Posts tagged Leviathans

Reading is Fundamental

Supernatural: Reading is Fundamental

“What is that?”

“It’s, uh, Kevin Tran. He’s, uh, in Advanced Placement.”

When we last left the Winchester boys they had performed their Ocean’s Eleven con and stolen Dick Roman’s block of mud. The episode, written and directed by Ben Edlund, wastes no time in exposing what was hidden in that mound of dirt – a tablet. But not just any tablet: a tablet so old that the writing is unknown to humans; so old that when striking a hammer against the rock to free the tablet the skies erupt with thunder and lightning.

 

“That sound like somebody saying ‘no, wait, stop’ to you?”

“Uh yeah. Yeah.”

“Yeah. . . Oh well.”

And with the breaking of the rock two things happen: a resistant prophet is created in the guise of high-school student Kevin Tran and Castiel awakens. Yes, Cas is back. Again. And he’s got some chemistry with Demon-Meg. Cas has evolved though. He’s more zen – he can track the flight of bees through a garden and into the world. He hates conflict. He just wants to see where the universe takes him, preferably with little threat to his well-being. Luckily he can explain to the Winchesters about the tablet.

“If someone was going to free the word from the vault of the earth, it would end up being you two. Oh I love you guys.”

This tablet isn’t just some engraved stone text hidden away in the blowing sands; this tablet is the word of God. Words that Dick Roman wants safe in his hands because they contain a method of stopping the Leviathans. However, angels can’t translate the tablet, only a prophet can — Kevin Tran. As he explains, it’s an “in case of emergency note.”

Yet the true significance of Castiel in this episode is not to help explain the tablet or highlight its history, but for the moments between Castiel and Dean that seem to point to a healing in their fractured relationship. From the outset, Dean is concerned that Castiel will be a mass of brain jelly, unable to vanquish the trauma from both his actions while being God and the splintering of Sam’s mind. In fact, Sam is the one who seems to recognize first that Castiel doesn’t seem to be broken; Dean looks hesitant.

This hesitation is explained when Dean and Castiel have their sit-down in the game room. . .over a game of Sorry! Dean wants the pre-God Castiel back. His desperation bleeds through in an emotional plea for Castiel to button up his coat and help him fight Leviathans. Castiel keeps apologizing, but Dean won’t accept it – he sees Castiel’s current behavior as almost a mocking of their plight. His airy declarations and detached observations leave Dean with more emptiness. Is Castiel really sorry or is he just playing a game? Dean’s pained refusal of Castiel’s apology points to the latter. Yet his interaction with Hester and Anais, angels who have come to take Kevin and the word of god to prophet training, denotes a Castiel who, while seeming rather simple, is actually an angel who is on a different plane of being than everyone and everything around him. This existence makes earthly concerns beyond him.

“You seem troubled. Of course that’s a primary aspect of your personality so I sometimes ignore it.”

"Pull my finger."

Castiel has a conversation with Sam too, who expresses his concern for Castiel’s sanity after he took on Sam’s fragmented mind. Sam acknowledges that if Castiel hadn’t taken on that burden Sam would have been done for – Lucifer had pushed his mind as far as it would go. And Castiel confirms what was long believed, that Lucifer was Sam’s manifestation – an avatar of Sam’s suffering – and that once the echoes of that figment of Sam’s terror had dissipated, Castiel was left with, as he says, everything. Like Sam, Castiel was also at the breaking point, unable to move past all of the blood on his hands, but by taking on Sam’s pain, it actually made him better. It’s a concept that, like Dean, Sam doesn’t understand. Both Winchesters want to “fix” Castiel, but that’s not an option. Castiel is satisfied with his current state – he doesn’t want to go back to the angel he once was, and it doesn’t even seem that it’s truly an option for him regardless. What role he will play in the next few episodes is unclear, but I can see this blissed-out Cas being a part of Bobby’s salvation.

“I’m surrounded by large unhappy dogs.”

Demon Meg is also a new part of the Winchester team. She’s chosen a side and doesn’t feel there is safety in being left alone. It’s not, for now, that bad of a deal. She sees that they are being followed by demons, sets up a secret meeting with them, and kills them. Whether it’s because she’s really on their team or simply has a soft spot for Castiel is unknown, though I do think she’s crushing on Cas. She proved that when she killed the angel Hester before Hester could kill Castiel.

Meg spits out one tasty morsel of information. In a scene where the Winchesters are trying to decide where her loyalties lie, she reveals that she’s on whatever team is most likely to bring down Crowley. Dean responds, “Crowley ain’t the problem this year.” Frustrated, Meg retorts, “When are you gonna get it, Crowley is always the problem. He’s just waiting for the right moment to strike.” Interesting. I’ll admit I haven’t given much thought to Crowley over the past six months, so his entrance back in the game, most likely when the Leviathan threat is at an end, is a tantalizing proposition, and could also make season eight an strong one.

“I don’t know. I think the line might panic when they turn this corner and see the blade assembly up ahead.”

The Leviathans weren’t front and center this episode, with the focus on angels and prophets, but there were a few key moments that demonstrate more of the monsters’ plan and the power. There is a brief hint about the design of the slaughterhouse being built for the processing of human cattle, and it’s very evocative of the Doctor Who episode, “The Age of Steel,” where Cybermen are “upgrading” humans in the Battersea Power Station. Orderly lines of people walking through the factory, eventually turning and entering large silo structures where spinning blades come from the ceiling before “processing” them. It’s not a comforting image.

The other moment, that once again illuminates the threat of the Leviathans, is near the end when Kevin Tran returns home, escorted by two angels who have a mission to protect him before leading him to the desert for prophet instruction. The detective investigating Kevin’s “kidnapping” is, of course, a Leviathan in human form. This is no season five – there’s no angel power that can suddenly end a Leviathan. Leviathan Collins states, as he’s sticking his hand into the angels’ guts and destroying them, that “rock beats scissors, Leviathan beats angel.” There’s nothing the angels can do to defend themselves and Kevin Tran and his mother are left at the mercy of the Leviathan.

What can kill a Leviathan? The bone of a righteous mortal, washed in the three bloods of the fallen. The first must be a fallen angel, and Castiel quickly and easily gives them a vial of his blood, but we still don’t know who the other two fallen are, nor what bone of a righteous man will be used. I tried to read the notebook page that Sam was reading and all I could glean was that it looks like the other two need to be the ruler of fallen humanity and the father of fallen beasts. Exciting!

 

 

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Random Notes:

Neanderthal poetry that’s perfectly aligned with the spheres. . .who knew.

 

C: “Hey, this is the handwriting of Metatron.”

S: “Metatron?!? You’re saying a Transformer wrote that?”

D: “No, that’s Megatron.”

S: “What?”

D: “The Transformer is Megatron.”

S: “What?”

C: “Me-TA-tron. He’s an angel, he’s the scribe of God.”

Sam’s indignant confusion during this scene is one of the funniest character moments in the series. So very Ben Edlund.

The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo

Supernatural: The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo

“The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo” is a great addition to the collection of mythology episodes that Supernatural has developed over time. The episode, written by Robbie Thompson (who penned this season’s “Time after Time” and “Slash Fiction”), fully embraces the Leviathan threat, brings Bobby back into the action, and throws in Felicia Day as a genius hacker who can handle herself with both the Winchester boys and Leviathans.

Guest appearances by “it” actors can sometimes be a crapshoot. Will they be so recognizable as a personality that they can’t blend into the show’s narrative? Can they perform seamlessly with the show’s existing cast? Day fit into the Supernatural team perfectly. In fact, I was rather hoping that she could continue being the resident hacker for the boys as they continue with their quest to bring down the Leviathans. The character of Charlie Bradbury is a natural fit for the Day persona. A gifted computer expert who is drawn towards Hermione and Wonder Woman and has a fake sword at home that she uses for protection, the character is a more secure, less inhibited, version of Cyd from The Guild. Add to that an easy chemistry with Sam and Dean and Charlie could easily become part of Team Winchester.

The episode is also filmed well. Utilizing a variety of split-screen techniques and a non-linear narrative that helps signal the Ocean’s Eleven heist the team is working on, the episode gives us tension and humor at the same time. For all the threat that Dick Roman brings – and it’s a terrifying one – we also get Sam coaching Charlie into entering the building by inspiring her with Harry Potter plotlines. (Which then leads Dean to call Sam “Dumbledork,” but wouldn’t the knowledge of Dumbledore then make Dean just as dorky?) There’s also the magical moment of Dean teaching Charlie how to flirt with the guard blocking access to Roman’s office. (“This never happened.”)

Beyond adding Day’s awesome presence to the episode, the main point of “Tattoo” is to finally clarify the Leviathan’s main plan – they want to become the dominant species on the planet with humans as the main food group. It’s not a great surprise, as this was hinted at early on, but the development of the plan has advanced quite quickly. There is also a hint to some kind of artifact – Dick’s Indiana Jones style archaeology digs have resulted in the discovery of a block of mud. Okay, it’s obviously more than that, but for now, all we can see is a block of mud – is it a weapon? A tablet? A talisman? That’s sure to come out in the following episodes, but, for now, Roman wanted it and the boys have stolen it.

I’m still trying to assess the Leviathan threat. There’s a clever analogy underlying everything, where we can easily make the argument that the Leviathan menace already exists on this planet, just without the supernatural motif. Bobby calls the Leviathans the 1%, living off the cattle of humanity – a human species turned into livestock with fast food, processed food, laziness, and complacency. Couldn’t we already make that case for America? Aren’t we made complacent by being spoon-fed propaganda narratives where we never question the veracity of the reporter, the writer, the politician? Don’t we hear daily about the plague of apathy induced by the amount of sugar and toxic substances ingested through our food sources? Aren’t the Leviathans simply a supernatural manifestation of the dangers explored in documentaries like Food, Inc.?

It’s a good, solid threat. We’ve seen the Leviathans take everything from Sam and Dean (gods damn I want that Impala back), and now it’s been clearly delineated how they will gain access to the bodies of almost all Americans. I think what I want is more about the Leviathans. I want some of that mythology – give me something to chew on and dissect. I want to know their history in more detail. What back-story have the writers constructed in their writers’ room? I want to know what the Leviathans fear (though I’m sure that’s to come) and what they lust after (beyond humans as food). Do Leviathans dream? The writing crew skillfully conjured up a big bad in Lucifer that went beyond what we, as the audience, brought to the “text” with our existing intimacy with the devil. They gave him a voice – evocatively portrayed by both Mark Pellegrino and then Jared Padalecki – that wooed us, made us believe in his pain, his frustration, his desire for change. That’s what I want to see in a Leviathan story. I thought “Tattoo” was a brilliant episode, but it made me realize how much I wish this plotline had extended throughout the season, serving as a more fluid underbelly to the standalone episodes.

One final narrative note: We got to see the beginnings of vengeful spirit Bobby. While that emotion is understandable, as explained by Dean, it is also the start of a path towards disaster for Bobby’s future, as articulated by a very worried Sam. I really do believe that Bobby’s journey should serve as an underpinning for season eight, which was just officially announced. Eliminating the Leviathan threat can soothe the vengeful spirit, and then the Winchesters can turn their focus to helping him find peace.

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Random Notes:

“She’s kinda like the little sister I never wanted.”

Dean’s Veronica Mars reference reminded me of how much I miss Veronica Mars.

Did anyone catch the Better Off Ted reference? When we got the fake commercial for SucraCorp, all I could think of was Veridian Dynamics. Apparently, that’s what the writers were thinking about too. When Charlie opens up Frank’s file on Dick Roman and all the images are flashing on the screen, there’s one shot with Dick, in a picture on the right of the monitor, smiling (notable only because it’s so creepy), and a shot on the far left of Jay Harrington – or should I say, it’s a picture of Ted Crisp (played by Jay Harrington) standing in front of a podium at Veridian Dynamics. This is a great comparison – an evil corporation that tends to do terrible things to human beings all in the name of progress, using advertisements to lull you into thinking that the company is only concerned with your well being and the future of your friends and family. Veridian Dynamics is the precursor to SucraCorp and maybe Dick Roman has taken over the body of Ted Crisp. So it’s a parody of a satire. . .how postmodern.

Adventures in Babysitting

Supernatural: A Hunter’s Life

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Yo-ho, yo-ho, the hunter’s life for me. . .

If there’s been an underlying theme to the Supernatural episodes of the New Year it’s this: if you’re a hunter, then you live and die as a hunter. You can’t escape the life, and you can’t survive it by wallowing in the misery that it creates.

“At Death’s Door” left us with the cliffhanger of whether or not Bobby chose to go with the Reaper, and “Adventures in Babysitting” seemed to point to Bobby having made his final departure. However, early on, there was a possible hint of things being not quite settled when Dean discovered that his beer was empty, with neither Sam nor himself having consumed it. One can only hope that this will eventually point to something else. While not having Bobby around leaves a gaping wound not easily healed, it makes the Leviathan threat even more potent.

The Leviathans are an odd “big-bad.” Their end game is unknown. We don’t have a sense of what the Winchesters are fighting against or how they can even possibly win. While it was unclear how they were going to fight Lucifer and Michael to stop the apocalypse, it was an easier mythology to grasp. Leviathans are simply an unknown quantity, which can be frustrating for viewers. Yet as an evil, they are made more potent by the loss of almost all allies for the Winchester brothers. Previous enemies have been fought with the assistance of their father, Bobby, Ash, Ellen and Jo, and of course Castiel. This season finds the Winchesters weakened. We might not know exactly what threat is posed, but we have two characters now stripped of everything they’ve relied upon. No identities, no father figures, no mentors, no angel to bail them out. Plus, as we’re reminded in almost every episode by its absence, no Impala. Every action seems futile — it’s a darkness that the Winchesters have never really had to experience.

Yet not all hope is lost. As we see in “Adventures” and “Time after Time after Time,” there are relatively new friends that remain, for now. Frank serves as a new, not as fatherly, much more paranoid, fount of information — one who even teaches Dean computer tricks that render Sam jealous. Thanks to her loyalty to Bobby, Sheriff Jody Mills also shows up, not only to give the boys a case, but also to offer a helping hand when things go awry. Are they as significant as Bobby and Castiel? Of course not. But they are tiny sources of light in a life that is now very, very dark for the Winchesters.

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It would have been very easy to spend the first episode post-Bobby focused solely on vengeance, which is actually what I thought they might do. Of course this comes into play — Dean is consumed with taking down Dick Roman and discovering what the numbers that Bobby inscribed on Sam’s hand mean for the Leviathan quest. So much so that in “Time” he lies to Sam, pretending to be watching anime porn when he’s really researching Roman’s life. Yet this shifts slightly when presented with a secondary job — a missing hunter. In any other episode this would just be another case of the week, but, given all that has just happened with Bobby, it serves to highlight the fragile life of the hunter and the children that are raised in that lifestyle. For reasons intimately tied to their own pasts and compounded by the recent loss of their own father figure, Sam and Dean want to help Krissy, the young daughter of the missing hunter. Sam wants to save her the pain of losing her father, while Dean hopes that she’ll escape the life, finding an outlet like Sam originally did. Yet, in the end, it’s Krissy who saves them all — eagerly and happily. When you’re born into the life, it’s hard to escape the pull of that life.

Frank serves two purposes in this episode. Firstly, he discovers that Bobby’s numbers are coordinates that point to a parcel in Wisconsin (“a field, not the Death Star”) recently purchased by a subsidiary of Dick Roman’s company. Furthermore, it’s a field surrounded by Roman’s surveillance equipment, which Frank can tap in to, of course. Secondly, he gives Dean some advice. “Quit.” Of course Dean’s not going to quit and he scoffs at the idea of leaving his brother. So Frank tells him to do what he did:  “Decide to be fine till the end of the week. Make yourself smile because you’re alive and that’s your job. And then do it again the next week.” “So fake it,” Dean replies. “I call it being professional. Do it right, with a smile, or don’t do it.”  Though watching Dean try to smile at the end of the episode was both painful and slightly creepy.

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“Time After Time After Time” (one hell of a second 2012 episode) continues to push the idea that it’s time for Dean to leave his melancholy behind and accept who and what he is. It just happens that this advice comes from Eliot Ness. (Was anyone else mightily excited to see Nicholas Lea? I miss Alex Krycek. Also, Lea and Duchovny clearly both take the same anti-aging serum.)

Thanks to a tip from Jody Mills, Sam and Dean start chasing down a monster who leaves behind drained, mummified corpses, only to find out, once Dean gets transported back to 1944, that they’ve been fighting Chronos, the God of Time (played by Jason Dohring — oh how I miss Logan Echolls).

Overall it was a solid episode, marred only by a terrible acting job by a bit player who took his role as “medicated” witness a bit too far — someone needed to reign in that community theater overacting. Also, it would have been great to have more time with Lea and Dohring, solid guest stars who were great when they were onscreen but simply weren’t onscreen enough.

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The scenes in 1944 were entertaining, especially watching Dean interacting with hero Eliot Ness. Anachronistic language and clothing, plus Ness as a straight-man foil, was a great distraction from both the Leviathans and Bobby’s death. And Dean looks mighty fine in a tailored suit. But the episode still brought back the hunting theme, as the salient moment from 1944 is the conversation between Ness and Dean while they’re on a stakeout outside a diner where Chronos’s hangs out.

Dean, waxing morose about how the hunting life has lost meaning since everyone keeps dying, is confronted with Ness’s forthright and unsympathetic response.

“Boo-hoo, cry me a river you nancy. Tell me, are all hunters as soft as you in the future? Everybody loses everybody and then boom, one day your number is up, but at least you’re making a difference. So enjoy it while it lasts kid cause hunting is the only clarity you’re gonna find in this life, and that makes you luckier than most.”

The other significant moment occurs at the end of the episode, as Chronos is dying. In his final throes he looks at Sam and Dean and prophecies what’s to come.

“Wanna know your future? I know your future. It’s covered in thick black ooze. It’s everywhere. They’re everywhere. Enjoy oblivion.”

Mission, purpose, re-dedication to the hunting life? Hopefully sorted.

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Favorite moment:

Dean: “Awesome.”
Ness: “How does that fill you with awe?”

The Girl Next Door

Supernatural: The Girl Next Door

Welcome back to season two!  Okay, not really, but “The Girl Next Door” brought back the Sam and Dean personality types that dominated that season.  This Ackles directed episode wasn’t at all what I thought it would be, being less about the Leviathans and more about giving us another emotional starting point with the boys.

The question of Bobby’s well-being addressed almost immediately, the episode then dispatches of the Leviathan problem it set up last week.  This season is about the boys being on the run, without a stable home base, so while the Leviathans didn’t really play much of a role in the episode (beyond the teaser), they are a tension underlying everything – they have the means to pursue the Winchesters and they are, for now, impossible to kill.

The central narrative illuminated an episode from Sam’s past – when in 1998 he helped his Dad and Dean (who were off screen) hunt down a Kitsune, a monster who must feed on the brains and pituitary glands of human beings.  For the flashbacks, the Supernatural casting crew has brought back Colin Ford, who truly is an apt young Sam – he captures Padalecki’s emotion and mannerisms perfectly.

Past and present Sam are looking for the same Kitsune, a girl named “Amy Pond” (nice), who is played in the present by Jewel Staite (who wasn’t given enough to do).  Young Sam accidentally finds young Amy while doing research at the library, eventually saves her from bully boys, and once back at her house discovers that her mom is the Kitsune on a killing spree.  Amy saves Sam’s life by shoving a knife through her mother’s heart.  Present Sam, recognizing the Kitsune pattern in a modern day series of slayings, goes after Amy, with the intention of finally stopping her murders.

And here is where we get the Sam that we’ve seen over the years, but nowhere more apparent than in the season two “Bloodlust.”  In that early episode, Sam was the one to prevent the slaughter of Lenore and her vampire crew, believing that the things we call “monster” don’t necessarily have to be evil.  In “The Girl Next Door” we have a similar situation.  As children, Sam lets Amy escape, before the arrival of his father and brother – and we all know John Winchester would have killed the girl.  Then, as adults, he chooses to let her go again.  Amy, who now works as a mortician where she can acquire brains and pituitary glands from corpses, needs fresh meat for her dying son, Jacob.  Three kills later and he’s cured.  She begs for forgiveness and understanding, and Sam gives it to her.  He walks away.

And he walks right into the fist of Dean, who is pissed at being left behind with only a note and no Impala.  Sam explains the case, including the events of the past, and says that he let Amy go, that he knows she won’t kill again.  He begs Dean to trust him – and Dean says yes, that maybe it is the time to finally trust.

It’s not surprising that Sam and Amy would form a bond:  both are pushed around by domineering, emotionally abusive parents; both want a life different than what they have; both fear that they will become their parents.  Given Sam’s past – given his understanding of monsters – it’s no surprise he allows her to live in peace.

What is a surprise is that Dean agrees.  Or does he?

I’ll admit it.  I bought into Dean’s lie.  I thought it was an interesting character development for Dean, that after all this time he’d finally let Sam make a decision like this, though, granted, he did let Lenore live in “Bloodlust.”  (Yet that was more related to his realization that Gordon Walker was insane than it was related to Sam’s thought process.)  What I wasn’t prepared for was the resurgence of season two Dean – the Dean in “Bloodlust” whose discontent and turmoil led him towards the hunter dark side – led him to become more like Gordon Walker — the no option Dean.

Is this what we’re seeing here?  A resurgence of the Dean who can only see the black and white of a situation?  A Dean who refuses to apply human exceptions to a demon/monster/freak?  A Dean who is so self-loathing that he cannot see the possibility for change in others?

Well, it’s the Dean we have in “The Girl Next Door,” as he shows up at Amy’s motel room and, despite her protestations, kills her.  Only to turn and see Jacob watching.  Now, Dean doesn’t kill the boy, although Dean makes Jacob promise not to kill another human being for food – a promise to which Jacob ominously replies, “the only person I’m going to kill. . .is you.”  Is this our Chekhov’s gun?  Is Jacob being introduced into the story only to come back later and do just that?  Or is this a moment where we see a monster born?  Does the death of Amy only ensure that instead of a normal life, Jacob will turn into the creature that lives by his appetite?

I really thought “The Girl Next Door” was going to be an episode dedicated to Sam, but the last few minutes made me realize that it was actually to bring us to a depressing realization about Dean’s state of mind.

Side notes:

Ackles did a great job directing.  There were a few moments that took me out of the episode – the camera angles when Bobby was running out of the hospital and when the morgue body was being pulled out on a slab – but overall fantastic.  In fact, his use of flashback was effective, especially the ease with which we slid between times – very fluid and precise.

Love that Biggerson’s is becoming a running joke – and the Winchester eatery of choice.  I guess their year of free food is probably finished though.

The nacho cheese scene?  So gross, even though we don’t really see any of the actual consumption.

Also, it seems very right that Bobby and Dean would become enmeshed in telenovas.
D: “Dude…Ricardo.”
B: “What happened?”
D: “Suicidio.”
B: “Adios, ese.”

Hello Cruel World

Supernatural: Hello, Cruel World

Just as the 7th season premiere began in the same moment that we left the Winchesters in the 6th season finale, so this episode began where the last left off, and I’m guessing the same thing will happen on Friday.  I usually don’t read responses to a Supernatural episode until after I’ve crafted my review, but I caved this week and I’ve seen some negative responses to these cliffhangers.  Frankly, I love it.  As a narrative technique it builds tension.  We see that there’s not a second of the Winchester’s current lives that can be glossed over — the audience needs to experience every moment with them.  In so doing, the events become even more epic.  True, this means we haven’t really had a stand-alone episode, but it highlights the seriousness of this new threat.  With this Friday’s episode we’ll have had four concurrent episodes addressing the Castiel/Leviathan big bad.  I can’t think of a time where the Supernatural team gave us back to back to back to back episodes that dealt with the season’s main arc.

Yet unlike “Meet the New Boss,” which catapulted the show forward with narrative developments, “Hello, Cruel World” really moved pieces into place for the next installment.  We gleaned some basic information about the Leviathans, enough to prove that they’re more terrifying than other monsters — there’s a reason they were trapped in Purgatory.  Hints were dropped that there is a “boss” — someone/thing that appears demanding, intolerant, and unwilling to brook idiotic choices (like eating a high school swim team) that threaten to expose them to the populace.  As monsters, they are constantly wailing about their hunger — human organs seem to be the food of choice — which reminded me of various X-Files monsters, “the wire” in the Doctor Who episode “The Idiot’s Lantern,” and George Costanza’s mother.  Once the Leviathans have abandoned Castiel’s body, exploding into a reservoir that serves as drinking water for the local area, they can then inhabit whomever is unlucky enough to come in contact with their fluid form.  It’s a form that, again, is straight out of The X-Files — the black oil.  Like the dark, liquid Leviathans, the “black cancer” in The X-Files had the ability to enter a human and take possession of their body, exhibiting a sentience and a need to communicate.  As we see in “Hello, Cruel World,” the Leviathans use their form to enter innocent humans via water fountains, sinks, and any other water pathway that seems viable.  They also have the ability to transfer bodies, as is the case when the Leviathan trapped in the body of a child (another creepy kid casting coup for Supernatural) assumes the body of a surgeon.  However, the transfer itself is odd.  The child grabs the arm of the surgeon and then the camera angle changes, showing the event in silhouette, hidden behind a room divider, as it appears that the child/Leviathan steals the flesh from the surgeon, and in draining him becomes him.  This would make it seem that there are multiple options for Leviathan movement, making them difficult to keep track of and kill.

Oh yeah, and they might be Terminators.  Okay, not literally, but as we see, they are, as of right now, seemingly impossible to kill.  Dropping a car on one, bursting his vessel and leaving its black oil form spread on the tarmac does nothing — it re-forms.  Like I said, Terminators.

For all of this, the true thrust of the story is about what Supernatural does best, exploring the relationship between Sam, Dean, and Bobby.  And pain.

Sam doesn’t hide his hallucinations from his family, letting them know exactly what he’s seeing, telling them precisely what Lucifer is saying to him.  The story reaches its apex when Sam, thinking he’s leaving Bobby’s house with Dean, ends up at a warehouse with Lucifer, who is pushing Sam to the brink of madness.  When Dean finds him, he doesn’t have the power to sway Sam with emotion.  I’m fascinated that this moment received critical backlash.  The argument being that Dean, of all people, should have been able to convince Sam that his life with him was real — that Lucifer’s appearance was madness.  Yet that’s exactly what *cannot* happen.  Lucifer is a part of Sam’s brain — a manifestation made possible by the broken wall in his head.  The result of this is that Sam/Lucifer knows exactly what Dean’s arguments will be — hence the moment in the episode where Sam tells Dean exactly that — that Lucifer knows what Dean is thinking.  The only way to convince Sam that the life he’s living is real is to inflict pain.  With eyes full of compassion, Dean shoves his fingers into the gashes in Sam’s palm, and as Sam gasps Lucifer flickers.  The more pain, the more Lucifer dissipates.

Pain.  Sam’s mental trauma is a manifestation of his horrific memories from Hell.  The questions remaining are how that brain will heal, if it can, and what the impact of this broken wall will have on the season.  Dean, however, is dealing with the pain that we’ve seen since season one — how to keep his loved ones safe.  Yet, Dean can’t keep people safe.  Sometimes the demon/monster/angel/devil that they have to fight is simply too powerful.  Bobby, calling Dean on his crap, speaks for the audience when he tells him there’s no way he’s okay with the loss of Castiel (not that long, in Supernatural time, after the loss of Ben and Lisa), who was more like family than friend.  In this moment, when Bobby is reminding Dean that he’s there — that he’s there to support Dean whenever he needs it — we have a clear foreshadowing that something is going to happen to Bobby.  In fact, the note I made during this scene, not knowing what was yet to come, was that losing Bobby might be the thing to push Dean over the edge.  Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned from Supernatural, it’s that Dean’s life can never be easy.  His pain is deep, visceral, constant and his guilt drives the show.

More pain.  Reminiscent of the loss of Harvelle’s Roadhouse in season two’s “All Hell Breaks Loose,” the boys find Bobby’s house burned to the ground, tearing a place of stability (their home) away from them.  Even worse, Bobby has disappeared, and there’s a Leviathan there who knocks Sam unconscious and breaks Dean’s leg, leaving us with the boys in an ambulance on the way to a hospital teeming with Leviathans.  Quite the cliffhanger.  Can’t wait for Friday, which should be filled with more of Dean’s suffering.

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