Episode Review – the Girl Next Door

(sorry for the delay, been working overtime for 10 days straight – including weekends – but thankfully all things pass in time)

I knew it.

I just KNEW that no matter how good season 7 was so far, it wouldn’t be long before we were disappointed.

Last week promised something I was looking forward to: The Winchesters are injured and going to a hospital where the leviathan work. This could be it: a real mental chess game. We could even have a bit of meta humor as a slang term for bureaucracy (such as what hospitals have to deal with – believe me, I and a lot of my family have worked in ones for years) is “Leviathan”. We could have leviathan vs leviathan. Even a lot of chances to poke fun at House M.D. Instead? Bobby gets them out within 15 minutes of the episode’s start.

Which only goes to prove how much they need him to die already to really ratchet up the tension. In commentaries and interviews, the creators would point out how John Winchester had to die in order to “move the boys to the frontline”. The longer Bobby survives, the more it’s starting to feel like they’re being pushed back from it again. And I say this as a fan that LOVES Bobby and John both – but writers have to know when they are starting to use characters/props/etc as crutches. Avoid crutches!

So what about the plot we did get? More or less a remake of Heart, I did find it an improvement (as I never really bought into the Sam/Madison chemistry). I liked getting a look at some of Sam’s history and his “curse” of always falling for the monster girl. But then…

  • Can we at least get acknowledgement of past cases? When I first heard about the MO, I thought this week’s monster was going to be a wraith. After all, its touch can drive people insane, so if it was to touch Sam (who’s already insane), would he loop back around to sanity? I don’t mind that it was a kitsune, but can we get the characters treating mysteries like medical and tech professionals diagnose issues? (Hint: We make a list of possible causes. We slowly eliminate which cause it is based upon further information. Repeat until only 1 thing remains.) It didn’t even have to be Sam, but maybe see Dean go through some effort…
  • Why do monsters always have to eat humans? Could a kitsune eat a vampire’s brain? (It used to be human.) A werewolf’s? (It’s human most of the time.) In fact, since werewolves can only be killed by silver, would eating one be a renewable food source? (brain grows back in overnight…) As the episode went on, I was really hoping to see something the show has yet to do: A monster that hunts. Imagine: Amy, after her youthful run in with Sam, decides to be the hunter rather than hunted. In the process, she finds monster brains (well – some of them) to be… preferable to vanilla human brains. Sam runs into her, thinking she’s the killer but she reveals that she’s in town also hunting what’s killing those people. The two team up to take down the beasty before parting ways, a hint of their former romance rekindling…

And that’s the biggest issues I saw with…

Oh right, one more thing.

DEAN YOU STUPID ASSHOLE!

Look, I’m fine with this little thing called “character growth” but the key is that it HAS – TO – BE – ORGANIC!

What’s wrong with Dean this episode?

  • Remember when he nearly killed another human (Gordon) to defend innocent vampires?
  • Remember when he experienced doubt about his father when he learned that John may have killed an innocent ghoul?
  • Remember how Dean was once considering teaming up with the Trickster/Gabriel?
  • Or when he was talking about teaming up with pagan gods?
  • What about trying to NOT kill the proto-rugaru?
  • How about a month ago when his dogmatism drove Castiel away into the hands of Leviathan?
  • Or a few years before that when he drove his brother away?
  • Only to then reunite with his brother once he learned how important family and connections are?

With everything going on, has Dean not learned that he MIGHT want to make some allies? Just in case? I’m glad Dean’s learned that compromising with demons is never a good idea, but there’s still a long way to go between that and the questionably guilty parties like Amy. I mean… I generally like SPN because (in its prime) it could bring up some legitimately interesting questions. After all, ideally the Winchesters shouldn’t be doing what they do. Ideally, society should be set up such that monsters can be prosecuted like humans and legally imprisoned or executed as the case warrants. But the system isn’t ideal (how like life) so they have to pick up the slack. Yet how different was what Amy was doing? The one victim we saw her kill was a human monster who looked ready to prey upon a vulnerable young woman. Now, as I’ve said before, I have no issue with speciesism. But can we at least see the boys address this? What if Amy was hunting down people that escaped justice – like the boys do? Sure they might STILL have to kill her, but can we at least get a discussion?

Was there anything good with this episode? Well it had Jewel Staite (the hottest girl from firefly) using the name of the hottest Dr Who companion (sorry Julie, looks like a new guest star has earned the “hottest SPN girl” award). The brief scene of the leviathan hunting for the Winchesters was also a nice touch. If we had asides like that with the angels & demons in season 5, it would have helped that season’s atmosphere a lot.

I did laugh when the audio for a commercial for “My Bloody Valentine” played on the tv and when we saw that one leviathan talking with a man who’s charges remind us that Chuck might still be out there…

All in all…

A below average episode and a sinking dread about the season.

(Hopefully episode 7.4 will be on the cw site tomorrow or wed and I can get caught up before Friday.)

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3 thoughts on “Episode Review – the Girl Next Door

  1. Late, as per usual. But still – FIRST!
    😉

    “as I never really bought into the Sam/Madison chemistry”

    Hey, that was purely physical attraction. And sexual frustration on Sammy’s part – unless I’m mistaken, she was the first girl he got anywhere with after Jess. Also, her situation was quite a bit different from Amy’s: where she was your typical reluctant monster (Jekyll/Hyde type thing), Amy was a born monster who just happened to try and make the best of it.

    “Why do monsters always have to eat humans?”

    This is what I don’t get either. Would it kill them to write that in somewhere? It won’t change the status quo all that much… and it would be *really* interesting. You are, of course, talking to the guy who considers Blade II the best out of the trilogy, but still. Remember that first season episode of Buffy with the living dummy?
    And Amy and Sam hunting together would’ve been awesome.

    “Remember when he nearly killed another human (Gordon) to defend innocent vampires?”

    Personally I think that episode should’ve made a bigger change to his character than it did. Near the end of Season 3 we met that immortal doctor-guy, and Dean kept hammering about how he doesn’t want to be like that because it’s “not human”. I’m sorry, what? The guy kills people – *that’s* what makes him evil. Not his non-human nature.
    And the rugaru episode didn’t make much sense to me, for the same reason. They saw Jack (that was his name, right?) resisting the urge to eat that hottie, so he was – at that moment, at least – not a threat to anyone. Until the hunter with the broken arm attacked his pregnant wife, of course. To me that was a good climax: it subtly raised the question of who the true monster was – the hunter or Jack? If the hunter wasn’t so psycho, Jack wouldn’t have snapped (or maybe he would’ve later….). You don’t attack someone’s pregnant wife and then expect him to just sit there, chilling out.

    Yeah – speciesism. It would’ve made for an interesting discussion if the writers chose to address it, but they didn’t. personally I think they were being both lazy and chicken. The way I see it, Sam has no qualms about killing a human if he has to (or a few seasons back, he didn’t. He’s so crazy now that it’s hard to tell). Dean is the one who would hesitate and butt out. But like you said, they should’ve made him handle this case somewhat differently and they didn’t.

    Who was Julie, BTW? You’ve mentioned her a couple of times, now. And no – for me, Ava gets that award, hands down. 😉

    • Oh I know about the Madison, just…

      Well the biggest point is that a lot of Sam episodes use a monster for a character study on him. Madison was what we first thought he was: someone who would have no choice into what he would become. The Rugaru (and yeah… the whole tactics/morality of that episode is another post) represents his struggle to not become something evil, and yet he might ultimately fail. Amy is closest to what he actually became: born (or in Sam’s case: changed at a very young age) into something monstrous, yet overcoming that to do good – even if a few horrible things were done.

      Though you are right, the brothers do represent different morality systems, which I wish they would try working on more (although… really hard to do without being aviliscious).

      Speaking of which, time to break the seriousness.
      http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Sleep_with_Sam_Winchester_and_die!

      Who was Julie, BTW? You’ve mentioned her a couple of times, now. And no – for me, Ava gets that award, hands down.

      What? GET OFF THIS BLOG WITH THAT HERESY!
      Nah, j/k. Julie refresher: http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Julie_McNiven
      (and heck, Ava’s not bad, but Sparrow is hotter too: http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Sparrow_Jennings)

  2. “Well the biggest point is that a lot of Sam episodes use a monster for a character study on him.”

    Good point. I never really saw Madison as one of those, though – but you’re right.

    “Though you are right, the brothers do represent different morality systems, which I wish they would try working on more (although… really hard to do without being aviliscious).”

    True. But a subtle moment here and there works wonders. Season 2 handled it the best, IMO: Azazel mindscrewed Dean by hammering on how “cold” Sam was when he shot Jake (even though Jakey deserved it, after killing Sam AND AVA! ;-)). Rewind even further back, and you get Dean expressing sadness over the inmates who were killed by that nurse ghost: even though they were “jerks”, he felt they didn’t deserve to “go that way”. Also, remember the fake angel? I always felt that if it was *Sam* who followed the would-be rapist instead of Dean, he wouldn’t have just beaten the guy up (and not just because the ghost “compelled” him or whatever).

    And now I’ve once again been a show-off with my good memory and general geekiness. Haha!

    Anna. Her in-universe name is Anna – no *wonder* I couldn’t catch it! Yeah, she’s definitely a stunner, but Ava was played by Katharine Isabelle, who is hotter than the core of the sun.

    Also, at the risk of sounding like a hipster (that’s apparently a big risk these days…), I crushed on Jewel before Firefly was a thing. You remember Space Cases? She was the chick with the rainbow hair.
    …I feel so *old* now.

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