"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, January 16, 2009

Supernatural: It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester

There is really no series on television better suited than Supernatural where a Halloween episode is concerned. They decided to go at it old-school, with their own spin on the Gaelic legend of Samhain. Thankfully, the Supernatural Samhain tale was much more interesting, and it managed to tie in to the bigger picture story, giving me even more curiosities to ponder.

Starting with the story, how cool was the shot of the razor blades in Luke’s mouth? Any worries that budget concerns were going to hurt the look of the show have been put to rest at this point. Things look as good as they ever have. It was also a very Halloween way to kick off the episode. Who hasn’t heard that story?

As to Samhain, I’m certainly no expert on the ancient lore involved, but from what I do know, they took a few liberties making the story fit. I’m good with that. I’m going to chalk it up to the ‘real’ story of Samhain being in a special book not suitable for the public, much like the 66 seals, and get on with it. After all, the entire setup was very cool. Once every 600 years, three blood sacrifices, raising every awful thing the boys have ever seen, a slaughterhouse. Those are pretty good stakes.

I was caught off guard by the twist that it took both Don and Tracy to perform the ritual, assuming that Don was her unwitting pawn. Her reaction as the boys saved her was perfectly done in that it was so off from what it should have been that it immediately implicated her. That scene did lead to my one quibble with the episode, however. Why is it that Tracy’s ‘ray gun’ worked on Sam, but SamhainDon’s didn’t? Shouldn’t he be the more powerful of the two? It seemed odd.

Despite that oddness, it did all lead to the big showdown at the mausoleum corral. While Dean dealt with the zombie/ghost orgy, the real action was in the back, with Sam and Samhain. After all the talk about Ruby’s knife and Sam not using his powers, it was pretty clear where that was headed, right? Still, even expecting it, it held some surprises. I liked that Sam was struggling with the more powerful Samhain, and the little sputters of demon out of the bullet holes was a nice touch. What was really intriguing though, is the finish, with the bloody nose and the clutching of the forehead. Was that just the struggle against such a powerful foe? Or was it Sam pushing some boundary that will turn him into DarkSam?

That brings me to the bigger picture stuff. The return of Castiel was a welcome one. And it was nice of him to bring along his friend, Uriel. It set the stage for a lot of development, if not a lot of answers. Uriel made it pretty clear where he stands. He won’t be joining any Winchester based Facebook groups any time soon. The taunting of Sam over November 2nd, and the threats that followed it should be cause for concern. This is, after all, someone that can wipe cities off the planet.

Castiel’s position, on the other hand, is not so concrete. His confession to Dean adds a whole new wrinkle to what I know about his motivations. Where once it seemed that he was calculating and working toward a written-in-stone goal, now I hear, “I’m not a hammer. I have questions. I have doubts. I don’t know what is right and what is wrong anymore.” Added to the fact that he was actually relieved that Dean chose to save the town, and let the seal be broken, Castiel’s role in all of this just got all kinds of new facets.

Something I could also say where Dean is concerned. There is still have no explanation for just what it is that makes him the best man for this job, but the fact that Castiel and Uriel were on orders to do whatever Dean said certainly speaks to just how important he is. It is, as Castiel said, a lot for Dean to bear. Something made that much more difficult by what is going on with Sam. And I have to wonder if one of those decisions Castiel talked about is going to be about little brother. The look on Dean’s face as he rounded the corner to find Sam using his powers on Samhain has certainly opened that wound again. If that isn’t enough, he also has the Hell flashbacks to deal with.

All things considered, another very good episode for Supernatural. As a Halloween themed episode, it worked well. And as a part of the season four mythology, it worked even better. They’ve managed to get a lot of setup into these first seven episodes. It’s work that should pay off big as I move through the season and get to start knocking down some of those pins.

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