A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×08 (Red, White, and Nephilim)

sn-12x08

 

SUMMARY

After briefly inhabiting an archbishop, Lucifer enters President Jefferson Rooney and impregnates a woman, Kelly on his staff. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean with the help of Crowley, Castiel, and Rowena attempt to track down and subdue Lucifer in his new vessel. Along the way they come across Mr. Ketch who assists them with an escape from the secret service and offers them a weapon capable of expelling an angel from a human body. When Kelly is taken by Crowley and explained the situation, she helps the brothers trap Lucifer at a local hotel. Sam utilizes Ketch’s weapon and Rowena helps with her magic to dispel Lucifer and send his essence away. Afterward, the secret service arrives and arrest the Winchesters as Castiel takes Kelly from the hotel. She later ditches Castiel wanting to continue her pregnancy with Lucifer’s child.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Quite an unexpected predicament we have here as the Winchesters are up the worst creek since their days being hunted by the real FBI. Lucifer’s chapter may be closed for now, but the lore of his spawn has just begun bringing possibly another age-old apocalypse that the Winchesters may not know how to handle. This tale seemed more fit as a two-hour special but a lot was crammed into a single episode with a fitting cliffhanger to round out the winter season with thankfully no Christmas themed shenanigans. Our real twist came with Mr. Ketch as he rather helped the team rather than put them at odds. It was a fascinating development, one that I fully support for the time being.

 

THE GOOD

The inclusion of creating the child of the devil has a large amount of background tales to weave and utilize, so it’ll be interesting to see how Supernatural reigns in their version of Rosemary’s baby. Even though I’d never think this Lucifer would be so naïve that the thought didn’t occur to him until after he actually had human sex is slightly baffling, but then again, this Lucifer is in a way very adolescent in his behavior as late. He needed direction and this was a very logical direction to go.

 

Mr. Ketch is slowly turning into a likeable character. True he’s cleaned up some awkward messes that if Dean were to find out he’d probably beat him senseless, but as it stands, he’s generally favorable in his efforts to assist the American branch of the men of letters. He could still be working in his own undercover way, but suffice it to say, I like the attitude and simplicity of his workmanship. I hope he doesn’t pull too many convenient devices out of his suitcases to coincidentally help save the day, that’d be weird.

 

THE BAD

It was really more about the lack of time to fully flesh out this dramatic tale. When Lucifer conversed with Rooney about essentially what he needed him for, I expected more development with this concept as Lucifer burrowed his path into DC and made some heinous changes and ruckus. One example barely came about when he off-handedly mentioned pardoning Manson. There just seemed moments that were meant to happen further, but budget was probably super-tight by this point in the season. Rooney wasn’t a bad Lucifer, he just wasn’t bringing the kind of pizzazz that normally comes with the devil’s personality and needed more time to flesh out the routine.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Rowena thanked Crowley for exploding her fiancé. It was a cute moment that the two shared having reconciled somewhat over a hated past. At first you expect her to be disgusted by the blood on her face, but her warm and tearful thanks was all the light-hearted change of pace we needed.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Convenience Ketch is his name. If it wasn’t for him, the Winchesters would still be suffering a capture and no plan to take down Lucifer. I still think he’s hiding a bit of information but he’s certainly reliable and a charming fellow for the moment. Props for Dean spotting the easily recognizable grenade launcher, something he’s been keen on using as he certainly has one.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Regarding Kelly and her plot in the future, I imagine this will include a sped up pregnancy and a child that will probably grow as fast as Amara did. After twelve seasons, the child of Lucifer has many potential threads to take and I want them to be more unique than any tale of this magnitude has come before. On most occasions, the child tends to be an evil son, but a daughter could also be a possibility to start.

 

What really happened to Lucifer? Clearly he wasn’t sent back to hell even though Rowena’s spell suggests otherwise. That seemed entirely too easy and no one really confirmed that was exactly what happened. His essence escaping down a vent could mean anything.

 

I kept thinking when Dean mentioned the Scooby gang that it would automatically be followed up by a Buffy reference, but there was an actually Scooby gang before they went their own way with it and 90’s references are far and few between these days.

 

If anything seems obvious, Mr. Ketch will once again have to bail Sam and Dean out of their hairy situation. Or it could go a different approach and send the brothers to DC but I have a feeling things still change course once the British Men of Letters make their presence known.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Not the capitol swan-song for Lucifer, but his lineage now has a guaranteed rising on the way as his child will soon become the next nephilim scare. We won’t know if it will usher in strange forces to mess with the Winchesters, but rest assured, a lot of supernatural forces may be after it. It would make sense and Sam and Dean would need an army like the men of letters to help protect Kelly. This is turning into a well crafted precursor to the maelstrom that’s to come after the winter break. Let’s hope Mr. Ketch becomes a series regular if he’s in fact a good character and not masquerading as a cold-hearted assassin of evil. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×06 (If the sports fantasy leagues were written by dramatists in love with vampires)

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SUMMARY

Sybil and Damon catch up with Seline who has taken the Gemini twins from Alaric and Caroline. Twice they are almost caught leaving Damon to force the sirens to summon Cade who Seline intends to trade the twins for her and Sybils freedom. Meanwhile, Sybil reconnects into Enzo’s mind, torturing him until Stefan enters his consciousness and finds Sybil. She lures him to a motel where the summoning is taking place. Caroline and Alaric search frantically and argue over what’s best for the twins while Enzo recovers and remains with Bonnie. Sybil controls locals at the motel to attack Stefan forcing him to kill one and become a prime replacement for herself as Cade’s servant. Stefan agrees as long as the twins are freed. Afterward, Sybil informs Seline that she convinced Cade to keep her powers while Seline does not benefit from the deal. Stefan tells Caroline that he sold his soul to Cade and has only one day left to spend with Caroline before submitting. Alaric and Matt later track down Damon and injure him as he proclaims cryptically what will happen to him under Stefan’s deal. Uncaring, Alaric stabs Damon in the heart with a stake convinced the twins will always be in danger so long Damon is alive. Damon begins to desocate.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Tonight’s episode floated around a lot of character frustrations and lash-outs culminating to the apparent death of Damon Salvatore who of course is anything but. His fear over going to hell was likely alleviated as his death will be erased based on some new immortality that Cade provided over Stefan’s servitude. We don’t know nearly enough to make any exact guesses, but chances are Damon will rise up and continue on his merry way while Stefan marries Caroline and promptly leaves. Sometimes those pesky promos say too much. Nothing truly stands out as Cade still has yet to prove he’s worthy of being this season’s big bad. Enzo and Bonnie’s unquestionable love bordered on co-dependence making their embrace a bit over-the-top and there will never be any sympathy cards for the sirens who have been reduced to a pair of scared and vengeful ladies who should be powerful villains but can’t quite seal the title. Not overtly impressed but Stefan helped balance out most of this snooze-fest.

 

THE GOOD

The show is still making this about Damon and Stefan primarily which is what they need to do. By putting Stefan in a position to assume a dark role, he can effectively use that change to fight evil from the inside because he’s proven to be slightly more capable at that feat than his brother who continues to choke-hold his fear over being sent to hell. He’s putting a lot before his own needs and in doing so earns credibility and sympathy toward whatever endgame he faces at the end of this saga. As for Damon, his luck and faith in his brother should pay off long enough for him to get his act together as well.

 

THE BAD

Sybil didn’t care that Seline is trying to do her right after so long. The damage has been done. What really fails here is Seline herself. Sybil has embraced her wicked nature and at least she’s relishing in it, but Seline isn’t standing on solid ground with whether or not we’re supposed to root for her just because she’s trying to do her sister right. In the end, she’s still sacrificing the twins and for Alaric there’s no coming back from that. The sirens don’t want to be in Cade’s service and quite frankly I don’t think that’s the right story to tell. Cade needs acolytes, most big bosses do and for them to try and be dodgey and escape their role is a subplot that didn’t need to be happen. With their combined might and Cade’s influence, this really could stand to be a powerhouse that would break the foundation of Mystic Falls and probably that dimension. But now there’s no real direction and we’re left with too many mysteries on who made what deal for who how many times and what specifics and addendums were made to screw over the most amount of people possible. Make sense vampire writers!

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Stefan fought those men and was forced to kill one as Damon watched. It’s their struggle in physical form played out by the brothers who make this show what it is. Stefan taking any human life puts him in dangerous waters and Damon knows this. How they continue to conflict with their natures is re-occurring but often necessary to solidify their paths are monsters with souls. They each want to exist with love in their hearts but so many dark things get in the way and now it’s Stefan’s turn to fight that darkness.

 

CHARACTER MVP

I’m still on board with Stefan’s performance tonight. He made the biggest impact by accepting the deal and made enough room to be with Caroline for a small amount of time. He’s likely content with saving his brother and marrying Caroline and becoming whatever Cade wants him to be and as long as he’s killing evil, in a way it’s the perfect role for him because he’ll genuinely find the bad as opposed to Damon who as of late was too random about the duty.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’m hoping Stefan won’t be forced to turn his humanity off again, having both brothers in that state at the same time would be brutal and probably a bit unfair to everyone else. Maybe that’ll be why they’ll need to bring Elena back for that last hurrah.

 

It’s interesting Cade keeps up with the fashions of the 21st century when he’s never really experienced it. I wonder he’s seeing through Seline or if he just sees the dead as they arrive and decide he should be upgrading his look.

 

I would debate if this wedding actually happens to the end. Two vampires tying the knot is no easy task just as having any wedding on TVD is disastrous at best. Caroline will want is as perfect as possible, at the Salvatore house. We’ll see what happens.

 

That spherical ball Damon found never played into any scene did it? It’s been a few weeks and I don’t quite recall if it pointed to a specific person, place or thing. Maybe it was the devil’s shotput.

 

OVERALL SCORE

6 out of 10. Part of TVD’s method is to introduce early villains who are not really villains but victims of worse villains that get introduced later. In this case the sirens are in the same boat. They may be driven toward malicious tendencies but both Seline and Sybil want their freedom from Cade and probably a semblance of a normal life which diminishes their status as real villains on this show. It’s always the bait and switch technique with this group and I was looking forward to a trifecta, a group that was genuinely evil and willing to destroy towns and cities to wreck old school vengeance. We don’t even really know if Cade is an evil force himself, just very misunderstood. Tonight’s episode swam around and made a few characters buckle under pressure, it should seem heartbreaking that Alaric was willing to kill Damon since they used to be best friends, but Alaric doesn’t see his friend, he sees an empty shell that was willing to put his family in danger. There were plenty of pieces to be placed but hopefully by this mid-season finale the real game begins. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×07 (What, no love for the Viper Room?)

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SUMMARY

After Lucifer regains stability in his vessel of Vince by reclaiming a fossilized feather from his angelic form, he reunites Vince’s old band and sets his sites in LA. Sam, Dean, Crowley, and Castiel venture to the west coast and track him down to a low profile show where Lucifer murders the band with intentions to manipulate and harm the crowd. Crowley and Castiel attempt to stop him but fail leaving the Winchesters to force the crowd away and deal with the devil themselves. Lucifer wails about God leaving once again and that he’s aimlessly causing death with no real purpose. After his vessel deteriorates beyond repair, Lucifer’s soul escapes with plans to go bigger than before. Sam laments that they are fighting a losing battle and that Lucifer will be more destructive than ever.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

As hard rock pretends to label a comeback, the woes of Satan pressure our heroes into stopping him in the city of angels where “distraction addicts” is the term of the evening. This is the first step in getting Sam and Dean out of their typical comfort zone of wilderness and quiet neighborhoods before the men of letters drop their arc on them. In the meantime, a whiney Lucifer has vanished once more in the ether with promises of deathly return. While it was a catchy and nostalgic throwback, the message was obnoxiously loud over how the current trends and labels of popularity define and destroy the idea of celebrity. Lucifer was the microphone of un-garbled truth, too late to the show and no audience to perform to. I think there was room to add more empathy but as it stands, the episode didn’t overstay its welcome and turned out to be a fascinating piece about the pursuit of reclaiming lost form.

 

THE GOOD

Springfield’s portrayal was much more comfortable and sharply detailed as he donned the sinister devil one last time. This is a character that’s savoring the smallest form of worship even though it’s to a false identity. He baby-stepping his way back to an Armageddon that fits today’s standards instead of relying on the old biblical constructs. His next incarnation could be a season finale that topples the original back in season 5, but we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.

 

The Landscape of LA was excruciatingly spot-on. There’s always a sliver of decadence and deals of mischievous activity when creating and controlling iconic has-beens and new talent to the roster. Record labels and hidden performances are strategic in gaining buzz and talk regardless of the how and why. In situations like these, Sam and Dean represent that old era quietly eye-rolling at the absurdity level the internet provides and as such follow their mantra even to the beaches of the west coast itself. It’s good they finally got out there again to experience it.

 

THE BAD

The nitpicks are far and few between but mostly center on a worn Castiel who doesn’t seem enthused as of late and a lack-luster finale to an otherwise great buildup between old foes. Lucifer maintained a dramatic win-streak over Crowley and Castiel, but when it’s all telekinetic throws and guitar beat-downs, I’m left feeling somewhat deflated over how chaotic their fight could have truly been. It was oddly lopsided in a way that didn’t feel entirely accurate given Castiel and Crowley’s experience after facing the devil multiple times. In any case, it was the only underwhelming portion of the show.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Lucifer’s speech at the end. It had presence and truth even if it was Lucifer’s own version of events. There’s still pain and anguish left by God’s repeat performance and he’s no longer around to make things right. It also means that there’s nothing Sam and Dean can do to contend with that kind of frustration and betrayal which means the devil is more dangerous than just megalomaniacal. His attacks will more personal in nature, at least that’s the running theory. Good showing by Springfield.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Springfield sold the tickets tonight. I don’t think he surpassed Pellegrino but he’s definitely neck and neck with Castiel’s version of the devil. The heart of his anguish was what sealed his top spot tonight over God’s departure once more. Good scenes all around.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

It’s not normally customary to add “Reunion Tour” on the banner that sits behind the stage, that’s usually reserved for the shirts and programs and various internet sites cashing in on the concept. Once the crowd is there, it’s not as important to paint it at the venue, the crowd knows.

 

Dean’s specific disgust with hair-metal is interesting and deserves more analytical feedback. He stated quite clearly “rock is dead” as probably a metaphor for Lucifer’s demise as Vince but he also seems to be shedding a part of himself he may not feel is relevant anymore. Instead of pushing a tape of AC/DC or Scorpions over Sam’s ipod of Ladyheart, he simply endures it. It’s an odd look at someone who tends to revel in the music of Def Leppard and likened tunes of that era. He was never into Poison or Twisted Sister?

 

The feather was a nice touch to return Lucifer to a stable being. I’d be interested to see if there were similar artifacts personal to the devil that could help him regain power again, like how there were relics of god to tackle against the darkness last season. I also wonder who his next form will be and whether that form may change gender or not. Or a puppy, Lucifer could be a talking puppy next.

 

I’m a little surprised by Sam’s outlook at the end of the episode. He more than anyone knows the effects the devil can cause, Castiel as well, but he seemed to take the epilogue of the fight and internalize it into a moment of despair, ritually unlike his normal attitude about pushing forward and being the moral compass. It was a bit new to hear and likely inserted because the brothers normally have to be on opposite sides of belief over the main arc of the season. One brother thinks one way while the other is unquestionably different. Dean is never the usually the one to admit defeat so it goes to Sam and this time it just seemed too dismal when they’ve lost much more from lesser evils in the world.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. The path to re-popularity played its course as Lucifer tried to secure new devotion from an old name. He understands how the world works now and intends to use that to destroy it from the inside. His method and reasoning is chaotic but the Winchesters realize how maniacal their foe is getting and we’re barely near the halfway point. This tale will retire for probably a decent portion of season 12 before he makes another comeback. The LA setting was a nice switch though it would take a couple days of normal driving to cross-country that far from HQ, at least realistically. One shouldn’t be in a sitting posture that like for too many years, could develop into some back issues later. Great performance by Springfield and a good plot for Lucifer to gain some credibility as a character who’s in real pain and doesn’t know how to handle it. We’ll never see the old Lucifer again, but maybe this one can unleash a different kind of fear from our heroes like we haven’t seen before. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×05 (Fish hold the power of resurrecting the devil, who knew?)

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SUMMARY

Matt Brings Tyler’s body back to Mystic Falls and gathers Stefan and the others to bury him while Bonnie restores Enzo’s humanity by trapping him in their cabin and lighting it on fire with both inside. Not wanting to see her die, Enzo saves her and she in turn saves him. Sybil escapes the armory after Alaric’s other intern leaves after getting a call from the police who found Georgie’s body burned. After Damon interrupts Tyler’s funeral and threatens to turn Matt into a vampire, Stefan enacts a plan to subdue and trap him for his own good. They meet at a carnival but Damon refuses to be helped forcing Stefan and Caroline to tranquilize him. At night, Matt goes through Tyler’s belongings including a letter that explains his task with finding the sirens including Seline who he has sketches of. Later, after paying their respects to Tyler, the group embrace some fun at the carnival while Sybil finds Damon and releases him having his complete loyalty. After Caroline shows Matt some pictures of the Gemini twins, Matt recognizes Seline in a picture and tells the group. Caroline and Alaric rush home to find the twins gone and a picture drawn by one of them that shows Seline and Cade side by side with the twins.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

With Seline’s initial plan realized and Sybil free with Damon by her side, Stefan, Caroline, and Alaric will have their hands full with two evil sirens who at first glance want different things. There was an appropriate strangeness in dealing with Tyler’s death while Bonnie brought Enzo from the brink in record time. There were at least a few moments when the episode drew in some dark possibilities only to hang back and keep the status quo including narrowly making Matt a vampire, but 24 hours have yet to fully pass, so there’s still a chance, but we won’t find out for a few weeks yet. Like Damon, I too held the 1,000 yard stare of WTF in certain places of tonight’s tale as it criss-crossed its random way into a small mini finale where the twins are missing and the devil’s manager may have been raised from the depths of a dark dimension. I think Enzo and Bonnie need that wedding more than Stefan and Caroline, but then we’d be getting ahead of ourselves.

 

THE GOOD

Existential crisis aside, Damon is on the verge of his best breaking point yet. I normally get tired very quickly of his dark and funky mood when he breaks his ties on being good, but his honesty as of late has that sense of genuine fear that makes him entirely too dangerous for his own good. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to stave off the threat of being consumed by hell itself. It’s really just a world without bourbon or any alcohol, because he can certainly survive without Elena which he’s been proving for the past season and a half. In any case, what’s important to note here is whatever he’s facing, he has to fight it alone. There isn’t anything more Stefan can do for him and that hammer has been hitting the nail quite frequently as of late. If this storyline is building correctly, Damon and to a less extent, Stefan is being groomed to take out Cade which psychologically is exactly what Damon needs to do to break his endless cycle of melancholy defeatism. We’ll see how that goes in the coming season.

Tyler’s sendoff shouldn’t work, because he hasn’t impacted the main story as of late, but in the end it was more a tool for Stefan to use to breathe some normality back into the friends who surround him. He took a dark moment and fed some light into it, quite literally even and moments like that are especially heart-warming because of the sentiment that moments need to be cherished. It’s ironic that a vampire would be so concerned with moments because immortality means never running out of them, but for Stefan it runs deeper because he wants there to be truly good moments where everyone else is alive too. He doesn’t want to be alone or anyone for that matter. In a way, he’s learned more or less one of his final lessons. Which also means either he or Caroline is going to die near or at the end of this show. The more main a character understands themselves the more dangerous they are to being extinguished by those who will never figure it out.

 

THE BAD

I applaud Bonnie’s quick thinking and ability to tap into Enzo’s fear and exploit it to bring his humanity back, but to me, this ran entirely too quickly and probably needed at least half an episode and letter clutter around them to truly hit home. While I’m not sure why Enzo didn’t try harming Bonnie the second she freed him, her stubborn plan didn’t have enough time to breathe and replenish that 3 years of love we never really got to see except in a few fancy flashbacks. I don’t disbelieve their love for each other now that he’s back, I just wanted more struggle to make that pay off worth it.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Cheesiest moment in this whole show, but when Stefan turned on the carnival lights and then they proceeded to play on the bumper cars. This could be the last real moment they share before everything completely fades into chaos and other characters we don’t want to die end up dying. Stefan’s message was honest and true and for the moment, they were pleasantly fulfilled even if it didn’t last.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Even if I think the practical method was too quick to take in, Bonnie should get it for the sheer fact that she was willing to die to prove her point to Enzo. From here on out I expect they’ll be joined at the hip and rightly so. They are indebted to each other and truth be told, they’re the only convincing relationship left on this show that makes the craziest sense and I’m still trying to understand it.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I half expected Bonnie to turn to Enzo after his comment about his respect for Tyler and say “When did you two share a scene again?” because I certainly can’t remember when those two ever crossed paths.

 

Did Seline need the Gemini twins specifically to help raise Cade back to reality or is it because sirens can’t control witches and she needed witches who would willingly help her? Not really a continuity error, just raises some questions as we haven’t had any other witch contact since the sirens showed up.

 

This does spark a bit of debate on whether Matt should be turned into a vampire or not. Right now, I’m saying no. He’s lasted this long without any real traumatic changes aside from being loosely possessed by the gypsy storyline not too long ago and going through a few deaths here and there. He’s still human and should finish the show that way. His confidence and integrity is necessary to keep intact and we don’t need a new vampire figuring out the ways of the supernatural this late in the overall storyline. Keep him normal please.

 

Damon asked for Stefan’s help, but they veered off what he specifically was going to ask for. They went into the humanity switch and Damon’s restless approach to giving up but not what Damon was going to ask him. Then had a tussle before Caroline took him out. I’m wondering if Damon was just luring Stefan into another trap or maybe Damon knows more about Cade that he wanted to ask him to help defeat the devil. Who knows, maybe Damon is still flying blind here, but I don’t think that conversation went the way it was supposed to because Stefan flew right back into the “I can help you” line that ultimately went nowhere.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The prep work is being finalized for Cade’s return but we still don’t know who has the endgame and what it actually is. Tonight’s episode saw the fundamental passing of an alumni character and the return of Enzo’s humanity and the good vampires need all the help they can get. This storyline dealt with a lot in a very short time including a very minor mystery on who build the tunnel system that guided Alaric from the armory to Mystic Falls. Little questions like that were cast aside to make room for Damon’s rampant laments over his fear of being swallowed by hell should he perish and his decision making has been anything but sense-worthy. Stefan’s ending sentiment to his friends did save this episode a lot of grief by not taking itself too seriously but I do question whether it’s the last time we’ll see them be so casual and carefree. Cade still doesn’t strike me as the end all be all villain, but I’m certain more surprises will be coming later on. Decent but disorganized and hurried, TVD sets the stage for its most powerful character to wreck havoc on the Earth plane. If Sybil and Seline aren’t on the same side, then what are they truly up to? We’ll know soon enough. See you soon, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×06 (Magical reaper entry, one time only…uh huh, sure)

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SUMMARY

In 1980, Mary hunts and kills a werewolf and helps a young boy named Asa Fox who grew up idolizing her. After successfully campaigning as a hunter for many years, he mysteriously dies leading many other hunters to appear at his wake including Jodi Mills who knew him personally. The Winchesters join her and learn of his heroic life as Mary Winchester arrives to pay her respects as well. Dead bodies suddenly turn up leading them to believe Asa’s old adversary, a cross-roads demon has returned to kill everyone who knew Asa. After several possessions, those who survive discover that Asa’s friend Buck accidentally killed him and made it look like the signature of the demon. Together, they banish the demon back to hell as Mary decides she still needs time alone even after refusing Billy, the reaper’s offer to die. The brothers agree to let Mary deal with her isolation but remain close nonetheless.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Many checks were checked on my checklist of what Supernatural needed to do to rise above and return to classic roots of old-school storytelling which included the following:

  • Bring back supporting characters we like
  • Make demons sinister again
  • Tell personal stories that actually make our heroes reflect
  • Expand on the landscape of North American hunters

 

Mission accomplished. This was a fantastic episode that aside from Billy’s cameo was practically flawless. They threw in lore that wasn’t hammed up or shoe-horned in. There was a very natural progression of story hear that tapped into Mary’s past and gave us a bit more culture on hunters in the continent, a reminder of how different things truly are between North America and Europe. There are bonds that can’t be severed and a camaraderie that should generally be cherished, and though unintended tragedies occur, the band can still keep going.

 

THE GOOD

The story was remarkably simple, well spoken and superbly told. With broad strokes, Sam and Dean let the stage handle itself as the cast around them told tales of a valiant hunter who had been born under Mary’s final act before turning to motherhood. Those that knew him were believable characters that could have easily been on the show previously or doing their own things in spin-offs that we’ll never likely see, but the important bits are that everything felt fresh and organic and the Winchesters didn’t overtly carry themselves beyond the plot at hand. Asa’s montage had the abrupt ending that we’ve been taught about hunters for twelve years now but the aftermath was one of particular greatness that if followed up would probably be equally as good.

 

Once again, Jodi Mills proves to be a shining force to the Winchesters, a mother-like character who offset Bobbi Singer’s role in the past. Her caring and fortitude continues to elevate her status on the show and they chose the opportune time to shed more light on her experiences with Asa and still gave Sam, Dean, and Mary things to think about in regards to their relationships with one another. She’s still one of the good ones and it was great seeing her again.

 

THE BAD

I’ll never be a fan of Billie. Her personality conflicts all-too much with the Winchesters as she’ll never see eye to eye with them over what they did to old Death himself. She’s the only visual force that the reapers even still exist and follow the same old code, but even so, her presence and aspect of death is anything but charismatic or interesting. Outside of a thrilling plot, she was the only part of it that seemed off. Unless she has a bigger part to play later this season, I don’t think it was necessary showing her in this episode except to reaffirm that Mary wants to stay on Earth for the time being.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There were a lot of fascinating moments as the hunters all carried conversations and respects to the departed. Once they tackled with the demon, some familiar territory came about, but at the same time, it was a trip back to the original days when red eye’d demons made an impact against those that vexed them. My favorite moment though was when the demon forced Buck’s confession about killing Asa which was an interesting twist to an otherwise simple story. It shows that even the demon had a few layers it had to contend with such as it’s own path of revenge, something sorely lacking in most demons these days.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Very much on board with Jodi. She showed a lot of good range tonight and captured more attention than she has in the past. She’s always stood on her own two feet and didn’t lose her composure after being possessed by a demon. The brothers look up to her and her guidance is very simplistic but relatable as she lamented to Dean on how she’d handle having her family back if given the chance. Good job, Kim!

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I’d have to dig around, but I’m thinking there may be a chronological error in regards to Asa owning an angel blade. It’s placement in a glass case suggests he’s had that for a while and though Angels could easily have been appearing on Earth prior to the events in season 4 I’m not sure an incident like that would have gone around without the Winchesters eventually finding out about it as Angels were never seen by anyone let alone have physical proof of it. Seems slightly off.

 

Alice in Chains, “Man in the Box” Fitting place for a wake, except Asa wasn’t in a box, he was lying on a pool table. Missed opportunity there for similarities.

 

Is Dean still going to owe Billie one for giving him entry into the warded house? And speaking of warded, have we seen wards in the past that are capable of trapping humans inside an area? If it was witch related maybe but a demon cast that. Why wouldn’t demons do that all the time then? Old Yellow Eyes was missing out.

 

Good call back to the Ruby’s knife. I’m glad the show and its writers haven’t forgotten about the one weapon that has no specific origin, just a kick-ass ability to kill demons in one stab. One of these days, one of these days they will tell it’s story and it will be glorious. Just a flashback episode on its creation and how it ended up in Ruby’s possession. That’s all we want, right?

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. This episode marked a predecessor for the cultural diversity that separates the Men of Letters in London and the North American hunter groups. We were given a classic tale of friendship, old bonds, stories to enrich the lifestyle and the tragic awareness that befalls all hunters in the end, accidental or not. When the Men of Letters strike, it’ll be important to remember that Sam and Dean aren’t alone in this fight and they will come together to support the Winchesters hopefully in an epic showdown later on. On it’s own, the tale of Asa Fox had the allure of writing and cinematography that pays attention to its fan base and created a compelling plot using a demon that wasn’t a mindless drone of Crowley’s. Acts like these need to be recreated as much as possible to truly keep Supernatural long with life. This season is now on a stone path to awesomeness. There will be a small break before the next episode on December 1st. As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×04 (You do realize this is the staging ground for Katherine’s return, right?)

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SUMMARY

Sybil confesses to Stefan how she became siren through a flashback telling of the first psychic, Arcadius who was murdered by a village and later banished two other psychic women to an island where one forced the other to unknowingly become a cannibal to survive. She reveals that the other siren is Seline but blocks it from Stefan’s memory later while attempting to prove if he’s worthy of destroying Cade who gave Sybil and Seline their immortality. Meanwhile, Damon finds a mechanic who unknowingly has an artifact that Sybil is seeking. When Damon loses patience over finding it, he attacks the man and is stopped by Matt Donovan who is the man, Maxwell’s son. Damon later tells Matt that Tyler is dying near the Canadian border and Matt leaves with his father to find him. Damon then frees himself and finds a metal ball-like weight with a symbol on it and surmises it’s what Sybil is looking for. During this time, Georgie is subdued by Seline and traps Alaric in the armory who later escapes through the hidden walls system. Georgie is then killed by Seline who failed to break Sybil out. Georgie’s spirit witnesses her body being consumed by Seline before being dragged away by an unknown force.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Wild night for the vampires of Mystic Falls. Psychics are now the residential prime villains of the final season, thus far, and through a tragic flashback, we now understand who and what we’re dealing with. Fun little twists and turns as we discover that the nanny is in fact evil. Sybil’s alignment is a bit skewed as she plays more of a victim role that she tries to parallel with Stefan who wants nothing more than to save his brother from damnation. What we perceive though is the season’s final them, which is and in a way always has been redemption. We’ve come a bit full circle on that concept, but it’s one that warrants the most attention because Stefan and Damon were always at the center of this franchise so their redemption needs to be made abundantly clear before we saddle off and end a saga. Very impressed with the performance and plot from this week’s highly involved tale.

 

THE GOOD

Though they never get the accents right, I always tend to gravitate toward the flashbacks on this show. They’re done with enough prestige that you get a grand scale picture with how far back the roots go for most of our characters. The lore of each supernatural force starts with good people having been wronged by human forces and some dark power overtakes or is awakened in the victims who turn into primary villains of each successful season. Now we have Arcadius, who everyone calls Cade, the mythical devil of this universe who resides in a dimension of his own making and likely rules those who are sent there. I suppose it’s fitting that the devil is more grounded in the existence that draws similarities with the witches, vampires, and werewolves of this world and as such holds onto the human spirit of vengeance as a means to continue existing. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a villain who not only wants to return to the land of the living, but wants to completely obliterate it off the charts. If team Stefan can hold their own, maybe they’ll save the world after all.

 

Matt’s return and his broken reaction to Tyler’s death was appropriately sorrowful and well received. Matt is the only human who has endured the wrath of the vampires and lived to tell the tale. He’s grown and matured into a character who should have had a stronger role on the show, but now he’s back to probably settle a score with Damon who murdered his good friend. Tyler’s death isn’t going to make anyone else cry, but I do cast my doubt over what it means for Tyler to die still having a werewolf gene inside of him. Something there doesn’t add up and I for one won’t be counting out the original bully for long. Keeping Matt in the final season is a smart move because we need all hands on deck for this final battle that will hopefully be as epic as it can be on the east coast.

 

THE BAD

It was silly to try and fool us into thinking Georgie was the second siren. Georgie isn’t very tall and Seline’s younger actress was in comparison to young Sybil. And the noses were just too different. Aside from that, the real issue here is killing Georgie after the way she told her story about hell and having one foot in the grave way back when. I realize she was always going to be someone’s pawn, but getting rid of her this early is a mistake. When spirits get pulled away like that, you know it’s pretty much forever, unless we get to see what that dimension looks like. After all, why pin a symbol on her body and not truly go into detail on why she was connected to it. Red herring’s be damned, give us more Georgie!

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Matt returned. It’s nice to see some people on this show unaffected by Damon’s armor-like role and when needed can put him in his place even if it’s momentarily. He’s learned a lot and can take care of himself without the need for supernatural elements, although vervane comes in handy in a pinch. Maybe next time don’t leave Damon on a chair with wheels though?

 

CHARACTER MVP

This was Sybil’s episode. And she’s the MVP not because of the attention she drew to herself but because she’s playing a different game than we probably think. Evil characters who never truly gave into that temptation have ways loosening their grips on the villain status and can even redeem themselves if wanting to be free from such terrors. Sybil didn’t want the life she was given and now we understand where she’s coming from. Though she’s gotten used to the idea of being who we know her to be, she has an endgame in mind and it likely doesn’t involve serving Cade, at least not in the long term. How this plays into her reunion with Seline is yet to be known, but I can honestly say they’re not on the same side here.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

My earlier statement about Katherine I think is very valid. I know Nina Dobrev isn’t exactly slated to be anywhere near this show, but she’s the missing piece of this puzzle and there’s no reason she can’t return for this final run. Having said that, we saw Georgie get pulled away in the same exact manner that Katherine did. If we have any scenes into the world that Cade built, I can probably guarantee that Katherine will be in it. I’d like to think that Georgie will still exist in that dimension and her departure is a clue into what we might expect in the future. At least I’m hoping. Even if we don’t get Elena quite yet, we can always have Katherine cameo in some fashion.

 

Do witches and psychics share any links in power? Granted, they’re different abilities but it could explain a bit more why Seline has taken an interest in the Gemini twins, and maybe they will play a part in releasing Cade from his formed hell. Speaking of, was Seline in any actual danger when she was attacked by Virginia? She was slit in the throat from behind and now we know Virginia was really after her and not the twins. And Seline can be healed in the same way that humans do by drinking vampire blood? Slightly off but that kind of makes her a glass cannon on this show.

 

Just going to throw this out and say that Alaric didn’t need to stab his ears to deafen his hearing in the armory cave. There could have been other things to plug his ears, surely. Equilibrium is very very important in the human body and to do that kind of injury should have had profound effects on his ability to stand let alone guide himself blind through a sewer system in Mystic Falls. But at least now we know how Damon and Enzo escaped. Now we know.

 

The ball-weight had an M with two hammer etched onto the front. M could be for Maxwell which would tie Matt’s bloodline to this artifact that may be used to either help free Cade or keep him tied to his underworld. The fact it was conveniently sitting on a shelf at Maxwell’s work is funny, I mean, how many heirlooms would one keep at their job instead of at home? In any case, it will prove to be interesting of Matt has a bigger role to play due to this, or maybe he doesn’t that this artifact is just one of many that tie to a larger object. The old ball requires an old chain does it not?

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very rich with dialogue and flashback, but tonight’s episode of TVD brought more to light for our vampiric bunch and delivered some unexpected death scenes which will hopefully lead to some much needed retribution in one form or another. Stefan and Damon and the redemption awaiting them serves are true overall theme of the season, something that is necessary to keep the brothers guessing on their stake in the world they exist in and whether they should continue existing. With this Cade marking the way as our seasonal bad guy, I can’t say I’m overtly impressed in the type of character he is, but if he represents something akin to an entity fed up with the world and a means to destroy it, that will be the apocalypse we’ll need to settle things once and for all in the town of Mystic Falls. Good development, well received returns, and some grievous deaths, but now we understand a little more at what’s stake and whether these sirens are in fact on the same side or not. Until next week, thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×05 (That grenade launcher better have a role later this season)

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SUMMARY

Sam and Dean track the Thule group to Ohio where a relic watch containing Hitler’s soul resides as well as his descendant, a young woman named Ellie. Ellie is kidnapped by the group and her blood is transferred into a Thule commander who then absorbs the watch and reawakens as Hitler. Sam and Dean find the group with the help of a disillusioned son of the commander, but are captured as Ellie narrowly escapes to assist the Winchesters in taking down the Thule group with Dean committing the killing blow on Hitler’s new body, killing him. Later, Ellie returns to her life as Dean gloats over his victorious win to Sam.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The Thule group seem more suited to the bloodlines spin-off that never was, similar to the Stein’s, but the Winchesters wrapped up this plot with a gusto that should have probably warranted some grenade launcher action. I suppose the budget was short on this side of the season, but we’ll get those explosions soon enough. Tonight’s episode threw in conscious efforts to be dramatic including drawing loose parallels between Christoph’s dad issues and Dean’s unspoken frustration over his mother’s continued departure. Nothing really connected on that front, but beyond a few lighthearted moments, Sam and Dean dispatched a comical threat and proved there’s nothing they can’t handle between one end of the evil-human spectrum and the angelical demon end.

 

THE GOOD

Within the confines of Sam and Dean’s ritual investigations and pummeling of henchmen, the episode gave us a few growth spurts between Christoph and Ellie who were characters dealing with situations beyond their direct control. In most cases guest stars with single-episode arc’s sometimes come back for seconds, but I don’t think that will be the case with these two. Still, giving them fuel to face their problems is a feature that Supernatural tries to convey on occasion which can help deflect Sam and Dean’s usual tried and true drama. It’s not always easy to do with one character let alone, two, but they managed to knock it out of the park in record time.

 

THE BAD

In a lot of ways, this episode was trying to be overtly comedic given its wild plot, with the most basic twist that the resurrected Hitler was more like a goofball than a lucid threat. Even Sam couldn’t mention Lucifer’s original plan without getting the brush off of disbelief and it should have been the selling point on the complexity of their lives. If the Thule were rising and converging on their plan of triumph, why did it seem like only a handful were dedicated to Ohio and the rest back in their home country? There was never truly an “oh sh*t” moment on this episode, it was just another day at the office for Sam and Dean who have dealt with God and the Devil both together. Nothing really fazes them anymore, and in turn doesn’t faze us.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Pretty much Ellie throughout the entire episode. From her babbling commentary to shots fired from a drowsy state, she was the highlight of this one-off and grew in a positive way, facing her past and pushing forward.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Christoph was a conflicted twerp, but he stepped up and made choices that inevitably helped Sam and Dean win the day. He wasn’t given any grand exit, only a promise that the Thule will come for him and I suspect that’s the last we’ll see of him. He wasn’t a charismatic performer, but he managed to prove his worth enough for the good of the Winchesters who remained untrustworthy right down to the wire.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

When you have an scene dialing in a lot of expositional treatment, make sure the actors are near enough in a circle and pan the camera around a lot, that’s the only way to make explanations seem more than trivial and serene. Being told what’s happened is still a weaker solution than having the Winchesters fight for their answers. Create more clever scenes of dispelling information in the future, writers.

 

Has Sam and Dean ever been on the west coast, near a beach, ever? They rarely get on a plane so it’s doubtful they’ll ever go out that far unless the west coast hunters call in a favor. Something like that should happen if the Winchesters aren’t going to England to settle their differences with the London chapter.

 

No Castiel or Crowley for the last two one-off’s. They should be making their way back soon hopefully. I still say the buddy cop scenario deserves its own episode, giving the brothers the week off.

 

I don’t think they actually explained how the Thule were able to track Ellie using her blood. They were probably spell-bound with various trinkets or dark magic, but still, there wasn’t any explanation on that, none that I can remember.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. The dark plot of the Thule reached its conclusion but the Winchesters put a stop to it with the help of Ellie who took her role and ran with it. Not without its hijinks and bumbling of antique model ships, Supernatural drifted casually into another 12th season head-scratcher of “What if we did this? We haven’t really done that yet, right?” and produced a relatively decent plot with some minor character growth and some ragged combustion. I believe it’s time to bring Mary back into the fold, but is she ready to be reinstated into the Winchester family tradition of helping people and hunting things? We’ll be hitting that legendary 250th episode quite soon and I for one hope it brings back some old fan favorites. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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