Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: Supernatural 7x14 - Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie

Warning: Contains episode spoilers…

Wait, so now Unicorns are evil?
Yeah, obviously.

I could say this week’s episode was a bit light on with the mythology. I could say the brothers seemed to be leaps and bounds away from last week’s mood. I could say what’s going on with the Leviathan, we really need to ramp that up don’t we? I could say all of that, but instead, I’m going to say this….. 


To quote one of my favourite cartoon characters… happy, happy, joy, joy! Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie was just too much gosh darn fun! I guffawed, I belly laughed, I clapped my hands, I may have even screamed a little and it felt good, because you know what, I needed it. It’s been such a loss filled, angst-ridden journey through season seven, it felt nice to take a break from the boy melodrama and have a good giggle. We know next week is going to be Hellish, no pun intended, and there’s plenty more soul destroying torture for the Winchester brothers ahead, so I’m just going to inhale and enjoy this breath of fresh, ridiculous air, while I can.  

First let me say…welcome back Misters Dabb and Loflin, good to see you again. I was a huge fan of this pair…until season seven, where they seemed to totally suck ass. I mean, we went from lovely scripts like "Weekend At Bobby’s" and "Frontierland" to "Season Seven, Time For A Wedding" for goodness sake. W’a happen? I was thinking they’d done their proverbial dash…but noooooo! They were back to their ever lovin’, pop culture referencing, snappy one-liner best with an episode that was not only buckets of fun, but also a great call back to so many episodes of the past, including a couple of their own, "Yellow Fever" and "I Believe The Children Are Our Future." Yay boys! Welcome back. Now keep doing this stuff and not that other stuff and we’ll stay friends. 

So…who isn’t afraid of clowns? I am. I really can’t stand them. I don’t like clowns, dolls or mimes. In fact street performers as a whole give me the irrits. Those people that just stand still on a box? If they didn’t give me the heebies to the level they do, I’d go give them a good shove. I often ponder what would be the most terrifying thing. I think it’d be a ventriloquist dummy dressed as a clown…no wait, a killer ventriloquist dummy dressed as a clown doing mime. Geeesh! Anyway, the point I’m working my way around to making is, many of us sympathise with Sammy and his clown-phobia. I love that this guy’s creeped out by clowns. Here he is, crazy enormous, kills anything, runs to the rescue of strangers, can stand up to the Devil, tough and strong and smart and he’s wigged out by clowns? It’s perfection. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Sam, that’s in between my laughing at him. Jared did an awesome job conveying Sam’s fear with a light comedic touch. When Sam got out of the car and turned around and saw that really icky clown with the stringing green hair and gasped, that was just beautiful. And did you notice how the clown was running? Oh my gosh, too brilliant. The clown-on-Sam fight scene never went into slapstick territory and it so easily could have. It was genuinely scary while being genuinely funny and completely ridiculous. Supernatural is at its best when it balances the humour and fear. This episode was a lovely example of that. 

Look, there’s not a lot to analyse in "Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie," which is kind of nice for a change, but I guess the thing that jumped out at me the most was the brotherly love. There was an old school Sam and Dean vibe throughout. Even right at the top with Sam’s little smile when Dean was forced to say to Frank on the phone, “I am the Egg-Man.” I love nothing more than when the brothers feel in sync and are obviously enjoying hanging out and working together. Their love for each other and their relationship can and has carried me through some of my darkest times, so whenever we have an episode where that love is clearly on display, my heart simply soars. The final scene with Dean laughing at his gigantic glitter-covered brother was just…well I’m not even sure I can put it into words. Dean laughing. Really laughing. Even Sam enjoyed Dean’s happy moment. They’re few and far between these days. Then Dean apologising to Sam for scarring him all those years ago, (which time - hee).  Then Sam giving Dean a giant slinky. I mean, Sam wasn’t even there when Dean, in all his adorableness, was geeking out over the giant, rainbow slinky. Sam just knew. Love. That scene was all about love pure and simple….even when Dean gave Sam the clown. How could he not. Then there was the awesome “The ball washer” “The what?” “The ball washer” “The what?” “The ball…” *cue exasperated Sam*. I miss moments like this between the brothers, but I feel like season seven has offered us more of these than any season since probably three and I’m very thankful for it. 

The other thing that jumped out at me was Dean didn’t drink anything but coffee in this episode. I was trying to think back to the last time where we didn’t see him with at least a beer in his hand at some point. I couldn’t, because that would involve hours of research for which I didn’t have time (feel free to do it yourselves and let me know), but certainly not in this season anyway. He wasn’t kidding when he said no bars, no booze…of course he couldn’t resist the lure of the hot chick in the guise of a naughty nanny. Did you notice him giving her the complete once over while she wasn’t looking? Ah Dean. Obviously he needs to drink a lot less, if for no other reason than his mood is much better without the booze in his system. I love this Dean…well I love all Deans but this Dean is awesome…well all Deans….ok, I’m going to stop. 

Some other highlights, in this highlight filled, glitter-exploding, rainbow-puke inducing episode for me were….. 

The Unicorn shooting rainbows out of its ass. I literally screamed. They went there. Excellent.  

“If it bleeds, you can kill it.” Thank you. Thank you. Predator is one of my favourite movies. Now at some point, if Dean could just say, “I ain’t got time to bleed” my life will be complete. 

Sam being all bad cop interrogating the staff. He just looked so silly trying to bully that lion. Also, I love the person who noted one of the staff rules was no sideburns! Ha! 

The ball washer (the what?), getting “Bruced” in the ball pit. Beautiful re-enactment of the first taking from Jaws and I loved the reference to Bruce, being what they called the mechanical shark which was named after Spielberg’s lawyer. 

The 70’s cop show music as Sam and Dean chased down the lion named Clif. Sam’s sidies work well with that music! And Dean, you can’t catch a lion by the tail! 

Dean giving Tyler the, be nicer to your mum talk. I love how Dean is so relaxed with kids and I love how this is a theme that is continually revisited. 

“So, what’s the lowdown with trauma town?” Really, Dean was having way too much fun. 

The clown losing a manky tooth, which goes flying slomo through the air. Lovely touch. 

Sam spitting out glitter at the end of the clown fight. In fact just the whole Sam being covered in glitter thing! 


Oh I could go on and on and on…..

"Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie" was a brilliant example of what "Supernatural" does so well and what makes it a stand out show. Mixing the laughs with the scares, adding a dollop of pop culture, a dash of lunacy and a nice helping of brotherly love, all mixed together to create forty-two minutes of pure happiness. Unicorns shooting rainbows out of their ass doesn’t even begin to cover it. Everything about this episode was on the money. The writing from Dabb and Loflin, the tight direction from Mike Rohl, the fantastically colourful set design which carried across into the special effects and title treatment, the comedic performances from Jensen and Jared and the moments between Sam and Dean that reminded us all of the beating heart at the centre of this show. It felt real good to watch. Real good. 

Of course, next week, it’s back to angst-city, but that’s ok, I had a little much needed respite from the darkness and now I’m pumped and ready to jump feet first into whatever lies ahead. So bring on the breakdowns, the Devil, the return of a certain Angel and the final showdown with the Leviathan. I’m good to go because the brothers are back on track; Dean has a slinky and Sam’s going to be finding glitter in his hair for weeks to come. When my heart’s breaking, I’ll just try and think of that....

Did you love the episode too? What was your favourite moment? 

Thanks so much for reading. 
And here's a preview for next week! -Amy