Ben Edlund microwaves Tinkerbell, this on top of last week’s outing which will cause many to think twice when Fido curls up as his master is disrobing, sheesh, peeping pups abound; truly nothing is sacred in Supernatural.
Clap Your Hands If You Believe is vintage Ben Edlund with a touch of Sera Gamble thrown in (as in in the past Sera was the writer most likely to have naked Sam, this season it’s all Ben). I really liked Sam here and all the references to Pinocchio, I’m a real boy! While this isn’t the brotherly dynamic we’re used to, this one was a lot of fun to watch unfold and while much of it bodes well for the future there is that final look from Sam at the end that says not so fast.
Soulless Sam â€“ or Pinocchio Winchester:
I know soulless Sam is not popular with many but I am enjoying him, mostly because I’m aware that at some point his soul will be returned (I’m eternally hopeful) and do believe that it will be sooner rather than later. I base my hope/prediction on some interview tidbits and what I know from press releases regarding what is yet to come. It seems that of all the multiple threads opened up this season the thread with Sam’s soul attached to it is front and center right now which is definitely a good thing.
The best reason to return Sam’s soul sooner rather than later is not because the brotherly dynamic is the heart and soul of the show (and it is) but more because the writers have been a bit fast and loose with how Sam is written without his soul. I can’t blame the writers and producers for having fun with their new toy (ie. soulless Sam) However, we fans are pretty tough and have an eye for continuity, something that isn’t exactly there when it comes to Sam without a soul; case in point: In Family Matters Sam reacted instantly to the danger presented to Dean. When Dean went to disarm Samuel and Christian tried to intervene, Sam immediately slammed Christian up against the wall protecting Dean.
Soul or not Sam logically knows that protecting Dean is the right thing to do. In this episode we get Sam all but laughing at Dean while he is being chased by ‘aliens’, orders another beer and shows no urgency in his actions to react to Dean’s panicked call nor the abrupt termination of the call; rather he calmly turns off his phone and finishes his new beer and then tracks down Dean’s cell phone and begins his investigation. Feelings or not, action is still necessary. Granted Sam was not panicked at Dean’s vampire encounter (as his heartbeat could attest) but he still took action in getting Dean back to their motel room and calling Samuel which we never saw happen but know that it did, in fact, happen.
From a purely escapist point of view this new Sam is a lot of fun. We’ve never seen Sam as sarcastic, snarky, lustful, self-absorbed with his primal needs and the writers have never written Sam this way. It makes sense that many want a crack at writing for this Sam. Usually it’s Dean who gets all the snarky, zippy one-liners but this season it’s been mostly Sam having those moments and six seasons in I can’t blame Sera for wanting a chance at writing him that way or Ben after five season or Dabb and Loflin after three seasons and even the new writers are getting a shot at it. (To me though the line of the night belongs to Dean (and it’s mostly the delivery that makes it) “They were grabby, incandescent douche bags, good night”.)
So while Sam teasing Dean and ordering another beer and then having sex with a random chick is all ‘fun’ in an purely escapist entertainment way (or if you choose to look at the episode from the writers’ point of view of ‘hey, we have a new toy let’s show you what it can do’) from a continuity of character standpoint it has issues and falls apart faster than a house of cards in a wind tunnel.
Dean, Jiminy Cricket, bada** fairy killer, wuss:
For the first time in his writing history with Supernatural I feel that Ben Edlund wrote Dean out of character, at least at one notable place, and while I think I understand the whys and hows of it I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. I expect that from Dabb and Loflin, not from Edlund.
Dean is Dean in the opening scenes of the episode; he’s in investigative mode, as well as playing Jiminy to Sam’s Pinocchio which is fun and fine. His abduction and then surprising return and exasperated disbelief at finding Sam in bed with a girl is very Dean, even the ‘heart to head’ talk he has with Sam about his abduction is all very Dean. Then follows the bada** part as he nukes Tinkerbell. I love vintage Dean, so thrilled with himself at having lured her into his ‘trap’ and then his glee as he turns on the microwave, grabs it to keep it on the shelf and then is triumphant as she splats, followed by the delightful ‘ding’ as the scene has gone to black. (Thank you, sound department, for that call back to It’s a Terrible Life.)
In fact, all of Dean in this episode works for me except for the scene where he is being followed by the man only he can see. Sure Dean has been abducted but he fought his way back and was quite proud of himself for that. Also, he killed off little Tink as well as worked with Sam to figure out what they’re up against and potentially how to kill the little critters. The first time he sees the man who gives him the stink eye he’s not overly alarmed, clearly exasperated with Sam but that has little to do with the current case. After discovering the elves in the watch shop (and apparently the sun set very, very, very quickly that day) he gave Sam the information and all is well until he sees the man again and then almost immediately slips into panicky, incapable Dean that we haven’t seen since Yellow Fever.
Since there is no ghost sickness or anything else causing Dean to act out of character I put it down to a choice of the writer or director and perhaps even the actor to have Dean be somewhat panicked. I don’t understand the whys of that. While the whole line of “Fight the fairies” is funny unfortunately it all played for laughs and didn’t really fit, at least not the character. Dean has been known to concoct a lie to cover a situation many a time so why did he go with “I was just kidding” after he tackled the DA? Further, the man following Dean was full-sized and he tackled a midget, surely in his split second of launching himself he could have seen the difference and not made the move at all, especially since the split second before Dean attacks he actually looks down to get a ‘visual’ on his pursuer.
I get that the episode was trying to have fun by bringing in all aspects of leprechauns and fairies and what have you (and apparently some in the homosexual community are quite offended by the whole Fight the Fairies but they’re incorrect in their anger for never once is this said as a slight against homosexuals) but they would have done better had it been a midget following Dean and giving him the stink eye or better yet, have it be a regular sized man that he tackled. I think there was a bit too much fun being had at writing this episode rather than giving it a careful look at how it would play in the end.
Set up, execution and final thoughts:
For all of my critiques above I did enjoy this episode quite a bit. First off, there were plenty of moments of fun to be had as well as the brothers trying to figure out their dynamic. Sam’s independence remains strong and that is one of the things I’ve always liked about the character. While Sam is willing to listen to Dean’s admonishments he also maintains that his brain is fully intact and that he was able to handle himself for a whole year before Dean joined up with him again.
I enjoy the tension of give and take between the brothers as Dean takes the role of Sam’s conscience yet at the same time they split up the roles of investigating the case. I enjoy Sam asking questions and trying to integrate the information into his actions, notably by his response to the girl at the UFO ‘camp’ as he states that he’s fine with his brother being abducted and then quickly covers with “I mean, I’ve had time to adjust.” Of course that unravels as she asks him if it happened when they were children and he reveals it was only a half hour ago. Sam may not feel but he is trying to adapt his behavior and it is fun watching him work the process.
The episode moved briskly along with plenty of exposition and nothing to drag down the pace. The opening used all the usual scare tactics without being tired, the camera angle through the corn back to the characters, her calling for Patrick and then following him in. It reminded me of Asylum when Dean told the young girl to stay out of places that are haunted, this time it’s a cornfield. (Hey, if you think something is in the cornfield, don’t go in!)
As a former X-Files fan I loved the opening title sequence, excellent.
John Showalter did a great job with the opening shot that slowly revealed the various circles and was a throwback to Kim Manners’ sweeping shot that opened Lazarus Rising. I swear the music playing behind it was the same score. Beautiful.
The use of a montage of interviews to lay the groundwork for the episode as well as introduce us to the cast of characters was excellent and gave us lots of information all done with interesting characters which kept the pace brisk.
Dean and Sam’s motel room was Number 9, the number of this episode. Fun. Also, the set design in that room was excellent and John Showalter showed off every inch of it. From the two brothers sitting in front of the forest mural to the scene on the bed so that the corn-eared room divider got its moment to the placement of the microwave was great. I love this room and that scene in front of the mural calls back to A Very Supernatural Christmas.
Unlike last week’s episode where I felt the skinwalker was revealed too early this one kept us guessing all the way up to Robert Picardo’s reveal as the leprechaun. I applaud that, for while we knew there were fairies afoot we didn’t know who the master manipulator was, so it was that much more fun to enjoy. Also, Picardo was great in his role as UFO investigator/devotee and then his nasty self as the leprechaun who could kick Sam’s butt around only to be felled (disgustedly as well, brilliant choice) by a spilled shotgun round of salt. He made the most of that last moment and I enjoyed his resigned and disgusted tossing of his shillelagh to his calling Sam an a** as Sam invokes the spell to send him away.
I give high marks to the editors who put together that fight scene at the end. It really is well done and I know I’ll be watching that again to get all the excellent cuts.
I’m sure I’ll be in the minority on this point but I’m glad Sam did not drink a beer with Dean at the end and here’s why: We (the fans) have always seen the moments between the two brothers leaning against the Impala as special bonding, brotherly moments. From Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things to Fresh Blood to Heaven and Hell to Swan Song these have been moments where the two brothers are connected emotionally, either confessing or supporting or letting go, these are special moments. To have soulless Sam drinking a beer leaning on the hood of the Impala would be wrong for me as a fan, as well as wrong for the character.
Granted they have drunk coffee, sodas and now tea (hah!) together, Sam has poured Dean two hefty shots of whiskey, Dean has drunk a beer in front of Sam (The Third Man) and Sam has drunk plenty of beers (Clap Your Hands) and they even sat at a bar and had beers in front of them in Live Free or Twi-Hard (although I’m not sure Sam actually drank his but they definitely weren’t on the same page. Dean even verbalized the question, when’s the last time we had a beer together? I think it was Swan Song, Dean.) but the brothers are not connected, not emotionally, so to have them drinking beers leaning against the Impala would have diminished what has become an iconic moment of brotherly bonding (at least for me). It was brilliant to have Sam refuse the beer.
In the end, I enjoyed this episode immensely. It is a fun outing that gives the brothers a chance to try to forge a new dynamic picking up from the final scene of All Dogs Go to Heaven as well as quickly shows us that Sam is not simply a robot in that he can be programmed in a specific direction. The tension inside of Sam is with what he is now and what he was before. He knows there is something ‘wrong’ with him and yet he is still confronted with the reality of the present in which he has hunted fearlessly and without any of the struggles (sufferings) of a conscience. Having realized that Dean is suffering over Lisa must add to Sam’s internal struggle of should he or shouldn’t he fight to get his soul back.
Looking back at earlier seasons of Sam it isn’t that hard to understand why being soulless might hold some allure for him. Granted he can’t remember his guilt or emotional burdens other than the presence of them but he surely can replay the conversations in his mind when he wondered about who or what he was (think Nightmares, Simon Said and even Malleus Maleficarum as he pondered that he was fated to be a murderer and then reconciled himself that he had to be tougher, harder, since he would have to carry on once Dean was dead.) Logical Sam sees things very black and white, there is something very freeing about choosing either right or wrong with nothing in between; no soul searching going on for there is no soul. I like that the writers have decided to make this something for Sam to be internally in conflict over.
Granted there was no connection to the mytharc thread of finding Sam’s soul (as in no alphas were present or discussed) or being angels to Crowley’s Charlie but rather this explored the new, developing dynamic of the brothers and gave us some much needed levity this season. Further Sera did promise that this season would have many twists and turns and thus far she’s kept her word, even this gave us a twist at the end as we realize that Sam is having second thoughts.
There is no new episode this coming week, gasp! I know. Still, I’ve read press releases for the next two episodes, and my, oh my there is a lot to come. Some great returning characters as well as guest actors and it appears that the Sam-soul-search is going to heat up hotter than it already is, makes me very happy.
Final thought, Lucky Charms, hee hee!
Thanks for reading, Elle2