Sunday, October 2, 2011

Review: Supernatural 7.02 "Hello, Cruel World"

WARNING! Episode spoilers!

You know, after... everything. All these years, all that we’ve been through...

How much can these guys lose? Seriously. How much can they lose and keep caring about getting up in the morning? Things keep getting worse and worse. How much can they lose and keep caring about, well, caring.

I should give you fair warning; I really kind of loved this episode…..

Anyone who’s a regular reader of my reviews would know how I feel about Ben Edlund. He’s my favourite writer on Supernatural. I work in TV in a creative field so I look to other creatives for inspiration. Ben Edlund inspires me. I wish I was just the tiniest bit as talented a writer as he is. I wish my brain worked just a little bit like his. That I could formulate the kind of ideas he does. He makes me want to be better, write better, write more, think outside of the proverbial box. Look at the episodes he has written, The Man Who Would Be King, The French Mistake, The End, Abandon All Hope, On The Head Of A Pin, Monster Movie, Wishful Thinking, Ghostfacers, and that’s just few. Look at those episodes. The diversity of the ideas there. The powerful and the ridiculous. The mythology and meta. He can make us laugh, laugh at ourselves and he can make us cry and cry. I even have one of the lines from The End tattooed on my arm for goodness sake, “We keep each other human”. I love that line, for what it says about Dean, about the brothers, but also just for the sentiment of it. Like I said, he’s an inspiration to me. Consequently, I tend to get irrationally excited by the prospect of a new Edlund script. The guy is at the top of his game.

So it appears we’re still on that rollercoaster. Still soaring to dizzying heights and plummeting back to earth with our hearts in our mouths. Still hanging on to that safety bar and riding it out, as Sam put it. Hello, Cruel World was one hell of a ride. So much packed into 43 minutes and it isn’t over, because once again…..CLIFFHANGER! It’s like 7.01 – 7.03 are one big episode. Hells you can probably throw 6.22 into the mix for a lark. Of course I’m yet to see 7.03 but, well, we’ve got to assume we’re going to be kicking off at Sioux Falls Generally Terrifying Hospital right? I love this, I love this perpetual cliffhanger!

Cas is gone. Is he? Is he really? There was no big white light Angel flash and without that, I just don’t believe he’s gone for good. Anyway, no one ever really dies in Supernatural. But like I’ve said in the past, as much as I love Misha and Castiel, I’m good to go with finishing the Angel storyline. This wasn’t quite the ending I was expecting though. I was expecting something a little more epic, which is another reason I doubt that our journey with Cas is over. Though part of me liked that he just walked into the water and melted away, or whatever happened to him. That there was no drawn out storyline, death or goodbyes. That trench coat washing ashore, wow, that was like a punch in the gut. The way Dean looked at it, nearly cracking, carefully folding it, carrying it off with him. Damn. I teared up. Of course me being me and all practical and the like, I also wondered if Dean hung it out to dry when he got home. But seriously, I wonder if he hung it out? Then did he fold it up and put it somewhere, maybe pop it in that lock box of his? Or, is it hanging on a hook by Bobby’s front door. Oh man, that’d be sad. Oh God, I just had a thought, did it go up in flames in Bobby’s place? Boooo. Hopefully Dean threw it in the boot of the Impala then. Sorry, I digress! Cas is gone, or is he? I say not. He'll be back, in some form or another.

I’m loving the Leviathan. I love that they went through the water pipes. How do you stop something that can do that? They can travel anywhere. I guess that’s the point. I love that they’re black goo filled shapeshifting bodysnatchers. I love me a good shapeshifter. I totally love their horrible mouth and that they eat people! It feels like good ole fashioned monster territory, except that they’re ancient, God’s first test drive with creation. Ooopsy. I also really love that they're a bit lost. They're trying to find their feet and do it right, whatever their 'it' might be. They're smart and they're learning. They have knowledge they gained from being inside Cas, they knew Bobby's name, how troubling is that, what else do they know? More troubling, apparently they have a boss. Hmmmm. A boss. Because of all this Butch and Sundance chat, in my mind this mysterious boss wears a white straw hat! I’ve seen a bit of speculation over who this boss might be. Is it something we’ve already met or something new? I’m hoping for new. I know there’s chat around the possibility that Cas is the boss, or at least his Jimmy vessel, but, geeze I hope not. Cas isn't going to go all evil, his last foray into evil was a bit of an accident after all. So, even if it was just a vessel thing, I'm still not keen on this idea, at least for any length of time. Though seeing Misha relishing that role could be fun. But, nah. I don't really want a not-Cas walking around in a Jimmy suit. Plus, I don’t think Dean’s heart could take it if his buddy came back from the dead as the new big bad, even though it wouldn't really be Castiel. The Leviathan are great. A real challenge. Something different but something familiar. They're exciting. And they can be anyone....

I’m loving Lucifer, yes, yes; I think I have a bit of a crush on him. So he’s obviously a projection of Sam’s mind and he is a nasty piece of work, but still, he’s a lot of fun. His snarky humour, his manipulative lies, his charm. He's the perfect Devil. He’s kind of awesome. I know we won’t get the wonderful Mark Pellegrino for long, so I’m just going to enjoy him while I can. Sam’s a tough guy. He’s already started to sort through the real and not real situation in his addled brain. He’ll get on top of this. Even though Luci is still around, Sam now knows he’s a figment of his own subconscious. I’m happy that Sam’s experience in Hell hasn’t been brushed under the rug. Sometimes Supernatural can drop things like a hot potato if they prove to be a bit tricky. I’m pleased Sam’s Hell doesn’t fall into that category. I’m also glad that Dean is sharing his Hell experience with his brother. No one could possibly understand but the two of them. I like that this is being explored. Having said that, I don’t want Sam stumbling around, his puppy dog eyes filled with unshed tears, dealing with this trauma by silently field stripping his weapon for the rest of the season and I don’t want him relying on self-harm in order to ascertain what’s real and what’s not. I get why Dean went this route though. Every memory, every poignant or otherwise moment the brothers have shared is also in Sam’s brain and so in Lucifer’s brain. The only way to make Sam understand reality was to bring him back to reality with something they shared post Hell, post the pit. The mundane of real, actual pain. Yes, it was about identifying which pain is real and which is not but it was also about identifying something that could only have happened above ground, together. A new shared experience. Only Dean could do this, only Dean can get through to Sam like this. Dean's been the only constant in Sam's life. Clever Dean.

What about Dean? Struggling under the weight of it all. I read in one of the interviews with Sera and Bob, that Dean has an epiphany of sorts soon. I hope that epiphany comes in the shape of realising that he’s important too. I’m pretty sure that’s not it though. But seriously, looking after people and putting yourself at the bottom of the heap, needs wise, becomes exhausting after a while. You can only soldier on for so long and Dean’s been soldiering on for years now. He’s due a break. I don’t mean a holiday in the sun, though I’m sure he’d enjoy that, I mean he’s due a psychotic break! He’s very wobbly on his feet, everything is getting pulled out from under him, he’s got nothing to hang on to. Since the day his mum was torched on the ceiling, one thing after another has been stripped away. Loss after loss. It sucks ass. Both the brothers have suffered this, but Dean being Dean has shouldered the load. When Bobby asked how he was and Dean said, “Who cares?” it was ‘that’ Dean that we see every now and again. The Dean who didn’t think he deserved saving way back in Faith, “Why? Why me? Out of all the sick people, why save me?” The Dean who didn’t think that God should pay any attention to him in Are You There, God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester “Because why me? If there is a God out there, why would he give a crap about me?” ‘That’ Dean, the Dean that deep down inside still thinks he’s worthless (I blame John) or at least, not worth worrying about. “Who cares?” We hadn’t seen ‘that’ Dean for a while and yet there he was again. Thank Heaven’s for Bobby. Thank Heaven's for Bobby understanding that he just has to be there.

I think their little “couple’s yoga” moment in the kitchen was one of my favourite moments ever, not just for Bobby and Dean, but in Supernatural, ever. Bobby’s “Idjit”. Dean’s half smirk. Dean needs this man to care for him. He may be heading into his mid thirties, but he needs someone to care for him like his daddy should have all those years ago. I love you Bobby Singer for being that man, I really, really do. And I love you Ben Edlund for writing that scene, I really, really do.

Which, I guess, brings me to, where’s Bobby? Well, I’m sure he’s fine (I’ve seen the stills from 7.03) and I’m sure he isn’t full of a Leviathan. I hope. Because that would be so intensely annoying I’d be forced to send hate mail! Bobby’s house on the other hand…. So no more books, no more safe place, no more home away from the Impala, no more panic room…though that was reinforced iron with titanium doors and whatnot, maybe that survived the Leviathan attack? Maybe that’s where Bobby is hiding out, underground in the panic room? I really hope Bobby hears Dean’s plaintive words on his voice mail. “You cannot be in that crater back there. I can’t... If you’re gone, I swear, I am going to strap my Beautiful Mind brother into the car and I’m gonna drive us off the pier. You asked me how I was doing? Well not good! Now you said you’d be here. Where are you?” I want Bobby to listen to that, Dean's cry for help. I want them to talk about it. I want Dean to acknowledge it and I bet you, he doesn’t. All I know, or assume, is that next week, it’ll be Bobby to the rescue! Someone’s got to get those boys of ours out of Sioux Falls Generally Terrifying Hospital!

And once again, the performances this week were remarkable. Every member of the cast is doing extraordinary work. Every word, every emotion believable and heartbreaking. I should also mention Guy Bee, who directed this one. This episode had a lot of special effects and action set pieces but it was also filled with powerful, poignant moments and every aspect of this was handled beautifully. The pacing was really nice. The episode rocketed along, but the moments that needed room to breathe were given that space. As the stakes got higher and higher, so did my blood pressure! It was chaotic and frantic and everyone was so screwed. Also, the lighting was spectacular, go have another look at the Bobby’s kitchen scenes, it’s gorgeous. Oh and thank you Guy for all the stunning Dean close-ups. 

I really did love Hello, Cruel World. The more I think about it, the more I love it. Such a lot happened, I've only touched on it here. There was so much brotherly goodness. That trust feels like it's back again, that support. Like we've turned a corner and are heading back towards the kind of relationship we all fell in love with. And I’m just so in to this perpetual cliffhanger. I mean it’s a killer, but I’m a Supernatural fan, I’m used to pain! Season 7 has had a rollicking start. We’ve got a creepy, mysterious, scary monster with a silent waiting to pounce boss, the brothers sharing and caring for each other, Sam in peril, Dean trying to save him, Bobby trying to save everyone, everyone in deep shit, Dean's got a broken leg, Sam's out cold, they had to call an ambulance! Yay! Is it next week yet?

Thanks for reading….see you for The Girl Next Door, directed by Mr Ackles! 

Don’t forget, if you feel like commenting….go for it – Amy.