April 2019 Viewing Diary

I have had an extremely challenging month. Things got slightly spooky. This looks INSANE when written out like this. And believe it or not, I was super busy this month. I wrote like 5 gigantic pieces, and somehow managed to do … this as well. And I promise I sleep 8 hours a night. Doctor’s orders. If you are not a Supernatural fan, you may find this extremely alienating. That’s okay. I haven’t seen Endgame and I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so now it’s my turn to dominate my own airwaves with … my God, look at this.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 11 “Scarecrow” (2006; d. Kim Manners)
I will do my best to not bitch about how the show de-railed itself in the last 2 years. I will keep focused on the GOOD. Re-watching Season 1 – it’s been a long while – was a wonderful way to re-discover the show, its underpinnings, its overall structure, and the strength of the set-up. I love how Meg just “appears” on the road in “Scarecrow” (back turned: it’s such a creepy image) and Sam doesn’t question it. He’s not like, “Where the hell did you come from?” Also, Manners is in fine form. The lighting is chilly and autumnal. Harvest-time. Literally. Here’s my re-cap.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 12 “Faith” (2006; d. Allan Kroeker)
One of the best episodes in the whole entire series. Plus: the only episode directed by Kroeker, which is astonishing, considering the look of the episode. You aren’t really an “auteur” in television directing, but there is something about those revival tent scenes that is unique, a vibe with the footage and how it was put together that was never seen again. So I’m giving Kroeker the credit. Here’s my re-cap.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 13 “Route 666” (2006; d. Paul Shapiro)
One word: TEAPOTS.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 15 “The Benders” (2006; d. Peter Ellis)
One of the Great Mysteries of our age is why on earth I didn’t like this one on first viewing. I try to imagine myself back into the dim reaches of the past to remember my initial reaction. I think I was like, “Why are they suddenly doing an episode of Criminal Minds?” In other words, I did not get it. I did not understand the disturbing connections being made about families and siblings. My bad. The episode is TRULY creepy, even creepier than some of the monster episodes, because we all know monsters aren’t real, but we all know that there are indeed Benders out there. Dean and Sam being truly freaked out by humans – in a way they are NOT freaked out by monsters – is also eloquent.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960; d. Karel Reisz)
Watched this for a long-percolating – as in over-a-decade percolating – piece which I finally freakin’ wrote. I don’t know when it will be out but long-timers will go, “Jesus, FINALLY.” And Supernatural people will recognize it, since I’ve basically mentioned the piece’s theme constantly in my re-caps of the show, as well as in commentary in the comments about current episodes. I’m a broken record. This is a tough and gritty film, sparked with a kind of movement and propulsion and maybe even danger which makes post-war England look like it’s about to crack apart into a million pieces. New energy rising, chaotic, young. Albert Finney is sexy, vital, angry, and slightly … off. Or, you feel like he COULD go “off” if pressed too hard. The rooms are cramped, the pubs are full, the roads may be dead ends, but something else seems to be trying to burst through. The whole thing’s on Youtube, by the way.

Diane (2019; d. Kent Jones)
So far, this is on my Top 10 of the year. Directed by Kent Jones, famous critic and programmer at Film Society of Lincoln Center (speaking of the Gala I went to on Monday) – he wrote Diane about his mother, his aunts, all of the older and old women he knew growing up as a child. Starring Mary Kay Place, four little words I never thought I’d ever get to say, which I’ve been wanting to say since I first saw The Big Chill, really. She’s always been there, she’s always good. Here, she’s central. This is my kinda film.

Supernatural, Season 14, episode 17 “Game Night” (2019; d. John F. Showalter)
Welcome to the new Supernatural, where the story ISN’T about Sam and Dean. Oops. I said I wouldn’t do that. There’s just far too much going on in every single episode. Oops. I did it again.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 17 “Hell House” (2006; d. Chris Long)
Ghost Facers! Plus an excellent scene of Gross Things in Jars(TM).

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 18 “Something Wicked” (2006; d. Whitney Ransick)
I had almost forgotten how mournful, how deeply sad this episode is. Down to the final moment. The ache of what these two men experienced, AND how much Dean bore all by himself. Sam really had no idea. Or, he KNEW, but he can barely remember it. The monster-thingie is one of the most horrifying creations in the history of the series. It’s terrible when grownup Sam succumbs to that gaping mouth. Ugh. So upsetting. And then there’s:

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 19 “Provenance” (2006; d. Philip Sgriccia)
One of the things that most amazes me about “Provenance” is that Taylor Cole and Jared Padalecki EVER were able to complete a take. Every single moment of their time together I can now see – because of the out-takes – just how much these two actors are hanging on for dear life. The non-stop hysteria these two found together off-screen is … hot? There’s nothing worse though than hysterically laughing and then trying desperately to get it together to do a scene seriously. Also, forgive me but I can’t remember who said this – it was somewhere here – maybe in my “how I found Supernatural” post: someone said that this scene, with Dean saying “You’re both consenting adults” etc. – really struck her at the time, pulling her in deeper to the story and the relationship. I had the same experience. It was something new we hadn’t seen before. It was beautifully written, too, I think, with sensitivity to character and added depth, in general, to Sam’s ongoing grieving process. (I could live without “That’s muh boy” though.)

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 20 “Dead Man’s Blood” (2006; d. Tony Wharmby)
Jensen back-of-hand eye-rub, one of my favorites of his habitual gestures. It’s so childlike. Plus: VAMPIRES. In all their biker-gang glory.

Fosse Verdon, Season 1, episode 1 “Life Is a Cabaret” (2019; d. Thomas Kail)
I am really enjoying the series so far! A member of the O’Malley tribe did the set decoration, just FYI. I love the opening scene, which perfectly shows the nature of this important collaboration, how they worked together, how they had mind-melded their styles, what they wanted, how things should look.

Rukus (2018; d. Brett Hanover)
We gave Rukus the Hometowners prize at Indie Memphis (I wrote about it here). It was a unanimous decision. Brett Hanover is a phenom. A young director with a unique vision. I can’t wait until Rukus is available to be seen by others (coming soon).

Raging Bull (1980; d. Martin Scorsese)
Although De Niro’s weight gain has, unfortunately, become “the bar” to which all actors now aspire – something I’ve complained about often – it is an extraordinary performance, mainly because Jake La Motta has no real inner life. He is all impulse, animal instincts, predator-prey – there’s no thought, no self-reflection, no awareness. I had forgotten. I had forgotten just how deep he goes into his jealous paranoia, and how tenaciously he holds onto his suspicions, how he trashes his whole entire life because of it. Joe Pesci has never been better. It’s a gorgeous-looking film. It’s deeply depressing. You’re glad you never knew Jake La Motta. What a bore.

Wild Nights with Emily (2019; d. Madeleine Olnek)
I loved this movie so much. I reviewed for Ebert.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 21 “Salvation” (2006; d. Robert Singer)
Poor Meg.

Supernatural, Season 1, episode 22 “Devil’s Trap” (2006; d. Kim Manners)
The way John is – as Demon – is soooooooo nasty. I was completely shocked by this whole entire episode the first time I saw it.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 1 “In My Time of Dying” (2006; d. Kim Manners)
Jesus, Lord, look at his expression.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 2 “Everybody Loves a Clown” (2006; d. Philip Sgriccia)
The henley. Dear God in heaven, the henley.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 3 “Bloodlust” (2006; d. Robert Singer)
Iconic lens flare, as far as I’m concerned.

The Cult of JT Leroy (2014; d. Marjorie Sturm)
A fascinating documentary about how JT Leroy swept the nation (or, at least, credulous Hollywood). It’s also about how one journalist smelled a rat, and went against the zeitgeist to ask some tough questions, bringing the house of cards down revealing the hoax. Nobody likes to be duped. (See Oprah interrogating James Frey on her TV show after HIS “hoax” was revealed. My deal is though: ask yourself why you’re so in love with stories about other people’s trauma. Take some responsibility for your own credulity. #sorrynotsorry) Seeing the hushed-atmosphere of the JT Leroy readings, with celebrities reading excerpts (apparently because JT was far too shy and traumatized to subject himself to such a thing) is so through the looking glass.

Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy (2019; d. Justin Kelly)
Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart are wonderful in this story of the literary “hoax” or whatever you want to call it, which … you really had to be there to know what a huge deal it was. Laura Albert’s now being re-framed a bit, as someone who expressed the fluidity of gender long before it blah blah blah … and also her prescience about the use of “avatars” … now ubiquitous … but … I’m too cynical for that. The fluidity of gender is definitely one of the key aspects about this story, and about the supposed JT’s public appearances. Is he, is she, what, help, and etc. (But maybe because I’ve always run with a crowd – since high school – where gender norms weren’t really in play? like, at all? Butch, femme, drag queens, girls with mohawks and leather or girls wearing girlie Laura Ashley gowns, boys wearing tulle prom dresses, girls in motorcycle boots. Or vice versa. Whatever, I run with a show biz crowd, did then, still do, I grew up with punk and grunge and part of that whole time was to bust a lot of those assumptions. Kurt Cobain wearing a skirt and nail polish, to use just one example.) So. I think a lot of that “Laura Albert saw the future” stuff is hot air, and I’m sure she would be happy to hire you as her publicist if you think that way. What is far more interesting to me (and I’m not saying it’s the only thing to be interested in – obviously that’s not the case – but to ME what’s the most interesting …) is the con aspect of it, and the fantasy aspect of it, how this author hired someone to BE JT Leroy at functions … and how this person bamboozled all of these gaa celebrities … mainly because the story of “trauma” is so compelling, and also you’re not allowed to question it. You’re not allowed to say, “There’s something very fishy about your supposedly lived-experience.” Laura Albert’s later comments like “I had a bad childhood too, I grew up in a group home” show what she’s up to, what she was after. Trauma as entertainment, trauma as currency. Needless to say, this all is a topic which interests me greatly, and I love both Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart in this. You’re sympathetic to both characters, even though Laura is just … one of those people who sucks up the oxygen in a room. And Stewart is, as always, riveting, even when she’s just sitting there. It’s fascinating and I’m really glad it exists. I’d like to see it again.

Supernatural, Season 14, episode 18 “Absence” (2019; d. Nina Lopez-Corrado)
Okay. This is moving. But why all of these things are shown in flashback, as opposed to being established all along over the last 3 years, is … amateur hour. Seriously. This is not how you tell a story.

M (1931; d. Fritz Lang)
Another thing I re-watched in preparation for something I’m working on. This is a great film. Any serial-killer movie worth its salt imitates it. They may think they’re imitating something else, but all of the tropes are established here.

The American Meme (2018; d. Bert Marcus)
This is such a disturbing film I almost couldn’t make it all the way through. Allison made me stick it out, though. It’s so depressing. It makes me think that the Internet has literally ruined our world. We have transformed as a human race into something even more monstrous because of it. My God. These people. What we all do. I participate in it too. This documentary made me want to move to a lighthouse on a remote island where there is no internet.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019; d. Alex Gibney)
I cannot get enough about this famous baritone. I read the book, I watched the 20/20, I watched the Dateline, I watched Youtube clips, and then I watched this. There’s a JT Leroy aspect to people like this: total fabrication and people get swept away in the bubble, in their FOMO, in their WILLFUL closing-off of their critical thinking skills. I’m totally fascinated. Especially by her fake voice.

All About Nina (2018; d. Eva Vives)
Allison made me watch American Meme and I made her watch All About Nina. (I reviewed the film for Ebert. It’s on Netflix now. You should see it if you haven’t yet.)

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 4 “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” (2006; d. Kim Manners)
The Kim Manners look. It’s to die for. I winced at the setup though which I had forgotten: going to visit Mary’s grave. What they have done to Mary – and how she operates in the story – is unforgivable. I’ll get over it someday.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 5 “Simon Said” (2006; d. Tim Iacofano)
If they were doing this episode now – which they kind of did during the last season, with all the “wayward” eps – these other psychic kids would all be around 20 years old, with “issues” you can see from a mile away, but no sense of humanity. I love all the psychic kids (although I wasn’t crazy about the arc itself; I found it all a little too “wonder twin-y” at the time (and still do). But these people were all … weirdos, unique, SPECIFIC. They didn’t all LOOK alike, the way the Wayward sisters did (sooooo much makeup) … they also weren’t de-sexed, like the Wayward girls were, as though 18-19 year old girls have no hormones or sex drives. And who fight like ninjas, even with no training. Ugh. Boring. Not “empowering.” But Andy was a weirdo. Andy smoked pot and seduced half the town. Andy was great.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 6 “No Exit” (2006; d. Kim Manners)
I am unable to stop complaining. Forgive me. But I was made so aware, in a new way, of how much the show has fallen in interest, character development, humor. Jo! Jo wasn’t smeared with pancake makeup. Jo was allowed to be human, to WANT to be a hunter, but to be in over her head (in our current climate, that just won’t fly). I said on Twitter that I far prefer the vague sense of sexism in these former episodes – with Jo calling him on it – but Jo still needing a little help from these guys – because they, after all, are THE LEADS … to this new vibe of “let’s pacify all our woke Twitter fans” which is just tiresome and pandering. It ruined Mary. It’s close to ruining Jody. Let’s stop it RIGHT NOW.

Taxi Driver (1976; d. Martin Scorsese)
It never ever loses its power. It’s so disturbing.

American Gigolo (1980; d. Paul Schrader)
Such a chilly dissociated film, with a great performance from Gere in its center. Destabilizing to gender norms in a way which still feels radical. Bleak. Wonderful.

Purple Noon (1960; d. Rene Clement)
A re-watch for that thing I mentioned that I was working on. I got a little bogged down because it’s been a decade since it started bouncing around my head. Like I said, old-timers and Supernatural readers may guess what it’s about. Purple Noon is so decadent Eurotrash-y, with Delon at his chilly blank best.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999; d. Anthony Minghella)
Just to compare and contrast with the above.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 18 “Metafiction” (2014; d. Thomas J. Wright)
The opening sequence.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 23 “Do You Believe in Miracles” (2014; d. Thomas J. Wright)
Now THAT’S a finale.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 11 “There’s No Place Like Home” (2015; d. Philip Sgriccia)
A devastating final scene. I’m skipping around because of that, er, project I keep mentioning.

Supernatural, Season 12, episode 11 “Regarding Dean” (2017; d. John Badham)
Again, skipping around because of … you know. There is a theme emerging. The only good episode in Season 12, even though, of course, it had to include Rowena. Good thing they have the most Powerful Being in the Universe on speed dial to race in with some Abracadabra bullshit, as opposed to getting to see Sam figure it out on his own, like he used to do for 10 damn seasons before she showed up. Sorry. Ackles is superb here. I also love the small moment where the waitress gets horrified at herself that she had basically molested a person who had been roofied, and Dean smiles at her like, “No problem, I’m sure I had a blast.” Lol.

Waiting for the Miracle to Come (2019; d. Lian Lunson)
A gorgeous new film by a director I love, starring Willie Nelson and Charlotte Rampling. It’s now available on iTunes. I interviewed Lian about the film.

Fosse Verdon, Season 1, episode 2 “Who’s Got the Pain?” (2019; d. Thomas Kail)
We see how they met. How the sparks flew at that first “audition”/rehearsal. I think they’re both doing a superb job – in parTICular Michelle Williams. She’s (obviously) not the dancer Verdon was, but her entire characterization is very different for her, actress-y (which makes sense), with a kind of side-eye at things, a humorous “take” on the world – essential to understanding why Verdon was such an enormous star (and far bigger a star than he was when they hooked up).

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 7 “The Usual Suspects” (2006; d. Mike Rohl)
I like this episode more with each re-watch. It’s because we are suddenly outside of their POV and we see them as Linda Blair sees them. I love her murmuring “These guys …”

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 8 “Crossroad Blues” (2006; d. Steve Boyum)
Such an important episode for so many reasons. It introduces the concept of the crossroads demon. They will get a lot of mileage out of it. They will get Crowley out of it. Sam and Dean will both make bad deals. I love that they held this one back, they didn’t introduce it in Season 1 where it might get lost in the shuffle. No, they introduce it in Season 2 – early on – before Dean confesses what John whispered to him before dying. (Dean will confess it to Sam in the next episode.) And of course, Season 2 ends with Dean making his deal – which then leads us all the way through the glorious Season 3. So the crossroads are important and it’s placed very strategically. Also: Robert Johnson, ladies and gentlemen. Listen to his songs. It’s basically the premise of Supernatural.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 9 “Croatoan” (2006; d. Robert Singer)
I hadn’t watched this one in a long long time. It’s fantastic. Talk about a long arc. “Croatoan” is dropped in Season 2, and it returns in Season 4. They really knew what the hell they were doing back then. This, without a guarantee of being picked up again. They took a lot of risks.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 10 “Hunted” (2007; d. Rachel Talalay)
What I refer to as “The Glass Menagerie episode”, which, if you remember my re-cap, will make … sense?

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 11 “Playthings” (2007; d. Charles Beeson)
This moment. This, in general, is one of my favorite episodes in the whole thing. It’s perfect.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 12 “Nightshifter” (2007; d. Philip Sgriccia)
AGENT HENRIKSEN. I said recently that the real-life worries about Agent Henriksen and Dean’s murder rap in St. Louis generated more tension and anxiety in me than in Season 12 and 13 put together. Who’s ruling Hell? Who GIVES a shit! But AGENT HENRIKSEN? Nothing will stop that man and he is almost more of a threat to Sam and Dean than anything supernatural. Plus, he’s awesome. As is Ronald, and Sam and Dean’s differing reactions to Ronald. Subtlety, sensitivity to details, focus: this is what Supernatural used to do so well, even in a one-off character like Ronald.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 14 “Born Under a Bad Sign” (2007; d. J. Miller Tobin)
Kind of a weird episode but I really liked it because it “broke up” the brothers, and it fucked with Sam in a way I found EXTREMELY upsetting my first time watching it. It also made me realize that Jared Padalecki, in an alternate career, could have played ONLY psychos. He’s so good at it.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 15 “Tall Tales” (2007; d. Bradford May)
Classic episode of television.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 16 “Roadkill” (2007; d. Charles Beeson)
It’s been years since I’ve seen this one. I have to go back and look at my re-cap to see what I said. I forget. This one packs a huge punch. And the look of it – it’s almost totally monochromatic. Stunning. Plus the fact that they’re outside practically the whole time. There’s such a sadness here. I do remember saying that since we the audience are left in the dark, Sam and Dean don’t take us into their confidence (the way they do in other cases, where we know what’s happening and why) … we’re left to piece it together, and we’re placed in a position as vulnerable and confusing as hers. It works really really well and there’s some true feeling generated in this ep.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 17 “Heart” (2007; d. Kim Manners)
Member when the guys got to have sex and we got to see it sometime? No, but seriously folks: she is a fantastic actress, and it’s amazing how much they were able to get done in a mere 43 minutes. I mean, think of the journey from first shot to devastating final shot. It’s really masterfully done. Plus this:

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 18 “Hollywood Babylon” (2007; d. Philip Sgriccia)
“Oh, they’re aWARE …” One of my favorite lines in the whole damn show.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 19 “Folsom Prison Blues” (2007; d. Mike Rohl)
The one-two punch of “Hollywood Babylon” and “Folsom Prison Blues” is such a gorgeous entrenchment of Dean’s malleability and suggestibility – the words I use for him. Like, it’s great he can adapt to any situation but … people in CULTS can adapt to any situation. Should we be … worried about this tendency? (And then of course, seeing as what comes next in the lineup … it all beautifully makes sense. Season 2 is so well-constructed.)

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 20 “What Is and What Should Never Be” (2007; d. Eric Kripke)
Straight talk here: my relationship to this episode has been negatively impacted by what they did to Mary in bringing her back. I didn’t really get the damage that has been done, not really, until I went back and watched this episode. Its swoon of sadness, its sense of loss, of what happens when you lose a parent – especially young – of the PRICE Sam and Dean have paid for being “heroes” – none of this empty lip service where they actually seem to BUY the bullshit they’re spouting (as in the last 2 seasons) … it’s a fucking TRAGEDY, their lives. Great great episode but I truly mourn what has been done to this story. The damage has been retro-active and I’m pissed.

Supernatural, Season 2, episode 21 “All Hell Breaks Loose: Part 1” (2007; d. Robert Singer)
I’m glad they got rid of the psychic-kids arc. It’s like it never happened. They realized “huh, okay, this is not a show like other shows. This is a show about two brothers, keep it simple” and were able to course-correct. But I do love each one of these actors, they all bring something fresh to the table.

Supernatural, Season 14, episode 19 “Jack in the Box” (2019; d. Robert Singer)
I have so many mixed feelings. I have so many mixed feelings about “what’s going on with Jack” being the main arc, and how it has put Sam and Dean in the adversarial position. I just … this is not the show. And I hated the hunter’s funeral, but then again, I hated everything having to do with Mary. This, though? Dean crying by himself? Aces.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 2 “Devil May Care” (2013; d. Guy Norman Bee)
I decided to skip ahead and go from Season 9 to Season 11, which I have yet to do in a total chronological re-watch. Looking at this insane month it may seem like all I do is sit around and watch shit. I’m feeling slightly batshit looking at this month when it’s listed out. I had a couple of enormous writing gigs this month, along my other regular gigs at Ebert, a couple big ones that haven’t come out yet, and a couple other irons in the fire. It was a weird month though. I called up my friend David at one point and said, “You have got to come over. I haven’t spoken to anyone in 5 days.” Bless him, he did. He came bearing vodka. I have some shit I want to write about Season 9 of Supernatural because it struck me so hard again why it’s such a superb season. I have a soft spot for it because it’s when I started watching the show. So my perspective may be different than those watching in real-time from the jump. I think it is an extremely strong, albeit bleak, season – with real courage of its convictions. I am super impressed they even had the nerve to go there. They play it so safe now. Imagine having an entire season where Sam and Dean actually interrogate the tenets of their relationship? Imagine Sam digging his heels in and not just being concerned-dude-reading-a-book but a man who knows his own mind and has HAD it. I mean, it’s BOLD. These guys were in such a sweet spot in Season 9. Also, I love Gadreel. I love that actor.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 3 “I’m No Angel” (2013; d. Kevin Hooks)
It was hilarious watching this because – as I wrote in my TOME about how and when I started watching Supernatural – it was because of the Destiel crowd’s unhinged response to this episode. I had no idea what they were even TALKING about but I finally was like, “That’s it. Enough watching from the sidelines.” And then look at me, I got totally hooked too.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 4 “Slumber Party” (2013; d. Robert Singer)
I have been bitching about the bunker for 3 years straight now. I am sure you’re all sick of me. I’m sick of myself. But it’s wild to go back and remember the bunker when it was new, when Dean bustled around like a homebody, when Sam threw the piece of paper on Dean’s floor, all these interesting details having to do with the concept of HOME, which – of course – had been surging around in the series since the first season. Member what a landmine it is when they went back to their house with Missouri? And they crash at Bobby’s occasionally. The bunker was so new and so exciting. Member how much we all loved the bunker here? I believe one of us wanted to host a writing retreat there. Lol. Those days are done. Still: it was fun to go back and remember a time before my heart was filled with bitterness.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 5 “Dog Dean Afternoon” (2013; d. Tim Andrew)
Now, listen, it’s got some issues. Okay. But there are so many funny moments – yes, with the situation itself – Dean barking at the mailman, fetching the balled-up paper, etc., but it’s the small moments that make me howl. Sam: “Why are you yelling at the dog …about Styx?” I am laughing as I type this.

Carmine Street Guitars (2019; d. Ron Mann)
I reviewed this documentary about Carmine Street Guitars, a West Village staple, for Rogerebert.com.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 6 “Heaven Can’t Wait” (2013; d. Rob Spera)
There were some interesting ideas in here, about pain, and about angels who couldn’t distinguish between suicidal pain and angsty-teen pain. I have issues with Castiel when he is useless and feeling helpless or self-pitying. It became a “thing” around … when did it start happening? Post Leviathans. I far prefer the early Castiel, Season 4 and Season 5, when he is truly a strange being, and unpredictable, and you never doubt for a second that he could vaporize you into dust. Why on earth they demoted him to having recurring bouts of tuberculosis for 4 seasons on end, I will never know. I get that he has a passionate fan base, but … does his sickly self-pity coughing-up-a-lung arcs really satisfy them? I’d be pissed.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 7 “Bad Boys” (2013; d. Kevin Parks)
One of my favorite episodes in the whole series. Out of Season 9, this and “The Purge” are the ones I’ve watched the most. “Bad Boys” is definitely a go-to. God, it was such a revelation at the time. I LOVED where they went with it, I LOVED young Dean, but most of all I loved the feeling I got that there was still so much to learn about these characters!

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 8 “Rock and a Hard Place” (2013; d. John MacCarthy)
The main issue with this episode is why they cast all of those girls to look alike. That being said, it has a goofy X-rated charm that soothes at least THIS savage beast, and I challenge any actor to make that “the thing you did with the tacos” sound like the most romantic memory ever, and MEAN it. Seriously. What he pulls off in that scene is a miracle. This is why he is great. Also, his line reading of “He ain’t lyin'” at the chastity meaning makes me laugh out loud every single time I see it.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 9 “Holy Terror” (2013; d. Thomas J. Wright)
I had forgotten how mean Dean is to Kevin. Like, frustrated, impatient, downright rude. It’s pretty brutal to watch, and I think it’s a great choice. Dean is starting to lose it. He’s not in control of himself he’s so flipped out about Sam. He isn’t “mindful” in re: Kevin. “Yesterday, Cinderella”. I mean, it’s brutal. Dean fans don’t like when I criticize him. It’s so silly. This is a story with complex characters. I love the complexity. And it makes that much more excruciating when Kevin is killed.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 10 “Road Trip” (2014; d. Robert Singer)
Sometimes I watch this scene and I think, “What even IS this show …”

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 11 “First Born” (2014; d. John Badham)
Go, John Badham! This is an excellent episode. Crowley. I miss Crowley. Honest to Lucifer, I do.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 12 “Sharp Teeth” (2014; d. John F. Showalter)
An episode with an excruciatingly long monster-monologue at the end. Not the longest, but still, it’s up there. Nice final moment between Dean and Garth, with the hug and all. I don’t even remember the episodes now where Garth has returned in the last couple of years. “Look what they’ve done to my show, Ma …”

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 13 “The Purge” (2014; d. Philip Sgriccia)
This is one of my favorite episodes in the series, and the final scene is one of my favorite scenes. I know, I know, it sucks that Dean and Sam aren’t getting along, I hate it when they don’t get along, blah blah, go write some fanfic, seriously that’s what fanfic is FOR. I’m interested in CONFLICT which REVEALS, and this is such a great example. You could cut the tension between these two with a knife. Seeing Dean depressed – not angsty, not upset, not angry – but just … flat-line, hurting but expressionless, so so upset he doesn’t even know which end is up … You want to know why Jensen Ackles is so damn good? Well, there are many many reasons, but his ability to evoke depression – with its brief flashes of anger, so sharp it’s meant to hurt – Dean is literally totally out of control … I mean, here it is. This is why he gets the big bucks, this is WHY he is so good. Also Dean roofies himself, and that’s always entertaining.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 14 “Captives” (2014; d. Jerry Wanek)
Again, this episode is the show when it had courage. Kevin’s sappy advice to the guys … I have a feeling that sappy advice would be accompanied with swelling Winchester music now and no WAY would you have the quick cut to Sam already walking away. Brutal. I love Season 9.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 15 “#thinman” (2014; d. Jeannot Szwarc)
I remember not being crazy about this one when it first aired, as much as I love the Ghostfacers. I think it holds up very well, though. I like it a lot more now. Yes, it’s “on the nose” but that doesn’t seem as much of a problem in a binge-watch. It’s all blending into the same arc, about people who love each other and the lies they tell. That great scene when Dean starts reminiscing about Sam breaking his arm … it’s so AWKWARD and you just YEARN for them to take Kevin’s sappy advice, and yet … it’s so much better dramatically when they DON’T. Draw that shit out. Dean’s misery is like buzzing white noise that would probably be picked up by an EMF meter.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 16 “Blade Runners” (2014; d. Serge Ladouceur)
This is when I got excited about the First Blade. Look at him.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 17 “Mother’s Little Helper” (2014; d. Misha Collins)
Dean drinking by himself, and then going out on a secret date with Crowley. It’s begun. It’s full-on seduction mode, and Dean is already halfway there. I love Sam’s scenes with the former nun – Jenny O’Hara, who I think does an awesome job.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 19 “Alex Annie Alexis Ann” (2014; d. Stefan Pleszczynski)
This is as deeply sick as this show has ever gotten. Best of all: they make no explicit connections between Alex/Alexis/etc. and Sam and Dean. Sam and Dean don’t make the connection. Nobody does. It’s brilliant. It’s queasy-making, because it’s so clear to US and it’s not clear to THEM.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 20 “Bloodlines” (2014; d. Robert Singer)
Yes. I re-watched it. It now looks like … Oh, so this is the show Dabb wanted to make all along. Gorgeous nondescript envelope-thin characters, huge ensemble, sketched-in drama. Not the deep dive of two brothers played by brilliant actors – which he clearly has not been able to handle. Member watching this in real-time? I remember mainly being infuriated that the shape-shifters were suddenly magically able to change, without the gloopy sloughing-off of skin. This actor here though is good. He actually seemed to know how to act.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 21 “King of the Damned” (2014; d. P.J. Pesce)
I actually had forgotten a lot of this. This was hot.

Supernatural, Season 9, episode 22 “Stairway to Heaven” (2014; d. Guy Norman Bee)
I start to lose track of what’s going on here, mainly because I don’t have interest in Castiel becoming a Cult Leader, I have interest in Dean slowly succumbing to the Mark. Unfortunately, those things do dovetail. And in the process, Tessa the reaper is suddenly … wait, what? A rogue angel ready to blow up an entire community theatre production, killing a bunch of innocent people in the process? What the fuck happened? I loved Tessa.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 1 “Black” (2014; d. Robert Singer)
Dean as demonic karaoke-singing bar-fly. I remember all of us speculating here during the hiatus what was to come. Many of us were hoping for a jolly demon Dean. Well, we got it! I also love the damaged waitress – beautifully cast, and beautifully played. It’s a small role, but you really can see what’s going on. Crowley can too. And look out. Here comes COLE. COMMANDO COLE.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 2 “Reichenbach” (2014; d. Thomas J. Wright)
Oh, Cole. I actually thought it was pretty cool bringing in this completely random outsider who was looking for revenge. It was something we HADN’T seen, right? It was something NEW. Similar to Agent Hendriksen, it was a real world threat, and I found that fascinating. I couldn’t stand how he called them both by nicknames, but that was a “character” thing. It was how Cole – a small man – felt bigger. Dominant. It was quite insightful. I’m not in this thing to hang around with likable characters. However, the actor in question behaved like a douchebag at a convenion, and appears to be an all-around weirdo, so … bye bye Cole.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 3 “Soul Survivor” (2014; d. Jensen Ackles)
Let me say just one thing about this. Jensen Ackles knows what he looks like and knows how to highlight it. He took care with how he was framed here, and the lighting highlights his coloring, how pale he is, almost delicate-looking, with light eyes. Surrounding himself with blackness, and also wearing a red shirt … these were not accidents. I am mentioning this because he was the director. I love the self-awareness with which he treated himself – as an actor. This couldn’t have been easy, to wear two different hats with THIS episode.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 4 “Paper Moon” (2014; d. Jeannot Szwarc)
My memory of watching this in real-time is basically me going: “I wish Dean had been a demon longer. I don’t like the flashbacks to her life. Too many monologues.” Now, going back, I think I was out of my mind. It’s fun to compare/contrast. The episode has yet another set of siblings, one who has gone dark side, one who has to make the tough choice, etc. I wished Kate had looked grubbier. Her hair was too nice. She’s been living in barns. Come on. BUT. I think there are FOUR emotional conversations in the Impala? Like, the brothers literally cannot stop having dreamy lengthy emotional conversations in the Impala. I was in heaven watching this damn episode, especially since the Advent of the Bunker, and Season 12 without almost no brother-scenes in the Impala, and even now … it’s just not a part of the show anymore. Not really. Because, yeah, taking away the Impala scenes – EXPLICITLY REFERENCED in “Fan Fiction” – and in “French Mistake” – is super smart! I am just baffled. At any rate, I’ve experienced a turn-around on this episode. I love it now.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 5 “Fan Fiction” (2014; d. Philip Sgriccia)
This moment. Like “What Is and What Should Never Be”, though, its power is greatly diminished by what has been done to this family mythology in the last three years.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 6 “Ask Jeeves” (2014; d. John MacCarthy)
My love for this episode grows with each re-watching. It’s a go-to. It always works. It’s not often that you get cast as a one-off character and get to be part of an ensemble like THAT. I adore it. Clown College Colette. Flowers in the Attic. Dean’s beautiful “legs” moment in the empty hallway. Sam getting pawed on the couch. It’s all too much.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 7 “Girls, Girls, Girls” (2014; d. Robert Singer)
I have a maelstrom of memories about this not-very-good episode. One, the commercial aired, and a certain group of the fans flipped out because it was offensive, or rape culture-y or … I don’t know. It was a big shitshow, but nothing says “You’ll forgive me if I don’t take you seriously” if you’re commenting on something before it even airs. The whole set-up doesn’t really work, having Dean suddenly be on a dating App, and then, oh, whaddya know she’s a … prostitute (or “fancy lady”, speaking of which, same actress), and then Rowena gets involved, and uh-oh Rowena starts dominating her own story-lines. I was fine with her as foil for Crowley but now that I’m into Season 11 I’m realizing yet again the catastrophic effect this character has had on the show. I guess she has a fan base, though? I don’t get it. Why the hell keep her on? But most importantly: I had completely blocked out this scene in the Gif. What. The. Ever-loving. FUCK were they thinking? What were they even GOING for? Someone please help me understand. I was literally cringing into the corner of my couch with embarrassment watching it.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 8 “Hibbing 911” (2014; d. Tim Andrew)
A favorite of mine. “Jodio!” Plus this whole sexually charged relationship.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 9 “The Things We Left Behind” (2014; d. Guy Norman Bee)
Lots going on here. Castiel stepping in to take care of Claire. A pretty sick and twisted situation in that house with “Randy.” GROSS. And the look on Dean’s face after he slaughters five people. This was when not killing humans still mattered, before they started engaging in shootouts with other human beings on a regular basis in Season 12. I seem to recall some of the Destiel Tumblrs I frequented flipping out about the curtains in the restaurant forming a “ship” behind Dean and Castiel. Just reporting the news. You decide.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 10 “The Hunter Games ” (2014; d. John Badham)
The Claire arc doesn’t … quite work. I have no idea what was going on but I think sometimes they are desperate to give Castiel something to do, something where he’s not in every episode. I feel that later on in 11 with Metatron, and then much later with Lucifer. Castiel is a problem. He wasn’t to start with. Or, he came with problems attached (we have to be careful about how much we use him, since he’s so powerful). But having Castiel be in this ABC Afterschool Special type situation with a rebellious teen? I don’t know. It’s pretty weak. However: the episode does include this stunner. You may recognize a pattern in this monthly viewing diary.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 12 “About a Boy” (2015; d. Serge Ladouceur)
This kid just NAILS it. I love this episode.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 13 “Halt & Catch Fire” (2015; d. John F. Showalter)
Dean horn-dogging all over the college girls made me feel like it was the good old days. It’s funny, it’s like Supernatural all of a suddenly decided to deal with social media. “I just Liked what you posted.” “I just Liked what you posted.” “Selfie!” and etc. Also: Dean’s on Facebook, poking people? Sam already knows how to poke people on Facebook? Why can I not picture this? Is this a harbinger of the dreaded Words With Friends, which ruined my life in 2 seasons?

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 14 “The Executioner’s Song” (2015; d. Philip Sgriccia)
This is getting insanely long. Okay, real quick: The show has an issue with … fist fights. Two angels meet. Fist fights. A demon and a human meet. Fist fight. They can’t seem to get themselves out of that trap. So you knew that when Dean went to go battle Cain, it was going to be yet another fist fight. HOWEVER. The way Jensen Ackles played it – and the way Timothy Omundson played it – gave it a weightiness, a depth, a darkness, where it was truly believable that Dean would come out of it forever altered. Something was happening to him besides getting punched and thrown around. Yes, a couple of music cues helped, but trust me: the effect of Dean being destroyed emotionally, stripped bare, is all Ackles. Hard to do, man. It’s not just another fist fight.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 15 “The Things They Carried” (2015; d. John Badham)
Well, isn’t Dean a tall glass of water. No. He really is. Maybe one of the most explicit homoerotic things they’ve ever done – that horrifying desert woman going mouth to mouth – I never ever need to see that again. Thank God it didn’t come out … the other way, ya know what I’m saying. And Cole drooling at the sight of Dean’s … water. I know fans hated Cole and I know knowledge of what he did at cons taints him forever – but if I hadn’t known any of that stuff, and I actually didn’t know much of it- by design – this is a pretty interesting arc. Because in the real world, Cole is the toughtest (albeit shortest) guy in any room. He is clearly a Macho Man, and clearly is the Platonic Ideal of “overcompensation.” It’s written that way. Just as Dean never really developed past the age of 4 – Cole never really developed past the age of 10. These two would never be friends, clearly – two alpha dogs don’t mix – but that’s why it’s interesting. It’s interesting to see a character who doesn’t immediately bow down to the Winchester’s greater expertise. Who isn’t submissive to them. Like Agent Henriksen. Like the dreaded Amelia, whom I love – for the very reasons I’m saying here. These characters are revealed through CONFLICT, not just sitting around sharing feelings. When someone comes into their circle who doesn’t play by their rules – think of Bela, think of Garth – it’s fantastic, sparks fly. Imagine the stink in that smokehouse cabin. Naaaaaasty.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 17 “Inside Man” (2015; d. Rashaad Ernesto Green)
The whole conversation about French movies and film criticism cracks me up.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 18 “Book of the Damned” (2015; d. P.J. Pesce)
And now I’m starting to get angry.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 19 “The Werther Project” (2015; d. Stefan Pleszczynski)

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 20 “Angel Heart” (2015; d. Steve Boyum)
This is the only scene that matters.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 21 “Dark Dynasty” (2015; d. Robert Singer)
Nope. Also, I hate that family. It’s supposed to be “Stein” as in “Frankenstein” but it’s a little too close to an anti-Semitic stereotype for my taste (I would guess they threw in “they helped the Nazis get to power” just to stave off criticisms like this). But still. I’m pissed about Charlie still. I blame Rowena. And Castiel who couldn’t handle the situation even though he’s so powerful he can literally yank a human from out of the depths of hell. And they suddenly make Charlie dumb enough to sit in front of an open window at the motel? No cover? Even though she knows she’s being tracked? Nope.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 22 “The Prisoner” (2015; d. Thomas J. Wright)
This is a good scene. I’d be pissed at Castiel too. He was a babysitter who failed and someone got killed.

Supernatural, Season 10, episode 23 “Brother’s Keeper” (2015; d. Philip Sgriccia)
This moment.

Ask Dr. Ruth (2019; d. Ryan White)
New documentary. I am reviewing for Ebert.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019; d. Joe Berlinger)
New Netflix movie about Ted Bundy, starring Zac Efron. I am reviewing for Ebert.

The Red Line Season 1, episode 1 and 2 (2019; d. Victoria Mahoney, Kevin Hooks)
A new series on CBS, starring Noah Wylie. It takes place in Chicago. It is based on a play by Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss, and it is executive produced by Ava DuVernay. But most importantly, my dear friend Mitchell Fain is in it. He plays one of Noah Wylie’s best friends. He’s only been in one scene so far, at a big gala fund raiser for Noah’s husband, who was killed by a cop. As Noah makes this tear-filled speech (and Wylie is phenomenal), there’s a shot of Mitchell, listening to him, and his heart is in his face, his care for his hurting friend in his face, and I basically burst into tears with pride. Go, Mitchell!

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19 Responses to April 2019 Viewing Diary

  1. Helena says:

    Sheila, you know me, I am THRILLED TO BITS and guffawing with glee at this April embarras de beauté et de richesse. Where to start with this feast of awesome? Yesyesyes to the glorious era of Kim Manners, shadows and men in henleys – but right now I am mostly aghast to learn that Castiel has been coughing like la dame aux camélias for four whole seasons now.

    • Jessie says:

      clearly we need to start with the fact that Travis Bickle borrowed one of Dean’s shirts.

      • Helena says:

        I think it’s one of Sam’s. Sam goes for smaller check patterns, and patterns and stripes in addition to plaid. Dean is either big plaid patterns or plain colours. Not that I have given this very important question any thought, ever, no sirree bob.

        • Jessie says:

          Seeing as Dean’s actual Taxi Driver outfit is more first cousin than brother in terms of colour and pattern size, I happily agree that must be Sam’s shirt, perhaps left in Travis’s apartment on one of his jaunts into the past.

          • Helena says:

            Frickin’ time travel.

          • sheila says:

            Tears are literally streaming down my face reading this conversation. I can barely type.

            Travis Bickle has time-traveled and is wearing one of Sam Winchester’s shirts. I’m dying.

          • sheila says:

            Didn’t Dean mention Travis Bickle in Folsom Prison Blues?

            It’s all connected.

          • Jessie says:

            haha, yes! he’s so fed up with guys who’ve seen Taxi Driver too many times. Maybe because every time it’s on Sam’s jumping up and down in shirt recognition. Let it go, Sam.

    • sheila says:

      Helena – now that I have wiped my tears away …

      // but right now I am mostly aghast to learn that Castiel has been coughing like la dame aux camélias for four whole seasons now. //

      and it’s catching – because Jack – Lucifer’s son – is ALSO suffering from rampant persistent at times foaming-at-the-mouth tuberculosis. The angels are a real drag.

  2. Jessie says:

    that’s my boyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    This is an intense month Sheila! I was chuckling over the repeated “I’m not gonna say anything, I’m not gonna say anything…….okay but I do have to say this.” Because I’m still there too. Broken record. I bore myself. But I can’t get over it! Anyway, this was a lovely whirlwind tour through some real high points and indelible moments. These gifs are all killers; so many favourites in s1, 2 and 9. And it’s strange to think how flailing s10 was at times. Really close to going off the rails at a few points. The Steins, of course. The Crowley and Rowena show. There are things I like about Cole’s conception, but I find him really miscast (even ignoring the actor’s grossness) I don’t enjoy watching him at all, even though Dean was fun in opposition to him, so I’m glad he didn’t last long. But so so many great things too — skinny injured Sam at the start, everything you mention here and more. Demon Dean stalking the bunker, picking up that hammer: hoo boy. And that Ask Jeeves family make me laugh every time just thinking about them. “Ugh. Homosexual murders. Like Leopold and Loeb.” The tackiness is the most distressing thing to her! And then that scene where they’re draped over Sam and swooning over the length of his fingers which is so hilariously dirty in at least two ways that I’m still shocked it made the cut.

    How wonderful for Mitchell. And looking forward to reading what you’re working on; sounds like a tough beast to wrangle after so long (and with so much that could be included). Good luck with it!

    • sheila says:

      // Broken record. I bore myself. But I can’t get over it! //

      hahaha exactly! and if I can’t bitch and moan here – where I’m paying for the bandwidth – where else can I bitch and moan? I try to remain positive because I love JA and JP so much, but re-watching Season 2 in tandem with the final eps of this past season was illuminating. And not in a good way. Frankly, I’ve been in denial.

      // And it’s strange to think how flailing s10 was at times. Really close to going off the rails at a few points. //

      Yeah, it’s a weird one. There really was no … point? In a way, it’s like Season 3 where the whole thing is about the aftermath of one choice Dean made in Season 2 – what to do with Dean’s dumb decision? But Season 2/3 was just so much more taut and pulled together – every single episode pouring into that arc in all these different ways.

      Also … Dean with the mark seems only slightly worse off than Dean without the mark – like Dean trashing a motel room isn’t THAT far off from his capabilities otherwise. It’s not like he’s a pussy-cat normally.

      // I don’t enjoy watching him at all, even though Dean was fun in opposition to him, so I’m glad he didn’t last long //

      I think with a more charismatic actor it might have been better. I think perhaps the actor was a liiiiiittle too close to his role? I was kind of surprised they brought him back for the smokehouse desert-worm episode – it seemed like the Cole thing was done by that point.

      // The tackiness is the most distressing thing to her! And then that scene where they’re draped over Sam and swooning over the length of his fingers which is so hilariously dirty in at least two ways that I’m still shocked it made the cut. //

      Oh God I know. Every single moment in that episode is so hilarious. I don’t even know who to look at, they’re all doing such funny work. “Did anyone else here wet themselves?”

      GOOFY. I love them all.

      and thanks!! I’m glad to have finally got the piece done. Check it off the list!

  3. Michelle says:

    I am also a member of the broken record club!! I’ve joined some other people on Twitter who have decided to rewatch the entire series this summer before the final season begins in the fall. We just started Wednesday with the pilot. We’ve watched through episode 5 Bloody Mary so far.

    The beautiful darkness, the conflict, the intensity between the brothers, the awkwardness between them as they are learning to be together as adults. The IMPALA. My soap box is clearly the Impala and I’ve already warned that my tweets are going to be full of complaining that she’s been turned into nothing but a glorified prop these past few seasons.

    I think it will be interesting watching the entire series again ( although I’m already dreading 12 – 14 again with the exception of a few episodes). It will be interesting watching episodes that I thought weren’t great at the time and earlier seasons that I thought weren’t as strong and seeing where they all end up now.

    The hardest part is getting past the character taint these past 3 seasons have unfortunately done. I agree that it’s hard to watch Mary now. Lucifer is coming up, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch Pellegrino’s amazing performance without seeing the whiny, petulant, brat they turned him into. And Chuck. I haven’t even been able to comment about the finale yet. I absolutely adored the character of Chuck. He was one of my favorites. I don’t want him ruined, but so far almost every character I’ve loved has managed to get tainted by this current show runner.

    Ah well, I’m happy to broken record with you guys. Still love that we can come here, discuss, air our grievances, and even disagree, all in fun and respect. Not so much the case on Twitter these days.

    • sheila says:

      Michelle – I’m now mid-Season 11 in my rewatch and I’m feeling the dread approaching – even though Season 11, as a whole, was so strong. I just watched The Vessel – which is a seriously great bit of film-making, down to the casting of all those crew members. It’s a mini-feature-film there – with real care. and then the look on Dean’s face in the final scene – where he can’t even finish his sentence. It’s great because the episode is a “dead end” – they’re going after a long-shot “weapon” that is defused in the course of the episode – it doesn’t “go” anywhere – and yet in the course of the episode, we’re given all this rich-ness – plus Sam’s terror at Lucifer back in the bunker – calling us back to his time in the cage – There’s so much going on.

      Also: I don’t know about you, but if my socalled best friend thought it would be a good idea to free Lucifer – even though he knows what Lucifer will do – even though he knows what Lucifer did to Sam – I’m not so sure I’d call that person a “best friend” anymore.

      The twists and turns they have had to do to keep Cas relevant basically means Castiel makes mistake mistakes – ever since Season 7, really. At what point do the brothers say, “Hey, best friend, STOP HELPING.”

      I know it’s mean – I’m sorry Cas fans – but it’s all a bit much if you’re not a fan of the character post-Season 5 to begin with.

      and yes, it seems Dabb is interested in messing with the iconography of the show – Mary’s initials on that damn table. I am trying to understand the reasoning. Someone wanting to put his own stamp on something? Or a true lack of affection for the thing he’s working on? It’s like he doesn’t get it. Or he doesn’t care. I think he’s proud of what he’s done. I think he thinks it’s cool and edgy. Ugh.

  4. carolyn clarke says:

    //tainted by this current show runner//
    Thank you, thank you. Someone else sees the main problem, in my opinion. Granted there are other issues but I think that Dabb is the biggest problem. He doesn’t seem to understand what we’re missing. The depth, the heart of the show is the relationship between Sam and Dean and everyone else are supporting characters. Like everyone else, I rewatching most of the last 14 seasons and simply fast-forwarding past the scenes that I simply do not care about.

    • sheila says:

      Carolyn –

      // He doesn’t seem to understand what we’re missing. The depth, the heart of the show is the relationship between Sam and Dean and everyone else are supporting characters. //

      so true. It’s amazing that he does not understand this.

  5. Aslan's Own says:

    Argh! I am so technologically inept, but none of the pics are coming up on my laptop and only a few on my phone, so I’m going to try again at work (on break, on BREAK!!! of course!) to see if they’ll come in.

    I’m not on Twitter, but I’ve recently joined a facebook Supernatural group with nearly 150,000 members, and I’m astounded at how many people are claiming recent seasons are their favorites. Who ARE these people? WHY are they liking recent seasons which, to me, are abysmally deficient in comparison to earlier seasons (as you demonstrate so well)?

    I too started watching in season 9 (after binge-watching 1-8 on Netflix), and it was so incredibly hard to watch, extremely uncomfortable, and it wasn’t until the end of the season finale that I realized how amazing the whole arc had been! If “If you want to be brothers . . . ” wasn’t bad enough, then came along “The Purge” with “No, Dean, I wouldn’t” which KILLED me! I couldn’t believe Sam said, “You are certainly willing to do the sacrificing as long as you’re not the one being hurt” – I wanted to scream at the screen that I think going to hell for someone was being hurt! Or when he mentioned that Dean should appreciate their “real friends” like Gadreel! I was so mad! Gadreel! He denied their brotherhood over his possession by Gadreel, then called him a real friend!!! And in the Annie/Alexis one, when Dean was freeing Sam, Dean says, “I know you wouldn’t do the same for me,” and Sam didn’t say anything! I just knew that things were heading somewhere bad, but I didn’t know what it would be. Then, in all of that, Sam tells Gadreel and Castiel, who want to use Dean against Metatron, “That’s my BROTHER,” and all I could think was, “Sam, why are you saying that to THEM? Dean is the one who’s floundering right now.” Then Dean being GLAD he was going to die because he didn’t like what the Mark was doing to him and telling Sam he’s proud of them? Wow. All the pain of watching their estrangement paid off so well. And, then, now that Sam remembers how awful it is to be left behind when his brother dies, Dean comes back — as an uncaring demon. It’s my favorite story arc after the whole 1-5 one.

    • sheila says:

      // Who ARE these people? WHY are they liking recent seasons which, to me, are abysmally deficient in comparison to earlier seasons (as you demonstrate so well)? //

      I’m very curious about these people too. It has to be people who don’t like Sam and Dean – it has to be people who – for whatever reason – resent that Sam and Dean are the leads (which … why would you even watch the show then?? I don’t get it. There are so many other shows out there.)

      I’ve had a couple of run-ins on Twitter – most of these people seem to be Destiel fans – which is all well and good but I fail to see what is so Destiel-centric about the last 3 seasons – unless it’s the fact that Sam and Dean are no longer so tight? and so maybe now Cas has a chance? I’m sorry, I don’t understand the reasoning – but there seems to be a connection.

      I so loved your description of the experience of Season 9!! Yes, it’s killer!! and the payoff is EXTREME. And you believe that – unlike Purgatory – Sam will now do whatever it takes to bring Dean back.

      // . All the pain of watching their estrangement paid off so well. //


  6. Jenna says:

    I’ve been sooooooo slowly rewatching myself, and you are so right about seasons 1 and 2. The look of those seasons, the relationships, but also just the other characters too, were so interesting!!! I miss characters like Bela, like Agent Hendrickson, like Ronald, like Andy! (I know those psychic kids were dumb, but man I really loved Andy, I wish he could have stuck around).

    I remember being so struck by Meg’s all consuming hatred for Dean in “Born Under a Bad Sign,” she’s not back for any particular plot reason, she was just pissed at Dean for sending her back to Hell and decided to get some revenge. I mean, WHAT?! Only Dean could command such unrelenting commitment from a DEMON. Well, Dean in season 2, season 14 Dean, I’m not so sure. I thought his charming of the post office lady in the episode with the teens was pretty lackluster.

    Also, this makes me want to watch season 9 and 10 again. Season 9 was ROUGH, but I loved demon Dean and I loved demon torturer Sam. I love Sam who used to go off the rails every time Dean was gone. I was honestly perplexed at the beginning of season 14 when they were looking for Dean, like how did Kip the demon convince those other demons to try and trap Sam, of all people? Did they forget that last time Dean went missing Sam was on a demon torture/murder spree? Seems like at least Dabb forgot. *eye roll*

    P.S. I’m so grateful every day that I found your site! Not just for Supernatural, but it is nice to know that I’m not insane and there are other people who think the recent seasons are not that great!

    • sheila says:

      // she’s not back for any particular plot reason, she was just pissed at Dean for sending her back to Hell and decided to get some revenge. I mean, WHAT?! //

      Ha!! Really good point! So petty!!

      // Also, this makes me want to watch season 9 and 10 again. //

      It’s been really awesome.

      I’m approaching the end of Season 11 now when everything went off the rails – and never course-corrected – I’m going to try to re-watch Season 12. I barely remember it. The only thing I really remember is:

      1. Dean getting drunk in the bunker kitchen, looking at family photographs
      2. Sam’s wince at the sound of the bunker door closing when Mary walks out
      3. Dean on the bull

      That’s it. Those are moments that built on all that came before, that showed an understanding of the lead characters. But I do want to re-watch, merely for my own edification.

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