Something fun happened while going through our recent conversion here at the WFB. I’ve had to do a lot of archive cleanup and what do you know, I found some season nine reviews that I actually did. One of those just happened to be “Dog Dean Afternoon.” So, was it a good review? Not really. I think I was still giving season nine the benefit of the doubt, plus I must have only been paying half attention. I was heavily involved with TV For the Rest of Us at the time, so I was “walking the walk and talking the talk” of the moment when it came to choking out reviews rather than giving honest opinions. Once I rewatched this episode, I found it to be a stinker.
This was the first episode to be written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder since their return to Supernatural after the cancellation of their show Ringer. Unfortunately, this script kind of proved why Ringer might of failed. It wasn’t stellar. The first 20 minutes were particularly slow and boring, following the standard procedural unfolding of the case of the week. That’s usually a standard for less talented writers. It didn’t capture interest until Dean could start hearing The Colonel. That’s when I stopped internet surfing and started paying attention.
There were a couple of good bits. My favorite part of the episode BY FAR was The Colonel criticizing the classic rock station. I was howling over this bit of dialogue:
The Colonel: You call this classic rock? Heh, next thing you know, they’ll be playing Styx. And Dennis DeYoung, a punk.
Dean: Dennis DeYoung is not a punk. He’s Mr. Roboto, bitch!
Sam: Why are you arguing with the dog about Styx?
You will always win me over when someone points out the atrocity of Styx. I also loved the back and forth between Dean and The Colonel. The dialogue was so witty and fun! You can’t threaten a dog with neutering. “I hate to break it to you, hoss, but my sack’s emptier than Santa’s after Christmas.” BWAH! I love this dog. Dean pulling a gun on a belligerent pigeon? Golden. The jailbreak at the pound? Pretty sweet. The iconic part of course is Dean and The Colonel both sticking their heads out the window of the Impala during the car ride. What pure joy!
The biggest surprise though was I never remembered that Leslie Jordan did the voice of the gay Sam loving Yorkie! That’s incredible! It’s such an honor that he was part of our show in some way. It makes his recent passing now more bittersweet, but it’s pretty damn awesome he got to do that. It was perfect.
Despite the cute animal diversions, there were too many glaring plot holes for me to actually like this one. For example, Sam wakes up covered in blood after getting his throat slashed, completely healed thanks to Ezekiel, he remembers Chef Leo asking what he is and aside from an uneasy feeling at the end, HE DOESN’T PUSH THE ISSUE ANY FURTHER??? He accepts Dean’s bullshit answer? Why was I not totally infuriated by that the first time I watched this? Again, not paying attention.
I couldn’t buy into the MOTW premise either. It was stretching the imagination a bit too far. Chef Leo, a human that eats all sorts of animal parts in whacky combinations, can blend into wallpaper like a chameleon and swallow cats whole? (I HATED that part!). It was all explained with a quick line about hoodoo and spices from Sam, as well as some but, something about it all didn’t add up. He took something spiritual like Shamanism and turned it into a nightmarish travesty. “But then with the help of a Pawnee shaman and a zoo membership, I found a cure, albeit a temporary one.” Really? Actually, that’s the writers are to blame for that one. That’s not how Shamanism works.
Perhaps what turned me off the most was the possible attempt to compare the monster within Chef Leo to the so called “monster” within Sam. Chef Leo got corrupted and started killing people because he couldn’t help it. Was that supposed to be foreshadowing with Sam and Zeke? That being possessed by any creature, whether it be an animal or an angel, can only lead to bad things? This isn’t the same thing. For one, SAM HAD NO CHOICE IN THIS. Second, Sam and Zeke are not abominations like Chef Leo. They aren’t eating animals or humans to survive. Come on, Chef Leo was going to eat Sam! It was a weak compare and I didn’t buy it. Maybe because Chef Leo didn’t have any regrets over what he did. Sam and Zeke seem more righteous than that. Or maybe the indictment was for Dean instead. He’s willing to go to that far.
I get it, the theme of this season so far has been harping on that whole possession thing and how it’s not good. It’s being shoved down our throats in some nice, heavy handed ways. Chef Leo was just another angle. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. It’s supposed to make us aware of what’s happening. Nope, still not buying it. It’s just not the same thing.
Then there’s the loads of time that Dean was given to break free from his bonds while Chef Leo was monologuing. We only got to sit there forever and watch it, so the outcome was hardly unpredictable. The monologuing villain never wins.
While I loved the loose pound dogs unleashing their fury on Chef Leo, wouldn’t the aftermath of that be that the dogs would be hunted by authorities and put down? Dogs mauling humans is a big deal in the news and triggers all sorts of outrage. They could have at least shown Dean and The Colonel staging a brilliant cover up and finding homes for all those dogs, not just The Colonel. I’m probably overthinking it, but it was hard not to notice that after everything else.
Even I hated the flying anvils too of Dean worrying in the beginning about Sam’s condition, heavy handed dialogue to remind the audience of Sam’s current predicament. What a time waster. The altercation with Chef Leo would have sufficed, as poorly conceived as it was. Then the worst travesty of all, Agents Michaels and Neville. POISON? A no talent hair band worse than Bon Jovi??? Please.
In the end, it just felt like these writers were trying way too hard and missed the mark. Of course, I felt that way about all of the Charmelo and Snyder scripts, so I guess the outcome wasn’t too surprising. They ended up taking Edlund’s place on the writing team? Ugh.
Overall grade, a C-. Up next, the surprising “Heaven Can’t Wait.” For an episode I remembered absolutely nothing about, it turned out to be rather good. Get ready for a character study!
For anyone that wants to read the old review, it can be found here. Which one do you agree with most?