A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×21 (Ketch went full on Dr. Evil. Why didn’t he just fill the bunker with liquid hot magma)

SN 12x21

 

SUMMARY

When Sam and Dean learn of the death of their fellow hunter, Eileen, they begin to suspect the Men of Letters are responsible for the deaths of several other hunters. Meanwhile, Lucifer becomes aware that the power controlling him by Crowley has been slowly reversing itself allowing him to break free and finally kill Crowley, but not before Crowley’s soul escapes into a rat. At the Men of Letters compound, Mary is being slowly brainwashed into siding with them and has been taking part in the murder of a hunter and friend. Ketch and Bevell are pitted against each other by Dr. Hess for Mick’s position as Sam and Dean discover the bug in their bunker. They lay a trap and spring it on Bevell, but as they return home, Ketch and Mary are waiting and trap the Winchesters including Bevell who Ketch betrayed. As the air begins to dissipate in the locked bunker, Lucifer watches a sunset, finally free to find his unborn son.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The technical penultimate episode of Supernatural deals in real personal dilemmas with a dash of hyper-intensive, band-aid ripping, deal-with-it scenarios including the death of Eileen who most certainly didn’t deserve a ten second top of the episode death sequence. Moderately following were some calm yet never casual bad guy vs bad girl moments that are making me indulge in which one I would actually pick to win. If it were truly up to me, I’d have them both suffer Lucifer’s wrath equally. Mary’s downward spiral into the Men of Letter’s kool-aid mentality was by far the more potent of the plot giving Sam and Dean so very little time to react as they are stuffed and locked within the confines of their home with Bevell as the betrayed guest. All this and Crowley’s possible plan to follow Lucifer to his own child. If it’s an act, he surely played his part well. If not, he’s a very lucky little demon. All the right notes were hit giving us one more week to digest and wonder how Castiel and the brothers will handle another potential apocalypse once more pieced together by the devil himself.

 

THE GOOD

The pressure is on for Mary who may or may not have any more fight left in her to battle against the personality Ketch and Bevell injected into her. I was particularly drawn in by Bevell’s chat about Azazel from her past and even more so by the tone in Mary’s voice as she begged Ketch to kill her. She almost withdrew into a younger version of herself, higher pitched and in complete fear of what she was becoming. Very well acted, and once more I thought Ketch would be sentimental but he was for all the wrong reasons. The pay off will be when Mary recovers and puts a bullet in Ketch’s head for all-time sake. If that resolution doesn’t happen then Ketch will be meant for seasonal villainy. I doubt that will be the case though.

 

The stakes are oddly higher and more personalized this season which I think really helps give credibility to their 12th go as a whole. For once, Sam and Dean aren’t at odds with each other but rather powerless as a duo to really combat what’s been under their eyes the entire time. Even as dis-trustworthy as they’ve become, they still couldn’t ascertain how embedded the Men of Letters were making themselves. Mary certainly didn’t help, but that’s the point of conflict is you make these good-natured characters deal with it in highly-combustible ways, more often solitary as well. If it wasn’t for Mary’s plight, Lucifer’s subplot with the nephilim would only make this season somewhat good, but with these combined elements actually has helped turn it into one of the better ones in quite some time.

 

THE BAD

Mentioning Eileen’s random act of death was an easy gripe, but there’s also something to be said for Crowley who has all but given up on his friendship with the Winchesters. Every now and then you want to believe that he will always have a softspot for them, but it hardly extends to anyone else including other hunters. His impenetrable wall of carelessness toward that front has in some ways turned him into an aggravating anti-hero who continues to make redundant decisions all in the name of power. If he really intends to control the nephilim for himself, he’s sadly mistaken. I want him to be in control of Lucifer’s escape, but then why let the devil get so close to killing him unless it was yet another way to sell the act? If Lucifer is actually free, he won’t be easy to contain at all.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Mary’s fall and attempt to convince Ketch to shoot her. It was darkly written and the desperation in her voice really sold the awfulness she was going through. How she will fight it in the finale is anyone’s guess outside of the sheer will she was afraid of losing in the first place, but she’s certainly one of the breakout characters on this season and has been very interesting to watch from start to finish. Ketch’s reaction continues to paint him in a strange light but realistically, he’s very loyal to a fault and has been extremely psychopathic since the start of the season. Mary will either break that mold and see his undoing, or he’ll stay a rancid evil act and become part of the major problem with only Lucifer his better.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Mary was fantastic tonight. Great acting, and the fear of losing herself was directionally efficient. A lot of her demons funneling out of this season led to the crux of her situation since her resurrection and if this turns out to be a one-season arc for her, so be it, was a damn good one.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Ketch wanting to let the Winchesters and Bevell suffer in death by asphyxiation was entirely too cliché for the villain. He had guns, he could have shot everyone like he did Mick and being a psychopath should have been an easy decision. That was pure laziness on the writing and I don’t have to like it one bit.

 

The CGI landscape with Lucifer was very odd and distracting from the tone of the episode. They mentioned Ireland since Eileen came back from there and that’s immediately where I thought he was based on that entire green hillside. You’d think he’d just show up exactly where his child was right then and there.

 

Escaping the bunker won’t be that difficult I’m certain, but where does that leave Bevell and the Winchesters once they do. She proved on more than one occasion she can’t be trusted and will likely stab them in the back just the same. She may hate Ketch more at this point, but Sam and especially Dean shouldn’t just let her walk away even if she agrees to take the Men of Letters and leave the country, which is what’s probably going to happen if she agrees to a stalemate by the end of this arc.

 

It’s kind of minor, but Lucifer didn’t react when there was no internal explosion of Crowley’s soul when he was stabbed with the angel blade. Lucifer had to have noticed that and if he didn’t, he’s an idiot or too gullible for his own good because he was entirely too ecstatic with being free. And with Crowley’s red spirit, you’d think they would have heard it leaving into the rat. I guess you can be sneaky if you really want to be.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Mindless hunter killings aside, Supernatural brought Sam and Dean closer to the truth about the Men of Letters and the danger their mother is in including an obsessed Lucifer who’s free and wants his son back. Crowley may be playing a fool’s game but until we know more, on the surface, he was outfoxed, while secretly he probably still set the game up. Bevell is surprisingly the lesser of two evils between her and Ketch and she’ll need Sam and Dean’s help if they’re all going to escape their fate alive. I’m still not on her side, but at least she understands how serious Ketch is with wanting to be the next leader. Crafted in every way a pre-finale episode should be, Supernatural turns end over end to fuel our anticipation for an explosive finale that will hopefully see some big changes coming up. Will Mary be just a single-season character, or will she see the light of day and become another drifter like her husband? Double-episode next week so stay tuned and thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×20 (Colt grenade launcher fusion now please)

SN 12x20

 

SUMMARY

Alicia with her brother enlist the help of the Winchesters after their mother, Tasha goes missing while hunting a witch in Wyoming. At the motel its discovered that an older woman has been turning the guests into golem-like creatures carrying their hearts and in complete control of them. She turned Tasha as well when she refused to take her demon-borrowed magic. As a struggle ensues, Alicia is stabbed and killed while Dean takes out the witch. Grief Stricken, Max uses the same magic to return Alicia by adding her heart to a husk as the Winchesters depart. Meanwhile, Mary discovers Mick’s body within the Men of Letters compound but is subsequently taken down by Ketch who is now reporting to Tony Bevell who has returned to oversee the downfall of the American hunters.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Carefully written with consequences in hand, Supernatural takes the awful nature of loss and compounds it with a twist in magic. This was one of the more fascinating tales that took a character like Max, who seemingly had little to doubt and take seriously and put him in a very horrific position after dealing with both the loss of his mother and sister. The act may prove to be an undoing later in the show, but I wouldn’t count on that until next season should they pursue it. The real danger comes from Mary finally understanding the trouble she’s in with Ketch and the british chapter. Lady Bevell is back and neither are any force for good considering their volatile natures. We were also given a short glimpse into some trouble with Sam as Dean furiously yelled for him to wake up, but until we know more next week, the moment is up in the air as to what’s wrong. Quite literally a heart ripping episode filled with familial tragedy and a sense of foreboding on the way, all this and not a nephilim controlled Castiel to be seen.

 

THE GOOD

The Banes family was a new addition to the series, mostly as a connection to Mary, but recently added for Sam and Dean to interact with. We’ve never seen a magic family act as hunters before especially on the side of good, but they’re a fascinating tightly knit group that unfortunately hit a threshold of tragedy. Max may have played the background of the three, but it was always him who had to deal with the pain of that loss. His choice to return Alicia wasn’t necessarily a step into some wicked darkness, rather a desperate plea to keep from being alone. It mirrored Ketch’s phrase about the ends justifying the means but in a more sorrowful sense. Consequentilism is often the anti-hero’s approach to fighting battles but it’s even more dangerous when a villain thinks they’re doing good with that concept in mind.

 

THE BAD

Not much background on our resident weekly villain except for a few mutterings about a demon deal to possess magic and finding a loophole out of the bargain. It was a clever idea, but not very well executed in the art of being interested in the villain’s case. It was too cut and dry and I think this episode would have been better received if we had something else to go on other than her despicable act of turning people into her personal free-thinking drones.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Max brought Alicia back at the end. I think he really sold the frustration and pain so when he committed to the magical resurrection I think it was easier to understand and sympathize with. Whether or not this is a permanent condition remains to be seen, but until that plot thread unravels, he’ll pretend to contend with the secret. He’s definitely a character who should come back next season if they write him in.

 

CHARACTER MVP

On the other side of this plot was Mary who tried her best to relieve Ketch of consciousness before being tazed into capture. She understood the folly of her situation and went as far as to defy the defacto leader in his own headquarters rather than take the first chance at escaping. Her only other mistake was not saying enough in her second voicemail to Dean other than “We need to talk.” You can’t get much more ominous and cryptic than that. Still, she’s focused enough to deal with the situation herself while always trying her best to keep the boys out of it. I’d still say she’s dangerous even if subdued.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

For a second, I would have thought Ketch was going to use the shape-shifter to resume Mary’s form and use that to trap the Winchesters. Who knows, that could still be a thing even though Ketch doesn’t utilize evil characters to get what he wants.

 

Bevell’s return means Sam may get another chance at revenge for what she put him through back in the premiere. I’d expect the same hesitation that comes with any hard decision Sam ever has to make, but maybe this time since his Mother’s life is at stake, he’ll just act the way Dean would and put her out the same way Ketch dealt with Mick.

 

And here we have yet another reference to the grenade launcher in the back of Dean’s car. Dollars to donuts that weapon becomes the new equivalent to the colt complete with grenades that act the same way as the bullets in the colt. Let’s say for example the Nephilim is in fact evil or Lucifer is in possession of its power or whatnot. Imagine the effect of a grenade launcher with the power of the colt blowing Lucifer up in the finale? That’s some wicked moment right there even if a simple “colt bullet” can’t kill him.

 

I suspect Sam’s sleep induced ride home is nothing more than the usual for him and there’s nothing seriously wrong. It had no connection to any moment earlier on and seemed odd to put in except to cement Dean’s fear over the situation with their mother. He’ll be awake and frowning in no time.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Mary’s capture will spark into the final episodes of Supernatural this season as we come off the grips of a hunter family torn asunder by magic and its inescapable pull toward darkness. Max is more grounded as a character now and as such made a very rough decision given the love he had for his sister. It’s an act that Sam and Dean may judge unfairly at a later time, but the road to this ending was heartfelt and will likely cost someone in the near future. Bevell and Ketch are in control now and with no telling how deeply routed they’ll get to remove the American hunter influence, it will be up to Sam and Dean to deal with two warring fronts as Lucifer likely makes for a hard play next week. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×02 (Just imagine if it was Ozzy)

sn-12x02

 

SUMMARY

Antonia continues her hallucinogenic trap with Sam but it fails to turn him as Castiel discovers their location and sends the information to Dean who is reluctant to bring his mother along. Meanwhile, Crowley finds Rowena and convinces her to find Lucifer who has taken over the body of a musician played by Rick Springfield. He returns to Crowley’s domain but is momentarily subdued by Rowena. At the farm, Dean goes in alone and is captured by a ward and subjected to the same torture as Sam by Antonia who interrogates him. Mary gets the drop on Antonia and the two struggle as Dean frees himself. After Dean takes down Antonia, her cohort, Mick arrives to explain that Antonia went too far with her mission and is returning her back to England to await punishment. They part while Lucifer breaks free from Rowena’s spell forcing Crowley to flee his mother. Lucifer decides to spare Rowena and use her abilities for his own agenda. Back at the bunker, Sam gives Mary his dad’s journal and the two express joyfulness with being reunited while Antonia convinces Mick to let her continue her job. Mick explains that he had already enlisted the help of Mr. Ketch who is seen leaving England with luggage full of weapons.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Supernatural capitalizes on its second act with the return of Lucifer and a bookend to Antonia’s sadistic ways while keeping intact the Winchester’s familial message of heart and family. Only Castiel seemed like the odd man out in this entertaining feature that also saw the return of the witch, Rowena who continues to survive on the show. This season marks an early win for the brothers with the same mother which could always spell an even greater fallout in the future, but for now, the two deserve a positive outlook, something quite missing in many seasons prior. And a hearty congratulations to Mr. Springfield for capturing some of Lucifer’s more subtle ticks. As a human, he may not be in the role for long, but it was enjoyable to watch thus far.

 

THE GOOD

Sam and Dean were only kept apart for the initial storyline and it wrapped up without any frustratingly long plots, something that could have spelled disaster if Antonia was allowed to prance around with her sharp toys for too much longer. There’s an inherit darkness inside of her, something personal she’s consumed with and taking it out on the Winchesters with brute force. While she’s not technically a villain, she opposes the brothers which puts her in a bad light and so far she’s not very sympathetic, at least not yet. I’m interested to see if she gets turned around throughout the season because I suspect she’s in this at least for the seasonal long haul.

 

Mary Winchester is very calm and protecting and hasn’t forgotten to act in some heart-felt motherly ways which has helped Sam and Dean release some needed emotions, each in their own way. I’ve no doubt the dynamic here will help bridge any gaps of communication now that their mother will see the things they sometimes can’t. This could put Castiel on the bench in more ways than one, as his role may be drastically reduced due to the “fourth wheel” concept. As it stands, she can hold her own and won’t back down just because Dean says so. She means business and will probably showcase more of that attitude in future episodes.

 

THE BAD

Crowley’s obsession with Lucifer is justified, but if his only arsenal is his mother then the state of Hell must be in really bad shape. He can’t rely on any demons whatsoever to help with Lucifer and other mystical outlets aren’t being utilized either. It shows he’s a bit lacking in resources and very empty-handed when it comes to the bigger picture and all the power players on Earth. Crowley needs to focus more on what weapons and people exist to be manipulated into facing Lucifer or at the very least distracting him from a bigger threat or weapon. Right now Lucifer has the edge, at least until he needs to swap bodies again, something I imagine could drive him to seeking the Winchesters out to replay that whole drama again.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Sam gave Mary the journal. I like that even after 12 seasons, this show doesn’t forget where it came from and puts these little reminders with how things came together. Sam needed that hug and Mary was only too happy to make her son feel welcome. I’d like to see if the journal contains something useful that only Mary could recognize, hopefully it’s not the last we see of it. Very well done scene.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Mary is going to be a fan favorite on this show and she easily fits within the spectrum of her sons while their father had a much different role to play. She’ll be more concentrating on how they act and react toward eachother and her while she offers her help and experience when she can. She won’t take over unless necessary and won’t back down just because Dean or Sam feel it’s too dangerous. Hopefully that doesn’t spell disaster for her and cause some typical sacrificial act in the finale, but for now I’d say she’s easily making her way up the list of very likeable supporting characters on this show.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

This Mr. Ketch (Catch?) fellow has been left off-screen to add more mystiques to his persona but so far we can tell he’s essentially their go-to assassin. We don’t know if he has any mystical qualities, but if he’s in any way responsible for the high success rate with keeping monsters out of England, then it stands to reason he can do a lot of damage. Let’s introduce him already and see what he can do.

 

Shouldn’t Crowley have more than just acid to use to annihilate Lucifer’s vessel? If it can be damaged, shouldn’t there by a dozen axes, swords, and lightning bolts available to obliterate the shell? I’m not seeing why Crowley seems so underpowered right now even still holding some semblance of the King-of-Hell moniker. Or maybe he doesn’t, maybe he’s just a plain demon now and can only do so much like run away.

 

I’m also not entirely convinced that Mick played the role he was dealt. Something feels off that Antonia was able to talk Mick into changing his mind, somewhat, unless he still plans to bring Antonia back and leave Mr. (Whatever his name is) to operate in America solo. That could be an interesting take as I’d hate to see an all out war between the Winchesters and the London branch, but that seems to be where this is headed.

 

Does Lucifer’s ability extend into projecting people onto humans or does he actually possess Jen who Vince sorely missed? If she was dead, then how did Lucifer handle being in that form and if so, was it a short time limit before he lost control or went back to another vessel? He also seemed to need to be accepted so every person he took over prior, including the family must have had to go through the same thing.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Very solid and well-mannered turn out tonight. The serious tone brought by Sam and Dean’s more recognizable personalities help solidify their badass mark on the world and the fight that keeps needing to be fought. Mary continues to do the show much favor in playing the role of the old hunter with plenty left to unleash and Lucifer’s rise has been a decent subplot thus far. This could be played separately until Crowley once more seeks the Winchester’s out, but for now I like the idea of Lucifer staying in the shadows until he decides what his actual goal is. With any luck, we’ll come across some episodes that deal directly with Mary’s past and hopefully bridge any gaps that could help the brothers understand their father a little more. Excellent play tonight. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 12×01 (That backseat has seen some stuff over the years)

sn-12x01

 

SUMMARY

Dean helps a distraught Mary Winchester understand her return to life and 30 years in the future while Castiel makes his return having been thrown across the state by a Antonia’s ward. A wounded Sam is taken to a local veterinarian by Antonia and her accomplice to patch him up and is then taken to an abandoned house where he’s questioned and tortured to reveal names, locations and gatherings of other American hunters. When Castiel reunites with Dean, the two and Mary journey to locate Sam while Crowley is busy hunting down Lucifer, who is transferring through multiple bodies to stay active. Sam resists Antonia’s physical and mental torture as her accomplice, Ms. Watt is sent to deal with Dean after receiving a threatening phone call from him. She crashes into their vehicle and uses warded weapons to beat Castiel and Dean but suffers a fatal stab from Mary who regrets the lives her sons have been forced to live. Together they continue their search for Sam who narrowly escapes his capture but is unsuccessful leaving Antonia to continue with her mission alone.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The Men of Letters take center stage as the British chapter unfold their flawless work ethic to the Winchesters, namely Sam who suffers a brutal and painful start to Supernatural’s record-lasting 12th season. With the gas tank barely half-empty, CW’s old flagship title lets loose the next era of monster story-telling this time with their mother along for the ride. Fresh is an easy word to describe the new direction, but more appropriately, the premiere actually held up more than many of the past few seasons. The thought of the Men of Letters handling the bulk of the plot this season wasn’t very enticing until Antonia smugly drilled it into Sam that the British chapter has a successful routine down, keeping the innocent body count to practically nil. There’s going to be a fantastic cultural divide with Antonia getting the American treatment from the Winchesters, but this is opening up a lot of possibilities including possibly monsters that only the Europe MOL teams have encountered. Good start to an otherwise ungodly last season.

 

THE GOOD

Let’s start with the obvious mom in the room. Mary Winchester makes her return as the original hunter who started the family chronicle and newly resurrected, remembering her death and very much a mainstay character for the season. This will open up relationship conundrums we haven’t seen before, which means when the brothers have their falling out, as they do every season, Mary will be there to settle things as only their mother likely can. As a family that hunts together, I’m looking forward to the possibilities that could put Mary in a lot of conflict especially if either brother feels more neglected for whatever reason that comes up. She’s holding her own already and will probably pick things up pretty quick once she gets used to the technology that exists in the present.

 

Crowley hunting Lucifer gives him something positive to focus on. He wants the father of lies dead and with any luck, Lucifer will grab another vessel that will be as good as Pellegrino, but that will be a tough boot to fill in. For now, Crowley has his hands full and hopefully won’t be pulled into too many Winchester fiasco’s as I don’t think the demons will be as big a role this season as they have been previously. My guess at least.

 

Sam is as defiant as ever, someone who has endured the kind of pain that only the devil could inflict. It stands to reason that people like Antonia wouldn’t be able to singularly break the younger Winchester and his daring escape plan is plenty proof of that. But his mind is still hurting, that much we can see. Whether is plays into Antonia’s hands we don’t know, but at some point she’ll need sympathy points because right now, Dean and Sam both have her on the chopping block once this gets resolved. There’s a flair of arrogance easily deciphered but if there’s character development to be earned, she’ll need to come to terms with how the Winchesters operate, otherwise she’ll just be a short story arc in a very long season.

 

THE BAD

This premiere hit it out of the park from a storyline perspective. My one gripe or two comes from the very bland demon lackeys and Antonia’s overall plan. The demons have been portrayed as parodies of their former selves, back when they were a real menace and a tribute to the purity of evil. Now they’re just whiny, echoes of pop-culture that can’t keep up with the memes and not a single demon outside of Crowley has been written well since the days of Meg and Ruby. Give us some side characters that have weight, even if they die in the same episode they’re introduced, it’s just disappointing to see them reduced in such a way and it’s lasted for quite a while now.

 

Antonia captures Sam and inflicts pain while explaining that she’s here to help. There’s something oddly wrong with this concept, and given their track record they’re either really new at this or torture has 100% success rate back home. Her resources are rather stretched thin and given their unwillingness to step in when the apocalypse really matters, they control the small bits they think they can handle, in this case it’s a nation wide restructure of the American way of hunting evil. That’s quite a big role to have and frankly, she’s doing a tremendously horrible job at it given she lost her right-hand warrior in the first episode. Will more of her allies fly in to save her the trouble of getting her hands dirty or is this the start to her understanding that hunting works a little differently in the states? This might have made more sense if there were multiple groups flown in across the states that coordinate as Antonia leads from the center. Being alone isn’t optimal at the moment.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Mary looked in the backseat of the car and Dean quickly deduced where his mother’s thoughts were wandering. That is classic comedy that fits perfectly with this kind of show, both in the reaction and in the silence that we know that Dean knows what Mary’s thinking. If every episode had a handful of these moments, this could potentially the more amusing season yet.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Sam endured a lot to earn his spot tonight. A blowtorch to the foot isn’t something I ever want to think about and he took two swipes across for measure. Although the cold shower isn’t something that I think Sam would have that much trouble dealing with, the mental anguish will always be there to expose and exploit. He’s still feeling guilty over the kind of things that Antonia is saying doesn’t happen in her country. If they don’t come to an understanding soon, she won’t be able to stop him from killing her if he breaks free. After all Sam’s been through, he’ll continue fighting to his last breath and his resistance tonight was a good step in reminding us how much he can take after all these years.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

The Men of Letters symbol is the prominent background in this season’s title card, an easy spot is in the garage when Mary sees their car, you can spot it hanging in the background.

 

Does anyone remember what happened to Ruby’s knife? Dean usually keeps it on him, but I can’t recall the last time it was on screen. Every time an angel blade is used to kill a demon I just keep thinking, why isn’t someone using that blade that still doesn’t have an origin?

 

Antonia expressed concern and doubt against bringing in this “Mr. Catch,” or Ketch, or something similar sounding. Clearly he’s a last resort kind of character that is being put on our radar for an eventual inclusion to the series. How soon? Not sure. Hopefully any future characters from the London chapter will have more worth to remain in more than one episode.

 

Speaking of England, I think it’s high time the Winchesters took a trip to Europe and with any luck something is being put in the works to finally branch out and have the brothers experience new adventures out there even if it’s only for a few episodes. Heck, the Sons of Anarchy did it.

 

One thing to take note is Mary’s longevity on this show. Most supporting characters have an expiration date with the exception of Crowley and Castiel, but does that mean Mary will only be a season 12 character? There’s sacrifice written all over her right now as the end game that may play out by the finale, but speculation aside, so far I like her inclusion into the show and hope she isn’t written off for the sake of being routine as they’re known for doing.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. Fun and plenty of energy came to the premiere with a new goal and a group that may seem like good-natured humans but for now are against the Winchsters themselves which makes them enemies in our eyes. Lucifer hasn’t been forgotten and will likely be a force to deal with later on. Mary and her view of the world will help enlighten and bring the brothers closer as a family, or as drama has it, put a bridge between them, it’s too early to tell. Excellent story telling with the exception of Antonia’s small team meant to arrogantly put a lid on how American hunters handle their monsters, something will have to change there rather quick. Until next week, thanks for reading and carry on all wayward sons.

 

 

No more words

 

A Sashurai’s Review: Supernatural – Season 11×23 (Sorry Dean, The Flash beat you to it and saved his mother last night)

SN 11x23

 

SUMMARY

Sam and Dean recover from Amara’s attack but find that Chuck (God) is slowly dying. The sun’s light begins to dissolve as the brothers, Rowena, Crowley, Castiel (sans Lucifer) and Chuck return to HQ. Dean accepts their predicament but Sam refuses to give in, leading to a plan to kill Amara by detonating a soul-bomb in her presence. Sam and Dean go to an abandoned asylum and collect the souls there as Billie, the reaper follows them. Amara, meanwhile, ponders what her vengeance is costing her while listening to an elderly woman speak about her family situation. Billie shows up at HQ and offers the souls they need to fill the bomb which Rowena fuses into Dean, who has to confront Amara and sacrifice himself to destroy her. He says his goodbyes and confronts Amara but finds she’s remorseful over her actions. He convinces her to summon God and together they forgive each other. She heals God and the two reconcile making plans to leave Earth for the time being. Amara thanks Dean and offers to give him something he’s wanted. Meanwhile, a woman of letters from England, Lady Antonia Bevell is sent by a regal group of Men of Letters to apprehend the Winchesters. Sam returns home believing Dean is dead and is confronted by Antonia who banishes Castiel with a warding spell. Sam approaches her believing she won’t him, but is wrong as Antonia fires her gun. Elsewhere, Dean attempts to find where he is within a forest clearing and finds his mother, Mary alive.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This is not the reboot I was looking for. In some astute yet cliché manners, Supernatural closes its chapter on the biggest possible story it could have told and leaves us with interesting yet bland cliffhangers that will set the stage for the inevitable 12th season later this fall. The sacred nature of dead characters finds a small loophole here as Sam and Dean’s mother has been brought back as a thank you from the Darkness. It hangs on Dean’s ghastly confusion as he wraps his mind on the prospect of seeing his mother again while we understandably eye roll at Sam’s fate, because clearly, she shot him either in the shoulder or around him to make a point. This finale gave us a bit of the fairytale approach by sticking to their explanation that if God had died, creation would have went with him. While I wanted more risk and sacrifice to own this episode, I understand the need to maintain the balance and allow for everyone to survive because any major deaths would have had a horrific effect in the following season. At least we know Lucifer is somewhere out there, hopefully recreating the horsemen as we speak.

 

THE GOOD

Supernatural knows how to hit homeruns with their themes. Family, obligation, reconciliation, and most of all understanding play their parts here tonight and followed through with a fashionable design that showed human qualities are an extension of all beings light or dark. Dean nailed the truth when he told her that revenge feels good for about 5 minutes. He’s the go to when the truth needs to be rushed and heard in that short amount of time because he’s the master of summing up eternity’s irrational behavior and humanity’s on-going hiccups with its contradictory existence. The message of enduring and forgiving remain the same and no one spells it out better than Dean Winchester.

 

THE BAD

There was something awkward and rushed about this ending, almost as though the writers had built a rock-solid foundation for the season but weren’t sure if ending the existence of the two more powerful beings would sell well enough to be topped by a future season. The answer was no, and thus God and Amara held hands and returned to the stars to work out their wondrous sibling relationship. Chuck’s fallible nature suggests that he never really had to lock Amara away to begin with, he just made a bad call by not explaining creation well enough to his sister so that she wouldn’t flip out and destroy it. What we got was the same exact conversation God had with Lucifer prior to the finale. And the same result was applied making this finale feel like a bit of a rerun.

 

Antonia (Valerie from TVD) also was shoe-horned in to make some semblance of a plot for season 12 giving us some “Watcher’s Council” in England that head up a different chapter of the Men of Letters, who have seen fit to send what I can only guess is their top performer to apprehend the brothers and I assume brought before them. The Men of Letters had an interesting history but most of their storylines have been told now that I don’t need to nor want to see how they’ve been operating in present day conditions. The idea that they’d send one of their own in conceivably the end times is absolutely ridiculous but in the off-chance the world didn’t survive what would it have mattered? They could have presented this episode without her presence and I think it would have been better off.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I really enjoyed Amara’s reactions in this episode as she tried hard to understand the feelings that were plaguing her after the fact. Dean scenes with her really capitalized on that front and I think she sold her feelings rather well given her state of mind. From her perspective, omnipotent as she may be, human-like qualities can effect them just the same. She understands beauty and is able to build on that remorse she felt to allow creation to continue. Maybe it was an easy fix, but I just liked her reactions to Dean summary of what she was doing would cost her. Bravo, Emily.

 

CHARACTER MVP

As per usual, Dean was very much the central figure in staving off the apocalypse, but is willingness to once again put himself on the path of certain death gives him the golden ticket to the MVP slot. It can’t be easy to come up with reasons not to let God die while a soul-bomb is emanating from inside him, something that I wish was more unstable than it turned out to be. But nevertheless, he accomplished the alternate goal that helped save humanity and furthermore, his goodbyes to Sam was every bit as emotional as any other time they’re forced to do a scene like that. “You know the drill” indeed.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

While the theories will skyrocket over what Amara actually did, we can see that Mary is wearing the same nightgown that she had on in the pilot episode right before old Yellow Eyes killed her, which means it’s entirely plausible she was taken out of time and brought to the present. But since that would really mess the timeline up, I’m guessing she somehow manifested Mary back to life and that included the last thing she was wearing. God-like characters have no respect for the timeline it seems. But in all fairness, the continuity is appreciated if mind-boggling at the moment.

 

This also makes for some seriously awkward and hilarious segments for season 12 because if Mary knew half of the things Dean was into, well let’s hope Dean learns a new shade of red on his face.

 

I was particularly sad that Crowley and Rowena had no resolution, even if it was fake, I would have been fine with it. The two operate on an understanding of hate and loatheness, but while Rowena can be charming when needed, Crowley acts more bored and ego-centric, thus his nature to dispel with any family forgiveness is simply out of the question.

 

Something else which irks me about writers is why wouldn’t Amara sensibly bring back both of Sam and Dean’s parents? I understand JDM has more than moved on from the show and becoming more movie-centric, but ideally, wouldn’t it make more sense if both their mother and father were returned, unharmed? Or is it more psycho-analytical as Amara could have peered deep into Dean’s psyche earlier on and understood that Dean made his peace with his dad dying but never with his mother? Who knows.

 

Will Lucifer return as a villain, or has he moved on from destroying the world? This is a tough question to answer as Lucifer should by all rights become his own man, for lack of a better term. I could see him actually helping Sam and Dean in a pinch, but at the end of the day, he’s still the embodiment of the human need to be sinful and evil. There should be some resolution with his character next season, not immediate, but something. I refuse to believe that Amara simply wiped him from existence.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. I’m not as impressed as I thought I would be as the storyline became less and less personable. Amara too easily gave into the human qualities of remorse, and more than certainly retracted her destructive ways all from understanding what Chuck was trying to do. The soul bomb was a good enough idea but I couldn’t help but remember my escapades in Skyrim, filling soul crystals from monsters I vanquished. Billie is and remains a boring and underdeveloped minor character who apparently is the only reaper left in the world since no one else came to their aid toward the end. The cliffhangers were hit and miss with the English Antonia the latter, making us groan into thinking Sam is in any real danger. Mary’s return may or may not be permanent depending on how they want to formulate season 12, but I do like the idea of her interacting with her sons as they are now. What’s important to take away from this is that the show goes on and it will continue to endure and embrace its multi-faceted stories while keeping its core themes forever intact and alive. Overall, not a bad season. It shined much brighter than season 7 and 9 for certain and without the doubt, there is certainly enough gas to push the Impala into the next state of being, whatever that may be. Just don’t turn their car into a Transformer, that will definitely be jumping the shark. Until then, thanks for reading.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×18 (Shouldn’t Beau have escaped the stone when it exploded?)

TVD 7x18

 

SUMMARY

Damon confronts Ambrose (Evil Stefan) at the fraternity and agrees to kill Rayna in exchange for Stefan’s soul who is being looked after by compelled EMT’s in an ambulance. Meanwhile, Enzo apprehends Rayna in hopes of finding a cure for Bonnie’s condition after taking pills meant to subdue Alex and the armory from locating her. Rayna’s blood is in the pills and there is no cure currently available. Tired of waiting, Ambrose kills everyone in the fraternity and moves on, intercepting the ambulance carrying human Stefan. Stefan retreats to a house as Damon and Alaric find and capture Ambrose. At an institution while undercover and in hiding, Bonnie locates a family member of the armory who tells her that Bonnie is being pursued due to her bloodline being the only witches able to unlock a mysterious vault in the Armory that must remain closed. Valerie successfully returns Stefan’s soul to his original body and Alaric tells Damon where Bonnie has been. As Valerie recovers, she tells Stefan to find Caroline as she is his true love. At the institution Enzo tells Bonnie the damning effect of the pills but swears to let no harm come to her. Damon arrives but Bonnie shuts the door on him, still angry at his choice to leave her 3 years ago.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

It seems every step Damon makes forward he stumbles several yards backward down a hill, into a ditch and the ditch is on fire. What began as an interesting trek through the mindset of a murderous vampire turned into a bleak afterthought with more interest in showcasing Bonnie’s agenda and Valerie’s presence as a hindrance to Stefan’s love-life. Damon attempts to build bridges with smoke and mirrors and ends up the victim of a backlash by those he abandoned, justifiably. It’s a harsh lesson to be learned when you make decisions that affect friendships, in that regard this it’s a good message to witness, but the same time, Damon could inexplicably be pushed back to those old ways if there’s no one left to care for him. They don’t call him Dignity Damon for nothing, or at all, but all in all most of what took place had the average bite with some seasoning of veritas.

 

THE GOOD

I wish it didn’t take this long for us to find out what Bonnie has been up to. She’s not really crazy, but in fact under a guise to find out a mystery involving her bloodline being able to access a vault that the armory don’t want opened. That means in the next episode or two, it’s going to be opened and until then we’re all going to wonder what’s in the vault. Since Bonnie has been becoming more relevant on the show as a whole it’s important to weave her back into the plot but have it make sense and though I think it’s a cheap ploy by saying only a “Bennett” witch can perform this task, I like that she’s becoming more central again. The armory seem to be a faction filled with very dubious intentions, but like all curious witches, we won’t know their true alignment until it’s too late.

 

Damon is having to swallow some serious pills of humbleness which won’t help him until he can really prove his worth to those betrayed by his leaving. Alaric stood his ground, but gave him the chance to try at Bonnie, who had a much louder reaction toward Damon. This could get very frustrating for everyone watching because Damon sees her as a good friend and Bonnie may see him the same way, but since Caroline and Stefan got together, one can wonder if Bonnie maybe felt something more and directed those feelings to Enzo who was the only person who didn’t abandon her. It’s a tough triangle but at least Damon is trying, how long he’ll try remains to be seen.

 

THE BAD

Ambrose tried but was a lost cause of evil. There was a real shot at creating a persona that could have brought Paul out of his three-degrees of acting, but sadly it looked like same ‘ol evil-Stefan running around with a bored sense of killing. There were plenty of moments to throw in some eccentricities that could have made this Ambrose character a likeable villain, but the goal was to just shove bodies in his direction and show how “brutal” he was with killing. That’s not a lot to build on and we’ve always been in the impression that everyone in that stone more or less goes insane.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

As we’re discovering Bonnie’s importance with the armory and the vault. It helps bring characters back into light and hopefully this will turn into an epic reveal of some sort though we’re once more threatened with Bonnie dying which isn’t new for us and pretty much shouldn’t be. But it was good to know she hadn’t actually been reduced to a broken down character who was too distraught by Damon’s leaving to maintain herself.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Valerie made a bold decision to let Stefan go in the hopes he gains a more lasting happiness with Caroline, who right now I can’t see as getting back with Stefan, in fact there’s so much of a mess about to unfold for the Salvatore’s that the popcorn will just keep popping for the last 4 episodes. In any case, Valerie let Stefan go, an act that she wasn’t ready to do for the last three years because she wanted him and for the most part had him, but she’s not a villain and as such did what she thought was the more sensible thing to do. Personally, she’s more of a fit than Caroline is but that’s no longer the avenue the show seems to be going with. Shame.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I feel we trailed off a bit on Ambrose and whether or not there would be some comeuppance with Valerie’s attempt to purge him from Stefan’s body. I guess not. Very run of the mill bad guy who deservedly got what was coming to him, again.

 

Speculations will arise now that there’s something big and scary lurking behind a vault door, but what is it? A person, a thing or a thing attached to a person? Why specifically a Bennett witch? Are they more unique or is the pattern woven so specifically for a reason, to keep worse Bennett witches from getting out? But it is an “armory” which suggests a totem, object, or artifact of some kind that maybe can give witches power undreamed. At this point, it’s too early to tell.

 

With Caroline still looming around New Orleans, how will Stefan play his next move especially with Alaric who wants to marry Caroline and raise the Gemini Twins? I have no doubts Caroline will tell Stefan to shove off, but more importantly, is she safe where she is right now even though we haven’t heard from her in a few episodes?

 

Damon also has his work cut out for him now that Bonnie knows he’s back. This will be an even worse train-wreck because Damon tries very odd and sometimes juvenile things to win back those he “cares” about. And Enzo won’t make it easier. Damon will catch on to this vault storyline and lend a hand by probably trying to annihilate the entire armory cult. Odds are he’ll be responsible for getting that door open or for at least getting some kind of cure in check for Bonnie to take. That might work, maybe.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Mixed with a paper-thin villain, TVD brought the Salvatore’s back on the playing field in front of old friends that want nothing much to do with them. They’ve fallen off the map with good intentions and lovelorn adventures that culminate with others suffering as much as they do. Bonnie’s new plot is a ray of hope that things will get stranger but better as the armory will be more of a focus from here on out. The brothers have their work cut out for them if they expect to come out on-top in their endeavors but in all likelihood, their moments of reconciliation have long past. I’m fine with that so long as the pair don’t pine away for the wrong women in their lives. Now is the time for them to band together and rock the next villain who I bet is hiding behind that vault door. Here’s hoping.

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×17 (Blizzards in Arkansas? How high above sea level are they?)

TVD 7x17

 

SUMMARY

Stefan wakes in a body and after saving people trapped in a burning bus, he comes to the realization that he’s not in hell but in the body of a deceased man who hit the bus. Damon comes across the body of Stefan and immediately begins to suspect the mind within it isn’t his brother. Valerie captured Rayna, finds Alaric, and the two help piece together what happened to Stefan when the pheonix-stone was destroyed. Stefan escapes custody from the police who believe he’s a D.U.I and eccentric. As the town searches for him, Damon converses on the phone with Valerie that Stefan’s body doesn’t have Stefan in it. After realizing who Stefan might be, Damon leaves with evil-Stefan but then when the two share the truth about Stefan, evil-Stefan flees from the car and heads toward Tennessee. Damon searches for Stefan on his own in Arkansas during an incoming blizzard. Meanwhile, Rayna escapes Valerie and Alaric and disappears. After succumbing to the effects of a human body going through alcohol withdrawl, Stefan begins withdrawing from reality. Damon eventually contacts him through a phone a woman left behind after fleeing from Stefan and finds him nearly dead on the road. Having only a few days to find Stefan’s body before Stefan dies in his human form, Alaric tells a story that the vampire inhabiting Stefan’s body belonged to a serial killer who became a vampire and massacred fraternities in Tennessee. Evil-Stefan is later seen returning to a fraternity to pick up where he left off.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

If Elena knew the troubles the Salvatore’s were going through, she’d be very cross with the two of them, but as it turns out, our recent debacle involving Stefan’s out of body experience and Damon’s continued trek through self-deprecation has brought this episode into a perfect storm with snow and all. Alaric’s encounter with a vampire trapped in Jo’s body was just an example with how Stefan and Damon must deal with the dilemma only this time, their resident vampire hitchhiker is very much on the side of murder and ill-intent. There’s plenty of classic Damon to showcase his consistency to narrowly hold himself accountable for his actions, but there’s a higher selling point here that I think helps really flesh out the issue these brothers have. No longer concerned with flashbacks, we’re given a very crisp and linear storyline that plays on the sympathy of anger and forgiveness much more than we’re used to seeing. Maybe the backdrop itself was a refreshing look into the psyche of these vampires, but a lot of elements worked in their favor this time around. Let’s hope the consistency proves true as we settle in on our season’s last arc.

 

THE GOOD

Some of the more successful elements of the past come from Damon and Stefan experiencing the kind of fear that they’re not always equipped to handle. Putting them in very human situations has more than once brought them to a deeper understanding about their lives and tonight, their struggles worked in the show’s favor. With the exception of Bonnie, Stefan is the only suitable character who can cut to Damon’s core and make him more than just a ranting vampire who bitches about his flaws with no solutions in mind. It’s never easy to make him see past the shroud of Elena, but the more they can do it, the more human Damon becomes. Collectively, their conflicts were aligned this time and how they helped each other worked in such a way we can still stand learning about their characters even after seven years. The brothers were in top form even though one of them was in a brittle state.

 

Transitioning off of Rayna as the villain wasn’t an easy manuever, but considering what her terminator-like goals were, it’s not hard to imagine that the bulk of her actions in the past were essentially justified ones. Whether this means we’ll encounter more than one evil vampire in other supernatural bodies remains to be seen, but they can’t just kill Stefan’s body without serious repercussions and time isn’t graciously on their side. I would expect this evil-Stefan is here to make a short impact, but I wouldn’t mind keeping this going until the end of the season.

 

THE BAD

Like all shows with overlapping subplots, it’s not always about what they tell you., but sometimes what they don’t and until now, we still have no clue what’s been happening to Bonnie and how Stefan is involved with Penny’s death. Caroline is still missing in New Orleans absent Klaus and his siblings, and the problem with the armory is still somewhat present and it’s easily the weakest link by far considering Enzo’s connection to it. It would serve the remainder of the season well if the minor storylines surrounding the brothers were solved in sensible ways rather than casually written off like Nora and Mary-Louise were. The last thing we need is for an evil-Stefan to acquire some ancient armory trinket and assume phenomenal-scale power threatening mankind and the world. We’re not quite there yet.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The conversation leading Damon to find Stefan in the blizzard. That was probably one of the most endearing and sentimental moments this show has ever produced that didn’t involve setting a house on fire or a crying Elena. If they continue producing moments like those, this show would be exceptional as a consistent quality product. When Damon can force Stefan into a positively angry state of mind, that’s powerful. Stefan is notably known for his oak-like stature and stone of the brow and though I think his physical deterioration was a touch more critical than it should have been, the effect was  crucially magnificent. It’s not every day they can reminisce about being kids and it not involve horrific tragedy.

 

CHARACTER MVP

The brothers were nearly tied, but I’d say Damon narrowly collects the spot tonight. He had a certain reservation that kept his personality in check in favor of evil-Stefan’s villainy and terrible antics and how he eventually Stefan really told a great story from his point of view. When forced out of his element, he adapted without resorting to malicious methods or egotistical desires beyond his sense of solitude. He needs his brother and being evil in any way will always jeopardize that relationship even after all these years. Stefan might have won this round, but his evil-Stefan personality just didn’t sell me in his acting range, he was channeling more of what Stefan is like when he turns his emotions off.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

If logic is sound, then most of the vampires who found dead bodies to inhabit after the stone’s destruction will likely die out in that three day span Alaric mentioned. I’m sure one or two more will locate sustainable bodies of some sort, but then we really have to turn up the villainy and make Rayna’s capture of these monsters very necessary. I’m glad the lingering heat is off of her for now.

 

If there was a category for best scene with a character emotionally dumping their thoughts through a cell-phone, this show would be nominated each and every year. And tonight’s episode would be the moment they finally won.

 

With Valerie the last of the vampire-heretics, I can safely say that it’s likely she’ll be the last to die this season. I don’t particularly want to see her go, but considering how each member has been taken out methodically this season, it stands to reason she won’t make it to season 8 mainly as a staging ground to keep the Salvatore’s grief stricken and battling on. I’d like to be wrong, but that’s one of my predictions among many I throw at this show on constant basis.

 

Very minor note here, but have you ever wondered how hungry you have to be to take a food product and stuff if in your mouth as if such speed and ferocity were necessary to keep you conscious and alive? When Stefan crammed the donut in his mouth I just laughed at the motion. He should have went further and put all the donuts in his mouth homer-style and tried talking through it. It would have made the moment more lighthearted.

 

With the stone destroyed, what will Rayna’s motivations be outside of being the walking Wikipedia for evil vampires she’s slain? Will she be neutral or does she have an agenda even though she’s down to one life? There isn’t anything wrong with keeping her character around for another season, but that also means she’d need a love interest and problems fitting into society as she was an old lady who probably wasn’t in touch with current technology and pop-culture. Then again, she could be super adept and we just don’t know.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Given the write screenplay and effort to maximize the location and dilemma, a captivating episode can be born of good intentions. Tonight’s episode saw to that and brought some much needed sentiment that has been lost as of late. Complex plot-driven arcs are one thing, but character driven pieces are often the better approach as a vampire-drama can only get so fantastical before it drift into lunacy. Keeping the brothers grounded in real human relationships helps produce a successful season and as long as that is kept aware, this show will do fine. The mystery of the future has been solved and now it’s time to move forward and capitalize on Rayna’s legacy as her evil spirit vampires have returned to reality for another dose of murderous intent. Now is a great time to root for the brothers who must battle more cynical and devious vampires than they used to be. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words