"I have to say, I think this is my best torture yet."nbsp; Me thinks that's Sera Gamble's subtle little way of saying she's having a ton of fun messing with us.
Another season premiere is among us and I have to say, this is a damned good one. No doubt about it, "Meet The New Boss" is a drastic improvement over last season's opener "Exile on Main Street."nbsp; An opener is supposed to setup the tone of the new season, and season seven is looking way up. Everything picked up right where we left off last season, just as the preview clip showed us. I gotta tell you though, this scene looks way better on my 50" flat screen in full HD.
Personally, I both loved and hated "Meet The New Boss."nbsp; How so? I loved watching it and was engrossed from beginning to end. What did I hate? The end. No, I wasn't unhappy with how the episode ended. I'm not happy that it ended. Where did Sam disappear to? What's going to happen to Cass? I want to know now! You're making me wait until next week? No fair (let the tantrum commence)!
Despite having to wait a few days, somehow I know, especially with an Edlund script coming next week, things are about to turn tragic. The setup is there. Sam is locked in his own mind being terrorized by Lucifer himself and Castiel has just either been annihilated or is suffering his own lock out at the hands of the Leviathan(s?). As Dean so cleverly noted, they never catch a break.
Let's start with Dean, shall we? Dean's apathy, while it's not always the Dean Winchester I like to see, makes perfect sense in this episode. Think about it, he just lost Lisa and Ben, he resisted Castiel and now Sam is in a huge mess because of it. Plus Castiel won anyway and his efforts were pointless. His baby was even damaged. Fixing the car is the only thing he can do. Along the way, he'll try and fix Sam too. He's got his hobbies too, like drinking whiskey and watching Asian cartoon porn (which I thought was both hilarious and disturbing).
Dean can't take many more blows himself right now. Bobby knows something is wrong with Sam and picks the right time to raise the issue with Dean, over a beer while he's fixing the Impala. As he told Bobby in the garage, Dean wants to believe that Sam is alright, but he knows better. He so wants this one thing to be true. "But I'm not dumb. I'm not getting my hopes up just to get kicked in the daddy pills again."nbsp; So, it's not too surprising that Dean's reaction to the truth about Sam's hallucinations from Death results in mini meltdown of apathy. That's the way he handles betrayal, whether it be from Sam or Cass.
Any reasonable fan knows that Dean's not going to stay this way. Plus, did he do an impressive job rebuilding the Impala or what? The fact is, when Sam gave him a little push Dean went along. He came up with the idea to bind Death. He went along so that Castiel could return the souls to Purgatory. He's not totally gone. He'll get his mojo back in time.
Crazy crap climbing those walls
Poor Sam. He knows something is wrong. He's got to try and hide it though, for wants it all to be okay just for Dean. He knows Dean has had a lot of crap going his way recently and wanted to give him that one thing. He didn't want his brother worrying about something he can't control. I wasn't sure if Sam was telling himself or Dean that he can control the hallucinations, but he believes he can tell what's real and what isn't. Unfortunately for Sam, he's about to learn that's just not enough. Those seconds while he was hanging from the ceiling with a chain tightly wrapped around his neck were still terrifying, control or not. He didn't take Lucifer's presence too well either.
I'm with Bobby, how is Sam even vertical? I think his devotion to his brother had a lot to do with it. He fared far better than I thought he would, but judging by next week's preview, it's going downhill fast. So what about Sam's hallucination with Lucifer? I know I'm not the only fan that smiled at the possibility that Sam is still in the cage, thus erasing either half or all of season six. We know that's not going to happen though.
Why is Sam unable to snap out of this horror? Is this haunting from Lucifer really something he planted, plotting to trap him in his mind should be be freed, or is this Sam's traumatized mind reliving a terror he's never been able to deal with? I'm fascinated over how he can beat this. It likely involves Dean. Or does it? Will this be one of those times again where Dean can only helplessly watch as his brother falls apart? Does this become a test for both the brothers? Yeah, yeah, stay tuned.
Trenchcoat on a tortilla
Oh Castiel. Having seen the episode, I can only think of Dean's later comment, lamenting over the possibility that Castiel is dead. "Cass, you child. Why didn't you listen to me?" Castiel has always had a certain naivety but has learned all his humanity lessons from the Winchesters. Self sacrifice is the way to go, right? He originally went for purgatory and the plan to absorb the souls with honorable intention. He's also learned stubborn pride from Dean too, for when other options were presented, he wouldn't back down.
I find it quite humorous that Castiel was a liberal slanting God. I suspect that's the Hollywood writers pushing some agendas, but I didn't mind. Smiting radical reverends, disbanding the Ku Klux Klan, healing leper colonies and blind people, taking out a convention full of new age motivational speakers and going after righteous politicians. Of course it had to backfire. Do you not watch this show? Fun doesn't last for long.
Not only does Castiel's vessel being to rot (Lucifer anyone?) but the special effects guys get to live out their wildest fantasies when showing creatures living inside this wayward angel. One stomach shot in the bathroom and it's almost Alien all over again. It's pretty fun to see Misha do that scene. He's so getting asked at the next fan convention what filming that scene was like. I'm sure he won't give a straight answer either.
Why wouldn't it make sense that Sam was the one to get through to Castiel? I've read the complaints and I don't understand. Dean and Castiel, profound friendship or not, are two stubborn beings. Neither was about to back down. It's not their style. Bringing Death into their little quarrel didn't help matters. Death, mostly through technicality, got in the way of them killing each other but they would have out of principle. The cold stares of betrayal at each other in the library, it was clear neither was giving in. Afterward Dean was stinging so bad he decided doing nothing and watching the world end was better, even if there was a solution in place for them.
When Dean has these lapses though, Sam steps in. The vice versa happens all the time as well. In this case, Sam doesn't let stubborn pride or vendettas get in the way. He's the one that should be the angriest considering what Castiel did to him. Sam has learned from his mistakes though, like going off with Ruby half cocked when he heard Dean's fake message. Castiel deserves another chance. He can't give up on Castiel the way Dean didn't give up on him.
Remember, this is a show that thrusts flawed humans into heroic and impossible circumstances. They don't always act the best, but that's why Sam and Dean must be there for each other. They cover each other's flaws and mistakes. It really doesn't matter if either Sam or Dean get through to Castiel. What matters is one of them did and the proper thing was done.
Dean did eventually come around though. During that minute or so when he and Bobby believe Castiel is dead, Dean's pretty broken up about it. He does care, which proves his form of retreat is just a defense mechanism. Of course I also smiled when Castiel came back, for both Dean and Bobby were happily relieved. You see, Castiel was redeemable. Oh yes, that was short lived too. We got a whole minute of redeemed Cass. I guess that's better than nothing.
I have one extreme comfort when it comes to Death. This guy will never die. I can for once squeal with glee over his perfect appearances and love his character without consequence of watching him meet his demise in some awful way. You can't kill Death. Once again, Julian Richings is perfect, and the scenes with Death are my favorite of the episode. It helps that the grim reaper is so damned snarky! He may be bound, but he's the one in control. He intimidates Dean to the point that even when Dean is in control, he feels he has to placate Death with greasy food and a ton of respect. I absolutely love the delivery of Dean's line, "Because we said so and we're the boss of you. Respectfully."nbsp; Bobby's "Your honor" is funny too. He's not a judge, he's Death!
I really only have one nitpick. The first "The Road So Far" usually has been a conversation piece. It's part of our pre-season anticipation, what song will they use this year? My favorite by far is still season three's "Hell's Bells."nbsp; I even loved last year's "Beautiful Loser" from Bob Seger (which turned out to be the biggest highlight of that episode). This year, Foghat? Is that all they could afford? A Guitar Hero standard? It's called "Slow Ride" for a reason. Still, for one minute of a well put together montage of events, I'll drop the quibble on the song choice. How nice would a musical montage of Castiel smiting the hypocrites have been? Ah yes, budget.
On the flip side though, there's always a song with Crowley is around, and this time it's quite funny. Instead of his usual smooth and soulful classic R&B it's Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made For Walking?"nbsp; Bwah! It compliments nicely his new digs in a rundown RV in Tennessee somewhere. He's definitely not living up to his usual means. Not a tailor to be found anywhere. At least he still has his favorite brand in whiskey.
Speaking of Crowley, it's pretty cool he got Hell back, even if the plan was to downsize. He's not about to turn down any opportunity that restores him to power. Of course playing ball with the Winchesters means he gets more power and defeats Castiel, so it's clear this season Crowley will continue his rendition of "Let's Make a Deal."nbsp; I love it.
Do you think that there's relevance to Sam falling and cutting his hand on broken glass in the opening scene? Perhaps a symbol of season six, when the opener was shattered glass? Sam is the one that's shattered? The new theme is blood, and Sam happened to have bled on the floor there too. Seems strange that would be just a happy accident.
Did anyone notice how much longer Dean's hair was? Will I have to start doing Dean hair reports soon? Sam's by the way, always ideal when the boy is in despair.
In going through "Meet The Boss" multiple times for the screenshots and this review, I couldn't help but notice that how incredible the direction and camera work is in this episode. Phil Sgriccia gave us plenty of eye candy and I think this is some of his finest work. One of my favorite camera shots is him starting with Dean in the Impala upside down, and the turning the camera a full 180 up. The wide shots too were incredible framing and really enhanced the story. I'm tempted to do a full recap on this episode just so I can highlight the great direction in these scenes.
I also have major kudos again to Serge Ladoucer, especially with the lighting. The standout for me is Sam's hallucination in the basement. The light trickling through the window is just perfect enough to show Sam's distressed face, especially when everything went to red lights and then back to white.
This is also the best script from Sera Gamble in a long time. So many clever lines, an ideal pace that never wavered, and a flow that was seamless from one scene to the next. The plotting was perfect, something that was a weakness often in season six.
Here is just a few of those great lines:
Dean: What about God part Deux?
Bobby: I got all kinds of feelers out, so far diddly.
Dean: What exactly are you looking for?
Bobby: Exactly, what? Miracles, mass visions, trenchcoat on a tortilla, I don't know what I'm looking for.
Crowley: I gather this is not a negotiation.
Crowley: Then I graciously accept, boss.
Dean: I just pray to God it's true.
Bobby: We need to come up with a new saying for that.
Sam: What new boss?
Crowley: Castiel you giraffe.
Crowley: What do you think he's going to do when he finds out we've been conspiring? You did want to conspire, right?
Bobby: No, we want you to sit there and look pretty.
Dean: Who feels like hogtying Death tonight?
Bobby: Old age is overrated anyhow.
Death: This is about Sam's hallucinations I assume. Sorry Sam, one wall per customer.
Death: Please Cas. I know God and you sir are no God. (An obvious take on the 1988 Vice Presidential debate).
Sam: You have to care a little bit about what happens to us.
Death: You know, I really don't, but I do find that little angel rather arrogant.
Dean: Great, let's go with that.
Death: Try to bind me again, you'll die before you start. Nice pickle chips by the way.
Death (after Castiel removes his binds): Thank you. Shall we kickbox now?
Sam (sees Dean drinking whiskey): You want some coffee with that?
Dean: No, it's 6pm somewhere.
Lucifer: Hi Sam, long time no spooning.
Overall my grade is an A. Part of me really wishes this was last season's closer. The mannequin episode could have been deep sixed. However, I'll rave about it as an opener instead of a closer. Next week's promises to be a huge angst fest. It's Edlund, do you expect anything less?
I close here with a line actually from one of my favorite Depeche Mode songs. It so fits poor Sam and Castiel and their current struggles. It's certainly something to keep in mind as their stories continue to unfold:
Angels with silver wings
Shouldn't know suffering
I wish I could take the pain for You
If God has a master plan
That only He understands
I hope it's Your eyes He's seeing through
Things get damaged
Things get broken
I thought we'd manage
But words left unspoken
Left us so brittle
There was so little left to give
Personally I think that we have seen the last of Castiel and that he really died while giving away those souls to Purgatory. Now it's just Jimmy's body.
To be honest, I am really surprised with the extend of the storyline with that broken wall - Lucifer as a hallucination? Wow, wasn't expecting that! And after all the guys have seen, it is really difficult to say what the reality is anymore... Poor poor Sam and even poorer Dean - it was so great between them in the second part of Season Six...
But something is right - Crowley still lives. I was away at the time of the premiere, so I anxiously waited for any news on Crowley... I was SO worried about him, especially when guys called him - I was sure that Cass is gonna learn that and he will eventually smite my fav demon. Luckily, Crowley is still alive and will be plotting... Oh my King of Hell...
Tell me, how is it possible that Cass saved some blood in the laboratory? Seems the "Deus ex machina" solution... :(
Still, I have one problem with Crowley and summonings. Obviously, he was surprised when the Winchesters summoned him in that episode - so he can't control those summonings... so why the heck didn't they summon him in "The Man Who Would Be A King" or "Let It Bleed"?
One more funny thing - that "In God we trust" line on the C's trailer's plates... I almost died of laughing...
That's why I think this should have been a closer for last season. Can you imagine, us thinking about poor Sammy being tortured in the head by Lucifer all summer? That and evil Cass? Would have been better more compelling.
I know there was a little blood left, but a whole jar? I can only assume Crowley kept some extra.
I do remember in Let It Bleed he managed to keep himself hidden. I think Castiel or Balthazar said that. He couldn't be found by them. Man Who Would Be King, good point.
You're right, I totally laughed when I saw that "In God We Trust." There were so many great details in this episode. I really should do a recap, but it would take forever to write!
All of the marks were hit spot on in this episode - maybe season 6 was just a blip on the radar, kind of like some of season 3, and now we're back to the basics in the best way.
Ah well, like you said, it makes for a better season seven.
I really like how you pointed out that these characters are inherently flawed, and therefore react with very human responses such as apathy or denial. Even though Cas in an angel, he has learned all his human responses from the Winchesters, and thus falls into some of the same traps they do on a regular basis.
I also agree that they could have had this close season 6. This would have paired well with The Man Who Knew Too Much, and if it had been the two hour finale because of Smallville, it would have been a satisfying end, but it's great as an opener, too.
I do think it most certainly sets a tone for this season, as I said in my own review, that we're tilting much more back to the basics of the show. That's a good thing in oh so many ways.
Now I'd really love to see the angst fest that will be Ben Edlund's episode. I'm expecting a tear jerker and needing kleenex near by.
An Edlund episode will either make you cry with laughter or extreme angst. I still get breathless when I think of episodes like "My Bloody Valentine" and "On The Head of A Pin." Two of my personal favorites.
Let's just keep our fingers crossed that the "tone" set will be a consistent one. It's back to basics it seems, but will it stay that way? I hope so.
They sure have piled up Deanâ€™s plate this year havenâ€™t they? Fix Sam, save Castiel, kill Leviathan, deal with losing Lisa and Ben, etc. I thought it was interesting that while in the past they have shown Dean drinking a lot, they have never showed him actually be drunk until this episode which clearly he was more than usual. Iâ€™m wondering if there are going to be ramifications of his drinking at some point. You know there has to be a meltdown at some point. And who will be there to pick Dean up? Bobby maybeâ€¦ Sam?
And Sam has enough on his own plate with his hallucinations. I think Lucifer is lying, Sam can't still be in the pit. I know a lot of people didnâ€™t like season 6 but to actually erase it would really tick me off. I hope they can get a handle on them and soon because while it's a good storyline for right now, I can see it becoming a fall back if they back into a corner of a bad storyline. A â€œhey this didnâ€™t happen it was all a hallucinationâ€ type of thing.
Deathâ€¦always a joy to see him. Now thatâ€™s something I can't normally say out loud, lol but who doesnâ€™t love Death. Heâ€™s just is a bundle of tidbits of tantalizing information that we never quite get all of but enough of to just drive us crazy. I used to think that Dean was the king of snark, but now I think he could learn a lesson or two from Death.
Funny that you should mention how long Deanâ€™s hair is. I kept staring at it all night long. I love it longer. It was really kinda distracting for me, lol. I caught myself more than a few times not paying attention to what was going on but how hot his hair looked and I donâ€™t normally get that superficial when I watch the show. Yeah, Yeah I watch for the plot, thatâ€™s my story and Iâ€™m sticking to itâ€¦..
Another great review Alice.
You are so right. Dean was pretty tipsy. The only episode I ever remember seeing him drunk is Yellow Fever, and that was likely because he had the Ghost Sickness. I want more drunk Dean. I wonder if he's a happy drunk like Sam.
I just love how Death is unflappable. I love how he scares the crap out of everyone by just being in the same room.
When it comes to hair, I'm the queen of superficial. I have an archive on Sam Winchester hair articles to prove it. So you noticing Dean's hair, I'm sure we'll forgive you!
Thanks for the comment.
I thought I noticed Dean's hair being a little longer, trÃ¨s sexy! And I loved all the parts when he was working on his baby, those overalls looked soooo good on him.
The camera work was beautiful on this show. I especially love the shot when Sam is calling to Castiel in the yard with the shot looking down on him and then slowly moving down to his face. And yes, I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again, Serge Ladouceur is pure genius with the lighting.
I can't wait until Friday!
I can't wait for Friday either. It looks intense!
After reading all the comments and reviews of the episode, (and re-watching on iTunes), I think we're off to as good start. The pacing in this episode is much quicker than last season. I didn't realize how much I missed how quick things usually happen.
Dean's "Asian cartoon porn" is called hentei (pronounced hen-tay, I think). That is probably a shout out to the Anime series, don't you think? I hate to say this, but there is probably Supernatural hentei out on the web by now, because of the anime, a new treat for slash fans (!)
One little line I picked up was in the scene with Cas and Crowley, where Cas said "we want to keep Michael in the cage" (words to that effect). Not worried about Lucifer? Maybe the writers have not forgotten about Adam after all? Am I wishful thinking, here?
I don't think the writers have forgotten about Adam, but I don't think they're ready to pull that trigger either. He'll always remain as part of a loose plot thread that they may or may not pick up one day. It doesn't hurt to wish though.
Thanks so much for the comment! Glad you loved the review and the episode.
The biggest issues everyone has been having - Dean's apathy and Sam's plea to Castiel - did not bother me that much either. Sam's act in particular made sense to me, because there is not only understanding in it, but a hint of forgiveness. He has the perspective to make that gesture, and I think Cas could recognize what in meant for Sam to be still willing to reach out to him. Even Bobby offered a word of comfort to him, a sign of understanding, even if it is not absolution.
Crowley, Lucifer, and Death in the same episode just made it even better.
I am anxious for Castiel, and hope he is not dead, but I'm grateful that if he died, he did not die the villain. I agree with your assessment of his decision making skills: he learned it all from Sam, Dean, and Bobby. Throw in several thousand years of bloody experience, and its hard to predict what would seem reasonable, especially when there are no clear roads out.
Poor Sam. He has become such a wonderful character. The only reason I think he is "still vertical" is that it is hitting him in waves, and he hasn't yet sunk to the bottom. While I think he is hallucinating, I wonder if it is possible for an outside entity to influence what he is seeing. Lucifer has managed to reach out of the cage before. That's just "fan"tasy, but it would be interesting.
Thanks for the fun!
You're right, I think bottom is still coming for Sam.
Great review of a great episode. I too was struck my Dean's longer hair. It was a very good look for the boy. Yummy!
And I loved the camera angle doing a 180 as Dean works on the Impala. In fact, I love the whole fixing the Impala/fixing Sam symbolism. Dean is a fixer and if he can't repair the people he loves, he's sure as heck going to repair his beloved car. Huge, purposeful echoes of Season 2 after John died, and Dean was healed.
As for the Sam-to-Cas call, I totally get why it was Sam reaching out to Castiel. Even though Cas hurt Sam severely by breaking the wall, Sam still had a bit of emotional distance from Cas. It was Dean who begged, pleaded and ulitmately drew the line in the sand for Cas about absorbing all the Purgatory souls. Dean is still feeling the hurt of that rejection/betra yl the most. In part, because he always had the most profound bond with Cas, and been his staunchest ally, and strongest defender (I think they still share the most profound bond. There's a saying about saving a person's life means you are responsible for them forever.)
Dean's pride and wounded feelings wouldn't let him try to get through to Cas in this episode. I think he was also scared of trying to reach out to Cas and not getting any reply. No reply could mean Cas was truly gone, or just that he had no desire to mend fences with Dean. Either scenario was going to hurt Dean badly, and his reservoir of resilience was running too low to deal with them.
So, in this case, even in his wounded state, I think it was easier for Sam to reach out. Like you said, both boys can be obstinate, but both can be forgiving too. And each can sense when he must make a move because the other is simply unable to do so.
I think Dean had forgiven Cas totally by the end. His concern over Cas, when he was trying to return the souls, and his plaintive "Maybe angels don't need to breathe", are ample evidence of that. Sometimes actions speak as loudly as words.
And, one last little note.. I am mightily intrigued by God!Cas comment "We don't want Michael out of the Cage?". Like Faye said, maybe this is a hint that Adam will be featured again. Myself, I wonder if Michael, as well as being an ace demon-killer, was also a mighty slayer of Leviathans. And maybe the Dean-as-Michael -vessel storyline will have a new twist.
Can't wait for 7.02!
See, you summed it up so perfectly, I have no words!
I think there are a lot of twists coming. We'll see where they lead.
Yay, the show is back! Great hearing from you again.
Personally, life has become more hectic for me, with a third kid (a girl !), and it is becoming a bit more of a challenge trying to keep up with Supernatural. But Season 7 looks very promising, so I'll definitely try to keep up. :)
One thing puzzling me after re-watching - as Cass is leaving the church, he hears a voice calling his name. Twice. Any ideas who or what that is? Maybe Real God/Chuck?