Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back to the Genius of Borax

Today has turned into quite a different day than I'd planned.

I've spent a lot of time at the Goodreads Q&A, and doing other promotion. There's an intense discussion going on one of my publisher e-mail loops, and I helped a friend with a query.

When I made lunch, I ended up watching two episodes of The Mentalist. (The last one had the police chief from "Dead on the Water" AND Henry Thomas from ET!) Those took longer than normal because the power kept flicking off, then back on. Thank goodness my computer is on a power supply!

Oh, and I posted a lot on Twitter and Facebook.

So even though I got up early and didn't have to spend 160 minutes on soccer, I've only crossed 4 out of 11 things of my to-do list. But I've had a heckuva lot of fun. :)

So let's get on to Supernatural!!!

I so loved "Slash Fiction." I mean, it was awful to spend every minute thinking Sheriff Jody was really a Leviathan. (I'm still not convinced she was Jody, even though I really, really hope she was!) But the way she looked at Bobby, and the way he interacted with her, was delightful.

And I didn't like that Sam found out about Dean's lie about Amy, and that he took off. But I'm strangely less bothered than I should be. I mean, in past years, I HATED the secrets and lies. And this year they've been trying hard not to do that. But Sam's reaction was so appropriate, and Dean's response just as much so, that I couldn't be annoyed. Dean accepted Sam's anger as his due, but not in the crushed, defensive, despairing way, because he believed in what he did.

In fact, I think Dean has a new level of confidence. Not just the "good at my job" confidence and "sugar for every woman's tea" cockiness, but a deeper acceptance of himself. It's partly in the writing, but mostly in Jensen's oh-so-awesome acting.

(I could be full of it, projecting, seeing ridiculous subtext that's not there. I'd love to know if anyone agrees with me. Even if you don't, I get silly-happy imagining Jensen hearing my thoughts and being thrilled that I saw what he was trying to do. LOL)

I loved the way they handled the Leviathans. There's no story breakdown here. No holes or convenient leaps of logic. These beings are natural, powerful, ancient, there's no lore on them because they haven't been part of our world since we started creating lore. But 800-year-old witches are extremely powerful, so we can buy that they have a spell that would paralyze any enemy and lock down its powers. You don't live to be 800 without serious defensive magic, right?

Bobby pointed out, "You can can die." All living creatures can die, and even ones who aren't truly "living" can die, too. It's part of God's creation signature. :) And everything has a weakness, usually one that occurs naturally (not counting holy water). Salt defeats demons and ghosts, silver gets shapeshifters and werewolves, iron harms ghosts and fairies. In real life, there is PLENTY that occurs naturally that poisons humans and animals and even plants. It's part of the circle of life, right?

So I got really excited when Bobby told Dean to use sodium borate. It's naturally occurring (from, according to Wikipedia, the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes), just like salt. But not as common and low-brow as salt, just like the Leviathans are not common and low-brow.

The Big-Mouth Bobby experimented on was awesome. I love that these guys are smart. "Mensa Monsters," Bobby called them. They're smart-mouth, too, but not in the sneering, derisive way demons are, which showcases their insecurities and envy. No, the Leviathans are confident in their ability to take care of any potential threat. Even once that threat stepped up their game and took heads.

How funny was Bobby, slicing that guy's head off? "It's a start."

We got to meet the leader of the Levs. He was slick and in charge, as you'd expect, but slick and in charge as a human, too, which is not so much as I expected. Which makes me wonder how long he's been out there. I mean, sure, the other Levs gained knowledge and ability with each body they emulated, but I find it a little hard to believe this guy could just slide into the body of a...what? Respected politician? Billionaire businessman (my guess)?...without anyone being suspicious. There'd have to be SOME inconsistencies. So I suspect he may have been out of purgatory for a long time.

By the time a show reaches season 7, clip shows are inevitable. Most sitcoms and dramas do either a non-fiction retrospective, where they separate the episode into themes and include clips to illustrate those themes, or do, like, 5 minutes of new material that's essentially "remember when" intros of the clips. Supernatural is flawlessly integrating clips—teeny, tiny pieces you almost have to work to place, sometimes—into all-new episodes. It marries nostalgia with story progression, and I love it!

Which brings me to the other nostalgia factor in "Slash Fiction." Number One mentioned it first. I'd noticed it, but on a more subconscious level. Consciously, I was just thinking, "Jericho, that's significant because it's prominent on the bank wall, but why is it familiar?" I was thinking of the short-lived TV show, of course. But Number One immediately said "I just flashed to Ron and the laser eyes!" And sure enough, that whole scene was reminiscent of "Nightshifter."

How clever is that? They were in Jericho, where "Pilot" took place, but evoked "Nightshifter" in Milwaukee. Conor's Diner in St. Louis reminded me of the diner in "Mystery Spot," as well as the one in "Mommy Dearest." And once they were arrested in Ankeny, Iowa (I had to get my DVDs to look that one up—"Hookman," for anyone else who couldn't remember), it was eerily similar to "Jus in Bello" while also bringing to mind "The Usual Suspects." Just small, subtle touches that gave the whole episode a comfy feel. :)

I'll finish up with the best part of all: Dean singing "I'm All Out of Love" so passionately! The look on his face when he sang, and when he tried not to let Sam see, and when Sam did see, and the look on Sam's face, so confused and disgusted. We laughed so hard! Man, I love these guys.

Okay, I think I've exhausted my supply of gushiness. Any comments on the episode? What do you think of the season so far?


Victoria said...

Same here with the different day! And my hearty thanks for the query help! :)
I loved the episode! I was a little disturbed and "oh really? Not again! Dammit!" by Sam walking off at the end, but since the previews for next week show them together, I can deal!
I loved Jody and Bobby - I was yelling at Bobby to kiss her for real. The bonehead! The Borax was awesome and so was the older sheriff!
The show is still beautiful...after all of this time...and that is fantastic!!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Yeah, poor gunshy Bobby. LOL I loved getting some insight into him, too. I wouldn't have thought we needed it, but it was still great.

I have eager anticipation for the walk-off resolution. I really hope it demonstrates growth in their relationship somehow. To show us that it's not really stagnancy! :)

Very fantastic!