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The Magnificent Seven 

The idea seemed great on paper.  It was supposed to be like the old western, which was gunslingers defending Mexican peasants against ruthless local bandits.  Seven gunslingers in all.  A character driven action film.  Alright!  The only problem is, when did any of that happen it this episode?  The only character driven was Dean to some wild out of character moments.  Sam actually walking in on Dean during...you know what and being squicked by it?  He did know what Dean was doing in there, right?


 
When your episode is titled after a classic badass western, it might not be best to kick off the long anticipated and scary demon war with not so scary and mostly annoying demons then introduce equally annoying hunters that make you wish that both sides just wiped each other out and called it a draw.  An improvement would have been a Yul Brynner look-alike showing up and killing everyone, but hey, there was Ruby.  When Ruby actually turns out to be the highlight of the episode, something went seriously wrong.

Heaven and Hell  

I take this from Cracked.com's hilarious summary of Supernatural season four, but it’s so dead on accurate.  

“(Season four) actually gets pretty good, until Eric Kripke stumbles in drunk and presents an episode in which demons and angels fist-fight, and Dean fucks one of them to twinkly music.” 

They didn’t even bring up grace in a bottle.  I don’t want to either.  Kripke started it though, so here goes.  “Knock knock.  Who’s there?  Grace.  Grace who?  Grace living in a tree in Kentucky until the big bad black angel put me into a tiny bottle and wore me around his neck until another angel broke the vial and sucked me up.”  It does sound like a bad joke, doesn’t it?  Oh, it was, just like when that same big black angel thought he was being funny by taunting Dean for helping himself to some “angel food cake.”  Yes, that was the sound of me joining Kripke at that bar.


     
As if we weren’t bothered enough, there was always a naked Ruby being strapped to a table and tortured.  Why oh why couldn’t that have been Sam?  Or how about the fact that we couldn’t enjoy Dean’s nakedness because he was banging the angel to twinkly music in the dark back seat of the Impala?  By the time the angels and demons did start fist fighting, we had been all absurded out and had nothing left. 

Comments  

Jasminka
# Jasminka 2011-01-09 05:35
Heee, Alice, you really don’t like Bugs, eh? And Route 666, and…
Well, I have to admit I agree with most of your choices.
Bugs was indeed bad, very, very bad, but it had a couple of great scenes that kinda save it for me and still keep it watchable – Dean taking a shower (come on, he looks so adorable with his turban, might be slapsticky, but it’s so sweet) and the discussion the guys have at the impala. And, yes, it annoys me every time to hear that old Indian talk about the history of his people and say ‘calvary’ instead of ‘cavalry’.

And, okay, the racist truck… Yes, I won’t even get started on the poor casting choice of Cassie (the actress sounded like taking her first acting lessons, oh dear), I’m right there with you.
And I still wonder – did Papa Winchester go to heaven in that fairy dust…? Perhaps the show hoped to get Jeffery Dean Morgan back sometime and left a door open like that, but the man is busy and has moved on from being an available tv star, I guess…

About the iconic sci fi stars – I hear you. You know there was a moment when I actually feared that this is exactly what might happen to Jensen and Jared once the show is off air. Guest starring in other genre shows, not getting many other opportunities. I truly hope that won’t be the case. I want to see more of them, see them in other parts and hone their considerable skills. It’s an industry, after all, and neither of them is big enough, yet, to wield a sword of power in Hollywood. But still, I hope they’ll have the chance to continue their great work on this show (for a long,long time, she dreamt) and in others… sigh.

And, Hammer of the Gods – I agree on the description of the pagan Gods. A bit one-sided, eh? Kali puts it wonderfully in her ‘you Westeners’ speech. But – it had that great Gabriel vs. Lucifer scene, it had great Gabriel scenes altogether, and those I loved. I still mourn his demise. And in some twisted corner of my mind, I do hope they’ll bring him back.

Where do angels go when they die? There must be some kind of paradise for them, too, right? It would just suck being an all powerful being and then simply die. Vanish. Because then every one of them should just fall and become human, eh? At least then you have the chance to go to Eden. Or, well, for the bad ass angels, in the other direction…

Alice, great funny piece. Thank you! Jas
Bevie
# Bevie 2011-01-09 12:59
Hi Alice

Another funny article. Guess you weren't too impressed with the ones on your list. LOL

As for me, I'm real easy to please especially when I get to watch those two brothers dither and argue and carry on like brothers do.

Was the director who didn't want them to do Bugs, Kim? Poor guy had to direct it. I liked the talks between the boys very much and told myself that they went to the attic and were OK until nearly dawn when the bees chewed through the roof, but naturally didn't have time to show us the boring hours between. Admit the spiders were pretty crappy looking. :shock:

As for 666, I never disliked Cassie except for the fact that her character hurt Dean. Her mother, though :o
Also, the Impala didn't pull the truck out of the swamp.
Dean was driving a huge tractor for that, but I wondered
why the truck came out nose first when it was pushed in nose first. It turned itself around while stuck in the swamp mud? I loved the teasing Sam was giving Dean about Cassie, until he discovered Dean really had loved her.

I actually like Magnificent Seven, as Dean seems to me to be in character, as Dean is putting on an "I don't care" front to get Sam to forget about trying to save him, and probably trying to make Sam not care about saving him. Also I'm not one to hate Ruby or Katie, and wish they could have kept her for season 4. I mean, I do hate Ruby, but not Katie, and thought she did a good job with the part. I keep thinking how great the finale for season 4 would have been if it had been Katie who Dean skewered with the knife. I screamed for joy as it was, but I'd have been jumping for joy as well, if it had been Katie in the part. :o

And Hammer of the Gods I enjoyed, except for the idea that all the gods were cannibals. Then I told myself (I talk to myself a lot, as I only have my dog to make my comments to) that that was the Supernatural universe of pagan gods, and they might differ from our pagan gods.LOL
After all, it had wet Winchesters and the Gabester who I love and hope he comes back from the dead. :sad:

As for Roadkill and 99 Problems, I never watched Battlestar or Stargate, so had no expectations from the guest stars. I thought she made a great ghost and didn't think her whiney, as she had just lost her husband in that accident and should have been upset about it. I liked how kind Sam was to her.

As for Heaven and Hell, Dean making love in the Impala's back seat was a high highlight for me. Also loved the snarky scenes between Dean and Uriel, Angel food cake and missing junk and all........

Thank you Mr. Kripke. Those few complaints don't really count for much against the total sum of all the parts of this show that make it so memorable and loved, and I was a leetle bit nervous about this season without your hand on the tiller until the "Samarra" episode with Death. So I'm looking forward now to the next half of the season with a souled Sammy back. :-) :-) :twisted:
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-01-09 16:31
Alice, even with a great show like SUPERNATURAL, you are going to get some real crappy episodes. Think about it, over one hundred episodes and there are maybe ten to fifteen episodes that should never been shown again. Those are pretty good odds, don't you think? :-)

The less said about 'Bugs' is best. :D

In your article 'Five worst episodes', you stated
"Another thing beyond me, this episode is actually the highest rated one in Supernatural history. I heard it was because the State of the Union was on and The WB was the only station showing original programming. Watching this must have definitely been pure desperation."
I wonder how many people watched SUPERNATURAL that night and said to themselves 'why is this crap on tv?'.

I don't have a problem with John's appearance in 'All Hell part 2', if you look beyond the cheesy effects. :-) We now know that John and Mary are not in Heaven, so the question remains, where did he go after the fairy dust. Did John become a fairy, and that is why we had 'Clap'? :lol:

I never watched Battlestar, so I didn't care about all the publicity about Tricia Helfer. It is another episode that I have not rewatched, just because it was stupid.

'99 problems' started off cool with the demons chasing the Impala, then it went downhill. I didn't even realize that the guy who played Hawkman was the same guy in '99', until I saw it mentioned in one of the reviews over here at WFB.

'Mag 7', could have done without the sexcapades of Dean.
I liked the intro of Ruby, was she a foe or a friend? I liked Katie better as Ruby, and would have liked to see her finish up the character in season four. The intro of Tamara and her stupid husband were a waste of time. I guess for every good hunter like Bobby or Rufus, we also have to deal with the stupid ones. :lol:

'Heaven and Hell', did we need a 'Titanic' reference? :lol:

I think that the scene of Cas and the porn on tv in 'Caged Heat', was more entertaining than the Cas goes to the whorehouse garbage in 'Free'.

'Hammer of the Gods' had some good moments. Lucifer killing the gods with a wave of his hands was cool. But, it is another episode that I have not rewatched.

In fact, the only WTF episode that I have rewatched, is 'All Hell Breaks Loose part 2'.
sn_chills
# sn_chills 2011-01-09 16:50
I could sort of forgive Bugs... The show was new and they were still finding their way. Glaring but forgivable.

The bad thing about Rt666 is they promoted the hell out of it and this is what we got.....Its no wonder people never gave the show another chance when Rt666 was the representation of it. Its one of the few episodes I've only seen all the way through once and once was enough.

Hammer of the Gods...the only thing I liked about it was the wet boys in the beginning and Gabriel's porno. Sad sad sad.

Lets not forget about Fallen Idol. Its pretty bad when the worse thing you can say about an episode is NOT the fact that Paris Hilton was in it. Murderous cars, Freaky wax figures and who can forget Ghandhi jumping on Sam's back...Really?

For all the fantastic and brilliant episodes we do get I guess I can forgive the few that are clunkers. We take the bad with the good. I think its their way of keeping us on our toes.
bjxmas
# bjxmas 2011-01-09 17:41
Alice, excellent article and way to poke fun at the Krip. Yep, your love still shines through even when you are pointing out their failings. That's the kind of constructive, realistic criticism I can get behind. The reality is Supernatural has produced a steady stream of absolutely mind-blowingly awesome episodes that more than make up for their few sub-par outings. A list of their ten best episodes would probably end up with 25 or more because it is simply impossible to limit their brilliance to a measly ten episodes, so five bad ones in the span of 126 is a pretty good track record!

While Bugs and Route 666 aren't their best episodes, with the obvious flaws you mentioned pretty evident, I still like them for what they reveal about the brothers. Those moments between Sam and Dean make the episodes worthwhile for me. I always love when what I 'know' about the brothers is shown to be true.

And while the fairy dust of AHBLII was a bit out there, I can't complain. If the series had ended it was a nice finale, Dad finally giving Sam and Dean that fatherly smile and the YED vanquished. It was a fitting way to end two glorious years. And while I'm always anxious for JDM's return, the probability isn't high so any chance to get one last glimpse of John Winchester was worth it.

TM7...yes, indeedy. Supernatural has a history of stellar opening episodes to kick off each new season so unfortunately there was disappointment in 3.01. It did have problems but it set up a lot to be shown in S3, probably too much and it lost it's heart for a moment. It's not my fav opener, not when we had such amazing ones in the other seasons, but it wasn't totally bad. Again, we got an awesome scene between Sam and Dean in the final moments that gave me my much needed Winchester moment. Jensen and Jared give us so much in those moments; it's hard to be too critical when the rest falls a bit short.

Totally agree on the waste of Trisha Helfer and Michael Shanks. I wasn't a huge fan of either's previous shows but the letdown was still there. You failed to mention the waste of Shanks' wife, Lexa Doig. I'm still waiting for something further to come from her short appearance...li ke Dean meeting her now, before their future complications. Oh, well, they can't give us everything. Honestly, the casting of Supernatural is perfect in most instances so a misstep now and again is understandable.

Hammer of the Gods is best forgotten, and I rarely say that. I'll still rewatch it for small moments between the boys and for Gabe. I'm still holding out for our beloved Trickster/Waywa rd Angel's return.

I can't leave without mentioning the good parts of Heaven and Hell, namely Dean's tender scene with Anna where she tells him she knows and he can barely speak of it and then yes, the sex scene...I'm not strong enough to say I didn't enjoy Jensen's back and the sweetness of their lovemaking that Dean so richly deserves. There might have been issues with the script, but Jensen gave an incredible performance throughout. I'll watch again just to watch him.

So, thanks, Alice. I'm just surprised that RSAM wasn't included or ASS, those seem to be two of the more reviled episodes even though I again find things to love about them. Oh, or Fallen Idols... Hmmm, seems there are maybe ten sub-par episodes, but when you are dealing with the high standards Supernatural normally gives us, one of their lesser episodes is usually better than most other shows best.

Later, B.J.
Pragmatic Dreamer
# Pragmatic Dreamer 2011-01-09 21:01
I agree with your WTF moments, with a few exceptions. For me, Heaven & Hell is totally redeemed by the scene of compassion and then Impala sex with Anna & Dean. (I try to blink at the moment of the Titanic shout-out). All is completely forgiven by Jensen's amazing performance at the end, when he confesses what really happened in Hell. I can close my eyes and picture that scene, and it still moves me, and amazes me. It was absolutely note perfect.

I can also forgive the cheesy special effects of AHBL2, for many reasons, mostly Jensen's performances again. That's where we get the absolutely heart-crushing confession of love to a dead brother, the desperation of a CrossRoads Deal, the first indication of just how important the boys are to Bobby by his angry reaction to Dean's deal in the junkyard, Sam piecing together why he's alive and what it cost his brother, and Dean's pleading "Don't get mad at me.. Don't you do that". Love that line because it conveys so much.

And I can really forgive those effects because I think they were dictated by timing, bad weather and TV budget. I can so relate. I work in radio, and I can be sailing along, having the perfect show, and then one thing goes wrong. Suddenly The Domino Rule is in effect. Within minutes, often seconds, several other things will go wrong, and now I'm looking at filling 5 minutes of airtime with nothing but myself to keep us all company.

So, like in H&H, I just kind of blink at the oddness of those few minutes of Glinda-the-good -with-BDW and Stoic!Silent!Sam.

I have to admit that the clunkers sometimes spark my curiousity more than the perfect ones. I always wonder what they were like at the first draft. What went wrong? What changed? I read an interview with Eric Kripke or Ben Edlund who said that Swap Meat was supposed to be the brothers switching with each other, but it got too expensive and time-consuming and they had to do a very quick rewrite. Guess it kind of shows.
Alice
# Alice 2011-01-09 23:57
Thanks everyone for your upbeat reactions!

Just remember, this isn't a list of the worst episodes. All Hell Breaks Loose Part II ranks among one of the greats, but fairy dust? It was that one scene alone that warranted the mention. I also could never rank Heaven and Hell, Roadkill, and Free to Be You and Me as worst episodes. They fall in the middle. Still, there were just some parts of those episodes that had me doing a headdesk.

Then there are obvious bad ones, like Red Sky at Morning. Quite frankly, that episode was bad from beginning to end. I just didn't have one glaring WTF moment for it. It was just bad overall. Same with Swap Meat. It fell flat, but I couldn't pinpoint one part that made me go "WTF?"

Thanks also to everyone for indulging my light hearted attempt at acid wit. It's something I don't get to do often. This article actually had been a WIP for six months. I guess I just finally posted it because I was sick of tossing it around! It's all love from me though. There is way more good than bad.
bjxmas
# bjxmas 2011-01-10 09:10
Alice, that's what I love about your articles and comments, it is all love.

I know I did lose track a little that these were WTF 'moments' and not commentary on the whole of the episode.

I'll argue that RSAM wasn't all bad though, Dean in a tux ala James Bond is one of those 'Oh, yeah!' moments for me. :D And I'm one of the few who liked Bela and how she sparred with the boys.

Going back to the fairy dust, I can't say I even minded that because Supernatural, while dark and dangerous and gloomy at times, has always also had a sweetness to it when it comes to family. John poofing out gave the J's some really heartfelt family moments and left a bit of mystery to where John and Mary now are. If Ash can't find them in Heaven, where are they? Off in fairy dust land? :roll::

Thanks again, B.J.
Jeannine
# Jeannine 2011-01-10 09:48
Hi Alice, I gotta say I agree with most of your comments. Except for John Winchester's "fairy dust" moment. Plot-wise, I'm not sure where else they could've gone with that. As for the effects, its TV and my expectations are usually pretty low for television, especially a show like Supernatural who's budget is fairely nonexistent.

I do agree that there have been some showrunners that have been poorly used in the show. Though I would add to your list Matt Frewer in Two Minutes to Midnight. We were all so excited about him being cast. He's an amazing actor and a cult-favorite by many. An episode with the Winchesters v. Pestilence had so many possible gold moments. But instead, he was there and gone at the very beginning of TMtM. They did follow it with the wonderful Julian Richings as Death, so the episode itself wasn't all bad. Just seemed like a moment lost for the show.
Julie
# Julie 2011-01-10 10:05
Thank you Alice, another wonderful list for my inner geek to embrace.
I would agree with quite a few of your observations here, after all, how could anyone argue the case for Bugs or Route 666. And I totallly agree that I wanted and expected so much more when I heard that `Daniel Jackson` was to appearin 99 Problems.
I know you have always hated Hammer of the Gods with a passion but I guess this one will have to be one of my guilty pleasures as, I like it. It starts well with Wet Winchesters and was the much missed Gabriels `Swan song`, I also loved Deans `Primitive Screwheads` rant, our boy is never more mouthy than when he is terrified and this was a fine example of this.
My own WTF episode has to be Fallen Idol which just felt wrong , both boys seemed off, acting strangely out of character, Dean much harshier on Sammy than normal and when did Sam become such an expert at performing autopsies. Granted there were a few nice touches, Dean `up Christines skirt` and `Dont even look at her, she might not like it`. and I didn`t mind the Paris Hilton scene and how excited were we all all when both boys had their own computers ( how sad are we, and how much do we really need to get out more? ). But I know there is really something wrong when the most important thing I remember from an episode is the discovery of Jeff Becks amazing version of Superstition, how did that get under my radar for all those years.
Keep up the great work , its all downhill to the 28th now, Ju
maggie
# maggie 2011-01-10 19:06
Great article, Thanks I was laughing in the entire article, above all Route 666.

I remember when I watched All hell break loose part 2, that scene with John I thought was a little strange, then I read that they had a different script for that episode, then they kind of changed a few scenes, they filmed another scenes for that episode, I think Sam was suppose to fight with Jake again... but because of the time and budget they had to change a few scenes...
Then I read that in raelee's LJ one of the journalists that went to visit the set while filming AHBL, she wrote that JDM couldn't make it to Vancouver to film that scene so they shot all on a green screen and added everything else into the shot later. (I'm not sure if that's true, cause I didn't read that directly from raelee's LJ)

So now, I suppose that's why when we ask to the writers that we want JDM for at least one more episode the writers say he is a very busy actor and in the interviews with JDM he says the writers keep saying that but that they haven't even try to contact him.

And in the WTF episode I'm with Julie,
Well is not a huge WTF scene but I think was rare that on the episode Fallen Idol Sam performed an autopsy and 3 episodes later on changing channels in the operation room he doesn't move when he needs to operate Dean and then Dean say: SAM, DO SOMETHING! And Sam says that he doesn’t know how to use those instruments and I was like: But, the other day you did an autopsy, you had a scalpel in your hand, I saw you!!! :P......…But hey, Changing channels wonderful episode!

Well its just that I don't remember scenes right now :P
BagginsDVM
# BagginsDVM 2011-01-10 19:53
I agree with most of your choices, Alice. I was especially WTF about Michael Shanks' character in 99 Problems. His "Daniel Jackson" from Stargate SG-1 is one of my other very favorite characters, & I was thrilled to see he was to guest on Supernatural. The character started out wonderfully in the opening scenes, then completely fizzled. That wasn't Michael's fault; it was just the way the character was written.
I also was hoping to see more of Matt Frewer as Pestilence (perhaps without all the snot, however!)

I must admit, there is no episode I won't rewatch, if only for the charm of Jensen & Jared. Even in Bugs, I still enjoy Dean's delight in the hot shower of that new house, poking his towel-wrapped head out the door of the bathroom. Adorable!
Ardeospina
# Ardeospina 2011-01-10 22:51
Fun article, Alice! I agree with all your choices, except, like I stated in the article you just posted tonight, I have a real soft spot for "Bugs." That episode is my "it's so bad it's good" episode. It makes me laugh, for all the wrong reasons. And yet, I just can't find it in my heart to not like that episode.

But I'm right there with you on the John fairy dust effects. I guess they needed to show that he was headed to heaven and thought that was the best way to do it? Still, it was kind of odd.
Alice
# Alice 2011-01-11 00:26
I'm just stunned no one got the Della Reese joke! You all didn't watch sappy family TV in the 90s? Touched by An Angel was on the air for nine seasons. It had as many episodes at the X-Files. Of course I watched all of the X-Files episodes and only watched an occasional Touched by An Angel while hostage at my husband's grandmother's house, but trust me, a handful of episodes was enough. It was nine seasons of the same plot. Every episode ended with them warmly going into the light surrounded by the trio of smiling angels. I'm still envisioning Castiel showing up with his angel killing sword and turning those white outfits red.
nancyL
# nancyL 2011-01-11 18:19
Sorry Alice, I got the 'Touched by an Angel' reference in regards to 'Roadkill', but didn't think either the episode nor 'Touched' was worth a mention. :lol:

Just for the record, I was watching the good stuff in the 1990's, not the sappy crap. I was watching 'American Gothic', 'Oz', 'the Pretender', of course 'Buffy' and 'Angel', 'the Crow:Stairway to Heaven', and 'Quantum Leap'.

As for Castiel taking out Della Reese and the Roma chick, I like that idea. :D :D
Suze
# Suze 2011-01-12 05:20
Heh ... :lol:

All good shouts, 'specially Big John's golden shower moment and the gravity-defying -big-ol'-KKK-lo rry-of-beyond-t he-grave-vengan ce-thingy ... Be a shame if Mr.K never f*cked up, though, as I do dearly love a fond piss-take such as this! :D ( Can't say "roast" as it means something quite different in English english ;-) )
HotChocolate in Summer
# HotChocolate in Summer 2011-01-17 17:41
I did not get The whole Anna/Dean thing.
And then what you said about John? I was totally expecting..I don't know! But something much better and... Cooler.