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Review: 7x14 Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie
Warning: Contains episode spoilers -

Wait, so now Unicorns are evil?
Yeah, obviously.

I could say this week's episode was a bit light on with the mythology. I could say the brothers seemed to be leaps and bounds away from last week's mood. I could say what's going on with the Leviathan, we really need to ramp that up don't we? I could say all of that, but instead, I'm going to say this,


To quote one of my favourite cartoon characters, happy, happy, joy, joy! Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie was just too much gosh darn fun! I guffawed, I belly laughed, I clapped my hands, I may have even screamed a little and it felt good, because you know what, I needed it. It's been such a loss filled, angst-ridden journey through season seven, it felt nice to take a break from the boy melodrama and have a good giggle. We know next week is going to be Hellish, no pun intended, and there's plenty more soul destroying torture for the Winchester brothers ahead, so I'm just going to inhale and enjoy this breath of fresh, ridiculous air, while I can. 

First let me say, welcome back Misters Dabb and Loflin, good to see you again. I was a huge fan of this pair, until season seven, where they seemed to totally suck ass. I mean, we went from lovely scripts like "Weekend At Bobby's" and "Frontierland" to "Season Seven, Time For A Wedding" for goodness sake. W'a happen? I was thinking they'd done their proverbial dash, but noooooo! They were back to their ever lovin', pop culture referencing, snappy one-liner best with an episode that was not only buckets of fun, but also a great call back to so many episodes of the past, including a couple of their own, "Yellow Fever" and "I Believe The Children Are Our Future." Yay boys! Welcome back. Now keep doing this stuff and not that other stuff and we'll stay friends.

So, who isn't afraid of clowns? I am. I really can't stand them. I don't like clowns, dolls or mimes. In fact street performers as a whole give me the irrits. Those people that just stand still on a box? If they didn't give me the heebies to the level they do, I'd go give them a good shove. I often ponder what would be the most terrifying thing. I think it'd be a ventriloquist dummy dressed as a clown, no wait, a killer ventriloquist dummy dressed as a clown doing mime. Geeesh! Anyway, the point I'm working my way around to making is, many of us sympathise with Sammy and his clown-phobia. I love that this guy's creeped out by clowns. Here he is, crazy enormous, kills anything, runs to the rescue of strangers, can stand up to the Devil, tough and strong and smart and he's wigged out by clowns? It's perfection. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Sam, that's in between my laughing at him. Jared did an awesome job conveying Sam's fear with a light comedic touch. When Sam got out of the car and turned around and saw that really icky clown with the stringing green hair and gasped, that was just beautiful. And did you notice how the clown was running? Oh my gosh, too brilliant. The clown-on-Sam fight scene never went into slapstick territory and it so easily could have. It was genuinely scary while being genuinely funny and completely ridiculous. Supernatural is at its best when it balances the humour and fear. This episode was a lovely example of that.

Look, there's not a lot to analyse in "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie," which is kind of nice for a change, but I guess the thing that jumped out at me the most was the brotherly love. There was an old school Sam and Dean vibe throughout. Even right at the top with Sam's little smile when Dean was forced to say to Frank on the phone, "I am the Egg-Man." I love nothing more than when the brothers feel in sync and are obviously enjoying hanging out and working together. Their love for each other and their relationship can and has carried me through some of my darkest times, so whenever we have an episode where that love is clearly on display, my heart simply soars. The final scene with Dean laughing at his gigantic glitter-covered brother was just, well I'm not even sure I can put it into words. Dean laughing. Really laughing. Even Sam enjoyed Dean's happy moment. They're few and far between these days. Then Dean apologising to Sam for scarring him all those years ago, (which time - hee).  Then Sam giving Dean a giant slinky. I mean, Sam wasn't even there when Dean, in all his adorableness, was geeking out over the giant, rainbow slinky. Sam just knew. Love. That scene was all about love pure and simple"!even when Dean gave Sam the clown. How could he not. Then there was the awesome "The ball washer" "The what?" "The ball washer" "The what?" "The ball, " *cue exasperated Sam*. I miss moments like this between the brothers, but I feel like season seven has offered us more of these than any season since probably three and I'm very thankful for it. 

The other thing that jumped out at me was Dean didn't drink anything but coffee in this episode. I was trying to think back to the last time where we didn't see him with at least a beer in his hand at some point. I couldn't, because that would involve hours of research for which I didn't have time (feel free to do it yourselves and let me know), but certainly not in this season anyway. He wasn't kidding when he said no bars, no booze, of course he couldn't resist the lure of the hot chick in the guise of a naughty nanny. Did you notice him giving her the complete once over while she wasn't looking? Ah Dean. Obviously he needs to drink a lot less, if for no other reason than his mood is much better without the booze in his system. I love this Dean, well I love all Deans but this Dean is awesome, well all Deans"!ok, I'm going to stop.

Some other highlights, in this highlight filled, glitter-exploding, rainbow-puke inducing episode for me were"!.

The Unicorn shooting rainbows out of its ass. I literally screamed. They went there. Excellent. 

"If it bleeds, you can kill it." Thank you. Thank you. Predator is one of my favourite movies. Now at some point, if Dean could just say, "I ain't got time to bleed" my life will be complete.

Sam being all bad cop interrogating the staff. He just looked so silly trying to bully that lion. Also, I love the person who noted one of the staff rules was no sideburns! Ha!

The ball washer (the what?), getting "Bruced" in the ball pit. Beautiful re-enactment of the first taking from Jaws and I loved the reference to Bruce, being what they called the mechanical shark which was named after Spielberg's lawyer.

The 70's cop show music as Sam and Dean chased down the lion named Clif. Sam's sidies work well with that music! And Dean, you can't catch a lion by the tail!

Dean giving Tyler the, be nicer to your mum talk. I love how Dean is so relaxed with kids and I love how this is a theme that is continually revisited.

"So, what's the lowdown with trauma town?" Really, Dean was having way too much fun.

The clown losing a manky tooth, which goes flying slomo through the air. Lovely touch.

Sam spitting out glitter at the end of the clown fight. In fact just the whole Sam being covered in glitter thing!


Oh I could go on and on and on"!. 

"Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie" was a brilliant example of what "Supernatural" does so well and what makes it a stand out show. Mixing the laughs with the scares, adding a dollop of pop culture, a dash of lunacy and a nice helping of brotherly love, all mixed together to create forty-two minutes of pure happiness. Unicorns shooting rainbows out of their ass doesn't even begin to cover it. Everything about this episode was on the money. The writing from Dabb and Loflin, the tight direction from Mike Rohl, the fantastically colourful set design which carried across into the special effects and title treatment, the comedic performances from Jensen and Jared and the moments between Sam and Dean that reminded us all of the beating heart at the centre of this show. It felt real good to watch. Real good.

Of course, next week, it's back to angst-city, but that's ok, I had a little much needed respite from the darkness and now I'm pumped and ready to jump feet first into whatever lies ahead. So bring on the breakdowns, the Devil, the return of a certain Angel and the final showdown with the Leviathan. I'm good to go because the brothers are back on track; Dean has a slinky and Sam's going to be finding glitter in his hair for weeks to come. When my heart's breaking, I'll just try and think of that,  

Thanks so much for reading.

Did you love the episode too? What was your favourite moment?

- sweetondean


# Tiny 2012-02-11 23:35
Sam could go to therapy forever because of his fear of clowns! I feel bad for laughing at Sam, but he is adorable in this episode!!! I agree, this is a great example of balancing fear and humor, not many shows in this genre can do that.. I mean.. the Joss Whedon stuff is one, but they are usually very one dimensionally and certainly don't mix fear and humor.

I love this episode so much! I think this could be Dabb & Loflin's best.. Like I mentioned before, they are great with stuff like this and should stick to it.

I am so glad we get to see the unicorn shoots rainbows out of its ass... That's gotta be the funniest random thing (and best special effect!) EVER!

Awesome stuff Amy!
# rmoats8621 2012-02-11 23:43
Great review! I liked this episode too for all the reasons you listed. My number one is....Dean's hearty laugh! It was wonderful to hear and such great medicine for him. It's been soooo long, too long. Sam seemed to enjoy hearing it too.
# Vanda 2012-02-11 23:47
Loved this ep... The unicorn's ass made me squeal in the car!! LMAO. Dean was having way too much fun at Plucky's & no wonder Sam has a thing about clowns!!! -Deanie_24
# kelios 2012-02-11 23:55
YES. To everything!

The tooth reminded me just a bit of the eye from MBV3D...
# LEAH 2012-02-12 00:07
bumpybbAgree totally! Loved this one. It may be the giddy calm before the the next angst storm but oh how it was needed. It was so nice to laugh and see a bit of brotherly interaction that wasn't filled with tension. Deans genuine enjoyment of the situation and Sam's enjoyment of Dean's reaction was great. I think we are in for a bumpy ride from here on but this episode was sorely needed.
# Dru 2012-02-12 00:10
Awesome review....aweso me episode...scare d of next week:/
# LEAH 2012-02-12 00:12
Whoops, I guess I should proof read.
Kara L
# Kara L 2012-02-12 00:14
AMAZING episode. It is really the perfect set up for the next couple of episodes. After all Supernatural tends to give us one or two lighter episodes before they rip out our hearts and stop on them.
Season Seven is just wonderful.
Awesome work . Like always
# Gwen 2012-02-12 04:01
I loved every single second of this episode. It was just fabulous from start to finish. Such a fantastically fun episode. I loved seeing the brotherly bond in this episode, there were so many brotherly moments - loved the phonecall between them when Dean told Sam to go to Plucky's, Sam's fear and unwillingness to go was so funny and Dean's attempt ast reassurring him - if it bleeds you can kill it was equally both funny and sweet. Loved Dean's 'Sammy' when he was talking to him on the phone.
Jared did an amazing job throughout showing us Sam's fear. On the one hand I wanted to give the poor guy a hug, feed him cookies and take him someplace safe away from all those multicoloured monstrosities but on the other hand I was enjoying his terror too much. :D It was great to see so many smiles and laughter from the boys. I love this happy Dean. I've not been enjoying Dean much this season but this Dean brought back my Dean love in full force. I loved the guy in this episode. The end scene was fabulous. Sam all glittery, Dean's laughter, Sam somehow knowing Dean wanted that giant slinky, Dean's wonderfully awful present to Sam (and that clown toy was hideous, totally nightmare inducing, even before the wink - no wonder it got left behind :lol: ) - all of it was perfect.
The lack of attention to Sam's hell story has been bugging me this season but I didn't even mind that with this episode. I've not been a fan of Dabb and Loflin's other episodes but this one was pure love from start to finish. And then the preview for next week was just the icing on the cake. I know it's going to be a bumpy ride but I am SO excited for the next few episodes. :lol:
# shadyA7x 2012-02-12 05:03
Amy, as usual I love your review! I found the nostalgic moments a real heart warmer in this epi! The rainbow out of the unicorns ass, and the reference to Ron's "laser eyes" and Deans reaction to it was wonderful. I am always impressed with Jensens acting but this one really showed how much Jared has developed as an actor. I felt Sam's fear, I felt everything Sam was feeling and my hat goes off to Jare even though Jensen always steals the show for me. The scene that I laughed at the most was the one where Dean and the little boy call that "bully" an asshole lol that has always been one of my favorite features of Dean and that is the way he is with kids. Especially when he tells him to give his mom a break, my heart broke for Dean there :( anyways, this is probably my second favorite episode this season (Deaths Door is my favorite) just because it reminds me so much of the first three seasons when the boys were so close and enjoyed messing around with one another. That is what makes Supernatural great and this episode proved why! Next weeks episode looks like a classic season 4-5 episode, finally Demons are back!!!! Oh and Lucifer!!! I'm curious to how the rest of this season plays out but I will continue reading your wonderful reviews because I enjoy the fact that we think the same about this show and your a very gifted writer. Hit me up on Twitter my #SPN family @shadyA7x :)
# Sylvie 2012-02-12 09:00
Yep, I'm with you on this one. It was AWESOME! My favourite parts, Sam spitting out the glitter, and Dean's heartfelt laugh, that was just a great thing to behold. Thanks Dabb & Loflin. This episode reminded me a little of "Clap If You Believe". And unicorns really do shoot rainbows out of their ass! Good to know.
# Beverly 2012-02-12 13:14
Amazing episode! The rainbow/unicorn moment was definitely a laugh out loud moment. But the two "scenes" (there are actually three but the 1st one is two scenes) that keep coming back to me are when the boys discover Plucky's is involved and later when Sam goes after the robot.

When the nanny mentions Plucky's to Dean, he is trying to figure out why that sounded familiar to him. Even when she finished explaining about the children's birthday parties, he still looked like he was still in the dark. On the other hand, all Dean had to say was Plucky's to Sam and you immediately saw the fear in his eyes. I guess if you are that afraid of clowns you make sure you know where they live before you get into town.

Sam to Dean: "Do you know what he drew?"
Dean: "A Robot" Sam gives him an odd look, continues "Bigger than a house - shoots lasers from his eyes."
Pause - Sam: "At least I'll see it coming." Heads for door.
I just loved that last line. There are our hunters. No matter what's thrown their way - they do not back down and are willing to try to face it.

I agree with something I read elsewhere. When I saw the brother who had drowned, I immediately thought of the boy that had drowned in the lake in "Dead in the Water". I believe that was the title - it was in the 1st season.

Definitely on my all time favorite episode list, next to Bad Day at Black Rock, Mystery Spot, and Yellow Fever.
# elle 2012-02-12 14:16
Can the whole episode be my favourite moment? I just loved it so much. Even reading your wonderful review had me laughing out loud at the memories. It was brilliant and is going on my list of "watch when you need a pick-me-up", very near if not at the top.

Thanks, sweetondean! Great look at a great episode!
# Bevie 2012-02-12 14:56
I did love the episode, and my most favourite moment was at the end with Dean really laughing and Sam enjoying the moment. You are right. We haven't had moments like that since season 3, and that is why I am loving season 7. :P

My second favourite moment was Dean spitting out the bad pizza. Haha! It had to be really bad for Dean to do that! :eek:

And I LOVE your reviews sweetondean! :-)
# nicolemarie 2012-02-12 17:14
loved the eppie too! so much wonderful! so much love. so much fun! we noticed a lot of the same points again! :D I was so happy to see Dean in a lighter mood. he always steps up when Sammy is in trouble! this ep we got to see Dean poke fun a little bit! just awesome! we're already on ep 14 of this season...I'm sure stuff is going to take a dark turn...but for now I'm going to bask in the glory of the glitter :D
# Caryn 2012-02-12 19:27
What a great review. I really enjoyed the whole episode as well. :D

Dean wanting the rainbow slinky and then Sam giving it to him in the end was terrific. It shows how much Sam really knows Dean and that brotherly love we all love so much. :lol:

Can't wait to see what is next for our boys.
# Alex 2012-02-13 00:55
Great review for an amazing episode. Seeing Dean smile and laugh like that was pure gold. He needs to smile more because that face deserves to wear it. Jared really shone in the episode for sure. I could feel the phobia bleeding out of him perfectly. I'm not going to repeat all your points but just say I loved this so much! Perfect reprieve for the mid-season angst break. Always love reading your reviews. Thank you.
# Nitewoman7 2012-02-14 22:51
Great review I just love the way you express yourself. Loved every moment like everyone else. Love the unicorn, Dean's laugh (a true one) Sam with glitter and Sam giving Dean the slinky. I so remeber the first time Dean told Sam about unicorns so cracked up & clapping when the uniorn went running of with rainbows coming out of it's ass. Loved every minute. OMG now comes the agnst HELP