Sam and Dean say goodbye to Charlie.

A Super Sunday Seven

Let’s continue with July’s Sunday Seven Couch Critic theme with a list of episodes from my other favorite television show, Supernatural.

Supernatural‘s season 8 was one of its best.  Here’s a list of my favorite episodes from this past season—although  I had a hard time narrowing it down to seven.

Seven Favorite Supernatural Season 8 Episodes

  1. What’s Up, Tiger Mommy (802).  Kevin Tran, the teenage prophet who can interpret the mysterious tablet introduced in season 7, wants to see his mother.  When we meet Mrs. Tran, she proves to be totally hip and ready to join the fight.  The second episode of the season included an auction of supernatural artifacts, Thor’s hammer, heaven’s most adorable angel, and a falling out between Kevin and the Winchesters.
  2. Hunteri Heroici (808).  Cartoon physics come to the real world; well, the “real” world of Supernatural.  Painted black holes become tunnels, falling anvils crush humans, birthday cakes explode, Castiel interrogates a cat who calls the angel a “dumb ass.” Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicut of M*A*S*H) guest stars as Fred, an old Winchester friend with psychokinetic powers.  Although I hate the show’s extreme ageist mentality, I love the humorous episodes, especially with guest stars I recognize and remember fondly.
  3. As Time Goes By (812).  The best Supernatural episodes are often the ones involving family, and this is one of them.  Henry Winchester, Sam and Dean’s grandfather, falls out of a closet into the 21 century, searching for John Winchester.  Instead of being the deadbeat dad John  thought he was, Henry turns out to be an earnest young man who teaches the brothers there’s more to the supernatural world than just “saving people, hunting things.”
  4. Trial and Error (814).  Kevin has translated the first of three trials needed to close the gates of hell.  The first trial leads the Winchesters to the ranch of a dysfunctional family in Idaho.  Dean is adamant that he perform the trial alone in order to keep Sam safe.  But things go awry and Sam ends up completing the deed.  In addition to numerous twists and turns, and some delightful characters, we got not one, but two patented heartfelt Winchester brotherly pep talks.
  5. Pac Man Fever (820).  Computer whiz/hacker extraordinaire Charlie Bradbury shows up in Kansas (home of the fabulous Men of Letters bunker the boys now call home), and serves as Dean’s FBI partner while Sam recuperates from the second trial.  Although there’s a monster-of-the-week, the episode is really about Charlie, her back-story and psyche, and her fear of letting her mother die.  It’s funny, touching, and heartbreaking.
  6. The Great Escapist (821).  Castiel is captured by Naomi and tortured for the whereabouts of the angel tablet; then by Crowley, who knows where it is.  Sam and Dean head off to Colorado in search of Metatron, the scribe of God—the angel who wrote the tablets.  And Kevin outwits Crowley, although it takes an angel to save him from Crowley’s wrath.  All three stories are intense and showcase some of the best characteristics of characters we’ve come to love.
  7. Sacrifice (823).  Although Sam has been given the trial to complete, it’s Dean who makes the ultimate decision.  Detractors (aka Dean/Jensen Ackles fans) complained that all the “mytharc” stories go to Sam, relegating Dean to nursemaid status.  But Dean had the final say in this one, and if that’s not mytharc-related, what is?  Jared Padalecki was superb, we have a great set up for season 9, and the Men of Letter abode was not destroyed.  (Phew!)

It bears repeating:  Thank you, Jeremy Carver, for an excellent season!

Supernatural: No Rest for the… Taxi Driver

Only two Supernatural episodes this week.  Tuesday on TNT was dedicated to a Rizzoli and Isles pre-season premiere marathon.  And the CW is once again showing Cult on Fridays. It should feel like a vacation, but this week’s episodes were pretty heavy, significant ones.

No Rest for the Wicked (316)

This episode gets 4 starsSeason finale means “Carry On, My Wayward Son” by Kansas.  Always a nice way to start the show.  It also means “Written by Eric Kripke” and “Directed by Kim Manners.”  Oh yeah, and for season 3, we’re left with the most frustrating cliffhanger ever!

Dean and Sam prepare to take on Lilith in hopes of saving Dean from hell.

The Winchester way? Silent and stoic.

The whole season has been building up to Dean’s date with destiny, hellhounds, etc, and here it is.  Sam tells Dean at the beginning of the episode he’s not going to let Dean go to hell.  But, like so many Winchester promises, he fails.

Ruby’s comments to Sam turn out to be much more prophetic than we ever could have thought possible at the time.  She tells him his demonic psychic powers are dormant, not gone; that she can help train him to use them; and he is the only one who can stop Lilith.  Of course, she fails to mention it involves drinking demon blood, and that killing Lilith also signals the beginning of the apocalypse.  (But then, Dean hasn’t broken the fist seal to set the wheels in motion yet.)

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Supernatural: ‘Clown… with Benefits’

When Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki provided commentary on the season 1 DVD set, they talked about how things came together that year and how season 2 would be even better.  I scoffed.  How could you improve something that was superb?  I was wrong.  Season 2 was better.

Everybody Loves a Clown (202)

This episode gets 4 starsOver the years, I’ve written about this episode many times.  I still chuckle when Sam makes his first “bitchface” ever.  Jared Padalecki still moves me when Sam expresses his grief in his final scene.  I’m still reminded of Jensen Ackles’s extreme talent when Dean is beating the hell out of the Impala.

Sam and Dean walk along a deserted road.

Just a couple of brothers, trying to avoid the law

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Supernatural Memorial Week Two-fer, Part 2

Whoa!  I almost forgot to post this.  Given that I signed up for NaBloPoMo this month, it would have been a real bitch to poop out on the first day.

Dead in the Water (103)

This episode gets 5 stars.It’s not just one of my season 1 favorites, but one of my all-time faves.  I have no idea why it got such a low rating at IMDB, and a less than “usual” one at Television Without Pity.  (TWoP’s “usual” fan grade is B.)  Sure, there were some incongruities, but the character development, spookiness of the monster of the week, and sheer drama more than  made up for it.  Plus there was that “money shot” of Dean emerging from the lake with Lucas.  (Which also happens to be one of Jensen Ackles’s favorite scenes.)

Dean rescues Lucas from the lake.

The season 1 money shot

Sam seems terribly emo at the beginning of the episode.  But if you put it in context, this was very early in the series, and Sam was still mourning Jessica.

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Supernatural Revisited: A Three-fer

Episodes discussed here:  Hello, Cruel World (702); Adventures in Babysitting (711); As Time Goes By (812)

Over at SciFi Chicks, I had begun reviewing three Supernatural episodes per week: the current season’s episode which airs on the CW, and two (of at least 15) episodes which air on TNT per week.  The goal was to have fans rank the episodes, but it wasn’t much of a success.   I’ve gotten into the habit of watching, so why not continue to review and rate the shows?  Especially since one of next week’s shows is “Dead in the Water,” a favorite.

Hello Cruel World (702)

This episode gets 4 stars The second episode of the fairly lackluster 7th season begins with the demise of the angel Castiel, which is fine with me.  I’m not a big fan of Castiel, primarily because so many fans prefer Dean and Castiel to Dean and Sam.  For me, the show is about two brothers, and that’s where the show’s charm and drama lie.  What’s more dramatic, and more satisfying, than family?  Well, maybe chocolate.

Dean shows Sam how to determine what's real and what's not.

Dean shows Sam how to determine reality. It hurts.

Throughout season 6 Castiel had become more untrustworthy and egomaniacal, eventually proclaiming himself the new God.  In his attempt to absorb all the souls from purgatory (why this was a good thing?), Castiel absorbed a bunch of Leviathans, ancient and extremely nasty creatures that ooze black goo.  The Leviathans consume Castiel and he  ultimately explodes in the Souix Falls, SD, municipal water system.  Yeah, that’s not good.

Long ago, at the end of season 6, Castiel destroyed the wall in Sam’s head, which had separated Sam’s soul from his memories of hell.  Now Sam is seeing Lucifer, who says Sam is still in hell, and everything else (meaning Dean and Bobby) is imaginary.  Fortunately, Dean saves Sam by showing him how to determine what’s real by pressing his right thumb into the stitched-up palm of his left hand.   See?  Family is all.

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