This was another tough episode to review. Lots of canon fodder and Ash returns with the quote of the night:
“We got Ash killed too.”
“I’m cool with it!”
“He’s cool with it.”
And I liked that we finally had an angel not Castiel that was a decent fellow, they were starting to get more 2-d than the demons. Still… it’s just painful to see subpar writing when you know these guys can do better.
1) “You boys die more than anyone I know.” – Well, Sam might have died and been to the afterlife, but all the times Dean has died (as demonstrated in the “then” montage) was during his year he was under his deal with hell. He should have never been into the heaven/purgatory that Ash talked about.
2) “Why is there evil? You could drive yourself nuts with those questions.” – Or, you could point out to Dean that he’s been throwing a fit at Heaven’s interference for most of the season. Now he’s angry God won’t interfere? I wish Joshua had said, “Why don’t you make up your mind, then ask God?”
3) Ok, so God is “out” right now as a possible solution (or is He?), here’s an idea: Castiel mentioned a “wall” (or veil if you’re familiar with theology) that he couldn’t cross to help out Dean & Sam. Can Satan cross it? Ok, he’s an arcangel so maybe he’s got the juice to do so. Obvious plan: Kill Sam, get him deep into Heaven (like, center of the Garden). Muscle up every angel, dead soul, John, Mary, Dean, EVERYONE they can and start beating the hell (pun intended) out of Satan when he comes to resurrect Sam. In fact, why did Joshua return Sam back to life as well?
4) So why do we care about them dying again? Ok, so there’s a chance they’ll get caught by Zach and others in the afterlife, then tortured etc until they give in. But Joshua sent them back without any conditions. Can’t he just show up as soon as they croak and fling ’em back to earth? Congrats Kripke & Co, you just cheapened Ellen, Jo, and everyone else’s deaths. You should have at least taken a moment to reinforce why we don’t want these guys dying (and any effort you made toward it was undercut by Dean’s statement at the beginning – funny though it was – “When I come back, I’m gonna be pissed.”)
5) Kurt Fuller was a treat to watch as always, and it was nice to see him get a bit of a character development, about how and why this is personal for him. But umm… why hang on to Sam? He should know that the brothers are each others’ strength and weakness. Dean even said to Zach that being together kept them human. So idea: Zach hangs onto Dean and calls up Satan, gifts wrap Sam and turns him over. Uh oh Dean, do you think you can escape us before your brother gives in? The sooner you say yes, the sooner you can rescue Sam from a fate worse than death…
6) So is God out of the picture for good? I’m not sure. There are a few inconsistencies in this episode that I’m wondering if they are just sloppy writing (odds favorite) or subtle hints that God is preparing something. For instance, Joshua says that He seems to get lonely. Ok, that seems to solidify that this is not a universe of the Trinity. But um – He is said to be on earth. There’s 6 billion+ people down here. I’m sure someone would like to hang out with God (though He better find that person quick before Satan kills them). Maybe the point is that God doesn’t have anyone who cares about Him for Him, it’s all about requests and begging and, dammit, can’t He talk with someone just once without work coming up? Fair enough, yet you’re telling me that in all of history, with every saint and religious person that ever lived, He couldn’t find one buddy? Lewis, Aquinas, Job, Paul, and that’s just a small number of major Jewish and Christianity figures. I’m sure He could find more friends among even other faiths.
7) Alright, I know Jeffery Dean Morgan is a big movie star nowadays and probably can’t get to the show that often with his schedule, but do they have to keep dragging John Winchester through the mud? One of the things I liked about this show was the father figure. Sure he wasn’t perfect (who is?) but he tried and you could tell he really, really did love his boys. Then they dragged his name through the mud some (never showed up for a Christmas) only to suddenly redeem him again in the past… now they trash him again. Really, sometimes everything they talk about him almost comes off as subtle insults against single parents. I’ll be the last person to argue against the idea that kids need 2 parents (they do) but shit happens in life and there are single parents out there, many doing the best they can. Can we get a balance here? Not everything has to be rosy but it’s not total hell either!
8 ) When was the last time we had a decent deity? Narnia? Middle-earth? What is up with the modern obsession over making God a bad guy? Is it that hard to make Him lovable? You could eliminate Him as a possible solution without making Him out to be a douche. Here’s some lines from Joshua as example: “He has many things on His mind.” Or “You should know Dean, how trying to help can often make things worse.” Or “You do not know everything that He knows. If He chooses to act, it will be at the right moment.” It is such a ‘thing’ in popular culture nowadays to make God as big of an asshole as you can, if not worse than the devil. Really, it’s getting tiresome in its predictability and… well you can get a lot of sermons out of this thought…
And I was disappointed we didn’t get a shout out to Vikings or something here. Their theology had their gods losing at the end of time, yet they were still worshiped because it was the right thing to do. Would it be too much to have Dean or Castiel or Sam make the declaration that even if they must lose, they will still serve the Lord? What about Jesus’ parable about the widow and the unjust judge? I have expected Sam to bring it up and point out that God may say “back off” but that doesn’t mean they stop seeking Him.
Come on guys, I watched this show for the challenging plots, not the cookie-cutter predictable echoes of popular culture. I’d almost give this 1 shell but it was majorly canon and Ash=awesome so…
Looks like next week they’re going to have church goers attacking the boys. [sigh] It’s almost like Kripke & Co are angry at their success and want to torpedo it as much as possible. Look for it to end up worse episode of the season.