Season One Hits and Misses: Part Two
Here is part two of the Hits and Misses of Season One. Again, these are in no particular order. Enjoy!
Hit: Teaser in the Pilot
As openings go, "Supernatural" has one of the best ones around. We begin with a happy, thriving family. Precocious four year old, charming baby brother and loving mom and dad. Of course, this picture quickly burns away, and we are left with the haunting image of mother Winchester burning on the ceiling and Sam, Dean, and their bereft father watching the house burn from the hood of the Impala. What an introduction - you know this show is going to rock.
Miss: Why did Dean come to Stanford?
This is more of a missed opportunity, I suppose, than an actual swing and a miss. I've always wondered what motivated Dean to look up Sam and pull him back into the fray. Given everything we know about Dean, I imagine it wouldn't have been his first course of action, to uproot Sammy and drag him back. So, what did he try before that? I'd really like to know.
Hit: Brotherly Reunion
Who doesn't love the moment in the pilot where Dean and Sam reunite? It's shot in beautiful contrasting shadows and light, is mostly silent, and when the boys finally speak, we get an understanding of the dynamics between them immediately. It gives us a great character read in a matter of minutes. Big hit.
Now, this episode was not a terrible episode in and of itself. It had an interesting concept, it played again with the idea of people being among the darkest, most evil creatures on this planet and in fact breeding further evil through their actions, rather than supernatural creatures, and it worked hard to make us sympathize with Max and jolted us with Sam's powers. In theory, all these elements should be a hit. But there is just something about this episode that doesn't feel like "Supernatural" to me. I don't care for the way Dean is prepared to shoot this boy (because it doesn't feel in character to me) and in all honesty, the way the lock down of the house happens feels a bit contrived. To be sure, there are large components of this episode that are striking in their own way - Max really is a heartbreaking character, but the pacing and writing of this episode just feel - off and at times disconnect the audience from the story playing out. I'm sure this is not a majority view as far as Misses go, but there you have it.
I'd be remiss if I neglected to include this wonderful character. She was only in one episode, but Missouri left an impact on the boys and the fans. She was snarky, sympathetic, maternal, and confident. She could give the boys a slap, proverbial or otherwise, when they needed it but also a reassuring smile and arm around their shoulders. For being one cool psychic, Missouri is a hit.
Miss: Caleb and Pastor Jim
Again, these are missed opportunities that leave me curious. I'd love to know more about the relationship of these characters to the Winchesters. They were obviously close in some way, and I think it's a shame they were killed before we knew more of the Winchester history. As you can see, I'm stuck on this Winchester History thing - but then, who doesn't love a good back story?
Hit: Jess's Death
This entire scene is hard to take because you know, you just know, that as Sam walks in the door and gets a cookie, reading the note Jess has left for him, that this is the last happy moment for the two of them and she isn't even on the screen. And then to have her burn they way we saw his mother do at the start of the episode? That is some powerful imagery and very circular - clearly whatever this thing is, it isn't done with Sam.
Miss: Shtriga Redux
Don't get me wrong, I love this episode. It gave us some great flashbacks to young Winchesters and dove into the psychology of Dean's relationship and obedience to John. The issue I have with this is minor: I really don't like that it was John who sent the boys after this, particularly if we are meant to assume he means for Dean to "get it right" this time around because he failed before. There is no doubt that Dean carries guilt from the night Sammy was attacked, no doubt that he's thought of that many times in the years since, but I have trouble believing John has held a grudge against Dean for sixteen years, such that he gives him a chance to fix it. Hmm. No, I really dislike this. We know John was hard on Dean and that he shouldered a great deal of responsibility, but somehow, the air of John magnanimously giving Dean a second chance here is just a bit sinister for me. It would have been better for the boys to come across the case themselves- you would still have the emotional turmoil of Dean but without the psychologically abusive overtones that John's present-day involvement teases at.
Hit: John's Possession
Azazel is one bad ass dude, and like many of the upper-l,evel demons enjoys toying with his prey and manipulating their emotions. We've seen many demons go this route since YED came and went from the "Supernatural" world - but he did it first and he did it best, as far as I'm concerned. Possessing John was a dirty trick and it hit both boys where it hurt. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays dichotomy between John Winchester and YED to a T, making this scene all the more heartbreaking to watch. Hit all the way.
Miss: A Dummy's Guide to Devil's Traps
Much like the exorcism ritual in "Phantom Traveller," I struggle with the idea that Sam and Dean have never come across devil's traps before and that they need books from Bobby to learn about this particular trick. Years of hunting but this basic knowledge is only just gleaned? I don't think so. Miss!
So there you have it - the Hits and Misses of Season One. Certainly there are things I left out of this list, such as "Hell House" and the introduction of the Ghost Facers, other brilliant one-time characters, some further plot holes, the aforementioned "Bugs" - but some of those are a bit more unanimous and need no listing. Let me know your thoughts!
Stay tuned for season two!