I can count the unwatchable episodes of “Supernatural” on one hand—“Bugs,” “Ghostfacers,” and “Red Sky At Morning” immediately come to mind. I will have to add this week’s installment, “Out With the Old,” to that extremely short list. To be fair, it has distinct displeasure of being the first episode after a three-week long hellatus, it also followed the stellar, instant classic of “Repo Man,” so I admit the expectations were great, but sadly, the episode failed more than succeeded.
There has been a lot of press about this upcoming episode, because it was begins the culmination of crucial mythology in the set-up for Castiel’s return and Sam finally breaking from his devilish hallucinations. Based on the promo, I naturally expected a whimsical case with cursed ballerina shoes and a sign or two of–SPOILER ALERT—Sam’s descent into madness. What I got was a sloppy mess of an episode that actually veered into soap opera-esque realms of drama and still managed to be boring.
Because I hate reading recaps in which the writer drones on for 2,000 words about every hateful detail with more distain than a pissed-off demon, I refuse to subject you to the same thing. So this one will be different from the norm. I’m going to dissect what went wrong and the little that went right, and do it as painlessly as possible.
The Cold Open
There’s no better way to lure me into an episode than the violent, gory death of a hapless moron. With the popularity of “Black Swan,” I enjoyed the premise of an arrogant dancer pirouetting into oblivion. However, I found the execution of Irina’s death funny for all of the wrong reasons. The special effects—essentially fast-forwarding her spinning madly—was too campy and low-rent. It was also weird and a little far-fetched that the ballerina exploded blood from her feet. Yes, even for “Supernatural.”
Although, it could have been funnier, I didn’t mind the clichéd bitchy ballerina premise, but I couldn’t believe for a second that Irina would buy discounted toe shoes or even step foot in an antique store when she was too busy not eating and fluffing her tutu.
I definitely giggled at Dean’s love of “Black Swan” and his willingness to take the case if only if that meant he could shamelessly flirt with lithe ballerinas. “Dancers are toe shoes full of crazy. I saw ‘Black Swan.’ Twice. Hot tutu on tutu action…Sam, what’s wrong with you?” It’s good to know that he’s recovering from his one night stand turning that created his short-lived, Amazonian father-killing spawn. But still hasn't set foot in a bar, and opted to research from the safety of a coffee shop. Dean Winchester is evolving, y'all!
If you watched the show for more than a few seasons, you know what a cursed object is, so I appreciated the effort taken to make this episode more complicated with a timely going-out-of-business sale with cursed objects flying off the shelves of the local antique shop. I found the resolution disappointingly anti-climatic. Everyone was home and the Winchesters reached their unsuspecting owners in time, except for that poor grandmotherly foodie, who died by scalding. Poor Nana. Things always go sideways on “Supernatural” and that’s why we like it. It’s the one show in which I don’t want people to be saved, especially people dumb enough to by vintage porn when they could just use the internet.
The investation was far too-informal. Sam and Dean stalked into a police station or into people’s homes, saving them from very bizarre, paranormal deaths and no one had qualms about the giant, suit-clad intruders or the magic spell that rendered them momentarily suicidal (or homicidal if you’re a creepy, dark-eyed pre-teen whose mom bought an actual gramophone).
The Black, Gooey Surprise
The deeper “Supernatural” slides down the Leviathan rabbit-hole, the more I dislike the Big Bad for season seven. Not only do they insist on flying under the radar and suppressing their kill-happy urges, they’re basically demon and shapeshifter hybrids with an unquenchable taste for cheese and human flesh. It was a curious surprise that Joyce (Mary Page Keller) and her poor assistant, George, happened to be buying up real estate (and killing the old geezers who wouldn’t sell) in the small Oregon town, but again, the plot and the chemistry between the actors felt so forced and poorly written.
Admittedly, I am damn curious as to why monsters would want to cure cancer with the research center currently in construction in Wisconsin, but I find myself missing angels, demons and the Impala with each passing episode. Does anyone wonder if the angels or demons are effected by The Leviathans?
Luckily, George, Joyce’s personal slave, was a fun little treat. I thought it was too unbelievable that he would save the Winchesters until he disclosed that it was only because he wanted to do away with his harpy of a boss. Who can’t understand that sentiment? His palpable desire to eat Sam Winchester was also hysterical. Yes, George, he is downright scrumptious.
The Winchesters Are Stupid
Sam and Dean thwarted the apocalypse and survived and the loss of all of their loved ones through sheer determination, rugged good looks and their intelligence. Their daddies, both biological and surrogate, were industrious, meticulous hunters, so it's irritating when Sam and Dean are written to as idiots. After Scott faked a call for help, they rushed in without guns or axes blazing, a bucket of Borax or a weapon of any kind, even though they knew Leviathans were nearby and they were Purgatory’s Most Wanted. Dean even suspected that Leviathans had killed Scott’s mother, who drove her car off a cliff the day after she signed with Bicklebee Reality. As seasoned hunters who have resorted to tattooing themselves to ensure they were protected from possession, this dimwittedness was harder to swallow than a Triple Redeye latte or ya know, Joyce’s giant head.
Sam Is Sleepy
I snorted when Sam mentioned that never-seen Lucifer was singing “Stairway To Heaven” over and over, like Colton Dixon preparing rock out on “American Idol.” But I actually cringed that the only inclination of Sam, who has walked away from being possessed by the devil and a demon blood addiction, visiting Crazytown was his inability to sleep. While he returned from collecting the last cursed objects, he apparently left Oregon and crossed over into Port Charles. In a disturbingly soap opera-esque sequence, the youngest Winchester fell asleep at the wheel and was nearly pancaked by a conveniently-approaching semi-truck. I’m a Sam-girl ‘til the end, and yet I rooted for the truck to hit him, if only to spice up the episode.
I also thought it was odd that Dean, the proudest functioning alcoholic, would only suggest Sam listen to soft rock and not slip some Ambien into his java.
Anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter knows that sleep deprivation is the quickest route to a straight-jacket, but it’s a shame that this is the choice the writers made, and that once again, Lucifer’s hilarious antics were off-screen.
On the flip side, did anyone think Sleepy Sammy was kind of hot?