If anything, it had grown since the end of last year. Thanks to silwyna, evening_spirit, and Apollo's Lady, I now "officially" add "Supernatural" to my obsess list. I do not know why it took me so long to give this show a try, silwyna had recommended it to me eons ago: it centers on two main characters (which I prefer over a large ensemble); and it features CUTE lead actors!
Actually, scratch that. I do know the reason for my initial reluctance. It's because the show has the word "Horror" attached to it! Truthfully I'm not too keen on the genre. But then I went to Chicago, met with fellow Realmers, and watched "Pulse 2" together. If I could sit through that movie, I had no more excuse left, did I?! :p
So I gave Season One a try during the Thanksgiving break. The Pilot gave me the shivers. Thankfully I was able to get distracted by Dean's pretty eyes and Sam's cute dimples. ;) But by the third episode "Dead in the Water", I was suitably impressed! Not only did I notice the pretty stylish camera shots of the lake, I was pleasantly surprised by the glimpses of depth in the character (Dean). When I got to the season finale, I was hooked on the cleverly laid plot twists and the intense chemistry between the actors. The shocking last few minutes of the season had me rushing to the store to get my hands on more DVDs. I started to tackle Season Two during my vacation in Madrid before Christmas. By the beginning of January, I already finished the 3rd Season, and mostly caught up with the 4th up to the mid-season finale! The show was that addictive.
Long story short, I think Supernatural transcends its genre. It's engaging because of its honest-to-goodness story telling led by its creator Eric Kripke; and because it's superbly acted, especially by Jensen Ackles who plays Dean Winchester. Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) despite being a little green in the beginning, improved much as the show went on. Together Jensen and Jared brought to life such a dynamic relationship, I couldn't help but being sucked right in! Also what's amazing to me is unlike most TV shows that often experience growing pains in later seasons (my favorite shows The Guardian and Battlestar Galactic included), Supernatural never meandered. Each season in my opinion is better than the previous, and the characters were nicely laid out and grew steadily over the years. Kudos to Mr. Kripke!
So I was ecstatic when mid January rolled around. Imagine, my two favorite TV shows premiering back-to-back! Thursdays and Fridays have never been better! :D
The following is my quick take on the episodes aired during the last four weeks.
4.11 Family Remains:
Overall, I liked this episode. It further delved into Dean's guilt over the time he spent in Hell. Dean's confession at the end of previous installment "Heaven and Hell" broke me. It was a profound moment when this stoic man had his carefully constructed walls crumple and all the emotions long held in check bursting out in the open. Like a dam, once it was breached, what kept behind could no longer be contained. So it felt natural to me Dean should continue to wrestle with what he did, his shame, and his feeling of unworthy in front of his brother. Once again, Jensen was incredibly good at what he does. He delivered these heavyweight emotional scenes pitch perfect every time. As far as spook goes, I especially liked the part where the "spirit" stepped through the salt line. I didn't expect that and it freaked me out. I also liked the twist that there were not one but two "spooks" in the house! With all that being said, there was just one thing in this episode bothered me. In order to make the family leave the premises, the "spirit" drew big red "Go" and "Too Late" on the walls. The words supposed to be scary, but it made no sense to me at the end. Turned out these "monsters of the week" weren't supernatural at all. They are nothing but tragic humans who were cruelly cut off from humanity due to the circumstance of their birth. They were raised like animals and thus grew up inhuman. But then where and when did they learn the written language?! The fact they are able to write and communicate draws them closer to being "civilized", which I think is at odds with what the writer(s) had in mind.
4.12 Criss Angel Is a Douche Bag:
Hehe, the title alone made me giggle. Can't believe Kripke and Co. got away with it. The part where Dean's search for "The Chief" (for clue) landed him unknowingly at an underground BDSM den was a hoot. The look on his face when "The Chief" asked him what was his "safeword" was priceless! Dean's reaction to Jay giving Sam the slip was funny too: "Dude, he's a 60 year old!" But then Jay promptly pulled a Houdini right under Dean's nose! I love it when writers include somber moments where we get a peek at the boys' psyches even in the midst of a light-hearted episode. The discussion between Sam and Dean on where they would be in thirty or so years was a revealing moment. Dean's insistence on he would not live that long made me sad (kinda reminded me a little of Kara and Lee's "Bright shining future is over-rated" moment on BSG). Sam didn't want to accept Dean's cavalier outlook on their future. It was clear to me he wanted them to survive, to grow old, to have a normal life. Because of this, I couldn't be too upset at Sam for going off with Ruby at the end here. She had him convinced using his psychic power is the only sure way to win the war against Lilith (the bitch!) Jay's desolation at the sacrifice he made felt like an ominous foreshadowing of the things to come for Dean. Thus I was disappointed at Sam when he left Dean alone at the bar to join Ruby. Overall, I enjoyed this episode. However, there was a small issue I couldn't resolve. I'm dense, I didn't quite get how Dean deduced Charlie was the one behind the "magic" spell from a poster featuring Charlie as a young magician. Was that suppose to be a recent poster? Is that how Dean realized Charlie was alive, and immortal? But the poster could very well be an old one since Jay and Charlie's friend Vernon seemingly kept everything from way back. I don't get how Dean connected the dots here.
4.13 After School Special:
This got to be one of my least favorite episodes so far (the other one is "Sin City" from Season 3). The main reason is because I was not happy with the casting. The last time we saw Kid!Sam and Kid!Dean was in "A Very Supernatural Christmas" from Season 3. In that one, Sam and Dean weren't that different in sizes. Now that they are in high school, the same actor was used to play Teen!Sam (I can understand that because the kid is really good), but they picked an actor to play Teen!Dean who looks twice as big comparing to Teen!Sam. Considering Sam towers over Dean in adulthood, this felt very incongruent and distracting. In my opinion, Teen!Dean looked way too old to be in high school and Teen!Sam looked way too young. On top of that, Teen!Sam and Teen!Dean didn't even get to interact much in this one. They were off doing their own things. Sam's character was better flushed out (makes sense since this is a Sam episode), but Teen!Dean came off totally flippant and shallow, which just didn't feel right to me. In a nutshell, this is the only installment I felt dangerously close at being reduced to a cliched teen show. The only thing of significance for me here is it established Sam not happy with the life he's leading at the end. Fair enough, now let's move on to the next episode please.
4.14 Sex and Violence:
Men, I loved this episode! I was totally caught off guard when the Siren turned out to be Nick instead of Cara. I was so sure she was the baddy here and Sam was in trouble, but it was Dean who was the one the Siren zeroed in on. I didn't see this coming because I naturally assumed the Siren is a beautiful woman despite Dean mentioned early on it could be just anybody. Once the identity of the Siren was revealed, it made a lot of sense when I thought back from the beginning. From the scene where Dean woke up to find Sam making secret phone call to Ruby, it was obvious he was unsure about where things stood with his brother. In this relationship, Dean was the more vulnerable one at the moment, feeling lonely, and being left out. If anything, this Siren preys on discontent and loneliness. So it stood to reason Dean became its next target when their paths were crossed. I love it that the Siren intuitively knew it takes not a lovely woman, but a "brother" who provides camaraderie to spellbound Dean. Boy, it was shocking to see Dean holding his knife against Sam's neck! The look on Dean's face was eerily blank, Sam might as well be a total stranger to him! The fight between the brothers was "awesome" because it drove up the angst and added a new layer to the boys' relationship. So, where does this lead to for the boys?! With all the ugly words out in the open, where would they "go" from now on? Like Bobby said, Sirens are nasty. They took true feelings and twisted them around. I think Dean is justifiably angry with Sam from all the sneaking around he has been doing lately, but to tell Sam he could no longer trust him? That gotta hurt! Dean's implicit trust in his brother in the past was what grounded Sam, and prevented him from giving up on himself. I wonder what Sam would do now that he realized that trust was no longer inherent. Equally disturbing, if not more so, was the crude way in which Sam told Dean to get over his guilt. It had taken Dean a long time to open up to Sam about his troubled experience in Hell. He was able to do that because he knew Sam would be there to help him deal with this. How hurtful must it be for Dean to have that kind of trust thrown back in his face when his brother trivialized his suffering! Would Dean once again internalize his pains? The sad part is as "heartless" as Sam sounded, I believe his heart was in the right place for wishing his brother to get over his guilt. I think Sam knew Dean is vulnerable right now, and he wanted to protect his brother, shield him from going after the more dangerous demons. Only it all came out wrong with the Siren there messing up their heads. I love the ending where despite Dean and Sam declaring it's all good (between them), we knew it's everything but! So much of this show is not about what they say, but about what they don't say.
Next time, it shall be all about Battlestar Galactica. ;)