Supernatural S7E3 review
|REVIEWS - TV|
A trip down memory brain...
"The Girl Next Door"
From the great highs of Bobby's return, to the staggering low of Dean's deception, last nights episode was certainly full of emotion. As Sera Gamble promised, the boys relationship is really being tested within season seven; moulded around the premise of 1969 classic, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid...but let's work through each emotion at a time.
With a peculiar but immediately pleasing opener, episode three burst into full effect. Emerging from his morphine-induced coma, Dean soon realises that both himself and Sam have been transferred to Sioux Falls for treatment, everyone's favourite, Leviathan controlled medical institute. But things soon pick up when Bobby arrives on the scene, dressed in his FBI best and telling Dean to stop his whinging and hobble his ass out of there (I just love their relationship...don't you?). However, there was something suspicious about Bobby's behaviour; the sweet, 'it'll be alright' pat on the cheek to Dean seemed out of context for Mr Singer. While brushed aside, it will certainly render in the Supernatural unconscious, and one has to wonder whether it's an indication of things to come...
So, while Dean makes his way to the ambulance bay, Bobby goes after Sam - who'd been taken for an MRI scan after his 'head trauma'. It might just be me, but that's one head you don't want to examine! So, in typical Supernatural fashion, Sam, Dean and Bobby make it out just in time, managing to avoid any awkward hospital questions and their Leviathan foe.
Now, with Bobby's iconic home torched to the ground, the three sought refuge in Rufus' old safe-house, located in mountainous terrains of Whitefish, Montana. Surprisingly, Sam seems to have made an astonishing recovery; in our three week flash forward, his posture seems imperturbably relaxed, reading quietly while Dean, leg in cast, remains engrossed in a tele-novella. For the 666th time, Dean asks Sam "how he's doing"...seriously now, what does he expect him to say? His mind is being hell-humped by Satan-esque hallucinations, and his ability to decipher the real world from this imagined reality is a constant battle - but yeah, he's fine Dean.
Obviously perturbed, Dean sends Sam on a food run, eager to question father figure Bobby about Sam's behaviour. As soon as the door closes, Dean's permanent pessimism rears its ugly head, questioning Sam's answers and current mental state, but yet again Mr. Singer throws a curve-ball. Uncharacteristically perky, Bobby's assessment is somewhat distant to his usual prognosis; his grouchy, irate vigour (one which is as Supernatural as the Winchester's) seems to have been replaced by one of a calm, understanding nature...and that stinks of uncertainty. Could it be that the Leviathan's got to Bobby before he got to the Winchester's, deciding to use him as a sleeper agent rather than a meal? For the Winchester's sake, I hope not.
Nevertheless, back to Sam. Remember that seemingly simple trip to the shops? Well, this is Supernatural...nothings ever simple, or straight forward. Not only does his card trigger a location match from a computer savvy Leviathan member, but that days paper soon sends Sam on a flashback journey. Long story short, Sam knows more than he should about this apparent 'ice-pick murderer'.13 years ago, while assisting his father and Dean (who were out hunting) with supernatural Intel, a teenage Sam fell for the very creature his family were hunting; consider it a 21st century take on the Romeo and Juliet affair...if Juliet fed on the pituitary glands of the brain.
The rest of the episode focuses intently on Sam, switching between current and past events almost seamlessly, and it's a real joy to watch. Choosing to pursue his crush alone - or Kitsune, if we're discussing her race - Sam begins his investigation, first to establish whether the attacks are related, and then to map said attacks with the hope of identifying the next target.
Problem is, Dean's awake, and boy is he pissed. Not only has Sam disappeared with minor details - "Back in a few days. I'm fine" to be exact - but he's stolen his Impala. Furthermore, Sam's ignoring all contact from both himself and Bobby, so Dean decides to take matters into his own hands. Armed with his fake credentials, Dean traces Sam's steps with such ferocity that Scooby Doo himself would be impressed.
Anyhow, Sam soon catches up with his Kitsune - or Amy, as he knows her - and is forced to choose between what he knows and what he wants. You see, Amy has a son now, and she's hunting for him. Working as a mortician has prevented her from killing in recent years, feasting instead on the already deceased, but a recent illness to her child has prompted this pursuit of live pray. And so Sam has a decision to make - should he kill her, regardless of her reasons, or does he spare the life of the being that killed her own mother so as to save young Sam? Decisions, decisions, decisions...
Ultimately, Sam spares her life and all is well...that is, until he sees Dean. Greeting his baby brother with a right hook to the face, Dean informs Sam that there's a new rule "You steal my baby (aka the Impala), you get punched.” - another fine example of Dean Winchester over-reacting. From there, Sam tries valiantly to get Dean to understand why he left and why he let Amy escape; and it looks, for a moment at least, like he'd succeeded. Just look at the dialogue for a moment:
Sam: "Nothing in our lives is simple Dean...I might be a freak, but I'm not dangerous. I've spent a lot of my life trying to be normal; but come on, I'm not normal. Look at me now - I'm a grade A freak. But I'm trying to handle it; so is Amy..."
Dean: "Is she?"
Sam: "She's working in a damn morticians so she doesn't have to kill again"
Dean: "OK...well explain the body's"
Sam: "Her son was dying Dean; we'd have done the exact same in her position. Look, you don't trust her...fine...but trust me" - and there it is. Sam's wholesome plea to both his brother and the hunter to trust and stand by his decision; and Dean agrees. Yet, just as Bobby's unusual behaviour had sparked suggestions of Leviathan possession, Dean's "OK" seemed to be laced with lies; his facial expressions giving away more than his softly spoken words ever could.
Unfortunately, Dean's next actions confirmed these worries. Just as the Winchester's had looked to rebuild much of the trust lost from their relationship, Dean's dedication to both the cause and his father prevails once again. In secret, Dean corners Amy in a motel and kills her, only for her son to walk in and witness the act. After promising to kill Dean for his actions, both go their separate ways and the episode fizzles out with a Leviathan keen in pursuit of the trio.
And so ends yet another encapsulating episode of Supernatural. Jensen Ackles has done an incredible job of directing the episode, and he's certainly given us a lot to think about. Toying with our emotions, the Winchester's relationship looks as compromised as ever, and yet there are aspects of improvement.
Bobby's unusual behaviour may simply have been as a result of Ackles' directing - in an attempt to establish further emotion within the episode - or it may be the start of a far greater storyline. But again, isn't this what we love about Supernatural; its ability to take us down one road, only for it to then slam on the breaks and take us a full 180 degrees in the other direction?
"The Girl Next Door" had everything a good episode needs - passion, excitement, suspense - but its real achievement is how it has opened up the series on the whole. Gamble has said from the very start that this season will focus more intently on the brothers relationship, but having to deal with the Leviathan outbreak has somewhat prevented this. However, TGND managed to address the true nature of this relationship whilst highlighting a number of key issues that are sure to evolve as the series progresses. Just as the brothers seemed to be welcoming trust back into their partnership, the bond is severed and everything is, once again, uncertain.
However, one thing is certain - we are in for one hell of a ride...
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