Thursday, May 21, 2020

Supernatural season 2 eps 18 - 22

Season 2 recap continues..  spoilers ahead.

Ep 18 - Hollywood Babylon
The boys investigate a haunted movie set, but it turns out to not be haunted.  Other things are afoot.  They manage to get jobs on the set, Dean makes a particularly good PA.  He also eats everything he can, I do enjoy Dean eating, and he gets laid, by the star actress no less.  We learn about Dean's love and knowledge of crappy horror films.  This is very much a Dean-centric episode and I heartily approve.  Particularly as I feel that season 2 is overall more Sam-centric.  It is about his psychic powers after all, and it's a good storyline, but I do like Dean stories.

Through looking at other recaps just now I see that Something Wicked in season 1 is also Dean centric.  Normally I would watch it, but it deals with ill children so I am so not up to watching it at the moment.

Ep 19 - Folsom Prison Blues
This is a bonkers premise.  There's a haunting in a prison so the boys get themselves arrested (easy enough to do with the files the police have on them), and they get sent to the haunted prison.  Convenient.  Dean fits in particularly well, he's all swagger and bravado and instantly gets on with some of the prisoners.  Others he gets into a fight with.  Of course he does, he's Dean.

Dean charms their lawyer and convinces her to get him information about the ghost's body, and the boys escape.

This is a wonderfully fun, charismatic episode.  Dean is having far too much fun and Sam thinks the whole idea is bonkers.

Ep 20 - What is and what should never be
Ooof. if you are a fan of Dean this might well break your heart.

Dean get attacked by a Djinn and is thrust into what he thinks is a new reality.  In this new reality his mum is alive, the family aren't hunters, and Sam and him don't get on.  Given that this is meant to be his greatest wish fulfilled, I find this ep a bit unbelievable, as I don't think he would ever dream of a reality where Sam and him weren't joined at the hip.

Their Dad is dead, of a stroke, small mercies and all that, but then Dean realises that all the people they have saved in the other world are dead in this one.  He decides that he needs to sacrifice his happiness and go back to his old world.  And that is why I love this show and I love Dean.  he's a hero through and through, he (nearly) always does the right thing and he's committed to improving the world.  He decides to give up his own personal happiness in order to do what is right.  That is amazing and something to aspire to.

Dean decides to go find the Djinn and kill it, thereby reversing the spell, and Sam comes along with him (because they are destined to be together), Sam finds out about the supernatural and then Dean realises this isn't a new reality, it's an illusion.  And he end sup back in the real world and he's quite broken.

Ep 21 - All hell breaks loose part 1
The start of the epic season 2 conclusion!

Sam get kidnapped to a weird deserted town. The other psychic kids are there.  They learn about Azazel's deathmatch plan.  Sam is stabbed by the remaining psychic kid and dies in Dean's arms.

My heart is broken, again.

This is an excellent death scene, watching Dean react to his brother's death tears me apart.

Ep 22 - All hell breaks loose part 2
And then I get torn apart even more.
Dean's words to Bobby and his monologing over Sam's body illustrates to me how much of a parental role Dean has to Sam.  He has seen his charge die, his role in life has been to keep Sam safe, at all costs, and now he's failed him.  Dean expected Sam to outlive him, but now Sam has died and it just reminds me so much of a parent's grief when their child dies.  Dean will do absolutely anything to get Sam back.  So he does.  He makes a deal with a crossroads demon - to get Sam back Deans gives up his soul in 12 months time.  Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

The thing I don't like about this episode is John's ridiculous return. It's not needed and it cheapens what has gone on earlier in the season.  The brothers have worked through their feelings about John's death and we've had a huge focus on the brother's relationship.  John does not belong there.

So, that's a shitty note to end the season on.  If we forget about that part then season 2 remains glorious and worth many many watches.  I've started rewatching season 3 already.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Supernatural Season 2 - eps 4, 6 - 17 and a pandemic related rant

Season 2 is absolutely fucking gold.  Pretty much all the episodes are great, and it's filled with memorable gems that I was sure were in later seasons.

This season really looked at how depressed Dean is.  He does the job, hes good at it, but he feels empty.  He doesn't have much hope.  He loves Sam, and he gets enjoyment out of things in life, but he is mostly just sad.

I've already talked about eps 1-3 and 5, now I'll recount the rest.

Ep 4 - Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things.  So I didn't watch all of this again. It just didn't grab me.  I remember Dean being very angry, and rightfully so.  His dad has just died, he's grieving.

Ep 6 - No Exit. Jo from the Roadhouse joins the boys on a hunt.  She's clever that one.  She's capable and ambitious but not quite got enough experience.  It's another creepy episode, with an excellent ending to the ghost.

Ep 7 - The Usual Suspects.  Sam and Dean get arrested for murder, we get another excellent female supporting characters as Diana, a lady cop, played by Linda Blair.  Diana learns about the supernatural, we find out who wronged the ghost and the boys get away to hunt another day.  We also get a great pea soup gag at the end.  Sounds simplistic but the execution is marvellous. The interviews with the boys, both focusing on the hunt and seemingly not bothered by the arrest, and the way the story of the ghost pans out is marvellous.

This episode means that from now on the boys are on the run from the law, which makes for a slight change in attitude from them, and is followed through in future episodes.  Back when the season arcs made sense and we had continuity.

Ep 8 - Crossroad Blues.  We meet a crossroads demon and learn about hell hounds.  The opening to this is just wonderful, the blues scene is full of soul (pardon the obvious language, I'm tired and lockdown has turned my brain to jam), and the arrival of the hellhound is masterful.

Ep 9 - Croatoan.  Dean tells San what their dad told him before he died, but honestly I'm ambivalent about that.  I know it provides angst, but I do not give two shits about John.  The Croatoan demon virus is what is really interesting and what grabs me.  I feel like The Darkness' plague in season 13/14(?) repeated the Croatoan madness.  Lazy writing in later seasons.

Ep 10 - Hunted. I don't think I paid too much attention to this one either, not after looking at a  synopsis.  Gordon turned up and tried to kill Sam.  That was never gonna work, or take, let's be honest.  I have no interest in Gordon.

Ep 11 - Playthings.  I found this difficult to watch because of the daughter's near death.  Powerful episode though.  The case is found in a hotel.  A mother, daughter and grandma live there and the hotel is getting sold.  The Grandma had a sister who died as a young child, 9ish.  The Grandma has been keeping her ghost at bay with hoodoo all her life, but now she's had a stroke so her ghost now befriend the daughter and kills people.

Ep 12 - Nightshifter.  Super wiki tells me this is mostly about a bank robbery and apparent suicides.  I have no idea. Brain jam you see.

After running out of steam the other day, I am coming back to this post and will try to finish it tonight. But first, a rant.

I have been so eager to do a re-watch and write a recap of the episodes, I've been daydreaming about how to do it, thinking about the episodes that had the most impact on me, trying to spot the foreshadowing and Easter eggs and all the innocuous but important bits that you notice when you adore something.

Yet now I am in the situation where I want to continue writing, and I want to wrap up each season before starting the next, but it feels like another pressured thing to do, on top of all the other endless things to do that are stacking up and up and up an becoming unbearable, because we're in fucking lockdown, stuck at home, with a shit incompetent government who would rather make money than protect people, doing our best to avoid catching a virus that could well fucking kill me, stuck far away from family who I cannot visit because they are vulnerable, with next to no space to myself, no time to think and relax because there is always someone else around.  I am hardly ever alone and it's ruining me.

There's homeschooling (or whatever it is that we're calling it), checking the school website for lesson plans and educational ideas, trying to catch up with people on video chat, meal plans, sorting out food deliveries, working out when to do a supermarket shop, paying attention to my asthma and mood meds, going for daily exercise, cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room, doing the laundry, trying to read, trying to junk model, trying to think of exciting things to make with what we've got, negotiating the post office, trying to manage my trichotillomania (and failing), thinking of how we will keep the lad at home when schools allegedly re-open, worrying about the lad's social interaction with other, being convinced that family or myself will die of this disease, worrying about my family's actual real non-covid related hospital admissions, getting up, going to bed, wondering when I can have another eyesight test, remembering to take my iron tablets, trying to work out balanced meals for everyone, trying not to drink too often.  Remembering to adjust my chair when I sit down to work, trying to do my work from home, trying to manage my family's expectations and prevent them from falling into a pit of despair.  Trying to do my hobbies.

There is probably far far more also on my plate, which leads to me rage typing this.

I'm not the only one, most people feel like this.  We've had 67 days of lockdown and it's awful.  Sometimes it's good.  But mostly it's awful.  I miss normal contact with people, I miss being able to go places.  I hate homeschooling.

Fuck this shit, fuck this pandemic and fuck this virus.  Fuck the Tory government and their lies and half truths and misinformation and piss poor strategy.

Now this is off my chest, let's go back to writing up the episodes.

Ep 13 - Houses of the Holy.  This might be my favourite ep of the season.  It's where the boys discover angels, or it seems like they do.  This feels like the start of theology in the show.  Sam believes in God, Dean doesn't and he is shaken by Sam's belief.  I feel like given all the shit (dead mother, shitty father, many horrible demons and supernatural stuff hurting people) that Dean has witnessed he can't believe in the christian God because what God could allow it.  Whereas Sam, well Sam never knew his mother, he doesn't feel the loss like Dean does, and he never witnessed the change in John's parenting.  Dean was young, sure, but he remembers bits of Mary.  He parented Sam and protected him, kept him safe, but he didn't have anyone to do that for him.  I'm not surprised he doesn't have any faith and that he can't accept the existence of angels.  At this point in the show they believe that angels represent goodness.  They'll learn.

Then at the end Dean is forced to reconsider his stance, and it's so touching, so emotional, and seeing him start to feel differently, to consider the possibility of the divine, is just a stellar piece of telly.

Ep 14 - Born Under a Bad Sign.  This is also an exceptionally good episode.  Sam gets possessed by Meg, the demon from season 1.  MegSam kills people.  Dean finds out and his first instinct is to cover up the murder and protect Sam.  My heart, it bursts.  I'm a sucker for deep, abiding, I will move the earth for you love, and the Winchesters have it in spades.  There's a reason the show is also known as The Epic Love Story Of Sam And Dean.

Ep 15 - Tall Tales.  The Trickster arrives.  I adore this guy.  I was so pleased he came back in later seasons.  I'm not that fussed about the plot for this ep, but it's got some great character moments.  The scenes where the boys are recounting their evening in the bar to Bobby, and we see their versions of events, is just top quality.

Ep 16 - Roadkill.  There are 2 ghosts haunting a stretch of road and the boys lay them to rest.  The plot twist is that we think one of them is a living human until the end of the episode, and so does the ghost.  I know this is a trope that has been done before, but it feels fresh and compelling in this episode.  I have a note that says that the way Sam explains why ghosts exist echoes how Dean saw him explain stuff to the guy in Tall Tales.  I think this is referring to Dean's version of events in tall tales where Sam gives an uninterested witness a hug and is very emotional slash supportive slash puppy eyed at them.  So I guess it shows where Dean's version of events comes from.

I feel that these episodes are good examples of how Dean is very practical, very much in the here and now, wanting to solve the immediate problem then emotionally ditch it.  Whereas Sam is more of a thinker.  I believe that Sam and Dean are just as emotional as each other, they just express or hide the emotions in different ways.  Dean certainly isn't stupid either, he's framed as the least educated one, because he didn't go to University and he isn't widely read, but he's a good hunter and can put two and two together perfectly well enough.  I think he's more reckless than Sam, and I think he's more willing to take risks (so long as they don't risk Sam), and he's more willing to get killed in the line of duty.  Sam nearly got out. He tasted a normal life.  Dean has never felt he's had that option.

Ep 17 - Heart.  Dean goes to a strip club, Sam gets laid and the boys argue over what makes a monster worth killing.  All in the context of a werewolf hunt.  There's a discussion about an abusive ex and I think the scene did a reasonable job at showing how women get away from domestic violence and recovery.
The scenes were Sam has Madison tied up and is trying to get her to admit to being a werewolf are really compelling.  Especially when viewed in parallel with the earlier discussion of DV.  Sam switches to terrifying and Madison is genuinely terrified.
Dean offers to shoot Madison for Sam, and then cries on behalf of Sam when he does it.  I feel like this is quite a Wincesty moment.  Even though by the end Season 2 finale Dean is in more of a parental place with Sam.  These Winchesters are complex.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Supernatural's one-off women

The thing that really struck me on my first watch of Supernatural, was the female supporting characters.  I'm used to shows that treat their one-off supporting characters as disposable cliches at worst, as one dimensional at best.

This show though, it's really male.  It's a story about brothers, masculinity and family.  There's seemingly not a lot of space in it for women, yet within Season 1's supporting cast it's generally the men that get sacrificed for the plot and the women who survive.

If you've read my earlier posts you'll have deduced that season 1 follows a monster of the week format.
In Wendigo a woman is searching for her brother, lost in the woods.  Dead in the Water features mysterious drownings, we are led through the town by the Sheriff's daughter.  In Bloody Mary we meet a woman who is being stalked by Bloody Mary.  Hook Man gives us a preacher's daughter with sexual hangups.  Asylum has a male/female couple in a haunted hospital.  Scarecrow gives us a young woman in a town full of Vanir worshippers.  I can't be arsed to list the rest but you get the gist.

The thing these women have in common is that they all learn about the monsters under the bed, and while it scares them, obviously it scares them, they cope with it.  They accept it, they don't freak out, they figure out how they can help the brothers and carry on with life.  I expected them to be flat, and screamy, and not much use to be quite honest.  Instead, on the whole they are courageous and resilient.

This treatment changed in season 2, (bearing in mind on my rewatch I'm only on episode 8) where the supporting characters were usually male.  That makes me sad.  On the other hand we get to meet Ellen and Jo who are AH-mazing.  The Usual Suspects gives us a female cop who is just as capable as the season 1 supporting women.

I really want to read a fic where all these supporting women are in a bar, a few years after they first met the brothers.  They are mostly living a normal life, maybe they've killed a few things themselves, and they are chatting and catching up with the other women about the brothers and the cases where they met.  Some will get outrageously drunk, some will be snarky.  They'd gossip about the brothers and compare notes.  It would be such fun and we would get some brilliant outsider point of view stories.

I want this.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Supernatural: Se2 Ep 5 - Simon Said

Spoilers ahead, plus discussion of non-consensual sexual relationships and invading people's privacy with telepathy.
I am discussing the episode not from an in-story viewpoint, but from a real world viewpoint, looking at the mechanism of how things were filmed and the culture of the show and TV industry at the time.
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In this episode the brothers meet another psychic kid, Andy.  Andy is portrayed as a good guy. He's totally average, has friends, doesn't stand out at all.  In a high school show he would be the nerd loser type, with a couple of close friends, who never gets the girl but is fundamentally a decent person.  A bit like Buffy's Xander, but less good looking.  Compared to the Brothers Winchester he's short and scrawny, he has none of their charisma and glamour.  He's got a van with a painting of a Barbarian Queen riding a polar bear on the side.  He's that sort of dude.

We find out he has telepathic powers - he can make people do things.  For example, give him their coffee, let him into the police records department, borrow their car (Dean's car, for reference), and tell him whatever is on their mind.  Sam is the only one immune to his powers.  We see that Andy reads philosophy, he talks about the ethics of telepathy (a bit), he says he has never used to harm anyone and that he has certainly never used it on his possibly-girlfriend, Tracey. 

Andy has an evil twin, Webber, who is using his power to force people to commit suicide, in order to persuade Andy to become close to him.  Webber is clearly the bad guy, and Andy is positioned as the friendly telepath who harms no one.  He's certainly not positioned as a danger to anyone.

Now here is the start of my point.

So, with all that in mind, I find it interesting that in the first scene where we see Andy, he's leaving an attractive woman's flat in the morning, with the implication that he has had a one night stand with her.  It's not explicitly stated that is what has happened, but given the show's attitude to sexual relationships (hello Dean), and our cultural understanding of a bloke leaving a woman's flat first thing in the morning, wearing a happy grin, I think we can assume that Andy and unnamed woman had a lot of sex.

Andy is presented as a sort of lovable loser.  An everyday guy who becomes the secondary hero in the episode (the Winchesters being the heroes obvs).  All the cues indicate that this sort of guy is not usually successful with women.  So how did he have this one night stand?  I guess we assume that he used his telepathic powers to get this woman into bed.

That's a bad thing.  That's rape.  If telepathy were real, there would be laws about it, stating that using telepathy to get sex is rape.

Now my point.

Given that Andy is portrayed as the good guy it's astounding/interesting to me that this particular opening scene with him was filmed in the way that it was.  The episode goes to such pains to show us that Andy is basically a good guy, using his power in a harmless way.  I wonder if no one picked up on the implications of the one night stand scene, or if someone did but was ignored.  It just screams of everyday sexism and this stuff just not being on the writer's or director's radar.

It was filmed in 2006, I don't feel that there is much excuse for being ignorant of gender politics back then, but I accept that many people were.

I think of how the supporting women in season 1 were portrayed, how they were mostly supporting characters but were given agency, proper roles and were treated with respect, as characters and actresses.  I see that changing in season 2, mostly due the show moving away from a monster of the week episode, but that we get recurring female characters in the form of Ellen and Jo (who in my opinion are truly magnificent).

I wonder what sort of atmosphere it was on set, I wonder how the women involved in the show (n any capacity) felt.  Was it noticed and ignored, did it feel like yet another micro-aggression, did any of the men notice it and feel uncomfortable with it.  How did the set culture compare to other American TV shows being filmed at the time.

I have no answers, I'm just curious.

Note - I feel it needs to be said that the episode, and to some minds the whole show, doesn't examine the abusive nature of telepathy - in that most sensible emotionally literate people can figure out that using mind manipulation powers on other people is a pretty awful thing to do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Supernatural - heroism

Just a few thoughts that keep rumbling around my mine about the show.
Spoilers ahead.
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It becomes apparent in the later seasons, that the brothers are honest to Gods heroes.  To paraphrase the Slayer's epitaph, they saved the world a lot. In Se1 though, they seem more like ordinary folk, not heroes so much, as two guys just doing a job.

I like that they aren't ever superheroes, they don't get magic powers (nothing long lasting anyway), they don't get power rings, they aren't superhuman, they aren't bathed in space beams, they can't do more than normal people can.

They have been brought up to shoot guns, hunt demons, do research, learn theological sigils and basic magic.  But they are ordinary people in ordinary bodies.  For the record, I don't think Sam's pshychic powers count as a superpower.

When they stumble along the riches in the Bunker they don't suddenly know everything, they still have to research, they've just got a comfortable base to do so from.  To be honest, they deserve a nice home, though the lack of natural sunlight would irk me. I bet it pisses Sam off too.  And Dean, though he might not ever admit it.

The brothers don't expect to live a long life.  They do what they do out of a sense of duty and responsibility, and because it's the right thing to do*.  They are intensely moral (until it comes to saving the other one from death or torture, then, ignoring those few episodes after the Trials, the rest of the world can go swivel).  To hazard a guess, they expect to die in their 30s or 40s. Most hunters get killed by something awful before they get old.

The thing about the brothers though, is that the older they get the harder they are to kill, because older hunters have got to be older hunters because they are very good at not dying*.  Or not staying dead in these two's case.  So in all likelihood they are going to get older and better and will die at a ripe old age of something boring.  Hopefully in each other's arms.

To get back to the original point, these are ordinary folks, like you and me, with specific training to be sure, but really just like you and me.  We could do what they do, if we tried hard enough and gave up enough.  That's an attractive quality in a protagonist.  It's more believable than Batman.


* Spot the Discworld references here.

Supernatural Season 2 recap, eps 1-3

I'm writing these recaps to get my head straight about the show, note down foreshadowing and interesting throwaway scenes or dialogue.  Don't expect many insightful comments.  These posts are totally for my benefit.
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Spoilers ahead.
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So while Season 1 was setting up the show, having the brothers trace their Dad, and finding a way to defeat the yellow eyed demon (later discovered to be named Azazel), Season 2 is about the psychic kids and Azazel's plan for them.  The finale neatly sets up for season 3 too but I won't write about that just yet.

Episode 1 - In My Time of Dying.
I think all the opening episodes of Supernatural are good, but this one is just pure gold.  There is not one wasted second of it, it's a powerful and emotive storyline.

After season 1's finale, John, Dean and Sam are in hospital.  Sam is mobile, John is more damaged, but Dean has had a horrific brain injury and he's dying.  We meet Tessa, the second reaper of the show, and she tries to persuade Dean to go with her.  John is scheming, doesn't tell anyone what he's planning, but then goes to Azazel and trades the colt and his life for Dean's.  John dies.

Notable points about this episode - the cast seem really, really settled in their roles.  It's smooth, seamless and every single bit of it works.
Dean says 'You can't kill Death'.  Spoiler - many years later he does.  And now I'm dreaming of rewatching the 4 horsemen episodes.
Bobby tells Sam he doesn't want to tow the impala, that it's ruined, but Sam won't let him.  This doesn't feel in character for what we know of Bobby later.  Nevermind.
Tessa is possessed by Azazel at some point and we see the reaper's true form.  I'm not sure if this ever happens again.
In a really heartfelt scene John apologises to Dean for being a shit parent.  Irritatingly enough this forces me to reconsider my view of John's parenting.  But then just before he dies he whispers something in Dean's ear, we don't find out what it is until much later in the show, but it brings us back to his shit parenting.

Episode 2 - Everybody loves a clown
This has the brothers first trip to the Roadhouse, giving us Ellen and Jo and providing me with two more on-screen loves.
This episode really drives home how much Dean doesn't talk.  It's been touched on before but this ep, with the aftermath of John's lonely, Hunter's funeral with just his sons in attendance, made a point of it.  We also see how cut off form other Hunters Sam and Dean are.  John really didn't clue them into the network that much, apart from Bobby.
The demon is this episode is a Rakshasha, posing a s a clown to get close to children and kill their parents.
Dean is busy fixing the Impala, and then after Sam tries to Talk to him, Dean smashes it up. that's how he's showing his grief, and it's another powerful scene.  It's one that stayed with me throughout the whole 15 seasons, and as such, was another one I'd pegged as happening much later on.

Episode 3 - Bloodlust
Finally, we have the right sort of music in the opening credits.  I remember this episode relatively well.  It's got Gordon the unbending Hunter, and Amber Benson as a vampire.  Benson's performance is magical.  She's just draws you in, she's wonderful.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Supernatural Season 1 recap

So, Supernatural again.  I remain obsessed.  I have had obsessions throughout my life, when I fall for something I fall long and hard.

As a wee girl it was ponies and horses.  As a teen it was music. Then piercings for a few years (alongside the music), then bonsai trees for a a year-ish.  Then my love affair with comics started and lasted, well, it's still there.  It just got sidetracked by my often mentioned grief.  Grief which is still there.

The comics fan in me is still there too, it's just fired into different avenues. I no longer buy lots of weeklies (as if I even could at the moment, since the fucking pandemic has stopped all distribution of weeklies for the foreseeable future), but I read Tiny Titans and other age appropriate comics to my darling rainbow son, and we play at superheroes and it's absolutely marvellous.

I'm pretty into my crochet and yarn too, but it's not an all living all breathing fannish obsession for me, it's more than that. It's a need to be creative, it's a way to calm my mind, it's a practical thing to do and it's soul soothing.  As well as exciting and giddy and fun.

I guess Supernatural is my new fannish obsession. I've watched a lot of telly since we had our second, and I've enjoyed a lot but only Supernatural has clawed it's way into my very being.  I have a section in my filofax dedicated to notes and thoughts about the show.  It's under the section called projects.  I'm such a fucking nerd.

I started making notes about the show from season 7, and now I'm rewatching my favourite episodes so I can understand them more and delve into the mythos more.  And seperate it from all teh fanfic fanon I've devoured.  Fanfic rambling belongs in another thread.

ANYWAY.

Season 1. I wrote about the Pilot, Wendigo and Dead in the Water already.  What will follow is ramblings about the remaining season 1 episodes, plus Phantom Traveller agai, for some reason.  Spoilers, obvs.

Ep 4 - Phantom Traveller.  I thought this was a much later episode where Dean and Sam died in a plane crash and got resurrected.  It wasn't.  It did show us Dean's fear of flying though (I relate man, I really do).  Although not explicitly stated, it's the first time the boys come across a demon.  Again, I had assumed they knew about demons prior to this, but they really didn't.  I think there just weren't many demons on earth at this point.

Ep 5 - Bloody Mary. Ahh this one is sooo good!  The Bloody Mary Legend is taken, expanded upon, details are created and it just works so, so well.  It's scary, and creative and it's got mirror magic in it.  I have a note that Dean has good eyebrow action in this episode.  Dean has enough of Sammy's guilt.  Sam cannot see that Dean has ever done anything wrong. There is much angst.  This is a really good setup for the brothers' angst and love and adoration of each other.  I'll likely explore that in another blog post, along with Wincest. And fanfic.

Ep 6 is Skin. I watched it, I got a bit bored.  Even with all the Wincest implications.  It reminded me of an X-Files episode.  Shapeshifters are not my cup of tea at this stage in the show.

Ep 7 is Hookman. It's a very strong episode, and feels like the show has settled into it's groove.  the music so far has been pretty awful though.  All modern American college rock stuff. It's not what Dean listens to.  I have been told that this is because I'm watching on Amazon Prime and Amazon don't have the rights to the proper music.  Not sure how that works but hey.  Poor show Amazon, poor show.

What is interesting here is that the lady is hitting on Sam, not Dean.  Dean is set up to be a womaniser, but isn't actually all that successful up to now. We don't see him actually scoring with any women, but he's shown as a letch.  Later seasons show us that he is nearly always successful, and that he treats women with respect, but at this point in the show it could have gone either way.

Ep 8 - Bugs.  A Native American takes no shit from Dean.  There's lots of insects.  Folk think the brothers are a couple.  This is a fun episode.  Not the strongest, but fun.

Ep 9, Home, I skipped. Although I probably shouldn't have as it's big on the brother angst and their relationship.  John turns up at the end, apparently.

Ep 10.  Asylum. I didn't watch this one either.  I have very little thoughts on it.

Ep 11 - Scarecrow.  A pagan themed horror story with the Norse vanir.  This is so up my street it's practically set up home with me.  I found the depiction of the Vanir initially insulting, but as I thought about it more, it felt right.  Yes they are the agrarian Gods, but no one said farmers should be nice.  Farmers deal with a lot of shit, they see the violence in everyday life and they know what the results of a good and bad harvest is.  Bring prideful, selfish, bloodthirsty Gods into that and of course they will demand these bloody sacrifices.

Sam leaves Dean for the first time on screen (Stanford was off screen) and it does read like a couple's break up.  He meets Meg. Who I dislike.  Also notable for Sam going to save Dean before the girl. Wincest innit.

Ep 12 - Faith.  Dean get electrocuted and nearly dies.  Sam takes him to a faith healer to fix him.  We meet a reaper for the first time.  I stopped this 15 mins in as I couldn't be arsed. Bad fan.

Ep 13 - Route 666.  It's a possessed truck!  Possessed by a racist who is killing the people who killed him and covered up his murder in the 60s, the murder that happened because the racist was murdering the black folk.  The racist also set fire to a church which killed a children's choir, so predictably I went a bit squicky at that.  Overall though, a great episode.

My notes say that I started developing a crush on Sam around this episode.  Dammit, I'ma  Dean girl!  I've clearly read too much slash.  Other notes for this state that...
- Cassie is Dean's love interest in this, she's an ex of his, he had a an actual relationship, Gods alive, and she's OK.  The actress could have done with some better material, but she did OK with what she had.
- There is minimal drinking at this point. By season 6 Dean is clearly an alcoholic, but here, they don't drink so much.
- Sam is allowed to drive the car.
- The way they get rid of the truck is pretty inventive.  I approve.
- There's a good slashy moment in the car at the end.  All the looks, IIRC.

Ep 14, Nightmare. This kicks off the psychic kids storyline.  I've always felt like this storyline had something lacking at the start.  It's a bit piecemeal. I can't quite put my finger on it because actually this episode works pretty well. I think I find the way that Sam reacts to Max and delivers the exposition jarring.  It's a bit too much telling us how things are rather than letting the story show us. Maybe?  Hats off to whoever decided to put the boys in priest garb, because they look very attractive in it.

Ep 15 - The Benders.  Really fucking creepy. Gave us the 'Demons I get, people are crazy' line.  That sets the tone for the rest of the show.  Dean's voice is now gravelly, and not the weird breathy thing that it was in the earlier episodes.  Dean is notable for looking basically the same here as he does in season 15, minus a few crow's feet.  Whereas Sam looks totally different.

Ep 16. Shadow. I skipped this. Turns out to be the one where John comes back (and no doubt continues being a fucking horrendous father) and Meg gets revealed as a bad guy.  I just don't like this Meg.  The actress just doesn't do as much with her as the second Meg actress did.

Ep 17 - Hell House.  It's the Tulpa bringing Mordechai to life, and it's the ghostfacers.  Another group I could have sworn came in much later in the seasons.  Dean is being delightfully butch in this ep.

Ep 18 - Something Wicked. I skipped this because it was about sick children.

Ep 19 - Provenance.  About a a haunted painting.  Glorious.  Wonderful.  One of the best of the season.  Sam gets laid, Dean doesn't.  See  my earlier point about how Sam gets more women than Dean.

Ep 20 - Dead Man's Blood. It's the first lot of vampires on the show.  The brothers didn't know vampires existed beforehand.  The colt is introduced, the vampires seem like they've been pulled out of Buffy and John is back.

Ep 21 - Salvation - this was mostly overshadowed by my hatred of John.  I have no other notes.

Ep 22 - Devil's Trap, the finale.  I love the idea of a Devil's Trap, but am constantly bemused by how they always manage to get the demon in the trap. Sam draws a trap on the car, much to Dean's temper.  Azazel possesses John temporarily, and JDM does a great job of acting Azazel.  The brothers argue about their actions and how they should take deal with Azael.  Then the final scene is a demon ramming the family off the road and they are all knocked out and bloody.  Dun dun DUN.

The opening song was not Kansas' Carry On My Wayward Son and for that Amazon deserve to be beaten.  If it's their fault.

It's a good first season with some truly great episodes in. I am very much looking forward to re-watching season 2.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Supernatural: Dead in the Water and Phantom Traveler

I am not too fussed about Dead in the Water.  Amy Acker is in it, which was interesting, but only out of curiosity.  Dean chatting to the kid is quite sweet.  But it feels far too much like an X files episode, more so than other episodes.  It reminded me that I don't have to re-watch all episodes.  I can skip the ones I don't care about.

Phantom Traveler - I thought this was the one where God saved Dean and Sam from the plane.  It's not.  Still good though. The brothers deal with their first demon (we can only assume, it's not explicitly stated as so, but it's heavily implied).  They talk about being in a confused mental state as making a gateway for a demon to possess you, but that doesn't hold true for later seasons. In later season a demon can possess anyone.  It's possible that it was just their theory at this point.

We also see their first fancy suits, their first homeland security badges and get our first sighting of the EMF meter.  It's enjoyable watching Sam disparage Dean's meter.

Dean's voice is still soft and nasal, and it's odd listening to him when I've just completed what there is of season 15.  Yes, I watched a season 6 clip to check his voice, and it deffo changes.  His basic Dean facial expressions are all there though.  It's great watching actors grow into their roles.

As for the previous episodes, the female supporting characters are treated with respect and have more agency than the male characters.  Good work SPN.