re bitten by a werewolf. That fact gave us this week’s parallel to that episode. After Claire was turned, she gave the exact same argument for dying that Madison did. It was if the same script was used but the names were changed. This is modern SPN though and such facts can be twisted now, thus giving a new writer the power to make something up. The Men of Letters give a wealth of possibilities in script fudging and Sam had a fancy book to prove it. Naturally he would find a cure buried in that book and naturally Mick would know how to do it. A little convenient but I could hardly call foul.
In fairness, if there’s a cure for vampirism, why not werewolves? So does this mean now that instead of killing monsters they’ll try to start curing them? Or rehabilitating them and letting them live like Lenore’s pack and Garth’s family? Could this be the new mission of the American Chapter of the Men of Letters? It sounded like the British Men of Letters once took that train of thought otherwise why experiment on a cure? Somewhere down the road, they decided killing them all was better. I wonder if that was a personal choice or if something drove them in that direction. Maybe someday we’ll find out.
I think Mick has more power than he lets on. See how suave he was when jumping in and pretending to be the doctor? He even grabbed his own perfect Fleetwood Mac alias for the British guy of the team, Dr. Buckingham (ha!). When he says that he’s writing reports and following orders, is he really? Could it be he was sent to America with free reign and he’s really calling the shots but playing lackey so that he’s relatable? Maybe he’s hundreds of years old and he’s always been the one behind the British Men of Letters. It’s a “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” scenario. Granted, I’d have to dig pretty hard for clues right now to support that theory and I’m not that motivated. Let’s just say, the guy is fishy. He knew exactly what he was doing in killing the newly turned girl werewolf. Since he saved Dean’s life though, he’s also earned another chance. Plus, we need more hotels with pools.
Then there’s the continuing saga of Claire Novak. For the record, her character still has yet to win me over. She’s hunting alone and lying to Jody. We knew this was coming a mile away. Now that it’s here, is her character still getting any kind of justice? Not really. She’s still a pretentious brat that thinks she knows everything and Sam and Dean are full of hot air. She certainly didn’t fool that mother with her alias. Getting turned into a werewolf may have been a little humbling, enough for her to at least call Jody and come clean, but I doubt that’s going to change the way she acts. Probably because the writers don’t know what to do with her. It’s easy to keep her in a box rather than show any leaps in maturity and growth. I did get great satisfaction in this exchange with Sam and Claire though:
Claire: You know what? Screw you. I'm so sick of you guys dive-bombing my life, acting like you care.
Sam: We do care.
Claire: Then stop treating me like a stupid kid.
Sam: Then stop acting like one.
That’s exactly what I would have said to the girl! Way to go Sammy. You’re my hero.
My biggest criticism isn’t Claire though, and man it should have been. It still felt like Sam and Dean were supporting characters in all this. I get that it’s hard to flesh out the main characters after twelve seasons, but aside from Dean and Mick’s conversation and Sam and Claire’s conversation, there was very little substance to their role in this story. Mick and Claire were the main protagonists driving the heart of this episode. Sam and Dean got to be there, providing this week’s comic relief more than anything. They didn’t even get a pool scene! (still grumbling to myself).
The plot was also very predictable. It was another “Supernatural” paint by numbers affair, which seems to be a common problem whenever vampires or werewolves are involved. The pacing was also pretty sluggish too, but that’s been par for the course all season. Just once before the season ends, can we please turn the action up to 11? The personal stories really get bland at this point in the season.
Overall grade, a B-. Honestly Meredith Glynn, if you had given me a pool scene, it would have been an A by default. I would have forgiven Claire. Ah well, it is what it is, and we’re ready for the next one. See you all Thursday, unless my DVR gets possessed again.