This episode clearly goes in the “midseason filler” category. It goes up against other mediocre episodes like “Sam, Interrupted,” “Criss Angel is a Douchebag,” “Malleus Maleficarum”, and “#Thinman.” Compared to all those, it stood up well. Heck, I liked it just as much as those episodes. What gives this episode leeway though is behind the scenes factors. This was the writing debut of SPN writing assistant John Bring. He shared credit with Andrew Dabb, but first timers usually get paired with a senior writer. Remember Jeremy Carver’s debut with the slow and uneven “Sin City," co-written with Robert Singer? Jenny Klein’s debut episode (when she was a writing assistant) “Out with the Old,” also co-written with Robert Singer? To see Andrew Dabb get this chance to foster a new writer is pretty exciting.
I liked the A plot, but it was the B plot that most impressed me. No, not Crowley licking the floor (really, you made Mark Sheppard do that?) but after that. All I can say is it’s about freaking time. Crowley is free from the lair thanks to his own wits and hopefully this means that him in a lame hideout with stupid minions is done. Please, more demons like we got this week in the A plot. That’s the Hell I know and love.
So this is what it feels like to be God. Not bad. Tingly.
Ha! That's where an episode succeeds, by giving Crowley those damn good lines. He's been too saddled with crap lately. I paused the TV when Lucifer arrived at the artifacts room, telling the hubby, “If Crowley didn’t realize this was a trap, then I’m officially breaking up with this show.” Luckily, he did. Whew! It is so like Crowley to have a secret stash of toys, heck he’s eluded to it a few times (remember when he had Death’s Scythe in “Two Minutes to Midnight”?). How else in the past was he able to find needed objects so quickly? The fact that he had a God artifact didn’t surprise me at all. I'm more stunned he didn’t know its power. He definitely didn’t know that once you absorb that power, it’s a one and done. A big shout-out the awesome VFX in that scene. Mark Sheppard actually looks great when he glows!
But this all was a great answer to my Red Headed Monster rant last week. A fresh, renewed, and removed from the throne Crowley is an awesome thing. Finally, his character is getting a moment of definition. This is the Crowley that I remember from season five and six. His declaration of “I’m Crowley” spoke volumes for those of us dying for movement with his character. Overall the story line was a great follow up on last week’s events and gives us some “good to know” info as we go into the rest of the season.
I just hope we’re spared of Lucifer trying to deal with the minions in Hell and he’s out on his own trying to get some sort of plan in order. I’m still enjoying Misha Collins as Lucifer, but bottom line, even if Mark Pellegrino was delivering those lines, it still would have been painful. He’s not menacing. He’s impatient, sloppy, and underestimating his foes, aka Crowley. He’s looking like an incompetent, not the chilling and diabolical archangel we’ve seen prior. It reminds us that Lucifer should be take in small doses. At this point all someone needs to do is bitch slap him back in to the box. Bring Michael up, I’m sure he can easily do that. Wouldn’t that be worth the price of admission?
Speaking of which, and I’m just throwing this out there, how much could this plot change if Michael was a part of it? It would probably resolve things too easily but wouldn’t that be cool? I don’t want Jake Abel (Adam) back as Michael though. I loved Michael far better when Matt Cohen had that role. But hey, that’s just my mind wandering, as it tends to do during filler episodes.
Dean: You know they're having a memorial show tonight. I know you're itching to get back-
Sam: We should go to it.
Sam: Why not? The world is still gonna be screwed tomorrow, right?
That leads us to the A plot, aka Sam and Dean in wrestling land. It was cute. I LOVED seeing the guys take a break from the end of the world and enjoy themselves for once. For a pair of guys with few fond childhood memories, to see the re-live one of those good ones got my inner fan girl flailing in joy. Dean rolling into the ring and pretending to be part of the action was pure gold. Best part of the episode in my opinion (aside from Crowley absorbing the God power). Next best was Sam meeting the female wrestler that now runs it all, Rio. There was a female wrestler in the WWF like that back in the Hulk Hogan days (bonus points to whoever remembers her name). Sam may have played cool in front of her about confessing his crush and not saying yes when she asked if he had her poster over his bed, but naturally Dean would be the one to out him. That’s what he does. Good thing for Sam it wasn't in front of Rio. I only wish that there had been a scene where she and Sam went into a back room together and he got to experience those childhood fantasies. Ah well, we’ll leave that up to the fan fiction.
Dean: Town after town putting your ass on the line for next to nothing. No money, no glory. Wow.
Sam: You realize you just literally described our jobs.
There were a lot of parallels between the hunter life and the wrestling life. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. I have a hard time believing that following the script for entertainment works the same as fighting horrible monsters, but no doubt it's a rough life that’s physically punishing with many hours spent on the road either way. One could take the perspective that warriors aren't always meant to be saving the world, sometimes making people feel better or offering a little inspiration works too. Another parallel that should have hit a little more close to home but didn’t was the kid behind them whose father was killed by something evil. He was there with his Dad, despite the fact the man wasn’t a great parent, enjoying the wrestling match, which is exactly what Sam and Dean experienced with John years earlier. I wish we could have heard what Sam said to the kid. Meet your future hunter of America folks.
I've been beat up, spit on, stabbed, roughed up. But I will be damned if I didn't always get back up. One thing I learned, you gotta keep on grinding no matter what's thrown your way.
The plot was clearly meant to address Dean’s latest funk, and it did an effective job. He meets a childhood hero, wrestler Gunner Lawless, and turns out these two are kindred spirits. Warriors with stories of woe and the battle scars to prove it. I really enjoyed the spark between them, even when Dean found out the truth. He didn’t judge or take the truth badly, he understood. Probably because he’s been there. Dean has made the same bad decisions out of desperation and had to pay a terrible price. He also could see that Gunner was a good guy underneath it all and was only following through with the terms of the bad deal he made.
Its Dean’s ability to read people that has gotten him and Sam out of multiple messes, and he did it again here by persuading Gunner to redeem himself before paying the price. Yeah, it’s a story we’ve seen many times on this show before and it was paint by numbers in execution, but what made it work was the connection between Dean and Gunner. It played out well on the screen. I thought it was a nice gesture of Dean to offer his gun to Gunner to avoid the Hellhounds from ripping him apart. I like that he didn’t accept it and chose to face him punishment because plain and simple, he deserved it. That’s a guy with real character.
The important thing was the whole experience was kick in the pants that Dean needed. Heck, we’ve all been dying to see Dean like this for a while. Not only is Dean determined to beat Lucifer and The Darkness, but he won’t give up on Castiel. He still believes he can save him, even if he might not want saving. I'm just wondering how that can even be possible. Dean certainly doesn't know, and as we know casting out an angel that is possessing you isn't so easy. Ah well, I still want to know how he plans on defeating the Darkness. At this point, Lucifer seems like a cake walk. The vital take away though is that the brothers are united and on the same page, so we all will take this four week breather and come back ready for action.
The Red Headed Monster
The monster really doesn't want to pick apart or read too much into an episode that was mostly meant for harmless fun, but this episode did bring something to light that has been on my mind for a while. Sam and Dean both noticed that Top Notch Wrestling shows were once grander more…"Top Notch.” That's a definitely a statement for people like myself, who often dwell on earlier days of "Supernatural." Heck, I had a rare chance the other morning to watch "Supernatural" on TNT. I got to see "In The Beginning," "Metamorphosis," and "Monster Movie." My reaction? "Wow, I forgot how good this show was." Point is, "Supernatural" may not be as enjoyable, but it still has some life and entertainment value left, just like the Top Notch shows. It may not be the same thrill, but we’re still cheering. We still want more.
John Bring is a writer after my own heart. He made a Simpson’s reference! That instantly makes him a favorite of mine. Not sure what it was? It came from Lucifer himself, who was channeling Nelson Muntz. “You made me bleed my own blood.” Of course Andrew Dabb has made many Simpsons references in the past, so perhaps it was him? I caught Lucifer’s line from The Fugitive too, but I was less impressed with that context.
Dean using holy water in the tequila to see if anyone was a demon? Fantastic! He kept up with all those wrestlers, meaning he still can drink people under the table. Okay, maybe not all the wrestlers ultimately, but wasn’t it fun to see the end result?
I loved how Harley picked Heaven over Hell when given the choice (great appearance from The Miz). His anger against everyone was that he was actually moral! It rarely happens on this show, but once in a while someone professes their faith in the most crucial hour. Harley knew that the choice would get him killed, but he chose Heaven anyway. "I'm not giving up my shot at a belt I can win on my own." So bad yet so good! Those angels better give him the deluxe suite up there in Heaven. Fine hotels and championship wins galore! The ultimate winner in the test of faith.
Overall Grade, a B-. Not a spectacular way to go into a midseason break, but hey, at least Dean is charged up again. If anything, maybe this will result in more Sam and Dean wrestling matches in the bunker (crap, my fan fiction voice is speaking again). See you back on March 23rd!