Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review - Supernatual 7.12 "Time After Time"

Warning contains spoilers.

Does this mean I’m an Untouchable now? 
Confession time. I’m a Kevin Costner fan. There. I said it. The reason I’m baring my soul to you is that I share Dean’s passion for the movie The Untouchables. You see there was a period of time there, where every Friday or Saturday night, after coming home from having a few drinks, I would stick on The Untouchables DVD to send me off to sleep. That or No Way Out, or Bull Duhram – from which I can recite large hunks of dialogue. Geesh, now I’m really coming clean! You know how Dean said he’d seen The Untouchables fifty times? Hey Winchester, I reckon I can beat that! So guess who was I was a teensy bit excited about Time After Time? Me! Which is why I ask you to excuse me if I come across a tad over enthusiastic.

Shall I just say it? I loved Time After Time. It was pure fun. It had so many things that made me all tingly. From Sam and Dean’s banter, to the time period, to the Back To The Future references, to Eliot Ness, to Alex Krycek – sorry – Nicholas Lea, to Dean in those suits with that hair and that waistcoat and that hat and that gun holster and…quick, someone stop me, to Sam’s epic sideburns that I just want to touch. Hey, maybe that can be my question at the Q&A in LA! “Hey Jared, can I touch your sideburns?” Cut to Amy being bodily evicted from the room. Hmm maybe not…. Anyway, it was one of those episodes that simply popped. It was everything the show does well. When Supernatural gets it right, man, it gets it right.
So we kick off with the boys in another non-Impala eating fast food while staking out the house they think the bad guy lives in. The boys plural were eating fast food. Praise Chuck, Sam was eating a burger! I was starting to worry about his iron count. Then bad guy comes out of the house as Dean articulately points out, “Dude. Dude. Fedora dude” and the boys are off on foot with the big plan being “Don’t die”! Dean gets to Fedora dude first, run tackles him and as Sam comes around the corner, Dean disappears in a burst of red light and a gust of wind that sends Sam’s hair gloriously apfoot! And ladies and possibly, but not likely, gentlemen, that was just the teaser! I was already hooked. I think I clapped my hands.

Okay, I’ll try to restrain the giddy but I’m afraid I have “enthusiasms, enthusiasms, enthusiasms.” The Untouchablesreference….Dean would so get it. 

This is about where I heap a great big pile of praise on Robbie Thompson. For a Supernatural rookie writer he’s doing an, dare I say it, AWESOME, job. His previous episode Slash Fiction is one of my favourites of the season and now he’s delivered again with Time After Time. He delivered a tight script, full of sharp, insightful dialogue. It was a well-structured story, complex, but the parallel times gelled perfectly. In amongst the humour, he was able to mix in pathos, never losing site of the recent losses by adding some poignant moments. He writes Sam and Dean beautifully, capturing their relationship and individual personalities and he gave us a couple nicely drawn supporting characters to fill out the Winchester’s Universe. Well done Mr Thompson. Please write more. PS. I may have developed a crush on you.
This was the second week in a row that Sam and Dean were apart, but as in last week’s episode, they never felt apart. Even when operating in different centuries they were working ways to work together. I know I keep harping on about this, but this feels so gosh darn good to me. It’s been such a long time coming. It’s been promised to us over and over that the brothers would find some kind of equilibrium in their relationship, that they would find their way back to each other again. I feel like finally, finally all those promises from season 5 and season 6 are coming home to roost. Finally. To see them ribbing each other, dirty diaper face, are you strictly into Dick now; Sam’s poop face in response to Dean’s new computer skills; the rock/paper/scissors for the bedroom; made my Sam and Dean lovin’ heart stutter with joy. And did you notice their stances for the rock/paper/scissors? They take this stuff serious!
So Dean’s a geek, we all know that. He may be a badass, but underneath that tough hunter exterior, he’s a geek. But you know the other thing about Dean? You can pretty much drop him anywhere and he’ll adapt. Whether it’s prison, or the Wild West, or his own (alternative) future, or 1944, Dean adapts. He’s very adaptable…amongst other things. I think that’s a big reason why I enjoyed this episode so much, I enjoy seeing Dean being plonked somewhere out of his comfort zone and yet feeling very comfortable. He seems to fight everything about his day-to-day life, but put him in a situation like in Time After Time and he just goes with the flow. I wish he could bring a bit of that sensibility into his everyday.
I liked Dean’s easy relationship with Eliot Ness. I thought they had good chemistry. Part of that was the writing, part of that was the actors. Jensen and Nicholas Lea, had nice energy. Nic Lea’s Ness felt like he was straight out of some old movie and as the past was highly stylised in characterisation, music and production, this felt spot on. His “Boo hoo cry me a river ya Nancy” in response to Dean saying he didn’t know why he hunted any more also felt spot on. This was not a guy who would want to hear some other guy’s sob story and sit in the car feeling his feelings. His response also reminded me of Bobby’s “Boo hoo Princess.” I’ve always felt Dean reacts well to a kick in the pants, that’s why Bobby spoke to Dean like he did, because he knows, ahhh damn, he knew Dean and knew how to get through to him. I also liked how Ness described hunting. “Hunting sets me free.” Plus, what he said to Dean about making a difference, about not many people having that opportunity was right in line with what Zach said to Dean in It’s A Terrible Life. “Most folks live and die without moving more than the dirt it takes to bury them. You get to change things.” And Ness “… at least you’re making a difference. So enjoy it while it lasts kid ‘cause hunting’s the only clarity you’re going to find in this life, and that makes you luckier than most.” I’m not underplaying Dean’s grief, I think his pain is deep and real and should be recognised and dealt with, but if he needs to find a ‘reason’, making a difference is a damn good one, much better than revenge, or simply just ‘cause. That’s the “saving people” bit of the family business. I hope he had his ears on. 
In the present, Sam is frantically trying to find a way to stop Chronos the God of time and retrieve his brother. This gives him an opportunity to work alongside Sheriff Mills. Isn’t she just a delight! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these two working together. Sam creating the wall of weird, both of them hitting Bobby’s books, huddling over the computer, Sheriff Mills sending Sam to bed! Their scenes were lovely. They had what was probably my favourite moment of the episode, when Sheriff Mills found the bottle of whiskey Bobby won in a bet from Rufus. Sam’s smile as he thought about Rufus and just the silence that followed said more than any words could. 
Jared finds a way to convey so much of Sam through silence. And they were right; we know so little about the hunters that we’ve lost. This scene, in the midst of all my happy, managed to make me tear up. I also liked how Sam described the Gods and how today the various Gods have very little power because no one worships them anymore. I think I went “Ohhhhh” because I’ve never been a big fan of the Gods in Supernatural. Angels, Demons, Lucifer sure, but all the other Gods we’ve come across have been kind of impotent. Sam gave that a reason. Or Robbie Thompson did. Maybe it’d always bugged him too.
I had massive flash backs to Swan Song when Sam found Dean’s scrawl of his name on the skirting board. Looked like the boy’s scratchings in the Impala yes? It made me all nawwww. Dean’s a damn smart hunter, even if he has to count on his fingers (bless). And that was the final piece of the puzzle that Sam was looking for to get his brother back, a date. Once he had that, he had all he needed to pinpoint a time. The Winchester brothers working together across centuries. Nice. How funny was that little old lady playing Chronos' ex-girlfriend when she turned around and saw Sam? She nearly jumped out of her skin! I think she came up to his belly button!
Of course….the future is covered in thick black ooze was a bit of a downer at the end there. “Enjoy oblivion.” Gee thanks Chronos! While pondering their plans I’ve often found myself thinking that the Leviathan are here to reclaim what they feel is rightly theirs, being as they were God’s first creation and all. A world covered in black ooze seems like something they would like.
Anyway, I could go on and on, with all the moments that I loved. I just thoroughly enjoyed ever aspect of Time After Time. Once again this was an episode more about the relationships than the monster, though this weeks monster was still solid. I enjoyed all the secondary characters; everyone did a fantastic job and Jensen and Jared were both great (as usual), Jensen once again displaying his comic chops. I enjoyed Sam and Dean both having the opportunity to work with someone else; do them the world of good! I enjoyed that Bobby’s loss still hung in the air and that both the brothers had moments where they recognised it. I enjoyed the brothers being brothers and not being angry, or mistrusting or any of the other emotions we’ve had to wade through over the past couple of seasons out of love for this duo. I dug the overall look of the episode, Phil Sgriccia’s camera angles, the beautiful production design, the lighting, the wardrobe, the Supernatural crew really kicks it in the ass. And I loved the dialogue and I guess that kind of encapsulates what I enjoyed most about Time After Time, it was just so wonderfully written.

I do have one very minor complaint though….if you’re going to use a Terminator effect to send Dean Winchester back in time, you could at least use the entire concept of the effect and have him land naked…..just sayin’. 

Oh wait….February 3…. 

Thanks for reading, I’m sorry for not being all that insightful, but it was nice to have an episode that makes you feel good all over instead full of angst and worry for a change don’t you think? 

Let me know what you thought!  Oh and here's THAT promo...almost feels worth the wait! -Amy