Saturday, January 20, 2007

More Thoughts on Supernatural

I've have mini-discussion on- and off-blog with several people who all felt differently about this week's Supernatural, and felt a need to expound on many points we discussed.

Mainly, I want to share my husband's viewpoint, which I mostly share. I'm not trying to convince anyone who didn't care for it, of course. You like what you like, and don't like what you don't like. This is just how I see things.

Complaint: Background "supernatural" story not as meaty as usual.

It kind of felt that way, but when I think about it, it's not really true. I won't list all the elements of the mystery, but there's as much there as there is in any episode. The difference was that there was no exposition like we're used to, with College!Sam explaining the origin of whatever legend and back-and-forth between the brothers to figure out the story. It was more spread out as they learned from the old man and the daughter.

Complaint: Not enough with the old man and the dollhouse.

I agree about the old man. Like always, casting was very good and the old man was great. I had enough of the dollhouse, though. Three episodes (delivery guy on the stairs, purchaser rep in the room, mom outside) fits the "rule of three" of storytelling, that any motif with an arc must appear three times for maximum effect without overdoing it.

Complaint: The boys weren't involved enough in the resolution, which wasn't as "closed" as usual.

This was my biggest complaint, as evidenced by my last post. But I argue with myself every time I think it, and my husband surprised me by agreeing with those arguments.

Now, Jim is very much into the spooky, ass-kicking aspects of this show. He probably couldn't care less about the boys' relationship. But he says it's not realistic to expect them to succeed every single time. They saved the mom, saved the daughter, and there was a closure, even if they didn't precipitate it (he didn't say precipitate, though *g*). He also felt it wasn't realistic to expect everything to go down the same way in every episode. I agree with that, too--as I said, it becomes formulaic, and then we get bored.

Complaint: The episode was dull.

I say "quiet" rather than "dull." There was no fighting, no spookiness, little tension until Tyler was in the pool. The overall mood was more poignancy than fear and threat. In fact, it was very much cozy mystery rather than horror flick, which suited the setting. I think those things might make it a good episode to grab a new viewer who might have stayed away because they're afraid it's too scary.

Do I think it was one of the best episodes this season? No. But it was still very good. I liked the very new atmosphere for the boys, and next week's episode--very neon-urban rather than gritty-noir--looks great, too:

On a side note...

Another thing that has come up is Sam's freakin' cast. My understanding is that Jared broke his hand early in filming, so that they went back and added him saying the zombie broke his hand back in "Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things," which was episode 3 or 4, I think, and that means he broke it somewhere in August or early September at the latest.

I'm not sure when the last episode would have been filmed--maybe November? So we're talking as few as 8 weeks, as many as 13. That's a long time. As much as Sam uses his hand (even busting down brick walls!) it doesn't seem like that bad a break for Jared. So why isn't the cast off?

I thought at first that they'd been putting it on as a prop because not enough time had passed on the show for it to be off, but of course a month went by between Hunted and Playthings. Megan pointed out that it's a very clean cast, too. Which means he either had to be recasted or it's a prop.

So again, bottom line: Why is he still wearing the thing?


Victoria said...

I liked it. I wanted more. It was enough. And yet it wasn't. If that makes sense. I loved the old man. That scene where he talked to Dean in the bar kind of reminded me of "The Shining". The doll house stuff was definitely enough. Creepy! Those dolls...shudder!
Sam saved the daughter - which was important for all of them, obviously, but as much for Sam and Dean. The drunk scene seemed out of place and contrived only to get Dean's promise out there. But, in all, I did like the episode.
We had to do more thinking. And I'm still wondering about the relationship between the sisters and why her spirit was kept away to begin with. Did the old woman have something to do with her death, even if it was an accident? And I think the fact that I'm still thinking it over is as powerful to me as the action packed episodes.
Not my favorite episode this season either, but I would watch it again (and again).

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It definitely makes sense, V. I'd love the show to have been 10 more minutes. I think that would have helped a lot.

The bar scene was a deliberate tribute to the Shining.

I felt like the drunk scene would have fit better with a little better transition. It was slightly less heavy-handed than the great leaps in logic "let's call Ellen!" in Croatoan, but yeah, I see what you mean.

Good question why the spirit was kept away. I assumed she'd been a destructive spirit, but have no true basis for that. I don't think a show has to necessarily answer every question--sometimes I like filling in the possibilities myself, despite an occasional resultant feeling of unfinishedness.

I agree, definitely an ep that makes us think. :)

MJFredrick said...

I hope his cast is a prop or it will SMELL after that pool stunt.

Victoria, I was wondering why the spirit was kept away, too. Maybe even then Maggie was looking for a playmate?

Good points, Natalie, but still not a keeper for me (until the DVDs, you know, but I usually keep the epis on my Tivo.) Sorry about the Pats!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Yes, Mary, I said the same thing when he jumped in! And it will damage his skin if it doesn't come off, too.

Thanks for the commiseration. :(