Friday, October 05, 2007

"What do you say we kill some evil sons of bitches and raise a little hell?": Supernatural

Confession time: I’m a total Supernatural fangirl. A rock salt toting, guns blazing, classic rock blaring, angst loving, Chevy Impala obsessed addict of the brothers Winchester. I love this show so much I even seriously considered going to a Supernatural convention! You guys. A convention. All about Supernatural. (Until I found out how expensive it was and came to my senses.) (But who am I kidding, if Jensen Ackles was scheduled to attend I would have been there with bells on.) Ladies and gentlemen, I am in deep and I know it.

I felt like I needed to get that out of the way in the interest of full disclosure, because this little obsession of mine can tend to color my feelings of the show a bit. As a savvy television viewer, I realize the strengths and weaknesses of the show…but I just don’t care about the weaknesses very much. I consider them part of the show’s charm. (“Look at that crappy visual effect! Isn’t it charming?”; “Oh, expository dialogue in the Impala yet again! Charming!”; “Dean’s stupid all of a sudden. Again. Charming!”) I tried to write a review of seasons one and two to kick off South Dakota Dark’s coverage of the new season, but every time I tried it just came out sounding like something a 12-year-old girl would write in her diary in glittery pink pen, so I gave up. Despite this, I promise to put down the glitter pen and attempt to take a less biased look at season three. I’m relying on you all to let me know when I get it wrong.

In last season’s finale, Sam and Dean finally managed to kill their nemesis, the Yellow Eyed Demon, but not before YED opened the gates of hell and let hundreds of demons out. Now, all of the hunters in America must gear up to fight the largest contingent of demons they’ve ever faced at one time. And did I mention that in order to bring Sam back from the dead, Dean sold his soul to a crossroads demon? And he only has one year to live? And if he tries to weasel his way out of the deal at all, Sam will drop dead immediately? Yeah, I’m thinking that might be kind of important this year.

Season three begins a week later, and Dean has obviously embraced his mortality as an excuse to live it up Dean Winchester style, which means driving fast, having lots of sex and eating cheeseburgers. Seeing as we’ll never actually get a sex scene unless Dean’s in LOVE or something, I have a feeling this might get old pretty quick. Sam has other things on his mind, namely trying to get Dean out of his crossroads deal and looking like he swallowed a bug.

Bobby (the always excellent Jim Beaver) brings the boys back to reality by enlisting their help scouting some possible demon activity, the first since the gates of hell were opened. While investigating what turns out to be physical manifestations of the seven deadly sins (Dean’s reaction: “What’s in the booox? Brad Pitt? Seven? No?”), they run into another pair of hunters doing the same thing, married couple Isaac and Tamara. They try to work together but Isaac and Tamara refuse and go it alone, walking right into a trap where Gluttony takes out Isaac by making him chug an economy sized bottle of Drano. Disgusting! And awesome.

Dean, Sam and Bobby storm in, save Tamara and grab Envy on their way out, heading back to wait for the other six to find them. In what appears to be an awfully flimsy plan, they split up, each attempting to devil's trap a sin so they can exorcise them back to hell. Dean and Bobby manage to corral Lust and Sloth (I think…this was unclear) but Sam gets triple teamed and has a bit of trouble with Pride. Pride, by the way, is awesome, all power suited-up with a Joker grin and an attitude to match. After literally backing himself into a corner, Sam is saved by a Mysterious Blonde Woman who has been stalking him in the shadows throughout the episode. Mysterious Blonde Woman kills all three demons with a slight assist from Sam and her kick-ass magic knife that can somehow kill demons, and walks out the door without identifying herself or what she’s doing there. Interesting.

After all the sins are exorcised, Bobby takes off and it’s time for Sam and Dean to have a heart to heart. Thankfully, this conversation lays it all out on the line: Sam thinks Dean is selfish for taking the crossroads deal considering he knew how it would hurt Sam when he died, and Dean doesn’t care because he is tired (echoing his feelings in Croatoan) and thinks he’s allowed to be selfish considering how much he’s done for his family. Perhaps, Dean, if you wouldn’t throw your impending mortality in the face of the sibling you made the deal to save in order to gain sympathy and allow yourself to do whatever you want, said sibling wouldn’t be so pissy about the deal you made. I’m just saying.

Overall, a solid episode but a bit of a letdown for a season opener, especially considering the knockout that was last season’s premiere. I think season premieres can only ever be as strong as the season finales they are continuing, and unfortunately season three was saddled with a pretty stagnant season two finale to build on. One thing I think they really dropped the ball on were the seven deadly sins. They just weren’t scary. The actors that played Envy and Pride were very good, and fun to watch, but after all of Bobby’s consternation about these primeval monsters, they were never very frightening.

I’m still not sold on the idea of Dean’s crossroads deal being the major season arc, especially considering unless the show gets cancelled you know he’s not going to die. It does allow the characters to change a bit, with Dean returning to his devil may care ways of the pilot and Sam being forced to man up and save his brother covertly. Change is good, and Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki really work well together and these stories will allow them to play off each other in a different way. As long as they can keep the story fresh and not rehash the same emotional beats each episode, this is an interesting chance to stretch the characters a bit. If they keep the emotional arc the same, though, this story could get old and quick. Dean’s emotional state is already about as subtle as a slap to the face. OMG, he’s banging LOTS of chicks! And eating LOTS of bad food! And driving SO fast! Could it be he’s feeling…RECKLESS?

Also, despite the insane fangirl backlash the addition of the Mysterious Blonde Woman has a lot of potential. Who is she? Why is she stalking Sam? Why does she have a kick-ass magic knife that can kill demons? Why is her hair so pretty? All important questions I can’t wait for the show to answer. I have a feeling this has something to do with YED’s assertion that Sam came back from the dead “wrong.” If it allows Jared Padalecki to play evil again, I say let Sam be wrong. Wrong Sam rocks.

Next week: a town full of evil kids. Yikes!


Rae said...

So next week is a crossover with Kid Nation? (Sorry, sorry, but it was just sitting there begging to be said.)

I'm guessing Dean's attitude has to change and quick in order for this arc to work well. Although, I may be feeling that way because they didn't really show him caring about even living out his full year which seems to contradict the way he bargained to get as much time as he could. I can buy him not wanting to wriggle out of it because it puts Sam in danger but it's not a very Dean-like attitude to have and I hope he snaps out of it soon.

But back to the important things, why is Mysterious Blonde Woman's hair so pretty? (I liked her, even if other insane fangirls don't.)

Justin said...

I've always meant to watch this show, just to try it out.

However there is just WAY TOO MUCH TV on Thursdays. I can't handle any more.

Plus this would require me to use my second DVR which I always hate :)

Carrie said...

Yeah, the time slot is definitely a killer. I wish it was still on Tuesdays at 9pm like season one.

Still, a worthy DVD rental from Netflix to catch yourself up, Justin.

Adna said...

Don't worry you are not alone. Supernatural fan right here.
*waves* And I think Jensen is attending so I want to go too. ;)