Quick Review: A decent outing that is let down by its predecessors.
I forgot to mention that I did like the revelation of Carlos’ backstory here and how it starts to fill in some pieces about him.
Still, there are oddities to this episode too. Like the image of the Akrida people puppets digging and exploring the underground chamber was effective and well done, I’ll grant you that. But then you have to ask yourself… why? If the Akrida are indestructible (or whatever) wouldn’t they be much more effective and faster at the work than the more comparably-fragile human bodies they’re renting? I mean yes, obviously the real answer is that it’s cheaper to film humans than CGI critters but this is why I always stress to authors to really try and think things through with their idea.
And again I want to stress the idea that part of the fun of a prequel is seeing a new side to familiar characters. While we are who we are, there are still differences between the person we are at 40 from the person we were at 20. So when one has a wise, Kenobi figure in their life who always knows the right answer and solution to the problem, it can be compelling to go back to the past and see that Kenobi as a younger fellow who wasn’t as wise. It can tell us a lot about a character to see what mistakes they once made, their uncertainties, the hard lessons they had to go through to gain the wisdom they later imparted.
Just as an example – it’s too late now, but just imagine for a moment that the show started out with Mary all in favor of the hunting life. Imagine a show where we first saw her as being very pro-hunter, wanting to find a strong, capable hunting hubby to raise her own kids in the hunter life and carry on the family tradition of killing monsters. Had you seen that, wouldn’t you be interested to watch and learn what changed her mind? What made her long for normalcy? Maybe it wouldn’t have been an improvement, but it would have been interesting.
Reflecting back on the season so far… moments with John are what stick out in my mind. His relationship with Millie is interesting because we never saw anything between her and the boys. So we know something has to happen to her before Sam is born. Unless maybe she was – there are a few gaps in the series she could be squeezed in though it will lead to some weirdness. Were the boys ever left at their grandmother’s while John was on a hunt? How did she treat them? From what we see, she seems like she would be a doting grandmother, who was “doting” in her own special way. Like dragging a young Dean under a car to show him how to fix it, leading to the boy becoming a lifelong gearhead.
The other moment is John’s effort to meditate with Latka. This is a friendship unlike any we’ve seen signs of John having in life. (In fact he didn’t seem to have much in the way of friends at all – more like reluctant allies.) This brings out a more touching side to John we haven’t seen before. What happens in the future? What leads to him closing off and becoming less friendly to others in general?
But this show is supposed to be about 2 protagonists, which is where Mary is falling short. Everything we’ve seen with her is just more of what we already knew. She apparently has 2 good friends we never hear about, but the show doesn’t seem very interested in exploring those relationships much which is a shame. How these people got pulled into Mary’s orbit could say something very interesting about her character… but the writers don’t seem to want to examine it.
Here’s hoping they change their minds in the last half of the season and we finally start getting that look into Mary’s character.
7 thoughts on “Winchester Review – Reflections”
I hope you are feeling much better now Nate?
Agree so much what you said about Henry, I wish they’d used him more, perhaps kept Samuel for a separate episode.
I love Ada and Millie , they bring warmth and a groundedness to their characters and Drake had been outstanding throughout.
I think I’ve said this before, but this show does benefit from binge watching, it enables you to be more forgiving of the faults because you can see what the writers are trying to achieve, less time to dwell on what they could have done differently.
I personally don’t understand the hang up about knowing where a story ends, good television is about the journey and I think we’ve come to meet John at an important turning point in his life, he’s not hardened yet, he’s still the man little Dean briefly knew and always carried in his heart and it’s been amazing to see the sensitivity both the writers and Drake have handled him with, paying great respect to what will come in JDM’s John.
I’m beginning to think that Mary is somewhat hamstrung by where she ended under the final show runner, she doesn’t seem to have the nuance and the multifaceted aspects of Mary the Mom that the brothers meet as a ghost, in Dean’s memories, or the young Mary in the time travel episodes.
Overall the first half of the season has been ok , it could have been stronger and there are flashes of the team putting the show together being obviously inexperienced, but they have a plan and I’m not discouraged about the second half of the season as Samuel definitely has potential to create drama. Looking forward to seeing where Dean takes us and how they connect the dots to where he is and what he’s doing and why.
I am feeling better now, thank you! Sorry for the delay in replies it’s just been a time getting back into the swing of things.
Somewhere in one of my ramblings I did talk about how a season of the mothership was a different experience binge watching vs the live viewing. When you’re given a week to mull over and ponder each episode it is a different experience than blitzing through them. A mistake in the story has to sit and gnaw at your mind for 7 days vs being forgotten and moving on to the next point. I do get that (and will probably try a binge of Winchesters once the whole season is past).
Obviously I quite agree with you on Mary and John. 😉
I’m just a sucker for a good romance (have you seen the anime movie “Your Name”?) and I think Drake & Meg do have good chemistry. I’m just a little disappointed their first kiss didn’t hit me as hard as I wanted it to. I cried harder with Kouta just giving Lucy a hug. This series should be breaking my heart over and over that these two kids didn’t get that long life together raising their boys – but it just hasn’t hit that raw nerve yet.
Can’t deny, it’s sweet, it’s almost naive in terms of the straightforward boy meets girl, I’m enchanted by it’s little niche charming old world feel. BUT ….I dunno there doesn’t feel the jeopardy to the love, they introduced threats in the form of other potential love interest but now if feels that threat passed before it came to anything .
Elfin Lied did that jeopardy well, you felt for them.
P.S.. Don’t apologise for the delay, being ill sucks!
You say “jeopardy” I say “challenges” but I think we’re speaking the same meaning. 😉
Yep, we’re on the same page. We so much want to feel that anguish of their young love. Not just because we’re gluttons for punishment after 15 years of Winchester angst, but because it’s crucial to link to our Mary and our John and why they were both so incomplete, why they were so driven and distant in their final years
Yeah I mean… that dinner scene in Lebanon should be way more heartbreaking after Winchesters but I’m not feeling it yet.
I’ll go back and do a rewatch but I wonder if part of it is also they haven’t done many “simple” moments. Pilot – when they were riding and John talks about the war was one. John and her having a bit of banter after he met with Betty was another.
Like that joke in French Connection – they need those heart to heart moments in the car or something. I keep feeling like the writers have tossed all the ingredients in there, but none of them are properly prepared or baked, ya know?
Or perhaps too many ingredients? We had almost three seasons of mostly Dean and Sam, getting to know them before the ensemble arrived. The connection was heartfelt and very much more personal, they really only had each other and a smattering of tentative connections that infrequently passed through their lives. In TW everything is already there, we are , for want of a better way to phrase it ‘ flitting’ between John, Mary, Carlos and Ada, with fleeting appearances from Millie and Ada’s son and now Henry and Samuel join the frey. It’s ambitious and a lot of plate to spin, even for the most competent of show runners. Perhaps they’re too ambitious?