Aren't I efficient? Here's my review of the episode from a few weeks ago just in time before the new episode airs tonight. I know I believe in "better late than never" but yes, I dropped the ball. As I said in my explanation about skipping reviews, it all about writing a wrong. This is one very happy review though, so enjoy!
Review - Time After Time
Itâ€™s interesting, the past few seasons Iâ€™ve been using the word â€œfillerâ€ a lot, throwing that word around as if itâ€™s been a crime against loyal viewers. All it takes though is one clever writer, one who remembers the great fillers of old like â€œThe Usual Suspects,â€ â€œFolsom Prison Blues,â€ â€œBad Day At Black Rock,â€ â€œA Very Supernatural Christmas,â€ and â€œWishful Thinkingâ€ to take a concept that has been a weak spot in this show of late and make it memorable again.
Robbie Thompson, you are a breath of sorely needed fresh air in the writerâ€™s room. You remind me why I fell in love with this show.
â€œTime After Timeâ€ follows a formula that is a must for standalone, non-mytharc episodes. It must be fun. It must be entertaining. It must be fast paced and clever. It should be a love letter to loyal fans. It doesnâ€™t have to be perfect. It just needs to be memorable.
Memorable has been a very tough sell this season. Of those episodes that have been memorable, theyâ€™ve ranged from melancholy to outright depressing. â€œThe Mentalistsâ€ proved to be a worthwhile attempt at giving us an old school feeling of season one, but â€œTime After Timeâ€ took us back to the days where we were blown away in season three by an up and coming writer, Jeremy Carver. Actually, there was another episode this season that did that as well, Thompsonâ€™s first script, â€œSlash Fiction.â€ Brilliant dialogue, an even flowing and fast paced plot that had us engaged from beginning to end, and Dean Winchester in a zoot suit. How could it go wrong?
Now, Iâ€™m not saying â€œTime After Timeâ€ was perfect. There were some slow spots, especially with Chronos. But when you cast someone that I absolutely adored in a â€œSupernaturalâ€ predecessor, â€œThe X-Files,â€ and give him some rich material to work with, miracles happen. Fine, season seven miracles arenâ€™t quite the same as season four miracles, but Iâ€™ll take them when I can get them. Nicholas Lea as Eliot Ness rocked my world.
I had the presumption based on previews that this would be another â€œDean goes back into time alone and Sam disappears with no story lineâ€ episodes. Luckily, that proved to be the farthest from the truth. This episode was largely reminiscent of â€œThe Usual Suspectsâ€ in that Sam and Dean spent a big chunk of the episode apart, but have never been more on the same page. This time they were 68 years apart, but that didnâ€™t deter them at all. For Sam and Dean anymore, thatâ€™s just another day at the office. They were in synch perfectly, and much of the very clever editing between both time frames showed that brilliantly. I was most impressed how they showed the first encounter with Chronos twice, once from Samâ€™s point of view and the second with Deanâ€™s.
I did love seeing Sam and Sheriff Jody Mills working together again. I had forgotten how well they worked together in â€œDead Men Donâ€™t Wear Plaidâ€ and itâ€™s great to see that sheâ€™s willing to look out for the boys now that Bobby is gone. I was especially amused that she threatened to use her mommy voice on an exhausted Sam. A mother figure is exactly what these boys need.
The obvious highlight though was Dean as the lone time traveler again, and just like his other trips out of his time zone he adapted beautifully. Iâ€™m sure this idea scored at the pitch meeting for the thought of Dean in a zoot suit, fedora, and brandishing a tommy gun alone. When the boy looks right, man does he look right. But as usual itâ€™s more than that. Just like in â€œFrontierland,â€ Dean learned the harsh lesson that what he sees in the movies isnâ€™t real life. I thought his â€œthe Chicago wayâ€ shout out in the preview was corny, but when it happened in the episode, with Ezra Moore and Eliot Ness looking at him like he was nuts (â€œWho talks like that?â€) it was hilarious. Poor Dean. His boyish love for movies is just plain adorable.
I enjoyed that Dean could just pop into this time travel situation and not have to convince a bunch of people to believe him. Itâ€™s great he managed to find hunters right away, and in a lifelong hero nonetheless. Now, I know that Eliot Ness wasnâ€™t in the treasury back in 1944, but he was in Ohio, so I guess they got that part right. I loved how Ness had his equivalent of Bobby in Ezra Moore, who some fans cleverly pointed out she could be a relative of Jessica Moore. Whether she was or wasnâ€™t it didnâ€™t matter, for she had all the resources to figure out how to kill something just like Bobby, she never forgot she was a woman (her bold kissing of Dean was terrific) and man could she tailor a suit. Itâ€™s sidekick characters that rally enhance a story, and both Ezra and Jody delivered big time.
Then thereâ€™s the entire story of Chronos. I liked his character, but he didnâ€™t come over as overly sympathetic to me. He didnâ€™t seem to have much life at all until his chilling prediction for Sam and Dean about the Leviathan during his death scene. Plus, how in the world do you kill the God of Time? Really? Is that a metaphor given all the time references this season? Weâ€™ll see. Thatâ€™s my only nitpick though. The character of Lila, she was the perfect 40â€™s blonde bombshell. She did break my heart.
A big question is, what did this episode do in terms of character movement for Sam and Dean? After all, they were pretty broken when we left them at the end of the last episode. I got to admit, I love how they both focused on the case and took some actual interest in doing their jobs. For the first time in a while, I didnâ€™t feel like they were going through the motions. Thatâ€™s especially true for Dean, who got the most perfect talking to from Eliot Ness when he confessed he wasnâ€™t sure why he was doing this anymore. Itâ€™s a tough stance, but itâ€™s the right one.
â€œEverybody loses everybody and then one day, boom, your number is up. But at least youâ€™re making a difference. So enjoy it while it lasts kid, because hunting is the only clarity youâ€™re going to find in this life. That makes you luckier than most.â€
Itâ€™s a belief that Sam and even Bobby seem to have already accepted, people die and then you die. Do what you can to make a difference until then. I do like though that losing people has bothered Dean. He does crave relationships. That makes him human. However, what he experienced this week had me going back to Deanâ€™s struggles in season six. In â€œYou Canâ€™t Handle The Truthâ€ he accepted that the job makes him a killer. â€œYouâ€™re covered in blood until youâ€™re covered in your own blood.â€ He may have seen that as truth, but he never liked it. Nessâ€™ speech if anything tells him that yes, heâ€™s a killer, but he is saving people and making a difference. Dean needs that reason to hunt. Itâ€™s about time he heard a good one.
As for Sam, sorry, but I just keep waiting for that boy to crash and burn. His head was in the game for sure, and I always love when Sam gets to perform any type of latinating and spell work. While I did wonder how he would handle the prospect of going on with life without Dean, I enjoyed that he didnâ€™t go angsty, weepy, or dark. He dug in (with some sorely needed help) figured out a way to get Dean back. His scene with Jody over Rufusâ€™ bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue though was a strange curiosity as well as a bittersweet recollection of Bobby and Rufusâ€™ relationship. What did she mean by, â€œItâ€™s weird, huh? Itâ€™s like their lifeâ€™s a big puzzle. Just keep finding pieces of it scattered all over the place.â€ Iâ€™m marking that in the â€œmajor clueâ€ department along with the missing beer in â€œAdventures In Babysitting.â€
Producer Jim Michaels tweeted that this was the first episode that both composers for the show, Christopher Lennertz and Jay Gruska, worked on the same episode. The period music for 1944 was every bit as authentic as other retro episodes like â€œMonster Movieâ€ and it meshed perfectly with the score in present day. I hope these two collaborate again more often!
Major kudos again to writer Robbie Thompson for getting a lot of the period lingo right too. I had a look a lot of it up, but it was right. The whole fake story of Dean being in Germany busting Nazi skulls was inspired. â€œLester, is that a German name?â€
My favorite line of the episode actually belonged to Sam this week, which is kind of a rarity. You usually don't hear such zingers come from Sam's mouth. It comes when Dean asks to use the computer. "You gonna look at more anime, or are you strictly into Dick now?" Whoa, harsh!
Yes, that was me freaking out on Twitter the night this episode aired over the fact that Sam Winchester was shown sitting in the car eating a burger! He was spotted once before in the ENTIRE SERIES doing that, in season four's "Monster Movie" (Yes, it's sick I know that, but in my job you gotta pay attention to details). I asked Jim Micheals via a tweet if that was in the script. He answered, yes it was. I love this new writer. :)
As someone who watches a lot of HGTV, Iâ€™m dying to find that distressed home in Canton and take on that fixer upper project. Man did that place have some nice bones! The windows alone made it worthwhile. I like how Sam and Dean werenâ€™t in a total dump this time.
Overall grade for â€œTime After Time,â€ oh, Iâ€™ll got with a B+. On the fan happiness scale, probably an A-. Coming up, Dean becomes a daddy and thereâ€™s the awkward â€œUncle Sam.â€