It wasn't total neglect. I'm writing reviews now weekly for Durance Magazine and got my basic review in there on time, with the full intention of doing a longer review here. An intention that well, you just heard the story. Plus, it's spring break this week and my kids are home, creating another big distraction. So here is a belated review, something to keep us distracted until the big episode tomorrow.
Alice's Review - Out With The Old
There's a certain amount of trepidation I feel when going into a "Supernatural" episode that I know is intended to be filler, especially when it's a lead-in episode to a big one. There are three ways these episodes usually go. They can royally suck ("Bugs"), underwhelm (at least it wasn't "Bugs"), or turn out to be pleasant surprises (this is definitely not "Bugs"). Luckily, the latter outcome happened this week. This "Supernatural" fan is smiling.
I really enjoyed "Out With The Old." For one, the story finally reminded us there is a menace known as the Leviathans lurking underneath the shadows. Or in this case, Portland storefronts. They weren't relegated to the usual boogeyman status, only to be mentioned through Dean's one sided wacky phone calls with Frank Deveraux. Speaking of which, how nice was it to actually see Frank? He was becoming every bit of an enigma as the big mouths.
This season has been all about the callback. There's something in these MOTW (monster of the week) cases that's familiar with something they've experienced before. I love how they went back to cursed objects, a la "Bad Day at Black Rock." Ballet shoes and Dean Winchester, even if only for a few minutes, was as priceless as Sam's run in with the rabbit's foot. As suspenseful as the kid trying to kill his mother over a gramophone was (and Sam's cranky ass rescue), weren't you curious how Dean's experience with the vintage porno magazine played out? Ah well, another uncomfortable moment that stays with Dean.
This story also revisited the one plot point that worked in "Swap Meat," the accidental run in with the foe they've been trying to avoid. The fact that the real estate agents, Joyce and George, were Leviathan is hardly shocking. What worked is just like people, not all Leviathan are the same. There are Leviathan who are hot headed bitches (Joyce) and those like George that follow the opportunist route, a la Crowley. I like seeing a Leviathan shown as something other than a vicious savage. It's what this show does best, blurring those lines between good and evil.
I'm sure we'll see George again. He's a Leviathan type I hope we see more of, the one who doesn't care who he gets help from, just as long as he gets ahead. If that means helping Sam and Dean, so be it. Plus, he got to eat the bitch that made his life miserable. Win for everybody! If anything, George shows that even though the Leviathan are organized, there are issues with their chain of command system. If they're itching to eat each other like that to be self serving, there's a chance for weakness in their ranks. I like that. This isn't the Borg after all.
On the other side is poor, poor Sammy. I wasn't sure what to expect with him this week. There are many different ways his story could have gone, but keeping it simple with fatigue from sleep deprivation worked very well. He's so tired, growing so disoriented, putting himself in danger and we know he cannot hold out like this much longer. Yet he keeps going, keeps trying, even though he knows what he's experiencing is extreme torture. I have to admit, out of the many times we've seen Sam in trouble through this series, this one worries me. It feels real, and that's quite a testament to what Jared Padalecki is bringing to this arc. I feel really tired along with Sam! It's a good transition into next week.
It's interesting the precipice Sam and Dean are on right now. Dean is having trouble understanding why Sam can't sleep. He's hoping the normal tricks will work, like playing the soft rock station in the car. He's trying to be supportive, but Dean really can't address more than that right now. There's a job at hand and big mouths are in town. Plus he knows Sam can fend for himself. Sam is having trouble functioning enough to admit that if he doesn't sleep, things are going to get very, very bad. He should find a way, but he can't deal with that now. They have a world to save and Dean needs him. It goes to show how much these guys are in reactionary mode, living from day to day, hour to hour. There isn't a luxury to think worst case scenario, but then again, they are never facing normal situations. They can only hope for the best and deal with situations when they reach their worst. Which is why I can't freaking wait until next Friday.
There is one big footnote to come out of this episode, and that's George's reveal that the Leviathans are there to help. They needed all that real estate to build a research center. They're going to cure cancer. I'm not thinking for one minute that Sam and Dean are buying into that crap, but you have to wonder, why would the Leviathan want to cure cancer? Make humans disease free? We are tastier that way. More to come on that I'm sure, but it's another thing we'll be marking with a push pin.
There is one more season one callback that I failed to mention, and all they had to do was bring back a piece of classic rock! TPTB knew the mental imprint that "Bad Moon Rising" still leaves on us. It gives us chills. As soon as that song came on, we all knew this wasn't good. What happened to Frank? The bloody scene in the trailer didn't surprise me all that much, considering that's been happening to Sam and Dean routinely for years now. Those that help them usually end up dead. If Frank isn't dead, then he's faked his demise to go underground and chances are we won't be seeing him anytime soon. No matter what happened, Sam and Dean have lost another person on their side. The only one left I believe.
The opening ballerina death sequence was done to the refined cultural stylings of "Swan Lake." Yep, another beautiful classic ruined by "Supernatural!" Actually, "Supernatural" really couldn't have done any more injustice to this Tchaikovsky classic than Barbie did. I really wanted to see Barbie's feet ripped off and her left dead in a bloody mess.
FRANK DEVERAUX? Is that you? Good to see your cranky ass and hear your smart mouth. Speaking of which, do you know what a "fudge pop" is? If you really want to know, and I wouldn't advise it (stick with the â€˜You don't want to know' mentality of Mr. Peter Yankit on Johnson Lane) go here. (http://www.dictionaryslang.com/Fudge%20Pop)
The muscle car of the week is the same one from "Repo Man" given the Idaho license plate. It's a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am. Yes, that's the exact make/model/year as the Smokey and the Bandit car. I was half waiting for an aging and weathered Burt Reynolds to come and get his aging and weathered car back. No dice. Then they ditched the car for a generic Chevy truck. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I'm not liking car of the week, despite my love and knowledge for classic cars. It works for motel rooms, but not the car!
As much as I LOVED the new dress coats to go with the FBI suits, and Sam really needs to wear more navy blue, did you notice that Sam probably didn't get that coat from the big and tall section? It came up a little short and didn't quite fit right for a traditional man's coat like that. Someone on Twitter speculated how they could afford those new coats. I call it the five fingered discount at Penney's. As for Dean, that grey coat is sheer perfection.
Jared, I hate to break it to you, but this is exactly the type of sleep deprivation you're going to experience during early parenthood. Coffee is your friend.
"Umm, this isn't what you think it is."
I know this has been said before, but when two grown men follow a little girl into a ladies rest room in a police station, shouldn't that attract attention? Especially when the two guys are holding down the girl and trying to take off a part of her outfit? They dodged a massive pedophile bullet there.
Anyone know Jensen's real shoe size? Because those were some big ass ballerina slippers. Just curious. They probably couldn't make ballet shoes big enough for Jared.
If your mother holds onto strange objects for a number of years, puts them in boxes with weird symbols, puts them in a safe with weird symbols, and tells you constantly these things are very very bad, at what point does $15.99 become so tempting that it's okay to throw caution to the wind? How much does an antique tea kettle and porno mags go for anyway? $5 each? That boy is just raking in the dough. With all those safe guards mom put in place, she couldn't account for a moronic son? I know, motherhood is blind.
Sam likes Bruce Hornsby? Please, can we get an episode someday where we get to hear what's on Sam's iPod? Have it drive Dean crazy? It be a cross country trip? It'll make for a fun diversion in season ten. A whole episode devoted to three days in the car with the Winchesters.
The gramophone scene was done well from a suspense standpoint, but how is it that Sam bursts his way into a house without knocking or identifying himself, grabs a kitchen knife away from a kid and carries it away, gives the boy a cranky talking to about gratitude and then puts on yellow gloves to take the gramophone they just bought away without prompting hysterical screams and calls to the cops? Is it possible this sort of thing happens all the time in this neighborhood?
It's really nice to see Dean's stages of grief advancing to acceptance. I hope he thinks that he's making Bobby proud, cause he is. "Feeling guilty ain't going to bring her back. The best you can do is live your life the way that you think would make her proud, or at least not embarrass the crap out of her." Ghost!Bobby is smiling Dean, he's smiling at you.
I know it wasn't in budget, and you can't have Mark Pellegrino available for everything, but wouldn't it have been cool if Sam was woken up behind the wheel in the nick of time by Lucifer shouting something to him? Then taunting him about it afterward? "Lucifer is my co pilot." I really wanted to hear his rendition of "Stairway To Heaven."
I'm stunned no one has brought this up yet. Sam Winchester with a sword? Yikes! I think my heart skipped a few hundred beats. I haven't had that sort of reaction since his flamethrower days.
Despite both brothers worried but still downplaying Sam's condition in this episode, I'm very scared for both these brothers. We all know that Dean will come through for Sammy, but I'm hoping they show the emotional impact that Sam's mental illness has on Dean. After all, that's what makes this show seem real, when actual human elements are worked into the way out there supernatural factors. Mental illness affects a lot of families, not just the sick family member, and I'm interested in how it plays out in this case.
Overall grade on "Out With The Old," a B+. A very solid effort for Jenny Klein's first time script (with help from Robert Singer).