Something tells me the next two episodes are arc episodes so let’s group the 3 recent Monster of the Week shows into a mega review.
TL;DR version – Didn’t hate these! Quality goes from: Decent -> GREAT -> Meh.
All 3 episodes definitely gave me reason to be more optimistic about the future of the show.
Into the Mystic
(Decent) Everything I liked about this episode:
Biggest is that the guest-stars were actually… people! Maybe not completely fleshed out, but you had a sense that there was more to them than we immediately saw on screen. Even better, they were well done enough that part of us wanted to get to know them more and see more of their character. Which is good, the audience should always want more.
The new hunter we ran into was different and unique. It’s interesting to see a hunter with a disability hunting some types of creatures, which happen to be at a disadvantage against that hunter. For instance, what if our new deaf friend was to hunt a Crocotta? Writers, the show has spent a decade now setting up a rich world of possibilities, play around like this more!
Nice to see the boys actually acting like decent people again and actually showing that they care about others. It doesn’t take much to show respect and it helps the audience like you guys.
It was also great of them to go with a new monster that was creative and memorable in its execution, something we seemingly haven’t had for awhile. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t want them ALWAYS doing new monsters, they’ll run out quickly and there are good stories to tell about monsters previously established.
If I had any negative, it is the “charmed trap” (named because it looks like it uses the “power of three” symbol from the tv show, Charmed) which can apparently affect anything. Which is kind of stupid because now we have to constantly ask ourselves going forward why the boys didn’t utilize it at this and that time.
All in all… 3.5 salt shells out of 5.
Don’t You Forget About Me
(GREAT) You know why part of me hates the killing of reoccurring characters? Because it makes the world feel less real. Obviously it’s a big nation, the boys drive around constantly, so we shouldn’t see them constantly running into people they know, that’s unrealistic. But NEVER having to talk again to people they have impacted? That’s worse. Heck in the first season alone we saw them five times run into people “they knew before” but we the audience had never met – after 10 years, once a season? So yay to the show for returning with Jody and Alex and Claire. (and for them surviving!)
Yay for the boys finally getting to act like fathers. I’ve been repeatedly insistent that it is time for the bros to transition into mentor roles for awhile now. Maybe add some trainees to the bunker and expand the storytelling & drama possibilities. At least right it seems like they have taken a baby step in that direction. They may not need to grow up quite yet, but it is getting time for them to prepare the next generation.
Yay for the show acknowledging the consequences of actions! Obviously in real life encountering the supernatural as they do on the show would mess most people up, so we’re fine with them glossing over that fact (nobody really wants to volunteer to spend their time with someone who’s a constant emotional wreck). But it’s nice to SOMETIMES take time and examine it – and this episode gave us both! Alex with trying to move on and build a new life, Claire so affected that she’s constantly jumping at shadows. Also Alex’s past sins came back to haunt her, and I like the show demonstrating that there are times you have to clean up after making a big mistake.
Yay for the show reinforcing the idea of why the boys might hesitate at times during a hunt. It’s important to be extra sure before you wind up killing an innocent person.
Yay for the characters actually talking and having conversations and demonstrating actual HEART to the show! Jody does a really good job of keeping the boys on a morality leash and part of me almost wishes she and the girls would move into the bunker and let’s try out this whole family, almost sitcomish style for a season.
This is the 2nd best episode of the season (after “Baby”) so it earns a well deserved, 5 out of 5 salt shells.
(Meh) Watching the flashbacks of past SPN holiday specials, I hadn’t realized the show had done more episodes about Valentine’s Day than any other holiday. (even Halloween!) I think this may be the first time the boys have had a win against a Witch.
Of course SPN has always been tangentially plugged into popular culture – they’ve done a reality show episode and a found footage episode after all – so it was with some mirth I realized this episode they were tackling the fairly recent horror movie hit of It Follows with their own spin on it. The guest stars weren’t as “alive” as characters compared to the previous two episodes, but at least the boys still tried to save them. (and succeeded!)
But more than anything else, I love that in the closing shot, you can see that the boys left a stack of bills in their hotel room weighted down to pay for the damages. It’s not immediately obvious, it’s not in center frame, it’s not even vital to the plot, it’s just a moment that let’s us know the boys (again) are aware of other people and try to make things right, even if it’s not fully their fault the hotel got messed up.
If I had any complaints it was about Dean’s bit at the end with his discussion of Amara. It felt less like a revelation and more of a super meta moment of Dean the character struggling against what the script/plot/writer/shippers want from him. It was actually kind of funny when it was supposed to be serious. Seriously watch it again and replace instances of “the DarknessTM” and “Amara” with “the writing” or “the script.” It works quite well.
Not great, but not horrible. 3 salt shells out of 5.