For Sam fans, as promised, I'm taking on the common concerns many have voiced over the younger Winchester brother recently. I've been struggling with this analysis for a week now, unsure how to capture my views into coherent thought. Then I saw "Criss Angel Is A Douchebag" and all the pieces fell in place. Poor Sammy!
First, the ground rules. Any analysis of Sam's character will not come at the expense of Dean. This isn't pitting one brother against the other. Second, I won't be blasting the writers, Kripke, directors, casting, etc. I'm going off what we've been given, and will avoid comments that harp on supposedly lazy writing.
This works simply: I list a common complaint in bold and then give my analysis.
The best horror shows Iâ€™ve ever seen were psychological thrillers, where some twisted bastard skillfully freaked me out with mindbending twists as opposed to a hockey mask and a chainsaw. So, I had to admit the idea of Supernatural tackling such a concept in "Dream A Little Dream of Me" was pretty intriguing. How could I not embrace a story that involved the Winchester boys doing a little mind screwing of their own?
The episode didnâ€™t disappoint me, delivering a thriller with a strange combination of vivid imagery, a very creepy yet believable villain, Shaman folklore involving Silene Capensis, big character development, a shocking look into Bobby and Deanâ€™s heads, and a scarier glimpse of what Sam can do if in oneâ€™s head.
In preparing for this review, I thought about how I could wow everyone with some intense dream analysis drawing from the vivid symbols provided in this episode, but I backed away as soon as I tried to explain peacocks on the wall and sex with Bela. Some stuff just needs to stay unexplored. The writer of this episode was Cathryn Humphris, who stepped in to finish a story first started by Sera Gamble. I wonder if, when she was given the concept "Sam and Dean go dreamwalking in Bobbyâ€™s head," her first instinct was to run screaming. Or maybe it was homicidal, and the multiple uses of a baseball bat as a weapon might be a subtle message of her own about being tasked with this theme.
Sure, it was a repeat, but weren't we all a little excited on Thursday to go to the TV Guide and see our beloved show Supernatural listed in the lineup again? I got a little emotional, and I didn't even care what episode was on. The CW played a cruel joke on us for six weeks, and I'm glad it's over.
The episode chosen for repeat viewing was "Malleus Maleficarum", a graphically gross tale about shallow suburbanites who unwittingly sold their souls to the devil via witchcraft all in hopes of getting a better mortgage rate. The writer of this episode was Ben Edlund, who makes my short list of writers whose warped mind I most want to emulate when writing my own stuff. This wasn't his best script (that honor belongs to season two's "Nightshifter"), but I still enjoyed his unconventional view of witches and demons, and he delivered plenty of drama for the Winchester boys. There was one element in particular that made this episode stand out from others, but first let's cover the other stuff.
Lately I've been spending a lot of time working with all sorts of multimedia tools in order to get this website close to my vision. I'm not there yet, but in my dabbling this weekend with video editing tools, I found a whole new appreciation for these fans that manage to put these videos together. The time it takes is staggering!
I don't spend a lot of time on YouTube seeking out Supernatural videos, nor do I pay much attention to the recs on livejournal. There's just not that much time in my life. However, there are three in particular that I've been sent links too, and find myself repeatedly going back to them. So, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. day, I'm sharing them here.
MaloventMe did an absolutely gorgeous Sam centric video to Annie Lenox's "Dark Road". This made me pretty weepy and the lyrics are perfect for Sam.
I canâ€™t believe weâ€™re already up to â€œBad Day at Black Rockâ€ in the repeats list. It seems like the finale was just yesterday. Oh, it was, because I watched it again for the hundredth time. Is it September yet? No? Okay, I guess Iâ€™ll kill time with this review.
Be prepared, this is a long one. Why? Because this episode gave me the opportunity to carefully examine all the elements required for compiling a brilliant piece of comedy. Thereâ€™s far more to comedy writing, directing, and acting than we realize. It requires precise timing, proper wording, consistency, expressions that sell the funny more than a piece of dialogue ever will, and a clever plot to weave through all the madness.
I can only imagine that when the idea of a rabbitâ€™s foot as the foil was pitched, the assignment went to Ben Edlund because of his gift for taking something simple and creating a complex situation that spirals out of control (see last seasonâ€™s â€œNightshifterâ€). He must have dusted off the manual â€œHow To Write Great Comedyâ€ because all the rules are here. First rule is to pick the type of humor, and he wisely chose what often works with this show, dark humor, but introduced that in combination with something that had never been done with Supernatural before â€” perfectly timed physical comedy. Granted a writer doesnâ€™t sell physical comedy alone; much of that credit goes to the stunt coordinator, the director, and the actors, but to see this done so well after trying it for the first time, his risk obviously paid off in gold.
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