Episodes Reviewed – Halt & Catch Fire & The Executioner’s Song (or “Why Carver annoys me so much”)

Whoops, I had totally forgotten to do a review of these episodes and then the hellatus ended sooner than I expected on me.

10.13 – Continuing in the grand tradition, this is another season 10 episode that feels a lot like it could be a season 1…

Wait a moment.

*scribbles on napkin*

Well no wonder!  This is a beat-for-beat remake of the episode Bloody Mary!  Ghost with a fixed, but near unlimited travel path?  Trying to isolate the final girl from the ghost’s access.  Heck even at the end the ghost is beaten by a self-reflection conveyed via the very method it had used to torment its victims.

Watch this episode with Bloody Mary back to back for probably the best contrast between Kripke and Carver on how they run a show.

10.14 – Hey Cain is back!

Ok, this is one of those episodes… I call it a “superior style covering inferior substance” writing.  Or as Chuck of SFDebris put it once: “A 7 layer cake made out of shit.  It’s impressive how well its made and all, but it’s still made out of shit!”

The acting in this episode?  Excellent all around.  The scenes and cinematography?  Great!  Etc etc, lots of positive things to say about how the episode is built.  But nonetheless the episode’s core is still… crap.

In fact, this episode provides me with exhibit A for why in the world Carver’s run is so damn frustrating to me.  These are quotes taken directly from the scripts of these episodes as posted on the Supernatural wiki.

In this episode, we have Dean twice say:

When he gave me the Mark, Cain said that this day would come, that after I killed Abaddon, I would have to come and put him down.

and

You told me that this day would come. You told me that I would have to kill you.

NO! WRONG!  This is the EXACT WORDS by Cain from episode 9.11 DURING CARVER’S OWN RUN!

You find the blade, kill Abaddon, but make me a promise first. When I call you — and I will call — you come find me and use the Blade on me.

Yes, under the loosest, most politician-method way of interpreting words, you can make these two lines fit, but in actual CONTEXT, NO!  That is in no way what Cain told you, Dean.  I was pretty mad Carver couldn’t keep Kripke’s & Gamble’s canon straight, but he can’t even keep his own???

And I mean, then there’s the whole bit about Cain killing his bloodline.  Ummm… guys if we’re going by the judeo-christian literal bible interpretation (and with last season and this season, that seems pretty likely), all of Cain’s bloodline would have already been wiped out in the flood of Noah (leaving only Seth’s line to survive).

Then there’s all the little things that just add on to these glaring missteps.  Like having Dean (and apparently Sam) act or imply conflict over killing Crowley.  Crowley.  The King. Of. Hell!  A guy they’ve repeatedly threatened to kill (in fact, promising to do so after Abaddon) and with Cain gone, why are they keeping him around?  Not that I’m saying there’s no reason, but I’d like the characters to give us one, other than the implication being that they’re aware he’s a part of the main cast now.

Or that Sam & Dean have lost their way so badly that the show has to have a kid threatened rather than remember the days when the boys would actually work to save a man that was even a criminal purely because he’s human.

Still it’s nice to see Castiel getting somewhat involved again.  Ironic because in S6&7, you could almost see Sera Gamble’s struggle with trying to keep Cas from breaking the stories and arcs of the season and so kept shuffling him off to do other things.  Meanwhile Carver’s actually set up a REASON for Castiel to be involved in the stories and arcs, even depowered him some (so they don’t break), and he’s STILL shuffled off to do other things.

So I’d give this episode a strict 3.  It’s good parts are excellent, and it’s bad parts are horrid, leaving their struggle balancing out exactly middle of the road.

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