Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Of course, there's only one episode that springs to mind when I think of this holiday and Supernatural.  The love, blood, and tears flow during Dean's favorite day - Unattached Drifter Christmas.

The Road So Far

Sam, Dean, and Castiel have just come back to the present after visiting the folks back in 1978.  It was a good thing to go back and see Mary, as she was as a young woman.  It helps me come to terms with the Mary that is in later seasons.  I keep having to remind myself that Mary wasn’t sweet and innocent, but really a seasoned hunter with anger and family issues of her own.  Anyway, Anna the Angel was vanquished by Team Free Will after she stabbed poor Sammy in the stomach with a piece of rebar, but our traumatized trio now have another evil foe to deal with.

Review

I don’t think that I’ve ever really watched the opening minutes of this episode.  I usually look away when the flesh chomping begins.  Gross.  I’m more interested in the early signs of dissonance when Dean is suddenly not hungry and Cas decides that for once, he’s pretty interested in the food on the restaurant table. 

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Of course, Cas knows who the most likely villain is.  Yes, it’s that chubby kid in a diaper who likes to shoot people with arrows.  Historically, Cupid was often depicted as a full-grown naked man, so that’s probably why now, in modern views, he’s pictured as much younger and wearing a covering for his nether regions.  Castiel does clarify that Cupid is not incontinent, though.  It’s great fun to watch the naked Cupid be persistent in getting his bear hugs from Sam and Dean.  Canon Alert:  Cupid says that orders from On High created the union of John and Mary Winchester.  It becomes an interesting discussion topic for years to come.

On the way back to the motel, Sam gets a jump on a demon and gains possession of a mysterious suitcase.  Sam’s so cool here as he shows his recognition of the demon and then later is disturbed at the sight of the blood that the demon left behind.  The struggle to resist the pull of demon blood is starting to get real, again.

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Cas is still stuffing hamburgers in his face while Sam and Dean open the suitcase.  Of course, Cas again (between bites) knows why so many people are in trouble.  Famine has come to town.  Everyone’s suddenly starving for something that’s important to them.  I wonder what I would hunger for if I was there…I’d probably either fall asleep and not wake up for days, or I’d eat a few dozen gallons of cherry chocolate chip ice cream.  Famine of the Twelve Horsemen of the Apocalypse fame is chillingly played by the character actor James Otis.  Mr. Otis is one freaky dude.  He’s a great example of the stellar casting of the early seasons.  Casting was almost always spot-on back then.  A few misses like Amelia, but so many great guest actors were involved in the early years.

Now, the chills are really beginning as Sam realizes that he’s feeling the effects of Famine’s tricks.  He has to tell Dean that he can’t go face the Horseman and that he’s got to be chained up, for everyone’s protection.  Dean’s expression, as he realizes what Sam means, is heartbreaking.  It’s hard enough dealing with a powerful demon without having to worry about his little brother’s blood addiction.  Dean, himself…well, he says that he doesn’t feel a hunger for anything.  He’s well fed and just fine, thank you.  Yeah right.  Anyways, a “perfectly fine” Dean and Castiel go to confront Famine.

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Alas, everything is not perfectly fine with Sam.  He’s trying to pull himself free as some visitors appear.  The demons are bantering about how they’re going to hurt Sam, but they don’t have a chance against a blood-crazed hunter.  The speed that Sam hurls the male demon away and drinks from the female demon is a wonder to behold.  A shard of broken glass nearby means a nice large hole in her throat.  It’s a good thing that Dean’s not there to see that action.  Jeepers.  Sam seems evil, in that moment, and it’s hard (and thrilling) to watch him that way.

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In the meantime, Cas and Dean aren’t having much luck against Famine.  Cas overestimates his power to resist a pile of raw meat and Dean is soon held by Famine’s flunkies.  Famine doesn’t think that Dean’s well fed.  He thinks that “there's a deep, dark nothing” inside of him that will never be filled.  He can’t feel hunger if he’s already dead.  Poor Dean, such bleak words must penetrate deep.  He’s been through so much and it only gets worse from here.

The sight of Sam’s blood-stained face isn’t exactly what Dean wanted to see, but it’s impressive the way that Sam defeats Famine by drawing all the purloined souls out of his body.  I always think, with scenes like this one, that Dean can’t have it both ways.  He hates the methods that Sam’s using, but without them, the fight would likely be over and evil would win.  Dean doesn’t believe that Sam’s powers can be used in a righteous way.  I understand his point, but I’d have liked to see Dean try to find a way to help Sam control his powers because the unyielding way that Dean fights against them – that doesn’t solve much of anything.  Oh well, drama does ensue, that’s for sure.

Now having stated all that, I love the ending scene with a passion.  I love the way that Sam’s already in the panic room, begging and pleading to be let out, while Dean’s standing right outside the door.  That’s dramatic gold, right there.  Sam’s heard, but unseen, as the focus dwells on Dean.  He’s so sad, defeated, and bewildered by all the pain in his and Sam’s life that he just has to go outside to get some air.  The episode ends with Dean asking the Heavens for some help, just a little cosmic support in their desperate situation.  What a great episode.  Of course, this was written by Ben Edlund.  Most of my favorite episodes were written by him, Sera Gamble, and Jeremy Carver.  Eric Kripke wasn’t so bad, either.  Heavy, heavy sigh.

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Musings on Blood and Valentines

Okay, not really, I just like the title.  I’d actually like to sound off about The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix – I went into this series with much trepidation, expecting a gore-fest and constant shocks.  Actually, this turned out to be about family bonds and a fascinating psychological thriller with just enough frights to be scary, but not terrifying.  I love the house and sets that they use for Hill House.  It’s a wonderful feast for the eyes and on another viewing I’ll probably be paying more attention to the architecture and furnishings than to the actors.  They’re all great too, especially Carla Gugino.  She plays the mother slowly drawn away from her children and enthralled with the secrets of the old mansion.  The actors playing the children were also very good.  I’m especially enthralled by the young twins.  Those poor little kids, yikes.

Glow, also Netflix, might seem a strange fit for this piece.  Actually, I’ve always disliked fights, boxing, and wrestling.  Watching people hurt each other in “real” life is horrible to me.  I only decided to watch Glow after seeing all the great reviews and realizing the fact that it’s set in 1985.  That’s my era.  I love seeing the big hair and crazy clothes that they have.  Where did I put my scrunchy collection?  Anyhow, Glow stands for Glorious Ladies of Wrestling and boy, they are glorious.  They come in every shape, size, and background.  They are actresses mostly, who are just trying to get on television.  Besides the outfits, the characters are great and the premise of the series becomes fascinating.  I always scoffed at “fake” wrestling before, but the ladies of Glow  have taught me a few things that wrestling might really be about.  It’s not just the falls and stunts, it’s the story!  The lead character, charmingly played by Alison Brie, takes us on her journey to understand and excel at this totally new experience.  She comes to realize that the continuing drama and devotion to the fan’s favorite characters (or favorite hated characters) is what really drives the enjoyment of wrestling.  Since this is based on a true story, it’s also fun to know that a lot of this crazy stuff actually happened.

I’d like to continue on, but it’s getting late and my deadline approaches.  Let me know in the comments what you think about bloody or romantic stories, whatever you fancy.

----Mallena


Read more of Mallena's Musings on classic Supernatural episodes, television and movies! See the full list on Mallena's Writer's Page!