Episode Review – Dark Dynasty

A play on Duck Dynasty?  Eh, I’ll go with it (even though I love DD, mostly because it keeps reminding me of a lot of my family).

I mean canon breaks are bad enough, but when we have things like “Oh I’ll kill Crowley” when in several previous scenes, CROWLEY WAS VULNERABLE AND THEY DID NOTHING (see: death of Abaddon) it just… you get that feeling from your show like you do when your significant other is lying to your face.  Sam must just secretly love Crowley and is lying to everyone about it, that’s all there is left.

I mean I don’t entirely object to product placement.  In fact I’ve always found it a bit hypocritical how on some sites you’ll see people complaining about how characters are drinking BEER (a bottle with the super generic label) in one review of a movie, then complain about “Bud Lite” products in another movie (then some will end up complaining about knock-off products some movies/tv/etc will make too).  One gets the feeling people are never happy.  Anyway, so yeah, things like Man of Steel?  I don’t mind quite as much because I know that if Superman was having a fight in my hometown (which is about the size of Smallville) and was filmed, one would see businesses being trashed, I consider it less product placement and more realism.  Heck I know that shows need money so I don’t even mind sponsors helping make them.  But when a placement pretty much takes you out of the story… or violate characters/canon, that’s where I draw the line.  Like the Surface bits in this episode.  I’d be fine with Sam carrying one around and using it far more than Charlie (geek extraordinaire) doing so.

Plus that bit really does seem and feel like the show’s old style of humor, so kudos there.

So… this episode confirms something I’ve suspected for awhile: Carver seems much more accepting of canon established during the Kripke years, than that during the Gamble years.  I can’t decide fully why (maybe he just can’t jettison Kripke canon like he could Gamble) but you see it in things like last episode where Sam will talk about his mom to Claire (Kripke years) but her and her mom do not mention say… spotting Castiel/Jimmy Novak on the national news during the opening of S7.  Likewise this episode.  So the Frakensteins are the “age-old conspiracy.”  Where were they during the apocalypse of S5?  Well somewhat understandable, maybe they were helping pestilence develop the Croatoan.  But what about S7?  What made the Leviathans so insidious (and one reason I kind of digged them) is that their “original form” of black liquid was appropriate: they were sneaky and able to ooze into anything.  (If you think about it logically, Frank from that season wasn’t crazy, if anything he was the only sane man.)  If what the Frankensteins are telling us here is true (and not lying), then they would have HAD to have butted heads with the big-mouths, they were both encroaching on the same “secretly controlling everything” territory in the world.  (Heck Dick Roman looks like he’d fit right into the family.)  So… what happened there?  All the big-mouths would have to do is eat one Frankenstein and then they would have all the knowledge they would need of the secret network to wreck it or turn it to their purposes.  THIS IS A BIG DEAL!

In the general I’m kind of pleased with the whole “SPN-twist on Frankenstein” they’re somewhat setting up.  I’d be a lot more pleased if they were working it into the larger canon.

See what I mean?  Castiel and Crowley were business partners once!  Not even a simple acknowledgement.

.

Any time you have a long-running story, one starts to run into a problem.  Obviously you’ll need new audience members, you have to add them that’s just the way things are as old fans stop watching if for no other reason as they have died.  So you don’t want to make canon so obtuse that any prospective fan who might want to join the story has to do months of homework, you won’t get any new fans then.  On the other, canon is the reward for longtime fans (an audience you don’t want to alienate) a way of saying “thanks for sticking with us.”  So you can’t just jettison it and make each iteration of the story like a completely new pilot with nothing remembered.

In my opinion and observation, the best method is to add little touches to some dialog and scenes which acknowledge what happened before in a way that new fans can grasp the essence or meaning of, while old fans see the wink and thank you at them from the writers.

Take this episode, with the imprisoned Frank talking about the family.  Doesn’t have to be much, but a couple of lines of how “the Leviathans devastated us, but we’ve been recovering the last 3 years” would have been perfect.  It doesn’t break canon, gets the essence of the idea to the newbies (something happened, it messed these guys up) and makes the old fan appreciative of their investment (not to mention adding layers – I mean in some ways these guys should THANK the Winchesters).  Wouldn’t change nothing else in the show no require any editing… just a little touch.

That’s what bugs me SOOO much about these Carver years.  Just a few minor tweaks, a line change here and there and it all would fit PERFECTLY!  But no, they’re going to make changes they want to canon, the rest of the show be damned.

(and that’s not even getting into how the MoL OR Lucifer didn’t know anything about the necronomicon Book of the Damned)

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