Supernatural does the very essence of a "gimmick" episode

Illustration for article titled Supernatural does the very essence of a gimmick episode

This week I'm not doing a full recap of last night's Supernatural, so we're going into comments to discuss the true meaning of cartoon character logic smashing into the real world like an Acme product in Bugs Bunny. We also had the occasionally funny/occasionally unfunny schtick with Cas trying turn Hunter and be one of the guys. It reminded me of one of those painful Star Trek: TNG episodes where Data would try to learn humor or romance or music, and would sort of bumble along being too much of a superhuman as well as a bit fussy.

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I really felt like the central trope of the episode — the cartoon schtick — was trying very hard to be something other than a gimmick but failed. What did you think?

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DISCUSSION

For me, the basic premise of this episode is running away, and how far you don't get. And I liked how they managed to blend the cartoon hilarity with the pain everyone's experiencing. Dean gets to live his dream of summoning the anvil and sticking his hand into the black hole, but when he mutters the cartoon tag lines he's not fucking around anymore, not even smiling in his patented "aren't I adorable?" way. And for all Cas's awkwardness, it comes out of a massively sincere urge to help, and to be like his role models. Good on him.

Fred has retreated from his own decay so far into his head that he's projecting his head around him, and as such is the monster of the week.

Now Sam is falling into a Vaseliney Amelia memory every time someone talks about running away into something false—but are they teasing us? Each flashback also contained the dialogue about running away into it—the writers might be trying to play it both ways. Still a big question mark there. Amelia was less irritating than normal (low LOW bar here) but her father more than made up for it—the suspicion is fairly stereotypical, but then again, you see your widow daughter has moved in with a man mountain who moves like a killer and is dead behind his eyes—maybe you get protective.

I was surprised that it stung me to see him laugh so hard, stroke her arm, call her Baby—do all those oh-so-normal things during this year of not looking for Dean. It's his Thanksgiving Heaven writ large, and no wonder Dean is as hurt as fuck and confused by all that, even if they're not arguing about it anymore.

In fact, I don't know if I feel it's a mystery or sloppy—Sam walks out of a dark bedroom, leaving Amelia and Dog to go to the cabin where Dean is waiting for him. As he leaves the house, he is watched by a dark figure across the street.

WHAT IS THAT??? WHAT DOES THAT ALL MEAN???

I'm no closer to answering any of those questions. Hrrmph.

Cas is trying to run away—he's truly a Winchester if he's considering suicide, but he can't go back to heaven he says, after what he did. I am suspicious that one of the reasons we haven't seen outside the white room is that heaven doesn't look like what either Cas or us suspect. But he's here, on Earth, repenting by saving people, throwing himself into it with so much sincerity that I can't laugh at him, just fondly with him (the cat did probably have all the answers) since all he wants to do is help, and he's going to do it like Sam and Dean and TV, dammit. He's been raised like a Winchester too, the abbreviated version.

Dean, now, Dean's not running. Dean is going *towards* Cas. For what might be the first time in the show, Dean is getting deliberately chick flicky, and he's not being flippant about it. He wants to know what Cas is feeling, and what he can do to help. I think Cas's admission hit them both hard, but good on Dean for reaching out.

Watching Fred step up for an angel lobotomy—both to skip the anguish of knowing he's losing his mind (which is what he was protecting himself from in the first place) and that he could hurt people, and watching Cas sit with him for a while—I wonder if Cas is experiencing a similar sort of peace here to the time he spent watching the kite flying in the autistic man's heaven. That he can't visit again.

Naomi continues to be perplexing, but I hold of all judgement. It's clear that heaven is a question mark right now, and deliberately so. Are they after the tablets? What are the other tablets about? Is Metatron the Chekov's gun?

I feel like I knew more this time last year, but this year we don't have an enemy yet—I'm not counting Crowley simply because "all" he wants is the tablets. Instead of a battle against a big bad, they have a quest—a race to collect all the pieces before the other guy does. Maybe the other two guys. I like the feeling of being up against an enemy more, because it feels more tangible, since until they get some sort of a tablet plan, they're just wandering the country (and why should the tablets be limited to the US of A) hoping to stumble into something interesting. Clearly there will be a blend of MOTW and season's arc—I just hope they work out how well, and soon.

If nothing else, this might be the season of feelings, and what a gloriously felt season this is so far. And Dean is front and centre feeling all the pain rage disappointment anxiety—bring the negative on, Dean is rolling around in it. Sam seems to be in a zen place right now, except when he's angry at Dean, but I'm reluctant to feel I understand his point of view until the vaseline comes off the lens. And Cas...Cas is becoming a real boy, and he doesn't want to run away from the devastation he caused. Poor dear. Sorry that he can't work through it.

Looks like we get Benny next week, instead of the Trans. Which is okay—but if Sam is jealous of Benny, someone better kill someone soon. That's just petty and small.

And Winchestery.