Thoughts on "A Little Slice of Kevin"
Season eight of "Supernatural" has been one of my favourites thus far. It's up there among season four (my favourite season bar none) and season five, my second favourite season, though season eight is certainly edging up there. The writing this season has been strong and feels much more focused and cohesive as compared to some of the recent past seasons. I think so far, A Little Slice of Kevin is favourite season eight installment. There was so much character and plot advancement and some good action to boot.
Witches and Hell Kings: Not that Trustworthy
We finally get a peak at what the Tran's have been up to since they ditched Sam and Dean and it certainly isn't glamorous. What was great was the ability of these two to live on the road and protect themselves so definitively against demons, etc. using what they've learned about Devil Traps, salt lines and the like.
One small thing that bothers me is given Mrs. Tran's proclivity for dousing everyone in holy water multiple times and who knows what else to ensure their non-possession status, it was then a surprising move to hire a witch and what was more surprising was that Mrs. Tran really, truly thought she could be trusted even a bit. Obviously, this was a necessary plot thread to get Kevin to Crowley and Mrs. Tran to the Winchesters for help, nevertheless it felt a touch out of line with everything we know about this character.
Crowley and the Starship Enterprise
Mark Sheppard never fails to entertain as Crowley. So evil, so calculating and so witty. As plans go, kidnapping all future prophets to allow for the killing of an uncooperative Kevin if necessary was a pretty good one. The set of the octagonal table and steel room was the perfect interrogation scene for these FP's, and really did have that spaceship or Avenger's-Assemble meeting room feel. The writing wasn't lacking during these scenes either, particularly when one FB asked if Crowley was an alien "“ I laughed out loud. One thing that I so enjoy about the character of Crowley is that despite his unquestionable evilness the character does not act on this evil nature in an absolutely, base way. Yes, he tortures, but long before he gets to that stage he plays word games "“ and he's very good at them. Diabolical is always more fun to watch that violent, in my opinion.
Speaking about torture, poor Samandriel did not last long before giving up the prophets names. Admittedly, I was taken aback that the angel gave up the information at all, at least this easily. I expected him to have lied or left out some key details that would later cause great trouble for Crowley's plan. Kevin seemed to last better, considering he is a human. Ultimately, I enjoyed this entire plot of the kidnapped prophets and the broken tablet. It feels like a good way to keep the tablet plot moving forward with some interest and new developments, which is much preferred to rehashing the same thing over and over until they either figure out how to close the gates of Hell or not. (Pure speculation on my part is that they'll close the gates in the end and then spend the next seasons hunting down was left and cleaning up the Earth).
This week was something of a change in Dean - his grief/guilt was played more subtle than we've seen before. The random glimpses of Castiel probably would have driven him crazy after too long, and I'm glad the writers chose not to go down that road.
It was also interesting to see Sam in the guilt counselor role in this episode. He was genial, calm, reassuring and just listened without pushing anything. This isn't to say that Sam hasn't been these things for Dean before "“ of course he has in some capacity, they're very close brothers after all - but to see it now is so refreshing in the character after all the suffering and mental anguish of recent years. Sam has come so, so far over the last year and despite my unfavourable feelings about his lovely doctor, it's obvious she helped him heal in some way. I do look forward to seeing more flashbacks and watching how this came to be.
Broken Tablets and Intriguing Messages
Kevin gave Crowley some more information on the tablet this week and we in turn gained some of our own. Hearing the words as written on the stone almost suggested there was information written on that tablet that maybe even Heaven didn't really want getting out. And if not on the tablet, somewhere for someone to find and act upon. Perhaps this is why the Guys in White have commandeered Castiel's mind as they have. The final battle was exciting this week "“ introducing the new demon bomb that we've heard so much about again. How handy is that sucker? Time to stock up on those, I'd say. Also, it was good to see Castiel strap on his angel wings and it allowed for the tablet to be divided as well as a way for Crowley to escape to fight another day (and from both a plot view and a viewer perspective, this is a good thing).
"You can't save everyone, my friend."
I doubt it's a secret that I love Castiel and have from the beginning. Well, after his exchange with Dean my affection for this angel has grown tri-fold. The conversation between Dean and Cas was something that Dean has long needed to hear and to have Cas deliver it in his blunt, straightforward way was probably one of the few ways that Dean would actually have heard the message. Dean is not responsible for everyone and everything that goes wrong but for eight years on "Supernatural" we've watched him should this burden quietly and in truth we know it dates back to when he was young and his father put baby Sammy in his arms to carry out of the fire. In this instance, it was interesting to see how post-traumatic stress and survivor's guilt came together to actually change the memory of Dean leaving purgatory without Cas. Knowing Dean as we do, it's been speculated that he did not literally abandon Cas, but that some other factor impacted the ability for both angel and man to escape. Not only was this the case, but Castiel had intended all along to stay behind for penance and he was wild card factor stopping his own escape from purgatory.
So far this season the purgatory flashbacks have been excellent "“ on point, not overdone and informative. This one in particular and the reveals that stemmed from it were poignantly conjured and acted with subtle potency. From a writing standpoint, I thought this entire conversation and reveal was well written, wholly in character and just emotional enough for the circumstances. With any luck, this is a turning point for Dean.
Castiel: Unwitting Spy
"Supernatural's" take on Heaven and the Angels always makes me grin at the clever interpretations. Heaven is more often than not just as devious as the Hell legions, but almost more so because they are perceived to be gentle, loving and warm when they are really warriors in battle. In this case, we have some secret white room and some blonde who makes one want to reach out and smack that all-knowing, condescending smile from her face representing Heaven and its interests. I'm not altogether clear as to the end game here, as I'm sure this chick and her bosses would want Hell sealed for good just as much as Sam and Dean do "“ at least, it would be in their best interests as far as I can tell. Perhaps they just want to keep informed but I sense more devious intentions, what with the mind control and secretive nature of the meeting. Maybe they are the big bad of the season? Will the Winchesters be making another deal with Crowley for the sake of humankind? Time will tell, I suppose. One thing is for certain though, I am intrigued.
As I've said, great episode top to bottom. This season has been really good at keeping the pieces moving around the board and not leaving plot threads simply dangling or growing stale by being ignored. Now we have Kevin and Mama Tran with Garth and totally willing to work the Winchesters (finally cottoned on that that would be the best course of action, only took almost dying due to one's own stupidity and losing a finger to figure that out), The boys and Cas together and the tablet split in two between good and bad . Not even all the future prophets had to die and we got to see that fantastic demon bomb again "“ I'm really looking forward to the boys building a few of those for their arsenal, certainly quicker and easier and less vis-a-vis than the knife, that's for sure. What did you think about this episode? People in White - good, bad, or otherwise? The demon bomb destroys the host and this has been a point of discussion recently "“ thoughts? Finally, is Chuck really dead? Personally, that nugget of information felt too deliberate to be accurate, so I'm betting he's not dead, which begs the question of what and where he is then.
Sadly, we have a bit of a break between now and the next installment. But wow, does that episode ever look amusing.