Friday, September 18, 2009

How to Build Narrative Tension...Or, Damn You, Sera Gamble!

Sera Gamble is very clever.

Executive story editor for Supernatural and Kripke's right arm, she's well known for killing off our most beloved secondary characters--and heck, even some of our primary ones. We hate her for it, even as we love the story she's taken such a large role in shaping.

But that propensity ratcheted up the tension in last night's episode to 11. None of us would ever put killing Rufus, Jo, or even Ellen past her. So every minute they were under fire, I expected them to take a bullet. When Sam and Dean finally confronted War and Ellen was fighting off that military guy (hey, wasn't he kinda cute?) with the knife at the base of her throat...well, in most movies or shows, she'd have gotten that last-second reprieve. But this show doesn't do that most of the time. Believing it could makes for a far more engrossing show, and when it doesn't happen, the relief that much sweeter.

That aside...

I can't watch this show with Number One anymore, not if I want to stop feeling slow. Not stupid, because I was coming around to the amulet, and if I hadn't been so busy lusting over the car I would have instantly known one of the horsemen was there, and I did notice the lack of effects with the knife immediately. But she's calling them much faster, most of the time.

I think my favorite part was Castiel in the beginning. His passion and fire was beautiful. He's not technically working for anyone, including God, but his belief has been fully restored. Since he's been cut off from heaven, he's more connected to humanity and emotion--but still doesn't have a sense of humor. "God is not on a flatbread."

No, wait, my favorite part was the music. It's like the Impala was off the show for almost a full season, and now it's front and center. LOL The music in the actual show, not just the recap, made it feel whole for the first time since season 2.

Bobby's depression and anger are heartbreaking. I didn't think anything could faze him, and I hope he pulls himself out of it quickly. I'd rather see a butt-kicking wheelchair Bobby than a self-pitying one.

Speaking of self-pity...

I also hope next week signifies rock bottom for the boys, and things start going up from there. I have no complaints about the way things have gone so far. But the addiction thread can be resolved now--all connections to reality aside, I'm done with it. I don't watch this show for reality. Sam can stop using "what's inside him" as a scapegoat, take control of his own actions and strengths, and forgive himself so he can realize his full heroic potential.

Same goes for Dean. I don't think he's being a dick for no good reason, and it doesn't make me mad that he's acting that way. He's carrying a shitload of guilt (and, yes, therefore, self-pity). He broke the first seal. He didn't stop the last one. He didn't save Sammy, who turned on him. The hardest thing Dean is going to have to do is let go of Sam. Not as his brother, but as someone he is responsible for. Like any parent, he can't stop Sam from making bad choices. Hopefully, without Dean's tight hold to struggle against, Sam will stop making them.

Once Dean and Sam can stop wallowing in their weaknesses, they can go shoulder to shoulder to take on heaven and hell to save earth. Full partners, the way we've always wanted them to be!

Oh, here's something else cool (besides the symbols all over Dean's ribs! how awesome is that?!)--the Buddy TV recapper noticed that the guy who played War was Jacob's antagonist on last season's LOST finale. And Jacob, of course, was played by Mark Pellegrino, the actor now playing Lucifer's host. I wonder if they went after him on purpose, or if it's all coincidence.

I also wonder about the rest of the Horsemen. Will War have a different body next time, since he was emulating one of the locals? And who will play the others? How will their storylines play out?

I can't wait to find out.


Susan Kelley said...

The show really makes me want to reread Revelations and try to figure out what's coming down the pick. I too am ready for the boys to get back together. Enough already.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

It kinda makes me want to read it, too, but I like being surprised, so... :)