Those of you whoâ€™ve been reading my stuff know that I absolutely, positively LOVE Supernatural and respect everyone involved in its creation. This is my favorite show for excellent reason; itâ€™s quality television, and everyone in the cast, crew, and writersâ€™ room contributes to that. I applaud and am grateful to them all!
Despite that, there have been times during the series when something in a script or its visual execution rocked me back on my heels and made me go, â€œBzuh?!?! What was THAT? What were they SMOKING?!?â€ Iâ€™m not talking about things that fit, no matter how crazy or off-the-wall they seemed â€“ for example, a suicidal giant teddy bear and cartoon reality made perfect sense to me in context! Instead, Iâ€™m looking at the concepts, lines, or images that immediately took me out of the story with the protesting, plaintive cry, â€œNo, REALLY? Oh, come ON!â€
So: here in chronological airing order are my top â€œPlease tell me you didnâ€™t just do that!â€ moments from the first eight seasons of Supernatural:
- Simon Said, Hunted: I thought Harvelleâ€™s Roadhouse was actually a pretty cool idea, but the way it was most often depicted â€“ particularly in these episodes â€“ made it too ridiculous to take seriously. Had it always been shown as a real bar serving a local mundane clientele but with the occasional hunter stopping by to drop a message or exchange intel with Ellen or get research help from Ash on particularly knotty problems, as was suggested in Everybody Loves A Clown and Bloodlust, I think it would have worked much better. In these episodes and through the end of the season, however, it came off as an increasingly cheesy, ridiculously bizarre hunter clubhouse with no customers except a whole bunch of hunters all dressed in flannel and jeans glaring suspiciously at each other as they nursed their drinks, studied their notes, and cleaned their weapons at the tables. This was a potentially good idea fatally corrupted in its execution. Burning it down was a better end than it deserved. Footnote: the writers later made the exact same mistake with the Campbell family compound. I hope they donâ€™t destroy the Men of Letters bunker the same way â€¦
- Heaven And Hell: We learned Heaven was literally up in the sky when Anna said she was an angel who ripped out her grace (?!?), and she and it actually fell to Earth, visible as meteors as they burned their way down. Say what? She somehow landed in an otherwise-barren womanâ€™s womb and became her â€œlittle miracleâ€ of a human baby, while her grace landed in a field and sprouted a hundred-year-old oak tree in a matter of months. Okay: that â€œangels fallingâ€ thing made for an incredible visual in season eightâ€™s Sacrifice, but I still think the whole idea is one of the dumbest, most idiotic things Kripke ever wrote. (Uriel conveniently wearing Annaâ€™s grace in a vial around his neck where she could grab it and power up was pretty stupid, too, and planning dream-speech and demon torture to bring angels and demons together in a barn at exactly the same time didnâ€™t actually qualify as planning, either â€¦)
- Hammer Of The Gods: Okay, I’m bringing this up as the worst example of my irritation with the show’s treatment of small “g” gods, which started back in Scarecrow and A Very Supernatural Christmas. In those episodes, it mostly worked, but this whole episode was just BAD. The only good thing about it was Gabriel standing up (and lying down!) to take on Lucifer. (Okay, the brothersâ€™ relationship worked too.) Yes, Supernatural always puts its own spin on mythology, so the creatures presented in the show are never going to match their source material, but the gods in this were just, just â€“ okay, I have no words for the degree of abomination they achieved. I get that the showâ€™s roots are in horror, but all non-Christian gods just being petty, stupid, and eating people, making bad jokes about the new Jesus kid on the block? I was reminded (not charitably) of the Goaâ€™uld of Stargate: SG1 (hmm, was that how Dabb and Loflin did their â€œresearchâ€ for this one?), but these gods didnâ€™t even have the excuse of being human meatsuits of alien snakes pretending to be gods to dominate people. And they bore no resemblance at all to anything out of myth and legend. Dabb and Loflin, who wrote this one, did it again with the beings at that absurd auction in What’s Up, Tiger Mommy?, where they added insult to injury by having Sam rattle off the words of the exorcism spell backwards to cram a demon back into a host. Ridiculous.
- As Time Goes By: Mere apprentice Man of Letters Henry Winchester had access to a spell to travel through time, and the components of that spell (all handily available on a shelf in their clubhouse!) included an angel feather, tears of a dragon, and a pinch of the sands of time â€“ and those werenâ€™t simply funky herbs or New-Agey crystals just imaginatively renamed, because to cast the spell in the present day, he stole one of Castielâ€™s feathers from the numbered stash Dean kept in the Impalaâ€™s trunk. Castiel shed actual feathers from material birdy wings and Dean saved them in the trunk?!?! Even after spending 30 years playing Dungeons & Dragons, I could never have written that with a straight face! Sorry, no; I just canâ€™t buy that ever having happened.
- Manâ€™s Best Friend With Benefits: Worst. Episode. EVER. There was so much wrong with this on so very many levels. An organized, populous witch community with all participants of whatever moral or ethical stripe hanging out together at a super-posh, upscale witch jazz bar in St. Louis, MO while of course being utterly invisible to the mundane world outside and being totally ignorant of information even non-witches (like Bobby) could uncover about a spell that could plant unreal memories in a witchâ€™s mind was just one of this episodeâ€™s many sins. Okay, sorry â€“ that was many sins rolled up into one, but it speaks eloquently to why I couldnâ€™t watch this episode without wanting to throw things at my beautiful, expensive HD television set. All witches, whether black, white, or something ethically in-between, somehow sharing the same moral code condemning sex between a witch and a familiar? And really: making Portia a black woman wearing a dog collar and calling a white male â€œmasterâ€? If that was in the script, it was despicable. If that was a casting or directorâ€™s choice, still despicable. This episode was only one instance of the show using witches to be conveniently whatever plot device a weak story required, but it was the best example â€“ with this same writing teamâ€™s Shut Up, Dr. Phil being the first runner-up. Yuck. Also, ick. For episodes like these, Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner get my lowest marks for any writers on the show.
- Taxi Driver: For blatant disregard of previous show canon in making a Reaper perfectly visible to any mortal whatsoever and in giving Sam irresponsibly easy access to and escape from both Purgatory and Hell, this episode winds up on my black list. Mind you, the execution was exquisite, featuring great direction, heartrending performances, and superlative visual effects, but the script? Itâ€™s another downcheck from me for Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner. Iâ€™ll watch it again for Dean and Sam, Dean and Benny, and Sam, Bobby, and Benny, but the underlying story illogic makes me cringe.
So: those are my top six (bottom six?) negative â€œWhat the â€¦!?!â€ moments. Iâ€™m certain most people would include the whole â€œSam not looking for Deanâ€ season eight thing at the top of their lists; itâ€™s in the â€œdishonorable mentionâ€ category for me, too, but not at the absolute top if only because I can justify it to myself by thinking Sam effectively suffered a breakdown at the end of season seven, even if he never quite understood or stated it that way. (I definitely donâ€™t buy the â€œwe agreed not to lookâ€ crap. *wry grin* )
Also high in the â€œdishonorable mentionâ€ category for me was the character of superfan Becky Rosen, particularly in Season Seven, Time For A Wedding!, which I simply refuse to watch again. As a non-extreme fan â€“ well, to my mind, anyway! â€“ and definitely not a Wincest fan, I found Becky acutely embarrassing in her earlier outings, albeit a bit amusing, but in this episode, I found her actively offensive. I couldnâ€™t help but think that if Becky was the vision the writers had of the showâ€™s fans, I didnâ€™t want to be one, and that made the episode entirely un-enjoyable for me. Since that was all purely the perception inside my head and not definitely something the writers intended, though, I left it off my primary list.
Iâ€™ve got my share of smaller â€œdishonorable mentionsâ€ too, like the silly concept of the power of the Horsemen residing in their rings, resulting in the quest to defeat the Horsemen by getting their rings and then putting them together to unlock the door to Luciferâ€™s cage. That contrived approach to plot is straight out of a fantasy roleplaying or video game, and I couldnâ€™t help but think gaming inspired the whole idea. It also struck me as being inconsistent, because Death didnâ€™t seem to lose anything when he gave up his ring. Oh, well. Death himself was a great creation, so I give the show a pass on playing the â€œHorsemenâ€™s Ringsâ€ video game.
Next up from me: my top â€œHoly crap; thatâ€™s BRILLIANT!â€ moments â€¦
While youâ€™re waiting, why not share your top â€œWhat the â€¦?!?â€ dumb moments? Inquiring minds want to know!