Supernatural: And Then There Were None
So, first off, confession: as a loyal viewer I love watching almost every episode of Supernatural. The banter, the demons, the emotional relationships, any scene with Dean — I enjoy every minute of it. It just makes me happy to watch.
That said, in trying to write this review, I quickly realized that this was a very weak addition to the Supernatural universe. The reason is simple — it’s a borrowed concept that served as an easy way to eliminate a swath of people. People who could have added to the complexity of the show.
What I liked:
–The banter between Bobby and Rufus. There was a momentary sense that the show had assembled a dysfunctional A-Team to fight the upcoming battle. Also, of course, there was the implied parallel between the Sam/Dean and Bobby/Rufus relationship — as if Bobby and Rufus were a version of the boys that could one day come to pass.
–That the Mother of All can create new monsters. This is a fantastic opportunity for the Supernatural writers to break from established lore and create an entirely new canon of creatures specific to the Supernatural universe.
–Dean’s clean slate moment at the close of the episode. Sure, it’s a facile way to address all of the underlying tension and problems caused by Soulless Sam. Yet, quite frankly, sometimes Supernatural drags those things out because they don’t know how to reach a satisfying emotional resolution. Therefore, if this is the means to get that all settled so that they can start fighting as a more cohesive team, so be it. Plus it was Dean’s way of ensuring that he and Sam won’t turn out like Bobby and Rufus, with one of them standing over the other’s grave with regrets about what was not said.
What I didn’t like: Pretty much everything else.
–The creature: Here Supernatural has the chance to break away from the norm and instead borrows something straight from an episode of The X-Files called “Ice.” Similar scenario — group locked in a facility where “arctic worms” that were released from core samples of the Earth infect people, making them go crazy and kill each other, no one knows who is infected, they all turn on each other, almost everyone dies, and while worms are not demon slugs, they’re pretty damn close. The show also borrowed from itself. The paranoia, group trapped together, almost impossible to tell who is infected — it’s just like season two’s episode “Croatoan,” which was written by John Shiban, who began his career as a writer for The X-Files.
–When the A-Team walked into the factory I thought “all they need now is a female character to give even a smidgen of balance.” Lo and behold, they open the doors and there’s Gwen. And within five or ten minutes she’s dead. I know it’s almost a running joke at this point how the show treats female characters, but Gwen had a lot of potential. Plus, once again, our only female character remaining is evil.
–It really did feel like a lazy way to get rid of characters and plot ends. Hint at a complicated past between Bobby and Rufus, but why develop that when we can kill him. Grandpa Samuel, kill him too. Basically get rid of everyone but our three main characters. It just felt weak.
–The transition between the boys worrying about Bobby being dead and the cemetery scene felt juvenile. It was obvious that it wasn’t Bobby. It just didn’t feel like a Supernatural moment. It felt like something out of a soap opera or a much weaker and poorly written CW show.
I don’t have a lot of patience with lazy writing, and this episode just felt like it was full of cheap tricks and story plagiarism. I can’t fault the acting — everyone was great, as you would expect from that team — but I think the writing team needed a serious hand to bring them in line. And I hate it when a show just kills people off to kill people off. Make the death mean something. At least Ellen and Jo died in one of the battles to fight the oncoming apocalypse — fighting against one of The Four Horsemen — that’s epic. Dying because of a demonic slug, simply to clear up loose ends, that’s just lame.