Supernatural–Mannequin 3: Reckoning
It would seem that all of my posts of late have been apologies for being so far behind. This one is no different. Unfortunately my day gig has been so busy that all of my moonlighting has been put on hold. In fact, I’ve been home so infrequently that I have yet to see the last two episodes of Supernatural. My goal is to enjoy them this week.
That leaves me with a recent viewing of “Mannequin 3: Reckoning.”
The title alone left me with the impression that we were in for a funny episode, along the lines of a typical Ben Edlund outing. But that’s not what this episode was at all. It actually was the style of episode I yearned for in my last review — one that explores or furthers a bit of lore, while at the same time allowing for some kind of emotional growth or epiphany for the boys. In fact, the episode was so straight-forward, that this might be my shortest review yet.
Instead of glossing over Sam’s collapse in the episode prior, “Reckoning” picks up right where we left off. It would seem that Sam has had a mini-break in his memory wall, but after a seizure and intense flashes of hell, he wakes up, apparently no worse off than before. For now. Because it’s only taken one episode for Sam’s wall to be breached, so this does not bode well for the future.
This week’s case involves a janitor that is murdered by an anatomy mannequin in a science lab. Another man is murdered in a factory and Sam twigs to the fact that there is something very wrong with our inanimate friends. I have to confess, I found this case fairly boring, apart from the creepy mannequins coming to life.
Sam discovers that a group of men who work (worked) at that factory had decided to play a cruel joke on the factory’s plain Jane, pretending that she had a secret admirer, luring her to a dodgy apartment, and dressing up a mannequin so that she would think there was someone waiting for her at the dinner table. Then the men appeared from the room where they had been hiding, taunted her, and as she turned to run out she fell and cracked her head open on the table. Because they are stupid, stupid men, they decided not to call the police.
Sam has to solve this case mostly on his own, for reasons I’ll discuss in a moment, and as regards this case it felt just like the Sam from earlier seasons was back. He put all the clues together, figured out what happened, and used traditional methods to try and stop the ghost from killing the remaining men. We even get the standard scene of bone burning. But, surprisingly, that didn’t work. In a fairly interesting twist, the young woman had given her kidney to her sister when they were children, so she cannot be stopped as long as her sister still has her kidney. This raises an intriguing question — what do you do in this situation? When you have an innocent in the crossfire? You can’t take her kidney away and leave her to die. I eagerly awaited the boys’ discussion, trying myself to brainstorm ways in which they could circumvent the ghost.
The result was disappointing. Rather than address a tricky question — perhaps even forcing the boys to decide that they had to leave things as they were while the ghost completed her vengeance mission — we got a deus ex machina ending, with the glorious, and momentarily possessed, Impala crashing into a storefront, which then sent a piece of glass hurtling through the air and hitting the sister in the region of her kidney, killing her almost instantly. The ghost appears, apologizes to her sister, and with the sister’s dying breath, burns up to wreak chaos no more. Meh.
I’ve been pondering whether there was some deeper message about the ramifications on one sibling when the other seeks vengeance, wondering whether that is, in some way, related to the boys. But I feel like I’m trying to find something that wasn’t intended, which makes me think I should just accept a weak ending as a weak ending.
The one part that I did enjoy, though it might not have piqued the interest of others, was the side story with Ben and Lisa. Dean ignores a series of phone calls from Lisa, finally answering when pushed by Sam. Turns out, it’s not Lisa, but Ben who is calling. He immediately gets Dean’s attention with his panicked voice and claims about Lisa being so sick she won’t open her door or get out of bed. Dean leaves Sam on his own to investigate the case and rushes to the house, though it is rather far away so there’s a lot of driving sequences.
Okay, so why did I find this interesting? Well, because it’s Supernatural, I immediately thought that there was something evil in the house. Something that was infecting or possessing Lisa, most likely as a means to get to Dean. I thought that perhaps this would be the thing that brought them all back together, that Dean’s life with them had exposed them to danger and they would have to unify.
But then Dean shows up at the house and Lisa is fine. More than fine. Happy and looking beautiful, ready to go out on a date with her new guy. And there’s the rub; there was *nothing* supernatural going on, just a young boy who sees Dean as a father figure and wants him back in their lives. It was so. . .normal. In fact, it’s probably the most normal situation Dean has ever had to deal with. The problem is that he can’t deal with it in a traditional way. You can see how much he wants to be a part of their lives, but he and Lisa have that final epiphany that as long as Dean is a hunter, that can’t happen. The life considerations that he has to take into account will never be those of the 9-5 boyfriend/dad. But in what scenario can Dean not be a hunter? It’s his life — his passion — whether he wants that or not. Hunting is woven into every fiber of his being and happiness with a family, no matter how much he yearns for it, isn’t going to happen right now.
Just the other day I was having a conversation with my nephew about what someone would choose if they could either change the world or have true love. You choose changing the world. No doubt. Even though I know there are others who would say true love. And I think this applies to Dean’s situation — and it’s something they addressed in season two’s “What Is and What Shall Never Be” — my default episode because it tells us so much about Dean. He had his “It’s A Wonderful Life” moment — he got to see how many people would have died if he had never become a hunter. He even struggled with it then, railing against a world that will not allow a bit of peace and happiness to coexist with hunting. But knowing how many people he has saved almost makes his choice bearable. Difficult, but bearable. Maybe there will come a time for Dean when he is no longer capable of being a hunter — and maybe in that moment he can find love and family. I think if there had been no season six, then that’s probably how it would have ended for him. But for now, he chooses changing the world, and saving his brother, over Ben and Lisa.
Of course, there is an irony in planting that choice in an episode where an innocent woman dies so that two worthless men can live.
Now I’m going to go home and watch the completely post-modern, meta, episode of Supernatural that I’ve been eagerly waiting for.