the Gamble Years – Part 1: Off the top of my head

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After a discussion with another Supernatural fan, I decided to put up a pair of “essays” on my thoughts about seasons 6 & 7 of the show, especially in light of the latest seasons we’ve had.  This first essay will be from my memories of the seasons and watching them when they first aired.  Then I’ll spend a week rewatching both seasons and seeing if my opinions have changed about any of them.

So I have my liquor, superwiki bookmarked, and a recovery team standing by in case I disappear too far up my own ass.

I’ve long maintained that S6 & 7 were a study in contrast.  That while the best of 7 was never as good as the best of 6, its worst was never as bad as the worst of 6.  S7 at least maintained a fairly steady level of quality while S6 was almost like gambling: you’d either win big or lose your shirt.  Of course in the tradition of debates, I’ll start and end defending the two unpopular opinions, with acknowledgement of the popular views in between.

First, season 6 and why I think it maintains Supernatural’s rule of 3 (every 3rd season is going to suck).  The first and easiest explanation of why actually comes from one of my chums on the TV Tropes SPN thread.  (way back on page 16, how long ago?  as of this writing the thread is up to page 160)  Well, he was quoting someone in defense of the season:

Season 2: Azazel plotline

  • Episode 1: Azazel makes an appearance and John dies. Dean is brought back to life.
  • Episode 5: The brothers run into another psychic “child”.
  • Episode 10: The brothers run into another psychic “child”.
  • Episode 21/22: The psychic children are brought together to decide who will open the Devil’s Gate (and ultimately become Lucifer’s vessel)

Running from the police plotline:

  • Episode 7: The brothers are caught by the cops but released when they reveal one is a murderer
  • Episode 12: The brothers are cornered by the FBI in a bank while hunting a shapeshifter
  • Episode 19: The brothers are caught and thrown in jail (though eventually released)

Compared to Season 6: Sam’s soul plotline

  • Episode 1: Something is different about Sam
  • Episode 6: Veritas reveals that there’s something not-human about Sam
  • Episode 7: Castiel confirms that Sam’s soul isn’t in place and Crowley reveals that Sam’s soul is still in the cage
  • Episode 11: Sam’s soul is returned
  • Episode 13: We learn some of what Sam did without his soul, and the wall is briefly scratched

Alphas/purgatory plotline

  • Episode 2: Shapeshifter alpha is encountered
  • Episode 5: Vampire alpha is encountered
  • Episode 7: Vampire alpha is captured and questioned, and Crowley’s search for purgatory is revealed
  • Episode 8: The brothers work specifically for Crowley to find an alpha
  • Episode 10: Crowley kills some alphas and Crowley is killed, resolving his search for purgatory
  • Episode 12: The dragons kidnap virgins in order to open the door to purgatory

War in heaven/heaven’s weapons plotline

  • Episode 3: The civil war in heaven is revealed, as are heaven’s stolen weapons
  • Episode 6: The civil war is mentioned again and one of the weapons is brought up as a possibility for what’s happening
  • Episode 15: Castiel reclaims heaven’s weapons from Balthazar

Mother plotline

  • Episode 12: The door to purgatory is opened so she can make her way to Earth
  • Episode 16: The Mother creates a new monster as she goes about terrorizing and riling up existing monsters

So Season 2 had 8 out of 22 episodes that directly affected one of its main plot points, and they’re all fairly spread out. Season 6 has had 12 of its 16 episodes directly affecting one of its main plot points (unless you want to rule out the heaven’s weapons/civil war plot since it’s going on off-screen, and that still drops Season 6 to just 10 out of 16). No matter how you look at it, Season 6 has been way more focused on its long-term goals than Season 2 was. I’ll agree with Season 6 being the most poorly written season so far (but its Supernatural, so that’s not necessarily that bad at all), but as far as pacing and end-goals go, Season 6 has been just fine and better compared to some of the past seasons.

(source: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=b06mk19ggxon1p60g39ulvso&page=16#394)

While the author is correct, look at how many storylines ran through S6 (and this was before the finish) that’s at least 4, more depending on whether you want to count some things, like Samuel Campbell, as their own plotline or as part of one of the others.  What did they amount to?  Sam’s soul?  Actually had some lasting effect beyond the season.  Grandpa?  Nothing.  Alphas?  Nothing. (they didn’t even need them to get into Purgatory)  Purgatory?  Some.  War in heaven?  Some.  Stolen heaven weapons?  Nothing.  Mother?  Nothing.  Lisa & Ben?  Nothing.  In the end many of these plotlines were nothing more than multi-part monster of the week episodes dragged out over multiple parts which quickly grew tiresome as it became predictable they would have no effect the next week.

See, Supernatural underwent an evolution as it went on from stand-alone episodes that could hold your attention to arc plots that glued you to your TV.  I can still remember that first appearance by Castiel and how excited I was at the revelation of angels in that verse.  Now the show was getting downright biblical!  The only problem is, once you fight Satan, where do you go?  He is THE big bad of 3 world religions and western cultures.  S6 was in a poor position as the heaven vs hell saga would still have a lot of narrative weight from the inertia of S4 & 5 however they couldn’t do anything with it less the efforts come off as pale imitations and echoes of the original (for examples: S8 & 9).  What the show needed after Kripke left was for the powers that be (TPTB) to figure out a storyline and arc and stick to it.  What we got was them throwing plotline after plotline at the screen in the hopes of distracting us and finding something that would hold the audience.  Unfortunately, like when you try to please everyone, when you do too much you end up pleasing no one and we end up with the season of waste.

  • Why not have Lisa & Ben travel with Dean?  Samuel did the family hunting thing with his wife & child.  That could have been a bonding moment between Dean & grandpa as the former talks with the latter on learning to juggle the responsibilities.
  • Why not have Dean stay still and let things come to him?  Maybe something goes wrong at the plant he works at.  Something happens at school and Ben has to stop it.  Or maybe he’s on a field trip and Dean has to walk him through hunting over the phone.

That’s just off the top of my head from the first episode.  Looking back you can see all sorts of endless, rich narrative potential that the show just kept avoiding afraid something original would damage the brand.

Still I won’t deny that the season has some excellent moments.  “Clap Your Hands if You Believe…” still hold my spot for best post-5 episode.  Heck I’d gladly trade something like…. the antichrist episode out for that one.  “The French Mistakes” while a headache canon-wise, at least pushed boundaries and “Frontierland” showed us that a show examining hunters in other times and places could be entertaining.  And as a writer I respect “The Man Who Would be King” as an exceptional example of using writing to patch over past plot holes (yes, I can tell the season was “written as they went along” – that episode was just clever enough to make it seem otherwise).

Now S7 – yes, like I said it never had anything as exceptional as the previously mentioned S6 episodes (though “Plucky Pennywhistle’s…” is pretty entertaining and don’t forget when Dean teamed up with Eliot Ness), and with not even the really bad episodes, it’s easy to forget what a lot of the plot is of several episodes. (I’ll admit even I have to double check sometime.)  Yes I will never forgive the slaughter of subtlety they did when naming the villain “Dick Roman” nor with how poorly the general political campaigning was handled.  S7 really does have some major flaws in its execution.

HOWEVER…

They actually had a planned arc this season and it showed.  They also learned from the biggest mistake of S5 and tried to keep the season arc somewhere in the background.  This increased the show’s verisimilitude and also helped make it less predictable.  So, for example, while the reveal of Trickster=Gabriel was a bit shocking, it wasn’t that much since the episode opened with the boys actually discussing Lucifer & the end of the world.  Meaning we knew some revelation had to come since the boys never did talk about that arc during any other MotW episode, even if it would have been relevant.  S7, with them at least keeping it always in the back of your mind, the Leviathans popping up did gain a bit more shock value, like in the episode with the cursed objects.

The Leviathans were something new and pulled the show away from the heaven & hell saga, which it needed (see above).  They were the first real monster to fight the Winchesters on their own turf – craftiness and knowledge.  They threatened the world in a way not often seen (and one that people can argue over how “threatening” it is).  By season’s end their goals were very clear and we could understand and follow those goals.  S7 was the season of Winchesters vs Lovecraft with the Leviathans filling in the best role we’ll probably see for elder things with SPN putting its own twist on it: Instead of cultists, the big-mouths just take over people and infiltrate.  They drive some people mad, and consume them in a literal sense while the originals consumed in a metaphorical sense.  The truth about them is something the whole world needs to know in order to fight, but the truth cannot be told for who would believe you?  I’m sure those much more familiar with Lovecraft than I could probably come up with even more parallels.

Bobby dies.  Not that I was happy with it, as I liked the actor and the character.  However he had become a crutch for the writing staff, the go-to fill in for any plot holes that might arise.  In many ways he was increasingly backsliding the Winchesters to their S1 characters where they couldn’t do anything without Daddy’s help.  With Bobby gone, they could return to form with having to piece things together the hard way and the writers would have to put in a bit more thought (well in theory… but we’ll bring up Carver another day).  Frank, Bobby-lite, thankfully didn’t take over as the new crutch too bad, and he also expanded the characters’ spaces (even if he wasn’t long for this world).  With Dean, I found his struggle to avoid burn-out more compelling than S6 where he… did whatever the plot asked of him.  With Sam, he actually had consistency as a character and we saw him fighting the ramifications of Hell (something even Dean kind of got over too quick in S4).

Finally, rather than breaking canon and trying to handwave it (like a few times in S6), TPTB actually took existing canon and built on it.  Like… what would happen if someone actually liked being possessed?  Why not impersonate the heroes and turn the very system & people they are fighting for against them?  What if a ghost trapped other ghosts?  Again: the answers they gave fit perfectly within canon and built upon it.

In summary, at the time during S6, I would almost dread watching the show sometimes.  During S7, I started enjoying it again and looked forward to seeing where the story would go next.

At least when it aired and as I remembered.  Will my opinions hold up on a second viewing?  Both readers interested can check back next week to find out the answer.

UPDATE: For those curious, you can follow my tweeting on the rewatch on twitter. I’ll be using the hashtags #S6rewatch and #S7rewatch.

(crossposted @ http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/)

Cure for Hellatus – Salt & Burn board game

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Hmmm… it is April 1st, that would be perfect timing for a remix.

On the other hand, this Saturday is international tabletop day AND there’s no Supernatural tonight, which means it’s perfect timing to review this game.

Got it!  We’ll do a remix of the characters reviewing the game!

Dean1 I am so killing Chuck next time I see him.
913sam3 No, Dean, Chuck or “Carver Edlund” or whoever didn’t sign off on this game.  It was made by a fan of the books.  It has nothing to do with us.
Dean1 You sure about that? *holds up event card “Lost a Shoe”*
913sam3 Rightie noooooo!
Dean1 Ok we’ve got our pieces… where’s my race car?  What kind of self-respecting board game doesn’t come with a race car or top hat?
913sam3 I like these colorful, circle emblems, they’re unique.
Dean1 Fine, you get the triangle, I get the… wing, thing here.  Now we deal out what we are. *deals Sam a character card*
913sam3 *looks at card* A demon?  Really, Dean?  You still won’t let me live down Ruby?
Dean1 Ugh, take another. *deal*
913sam3 *look* Human?  Way to remind me how I’m a freak and will never be normal!
Dean1 Try this. *deal*
913sam3 *look* A werewolf?  Oh and she looks just like Madison too! *sob* Why is this even in here?
Dean1 Because the Bitten expansion for the game adds much needed depth to it.  There’s never any reason to NOT play with it. *deal*
913sam3 *look* Angel?  Gee who’s the only jerk here who’s had to deal with an angel inside him?  TWICE!
Dean1 Quit crying, bitch. *deal*
913sam3 *look* Vampire.  Ok I’m good.
Dean1 Yeah can’t imagine what it’s like to be a vampire.
913sam3 So we sit at start, roll a die, then move our token that number plus or minus the speed bonus our vehicle gives us.
Dean1 Easy enough, and every space we land on does something.
913sam3 Most often it has us drawing one of these event cards. If it’s a monster, we try and kill it. Doing so means we’ve saved some lives. First one to… ten lives saved wins the game.
Dean1 So it’s a race, only not to a spot on the board, but to a goal.
913sam3 Yeah.  Hence why this gorgeous board is laid out in a loop fashion.
Dean1 Sounds dull. Where’s the player interaction? How do I screw you over or sink your battleship?
913sam3 Some trunk and event cards will allow that. Also, if we ever end up in the same space, we fight to the death.
Dean1 Always?
913sam3 If we’re two different species, yeah.
Dean1 No. No way, I don’t fight my little brother, who would believe such a thing?
913sam3 Well the brothers expansion does allow players to work together…
Dean1 Great! We’re doing that!
913sam3 It’s… it’s for team play, Dean! We’d need other players to properly use it.
Dean1
Castiel1 I do not understand why I am present.
Crowley4 You know I really prefer Monopoly.
913sam3 Ok. You two are siblings in this game and Dean & I are siblings. Both teams get an heirloom item to share between the two players. *deals out two heirlooms*
Castiel1 But why must Crowley be on my team? Dean I thought…
Dean1 Because ‘destiel’ is passe. Casley is where it’s at now.
Castiel1 *leans over* Do you understand what they’re saying?
Crowley4 *shakes head* No, I only run Hell, nothing so wretched as Livejournal.
Dean1 So if anyone dies in this game, you end up in Purgatory until you roll a ’3′.
Castiel1 Even if we’re not a vampire or werewolf? Dean, you know that’s not accurate.
913sam3 Artistic liberties, Cas. They have to do that to avoid lawsuits.  Also to keep the game from getting needlessly complex.
Crowley4 Oooo they have an “end of days” expansion. Who wants to relive our best adventure?
Castiel1 *looks at product* It involves fighting Lucifer? I’m not ready to remember that…
Dean1 Yeah let’s play a basic game before we get to the hard stuff.
913sam3 Dean, would you like to start?
Crowley4 Oh look! A whole page in the rulebook for houserules.
9_12both PUT THAT DOWN!
Crowley4 No wonder you guys don’t have any friends to play with.

So yeah, I highly recommend the game to Supernatural fans. It may not be as in depth or complex as some games or styles out there, but it’s an easy pick up and play that’s a nice diversion when you have 30 minutes to an hour to kill and want something not to taxing on your noggin. Plus it has a lot of design space left in it such that there’s still plenty we might see in the future and I’m a sucker for modal games where you can sort of tweak the style you want to play with. Hope you get the chance to salt and burn some baddies this saturday…

Oh, and in the tradition of “Risktego” (where you decide territory battles in risk by playing a subgame of Stratego), Ihttp://thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/’ve created “Salt & Burn Firefly” in honor of my little fan project. XD

(crossposted @ http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/games/127-wfb-games/18459-cure-for-supernatural-hellatus-a-salt-and-burn-board-game)

Pleading before the Judge of Ages

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Before I say anything else, I have a plea just in case the author reads this review:

Please, PLEASE write a prequel of some kind.  It doesn’t have to be long, a novella will do nicely, but give us some insight into the time Meany & Blackie (yes I’m bad with names, ESPECIALLY the names in this series so I’m shortening them all) spent together training, maybe even a bit right before the mutiny.  I’ll explain why further down but even if you don’t read that, just know that such a thin tie-in would cover over so many problems with this series.

So after much anticipation (by both fans), John C Wright finally released the Judge of Ages, the 3rd book in his current novel series.  I have to admit that this series is genius as it covers SO much, with SO many possible threads and people that the entire thing could be milked for generations by the author and loyal fanfic writers.  Prequels and sequels and midquels… the sky really is the limit for all that could be written related to the world of this story, and it is to the author’s credit we end up wanting to see these other tales almost as much as we want to see the next book in the series.

Now if you read my review of the previous book you’ll know I was not thrilled with the ending.  Thankfully I can say today that all is forgiven.  While this book also ends on a cliffhanger, it ends on a proper cliffhanger, one you can at least endure while waiting for book 4.  So now I can say without reservation: go pick up book 2, AND #3 at the same time – because you WILL need to read them back to back.  They aren’t just parts of the same overall story, but two halves of one part of the overall story.  Perhaps someday we’ll see both printed together in a form massive enough to club zombies with but until then, you’ll just have to make do with manual joining.

So what is this book about?  Go click on the link above and read the review of the previous book.  This book is all about tying up the threads and concluding book 2. Though I will warn that large sections of the book are taken up by extensive descriptors of the surroundings and people.  Yes, the previous two had those as well but it can get frustrating at times in this one more so as you long to know what the next move is between the players of the drama only to feel like everything has been put on pause so they can paint the scene.  Of course the narrative needs to paint the scene, but like I said, it can feel annoying.  In fact, at times I think the narrative may work a lot better in a more visual medium, although some of the scenes mean we’ll probably never see Hollywood put it on TV or movie until long after we’re dead.  I would like to see it in comic book form.  Heck give the artist a two page spread to display some of the massive visuals demanded (and they would warrant a 2-page spread) and you could probably condense each of these novels into a standard trade paperback.  Of course I’ll admit that part of this wish as selfish as my mind’s eye kept blinking to the point I lost threads of the story I knew I shouldn’t have, and I think a comic would aid weaker readers like myself.

All in all I’d rank it about a… 3.5 out of 5 on its own, with a 4-5 for both books together as a whole.  Any complaints will involve heavy spoilers so those will be below the book image.  As always, you can click the image to get yourself a copy of it.  More than a few points in the story are so awesome, your mind’s eye will melt from the image of it, it’s definitely worth the price of admissions.

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There is a debate going out there on the web in some places between “blue” and “pink” scifi/fantasy.  Don’t worry about searching for details on this, I’ll save you the trouble: it’s pretty much an argument between “plot” stories and “character” stories.  It’s gotten the “blue/pink” labels because, as so often in life, a lot of it breaks down along gendered lines.  The masculine has a tendency to forgive character problems if the plot of a story is sufficiently awesome.  The feminine has a tendency to forgive plot problems if the characters of a story are sufficiently compelling.  Of course that’s just the way to bet, as always in life, all generalizations are false (including this one) so it’s easy to find plots awesome enough to wow even girls, or characters so magnetic even boys like watching them.  There’s nothing wrong with having a preference one way or another and indeed we see that often the very best of the genre blend the “blue” and “pink” together in idealized balance.  But let me stress again: there’s nothing wrong with you preferring one style or the other, and there’s nothing wrong with other people preferring the converse style.  Let the muses rain down all styles from the authors’ pens and let us each enjoy that which pleases our taste.

Now this book series of Mr Wright’s is a heavily blue one (so far) with flashes of pink throughout, but none more so than in the 2nd & 3rd book.  See, I would call John’s Chaos Children trilogy to be, in my taste, the most perfect blend of plot & character in a genre story I’ve seen in a long, long time.  The plot was mind breaking while the characters sucked you in and made you love them.  This book had two major flaws in both styles.

Well actually I’ll admit that the flaw in plot could very well be with me and I’ll need to go back and examine the story closer to confirm, but at the end, it was revealed that a great meteor strike on the earth had been a plan of the Swans to blind both Blackie and Meany.  However in book 2 it seemed that the meteor falling was the key for Meany to invent the virus that ends up creating the Swans in the first place.  So without the Swans, there’s no meteor, but without the meteor, there’s no Swans and… like I said, it could be a fault of mine. UPDATE: Ok, I found where it all linked together.  Of course given that everything about this world is told in non-linear fashion, involving things of murky distinction like generations and species, your brain will get a workout trying to put everything together.  That’s why some of us are working on wiki.

Now character wise… in general this isn’t a problem for the author and indeed many of the characters will stick in your mind.  I love Mickey the Witch as he utilizes the trope I’m so fond of: “Right but for the Wrong Reasons” while the “Old Man” is probably my favorite of the sidekicks and his era the one I’m most interested in seeing.  He’s the one I kind of most want to see journey with Meany & Blackie.  But there are other characters, especially the “bookend” ones (those from the earliest and latest periods of history – except for Sir Guy & the Giant) which you’ll find yourself forgetting even though they end up being as important as anyone else.  Still, the biggest problem of the story remains: the antagonist.

See the entire series (except for one very notable exception) is written in third-person limited: from Meany’s perspective.  Nothing wrong with that, it works great for countless stories.  The slight catch is that Meany has just a bit of unreliable narrator to him.  In his case, he is very much a passionate man who never does anything half-measure, including his esteem or loathing of people.  In general this isn’t a bad thing as we see the other characters about and so can contrast what they are really like against Meany’s views of them (it’s even one of the great pleasures of reading).  The EXCEPTION to this is, of course, the antagonist, Blackie.  He is almost never on screen which means the ONLY knowledge we ever have of him is from the viewpoint character’s usual exaggeration.  While we can usually figure out how much salt to add to Meany’s claims from the surroundings, in this case we have no real frame of reference.  For instance in several places Meany calls Blackie wicked and pure evil etc.  On the one hand, we see Blackie demonstrate some sense of honor and faith and friendship and fidelity and some other positive traits which one can never imagine the likes of Darth Vader or the Joker demonstrating.  On the other hand, Blackie really does things through the story that make Hitler look like a jaywalker.  So the story ends up with the see-saw sensation of Meany’s words being understatements then exaggerations.  It also has the misfortune of a few places feeling like they’re telling us more than showing us things we need to be shown.  The worst example is during the jellyfish scene, where Blackie has his enemy dead to rights, then stops.  It feels like an effort by the author to save the protagonist, although there’s a nagging sensation that it isn’t and should be in character for the villain.  But without seeing more about the villain the reader feels like they’re being lied to.

(another example would be when it’s revealed that they tried baiting Meany with a clone of his wife.  it’s in character for Meany to reject it, but why would Blackie?  especially given his history with Rania and the things we see him capable of, we don’t have a sense that he would really be that picky over a copy.  i could still see him continuing to fight Meany because of pride and grudges, but not really being that scrupulous about his woman.)

This is why I say a small prequel, showing us Meany & Blackie training together and becoming friends, giving us a bit more insight and actually showing us the forging of the bonds of their friendship would greatly strengthen this series.  Then again with the promised cliffhanger, we might end up with a lot of on screen time with Blackie in the next book.  I can only hope so as, like so many movies, the series to this point rests largely on the back of its villain, and the villain is currently the weakest character of them all.

Episode Review – Mother’s Little Helper

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Misha Collins was fine as a director.  He accomplished the first task of every director: making sure you forgot he was around.  ANYTHING I bring up in the complaints reviews rests squarely at the feet of the writers.  The actors, directors, etc are giving it their all, the problem is that the writers aren’t giving them anything to work with.

Now we got that clear?  Everyone read last week’s review?  Continuing on:

IS ANYONE EVEN THINKING ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON?  In random fashion (because I’m too irked to lay these out logically or with segue-ways).

Crowley’s addiction is NOT a metaphor for recreational drugs – it’s a metaphor for medicinal drugs.  Recreational drugs typically don’t make you a better person.  Talking about him “getting clean” or “kicking the habit” is akin to asking a diabetic to “get clean” or “kick the habit” of their insulin.  That’s not something you want those people to do.  Instead of killing him, why don’t the Winchesters just FINISH #&@#$ CURING HIM?!  Wow, then you might have a more trustworthy ally!  Heck it was pretty morally questionable with the boys constantly stabbing all these possessed people instead of exorcising them but somewhat excusable with wartime-reasoning.  Here we see them actively PREVENTING something from finding redemption.  And BOTH brothers are justifying it as a the right thing to do.  No.  NO!  And shut up, Sam, Crowley isn’t going through what you did.  Your blood addiction twisted you as a person.  Crowley’s blood addiction is MAKING him a person.

What would happen if you pulled angel blood and injected it into a demon?  Would it also work as a cure?

How does Abaddon’s “plan” make any sense in the lore?  I’m not even going to try and fit that with Azazel’s timeline just now (it’s 14 years apart from Abaddon’s vanishing to when Azazel brought up Lucifer to discuss the plan of release) but… if you can just make demons innately loyal to you… why is there any infighting at all?  Ok, Lilith was the first, maybe Lucifer was experimenting and left her free will by accident, fine, but why didn’t Lilith make every demon after her loyal to her or Lucifer?  Cain, being probably the 2nd demon made, why was he left with free will?  (although not confirmed in the lore, right now I like to think that Lucifer had a few centuries loose on earth to wreck havoc before Micheal finally came down for their first battle, which resulted in the flood of Noah – after which Lucifer was locked in the cage)  Cain said he made the knights, why didn’t he make them loyal to him?  Maybe it took awhile to figure out ok.  But Crowley wasn’t a demon until sometime after 1661.  Even if we assume the LOWEST agreed upon figure for earth’s age, that means Lilith & co had 5600 years to experiment.  They didn’t crack “perfect loyalty” by then but managed to oh… roughly 300 years later?

Oh and Abaddon is making an army – ripping off Leviathans much?  Or Eve?  And her actions didn’t draw ANY angelic attention in 1958?  I know the angels are dicks, but that just means they should have struck down on the operation sooner since when have you ever known a dick to take a challenge to their power lightly?  And with nuns praying you can’t claim the angels couldn’t have known.

I’m not even Catholic and I felt insulted by this episode.  Look, if you don’t understand religion, or even have friends to consult, then don’t bother with it!

Man, what if Abaddon had operated out of a mosque?  That might have been different. (and about as accurate I’m sure)

A demon nun complains about people in this day and age not coming by?  She has to “work” to get souls?  Well here’s an idea, why don’t you try running a brothel, THAT will probably get you plenty of victims nowadays.  It’s like demons have never heard of sin.

What do you mean “Dean saved Crowley”?  We saw the knife the hunter was using and Dean was right: it wasn’t going to hurt Crowley any.  If anything it shows Dean still has some concerned for his fellow man.  If I see a guy going after a bear with a rubber chicken and I stop him, that isn’t a sign I’m concerned about or protecting the bear.

Oh so Dean is looking for Abaddon.  Well Sam, when you find evidence that Abaddon is working in the town, WHY DON’T YOU CALL DEAN??  Did you phone run out of minutes or something???

Don’t give me that “everyone acts differently soulless” crap, you guys all pulled that way out of your ass.  With this and #THINMAN one gets the impression that this season they write up what “the plot” is of the episode, come up with an opening scene, then try connecting the two together if they can be bothered.  It’s a freakin’ plot hole, stop asking the audience to do your work for you. (no really, go read that link there, SO much about this season will start making sense afterwards)

Hey guys, maybe want to mention this army plan to your friend, THE ANGEL?  Maybe he can tell some of his other friends, OTHER ANGELS??  Seriously though, what happens if one of those demons tried to take the soul of a vessel?  If “factories” are all over the world, then shouldn’t some of them had run into the fallen dicks?  Wouldn’t this cause SOME concern among them?  Maybe get them to start refocusing on… whatever?  After all, since they’re stuck out of Heaven, Abaddon getting a demon army “might” affect them too. (heavy sarcasm)  It might also totally ruin Metatron’s plans.

The exorcism on the phone was a great touch though and earns that extra shell all by itself.  In fact, I’m surprised the two of them haven’t made it their ringtones by now just to see if there’s any possessed people nearby when they get called.

Episode Review – Blade Runners

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charlie-sigh

This was the “Revenge of the Sith” episode of S9.  Our expectations were beaten so low that even the tiniest hint of quality propels our esteem of it into the stratosphere.  What can I say that I didn’t in the remix?

Waste just pure, waste.  The demon selling out Crowley?  The museum chick interrogation?  The guard sequence?  Did we need ANY of that for the plot?  I don’t even mind Snooki’s appearance that much though why don’t the boys just summon Crowley directly?  John summoned Azazel in S2, can’t you make that ritual work for the king?  Oh and I guess Crowley was directly summoned in S6 and S7…

What did all that get us?  We could have cut it and spent more time with the boys at least WEIGHING the choice of curing Crowley or not?  Or spent more time with Cuthbert?  You know, an antagonist (I’m not even going to call him a villain) with some potential nuance played by an electrifying actor putting in some effort!  No, we gotta make him generic and tie up the Winchesters like. every. other. badguy. this. SEASON!

Hey! We’ve now got a house filled with weapons and a zoo and who knows what else that… MIGHT be helpful to the boys?  Nope, we see them traipse off without even bothering to fill a moving box of goodies.

Oh and Dean’s car got damaged.  Funny, because if Abaddon had done that BEFORE the episode “First Born”, THEN I could see Dean being so gung-ho to kill her, even to get the Mark of Cain.

Though really, the faults of this episode become more apparent with the next… stay tuned!

9.16 – “Blade Runners” Remix

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(as always, thanks to http://homeofthenutty.com/ for their screencaps of the episode)

914castiel1 Awwwww yeah! Canon episode baby!
916crowley2 So?
914castiel1 That means I get to be in it.
916crowley3 Nope. This is the Crowley and Friends variety hour. YOU are not invited.
914castiel1 Aw man.
916crowley2 Now leave me alone with my metaphor.
–MEANWHILE–
916sam2 I’m telling you, Dean, Crowley’s using my addiction metaphor right now! I can feel it!
916dean1 Alright, let’s find ourselves a plot coupon.
916snookie *poof* Hey! Someone ask for a plot coupon?
916sam3 Oh. This explains… everything actually.
916dean1 Like how our show makers have sold their souls?
916sam1 No, THEIR show makers. Our show makers still have artistic integrity.
916snookie I’ve got a windows tablet in Act 2 that says you don’t.
916sam1 Dammit! Is there anyone who hasn’t sold themselves to Crowley?
916dean3 I still say Carver IS Crowley.
916sam3 Can’t be, we’re missing too much charm for Crowley to be at fault for this.
916snookie Guys? I’m on a reality show. If I don’t get back soon, this is going to be suspicious.
916sam1 Right. So you help us out or we stab you and…
916sam2 Hang on, Dean… I think we’re villains.
916dean2 What? That’s crazy talk.
916sam2 We’re threatening to kill a national personality – which would get us a lot of attention when we just got over the fake killing spree from two years ago – for no reason but our own purposes.
916dean1 So let’s just exorcise her.
916sam2 Which would leave her out here in the middle of nowhere without any contacts or idea on how to get back home.
916dean3 So what do you think we should do with her?
916sam1 Hang on, I know someone that might be able to help… *gets out cell phone*
kyle2 Hello?
–LATER–
916crowley1 Maybe injecting myself with blood from people wasn’t a good idea…
916sam1 *burst into room* Stop using my addiction metaphor, Crowley!
916crowley2 Hang on, I’m working on my STD bingo.
916dean2 Hah! I’m on my 3rd card.
916crowley3 Well I did this without the fun of ****. … Aw, I made myself sad.
916sam2 Because you’re mainlining human blood?
916crowley2 You started it, Moose.
916dean3 How does this work? Any random human body has like…. a dozen gallons of blood in it when you possess them. But that doesn’t affect you until you add one more ounce?
916sam1 Actually, Dean, the human body has just under a gallon and a half of blood.
916dean2 Thanks, Spock.
916sam3 And – at most – the syringe Crowley is using holds half an ounce.
916dean1 We get it, Sammy. So as I said, why blood when the demon should be soaking in it while meat riding?
916sam1 If we had to force feed the demon the Eucharist or give him a holy water enema… that would make some sense.
916crowley1 By Satan I can’t tell if I’m crying from the feels or your incessant chatter.
916dean1 Buckle up, Chuckles. It’s time for your intervention.
916dean2 … Oh no, we’ve totally stepped in his metaphor.
916sam1 You bastard! I’ll kill you for stealing my plotline! I’m going to…
916sam2 Dean… I really think we’re becoming villains.
916dean2 That’s crazy talk, Sam! We’re just forcing intervention on a person to keep them from finding any possible redemption because it suits our own purposes.
916dean3 … Oh my chuck we’re totally villains.
916crowley3 I’m so proud of you both.
–LATER–
916dean3 Man, it’s been awhile since we’ve done that research thing, hasn’t it, Sammy?
916sam1 Glad we skipped over all that, otherwise people might see even more examples of how villainous we are.
916dean1 Like letting someone get possessed for our convenience? Or threatening a random citizen? Hah. Good times.
916villain2 Huzzah! I am present!
916sam3 A little early, no?
916villain1 I grow bored waiting for thou to arrive. Now welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly.
916dean2 What?
916villain3 Classic literature. Well, they were first printings when I perused them.
916sam2 Whoa, you’ve got a lot of neat shit around here.
916villain2 And a zoo.
916dean2 A petting zoo?
916villain1
916sam2
916dean3 I mean stuck up here… all by yourself… it could get lonely…
916sam3 Dean! Reality. Porn. Just stop!
916villain2 So how may I serve thee?
916dean1 We need the first blade.
916villain3 Similar to that one? *points*
916sam3 *looks behind* Damn, we’ve become really unobservant. Remember when I could spot a fingernail in a basement?
916villain2 What dost thou even need it for? It’s useless without the Mark.
916dean3 Like this one? *rolls up sleeve*
916villain2 Exactly like that one. Please exit stage right, Sam.
916sam2 *poof*
916dean1 Hey that wasn’t nice! *grabs machete*
916villain1 I cast, Melt Weapon.
916dean1 I use a free action to pull out my gun.
916villain2 The gun I retrieved with my pickpocket skill? *holds up gun*
916dean2 Wha? How?
916villain3 I rolled a critical success.
916dean3 Damn wizards, always overpowered.
916villain2 Not my fault thou remained a pure warrior instead of multi-classing. Now let me tie you up as befitting my collection.
916dean1 Again? No, I won’t do it!
916villain2 Thou must!
916dean2 No I’m sick and tired of being tied up ever chuck-damned episode! Well I won’t do it this time.
916villain1 Thou better or… I’ll blast thee.
916dean1 No you won’t, you just admitted I’m a part of your collection. You won’t shoot me.
916villain2 Damn. Ok, I’ll shoot thou, then tie thee up, and then bring you back with a resurrection spell. *cocks gun*
916dean3 How? You multiclass cleric?
916villain3 *pouts* No.
916dean1 And look… I have a room full of weapons within arms reach here. Bet you run out of spells before I run out of them.
916villain2 Wait! Let’s ponder this…
–MEANWHILE–
916sam1 Damn… weeds!
916crowley3 Yeah, too bad you don’t have something like a machete to cut your way through them.
916sam2 *looks down at thigh sheath* Awwwww man. So the guy took my brother. I’m selling my soul to you for the power to get him back.
916crowley2 I thought you wouldn’t bother saving him if Dean was in trouble.
916sam1 Right. I… begin researching.
916crowley2 Feels like old times, doesn’t it? You miss it?
916sam1 Can you please just not talk right now?
916crowley2 Why all the hate from you and your brother? What did I ever do to you?
916sam2 You messed with our friends and loved ones.
916crowley2 Worse than Castiel? Or Meg?
916sam1 Well Castiel helped us out with the Apocolypse.
916crowley3 SO DID I! Hello? The Colt? Larger hellhound? Finding Death? I did more to drag you two over the finish line than twinkle toes.
916sam1 But he feels remorse for the bad things he did.
916crowley1 I was feeling remorse, UNTIL YOU TWO GAVE ME AN “INTERVENTION”.
916sam3 Uh… you’re a demon, who must have done bad things.
916crowley2 As much or less on screen than all of Meg’s appearances, and you two didn’t give her near the hate you give me. What gives?
916sam2 …We don’t like how you’re stealing some of our fangirls.
916crowley3 I knew it!
–LATER–
916villain2 Ah, here we go! I cast Dominate Person!
916dean2 Seriously? You had that spell and you didn’t bother starting with it?
*SAM
OFFSCREEN*
Now take us to Dean!
*CROWLEY
OFFSCREEN*
Just kill him already! It’s a sealed house, we can find Dean at our leisure once the wizard’s dead.
916sam1 *enters room – sees Cuthbert* …
916villain1
916sam1 Then what is…
916villain3 Shapeshifter!
916sam1 *stabity stab* You had a shapeshifter all along?
916villain2 Yeah. So?
916dean2 How did that shapeshifter change its clothes?
916sam2 Dumbass. Why didn’t you just send a mind controlled shapeshifter to replace Dean when you sent me back? Then I wouldn’t be breaking in here and would have left you alone with your “collection.” Don’t you watch Dr Who?
916villain1 No, I’m from the 50s. I refuse to acknowledge anything nu-Who related.
916dean3 Oh no, you got him started…
916sam1 Heresy! There are some good quality stories in the series which maintain the spirit of the originals while forging new ground in storytelling!
916villain1 Bah! The best of the new is inferior to even the worst of Colin Baker!
916sam1 Oh them’s fighting words!
916villain1 Bring it! For Slyvester McCoy!
916sam1 In the name of David Tennant!
916dean3 You know I was partial to Christopher Ecelston.
916crowley1 You all disgust me. None were greater than Tom Baker.
916sam2 Why? He sell his soul to you for the job or something?
916crowley2 No, I sold my soul to him – well a soul. For an acting gig. But there was a problem with the paperwork and processing… I ended up acting opposite that ham Matt Smith instead of a living legend.
916dean2 Dude, you got to hang out with Karen Gillian?
916crowley3 Yes, but I was hoping to meet Louise Jameson.
916villain2 Enough! Just… just get out. I can’t stand to have such philistines in my house.
916sam1 Fine, we’re going.
916villain1 *scoff* I liked Dr Who before it was cool.
916dean1 Oh that’s it. *choppity chop*
916villain2 blarg! *is dead*
916sam2 What’d you do that for???
916dean1 Dude, I am NOT letting a geek-hipster live.
916crowley2 Good call. Now I’m taking the knife and skedaddling.
916dean2 Aww dammit! Why don’t we put these things on a bungie already? … And what the hell happened to my car?
916sam3 At least they didn’t take your cassette tapes.

(cross posted @ http://www.thewinchesterfamilybusiness.com/archive-articles/129-season-nine/18452-nate-winchester-s-remix-of-supernatural-9-16-blade-runners)