A lot has happened to our merry band of heroes since we first took a look at season seven’s premiere episode. Now, before you all settle down to watch the show tonight, let’s take a look at how our boys have fared so far.
For the sake of moving quickly and efficiently through this midseason review, I’m going to save some episodes (“The Girl Next Door”, “Defending Your Life”, “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!”, and “Death’s Door”) for the end of the review, mostly because there is either some controversy surrounding these episodes that I feel the need to address or because I just have some particular gripe with them.
And now for the review:
Hello Cruel World: I’m going to be honest. When going back over the various episodes of season seven, I completely forgot about this one. Which seems odd since it sets up all the successive episodes. Cas takes a dive in a lake, allowing the Leviathans to start possessing people. We see that the Leviathans’ first priority is to a) learn more about the world through their hosts, and b) eat! Preferably humans. Gross!
Meanwhile Dean is pretending to be okay, while Sam is having a hard time figuring out what’s real due to seeing Lucifer all the time, and Bobby is being the best dad ever, worrying about his boys.
Yeah, I love Bobby!
As I said earlier, this episode mostly sets up for later ones. We are reintroduced to Sheriff Mills and we get see how the Leviathans work and function. Sadly, Bobby’s house has been burned down, Sam nearly shoots everyone, and we have a brief scare where we think Bobby is dead but he turns out to be fine.
This episode was okay. Not exceedingly memorable. Only three things really stand out: Cas’s swan dive, which has become iconic in the fandom now, Dean’s voice mail to Bobby showing the complete emotional instability that Dean is experiencing, and finally and my favorite, Lucifer. In a very dark episode, Mark Pellegrino made me laugh at Lucifer’s equally dark humor.
My only criticism would be that after one episode, the ‘Sam sees Lucifer’ thing is pretty much dealt with. Despite everything Sam supposedly went through in hell, he seems to have gotten off pretty easy. Yes, it is referenced a lot throughout the series that Sam has Satan Vision 24/7, but we never see Pellegrino again nor do we see Sam really having trouble with this. The attitude seems to be that he pretty much has this problem under control. Dean spends all of season four recovering from hell. Sam spends time with Lucifer and he has it under control? Yeah, I’m not buying this one, writers.
Shut Up, Dr. Phil: Perfect! I have no complaints about this episode. James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter were golden throughout the whole episode! Sam and Dean trying to council the insane couple at the end was absolute win! Perfect! Perfect! Perfect!
Oh, and there is some plot-related things about a Leviathan hunting Sam and Dean that James Marsters’s character temporarily incapacitates for them. For the most part, not much plot is in this episode, but an awesome bit of filler and seeing Buffy alumni is always a plus in any TV show.
Two thumbs way up!
Slash Fiction: Let me say this—Curse you, Supernatural writers, for deceiving us about the nature of this episode!!! Grrrrr!!!
Okay, now that any slash fan complaints are out of the way… this episode was interesting but did repeat some things we have seen before. The whole ‘Sam and
Dean are wanted by the law again’ thing. (RIP Hendrickson! I miss you!!) I mean, haven’t we seen this already, like a lot?!
Honestly though, with this new twist that it was actually the Leviathan versions of Dean and Sam drawing attention to the brothers, that they had to go so deep undercover that their usual standbys (such as Sam’s computer, the rock IDs, and even the Impala! *gasp*) were taken from them, could have been really interesting and awesome… if the writers committed to it.
But Leviathan Sam and Dean are killed at the end and once again the real Sam’s and Dean’s deaths are faked, making you wonder what this hunted by the law and changing their old habitats was really for! Despite getting rid of their old IDs and the Impala, the boys are still caught almost immediately, and everything still works out right away at the end. If it wasn’t for the scenes with Bobby, this episode, while amusing, would have been redundant.
Bobby’s plot line does finally tell us how to kill the Leviathans though. It’s with cleaning supplies.
I know this twist caused some fans to scoff, but personally I liked it. It reminded me a great deal of the season two episode of Buffy called “Innocence”. The villain, an ancient demon who proudly states that “no weapon forged can kill [him],” so of course he is defeated by modern weaponry. It makes sense that only something more modern would kill the previously ancient and unkillable Leviathans.
Some people object to Sheriff Mills discovering the Leviathans’ weakness when cleaning up for Bobby, stating that it was a poor and sexist use of a good character. I can see what fans are saying, but at the same time I don’t feel like that’s anything too bad. I will be disappointed if this is the last we see of Sheriff Mills. If she fulfills her cleaning purposes and then conveniently disappears, I’ll have to agree with them on this but until then… well, I guess it’s better than the violent death that most Supernatural women get… *sigh*
We also meet the leader of the Leviathans in this episode, a politician named Dick Roman. We’ll see him more later.
Best moments in this episode: Dean singing, Leviathan Sam and Dean analyzing the brothers, Crowley bringing muffins to Dick Roman, and of course, the kiss between Bobby and Sheriff Mills.
The Mentalists: Sam and Dean have split (again) after Sam learns about what Dean did in the episode “The Girl Next Door” (more on that later). The boys meet again on the same case in Lily Dale, the most psychic town in America. They fight a bad guy having a creepy affair with a ghost—seriously, it’s very creepy—and the boys make up by the end of the episode… because apparently Sam is very forgiving and the world is very black and white for hunters (more on this later too).
The episode has its problems, but those will come up more when we talk about episode four, “Defending Your Life”.
Overall, the psychics were amusing, but probably the most memorable thing for me in this episode was Dean’s issues being brought to the forefront (kind of) when Ellen (God, I miss you!) speaks to Dean through a psychic.
Dean’s emotional turmoil is reaching a fever pitch this season, but if you didn’t know before, this episode really spells it out for you. Dean is not okay, and it’s just getting worse as the season continues.
How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters: To me, this episode is way less fun than the title makes it sound. The episode starts as a simple hunt for the Jersey Devil, but it’s then discovered that the Leviathans are testing a drug on humans to make them good and complacent food for them. The only problem is, about one percent of humans became violent and start killing people. God! Someone rent the Leviathans Serenity. This is like classic sci-fi mistake 101.
This episode introduces us more to Dick Roman, and can I just say, I’m very underwhelmed by this character. When we were introduced to the Leviathans in episode one still possessing Castiel they seemed much more fun. They seemed crazy, intelligent, and funny, as well as scary. Where did that go? Aside from Leviathan Sam and Dean, I don’t think I’ve seen one that has that same insane quirkiness that was reflected in that first episode. I’m not saying that the Leviathans are bad as they’re portrayed now, but the first episode promised me something that hasn’t been delivered yet.
I will admit, the Leviathans being ordered to eat themselves by Dick when they screw up may be the scariest thing ever on Supernatural (other than Lilith, that girl was terrifying).
The episode ends with Bobby being shot in the head by Dick Roman. Which come on, Dick, being fascinated with humans, making weapons like guns I understand, but why would he use that more than, oh I don’t know, his massive teeth, super strength, etc? It just seems like a fancy excuse not to add more stunts or effects to me… just saying.
Now to talk about the more controversial episodes, “The Girl Next Door”, “Defending Your Life”, “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!”, and “Death’s Door”.
“The Girl Next Door”, “Defending Your Life”, and “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!” all have a similar problem—women.
The Girl Next Door: This episode introduces us to Amy Pond, an old childhood crush, and a kitsune, a monster that feeds on brains. On a side note, Madame Ace would like me to inform all of you that kitsune are actually Japanese fox demons and do not eat brains. We looked it up on Wikipedia. What did you do Supernatural writers? Anyway, Jewel Staite—who is very famous, at least in geek circles—plays Amy Pond, and her involvement in this season was really played up at SDCC. But she dies. At the end of the episode.
Amy is a good monster, only eating the brains of dead things, but when her son gets sick he needs fresh meat, so she starts killing people for her son. Sam tracks her down, she explains her situation, Sam sympathizes and lets her go. Well, Dean finds out and kills her. Why, because she’s a monster and killed people.
A lot of people get uppity because they say that Dean killing Amy is out of character. I disagree. Dean sees a lot of the world in very black and white terms. Furthermore, he is worried about Sam’s wall being broken and is nervously waiting for Sam to break down. I see him killing Amy as a way to take back control of a life that is slipping out of his grasp. He rationalizes it and tries to justify it, but in the end he knows he did something wrong and feels guilty about it.
So Dean’s characterization doesn’t piss me off. It’s Amy’s death that bothers me. At SDCC it came off, to me, as if Jewel Staite’s character was going to be a new recurring female character, as the show has been criticized for its lack of diversity, but Amy dies after one episode.
Imagine this, Amy lives, and becomes a recurring character. This allows the writers to address how the monsters can be good, which has come up before in Supernatural, but has never been something that the show fully explored. This juxtaposed with the very dangerous Leviathans could be very insightful, showing good and evil monsters overcoming primal animal instinct and/or submitting to it. On a much more human level you would also have issues such as Amy being a single mother, and having a connection (and potential relationship) with Sam, which would further force Dean to face his own protectiveness over his brother and trust issues with people.
(Lady Saika says: And and and! On top of all that, Doctor Who had an Amy Pond first!! Seriously, why would they use a name so well-known from a show that’s basically the same genre as Supernatural? It just blows my mind.)
Defending Your Life: The Egyptian god Osiris puts guilty people on trial, their own guilt is what condemns them in the end and allows Osiris to punish them… yeah, he kills them.
So who do we know that constantly feels guilty and blames himself for everything and recently killed someone against his brother’s wishes? If you answered Dean Winchester, well then, gold star for you! Dean gets put on trial, Sam defends him, and Jo shows up…
Jo’s return was also herald at SDCC. Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I heard that Jo was coming back I assumed she would be resurrected much like Dean, Sam, Bobby, Castiel, or even Samuel. Nope, she is just a ghost. Bringing Jo back as a ghost for one episode is not Jo coming back, writers. *grumbles*
I said we’d talk more about the episodes “The Mentalist” and “The Girl Next Door” later. Well, it’s now later. The witness that condemns Dean in “Defending Your Life” is never actually called to the stand. Yep, it’s Amy. He feels so guilty about what he did that Osiris doesn’t even need to call her to the stand. But later in “The Mentalists”, Dean tells Sam to get over being mad at him for killing Amy because he did the right thing, and by the end of the episode Sam agrees. What starts out as Dean feeling guilty for murdering a woman in order to make himself feel better is now transformed into a noble act. No, that’s not total bullshit at all!
Season Seven, Time for a Wedding: For the most part I liked this episode. It was funny, kind of, but once again the portrayal of the female characters is potentially problematic. Though this one was the least upsetting to me, that didn’t make me any less disappointed in Becky’s portrayal. Becky has always been the crazy fangirl, but she was also resourceful and helpful at times. Elevating Becky to the level of creepy stalker was just the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Sure, you can argue that Becky thought the potion would just bring forth any desires that Sam already had for her, but even in the world of fanfiction, this episode would at least get labeled dubious consent, especially when Becky realizes the potion is wearing off and doses Sam again.
There is also the issue that what’s happening to Sam is portrayed as funny. While Becky’s actions aren’t condoned, Sam being kidnapped and forced to love Becky is clearly shown as being something laughable. The episode is meant to be funny. This shows a dramatic double standard with men and women. A man being stalked and forced into a sexual (though it didn’t reach that level in the episode) situation is just as serious as when it happens to a woman and should be treated as such.
Overall, this episode ruined Becky’s character for me, which makes me all kinds of sad.
Finally we come to the mid season finale “Death’s Door”. For the sake of those of you who decided they didn’t care about spoilers and started reading this article, I’m going to say once more: MASSIVE, MASSIVE SPOILERS BELOW!!
Death’s Door: Bobby’s in the hospital and on death’s door, get it, ha! The entire episode shows Sam and Dean either trying to deal with or denying the possibility that Bobby might die, while Bobby desperately tries to navigate his worst memories in order to come back from his coma and tell Dean and Sam what he learned about the Leviathans. We gain a lot of insight into Bobby’s past, as well as his familial relationship with Sam and Dean. We get to see Rufus again, one of the few black characters on the show. Too bad he is a ghost/memory, which much like Jo’s return was a disappointment. And of course, Bobby dies at the end of this episode, leaving Sam and Dean alone.
Now it’s not made completely clear that Bobby actually dies. The episode leaves it open for interpretation or maybe it’s left open in case fan reaction to his death is so bad that they are forced to bring him back for the sake of the ratings, but I doubt that will happen.
While shocked that they actually killed Bobby, I do think that he is actually dead, and no, I don’t think he’ll be resurrected, but I don’t have a problem with his death. It was well done, giving the character the respect he deserved. Bobby went out in a dignified way and on his own terms, which if Bobby has to die it’s how I would want him to go.
My only problem with his death is… now this is pure speculation on my part, so don’t take it too seriously. Castiel “died” at the beginning of the season, but most people knew that he wasn’t really dead. I think most fans have realized that Sam, Dean, Castiel, and Bobby are never going to really die. So I have to wonder: was Bobby’s death used as a way to prove to us, the viewers, that they, the writers, would actually kill off some of their main characters. This tactic has been employed by TV shows before, and since now it has been revealed that Misha Collins is returning to the show (though we don’t know in what form yet), Bobby’s death could be viewed as a way to keep audiences on the edge of their collective seats with worry for their favorite characters.
So far the newest season has not been without its problems, but like always the Supernatural writers have put out good episodes that will keep us coming back for more. I know that I’ll be watching the newest episode tonight!
Though all this talk about the female and black characters this season made me think, there really is a lot of sexism, racism, and homophobia in Supernatural. Keep tuning in to Lady Geek Girl and Friends to read about the sexist, racist and homophobic issues in Supernatural.