I’m just not sure what it is when they do a “Wayward Sisters” themed episode. The storylines are there, the actors are there, but there’s something that’s not grabbing my attention. This week was especially disappointing. Once again, the episode came with promise and fell with a thud.
Don’t get me wrong, “The Scar” wasn’t a total waste. I didn’t hate it. But it wasn’t remotely close to a brilliant episode. It moved some things forward, created new mysteries, but fell on old habits that left the whole thing boring and predictable. For me, it fell slightly short of serviceable.
Gods and Monsters
Before I carry on with my critical review of “The Scar,” I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my happiness over last week’s episode, “God’s and Monsters.”’ I really, really wanted to do a review of that one last week but there were too many other site and real life demands that prevented me from doing so. I am Brad and Eugenie’s harshest critic, so it would be very hypocritical of me if I didn’t point out when they did something good.
"Gods and Monsters" was a well balanced script that did precisely what “Stranger in a Strange Land” failed to do. It moved at an acceptable pace, each plot was woven together well and instead of a scattered sequence of events we got some complexity and flow that connected each one of our characters in different ways. In other words, it moved the effing story forward!
I love that Michael is a smart villain, working a mysterious plan in a calm and calculated manner. He has all the time in the world and knows the finer points of executing a plan like setting a well planned trap. It’s refreshing to have a smart villain, even if some of that luster was lost this week. There will be more to come and I can only hope the writers follow this example.
I’m surprised, but I’m also enjoying the mystery behind Nick's behavior and what happened to his family. The fact that the neighbor was creepy raised the kind of ambiguity you must have for a proper murder mystery! So is Nick truly a crazy madman who couldn’t control his impulses after being under Lucifer’s influence or was he truly pushed into an act by a homicidal maniac much worse than he? Was his act justified? Likely not but it’s interesting to see him become unhinged into a homicidal act so quickly where it took Sam most of season seven just to go into the psychotic state that almost killed him. This tells me that Nick was probably not alright before he was possessed since Sam’s decline had him harming himself, a typical Sam Winchester trait.
I absolutely loved the scene of Jack checking in on Kelli’s parents. It’s something you don’t see much on ”Supernatural,” what happens to the families left behind? Jack handled the whole meeting beautifully, telling them how special Kelly was while sparing them the awful truth of her demise. What a good son! They now know they have a grandson out there somewhere and they are proud. That was something Jack needed to hear as he struggles with his existence. I do love seeing acts of catharsis.
It’s hard to believe the mechanical part of the episode was Sam, Mary and Bobby, but they did their detective work well and in the end found Dean. Overall it was interesting to watch. However, that leads us to the next episode, where things fall apart.
For the record, I was in the camp that didn’t like “Wayward Sisters” all that much. I thought the concept was good, but the execution was awful. I was still pleased though to see them go back and explain the whole “Not!Kaia” coming out of the void thing and the answer seemed plausible to me. She is the otherworld Kaia, connected with our Kaia, as sister Dreamwalkers. If what I don’t get is if monsters are hunting her in this world, can’t she go back to The Bad Place? Looks like paradise compared to her situation now. I might have missed that part of the dialogue somewhere.
Honestly though, she has this magical weapon that can kill Michael? She was able to mark his Dean vessel so he can’t return to it? How convenient. That twist was a massive letdown for me because it’s too easy. That cheapened the whole story. Even if Michael someday could get control of the weapon, the fact that something like this exists now neuters his threat considerably. When she jumped out doing the whole supernatural ninja routine, all I saw was a Mary Sue coming of age. Looks like we’ll see her around when we need some well timed contrived plotting.
(She will kill them with her spear and magic hel-met!)
I did like that Dark Kaia did see right through Dean and called him out on it. Heck, we all did, because this is a classic Dean trait that we constantly get at some point every season; fear mode. Hasn’t he learned by now? Sam tried to talk him down from his tirade and in the end Dean ignored him, looking like a half cocked dick during all of it. I know that’s canon and probably justified but I still hate it when that side of Dean surfaces. He’s better than this! It’s no fun to watch and I still hope for some growth after all these years.
Also not fun to watch, the return of silent Sam. Come on Sam, YOU WERE POSSESSED BY AN ARCHANGEL TOO! I had a hard time deciphering Sam’s horrified stare when talking to Dean in the Impala. Where was the “Yeah, I know, I felt the same way too,” comment? Anything? I know, we have this confession to Rowena from last season:
“I guess I don't deal with it. Not really. I mean, I... I pushed it down and, um... the -- the world kept almost ending, so I-I keep pushing it down, and... I don't know. I... I don't really talk about it, not even with Dean. I mean, I-I-I could. You know, he'd -- he'd listen, but... That's not something I really know how to share.”
I could buy that Dean’s words brought back bad memories for Sam or it’s triggering all that PTSD inside. I get that Sam internalizes, but without any comments, well, it all becomes an infuriating little guessing game. All I kept thinking is that this was FINALLY the chance he had to have open an honest conversation with his brother, especially since he just miraculously got him back. He may not have this chance again! Nope, opportunity lost. I can only pray a talk like this will happen eventually. Until then, I remain disappointed that he’s still stuck in this rut.
I’m also disappointed that Sam fell back into supporting role and didn’t get to show Dean how much of a leader he’d become. Sure there were people in the bunker calling him “Chief” but Dean didn’t look impressed. I guess there’s a whole season for that, but it so reminded me of Dean’s line in “Lazarus Rising” when Sam tried to tell him all the good he was doing with hunting demons. “Not anymore – the smarter brother's back in town.” Ugh, this is the brother dynamic I don't like seeing.
I still don’t like that Castiel is playing den mother, even though I really did love the side story with the hexed girl. I get Castiel was more focused on the grimoire while Jack got to know the girl and hear her story out, but does anyone remember that Castiel is an angel warrior? Shouldn’t he be working on more important things like dealing with Heaven’s impending doom? That would make for a much more interesting story.
Then there’s Jack’s plight at the end, which to me is not shocking at all. Do none of you know your Book of Enoch??? The history of the Nephilim is not a happy one. The mating of an angel with a mortal was kind of a forbidden thing. God back in the Old Testament days decided to deal with the problem of these abominations by killing them all in the great flood. There hasn’t been any since. So, if we go off of some ancient texts, Jack is a wild anomaly in this day and age. He isn’t supposed to be.
But yeah, this is Supernatural, where anything goes, so is Jack’s affliction based on his human form or this is the built in mechanism of the world taking care of abominations that are not meant to be? Let’s look at the history. Sam got sick taking on the biblical trials. Dean got sick not exercising The Mark of Cain. Coughing up blood is SPN Verse speak for some sort of biblical cleansing going down. As Sam told Dean in his weakened state, the trials were “purifying”’him. So does this mean good or bad for Jack? Time will only tell but maybe this is his a natural purification of his human DNA? It’s my guess he’s either turning completely human or completely angel. If it’s the latter, could this be the answer to repopulating Heaven?
Either that or I’m completely wrong and he’s headed for death. That would certainly be a total waste of his character’s existence though, wouldn’t it? Would the writers dare do that to us? (I heard that “Hell yes!”). I’m leaning on the side of it all meaning something.
The Red Headed Monster
Why is it that while “Wayward Sisters” is a good concept, it just fails to translate when on screen? Once again, we got another Wayward themed episode that was acceptable, but lackluster at best. It doesn’t spark any passion or imagination. I think I that is the exact reason why this concept hasn’t taken off, it just doesn’t stand out above anything else. That failure is all from the writing.
In this episode, it was just a generic unfolding of events that went in predictable nowhere direction. We knew the werewolves were coming because they showed us! Talk about sapping the tension completely out of the situation. Storytelling is so much more than just recounting events. The formula is tired; monsters attack, heroes fight, heroes eventually prevail. The rest is window dressing. That window dressing is exactly where the story is failing us. Dark Kaia was interesting, but it was all left to her to sell the story. That’s wrong. There needs to be more substance in every aspect.
I often do this, but when criticizing something as “boring” I ask myself how I would make it better. When I don’t have a clear answer, I go to “WWED?” aka “What would Edlund Do?” Ben Edlund was the master of the slow build. He’d start off small and the slowly escalate the situation bit by bit until everything was spinning out of control right before the final climactic scene. You were engaged the entire time because you know something big was coming. “My Bloody Valentine” is an ideal example of this. At the end it left every one wrecked, the characters and the audience.
If this were me writing, I’d up the stakes of the showdown. First it’s 3 werewolves unpredictably crashing through the window. Once they’re eliminated in a brutal battle, there’s 6 more, then 20, or maybe even other kinds of monsters. Wraiths? Ghouls? Jefferson Starships? Prove with an exclamation point that they just keep on coming like Kaia said earlier. Let Dean throw out some cute lines like he always does when under pressure. Or throw in a troubling Dean meltdown in the middle the of it, just to complicate the situation. It all would be too much for Kaia to fight alone and everyone would have to use their collective smarts to out do the villains. We could have had smart Sam and Jody teaming together! Any of this would have kept me on the edge of my seat more than Kaia Sue saving the day because Sam, Dean and Jody suddenly can’t fight the better monsters. Give me a break. It’s not a lot of change on paper, but it’s enough to drive up the stakes a bit and kill the predictability.
Remember the opening dialogue over Sam’s beard? That was perfect! There’s no reason why that energy and whit couldn’t have been maintained all episode. This show has lost that creative spark and is choosing to play it safe at detriment to the story and audience engagement. Never forget this is an action horror show, not a soap opera with monsters!! Or maybe someone changed the premise long ago and they decided not to say anything. Either way, new concepts require new energy if they are going to work. “Wayward Sisters” is not even close.
Overall grade, a B+ for “Gods and Monsters,” a C- for “The Scar.” I think we’re due for something out of the box. Thursday’s episode just might be the one.