How about I get one point of contention out of the way first. They named the episode “Into The Mystic” and couldn’t get the Van Morrison song? I love that song! It’s actually one of my favorites, but I guess in a way I’m glad it wasn’t a killer song. That might have ruined it for me. However, given the MOTW, there was one song I ended up singing just as soon as the word was uttered:
Stonehenge! Where the demons dwell
Where the banshees live and they do live well
Stonehenge! Where a man’s a man
And the children dance to the Pipes of Pan
Yeah, I know, it was already used in season two’s “Simon Said.” But it was kind of perfect, no? Okay, no.
Anyway, when you get a midseason episode like “Into The Mystic,” sometimes it’s good to just look at the forest from the trees, aka it’s place in the overall scheme, because looking deep at this plot doesn’t reveal much. It wasn’t all that complex and did very little to move the overall arc forward. As a matter of fact, in its construction, the episode was rather paint by the numbers. There was a tie in to last week, which was important, and some lingering ramifications that were dealt with by the end of the hour, all bridging the standard investigation of another MOTW attack. In other words, it’s typical midseason filler.
However, the word “filler” has bad connotations, and I didn’t think “Into The Mystic” was a bad hour. No, overall it was well done. It had its moments and was a good character story, but it didn’t get me all excited about the events to come either. Aside from that the guest stars were very likeable, there were some good life’s lessons to be learned and we got resolution (sort of) to a long standing fan complaint, one that strangely didn’t need resolution. Yeah, it helps and we are grateful that you thought of us show, but the attempt didn’t resolve as much as throw things out of sorts.
The MOTW didn’t have a song that caused people to die as much of a high pitched screech, one that only “the vulnerable” could hear. So, right after the bloody teaser enter our “vulnerable” Winchester of the week, a sleepless Sam. He’s having trouble with Lucifer’s words and hasn’t left the bunker in days. But the real troubling sign, he’s cleaning his gun. We all know from season seven that’s not a good thing! Since there was a simple ghost case 15 minutes away though, they could take a little break from dealing with The Darkness and go help people. By starting the episode with Sam a remarkable thing happened, the story was told from the Sam point of view. It’s so rare to get a Sam POV, so I treasure these episodes. We also didn’t get a full hour of “woe is me” emotional wreck Sam either. He actually bonded with the people of the week. He made a friend! When asked if he was okay, he honestly answered (as we all figured, it was “no”). He even confessed to Dean the incident with Lucifer showing him things he forgot about and how much it affected him.
Mildred on the other hand was one open minded and lively senior citizen. She knew she saw a monster kill at the senior village, which was all Sam needed to come to her, flat out tell her he and Dean weren’t a FBI agents and they hunt monsters. She didn’t blink an eye at the picture of the Banshee and that gave her a reason to flirt with Dean for the rest of the episode. Her reasoning for choosing Dean was absolutely the best, “I’m not much of a mountain climber anymore.” Bwah! That’s perfect. Yes, Dean was cougared for once. Mildred found herself in the middle of the whole thing helping, even setting the trap that caught the Banshee and saving Dean’s life. Not bad for someone who spent her adult life in a Patsy Cline tribute band.
Because of the Sam POV, that took our attention away from the real surprise, that our “vulnerable” victim was really Dean. Unlike Sam, we hadn’t seen Dean struggling with anything too intense. Time to guess again. Mildred caught onto it, sensing that he was hurting for someone. Practically pining. “The heart wants what the heart wants.” Hmm, curious. Then there’s the end, when Sam is finally able to rest and it’s revealed that Dean is having his own sleepless nights. So how strong is this urge and connection? How heartsick is he really? If a Banshee could see it and an old lady in a senior home, then it really must be getting bad. Then there’s Dean actually telling Cassifer, but all evidence points to him underselling it there too. Actually, the show is underselling it in general.
The one big nitpick I have is Sam’s guilt. I get it, after his whole encounter with Lucifer, you better believe he should have been shaken to the guilt core. That part makes sense to me. One big question I asked in my reviews last season was what in the world drove Sam to risk the entire world just to save his brother? I was honestly thinking it was the guilt from turning away from Dean after he was free of Gadreel’s possession and then finally swallowing his pride when his brother was dying in his arms in season nine. But as Lucifer dug for the deep truth last week, turns out the tipping point was really season eight, when he hit that f***ing dog.
Is that right? I don’t blame Thompson for going there since Dabb set that precedence last week, but did have have to focus solely on that one incident? I thought that Sam already earned forgiveness from Dean in “Sacrifice” when Dean opted not to close the gates of Hell to save his brother. Sam was willing to die rather than not let Dean down again. Why is that guilt lingering? What about the guilt of telling Dean in “The Purge” that he wouldn’t save him if the circumstances were the same? Or didn’t he let him down when Metatron killed him? Was the “I lied” comment an acceptable apology? Wasn’t the driving force behind removing the Mark of Cain so that Dean wouldn’t become a demon again, the one thing they hate more than anything, because Sam couldn’t bear to go through that again? So yes, while I felt Sam’s pain over the whole Luci situation, I’m still not buying that the true reason of his sadness and pain is because he didn’t look for Dean between season seven and eight.
While I’m very much enjoying the soul searching and personal growth of Sam’s because of his remorse of letting The Darkness free, and I did love his apology, it all felt so unnecessary to me. Lucifer chided him last week for not closing the gates of Hell and letting out the Darkness, so why didn’t Sam go there? That would have had more impact to me. By going to that point in season 8, it’s almost like the writers are trying to say they screwed up. Yeah, you did, but that was so three years ago.
As for Castiel, I don’t have a lot to say about that because nothing much happened. I’m not sure why he was in the bunker and don’t care just yet. We didn’t find out what happened to Crowley, which has me a bit worried, and we got one big piece of continuity, an angel was able to recognize he was Lucifer. A now dead angel. I liked watching Lucifer be carefree and enjoy the simple things, even though I know it won’t last. His interaction with Dean was inconsequential at best, but it was still fun to watch.
The Red Headed Monster
I’ve been watching the return of The X-Files and positively loving it (yes, even the first ep back). The episode that aired this past Monday reminded me of something so poignantly, Supernatural sucks at “show, don’t tell.” We really don’t understand how powerful this inner struggle is with Dean and this episode was the first real evidence. However, that evidence is primarily physical clues. There’s no deep emotional connection to what he’s feeling.
In this most recent episode of The X-Files, both Mulder and Scully FINALLY addressed their feelings of loss over their son William. Yeah, they talked about it with each other, but the real suckerpunch came when both imagined what it would have been like to raise their son. Scully’s sequence had her joyfully taking him to his first day of school, then watching in horror as he turned into an alien. Mulder visualized watching TV with him and shooting off rockets, both having a real sweet bonding moment, until he saw the horror of his son being abducted like his sister. Both these montages were emotionally and sentimentally powerful with that right amount of shock at the end for maximum impact. They also didn’t take away from the main story at all and really enhanced it.
Wouldn’t it have been cool to see a scene like this with Sam experiencing the thought of rescuing Dean in Purgatory only to have reality hit, and/or then Dean imagining sweet times with Amara before becoming her eternal slave? Something memorable to show exactly what they’re feeling. I get that isn’t easy to do with a 23 episode season, but the show often lacks those aspects of storytelling that could be better. For me, that “brotherly chat” at the end of the episode as the emotional wrap up scene is too cliché by this point in the series.
Big kudos though from me for choosing a song from Warren Zevon’s swan song album ‘The Wind” for the closing montage, “Prison Grove.”
It’s a rather powerful album. He recorded it when he found out he only had months to live from lung cancer.
So Sam doesn’t want to think about retirement? He thinks they might be dead before then? He’s not wrong but still, kind of a downer, wasn’t he? Could Dean be thinking long term because of Amara or was he just being cute? Either way, I loved Dean considering the idea.
I wish Sam did know sign language so he could blush when those ladies were signing about how hot the boys were. A comedic moment lost!
Sam has a keepsake box now? The brochure of the senior home earned a spot? Huh. I guess having a home does make a difference. I never pegged Sam to be the sentimental type. Maybe he’s doing it more because he’s a legacy and their history should be preserved too. Any thoughts on this?
Overall grade, oh, I waffle between a B- and C+. I’m just happy that this week’s filler remembered the overall plot, and Thompson again proves he’s awesome at dialogue. Anyone that can make a random conversation work about who is the better Golden Girl during an important conversation of exposition wins with me. BTW, it’s Rose. Betty White rules all.