When it comes to ghost stories, “Supernatural” is in its wheelhouse. The lore has been well established, so there’s no need for new exposition and unraveling semantics. We get to sit back, relax, and enjoy a good old fashioned spooky tale. That’s not exactly what we got.
I wouldn’t call “Halt and Catch Fire” the most exciting story I’ve seen, and once again it was formulaic in its structure, but for those craving to see Sam and Dean take on an angry ghost and save innocents, it did the job. I found the whole twist that the ghost managed to work himself into the wifi networks, making him unstoppable in this wired age, pretty clever. The “generation” gap jokes were sort of humorous, but as a Gen X’er myself I’m not as out of touch as the gags seemed to imply. Dean has always had a primitive quality when it comes to technology, and quite frankly it’s adorkable. So screw you Millennials. But I think his ignorance was a bit overplayed. He’s not that out of touch! He does know what apps are.
Enter Dean, who can relate because he’s “done bad things too.” Done bad things? No Dean, bad things are committing adultery with someone’s wife or stealing a candy bar from the convenience store. What you’ve done is outright criminal, homicidal, and apocalyptic (don’t get mad at me Dean fans, the same can be said about Sam). Yes, the intention has almost always been good, but not the act. That’s exactly why I had a hard time feeling Dean’s “bond” with this woman. They aren’t even in the same stratosphere of relatable.
Sam on the other hand, bonded with the widow of the man, who’s ghost was checking in on her while he was plotting his dastardly revenge against the college co-eds. She knew it was wrong, but she missed her wuv, tru wuv. Why would you share all those warm intimate details about your late husband with a strange FBI agent who just happened to be dressed in flannel and who’s hair is a bit too long for a G-man? Aww, I can’t blame her, he’s got pretty eyes.
So, it all ends with yet another serious brotherly chat in the Impala. I know fans get off on that and always have, but we had the touching brotherly chat next to the Impala last week, and heavy brotherly talks seem more like a requirement now instead of an organic event. All this touchy feely crap is hard to swallow when you’re itching for a little bravado and excitement. I especially laugh that we’re getting so much of this after the 200th episode aired, where crazy fans were chastised for wanting so much “BM.”
Look, I’m glad that Dean finally came to the realization that he’s ready to live with the Mark, ready to go back to the family business of saving people. Good for him. He’s being pragmatic that even if they find Cain, that doesn’t mean they’ll know how to get rid of the Mark. But it’s taken a long road of nothing to get here, and judging by the previews next week this moment doesn’t last. Filler episodes are the norm in a 23 episode season. But, at risk of repeating myself so much that my comments have lost all meaning (which they have I’m sure), shouldn’t we like, um, I don’t know, feel a little energized about the brothers taking on an unstoppable ghost? As excited as I was about the return of smart Sam, it was kind of paled by the “going through the motions” approach to the job, rather than a smile and the extreme willingness to “gank that mother.”
The Red Headed Monster
Because these episodes haven’t been fueling a lot of excitement or meaty plot to break down and analyze, I’m left to spending part of these reviews doing a few paragraphs of ranting about the season in general just so I can get a decent sized review out of it and spark some debate. Just like last week, meet the Red Headed Monster. For those of you want to proceed in joyful bliss, thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the very brief tour.
The debate I’m hearing a lot lately is after ingesting two and half seasons of Jeremy Carver’s tenure, suddenly Sera Gamble wasn’t all that bad. I laugh when I think of how hard I was on season six after it aired (the mantra being I hate noir), because honestly it wasn’t that bad. All is forgiven. I wish I could say the same for season seven, but at least there were a few episodes in that season that I loved (“Hello Cruel World” remains a masterpiece). While I thought season eight was a vast improvement, I can honestly say that “Supernatural” seems to be winding down with a whimper, not a bang. This disheartens me. This is not what legacies are made of.
You can’t recreate the apocalypse, that’s for sure. I do imagine things have to go downhill once you hit that pinnacle. But I can’t think of one episode in season nine or ten I’d like to re-watch. Okay, maybe the 200th episode. My episode night used to be filled with plenty of excitement, anticipating the episode to come, getting on the boards (and this site) to chatter about the awesomeness we just witnessed, before going back for the traditional re-watch. Last night, I helped my hubby and son install a closet. We sat down at 11 pm, caught SPN on the DVR, and then it was bed time. Honestly, I haven’t re-watched an episode the same night in a long time. It’s very rare any more I re-watch at all. I don’t have season nine on DVD, and I didn’t buy a iTunes pass this year for season ten, the first year ever.
Every time I read fan feedback though, all I see is squee and excitement. So I concede, perhaps it’s just me. I’m dying to see an episode that I can actually get thrilled over. Luckily, there are other shows on TV doing just that, so they are filling my void, but I don’t feel like I’m asking for the moon. I’d just like to feel a little energized after watching my show. I’d like a scene or two that takes my breath away, not explore my inner sap. I want Sam and Dean to give a damn, because maybe then I’ll give a damn.
My biggest disappointment is in Mr. Carver, who I’ve always been a big fan. I’ve had the honor of interviewing him a couple of times, and I know he believes that they’re telling good stories. That’s fine, if everyone’s happy, who am I to buck the trends? I guess mopey and soapy sells, even though it’s never been my thing. The show is catering to a younger audience now, and I have to accept that things change. But that means I don’t have to like it.
I’m going through crisis as a TV viewer though. I’m having to deal with the utter devastation of losing a voice of sound information and sanity in Jon Stewart later this year, and suddenly the idea of “Supernatural” not being in my life doesn’t seem so far fetched either. Who knows, maybe things will change, but with each “Halt and Catch Fire,” aka the half hearted approach to just getting through the week, I’m suddenly thinking putting together closets is a better use of my time. It certainly feels more fulfilling. William Shatner once told us to “Get a life.” I’m with you Captain Kirk. Last “Supernatural” fan on the Enterprise please turn the lights out.
But yes, erase all that if “Supernatural” next week turns out to be good. Welcome to fair weather fandom!
My grade of “Halt and Catch Fire,” a C. If anything about this episode sparked an interest, please do share.