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.
Wow, that was freaking brilliant. For once, I’m pleasantly surprised.
For those that did not realize (and I haven’t read this from anyone yet) Andrew Dabb pulled a fast one on us. It’s pretty clever. The official name for the genre used here is surrealism, but a more modern day term is a mindf***. Okay, milder terms, a mind screw. Either way, we got something the show has never done before.
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