Page 1 of 2As we continue with our "Hiatus Hunting" for "The French Mistake", we are thrilled to rerun two masterful reviews that look at the production and meta aspects of the episode. The nuances offered by these insightful examinations reveal the quality and depth of meaning that permeated so many levels of this episode, making it a true series masterpiece. Enjoy!
A Visual Review by Ardeospina (Former editor on The Winchester Family Business)
published April 12, 2011
And just like that, this Hellatus is almost over. Huzzah! Need a refresher course as to where we left off? Well, class is in session with this visual review of "The French Mistake." This one was directed by Charles Beeson, a "Supernatural" veteran with 12 episodes under his belt, most notably "Changing Channels," so you know he's good with the comedic aspects of this show. That's always a plus! Without further ado...
This is a pretty cool shot of this whiskey glass right here. This show really has a lot of amazing still-life shots, which are really made possible by the incredible set dressing. Everything always feels exactly right, regardless of where the action is taking place.
I was just highly amused by Sam's face here, and the crazy stuff hadn't even started happening yet. He's like, "an empty whiskey glass?! But...why?" *runs off to the corner to be emo and contemplate the meaning of life*
Even in the jokey part of the episode, where they're not even supposed to be in a cool-looking TV world, there is still amazing framing and streaming light. It's part of the show's DNA! You can't escape the streaming light! Which is a good thing because streaming light is gorgeous.
The best thing about writing these visual reviews is that I get to toss in shots of things that amuse me greatly, like this one. Doesn't look too spectacular, does it? But the guy in the khaki is knitting, and I am a knitter myself, so it amuses me that this guy is sitting there off to the side and knitting something. I'm sensing "things that amuse me in this episode" as a theme here.
This is really cool, how all the action takes place there in one mirror, even though you can see Dean and the makeup girl on the left side of the screen. And of course they would really have continuity pictures up around the makeup area to keep things consistent, but it's still a nice touch.
It's another row of Impalas! It's kind of crazy to see the last two in such disrepair, too. I know that it's necessary to keep the real one going, but man! It hurts to see the middle one like that. It doesn't even have wheels! But it's totally worth it because that sight makes Dean...
...make this completely ridiculous face. Oh, Dean, never ever stop with the faces you pull. Seriously, it's like a gift that keeps on giving. I know I'm laughing at Dean's pain here, but I can't help it.
Some more cool framing here with Misha in the doorway. And though the audience all knew that this wasn't Castiel, we could all absolutely see why the Winchesters thought it was. That's a patented Cass look of confusion right there.
Yet another thing that amuses me: Dean's facial expressions matching the ones in the background footage. Seriously, when I was going through the caps for this scene, there were like four or five times when the facial expressions basically matched up. It was hilarious and kind of amazing.
Lots of cool framing in this episode. I like this one because you can really see what the Bobby's house set exterior looks like. Kind of anticlimactic, but it is really great to get a glimpse behind the curtain, as it were.
I like this angle a lot. And, of course, all the KM Motion Picture Studios stuff was a wonderful shout out to Kim Manners. It really is touching that they honor him so often. Rightfully so, too.
The lighting in this shot is sumptuous. And in the middle of this funny and crazy episode, it's kind of heartbreaking to see, yet again, just how tired Dean is of all the crap that happens to them. I'm not sure settling down is really what he wants anymore, either, but if he and Sam could just hunt regular monsters, with help from Cass every now and again, without all the weird stuff that happens all the time, I think maybe he could be satisfied with that. Also, pretty!
This house is just insane, and they take great advantage of that with this overhead shot. I like how the camera is almost looking down through the light fixtures.
It was really cool of Jared and Genevieve to let the show use their real wedding picture. And it's such a lovely picture, too, so why not use it? But more importantly, it amuses me greatly that the alpaca has a picture right next to the wedding photo on the mantle. That is all kinds of awesome.
I could probably write like eight visual reviews containing only things that amused me in this episode, and this is no exception. That horseback picture...it is way too amusing to think that anyone would put up a picture like that in the den. And flanked by armored guardians, no less! Wonderful.
I have no words for how much Dean's face and Sam's gangly awkwardness amuse me. Suffice it to say, it is a great deal. This whole scene was just so, so funny.
Overlooking the whole "Virgil has a knife to Misha's throat" thing, I once again really dig the lighting in this scene. The deep shadows and blue hues really hammer home the ominous atmosphere. On a lighter note, that sweater is fabulously amusing. And I'm having a really hard time getting my hand in the position Misha's left hand is in. Seriously, I don't think I can get my pinky finger to bend that way with the other ones so straight. It's like finger yoga. I'm just going to think about these things and ignore the fact that they KILLED MISHA!
I swear I didn't just toss up this photo for all you Sam fans out there, but go ahead and take a minute. I'll wait. Ready? The actual reason I posted this is because on the wall next to Sam is a flier that reads, "Roy Le Grange is a cult leader NOT a healer!" I have no idea how long that has been hanging on Bobby's wall, but I never noticed it before. And I think it is all kinds of awesome that they took that flier the guy in the parking lot was handing out in"Faith" and stuck it on the wall. This means that Dean kept that flier from "Faith" all the way until "Devil's Trap" and possibly longer, then gave it to Bobby, and Bobby stuck it on his wall. Or it's just a cool prop that the production team decided to reuse, but either way, I think it's really, really cool, and a nice, subtle way to tie into the show's past. Nice job, Jerry Wanek and team. As usual.
The Kripke death scene was so over-the-top and hilarious, wasn't it? Of course it took three shotgun blasts to stop him! And the crane overhead shot is a really nice touch.
This shot looks kind of familiar. Why does it look so familiar? Oh, yes, I know!
Because it's pretty much this shot, with a little repositioning. I think it is pretty fun that they used almost the exact same setup and Castiel walking toward the camera and everything in the ridiculous acting scene and then in the very serious scene at the end. It's like, "yes, this show can make fun of itself and we're all good sports, but at the end of the day, we're totally badass."
So there you have it. My favorites from this episode are 12, 1, and 16, in that order. There were so many good moments and funny things in this episode that I'm sure I missed some of your favorites, so tell me what you liked!