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It seems that, every time I feel so out of sorts with Supernatural this season that I seriously consider quitting, Robbie Thompson swoops in and pulls me back from the brink by delivering an episode that reminds me why I love this show. Pac-Man Fever is the kind of episode that I find emotionally engaging, as well as intellectually stimulating. It gives us Sam and Dean at their brotherly best, offers an interesting monster-of-the-week case and throws a beloved recurring character into the mix. It has the right combination of humour, action and emotion, too, as Robbie Thompson’s episodes usually do. So, really, what’s not to like?

There is pretty much nothing the Winchesters can't do if they work together. )
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I know I am terribly late with this review, but better late than never, right? I admit, I deliberately postponed this review time and again, mainly because I knew right away that thinking about Taxi Driver would be way worse than just watching it. I will concede that the premise of the episode is fraught with potential, but the mediocre writing of Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner just squanders all that potential away. They delivered a script that is not only riddled with continuity and characterisation issues, but also unbelievably careless in its treatment of past mythology. So I apologise in advance that this is more or less a (very lengthy) listing of all the reasons why Taxi Driver really misses its mark.

I'm going to be in my room. Let me know when there's a good day. )

By the way, with this review the collective word count of my writings on Supernatural passes the 500.000 words mark! You know, I am actually quite proud of this achievement. Oh, and one more thing, I will not be able to write a review for tonight’s episode. It’s my godson’s confirmation this weekend, so I will be leaving for my sister’s tomorrow. I will probably stay for a week or so, and that will leave me with no time to review the episode before the next one airs. I hope to catch up on it during the summer hiatus though.
galathea: (spn_scenery bloodlust)
Freaks and Geeks, by courtesy of Adam Glass, is a pretty standard standalone episode that mainly explores the theme of child-hunters, and as such it obviously offers a lot of parallels to Sam and Dean’s childhood experiences. I like the episode well enough, but since I find it really difficult to warm up to the guest characters – and they are clearly the main focus of the episode – my enjoyment of the episode is somewhat limited. Moreover, some of the finer points in Sam and Dean’s characterisation bother me, at least to some extent. Overall, I am more or less indifferent to Freaks and Geeks; it does not stand out, but it is not a horrible episode either.

Hunting is not all about killing and revenge. )
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Goodbye Stranger is a typical Robbie Thompson episode, i.e. it is well-structured, has great pacing and impresses with snappy dialogue and meaningful character moments. And given that it revolves entirely around angels and demons, which usually bores me out of my mind, it is surprisingly entertaining. So, on the whole, it is a good, solid episode. However, some of the parallels in Goodbye Stranger bothered me to such a degree, that it profoundly impacted my appreciation of the episode. As a result, I am a little more biased than usual in this review. Sorry for that!

I can carry you. )
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The mini-hiatus is over and so is my break from review-writing. In case any of you needs a reminder of the pre-hiatus events, here is my belated review for the last episode. Enjoy!

It seems that the show is back on track. Daniel Loflin’s Remember The Titans may be a pretty standard monster-of-the-week episode, but overall I still enjoyed it a lot, mainly because Sam and Dean’s interaction is delightful throughout and there are some great emotional character beats for them. I also really liked the majority of the one-off characters, so their story managed to keep my interest just fine on their own, and the somewhat light-hearted touch did not hurt the episode either. So, while Remember The Titans is not an outstanding episode by any means, it is nonetheless a very solid offering for the current season.

You think any of them chose death? No. The life chose for them. )
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Given Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming’s rather uneven track record for Supernatural, I went into Man’s Best Friend with Benefits with very low expectations, and unfortunately the episode did nothing to improve my opinion of the writers. Awkward may be the term that best describes this episode; from the unfortunate implications that come with the animal familiar/human witch storyline, to the cringe-worthy frat boy humour, to parts of the characterisation, the episode commits quite a few blunders. Still, I did not hate the episode. Mainly I was bored, actually, and if it was not for the few, somewhat meaningful Sam and Dean scenes, it would have been an entirely forgettable episode.

The only way we made it through it all is by hanging together. )

I am sorry this review is so short, but my sisters were staying with me last week, so I had no time to write up more extensive thoughts on this episode. I figured that, rather than writing no review at all, it would be best to just focus on the main issue between the brothers and skip the rest. I may come back to it later and expand on some points, though.
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Trial and Error by Andrew Dabb continues the latest string of 'old-school' Supernatural episodes, which further reinforces the impression that the writers deliberately turned the season around, because they realised their narrative in the first half of the season was not working all that well. Now, as was to be expected after a run of mostly standalone episodes, Trial and Error returns to the demon tablet storyline, but it does so in a surprisingly interesting manner. Granted, the case-of-the-week is handled rather clumsily – the pacing is off and most of the one-off characters are incredibly grating – but the episode makes up for those flaws by giving us some truly touching moments between Sam and Dean. Overall, I am really happy with the way things are going at the moment. Keep it up, writers!

Fighting evil is a marathon, not a sprint. )
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I daresay that Ben Edlund’s Everybody Hates Hitler is my new favourite episode of the season; maybe it even constitutes as a new Supernatural classic, as it seems to herald a new era for Sam and Dean and maybe even for the hunters’ community at large, but I guess that depends on how the writers will continue from here on out. The episode mainly builds on the new mythology that was introduced in As Time Goes By and gives Sam and Dean an opportunity to acquaint themselves with their paternal heritage. Moreover, it gives us a highly enjoyable interaction between the brothers, an interesting monster-of-the-week case and two extremely likeable new characters, which I would love to see become recurring characters on the show. Overall, Everybody Hates Hitler leaves me deeply satisfied and happy, which I did not think was possible given how frustrated I was with the first half of the season.

Knowledge is power. )
galathea: (winchesters)
Well, I enjoyed that. Granted, not nearly as much as the previous episode, but, unlike many other episodes this season, rewatching Adam Glass’ As Time Goes By for reviewing purposes did not feel like a hardship. The episode not only expands the mythology, but also the Winchester family history, and I think it does both reasonably well, especially considering how complex the mythology has become at this point in the show. Surprisingly enough, it is the mythology aspect of the episode that I find particularly intriguing, and that is certainly a first this season. Still, I do have a couple of problems with Sam and Dean’s characterisation – mostly because of continuity issues, which really seems to be the main problem of S8 – and that is the reason why As Time Goes By is 'only' a good episode in my book, rather than an outstanding one. But the fact that we had two enjoyable episodes in a row now gives me some hope that this season may have turned a corner.

You’re Winchesters. As long as we’re alive, there’s always hope. )
galathea: (scenery clap your hands)
Okay, that was fun! LARP and The Real Girl is the first episode this season that I enjoyed from start to finish and that felt like the Supernatural I know and love. Just like other Robbie Thompson episodes, LARP and The Real Girl impresses with a great balance between action, humour and drama and, most importantly, with a natural characterisation for Sam and Dean. The episode not only deals with the aftermath of Sam and Dean’s decisions from last episode and allows them to reconnect with each other, but also returns a beloved character from the brothers’ past to the screen. ♥ I just hope this episode is indicative for the direction S8 will take from here on out.

Having fun won’t help me. It’ll help both of us. )
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Torn and Frayed, Jenny Klein’s first solo scrip for the show, not only brings the brothers’ ongoing conflict to a (temporary and uneasy) conclusion, but also seems to mark the end of Sam’s storyline with Amelia, at least for the time being. Additionally, the episode advances the mytharc by looking into Crowley and Naomi’s activities, and as was to be expected, they are up to no good. Overall, the episode suffers from the same problems as most other episodes this season, so I do not feel particularly enthusiastic about it, and I guess my review reflects that lack of enthusiasm. Sorry.

I’m just tired of all the fighting. )

So, here’s the thing, folks: Over the course of the past ten episodes, watching (and reviewing) Supernatural has become somewhat of a chore, and I often find myself putting it off, because I don’t want to spend my weekend miserable and in rant-mode. At the moment, I hardly recognise the characters I loved so unconditionally these past seven years, and if S8 does not improve quickly, I may have to let the show go, if only to preserve my love for Sam and Dean before this season is able to annihilate it. So, I will see how it goes the next couple of episodes, but it is possible that, at some point, I will not continue to review this season. Let’s hope it doesn’t get that far, but I thought you should know, just in case my reviews suddenly stop coming.
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Citizen Fang by Daniel Loflin – I guess it was his turn after Andrew Dabb’s solo effort last week – basically picks up where Southern Comfort left off and escalates the brothers’ conflict concerning Benny. At the same time, the episode continues Sam and Amelia’s storyline and returns an old acquaintance of the brothers to the screen. I was somewhat spoiled for this episode, and I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to it – I am just so, so tired of conflict – but ultimately I do not hate it quite as much as I thought I would. I do not particularly love it either, but what else is new. I feel that this kind of indifferent reaction has been my main response to most episodes this season, and that is something I never thought I would say about Supernatural.

Sometimes it's not easy to see things for what they are. )
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Hunteri Heroici is Andrew Dabb’s first solo script for Supernatural. He usually collaborates with Daniel Loflin, his long-time writing partner, and I find it curious that they suspended their teamwork for this episode. Interestingly enough, I don’t think there are noticeable stylistic differences between Dabb’s work here and the scripts he wrote together with Loflin; maybe in their years as a writing team their individual styles amalgamated into one. Anyway, Hunteri Heroici is a mostly standalone episode that looks into the theme of escapism versus realism and how it pertains to Sam and Castiel’s stories in the past and present. Unfortunately, the episode also works with a rather wacky premise, and I think the resulting tonal shifts are somewhat detrimental to the overall effectiveness of the episode. Still, I liked the episode well enough. It is not terrible, but also not outstanding - so, basically, like most of the episodes this season.

Eventually, whatever it is you’re running from, it’ll find you. )
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A Little Slice Of Kevin by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming mainly revolves around the mystery of what exactly happened between Dean and Castiel in purgatory, but it also explores Kevin and Linda’s difficult situation as refugees and Crowley’s contingency plans to decipher the content of the demon tablet. As is apparent from this short overview, the episode is rather busy with various plot-strands and characters – too busy for my liking, actually – and as such it has precious little Sam-and-Dean time, which is always a minus in my book. Overall, there are parts of the episode that I enjoyed, parts that left me indifferent and parts that annoyed me, so it is not exactly a winner, but also not the worst episode the show has ever delivered.

If you let it, this is going to keep messing with you. )

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Southern Comfort by Adam Glass delves right into the heart of the current conflict between Sam and Dean – and it is not pretty, to say the least. Southern Comfort is one of those episodes that I love for its intense focus on the brotherly relationship – which is especially appreciated since the last two episodes had little to offer in terms of interaction between Sam and Dean – even though I find it incredibly hard to watch because of its painful content. Luckily, the appearance of Garth brings some levity into the episode, so it is not quite as bleak as it could be, and I am grateful for that. I just hope that the writers are going to build on the exploration of the brothers’ issues in this episode instead of directing their attention elsewhere for another extended period of time.

It just seems like you and Dean are talking, but nobody's listening to each other. )

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Robbie Thompson was, hands down, my favourite writer in S7 – every single one of his episodes were instant Supernatural classics for me – so, naturally, I was eagerly awaiting his first episode of S8. Unfortunately, Bitten proves to be the first interruption of his winning streak for me. Now, from a purely technical/narrative point of view, the episode is done really well. As usual, Thompson is exceptionally good at paying homage to his chosen genre – the 'found footage' genre in this case – and at playing with different visual styles. However, I think Bitten is the wrong episode at the wrong time, because it kills the momentum the season gained just last episode. I think I would have enjoyed the episode a lot more, had it come at a different point in the season.

Hey Sam, do I really say awesome a lot? )

To give you the heads up, it is quite possible that I will not be able to draft a review for the next episode. My sisters will arrive for an extended visit tomorrow and I will have little time to watch the new episode, let alone write a couple of thousand words of meta. So, I will probably have to postpone the review till the winter hiatus and just post a quick episode reaction instead.

galathea: (Default)

I will be the first one to admit that Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming do not exactly have a good track record with their scripts for Supernatural. I mean, episodes like Route 666 or What’s Up, Dr. Phil are not exactly in Supernatural’s hall of fame. So I went into Heartache with very low expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. I daresay that Heartache is the first episode this season that managed to truly engage me, emotionally, and that is most certainly owed to the fact that it takes a step back from the mytharc and focuses entirely on the exploration of Sam and Dean’s current issues. Character driven episodes just appeal so much more to me than plot driven ones, and obviously Heartache is no exception to that rule.

I don’t know about you, but this last year has given me a new perspective. )

galathea: (Default)

Going into one of Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin’s episodes for Supernatural always feels like a game of chance to me. On the one hand, they have written some great episodes, with layered characters and truly enjoyable humour, but on the other hand they have also delivered some of the worst episodes of the show, with characters that feel incredibly flat and a humour that borders on the tasteless. I think their script for What's Up, Tiger Mommy falls somewhere in the middle of those two categories. It is not horrible, but it is also not exactly a riveting and/or particularly insightful episode. I am sad to say that, so far, S8 fails to truly engage me, emotionally. There are plenty of good moments, but as a whole, I find it somewhat lacking for a start into a new season.

You hid the word of god in a diaper bag? )

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I guess it is fair to say that I have been dreading the S8 premiere more than any other Supernatural premiere before. The spoilers I have read over the summer lowered my expectations so drastically that I almost felt like not watching the season at all, and that is saying something. In the end, Jeremy Carver’s We Need To Talk About Kevin is not the train wreck I expected it to be, but it is not exactly an outstanding piece of writing either. All in all, the episode does its job as a season opener reasonably well, i.e. it establishes the main storylines, the character arcs and the season’s main mythology, and despite my misgivings, I enjoyed seeing my favourite brothers on TV again.

I don’t know whether to give you a hug or take a shower! )

December 2013

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