I love going into a Supernatural episode and not knowing what to expect. Usually when that happens, I’m pleasantly surprised. Not that I’m ranking “Hunteri Heroici” was one of the series best or most innovative, but I came away entertained instead of cursing so that’s something.
The day after a Supernatural episode I end up judging it on how much thinking it triggered. The last new episode, “A Little Slice of Kevin” didn’t quite trigger the same thinky thoughts that “Hunter Heroici” did. Probably because last night’s episode came with some deeper character study. All of you know how my head gets a spinning when Sam Winchester is put under the microscope.
Before I get to my whirly thoughts on Sam, let’s go for the premise. I really thought cartoon world would bomb. In the past these types of episodes have me nitpicking all sorts of plot holes. This one though actually made sense. What happens with a psychokinetic loses his mind due to old age? He reverts to a happier time, and who can’t relate to Looney Tunes? I myself recall the happy days when I was glued to the TV set with glee on Saturday mornings (yes, once upon a time you could only watch cartoons on Saturday mornings) just to see Wile E. Coyote hang in thin air before he falls to the ground with an inexplicable anvil falling right behind him.
Live action attempts usually fall flat, but Supernatural didn’t go overboard. They used the right amout that was believable. My absolutely favorite, laugh out loud moment was when Dean went to tackle the doctor in the bank. The freeze frame of “Dean Winchester – Hunterus Heroicus” and “Dr. Mahoney – “Grosteques Villainous” had me howling. In my twisted upbringing I often use these latin names in everyday conversation! My kitty for example is “Domesticus Housecatis.” Andrew Dabb, you and I are truly kindred spirits of the same warped childhood.
I think we’ll forever understand the concept you can’t bring a gun to a gag fight. That’s been canon our entire existence. You can however bring an angel, and Sam and Dean suddenly found themselves with a third wheel. I still love how seasoned Castiel is to the earth, yet he still has issues with literal terms. Like when Dean asks him ”What’s the word Cass?” “My name, shortened,” is by all means a correct answer, yet that's not quite what he was looking for. Angel or not, he’s learned he must never attempt to rob Sam Winchester from his rightful spot of shotgun. Too bad there wasn’t a hockey arena around, because when Sam pushed Castiel out of the way to get to the front seat, that was one of the more impressive cross –checks I’ve seen. And poor Castiel’s rejected look. They’re all like children, aren’t they?
Might I also take a second to gush over Mike Farrell? Yes, I grew up watching M*A*S*H and I loved him on that show, but isn’t wonderful to see these beloved actors age gracefully? You can always tell a seasoned veteran actor from a hack, and Mike Farrell proved why he’s one of the best, still. Being locked in a happy mind isn’t so bad, is it? Castiel actually seemed envious, but then again Castiel can read minds.
So, since we’re on the topic of reading minds, let’s segue into the younger Winchester, shall we? My, my, what is happening to Sam? There have been some theories bounced around here (and Ardeospina is doing an awesome job driving that bus), but I’ve stayed pretty silent about it so far. Probably because I’m still stinging from last season where I entertained some dream theories and by season’s end experienced extreme disappointment when I had to take everything at face value. The question is, did Jeremy Carver read all our crazy theories (and others) and decide that he’d play with us rather than go for that “what you see is what you get” philosophy of Sera Gamble? After all, new showrunner, new rules.
Rather than waste a lot of time over the possible motives of a showrunner, how about I go with what we’ve got? First, Sam’s flashbacks have always had a soft white light quality to them, but this one was oversaturated with white, more than before. Either that or my new TV is strobing too much white. Does the bright light mean something? Considering the camera operators are usually the same each week, I don’t think it's a technical mishap. Such bright light suggests a dream like state, which coincides with Sam’s constant statements he's running and hiding in a dream world. What is this halo effect really telling us though? I could go into all sorts of dream interpretation research, but one common belief is it’s someone near death.
I’ve brought this up before, but anyone ever see the movie Jacob’s Ladder? (Spoilers coming for that movie if you haven’t). The main character, Jacob, was caught in some kind of crazy limbo and various forces were eventually revealed to be trying to free him from earth so he can move on into the white light. It’s a lot creepier than that, and we didn’t know he was dying into the end (the shocking surprise), but that’s what it was. In that movie, Jacob found himself in a strange new relationship with a woman. He suddenly wasn’t married to his wife anymore. The other characters were doing their best to pass on hints that it was time to let go, and of course psychoanalyze the guilt, heartache, and demons of his life that he was clinging onto along the way. There were also crazy hallucinations, but that doesn’t seem to be happening to Sam, yet anyway.
I couldn’t stop going back to this movie the entire time that Sam was remembering Amelia’s father. He seemed EXACTLY like one of these characters. Sam Winchester is not an open book. This guy read him a bit too easily, don’t you think? Every single one of his statements dug into Sam like a knife. They hit the really, really sore spots. Also, why in the world would Sam not only use his real name, but mention that he went to Stanford? Isn’t he trying to hide the fact that he’s supposed to be dead? That’s a very easy Google search. He isn’t that careless. Is that lazy writing again or a big clue? In dreams, or perhaps coma like states, you don’t use aliases. Your name has to be real, your sense of identity.
Also, in that movie, Jacob was estranged from his family. Disconnected. The same was true for The Sixth Sense. Those characters' were surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar situations. Hmm, do you think Sam has looked comfortable at all in these flashbacks? Then the flashback ends with Don being alive. There is no way it’s a mere coincidence that it happens immediately after Sam admits he ran because Dean was dead. That was the trigger. Why do I have visions of Sam going into cardiac arrest or something on the other side?
The question becomes, what is really happening to Sam? Is he dying in a coma somewhere, in an insane asylum dreaming the whole thing, are the angels manipulating his memories, or do we pull out last year’s theory that he’s still in Hell? Or, is it a combination of one or more of these things? Maybe this is all just diabolical mustache twisting by Mr. Carver and it comes out at face value? I don’t know anymore, but one thing is certain, these flashbacks are getting weirder and weirder. They aren’t believable anymore, if they ever were.
The other being going through some weirdness is poor Castiel. He may be a powerful angel, but he’s really lacking in the skills necessary to be a hunter, don’t you think? He can’t absorb the obvious human clues like having an affair. He certainly can smell infections though. He still has friends in Sam and Dean though, so it’s not all so bad, back seat or not.
Unlike Sam, Cass didn’t need a character in a flashback to remind him of his checkered past. He outright knew. If he went back to Heaven, he might kill himself out of guilt from the devastation he caused. His outright honesty and heart to heart with Dean was so refreshing and very heart wrenching for me. I love how not only is he talking to Dean, but Dean’s listening (which is why I still think Sam is stuck in some sort of altered state). I don’t think that was angel manipulation, because Cass decided not to run and go back to Heaven. That’s when Naomi stepped him and denied him access. I’m not about to speculate what’s up with Naomi and her kind, but perhaps she realized that hanging out with the Winchesters was forcing Cass to ask too many questions. Maybe it was best he go do what he wants until he’s needed.
There’s a lot hidden underneath the guise of a goofy cartoon story, don’t you think? I’m very certain we aren’t going to get a lot of answers during the midseason finale either, so there will be plenty of time for speculation during the month long break. I give Hunteri Heroici a B+. It was light, yet it was very, very dark. Plus now I’m going to leave black circles on the wall just to f*** with people. That and I am so training my cats to talk.
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