There are a few approaches I could have taken for this review. I could have ranted about how an utter travesty like “Paint It Black” ever made it to air, I could have calmly tried to break down the material we were given and analyze where it all went freaking wrong, or I could have given my review in a few sentences and then we talk about the weather or something.
Actually, none of those approaches worked. I’m sure you all are tired of my ranting by now, I didn’t pay enough attention to the episode to give it a great analysis, and even the weather in my part of the world has been sucking. So, I’ll first give my honest thoughts and then I think it’s time for an open talk about the options left for a fan that’s having serious doubts that “Supernatural” can turn things around.
Let’s tackle the basics. The script was deplorable, the acting was bad, especially Rowena and whoever that witch nemesis was, the “shocking” murders played out worse than a horror B-movie, the nun thing played out like a cheesy telenovela and Sam and Dean are still wringing their hands over the Mark of Cain, again with no movement.
Yes, it was a Brad Buckner/Eugenie Ross-Leming script. I could go back to their long history of weak to laughable scripts for "Supernatural", but part of me feels like by doing that I'm contributing to an already festering wound. Despite their bad reputation among the fandom, they believe they are telling good stories and who am I to say otherwise? All I know is their track record is so bad, I personally feel deflated whenever I see their names on the episode synopsis. I certainly don't get excited about watching the episode nor do I engage in the fan girl "squee" that so many do on episode night. Probably because I'm trained to see through a filmsy plot. Judging by the crickets chirping on our timeline last night, many agreed. I just don't know what show I'm watching anymore.
Poll: What's the worst Brad Buckner Eugenie Ross-Leming script?
I’ll tell you what plot twist I really don’t get. The discovery that the Men of Letters broke up Rowena’s coven and are hiding their materials in multiple places (did I get that right?) So, there are more bunkers? If all of the MOL are dead, why do they keep surfacing in numerous episodes to service a plot? Why do I think there is still a secret MOL hideout out there somewhere? The witch didn’t think the MOL existed anymore, but knew of Sam and Dean? Finally, how many freaking times to I have to endure Rowena’s grating “The Wiiinnnchesters” drawl every time she brings them up, which is all the time? Why in the world are they the center of her universe? With her powers, she could pop them like a zit. Other than take the first blade from Crowley, what have they done to get her into such a snit?
I’ll tell you what I hated the most. The fact that Crowley will be forced to choose between his horrible mother who he should have easily skewered by now and Sam and Dean who treat him like common filth. He should give up and go to Vegas instead. He knows about the MOL Bunker but didn’t say anything. Heck, he had his own room there (it was the dungeon but he knows the place). So why doesn’t he help Rowena? Why after all this won’t he kill Sam and Dean? I mean, I think I know why, he likes them, but is there any basis for why Crowley needs them alive other than it would ruin the show? Any basis for keeping his annoying mother around? I’m not getting Crowley’s motivation here, and honestly, it’s killing me to see such a fine actor like Mark Sheppard wasted like this.
I liked two things about the episode. First, they used that gorgeous Catholic Church that’s across from the Wall Centre in Vancouver (the same one used in “Houses of the Holy”). I’ve stayed at the Century Plaza hotel for the two times I’ve been to Vancon and the balcony view has looked over that church both times. It’s a visually captivating place.
Second, there was that gorgeous scene with Dean in the confessional booth. Forget how Jensen absolutely nailed the dialogue, Dean pouring his heart out to the priest about his fate, but the lighting was another Serge Ladoucer masterpiece. It amazes me he can still give us such gems like this after all these years. There’s always something new to try.
I’ve been wanting for some time to see Dean give us an update on his faith. After all, a lot has changed since “Houses of the Holy.” We learned in “Sacrifice” that Sam’s choice of confession was for all the times he’s failed Dean, but honestly we haven’t had a good check on Dean’s perspective. I was pleased to see that Dean doesn’t want to die. That he realizes there are still things in life to experience. That gave me a ton of hope for him. I’ve had serious doubts for some time that Dean has wanted more than what the life provides and I’ve wondered often why he is even going (same for Sam). This tells me why. Life still means something. Suddenly, that adds a whole new set of stakes to his predicament, just like Sam’s “light at the end of the tunnel” perspective in season eight (which has tragically disappeared with no explanation).
I think this is one of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the entire series.
Priest: Do you believe in God?
Dean: I believe there is a God, but I’m not sure he still believes in us.
If that’s not an open invitation for Chuck to come back to the show, I don’t know what is. Honestly, we need Chuck and his wisdom. One of the themes from the earlier seasons that has been tragically lost in the later years has been the subject of faith and destiny. It was such an important driver and it told us so much about the motivations of the Winchesters. What guides them, what makes them tick, why they fight evil all the time at great sacrifice to themselves. They need to believe in a higher purpose, whether it be God or humanity or the flying spaghetti monster. Otherwise they’re no better than machines.
Almost every week now it seems Sam and Dean are just going through the motions, killing evil because they can or have nothing better to do, leaving viewers like myself less engaged in the story. I’m not saying there should be a confessional every week, but aside from the inspiration drawn from “Carry On Wayward Son” while watching “Supernatural” the musical, there’s been little spark behind the missions. It doesn’t mean anything anymore. I want to see Sam and Dean care more often, not just show up in their suits, flash their badges, and go step by step working the case until it ends bloody for the monster. Where’s the laughs, the fun, the bravado, the personality? Where’s the belief that what they are doing matters? Where’s the hope?
The Red Headed Monster
Do I believe in “Supernatural?” Yes, but I’m not sure the show believes in us anymore. Thank you Dean, you helped me answer a long burning question.
It’s time for an open, honest, chat. I’m going through my own crisis of faith these days. I’ve put a lot of my life into "Supernatural" over the years, more than any fan really should. I did it for love of the show, but “Paint it Black” is just the latest reminder that somewhere in Hollywood, someone has given up. They don't have that spark, that passion, that inspiration that it takes to put something extraordinary to the page. The show’s lackluster creative direction has been wearing me down, the fandom has really been wearing me down, and changes in life circumstances are making me question my choices just for a mediocre TV show. In other words, why am I doing this?
I didn’t particularly pay attention to the details of last night’s story because I got so bored. The hubby and I actually started working on our photo library. I went through with my son his school schedule for the rest of the week. Normally I pause the episode when I do this, or rewind later to catch what I missed. I didn’t do that last night, and dammit, I didn’t miss anything either.
The truth of the matter is I’ve lost faith in the show. I know several of my fellow bloggers are having issues and several have quit watching. Several friends have too. It’s at this time that I seek validation for sticking around and this week was the equivalent of being told to get out. This episode was an insult to loyal fans and what’s worse is any sense of outrage will go unnoticed. Once upon a time the writers used to care. Kripke used to care. The producers used to care. Jared and Jensen used to care. Now the battle is just getting through it all. I think the writers are tired and burned out, and it’s becoming very obvious that a 23 episode season is too taxing for this bunch.
I used to believe in the themes and drew inspiration from “Supernatural” for my own life. The stories aren’t personal anymore, nor do they matter. They’re just there because the CW requires something be on the air one hour a week to fill their slots. I’d rather watch an hour of Sam, Dean and Castiel playing pool at a bar or hanging out the beach drinking beer rather than watching these listless, slow, and often downright insulting to my intelligence pieces of filler.
I’m not delusional. Superatural owes me nothing. The Supernatural fandom owes me nothing. It’s a TV show. I don’t have to watch. I accept that. I could let this episode and all the others fester on my DVR for months while I actually watch something fun like “Arrow” or “The Flash” live. That would be my choice to make. But for someone like myself, someone who has put in such a long commitment to this show, it hurts to see something I once loved revert to this. I suppose it was always inevitable too. TV shows, despite what we as fans want, don't last forever.
So the question is, do I have any more faith left that it gets better? That’s the personal struggle each of us fans must face, and honestly, there are no easy answers. But lately turning to the fandom for support isn’t helping much either. I see fans turn on each other constantly because we’re not all happy campers drinking the kool-aid, or if we tend to lean toward one character more than another, or if we prefer a particularly pairing over another. That doesn’t give me much hope that the situation will improve. It just cements the fact that this is draining more than lifting and it’s time to decide what battles are worthy of fighting.
Who knows, maybe it’ll only take a string of good episodes to get me out of my funk. But I’m sad that there’s no concern about legacy anymore and pride in a job well done. I don’t wish to rain on parades either, so what's a loyal but frustrated fan do to? When I figure it out, I'll let you all know.
Overall grade, a D. The confession scene pulls this from F territory, although I strangely didn’t find this episode anywhere near as offensive as “Man’s Best Friend With Benefits” except for the rock star aliases of Betts and Allman after the whole Sarah Jones thing. That was pretty tactless.
Since we like to discuss, share as a fan how you felt about last night’s going through the motions piece of filler. Are you still in the “at least Supernatural is still on the air” camp or has the recent season got you reflecting on that mentality? Are you angry that the same set of writers continue to deliver grossly inferior scripts yet still have jobs, or do you think this is just a sign that the writers in general have given up? Are you going through your own “Supernatural” faith crisis? Of course, if you’re happy, say so too. All opinions are welcomed an appreciated. There’s no bad opinions and there’s no good ones either. This week, we’re keeping it real.