Episode Review – Captives

[author’s note: all of the following are “quote quotes”.  not “scare quotes” or “sarcasm quotes”]

Someone once asked me, “do i hate the show”.  My answer is always: “No, I hate bad writing.”  I don’t mind anything the show does as long as it’s well written and serves narrative purpose.  I mean I wasn’t thrilled when Sam & Dean had a riff over Dean killing Kaylee Amy but it was written organically and fit within the show and the character arcs.  This season?  I’ve seen processed frozen dinners that are more organic.

Let me head off one complaint I’ve heard before.  When I say something has “bad writing” that is not saying anything about anybody’s feels.  Feelings are not rational, that’s why they’re called feelings.  You’re not a bad person for feeling something with bad writing.  Porn makes many people feel every day, but nobody really tries defending it’s story quality.  Hell I’ll admit that Armageddon hits me in all sorts of feels, but I’m not going to argue for a second that it’s in any way good writing.  Nor does enjoying it make me a bad person (that puppy I set on fire does).  Don’t be taking what some asshole says on the internet personally – unless they call out your name.  (Except for you, Marvin, I do hope this post makes you cry like the little girl you are.)

What’s all this leading up to?

The freakin’ angel!  Not Misha Collins who’s a national treasure (nation to be determined) but the poor torturous character that is in a race with canon to see which one can be the worst treated by the writers this season.

As I keep saying (until I’m getting tired of it), WHAT has been the point of Castiel sucking grace in “Holy Terror”?  WHAT purpose has him having power in the story served that couldn’t be handled with him being powerless?  Sam’s healing?  Except it opens up a plot hole with Castiel suddenly unwilling to do something his powers could easily fix.  Don’t go resurrecting Kevin or anything, Castiel – the kid’s only your best hope for getting back home.  This episode, you can practically see the writers getting caught in their own mishap.  Suddenly he has morals now?  Even the other, deuchebag angels are calling him out on vampiring an ally.  Yet somehow with his new morals it is “better” (sarcasm quotes that time) to out and out kill Bartholomew (and his host) than to just remove his grace and let him try living as an unpowered being?  We know the grace removal doesn’t have to be fatal since it happened to Castiel!  Hey here’s an idea, what if Castiel was powerless up until now, and then Bartholomew gives him someone else’s grace (like the angel they captured) to get in Castiel’s good graces? (pun intended)  One line like, Bart: “During our searches we came across a spell…” and you fix EVERY problem the show’s been having.  You know what’s even better?  You SHOW the audience how terrible Bart’s group is being by them being able to render the peaceful (and other) angel factions powerless and nonthreatening, yet killing them regardless.  But no this is the season of the show telling us everything, and showing us nothing.  Heck they could have spliced Castiel’s scenes here into either of the preceding episodes (maybe extend the hunt a bit for more of that SHOWING thing) without affecting them.

Oh hey, the angels’ eviction from Heaven is causing afterlife issues?  WE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT EARLIER!  Like… most of the first half of the season being ghost stories, maybe even from bodies pretty freshly dead.  Sam: “Hey Dean, there more ghosts lately than usual?”  Then we would have had a REASON to be invested in opposing Metatron since whatever’s causing the ghost pileup, it’s source is him.  Though one must ask: if Hell was shut last season, would ghosts supposed to go there also start piling up?

The boys… how sad is it that Kevin has to stuffed into an episode to keep any likability and investment in it?  Though had this season stretched out the separation between the brothers, this would have been a natural, and appropriate way to bring Sam & Dean back together.  Hey Kevin?  Mom?  Why are you leaving the Bunker?  Might be a lot safer in there than out there.  Maybe you could still help out the boys with translating the tablet?  Help everyone get into Heaven sooner?  No?

You don’t have to be perfect, show.  Just… just give us a sign that you’re trying.  The main cast HAS the skill to handle challenging stuff, we’ve seen this over the years.

Or at least go full blown “so bad it’s good” territory.


8 thoughts on “Episode Review – Captives

  1. Whoo boy, I hate to say it, but I liked this episode. But as you say, that was my feelings. The business about the Trans leaving when they could help translate the tablet struck me as odd. Why wouldn’t Crowley continue to hunt Mrs. Tran? Maybe they hoped everyone would be too distracted to notice that.The Cas storyline is just screwed up six ways from Sunday, so I won’t bother to comment on that. So Many plot holes. but yay- angsty Dean with headphones !!!

    • Hey, i can’t blame you too much for liking it. 😉

      lol Yeah, I ended up going back and upping my score after reflection because there were some good parts. But to reverse the saying, this episode was a whole that was less than the sum of its parts.

  2. Enjoyed your thoughts again, Nate. I’m not terribly fond of what’s been going on this season either and Castiel’s story has been one of the most frustrating storylines…and that’s in a whole nest of frustrating storylines. I’m with you though, I don’t hate show, just rather disappointed in it’s lackadaisical nature as of late. It’s not like the episode was offensive or I hated it or anything, just there was nothing inspiring about it that made me want to see it again. I keep hoping that they will pull it together this season, though. If nothing else, I’m a hopeful gal, I guess.

  3. Right?! If ghosts can’t get into heaven, where was Death (presuming it was Death and not a construct of Sam’s mind like Bobby and Dean) going to take Sam in 9.01? And wait, didn’t Charlie briefly go to heaven in “Slumber Party”? It’s bad enough when they can’t keep series canon straight, but when they can’t do it within a given season … *facepalm*

    What does it say that I’ve become so used to episodes not making sense that I didn’t even question the Trans leaving. I should have obviously. Oy! I think the brother conflict is being used to distract fans from the mess of a plot that’s (not) happening.

    • Death… maybe explainable if you think he was planning to obliterate Sam (there would be nothing, not even a soul).

      Really, this season would have worked SO much better had they made resurrection an ability the angels LOST when they fell from heaven (and just rewrite those 2 scenes where Sadreel brought Cas & Charlie back).

      I’m now with you about the brothers’ conflict being used as a distraction. Have you heard the rumors about Amelia and S8?

      • Yes. It wouldn’t surprise me if Carver dropped would have made Sam’s storyline meaningful and worthwhile because fans didn’t like Amelia/Sam — which is what everyone told him would happen. I wonder if it is true. I haven’t heard any evidence that the rumor is true.

      • Well had Amelia been a psychosis it would have explained a LOT about her general…. behavior and stuff.

        They just needed to give more evidence that there was something more. At least while we were watching Purgatory, waiting for the revealed twist, it was interesting to watch.

      • It was certainly implied in “Hunteri Heroici” with the repeated mentions of dream worlds and Sam pressing the scar on his hand, but then they went and made her real. Why? If they’d shown that Sam had a psychotic break when Dean was gone, it would have explained so much about his behavior. Making his relationship with her real just turned it into a soap opera.

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