This week, we learn that Kevin would make a perfect university student, Dean has a questionable definition of “help,” and that Crowley can close the deal and sell sell sell when he wants to… my god, the man is a machine!
So, this week’s episode was entertaining. We dealt with a lot with a family of caricatures and clichés, the victims of the week being hunted down and picked off by a hellhound. I was actually rather surprised by how completely stereotypical the characters were; you had the elderly patriarch with the 20 year old model wife (the fifth), the eldest daughter that has a failed singing career and is also generally talentless and bitter, and the youngest daughter who is, by all accounts, the only sane one in the family.
Also, there was a lot of Kevin in this episode, especially near the beginning, which is always nice. Hi Kevin! Actually, one of the things I found most entertaining about this episode is the fact that Kevin ends up acting like a complete student prepping for his exams: caffeine pills and three hours of sleep, complete with the breakfast of champions: black coffee and hot dogs. It’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic.
On that note, it was interesting to see the brothers’ differing ways of coping with the reality of Gates of Hell being able to close: Sam has learned from season five and tells Kevin to take proper care of himself, that it’ll take longer than a quick sprint and back; Dean, on the other hand, is all for sacrificing sleep and food and proper care to fight through the pain to make this happen faster. It’s an interesting bit of characterization.
Also, the tests that you have to go through to close the gates of Hell? Fantastic. I love this idea, and I love that for all his suicidal tendencies, overprotectiveness, and good intentions, Dean has to sit back and watch as his younger brother goes through the trials. (I also love the fact that after five years, Sam finally managed to get some closure; he couldn’t kill the last Hell hound that tried to rip out Dean’s throat, but he could do it this time, and it was grand.)
Now let’s move on to the technical side of things. Because as cute as it is watching Dean nesting, and the boys making the Batcave home and having domestic scenes, there is the nitty-gritty to get down to.
So, it’s almost like the show-runners listened to my ranting for the last couple of weeks: this week’s guest star, Ellie, was a POC as well as a woman, and she wasn’t a fainting flower. She was actually sort of badass, which was a nice change. And she lived until the final credits! Miracle of miracles!
She’s also one of the people Crowley made a deal with, but she didn’t do it for money or oil or fame, she did it for her mother, who, ten years ago, was in the early stages of Parkinson’s. She sold her soul for a cure, I suppose.
Basically, I like Ellie and I wish she’d come back in later episodes. Like Charlie.
Okay, last point: the hell hounds and the special effects. I liked it when the Hellhounds were these invisible creatures that you couldn’t really fight against because you couldn’t see them. Getting to see them (and their shoddily made CGI smoke-bodies) was almost a let-down, if only because what I had in my head wasn’t what I saw on screen. The shot where Sam was holding off the hound by the throat? That was a good scene and was well-depicted. Kudos.
Otherwise, the special effects were decent, though there wasn’t much. The hell hounds blew the budget, it seems.
Count of the week:
Call backs to other seasons: So many. So so many.
Wincest: Add one. That speech was pretty seeped in feelings.
Evil women: None! And it was glorious!