Hi, everyone. The nice people here at The WFB decided to let me write a series of episode reviews, for your enjoyment (let’s hope that it’s not a horrible mistake). I’m going to pick any episode from any season that was interesting to me in some way, then talk about other shows and books that touch upon the theme of the episode.
I felt obliged to start with my favorite episode of Supernatural's season seven, "The Born Again Identity". I am the president, secretary, and treasurer of the Truly Unofficial Season Seven Fan Club. I also bring the snacks to the meetings. We’re always looking for members - just let me know.
The Road So Far
Our handsome heroes are kind of falling apart. Sam hasn’t slept in days due to Hallucifer’s torment and Dean doesn’t seem very well equipped to help him. That’s probably because Dean doesn’t sleep much himself. Those two should take Yoga and meditation classes - I’d watch that episode. Cas is nowhere to be found, at the moment.
The story begins as poor Sammy is running down a dark street, all by his lonesome. Well, except for Hallucifer, who is literally driving him crazy. I’m terribly cranky and lethargic when I don’t get enough sleep, so I can see how days of sleeplessness would be absolute torture. I think my favorite part of my day is when I get in bed and go to dreamland. What does that say about my life, that I spend most of the day looking forward to going back to sleep? Enough about me, because poor Sammy was just hit by a car. Sam gets to wear hospital white (one of his best looks) and Dean gets to frantically burst in to see the doctor in charge. He wants to save his brother, of course he does. He then stalks off to go get some help.
The other lovely resident of this facility – Marin, who is played by Kacey Rohl, tried to help Sammy with his eating issues (bad Hallucifer! maggots, really?) by giving him candy. That was so sweet. I was always taken with Marin, I thought she was really pretty and interesting. I’ve always wanted Marin to come back on the show. She could get into hunting because of her experience, right?
While Hallucifer keeps tormenting Sammy with assorted loud and obnoxious noises, Dean is on the hunt for someone to help him. Emmanuel/Cas is found, Meg joins the party, demons amass, and our plucky trio of hunter/angel/demon storm the castle to rescue the Princess. Prince…whatever.
I loved this episode; as soon as it was over, I immediately watched it again. Okay, it’s not perfect. Once again, there were so many things happening and too little time to explore all the goodness. I think that the time spent searching and dealing with an amnesiac Cas should have been shortened to allow for more time spent with Sam in the hospital.
I also would have loved to see the aftermath. I’ve written the scenes in my head about what happened after Sam was healed. I think that he would have had very little time to talk to Dean or anyone else before he zonked out and slept for a day or so. I don’t think the hospital would have released him until he could function, anyway. After a nap and being checked out by a doctor, I envision a long ride home with Dean trying to talk to Sam, but he’s falling asleep constantly. My favorite part of my head canon is when Dean finally gets Sam home, but he won’t wake up enough to help much, so poor Dean is trying to drag him into the house. Of course, all the while, Dean is saying things like: “Come on, Sam! You’re not four years old anymore, I can’t carry you. Walk!” Then Sam gets dumped on a bed, Dean staggers to his bed and lots of snoring ensues. I love scenes like that. In “The Outsiders,” when Ponyboy is too tired to get into the house by himself and Darry has to carry him in…oh, that’s sweet stuff. Soda even says something about Pony being too big to carry.
Meanwhile, there had to be a way to get Cas committed to the hospital. How do they explain who he is and where he comes from? There needs to be medical records and insurance, right? Maybe it was a lot of cash, under the table.
I love this episode because it focuses on Tormented Sammy. I just love that. I don’t know what deep, dark, mostly hidden desire makes me enjoy a pitiful Almost Dead Sam, but I really do. He was so thin, haggard, and exhausted. Jared was so good in this story - I felt how tired he was, in fact, he was making me tired just watching him. I loved Sam’s struggle to survive, and felt so bad for him when he was giving up. Dean’s reaction to that moment was wonderful, too. I so admire Big Brother Dean; that guy has done, and will do, so much for his family.
I liked the parts with Sam helping Marin, because even in that terrible state, Sam wanted to help a fellow human being. He was having a bummer of a week, but at least he got to help someone else get on with their life.
I also liked some of the trip with Dean, Meg, and Cas/Emmanuel. I always feel bad for Cas’s “wife” - what is she supposed to do now? Hopefully someone told her what happened to her husband so she doesn’t wind up like Jimmy’s wife. Sheesh. The scene at the gas station was fun and I was happy when Meg showed up. She is like Ruby2 for me. Both characters have done really bad things, but the actresses that play them have so much charisma on-screen that I just have to forgive them.
My other favorite scenes are when Hallucifer is talking to Sam through a megaphone and throwing firecrackers at him. That Hallucifer is not a nice entity, but he does everything with such chilly glee.
After some really uncomfortable shock therapy, Sam is rescued and Cas takes the torment into himself. I didn’t mind that development, at all. Sam had to be saved, and I love Crazy Cas. How they got there doesn’t bother me, I’m just glad that it happened. It was great to see those final moments in the hospital with Meg being hired on as a nurse, and Cas…whatever he was doing. Yes, there are several huge holes in this story like – where are all the rest of the hospital staff and the patients? You would think that someone would call 911 when they saw people getting killed out in the parking lot, but that seemed to be an extremely deserted hospital at night.
Anyway, even with the plot holes that require some additional head canon, this was an amazing episode. I’m a sucker for emotional drama, as you shall see below.
Random Bonus Material
I just love a good day at the local mental hospital, don’t you? Forgive me if you or anyone you know have spent time at such a facility. I don’t mean to mock anyone’s real life pain; I’m just expressing my interest in the fictional variety.
Here are some movies and television shows that feature mental hospitals or the kind of mental problems that Sam was having:
Bates Motel – This show just finished up it’s last season recently, and I was blown away. Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore were just marvelous. This last season was so wonderful. It was a feast for the eyes as Norman’s viewpoint (and the viewers) went back and forth between what Norman was seeing, and what “Mother” was seeing. That was a show that I could not look away from for a second, or I might have missed some visual slight-of-hand.
Shutter Island – I love this movie; it’s so beautiful to look at, (not just Leo, but the ocean and cliffs) and it is heartbreaking and moving. I love the twisty, turny story.
The Magicians – The main character of this TV adaptation has mental issues and there is a very funny scene set in a mental hospital. He sings a favorite song of ours – Shake it off – and it’s memorable. The dialog and cool characters are very Sera Gamble - she writes for this show and is the showrunner. She’s doing a great job.
Legion – It’s a comic book TV show that is more like Jessica Jones than it is Arrow. I love this type of psychological thriller. It is an amazing kaleidoscope of drama and weirdness. I loved the first season and am looking forward to the next.
Farscape – It always makes me sad when people say that they have never heard of this show. In my mind, it’s one of the best sci-fi shows, ever. Crichton, our lovable astronaut, gets a chip placed in his head that makes him go crazy. He is haunted mentally by Scorpius who wants something from Crichton’s head that must stay a secret. This show frequently reminds me of Supernatural. There is laughter, tears, weird creatures, tragic romance, and wonderful action.
Set this House in Order by Matt Ruff – This is an amazing novel that features someone with multiple personalities. I’ve always been fascinated by that particular mental disorder and have read many books on the subject. This novel is just mesmerizing, and I felt like I was right there in the book the whole time I was reading it. That’s what the best books do – the words disappear and I am along for the ride.
12 Monkeys (Movie) – This is my favorite Bruce Willis movie. He and Madeline Stowe are so wonderful in it. I love the back and forth from the past and the future, and when everything comes around again.
12 Monkeys (TV) – This has just broadcast its third season in its entirety and season four will premiere next year. I was worried about not liking this one after enjoying the movie so much, but it is marvelous. The leads are so great in their parts that I don’t miss Bruce at all. The part that Brad Pitt played in the movie is now played by a girl. She is the best part of the whole thing. She has had mental issues all her life due to timey-wimey circumstances. You thought Brad was funny? This girl is hilarious and she keeps the whole thing hopping. It is twisty and convoluted – but it is so worth watching.
Awakenings – Okay, not actually a mental hospital, more like a long-term care facility, but I have to mention this one. It makes me laugh and cry. Robin Williams is terrific as the neurologist and my heart breaks for those poor patients. Remember the mom saying something like this about young Leonard? “And then he never moved again.” That was an actual epidemic and I can’t even imagine going through that, either as a mom or a patient.
Ordinary People – Talk about crying buckets of tears. Mary Tyler Moore is wonderful as the icy mom (Mary, anyone?) and there are too many great actors to name them all. That scene in Dr. Berger’s office when Conrad is crying and telling him about that horrible night is just perfect. “And what was the one wrong thing that you did?” Dr. Berger says. “I hung on, I stayed with the boat,” Conrad says. He lived and his brother died. It’s so awful, you just want to hug him. Huh, two brothers, a distant mom, tragedy, and survival… and I wonder why this movie devastates me so much.
Honorable Mention - Kacey Rohl was also in Hannibal. I couldn’t watch that show for very long – the blood and guts are extreme. Kacey was also in The Magicians and Arrow. That girl certainly gets around.
What did you think of this episode, and what other fictional mental health stories interest you? Till next time…
Enjoy Video Interviews of The Magicians' Cast and Writers at SDCC 2016 from Nightsky: