Exile on Main Street, Review by Elle2 -
Ah glorious times are upon us, a new season of Supernatural! Even more glorious, Supernatural got some pretty stinking darn good ratings to boot - take that CW darlings on Monday night. Yeah, I have issues.
I’ve watched EOMS now about twice so this isn’t going to be in depth, I leave that to the experts ““ Bardicvoice, I’ll be looking for your writings in the next week. I’m going to hit the high points, throw in a couple minor, very minor, nits and toss out some thoughts overall.
“One Year Ago”
I loved this short review from last season, it was Dean’s memories rolling in his head and giving us the picture of just where Dean is in his grief ““ he’s coping but the agony remains.
Bob Seger’s Beautiful Loser was about perfect as the music behind the montage that gives us insight into how Dean is living. Better than Madge and Edward Carrigan, Dean has assimilated. ”You’d be amazed at what lives inside people’s walls; it’ll eat them alive.” Yeah, that’s the truth without telling -- you know -- the truth.
The intercutting of Dean’s current life with his past brought tears to my eyes - sentimentalist I am, don’t tell mom - and I could just imagine him trying to reconcile drinking beers with Sid versus Sam and teaching Ben about engines versus Sam. Everything is the same; nothing is the same.
Some in the fandom thought the return of Yellow Eyes was cheesy, this is before the episode, and that it was proof positive that the writers had lost their creativity -- but there’s an element that’s always going to complain about everything - for me it was Sera doing what Sera does very, very well, getting inside the character’s heads and showing us what’s going on. Dean fears his past will catch up to him. Dean fears he can’t have what he’s secretly -- so secret he doesn’t even recognize it -- longed for. Dean wonders just how he got to this place of “happiness” and is certain something is going to take it away. Dean fears that he will fail Ben - Azazel’s words are chilling, “Something is coming for this one.” - was that real or was that Memorex - uh, Djinn poison? It was under the effects of the Djinn poison but I wouldn’t put it past Sera and company to also make it real.
The exposition in this episode was superb because it came in small bites throughout; Dean’s mindset is established through the review as well as the montage as well as his conversation with Sid. The ‘army’ of creatures arising spills out of Samuel’s mouth in a few seconds setting up many of the monsters we’re going to be seeing this season, all neatly set forth in less than a minute’s worth of dialogue. Bobby’s hopes for Dean, Sam’s reasoning to Dean. Dean’s efforts to find a way to get Sam out of the pit - “So sue me” - all came at separate times in short little bursts of dialogue. Unlike many episodes in the past when the endless monologues occur here it is spread throughout. The episode plays like much of how the season, I suspect, will play out; a little bit revealed along the way.
There is much more to be revealed for while there was lots of information given in the short bursts by the characters on who and what and when and where there was very little why. While the Djinn threat was neutralized here there is no understanding of what they were doing aside from revenge with according to all involved (as in the characters) is unlike what the monsters do. The Djinn has been killed and/or captured but the threat remains, this is an open-ended episode for it opens the season. It presented much but completed none. I liked it a lot for that.
Lisa et al live in Cicero, Indiana; Bobby lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. For those of us into geography (or not) that’s approximately 765 miles or 12 hours of driving (12 hours and six minutes but I’m betting they were able to shave off those six minutes.) So, Dean packs up said family and travels to Bobby’s and then he and Sam head back to trap the Djinn. Fine. Here’s my question, where is Sam and the rest of the Campbell family’s lair, home base, headquarters, control room - you get the idea. Judging from Sam’s ability to save Dean with the antidote and get him to the Campbell family ranch before Dean awakens and then get Dean back to Lisa and Ben’s (as well as the fact that Samuel Campbell had dispatched somebody to keep an eye on Lisa and Ben) leads me to believe that Sam and family have set up their home base in or around Cicero, Indiana. Hmm, what made them do that? Did they want to stay near to Dean? Or, is this home base the first and last time we’re going to see it? Guess we’ll know more next week. Still, for all that it was dark, abandoned or at least a determined fixer-upper’s habitation, it looked pretty well equipped (cot with sheet and blankets) and other such fine stuff. Did Sam and company set up to be near to Dean in order to keep an eye on him? Don’t know. Just curious nothing more.
A season opener should answer cliffhanger questions, to an extent, as well as lay out the beginnings of where we’re going next, posing questions, developing mysteries, adding suspicions, perhaps even relieving some. Exile on Main Street (EOMS) did just that.
Here’s just a few of the mysteries presented:
Samuel Campbell has been resurrected. How, why, by whom no one knows - or no one is saying.
How did he know about and make the Djinn antidote.
Sam Winchester has been resurrected. How, why, by whom no one knows - or no one is saying.
Huey, Duey and Luey - or my name is Larry, this is my brother Daryl, this is my other brother - sister --- Daryl - erh, Darlene. How did these three Campbells survive the slaughter wrought by Yellow Eyes all those years ago? No idea. The fact that it was mentioned tells me that the writers are very aware of the past canon on this material and that, in fact, there will be a revelation later on. Wait and see, don’t forget. This isn’t a canon error, there is more here. (by the way, kudos to all who get the references I made above - I’ll give you a cookie (not really).
Why did Samuel want the Djinn, what’s he hiding, what’s he doing with them (is he planning on opening his own museum akin to the Canton Wax Museum?) Whatever he’s up to it ain’t good AND he’s hiding it from not only Dean but from Sam as well - oooh, this will be good.
Samuel Campbell vs. Bobby Singer: Round I
Contrast the two men in how they interact with Dean.
Bobby hid Sam from Dean because he was happy that Dean had gotten out of hunting.
Samuel wanted Sam to tell Dean he was back and get Dean back into the business, but, for reasons not yet known, although I’m betting having a lot to do with what Grandpa is doing capturing monsters and hiding them, he acquiesced to Sam’s wishes; until the right time - which coincidentally happened to fall on Friday, September 24, 2010.
Bobby made no pretense to Dean about his deception with regard to Sam and proclaimed that he would do it again because Dean’s happiness separate from hunting is a sacrifice Bobby was willing to make because it was for Dean’s best interests. Life, living, love, loving, Lisa and Ben; Bobby knew that Dean craved family and that having that was bigger and better than being with Bobby and Sam and driving the Impala
Samuel pulled out all the stops in an attempt to guilt Dean back into hunting: ”you’re part of something huge” “Cutting heads off of vampires since the Mayflower” “Our blood is being spilled trying to get in front of this - now is not the best time for golf.”
Who loves Dean? Bobby. He’s the clear winner. And he brought his A game, tough love and all, to play in one (or I suppose technically) two scenes. Love you, Bobby, glad you’re back.
Sam is out of hell. Sam is definitely Sam, not Lucifer personified but Sam, no more, no less. We know from Mystery Spot as well as Lazarus Rising that Sam is very much like John Winchester, disciplined, focused, obsessed. I’m not surprised that he came out of the pit and went very militarily forth to hunt, hunt and hunt. His explanation to Dean makes perfect sense, doesn’t mean I gotta like it but it’s a no-win situation.
Sam loves Dean and to show that love he made a hard decision, he let Dean go. By the end of the episode we know that Sam is having a hard time with that decision and that he really wants Dean with him -- It’s just better when you’re here. Sam, unlike Samuel yet very much like Bobby, loves Dean and is willing to sacrifice his own wishes, for Dean to be hunting with him, in order to allow Dean a chance to be free. I’ve always loved you, Sam Winchester, and this doesn’t change that.
I liked this character in The Kids Are Alright and I continue to like her now. She’s understanding and loving and has her head on right, this is a remarkable woman. Akin to Sarah from Provenance, Lisa knows about hunting and has first-hand experience. She’s willing to back off, get her and Ben to ‘safety’ at the movies to allow Dean to deal with his hunting OCD issues. She’s allowed guns and holy water and devil’s traps in her house. She makes it clear that while Dean has issues she wasn’t at all surprised by them and grounded it in reality (at least as SPN presents reality) with her comment about expecting a man who just saved the world to have some issues. Uh, yeah.
When faced with Dean leaving her at Bobby’s she reads between the lines and correctly interprets what he doesn’t say and lovingly yet firmly presents her case to Dean about what the past year has been -- “The best year of my life.”It is Lisa’s loving, firm and uncomplicated talk with Dean on the staircase in Bobby’s house that changes Dean’s mind so that he tells Sam he’s staying. This is a mature woman who did not hamstring or whip or any other such slangy, disrespectful comment that can be issued towards a real (although it’s fake ‘cause, you know, it’s a television show) relationship and how real people handle these situations. Kudos to Sera for writing this character as a true partner for Dean.
Oh, how he hurts, and yet how he is ‘manning up’ and moving on with life. Sam is not forgotten, far from it, but Dean can’t just booze it up and sit on the side of the road until he dies; he goes on. We get wonderful exposition on his year through a montage of scenes carefully directed and edited by the Supernatural team. Dean has made friends, found a job, cares for Lisa and Ben and is involving himself in something he knows nothing about, life. I love the pictures in Lisa’s house, the golf clubs, the touches of a woman and a child. Yet the past isn’t far, under a tarp, in a box are those things that formed him to this point and he isn’t rusty at all in his ability to get ready.
Fred Lehne hasn’t lost his touch as Azazel, love the delivery of the line, “A little spice to go with all that sugar.”Unless there’s more poisoning to come and/or hallucinations I doubt he’ll be back but Fred and the character did their jobs well and I enjoyed the time we had with them.
The subtle shot of the Djinn waitress who lightly, flirtatiously stroked Dean’s arm thus exposing him to the poison.
Dean has lost none of his steps as he recognizes he’s received the waitress’ phone number without making a show of looking at said receipt, he still notices everything around him.
Dean checking out the waitress without the leering or overt ogling of the woman, combine it with the comment about him being unavailable speaks volumes of his regard for Lisa and their relationship.
Sam telling Dean not to be stupid at the end when Dean asks Sam why he wants him to join him in the hunt. It’s the affectionate type of chiding siblings and best friends do to each other. It made me smile.
Note the almost reversal of the Djinn’s patterns, outside, daylight, amongst people they move; they inject with poison and show the victim’s greatest fears. Contrast that to all you know from What is and What Should Never Be” - near opposites.
Yorkies - who knew that joke still had life in it!
Sure, I’ll always have some; in the scope of things these nits are pretty darn small. I want to know what Sam saw when he was hit with the Djinn’s poison. I wanted to see Sam save Dean at Sid’s house. How is it that Dean, who was at Sid’s and his wife’s side in less than a minute wasn’t able to save them yet Sam, who wasn’t at Dean’s side as fast, was able to save him? If I have a nitpick of any size that’s the one I have but on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being forgivable and 10 being pack up my tinker toys and go home, this one is a 1.5. It’s forgivable but not forgettable for with a little different editing, it could have been avoided.
My grade, an A. This was an excellent season opener. We got the ‘band back together’ well, almost, Cas isn’t there yet but he was referenced so I’ll go with that for now.
I like what Sera has done thus far and I’m eager for the next episode to spool out a little bit more of the mystery.
There was music and memories, a few laughs - mostly at Dean’s (Jensen’s golf addiction) and there was the Impala. She was front and center in the recap and the montage we got a small, itsy, bitsy glimpse of her under the tarp ““ hey, at least she’s not collecting dust!
There you go, my thoughts on Exile on Main Street, what were yours? Thanks for reading. Elle2