Reviewing "The Magnificent Seven" is weird since I'm going from something unbelievable like the finale last week to this episode, easily one of the worst of the season.  Last week I marveled at the awesomeness of the Kripster for his flawless script in "No Rest For The Wicked", and now I get to ask what the hell he was thinking for this season three premiere.   I forgave him for this misstep a while ago though since nobody is perfect but still, it pains me to be so harsh. I suppose there are pitfalls to being a critic. Forgive me Master Kripke.
Before I go on, I want to send a huge thank you to everyone that sent a "Damn You Kripke!" in honor of last week's still jaw dropping finale (Dean!). The response was far greater than I expected, and it just goes to show how great this fandom is. I love you guys!
Now, the review. This was the first time I got to watch this episode in HD. When it originally aired back in October, I was still plowing through the season one DVD's trying to catch up. I ended up buying this episode off iTunes when I was finally ready to watch it in late November. I watched this almost immediately after seeing the phenomenal two part finale of "All Hell Breaks Loose", so expectations were high. Bring on the demon war! Sam's alive, Dean has a year to live, they're ready to fight!
The ideas for this episode I'm sure looked really great on paper. So I wonder what actually happened on the screen. I speculate the word "budget" came into it. I start by throwing in huge praise this season's starting montage, appropriately set to "Hells Bells". Who doesn't have Back In Black in their collection? I remember when that album came out, the scores of junior high students wearing black t-shirts singing "You Shook Me All Night Along" with the AC/DC logo stenciled on their trapper keepers. Kripke is younger than I am, so he likely missed out on that sign of the apocalypse and found the album in a relative's collection.   
Things take a turn for the worse quickly after that great opening. The sure-to-be-gut-wrenching last year of Dean's life starts with a guy taking out his garbage and spotting the big ole' demon cloud of doom. Run dude run, oh, too late, he's a demon now. Judging by his cookie cutter neighborhood and crappy car, I would say life just improved. This is the scene to kick off the season? Good thing I know the season improved drastically after this. 
After getting a cool new logo (making me wildly speculate what they have planned for season four) we see Sam in the Impala with books while Dean gets it on in this week's all too brief appearance of the tacky motel room. Season four better start with Sam getting laid to console himself. The boy needs some bad.   What did Sam think he was going to see by entering that room?  His brother was banging a chick, ergo"¦ I did like the gouging his eyes out with a knife line though.  It's apparent that Sam's feeling guilty about being stupid enough to get killed and not anticipating that his brother would make a demon deal to bring him back, so he's amusing his Dean's strange need for debauchery. Come on Sam, would it have hurt to have Dean hook you up? After all, you only live, er, twice.  
Demons are running amok, but nothing's happening. Oh, I know, why not go to Lincoln, Nebraska? That's a great place to see nothing happening (I'm from the Midwest, I'm allowed to kid). Cicadas are creepier than you think. Forget about how they sound in the woods at night in my backyard, try dealing with thousands of them on a golf course. Cicada carcasses and golf balls make a unique crunching sound, plus they get in the way of a great lie while putting.   
If I ever find out I'm dying, I'll have to give the bacon cheeseburgers for breakfast thing a try since cholesterol is no longer a worry (was it before Dean?). I'm glad that after all this time, after all the death and carnage they've seen, the smell of dead bodies still gets to them. Speaking of dead bodies, we meet Isaac and Tamara. Granted I'm jumping way ahead, but remember Rufus in "Time Is On My Side"? That was a hunter. These two just plain suck. Since when was Sam the small talk type? "How long have you been married?" "How did you get into hunting?" Have you ever met another other hunters Sam? They don't exactly break out the Suisse mocha and start sharing their feelings. 
For whatever reason. Isaac pulls the "this ain't Scooby-Doo" line. Wouldn't have kicking them out of his house been a better message? That's some real intense bitterness about the devil's gate there pal. If you were really mad, you'd be smacking the Winchesters with a two by four. Instead, we get "that's enough testosterone for now" from Tamara. Come on Kripke, women don't say that, especially ill tempered demon hunting women.
We get a Ruby sighting! She's eyeing Sam, but not in an "I want to jump his bones" kind of way. Looks like the "prodigy" has snared someone's interest. I'm sure he gets that all the time from hot chick demons stalking him. This must be Lincoln because where else would someone kill over ugly green pumps? Green shoes must be a strange anomaly in that part of the country. We go to the commercial break, and I want bang someone's head into a windshield over this episode so far. 
The conversation in Bobby's car sparked a big question for me that this season never answered, and thankfully didn't explore after this episode. Why is Sam feeling so guilty about what happened at the Devil's Gate? "You mean the demons we let out?" What would Sam have done differently? Is his guilt really over not killing Jake and now his brother is going to Hell? It seems that Dean or Bobby would have smacked down that defeatist attitude pretty quickly. Woe is me Sam, woe is me.  
Was I the only one wishing that both Isaac and Tamara would be killed in that bar?  Ah well, at least they got one, although with drain cleaner? Yuck.  I hated the demons in this episode and didn't find them at all creepy or interesting. If anything, their evil seemed forced to me. Here I wished for a demon killing giant flame thrower to come along and get rid of everyone in that bar. Maybe the episode would have improved.  I know Bobby's car looks like a beater, but you don't crash through the doors with a 69 Chevelle. That plain hurts! Luckily it wasn't the Impala, or I'd be really upset. 
Normally I would be very intrigued by the reveal that they were up against the Seven Deadly sins, and that they were officially recognized as demons in 1589 by Binsfeld, however, I was too distracted by wanting to smack the hell out of Tamara and the bad writing. "What's in the box"? "I don't give a rat's ass if they're the Three Stooges or the Four Tops! I'm gonna slaughter every last one of them!" Oh Kripke, what happened? How did such bad lines make the final cut?  
They captured Envy, and oh, I just don't care at this point. They're sending him back to Hell, that's all that matters. Now we get what becomes a regular occurrence this season, the self-sacrificing Dean. "I'm already dead." No Dean, that's not for another sixteen episodes (still sobbing). As expected, Bobby and Sam don't buy into it, and it's time to prepare for the intense showdown.   Demons are going to start looking for them now, which ends up holding true in Sam's case throughout the season. I guess this episode establishes some continuity, which gives it minor relevance. 
Not!Isaac shows up, and I'm really wishing Tamara would go outside and join him in death. She does go out, but no such luck on the death part. Of course she lets the others in, forcing the showdown. How did she not die from this? If I were Bobby, I would have killed her for being so stupid. It wasn't all bad though, because from this point forward the episode improved. Bobby traps Sloth in the devil's trap, and issues the awesome line from one of my favorite films, Animal House. "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son." There we go Kripke!   I also loved Lust coming after Dean. He gets to make out with a hot chick and trap a demon at the same time. Good times. 
So, that means Sam ends up with the other three. How'd he get so lucky? Oh yeah, "boy king". Okay, I lied about not liking the demons, I did love Pride in this scene. Not his "Here's Johnny" (yet another Jack Nicholson reference Kripke?), but the way he "didn't believe the hype". Sam's fair game, and it's open season. Which opens up another head scratcher. If Sam holds this huge power, why don't the demons stay the hell away? Do they assume he doesn't know how to use them? Lilith found out the hard way in the finale that he could. They know he's pretty hot stuff in the demon world, so why don't they fear him? Are demons that arrogant? I know, season four. Anyway, Ruby arrives with the knife-o-demon-death, and the three are electrified with the fiery-white-light-of-demon-death. She and Sam share a cute exchange, and poof, she's gone until next week. I like her already.
"If we let out the Seven Deadly Sins, what else did we let out?" This is the setup for the season? What about Bobby's contrived pessimism about the demon war? I didn't buy any of it. The final scene though is the part I've been waiting for since the end of "All Hell Breaks Loose Part II", and I was at least happy with the end. Sam is done humoring Dean, and chooses to use the words "hypocrite" and "selfish". It's about time Sam, and very called for. Bobby asked Dean how his brother would feel when he found out about the deal in last season's finale, so I'm glad we didn't have to wait too long to see how much Sam doesn't like this. Dean reveals that he can't try to break the deal or Sam dies, which makes for some great angst in this season long story line. We also get another great exchange, and I often bring up this up in casual conversation, or at least when working on another doomed IT project at work. "I see light at the end of the tunnel." "It's hellfire Dean." "Whatever." 
Here we get the real mantra of the season, or what shows up in every preview anyway. "So what do you say we kill some evil sons of bitches and raise a little hell, huh?" As a bonus, I squeal over the glorious shot of the Impala peeling away. At least the car is back in perfect form. 
Dean was out of character the entire episode, but I was willing to excuse it for one episode given the circumstances. Sam was moody, which proved to be a great setup for his character this season. It was the beginning of his slow descent, and aptly done here. If I had to wait all summer for this episode, I would have been majorly depressed. However, things picked right back up where they left off with "The Kids Are Alright", leaving me to wonder why that wasn't the season premiere. 
If there was one major positive to come of this weak episode, it was the best episode of the season for Sam's hair. Long, but still manageable. By "Ghostfacers", it was a wreck. 
My grade of a C- on this one doesn't mean much, considering it doesn't end up hurting this strike shortened season. While I considered it at the time to be one of the worst episodes of the series, "Red Sky At Morning" changed my mind. Compared to that, this one wasn't so bad. Review for "The Kids Are Alright" coming next week, and I promise I'll go back to my positive ways. As I said last week, it's going to be a long summer.