Episode five of season six…anyone know where we’re going, anyone got this figured out yet? I don’t. First off, for those who are hoping the whole ‘alpha’ thing will hurry up and go away (I’ve read some comments on some spoiler threads this past week as the synopsis for All Dogs Go To Heaven came out), I don’t think alphas are going anywhere. Judging from what we’ve seen in Two and a Half Men, here, as well as what is coming up, the alpha is a part of the seasonal thread. And there’s a parallel to the Winchesters as well, an alpha is the leader of a pack, he/she may or may not be the ‘first’ but they sure are the leader. Samuel Campbell isn’t the first Campbell but he sure is this current Campbell pack’s leader – their alpha. So the parallels are neatly in place. BTW, who didn’t love the line regarding the recipe and the soup, ha, ha!! Or rather, mmm, mmm, good!
Now, did I like this episode, eh, in places very much, in others, no. I think this episode tried to do too much and sometimes that works but most times it doesn’t. I think there were five things trying to be achieved by this episode: 1, spoofing on vampires; 2, showing just how ‘far gone’ Sam is and setting up episodes to come; 3, deepening the mystery of Samuel Campbell; 4, giving Dean absolute proof that Sam is not Sam and yes as a by-product we can see the beginning of the Lisa/Ben end; 5, further layering the mystery going on with monsters and demons and angels – oh, my. Episode 5 achieved all five of those goals but only a few did it do very well.
Goal #1, Spoofing Vampires:
As someone not in touch with the vampire phenomena, although I now count myself a fan of The Vampire Diaries – great acting, great writing and lots, lots, lots of ‘guns’ being fired this season with seemingly no end of the momentum (or the carnage), much of the opening teaser (at around four minutes in length) was dull, boring and way, way, way too long and drawn out for my taste.
Dean’s and Sam’s moments of investigating and poking fun at the vampire craze were fine in and of themselves but I didn’t get many of the jokes. The first of my observations, the long, boring teaser, I’ll hold â€˜against’ the episode; the second, my not getting the references, at least most of them, I don’t hold against the episode. Many of Supernatural’s foreign fans don’t understand all the meta references when the show pokes fun at things decidedly American so while I was interested, I wasn’t rolling on the floor with laughter as I know some were again, judging by the responses to the clips that were released during this past week.
Goal #2, Deepening Sam’s Mystery:
I sat up a lot, lot, lot straighter when I watched Sam watching Dean get turnedâ€¦.now that got my attention. Hmm, I think I stated during my review of Two and a Half Men that I wasn’t sure if Sam used the baby for bait. Then revised my thoughts a bit in the comments (or somewhere in discussions for that episode) that I was more and more of the belief that Sam did use the baby as bait. Again, the episode set up didn’t lead me to believe Sam used the baby as bait, his unconvincing protestations otherwise to Dean, however, did. In light of watching Sam’s actions (or nonactions) towards Dean’s danger and his unconvincing response to Samuel’s queries on the same matter I am firmly of the belief that Sam used that baby as bait much as he used Dean here. Why remains the mystery and I’m intrigued where we’re going. (BTW, is this a parallel to what some have thought were John’s actions in Something Wicked? Don’t know. Likely we’ll never know if John intentionally used his boys as bait for the shtriga but there is that thought out thereâ€¦perhaps that was a motivation for the writers.)
Goal #3, Just Who/What is Samuel Campbell?
Samuel’s character turned a bit for me this week. It was clear that he truly meant to help Dean. I don’t trust Samuel Campbell, his actions in Exile on Main Street with the djinn as well as the baby shifter have me suspicious but I am convinced he honestly meant Dean no harm here. Yes, he would have killed Dean had Dean â€˜fed’ but since Dean was on the same page with that (as was the long-since-passed Gordon) I don’t mind that. Dean was honorable in his desire for death to avoid actually being a vampire and Grandpa Samuel would be doing the correct thing here. However, I still don’t trust the man and it looks like in another two weeks Dean won’t be either?
Goal # 4, Give Dean Solid Proof:
Dean finally has proof, he’s had suspicions, he’s had his instinct (or, if this were NCIS, his gut) but now he’s got proof. And, if I’m interpreting my previews correctly, he’s going to be calling Bobby for a little 411 on the situation, Bobby, when Dean tells you Sam watched him get turned, I expect a bit of a reaction to that, something that opens up what you do or do not know about Sam.
I know some have been upset that Dean hasn’t been…I don’t know, harder on Sam with his suspicions or that Dean hasn’t been concerned enough, or that somehow Dean is out of character in these first few episodes. I’m still formulating my opinion there but so far I don’t come down on the side of Dean should be doing something more. I’m fine with how the season is pacing the story; it’s a huge, huge mystery. We pretty much know what Dean did that whole year; we got it in the opening montage and first few minutes of Exile On Main Street. With Sam it’s a whole different story and I like the mystery that’s slowly being unfolded.
Let us not forget that Sera indicated this season would be a call back to Season 1 in many ways; it is. Sam is the focused hunter here, Season 1 it was Dean. Dean is the reluctant but now willing partner, Season 1 it was Sam. Each week was a different monster, Season 1 it was ghosts, wendigos, vengeful ghosts/spirits, demons, bloody Mary, shapeshifter, hookman, Indian curses; Season 6 it’s djinn, shapeshifters, angels gone awry with heavenly weapons, all right, that’s more akin to Season 4 and Season 5 – okamis and llamias, and now vampires. In Season 1 we knew by episode 5 (Bloody Mary) that Sam had dreamed of Jessica’s death before it happened – pretty mind-blowing back then; in Season 6 we know that Sam allowed Dean to be turned into a vampire and that vampires are building an army and that overall monsters are acting strange (even for monsters). I say we’re right on track with Season 1.
Goal #5, Where Are We Going?
So what is the overall thread in this season, there are several. We have Sam’s mystery, Samuel’s mystery (not just what ‘yanked him down’ but what is he doing with captured djinns and whatever else he may have captured) Dean’s emotional storyline with Lisa, Bobby’s deal with Crowley (neatly and nicely resolved), Cas’ dealing with angels and monsters who are recruiting, building and probing for hunters’ weak spots. I’m intrigued.
I’m also hopeful for some answers, there have been a few, we know what Dean was doing for that past year, thank you for that. I think we can see the end of Lisa and Ben’s involvement on the horizon, although I have enjoyed immensely how the story has been handled thus far but I also recognize what the show is about (and that’s just how I like it too) and like the parallel Dean now has with John and Adam and perhaps it draws a bit more sympathy to John’s dilemma with his ‘other family’.
I’m glad that Bobby’s deal with Crowley has been resolved. I like seeing that both Crowley and Cas have their hands full with their respective spheres and suspect that there will be more coming that will weave in and out through the season. What I do look forward to is some confrontation on the Sam is ‘not Sam’ issue as well as just what is Samuel Campbell up to.
Judging from the previews and the synopsis of upcoming episodes we’re going to start getting some answers, or at the very least some peeks.
So, did Live Free or Twihard work, for me no. It’s an episode that I’ll skip unless I’m absolutely positively determined to watch each and every episode, per season, in order. I just didn’t enjoy it. It was well-lit, the camera angles were fine but for me it basically had no heart. This episode was meant to do certain things, and it did but those are all simply set ups for the future. Like last season’s “The Devil You Know” and “Two Minutes to Midnight” I’m left feeling that this is simply a precursor to things to come.
Season 6, Thus Far:
“Exile On Main Street” reunited the brothers and introduced the Campbells. “Two Men and a Baby” had light fun during the baby-on-board scenes and paved the way for Dean’s return to hunting. “The Third Man” returned Cas to the scenery and gave us a glimpse into heaven and angels with nefarious deeds at hand. “Weekend At Bobby’s” closed out Bobby’s deal, showcased Jim Beaver wonderfully and broadened our familiarity with Rufus, Crowley and Sheriff Mills. “Live Free or Twihard” fell flat. It was dark, depressing and similar to Sam’s steady-as-she-goes-heart rate left me wanting some excitement.
I don’t expect every episode to hit it out of the park and while this is one that I’ll be skipping in the future it was necessary; the information gained here will be utilized elsewhere. In parts it worked, as a whole it didn’t, my grade. C-
Now for those of you who loved it, let me know what you loved. Often reading comments causes me to rethink things.
Thanks for reading, Elle2