on March 26, 2010
Jake Johnson, Washington Coastal Salish. I am a writer of fiction, poetry, and screenplay. I must say Eric Kripke is the man for putting this show out there for us to watch and be a part of. Supernatural is the best thing to happen to television since Rod Serling widened our mental state of being with The Twilight Zone. The Winchester family is the most intruguing in the history of fictisious hero families. The team of writers, directors, producers on down to the actors must have a love and dedecation to the show, it seems that way. I have seasons 1-4 on DVD and not one episode is a disapointment. This show rocks. As a writer who is picky with what he is entertained by, Supernatural is a sure winner, and should stand the test of time along side X Files, Star Trek, Twin Peaks and all the other shows from the depths of darkness. I advise, ney dare anyone to enter the world of Sam and dean Winchester. Check out this product, Eric Kripke is a sure talent, a name that will be remembered.
I like this show a lot, generally speaking. I deliberately avoided it when it first came out because it just seemed so. . .well, teenybopper-ish. I'd roll my eyes and say to myself that the subject matter and the actors belonged on some station that marketed only to teens and young adults, and in a sense, this show did begin that way. Much of its fan base is still in those age groups, and the number of online discussions about how hot the two main actors are can mislead you into thinking this is a throwaway show wherein two hunks basically kill time from episode to episode. Not so. This is a rare situation--one where a show that may have begun with one target audience has blossomed into a show that draws all sorts of viewers who are impressed by its overall excellence.
This is the show's fifth season, and each year has seen the acting get even better, the plotlines come together with incredible consistency and intrigue, and I have to say that I look forward to each week's new episode because I know I will find myself impressed by the way the characters continue to be developed, the story fleshed out. The next week's episode is always something I'm plotzing to see.
In this episode, Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) are killed by hunters who want to get rid of the guy (Sam) who got the Apocalypse rolling. Both Dean and Sam end up in heaven (an outcome that takes both brothers by surprise), and what Heaven is, according to the show, is a place where we get to relive our best memories. That sounds simple enough, yes?
Heh. Here's one of the reasons I like this show so much. That simple reason leads to some complex and touching scenes and character development.
Sam and Dean have had, from the start, an odd family relationship. Sam never got to know his mother, who died before the timeline of the show started, and Dean became Sam's surrogate father, became the one who took care of him whenever their father took off to hunt demons and otherwise follow his own path to finding the demon who killed his wife, his kids' mom. When the first season begins, Sam is in college, having walked away (in a rough, "I don't need you in my life" kind of way) from his father and brother to start a life not defined by the hunt for malevolent supernatural beings. In that first episode, Sam joins Dean once more in the hunt, and from that point to now, the brothers have rarely been separated for any major length of time. They travel the nation together in a wonderful '67 Impala, and they pretty much are each other's support system, their own family unit of two. Even when their father shows up again in season one, it's clear that Dean and Sam have a closeness that far surpasses anything their own father has built with them. In fact, it far surpasses any intimacy they develop with anyone else. Most of the tension in this show comes from conflict between the two of them, from the differences in their personalities and their approaches to life.
The heart of this show is their relationship, but that relationship's foundation is in need of major attention and perhaps a lot of rebuilding. It might even be wise to start over and build a new one.
I won't tell you about the God-related aspects of this episode except to say that Dean is disappointed in the outcome of his search for God's help. The way in which that plays out--well, you'll have to see it for yourself. I don't want to spoil that aspect of things for you. I hope that the info to follow in this review doesn't spoil anything for you, either.
In this particular episode, we find out what each main character values most. For Dean, the most important memories have to do with his little brother, with his mother (whom he comforts and supports just as he has done for his brother), with the family that is meaningful to him. All along, he has put one family member or another in top priority place, above even himself and his own well-being, and his memories reflect that. He is the one who provides emotional support to the people he loves, even when he was a child and should have been able to count on them for that support. Dean has never truly been a child; he's been the parent to most of his family, even his father, whom he admired and tried to emulate, something that I still find touching and sad when it crops up in a scene or episode. Everything that means anything to Dean is contained in a tight little circle of people he loves. For them, he would willingly sacrifice himself (in fact, he has done so already in the course of the show), and for them, he would continue to wake up each morning ready to fight again in spite of his own deep depression and uncertainty. He is, emotionally speaking, in a terrible place when this episode opens, drinking heavily and hoping desperately that God will help him find a way to make the right decision, to help him prevent the horrible bloodshed he sees coming hard and fast towards him and the rest of humanity. (To make matters even harder for him, he not only has the weight of his family on his shoulders; he bears responsibility for saving the entirety of humanity, and in true Dean fashion, he accepts that weight and does his best to bear it even as it threatens to bore him into the ground and bury him alive.)
What we find in this episode is that Dean's great memories and Sam's don't match. Sam's best memories are all about separation from his father and from Dean, although to be fair, it was mostly his father he tried to get away from. He has never looked at his actions as separating him emotionally from Dean. When Dean sees which memories are special to Sam, he begins to see in a clearer way how disparate their viewpoints about family really are, and it wounds him to his core. His father is already gone, dead because of a deal he made to save Dean's life, and his brother has grown increasingly distant from him, at a time when Dean needs him most and needs to know in his heart that he can count on him. All the times that Dean protected Sam, tried to be a father to him, provided the things that his actual father wouldn't provide because he was off hunting--those all seem to have meant little to Sam. (I think they in fact meant a lot to Sam, but he hasn't put in proper perspective what Dean has sacrificed until now. In this episode, he discovers just how much Dean had to handle in order to keep his family as balanced and safe as possible, and it looks like the first time that Sam realized just how many messes Dean actually had to "clean up.")
What's impressive about all this, at least to me, is how the show has built to this moment. From the start, the characters' emotions and motivations have been consistent, and all the dialogue and plot action has helped to further develop them, to round them out and make them "whole." From season one to now, the "road" has led in a consistent and meaningful way to this episode: Dean is very nearly at a point where life is no longer worth much to him, where all that once was meaningful now seems to have been part of some illusion he created in his mind and heart. Sam's character, too, has progressed in a logical and consistent way to this point. I love that about this show; one of my pet peeves is when characters suddenly become someone else entirely, when a show loses sight of the person it put out there at the start. "Supernatural" hasn't done that in five seasons, and I really enjoy that. In season one, in an episode late in the season where Sam is angry that Dean did not let him risk his life to kill the demon who killed their mother, the two brothers fight, and the pain is so clear on Dean's face as he tells Sam that he (Sam) and their father are all he has, that Dean basically can't go on without them.
The plot line also has progressed in a logical and consistent way. Whoever's doing continuity in that sense has done a superlative job. I've rarely felt as though an episode took me outside the world the show had established, and that, too, is unusual for a TV show.
The acting has always been superb, and it continues to be so. This episode builds on the excellent foundation that Ackles and Padalecki have established over the course of five seasons; both young men approach their roles with what seems to be complete concentration. They have good chemistry on-screen and off, and it's clear from blooper reels and special features on DVD sets that they can have fun as themselves but them become complete professionals on set. I hope that at some point Mr. Ackles will receive the recognition he deserves for crafting as fine a character as can be crafted on a TV show.
on June 10, 2010
A great season and I can't wait for it to come out on DVD!!! I jumped, laughed, and cried my way through every episode of Season 5.
As a latecomer to the Supernatural fan base, I wonder how I could have missed this incredible series for so many years. I discovered it more than midway thru Season 5 when I happened to catch a re-run from Season 1 on TNT and had to see more. Love that Amazon had the first four Seasons at a great price and I purchased all four at once. Watched it from the very beginning and I have loved every episode. Thanks to the internet, I was able to see all that I had missed of Season 5 and catch up to the episodes that were currently airing. As a fan of the XFiles and older series like Twilight Zone and Nightstalker (in reruns), this was heaven for me. I am also a huge fan of Stephen King and this series seems to follow his pattern of making you love the characters and then killing them off (and sometimes bringing them back). But I guess you have to expect that from the Apocalypse. Monsters of the week, angels and demons, Lucifer walking the Earth, family and heartache, and so much more that make for thought provoking entertainment. I am more than thrilled there will be a Season 6 and hopefully many more. It makes me want to take a road trip a la Dean and Sam!!! :)
As for the cast - Jensen Ackles is a subtly impressive actor and truly easy on the eyes - I hope his talent is recognized and appreciated and that we see him for years to come. Jared Padalecki, Jim Beaver, and Misha Collins round out a great cast that never fails to please. I never tire of re-watching past episodes over and over and over. :) I would recommend this series highly!!! And not just for the sci-fi fans - I think its appeal reaches much further.
on May 14, 2010
WOW! How is it possible that this show can continue to improve this much? I will admit, for awhile there, the show had its stumbling points. "Fallen Idols," "Sam, Interrupted," and "Swap Meat." But those were completely overshadowed by "The End," "Abandon all Hope," "The Song Remains the Same," "Changing Channels," and "Swan Song."
These episodes were the best out of the entire show! I have never experienced emotions towards characters like I have in this show. The writers have a gift in creating an aura and a feeling about the story that is genius.
In this season, we finally saw Dean come to terms with Sam's blood issues and "dark side."
We also saw some very risky character deaths,(I won't spoil who it was) And as much as I hated to see them go, what it did to the story was profound.
I give major props to Kripke and Gamble for their risky decisions in this year's story arc. For it totally paid off. I can't wait to see what happens in season six. I am so pumped.