I’m not sure what it was, but “The Gamblers” just didn’t resonate with me. Perhaps my patience has bottomed out. Maybe it’s the seasonal affective disorder. Or maybe it’s the fact there’s nine episodes left in the entire series and we’ve gotten nowhere. They’re still stalling with flimsy plots.
Judging by all the glowing reviews on this site so far, I guess I’m going to go against the grain with the other reviewers. I thought that “The Gamblers” was rudimentary, pedestrian, and overall lackluster. In other words, safe filler. I’ll admit, I didn’t have high expectations. The entire premise didn’t hold a lot of water with me. Sadly, after watching, it barely reached the low bar I had given it.
I get it. Everyone likes those episodes where the brothers are together, working together, etc. I like those episodes and this one delivered in that aspect. Everyone likes something that has a “classic feel.” Again, I can’t fault this episode for that. But I couldn’t get past the contrived notion of why Sam and Dean were in this mess in the first place. In my review last week, I dismissed the whole idea that Sam and Dean were “normal” as part of the surreal/absurd theater that was pushed by the creative team in “The Heroes’ Journey.” I still stand by that, because the whole notion was even more ridiculous this week.
Whew, this was nothing like I expected and everything I needed after last week. Where 15.10 was humorous if lackluster, “The Gamblers” was a taut piano wire of angst, emotion and plot that held me until the second the screen went dark. Ripe with intensity and information, we even got Jack back by the end. I’ll say it, I really enjoyed this episode.
Well, that was intense. Between watching Jack eat the heart of someone he murdered, causing me to worry what evil manifestation of Jack had returned, and being scared to death about Sam and Dean staking their lives on a pool game against a goddess, my poor heart was pounding through my chest for the entire hour of Supernatural’s 15.12 “The Gamblers!” Even with everything that has happened so far this year - all the deaths, kidnappings, torture and other assorted normal day-in-the-life occurrences of our heroes - I don’t remember an episode impacting me this way yet this year. Other episodes in the past certainly have. You’ve experienced many of those with me through my reviews. None so far this year, though. Maybe I had let down my guard or become complacent but this one wiped me out. Combine the emotional command that Meredith Glynn writes into all of her episodes, with the horror genre suspense that is a specialty of Davy Perez, and fans didn’t have a chance of coming out of this one unscathed.
What to talk about first? I guess I want to talk about Jack.
Now: The song "North to Alaska" by Johnny Horton is playing as the scenes opens with a close shot of colorful billiard balls. Two men are playing pool, watched by a handful of onlookers who seem a little too serious and slightly sweaty. "Give me a chance!" begs one of the players, a man in a suit with his tie loose around his neck. A bearded older man in a Stetson looks at him calmly, then proceeds to sink his ball. Hanging above the table is an ornamental piece of metal with two symmetrical curved sides, each of which holds a small, round, metal disk like an unmarked coin. One of the them changes color with a flash of light. "No! No!" exclaims the man in the suit. A young woman with long, light brown hair watches, face serious, even sad. The losing player reaches up and takes one of the coins, repeating, "No, no, no!" In sudden desperation, he swings his pool cue at the other man, but a tall young man with a trimmed brown beard steps in, blocking it. The bouncer drags the man to the door and throws him out into the night, saying, "You're out of luck!" before going back inside. The man gropes on the muddy ground for his glasses, muttering, "Great Leonard!" He holds up the coin, then flips it high into the air, tipping his head back to see its ascent, stepping back without realizing it into the roadway where he is instantly run over by a semi.
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