So, I watched “What’s Up Tiger Mommy?” for the first time since it aired in season 8. Now I know why I didn’t watch this again. What a freaking mess. The bad title ended up being the least of the issues. Remember how the season premiere, ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin” felt very disjointed? This episode was just plain disorganized and random. The pacing was dreadful, the story didn’t mesh the cast of scheming characters well and the rudimentary plotting ultimately set back Sam and Dean several seasons, not to mention the show in general.
This is a Dabb and Loflin script, which by season eight meant they liked to play it safe. A lot of hit or miss, and this was the latter. Actually, this ended up being their last script together. Andrew Dabb wrote episode 8.08, “Hunteri Heroici” solo for the first time (meh) and Daniel Loflin wrote 8.09, “Citizen Fang” solo (a pretty good episode). Pretty sad that 8.16, “Remember the Titans” was Loflin’s last Supernatural script, because he proved to be a talented writer on his own. Dabb’s scripts were never quite the same after they split up.
Anyway, I got about five minutes into this thing and went through the checklist of what I call the Supernatural cliche fest. Eccentric villain, check. Blood spatter from an innocent victim in the teaser, check. One Impala sticking out like a sore thumb in broad daylight while Sam and Dean do a “stealth” surveillance, check. Demons doing incredibly stupid things while watching Mrs. Tran making it obvious who they were, check. Sam and Dean killing said demons easily with demon killing knife, check. Then Sam did a reverse exorcism. Well, that’s different!
It’s funny how ever since that happened, it hasn’t been mentioned since. It’s weird. I know that we like to call foul with sudden canon changes a lot around here, but that made sense to me. Say the spell backwards. I do wonder how Sam figured that out and how he learned to say it backwards! It’s before the Men of Letters library of secrets and Bobby’s house is long gone, so it’s just a curious thing how he knew that. Obviously we didn’t lose a lot of sleep over it, which is why it probably never happened again.
But I digress. Let’s get back to the episode. The reverse exorcism is one of a few examples where the story was creeping forward and then something random happened that just derailed it. Like the interrogation scene. I liked it, but it came out of nowhere and didn't flow with what came before it. The parallels between the interrogation in the police station and Dean questioning the monster in Purgatory was very well edited. But Mr. Zen Longhair just let Dean get away with the brutal tactics, knowing how on edge he's been. Dean could have really killed that guy like he did the monster in the flashback. Sam was just a laid back wallflower throughout all this. Well, at least until the Thor Hammer thing.
Then, there’s more traditional detective work in search of the tablet and the episode suddenly shifts again when Mr. Top Hat shows up with the invitation to the auction. Where the f*** is all this going? Not a fluid story by any means. So, Sam, Dean, Kevin and Mrs. Trans go to the auction with one very lame plan and suddenly there’s supposed to be some sort of intrigue with a colorful cast of characters. By colorful, I mean the Wiener Hut uniform on Samandriel. The rest, meh.
Instead of that intrigue and drama, we get Dean being a supercharged mess more worried about the tablet than Kevin and Mrs. Tran, Sam being that wallflower and not saying much, and shock and surprise that Crowley is there. Why? Wasn’t it kind of obvious that he would be invited? Samandriel the angel showing up was a nice surprise, especially his inquiry to Dean about Castiel, but he did nothing! All he did is trigger a flashback for Dean. What a waste of an angel. He could have at least stepped in and helped in the fight against Crowley for the tablet. Angels are God’s warriors!
(Castiel has too much heart? Stay gold Ponyboy.)
Speaking of the flashback, it was nice to finally get an update on Castiel, but what garbage. The entire scene between Dean, Benny and Castiel was awful! It was so poorly framed and the dialogue was pure crap. It had that whole “As Purgatory Turns” soapish quality. I never realized how bad that was until now. Because of where it was inserted, it again jarred us away from the main plot, which was still very jagged and random as it was. But this time, I couldn’t stay engaged. I wanted this episode over.
Dean: Plan "C" tanked.
Crowley: Maybe you should try Plan "D" for dumbass.
Crowley pretty much nailed the entire auction scene. I’m “D’ for disappointed. Mrs. Tran’s sacrifice was powerful, but I’m disappointed that those running such a high security, warded auction didn’t anticipate Crowley’s tricks. I’m disappointed Sam and Dean didn’t anticipate Crowley’s tricks. I’m disappointed Dean thought he could just walk in and take the tablet from the vault or Kevin could give it a quick read to come up with a way to close the gates of Hell. He’s not thinking. I’m disappointed that Crowley walked out of there with the tablet with Dean only throwing hateful looks at him and Sam doing nothing. I’m not disappointed though about Kevin taking his Mom and running, hopefully with help from Samandriel. That part made the most sense.
Dean: He thinks people I don't need anymore – they end up dead.
Dean got what he deserved in the end. His confession that he would have killed Mrs. Tran for the tablet was reprehensible. Crowley’s words that the Winchesters have a habit of using people up and watching them die bloody was dead on and Kevin knew it. He didn’t have to hear Dean confess to Sam, he knew. At that point Sam should have locked Dean up. The fact that Sam didn’t believe what Dean said about Kevin was true tells us that he is as lost as Dean. He walked away for a reason and now jumping back into the life is proving difficult. I think. Right now all my sympathy is falling on Kevin. I have none for Sam and Dean. They can’t be trusted right now. I’m sure that’s all intentional, but it’s not fun to watch. Dabb always did like knocking our heroes down a peg and he did some damage here.
I do like that Dabb and Loflin tried to interject humor in this story a lot of the time, but a lot of it felt misplaced. The tattoo scene was awkward, not funny. The Costco Membership card being entered as part of the ante was cute. Not cute, killing the woman in the beginning all so Sam could make a light hearted kill with the Thor hammer, even if he was totally sexy throwing it. The setup was lame. Crowley got in a couple great zingers, but he was the only one. Dean’s jokes just made him look more like an asshole. This is probably why Dabb didn’t do a lot of humor in later seasons. Not his forte.
I even hated the fact that the FBI rock names this week were Neil and Sixx, which was Motley Crue. I hate Motley Crue. Not a classic rock worthy band by any means.
Overall grade, a C-. I’ll probably never watch this one again, unless it’s part of a rewatch party. I’m not sure why this would ever make the cut in that circumstance, but stranger things have happened. Coming up next, “A Little Slice of Kevin.” I hope it’s better.