It’s been a while since I’ve seen “Freaks and Geeks” so I wondered at first exactly why I don’t remember liking it. My answer came in the second scene. It didn’t improve from there.
I mean seriously, what the Hell was this? This is not anything the brothers would say:
Dean: Listen, if you want to take a knee on this one if you’re not feeling up to it.
Dean: You know, the trials, what Cas said that you got what he can’t cure.
Sam: Hmm, which means what, exactly?
Dean: Well, I don’t know. You tell me. Are you okay?
Sam: I’m fine. Are you okay?
Sam: Yeah. Um, Cas dinged you up pretty good.
Sam: And I just wanted to make sure you’re okay.
Dean: What like my feelings?
Sam: If that’s what you want to talk about, sure.
Dean: Okay. I’ll tell you what. Why don’t I go get some, uh, herbal tea.
Dean: And you can find some Cowboy Junkies on the dial.
Sam: Eat me, Dean.
This is clearly a writer trying too hard. I get the idea is to bridge this standalone episode to what happened in the previous episode, but this was clearly scenery chewing.
That’s when I was looked at the writer credits and it all made sense. Adam Glass in his entire tenure never quite nailed what Supernatural was all about. Not that he didn’t try. He was a writer that embraced the fandom and did his best to deliver something memorable, but his procedural cop show roots were too deep. Serial genre was too elusive for him. Another thing elusive, Sam and Dean. He just couldn’t write them in character. “Freaks and Geeks” particularly was one of his disasters.
Bad brotherly dialogue was the tip of the iceberg. Another issue, bringing back a character from one of your previous episodes that was never very popular to begin with. Forget popular, let’s try annoying. Did we really need to see Krissy again? Back then though, that was the fun thing to do for these writers. Let’s bring back poorly developed characters just because we can! The fans will love it! Come to think of it, they ran with that all the way to the end of the series. How desperate.
I don’t like the idea of little kids pretending to be grownups. I get it, if you’re a child raised in the hunting life, you grow up fast. No one got that more than Dean Winchester. But rather than these kids having a compelling and tragic backstory like Sam and Dean, carrying a deep desire for revenge that we the audience could relate to, they came off as pretentious little brats that thought they knew better than anyone else. Is that realistic? Maybe. Teens can be pretty arrogant. Is it fun to watch? Not one bit, especially when we didn’t get a chance to know these characters. Were Aiden and Josephine were raised in the life like Krissy? Who did they lose? How were they killed? What real pain were they feeling? We never really got to hear their story. They could have easily just been there for the free food.
The plot holes were big enough for the Impala to drive through them. How could such street smart teens be so blind? I mean, the sweaters alone were the tip off that Victor was the villain. Dean had it figured out in 5 minutes. So Victor made a deal with a vampire that killed Krissy, Aiden, and Josephine’s family members so his trained vamp could turn innocent victims so that Victor can train these kids to kill them? Uh, no. I get it, one goes a little cuckoo when his family is eviscerated by a wendigo. But the journey from point A, a grieving father who realized too late that family camping trips are never a good idea, to point B, the guy blowing his brains out with a gun after getting caught in a dumb vampire scheme, doesn’t add up given the one line of backstory we were given. It was all talk, no show. No suspense, no deep character examinations, no billowing moments of agony and regret threatening to burst in a violent way, just “Hey, this guy is nuts!” The pull of that trigger solved a problem and we quickly moved on. This is not how “twisty” plotting works. Or plotting.
I also had a hard time accepting that Sam would be okay with the idea of teens hunting and going to school. Sure, he and Dean did that, and he was the first to acknowledge how freaking messed up that was! He spent his whole existence trying to get out of the life. So he’s okay with this and Dean isn’t? They both should not be okay with it. As a matter of fact, I originally did a roundtable review for this episode for TV Fanatic when it aired. I didn’t think I would be okay with Sam’s actions in this episode. Upon looking back at what I wrote for this episode, guess what? I wasn’t.
Q: Was Dean right to be concerned about hunting too young?
Alice: Sure, only because he was raised in the life and knows. He had every right. What I didn’t like is Sam supported their lifestyle, using of all things the defense that he and Dean hunted when they were young, so these kids can too. He believed these kids could hunt and have a real life. You know, Sam Winchester, the guy who’s resented the fact that he has been forced into hunting his entire life, especially when he was a kid. The man that’s tried to leave the hunting life multiple times. That guy. The one that forgot to show up in this episode.
Even Sam’s hair was weak this episode, especially during the whole final confrontation where he was tied to a chair with some very flimsy ropes and did nothing. The Sam and Dean talk at the end was annoying too. I’m still trying to figure out why Dean believed that closing the gates of Hell would end monsters forever and spare these kids from hunting. That would only stop demons. Sam, the pragmatic one, didn’t say anything to refute it either! The more I think of it, how did these three kids think they were going to live? I guess free house now that Victor is dead, huh? All they need to do now is figure out how to pay for food and utilities. Hopefully Victor left behind some loose change. The whole “we’ve got each other” thing lacked a little planning. A ridiculous ending for a ridiculous plot I guess.
I picture everyone involved with this episode decided it was just time to go through the motions and knock it out so they’d have something to air before moving onto the good stuff. Except the next episode was “Taxi Driver” and that was even worse! Maybe they had just given up by that point in general. Little effort was done to actually make this something, so I’m making little effort to review it.
Overall grade, a D+. Up next, all of season nine. Yes, that’s right, I didn’t write a single review for a season nine episode for The Winchester Family Business. Not even “Bloodlines.” At the time, we had a full complement of writers, I hated the season, and I was writing roundtable reviews for TV Fanatic and full reviews for my other site, TV For the Rest of Us. So, this will be a project. Strap in, it’ll be a bumpy ride.