I’ve finally got internet set up here and regular posting schedule should resume.
At first I was going to give this episode 5 shells, it started out as I hoped, but toward the end… it’s not that I opposed the ending, I’m subtracting a shell for predictability. Kripke and Co have had a good track record of surprising us and keeping the viewers guessing, so to have a predictable ending is one of the worst sins. However, this is a “to be continued” episode so maybe next week will improve my feelings about this one.
As for the guest star, Julie McNiven? Well I crush on redheads and my own last name starts with a “Mc” so it was hard not to adore her. She’s not playing the capable girl hunter I’ve been wanting in the show, but she does fill a nice motif. And if you were expecting most of this episode to be about her… well it’s actually mostly about Sam.
(links and spoilers after the hot pics of Julie)
This episode started with what we’ve been needing this whole season: a recap of the ground rules. Our lovely and cute guest star spells it out to a psychiatrist: there are 600+ seals throughout the world (who is betting that the total number is 666?) and Lilith only has to break 66 to release Lucifer. Now we have a better understanding of the danger and stakes and with that in mind, I was on edge a lot more through this episode. The side of Good cannot fight a war of attrition against Lilith, but she can fight one against them. With this knowledge I’m going to make a new prediction: Lilith will get close to success, but will ultimately fail close to the end of the season, and the YED’s end game plan for Sam will come into play and set us up for the true brothers’ war in the final season.
It was nice seeing an “innocent” that was already a part of the Winchester’s world instead of getting thrown into it (like most episodes in the first 2 seasons). She’s also revealed to have some powers so I’m actually hoping she sticks around and becomes a more core role of the cast. Her talk of “You’re Dean? THE Dean?” brought me a laugh as he now gets to enjoy a bit of celebrity. (his return sparking her new awareness was a nice touch)
Like I said above, the ending was predictable though. Right before commercial you could hear wings fluttering outside the door so it was an easy guess that it was angels. With them being painted as “Well-intentioned Extremists” this season it was no surprise that they want her dead. Which is understandable with her being a built in evesdropper tool, but they’ve revealed she can see Demons (as Dean could in No Rest for the Wicked) so she has some value to the side of good too. I hope she’ll be used for this and her powers and we’ll get to see a lot more of the lovely Julie McNiven. Next episode shows her and Dean getting… “close”. What do you think? Good or bad?
As for the meat of the episode, how was the revelation about what’s going on with Sam? For me the biggest reveal was his talk with the [new] crossroads demon. The demon reveals that Sam can’t offer them anything saying, “Everything’s right where we want it.” Since Lilith is wanting Sam dead, I wonder who’s the “we” the demon was talking about. Was it Lilith? Or was it the YED faction I’m hypothesizing is still around (Ruby being the only member we know for sure)? Ruby returns, and I admit I liked the blond actress that she played for the first part. It’s then revealed that at Sam’s request, Ruby ditched that girl and took over a dead coma victim (the current actress) leading to the show’s second political reference that actually made me laugh: “I recycled. Al Gore would be proud of me.” My question from the season premiere was answered, Ruby and Sam have been getting it on. (Best line of the episode: Sam-I told you I was coming clean. Dean-Well now I feel dirty.) I can’t say I support fornication (especially with a demon possessed girl, no matter how hot she is – unless it’s Sienna Guillory) but the poor Winchesters have been through so much, I can’t begrudge them getting a little enjoyment. The brunette playing Ruby I think stepped up a bit more, though I can’t decide whether I prefer her interaction with Dean or Katie Cassidy’s. Both of them just have little quirks that bug me and she just can’t get out from under Meg’s shadow.
A new player entered the field too. A demon (pure by my theory) named Alastor. Sound familiar? Well if you’ve played any video games or… much else. I’ve been playing some of Painkiller lately and Alastor is a boss so I did have a geeking moment. He also really conveyed the threat well as resistant to Sam’s mind whammy and even survived a stab from Ruby’s knife. Well now we know it’s weaker than the Colt (are they ever going to get that back? I know it might make some things too easy but damn it, I miss that gun) but the rules on it seem to be “whatever the writer needs.” I’m actually getting tired of the weapon (why has Dean lately been broadcasting his attacks with it instead of using sneaking stabs like before? it’d be more effective) and hope it stays lost for good. I’m tabling canon discussion about it for now because my brain hurts.
It was revealed that Alastor and Dean have had a prior encounter in Hell. And now I’m finally interested in what happened to Dean down there, now that we know his experiences could be relevant to the current war. Maybe the angels had more reason to grab him than just to save his brother. Although I’m wondering, how easy is it to get in and out of Hell? Meg escaped pretty quick true, but I can allow for 1 exception. With Alastor revealing that he’s out after torturing Dean and Ruby telling us that Lilith was letting her out, I’m wondering if Hell has a revolving door policy worse than most modern prisons.
Well, we’ve gotten Kripke to smooth out one continuity question (the seals), here’s hoping he’ll smooth out the two big ones from tonight (knife and hell) or at least, not make things worse for the hardcore Supernatural geek.
Keep hunting till next Thursday…