I’ve been fascinated by Arctic environments since I first watched the 1956 verson of The Thing (with james Arness) when I was a kid. And it wasn’t just The Thing, There was another movie called The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms that combined Arctic environments with dinosaurs rampaging through a city concept, that I got a real kick out of, too.
A few years, I’d never read any of Dan Simmons books, although he was on my radar becasue he is one of the top horror writers in the industry. I hadn’t read them, not because he’s a bad writer. He’s a most excellent writer. I just never had the time, and he writes some real doorstoppers. But I couldn’t resist the plot of The Teror, about an old school Arctic expedition that goes horribly wrong. It features a mysterious monster, some serious levels of hardship, starvation, and possibly some cannibalism.
I love the book. It’s one of my top favorites of the past 20 years, so imagine my joy when I found out they were making a TV show about it, and it’s on AMC, which means the creators can remain faithful to the plot of the book, which also involves an element of the supernatural, and some graphic deaths. It definitely classifies as horror. I hope it blows up as much as The Walking Dead did, too.
This week, the first trailer was released. The show airs right at the end of TWD’s season in March, which will be here in no time, so I’m very excited. I just want to hype this up a bit, in case you guys hadn’t heard of it yet.
It also looks very faithful to the plot of the book, and seems to have captured that feeling of dread, that seems to be a requirement of ny movie set in a cold climate.It’s based on a true story in the sense that it has many events from that have actually happened in such expeditions.
For those of you worried about problematic issues, I can’t recall any from the book There is a young Indigenous woman, but in the book she comes to no harm, and if the creators keep that truthfulness to the book, she won’t on the show.
Normally this would be a comparison between The Mist film, and the TV show, but I didn’t watch the TV show beyond the first couple of episodes, because I got bored. Let’s just say that the TV show ain’t got nothing on the movie, probably because Frank Darabont had nothing to do with it, and the two people who were involved with it had a very different vision of what the Mist was about.
The series was a hot mess, that was slow and mostly incoherent, and was finally canceled. I was hopeful that it would be good, (I’m always hopeful that a show will be good), but I was a bit dubious when I heard there wouldn’t be any monsters in the show, and I think part of the reason for its failure, is fans of the movie had one idea of how it should be, and the creators had a completely different, and incompatible, idea
And of course, it’s really hard to top the original movie that it was based on. Frank Darabont has proven to be something of a genius when it comes to adapting Stephen King’s stories, having directed not just The Mist, but The Shawshank Redemption (which I loved), and The Green Mile, (which I hated for different reasons.)
Except for the controversial ending, The Mist is faithful to the novella on which it’s based, and that’s part of its success, because the story is a very effective study of human nature under extreme conditions, and you can’t get more extreme than being trapped in an enclosed space, while being menaced by giant hungry monsters.
I wrote an essay on how to write the apocalypse novel, and I used The Mist as the type of framework that many writers could try to hang such a story on, but really I have to credit Agatha Christie with making the premise famous, (although its much, much older than her) of a small group of people, trapped in a space they can’t leave, who start mysteriously dying. So many books and movies have been based on this idea that you can’t count them, and it’s an idea that seems to work especially well with horror movies, in everything from Alien (outer space), to Friday the 13th (the woods), to Night of the Living Dead (the apocalypse). The only thing that you can truly change about such stories is the size, and nature, of the space, (jungles, warehouses, summer camps, and spaceships) the type of people dying (probably White), and why (probably monsters). Along the way, the survivors have to navigate the very human monsters of greed, stupidity, callousness, cowardice, insanity…
In The Mist, David Drayton, his son Billy, and neighbor, Brent Norton get trapped inside a local grocery when a mysterious mist descends, a mist that contains some very hungry creatures. Also trapped with them is a small contingent of local people, along with Mrs. Carmody, a woman with the reputation of being a kind of hedge witch, who is also a religious fanatic.The two standout performances are from Andre Braugher as Norton , and Marcia Gay Harden, as Mrs. Carmody, with Melissa Mcbride (aka Carol from The Walking Dead) in her big film debut, making this a grand trifecta of awesome. Bringing up the rear, but never slouching, is Toby Jones, William Sadler, Sam Witwer, and Laurie Holden as Amanda Dunfrey, a woman David has an attraction to.
The Stephen King Multiverse
Near the small town of Bridgton Maine is a military facility that’s believed to be responsible for the descent of the Mist, after a huge thunderstorm knocks out the power in the town. The book suggests it was some experimental physics event created by something called The Arrowhead Project, that triggered the Mist, and Stephen King (and many fans ) have made this story part of the Stephen King Universe by suggesting that the Project opened what’s known in other King books, as a “thinny”, a portal between the worlds.
My personal assumption was that the portal opened into what King calls “todash” space, the dark void between the different worlds, which is inhabited by different types of monsters, like Tak , from The Regulators, and the creatures in this story. Todash Space is also something heavily referenced in The Dark Tower books, and at the opening of the movie, we can see David Drayton painting a picture of Roland Deschain, from The Gunslinger.
Thomas Jane, as David Drayton, just manages to just hold his own in this movie, which is impressive, as I never credited him as a particularly fine actor, although he has had a long career in film. Here, he’s supposed to be our everyman character, with whom the audience is meant to identify, and through which we’re meant to get into the story. His most direct nemesis’ is not the mist, but Edward Norton, a representative of disbelief, and Mrs. Carmody, who represents too much belief.
David tries to navigate these two approaches to their extreme circumstances, without falling into either the camp of delusion and denial, called The Flat Earth Society, in the book, or hysterical religious ideation, like Mrs. Carmody. In the novel, David has an affair with Amanda Dunfrey, as a form of solace over the loss of his wife, but in the film, Darabont stated that the two of them having an affair would make David’s character less sympathetic, so that was removed from the script. It would also have had the unintended side effect of the audience supposing that David was being punished for his adultery with her, especially if that was coupled with Darabont’s ending.
The ending sparked some controversy, because it’s completely at odds from what happened in the book, and some viewers claim that it defeats the purpose of everything David Drayton survived beforehand. The story itself is open-ended, David and the others never find their way out of the mist, although it ends on a hopeful note. In the movie, David and his friends elect to kill themselves, rather than be eaten by the monsters,, when their car runs out of gas. This made some people angry because they felt he went through so much to survive Mrs. Carmody, only to give up at the end.
But I felt this was an entirely reasonable response, if looked at along a continuum of the kinds of behavior we’d seen from everyone caught in the mist. In the book, some of the characters retreat from their circumstances by getting drunk, and a number of people who David says “went over”, simply go insane. People commit suicide, and retreat into religious hysteria, and denial. But the bottom line is that most of these people (except for a handful) do not want to face their situation head on. In the movie, David does, but even he and his friends are eventually defeated by the mist, and take their own lives.
Eventually, the only survivor is David, and he realizes the futility of what they’ve done after he steps out of his vehicle, intending to just give up and be eaten by whatever monster finds him first, only to encounter the retreat of the mist, and the American military destroying any monsters left over. That was something that infuriated a lot of people. David and the others having given up too soon. Had they waited just another hour or two, they would have all survived. But many people don’t understand that this is all an illustration of how hopelessness works. It’s immediate and intense, and must be taken care of right away. Hopelessness has no patience, and believes there is no time.
At any rate, staying in the store wouldn’t have saved them. They would have had to leave because of Mrs. Carmody anyway, as the military would never have arrived before she started killing more people.
Andre Braugher is incredible as Edward Norton. Heperfectly captures Norton’s officious resentment, from the book, and even manages to add an uncomfortable racial component, to his discussion with David in the market. So watch that scene again where he insinuates that people are racist, wtihout actually saying people are racist towards him.. In the book, he becomes the leader of the Flat Earth Society ,a faction of people withing the store who simply refuse to believe that the mist is dangerous., or that there are monsters.
It’s never made exactly clear what Norton does for a living, but I suspect he’s a lawyer. He approaches the entire event from an argumentative stance, as if his clinging to a rational approach to their circumstances should be enough to survive it. He and his crew represent just one approach to what has happened, and they (and the bagboy, who also didn’t believe the mist was dangerous.) are the first of the store’s customers to die. After those people are dead, we are left with the those who believe their circumstances are real, and that the monsters exist.
In the book, David states that there are so many different ways that the mind can approach what’s happened, but really there aren’t that many. People can only respond in about three ways to extreme fear: flight (whether it’s physical (suicide), mental (insanity)) from their circumstances, confrontating the situation head on, in an attempt to get around it, which is what David does, and negotiation, which is what Mrs. Carmody does. Edward Norton, and Norm the bagboy, tried disbelief and confrontation, and that promptly got them killed. In the novel, several people choose flight from their circumstances. They just mentally check out, (they go insane), still others use alcohol, or suicide to escape. This is somewhat less evident in the movie than in the story. We don’t see any of the characters getting drunk as a way of coping with the situation, for example.
And then there’s Mrs. Carmody. I think, in the movie, she’s meant to represent insanity, but I don’t believe she is insane, and I’ll explain why in a moment.
In the book, Mrs. Carmody is a caricature of religious insanity, screaming about the abominations in the mist, in a bright yellow pantsuit. She starts off the story as a joke, a figure of mockery. Over the years King has become better at writing radically religious people, but Mrs. Carmody is one of the weakest characters in the novel, as she is very one-note, and over the top. When we first meet her in the novel, she only has one setting and that is “crazy”, and she remains that way for the rest of the story. There’s no background or depth given to her. She’s little better than the monsters in the mist.
This is where Darabont’s talent for adapting King’s films comes into play. Under his creative control, Mrs. Carmody is considerably deepened as a character. We don’t learn anything new about her backstory, but we do learn that she is not as sure of herself as she would like everyone to believe. In the movie, she begins as a simple curmudgeon, complaining about the smallest thing. Like Norton, she sees her response to what’s happening as entirely reasonable, calmly and quietly explaining to the imprisoned crowd what will happen to everyone, if they don’t do as she says, which is one of the best changes from the book. As the movie progresses, you get a much better grasp of her character, especially in the scene with Amanda.
Amanda Dunfrey comes across Carmody in the lady’s restroom, and finds her in tears, as she prays to God to give her the strength to commit to His will. Amanda offers her comfort, but Mrs. Carmody’s response lets you know that she is aware of what contempt she is held in the town, and she rejects her. She speaks from the perspective of someone who sees herself as an underdog, a figure of mockery and disdain. She doesn’t accept Amanda’s overture of friendship because she knows Amanda doesn’t care about her, and that none of the people in the market are worthy.
That scenes lends a new perspective to her actions in the market. She is not as certain of her strength as she seems, not as sure she’s doing the right thing but she forges ahead anyway, and since you get the subtle impression she has just as much contempt for the townsfolk ( they are all horrible sinners) as they do for her (as the town crazy), we have to question her motivations for calling for more and more extreme ends to deal with the mist. Her way of dealing with the mist is to try to appease the deity, from whom she beleives the mist comes, but she goes about it the wrong way.
Carmody’s belief, that she is doing God’s will, is abetted by surviving an attack by one of the mist creatures. A large dragonfly creature, with a venomous stinger lands on her, while she prays that it won’t kill her. When it doesn’t harm her, I think she sees that as a sign of God’s approval, that she is indeed doing the right thing, (after which she starts to show a certain degree of pride, and certainty, in knowing what God wants). She also shows pride in believing that she can save these people from certain damnation. But I don’t believe she is insane, as that’s too easy. (I think her motivations are a lot darker than insanity, and some of it may be revenge against the townspeople, she feels hate her, although that’s something that’s not immediately clear, and is just my supposition.) In other words, her motivations are not pure.
If Norton, and David, represent forms of confrontation, then Mrs. Carmody represents negotiation, which also doesn’t work in their circumstances either. Norton tries confrontation and dies, Carmody’s approach is appeasement and negotiation, and she dies, and this is why Darabont’s ending doesn’t upset me overmuch, as its entirely in keeping with the theme of the movie, that there’s only one response that saved anyone from the mist.
David’s confrontational approach doesn’t work because it is self-serving, and he ends up losing everything, his wife, son, friends, and endangering his sanity. Everyone around David dies, every time he goes into the mist. But he miraculously survives, because his reasons for going into the mist, while altruistic, are not completely pure. One can even make the argument that only the impure, the sinners, die, and that the reason David survives while others do not, is because, although he is tainted, he is still never directly responsible for anyone’s death, and does make efforts to save people, like Norm the bagboy, and Edward Norton. But he is the one who talks the others into going to the pharmacy, and talks them into escaping the market. And those actions could be considered a form of hubris, as Mrs. Carmody says.
One can make a comparison between David and Mrs Carmody, in that it is their pride and hubris that get other people killed, as they are both guilty of these things. Norton’s pride and disbelief got him killed, and David’s pride lets him believe he can somehow defeat the mist by confronting it head on. Carmody’s prideful belief that she knows God’s will results in her death, too.
It’s interesting to note that Ollie Weeks dies just after he kills Mrs Carmody. He is not a prideful character, and seemed to genuinely regret killing her, and even though he had a very good reason for doing so, murder is still a sin. In the novel, the soldiers commit suicide, but in the movie Carmody is directly responsible for the death of at least one of them, when she talks the crowd into sacrificing him to the mist, which is still murder. Their situation can be likened to a form of purgatory, in which there is nothing they can do to escape their fate,except for the one character who actually does.
Melissa McBride’s character is one of the few people who actually survives walking out onto the mist, and I suspect it’s because she doesn’t negotiate with it, or try to run from it. She surrenders to it with faith, and humility, that she will be safe to save her children. She is also one of the purest people to do so, as she has harmed no one, unlike Mrs. Carmody. She believes the mist is dangerous, but leaves the market anyway, to save her kids, and hers is one of the few motivations which is pure and not entirely self serving, the love for her children. At the end of the movie, we see her riding with the soldiers, both her children with her. It is interesting that David survives only after he does what she did, which is knowingly surrender himself to the will of the mist, and simply walk out into it.
All that said, I don’t believe Darabont (or Stephen King) set out to tell a religious allegory, but the presence of Mr.s Carmody allows one to see it in that light.
Well apparently, I’m not reviewing any TV shows, which I probably should be doing. Actually, all it is is that I’ve been busy and tired to review the shows, and movies, I’ve been watching, and I’ve been watching a lot of stuff.
What have I been watching? I have been watching The Walking Dead. So far I’m really liking this season. It’s very action packed, and full of feels, and I like that. All of my favorite characters are doing some next level shit as the war between The Alexandrians, Hilltoppers, The Kingdom, and The Saviors heats up. I haven’t been feeling any urges to write about any of these episodes though, although I find Morgan’s storyline the most compelling. I just learned that my precious tigress is dead. Shiva got taken out by a pack of zombies, while defending the life of her king. (RIP Shiva! You badass!)
I’m so tired!
Part of the reason I’m not reviewing so much is that I’m tired, but part of it is that I don’t actually know what to say about it yet.. There’s not a lot to be said about the plot, other than to recap it, and if you’re watching the show, you already know what happened. Morgan and Jesus came to “fisticuffs’ over the treatment of prisoners of war, and Carol got her kill on for a while, and Gregory kept it real by being an asshole. I do have thoughts about the characters, and major themes, but I think I’ll wait until after the first part of the season is done to comment on those. We’ve got three episodes left, so I think I’ll just do a summation of my thoughts at the end.
I always get fatigued in November and December, and not because I’m celebrating the holidays. I’m not celebrating, or hosting or anything. It’s a combination of insomnia, sleep apnea, and finding human beings exhausting, even when they’re not jitterbugging with overexcitement about the holidays. (Also, some of it is just a change in the weather and age. Feeling cold all the time is just tiring. Y’all yunguns just don’t know!)
And I don’t get any respite from the weather while at work. The PTB keep it freezing here, so all the women are wearing sweaters, and carrying around tiny electric heaters, while many of the men walk around in shirtsleeves, and poke fun at us for being cold all the time. I can’t stand them!
Where was I? Oh yeah, I’ve been watching episodes of Supernatural, but not reviewing those either. I have liked the episodes I’ve seen, but that one particular standout episode, that occurs every season, hasn’t happened yet. I’m waiting for that one. There’s only so many times I can say this episode deserves a B-. So far the show appears to be in a kind of holding pattern except for the return of Castiel from The Empty, but it’s still early in the season, so we have plenty of time to establish where the plot is going, but our theme is, as always, is family.
I’ve been watching Ghost Wars, which is still chugging along on the Syfy channel. I’m liking this show, with one of my favorite characters being played by Meatloaf. He is doing an exemplary job on this show. I hadn’t paid too much attention to his acting before, but I love him in this show. He is tearing it up! The show is actually proving to be kinda scary. I’m not normally into ghosts. I don’t usually find them particularly scary, but the show is pretty good at establishing mood, and I find most of the characters likable. There’s a token Black woman, a scientist from the local research center. No, I would not be surprised to find that some physics experiments were behind the influx and hostility of the ghosts.
The Exorcist has kicked it into high gear. The first few episodes were spent establishing the information about where, and who, the characters are going to be, and then trying to figure out who is possessed. So we’ve figured out its John Cho’s character, who is possessed by a demon that’s masquerading as his late-wife, and this is really groundbreaking for American television because Asians don’t often get to be possessed by demons, and the show is actually proving to be compelling. There also an added gay subplot, as one of the priests is engaged in some flirtation with a local silver-fox, who looks like Anderson Cooper, (if he was a fisherman). There’s also a secondary plot about some type of holy order of assassins hunting down a cabal of demons, which is only of mild interest to me. I’ll have more to say about the treatment of the show’s traumatized children, and their disabilities, later.
I am working on some long form essays. I can still knock those out, it seems. And I have a bunch of ideas, that I’m not gonna tell you about, because I wanna surprise you. I’m going to concentrate on those for a while, along with a few long form movie reviews, and eventually I’ll have something to say about The Walking Dead, and Supernatural.
What I have been enjoying is the show Superstition. I mentioned it before, and said I wasn’t greatly impressed with the acting,in the pilot, and I thought the drama was a bit much, considering I didn’t know any of the characters, but I’ve kept up watching it, and it’s maturing into a compelling show.
Superstition has an all Black cast, about a family, The Hastings, who have a history of fighting monsters. It’s their calling, and their base of operations is a small-town funeral home in Georgia. It stars Mario Van Peebles, and while I was a bit dubious about the quality at first, I’m glad the show is here. Even if it doesn’t become a breakout hit, it’s still a good foot in the door, paving the way for other genre vehicles starring PoC casts, (so is The Exorcist).
That said, this show has greatly improved since the pilot. The acting has gotten much better, too. I’ve got a good bead on people’s relationships to each other, and the show can, and does sometimes surprise me, by overturning certain tropes, or not going in an expected direction, and it keeps me asking questions, on the basis of those relationships, which is proving to be the show’s strong point.
The show stars Mario Van Peebles as Isaac Hastings, who taught his son Calvin the ins and outs of monster killing, and his wife Bea, who runs the day to day operations of the funeral home and, I think, is one of the keepers of the family lore, along with a woman of mixed parentage named Tilley. I’m not certain if Tilly is a member of the family or not, but she’s very smart and nerdy, and I like her. The local police chief is May (above), and she has a daughter by Calvin, named Garvey. Garvey is the least likable character on the show but only because, as is typically written, she’s an obnoxious teenager. There’s nothing wrong with her acting. The character is just annoying.
The show has a lot of Black women, and all of them have complicated, and occasionally mysterious, relationships with each other, which Calvin has to try to navigate, along with getting to know the daughter he never knew he had, reacquainting himself with her mother, and his childhood sweetheart, May, who is now the Chief of Police. He has already been through a bout of people fighting, as he has returned from the Iraq war, after having left town many years ago, and not had any contact with his family, after a falling out with his father.
The show is notable for its depiction of a stable Black family, depictions of Black love and loyalty and Black women actually holding conversations with each other, instead of screaming at each other. Its also important for PoC to be shown being heroes, saving themselves and each other, and being total badasses, in general. Calvin is obviously meant to be the everyman hero of the show. I like how the writers allow him to be human, complex, tragic, and also have a sense of humor. I love the female friendships (and mild enmities) on the show. I like what I see between Garvey and her Mom, Bea and May, and them and Tilly, who seems to be some kind of archivist or researcher. She’s the one who most often explains whats going on to everyone else.
What’s interesting for me is Calvin’s flirtation with his old girlfriend, May. He was taken aback at the idea of having a daughter he didn’t know about but he’s taken it in stride and wants to get to know her better (though Garvey is having none of it. She’s used to not having a Dad.) I like that May and Calvin are trying to get back together, and making some effort at getting to know each other again. The show could’ve taken the easy way out, and had the two of them hating on each other, and I’m glad it didn’t go in that direction.
I made the mistake of reading the reviews on IMDb, which truly indeed was a mistake, because some of the reviews seriously pissed me off. The show is being roundly hated on , while being compared to Supernatural. Superstition is everything that Supernatural isn’t, and it really isn’t fair to compare the two. For one thing, Superstition has a cast of WoC, who are well written and treated better by the script. None of the Black characters are there to make White characters lives better or happy, or sacrifice themselves for them. (And I am unlikely to be subjected to the image of an innocent Black woman being held at gunpoint, by a deranged stalker, because the Black writers have at least some sensitivity to their audience.)
Other than a family fighting monsters, I don’t see much resemblance. Half the shows on TV have the same premise as Supernatural, so I don’t understand exactly why that’s the comparison being made, unless of course the reviewers are Supernatural stans who just hate any shows about the supernatural, or are too young to remember that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a thing. There’s also a third reason, but I don’t wanna get my blood pressure up by talking about the Klandom today.
The Hastings aren’t travelling the country, evading demons, fighting angels, and developing superpowers. Their base of operations is a funeral parlour, which they’ve been at for a long time, and everybody in the family knows what it is they do, and appear to be on board with it, including Garvey. They also have a society or person (I’m not sure which) which rivals them, called The Drudge. There are other mythologies and belief systems being represented besides European ones. For example, one of my favorite actors, Jasmine Guy, is doing a great cameo as a representative of Anansi, named, of course, Aunt Nancy, and I love her already, and all she had to do was show up, and be intriguing.
For the Hastings this is all just a job. The show tries to make what they do seem as normal as possible, as just a family profession. This show doesn’t talk down to its audience, or browbeat a point, because that’s not Peebles style. Superstition doesn’t give you a whole lot of setup, which I had a moment getting used to. It throws you right in the deep end with Calvin. You learn what he learns as he learns it. You get one explanation and then it’s on you to keep up. If you don’t pay attention to the dialogue and you miss something, you betta rewind, because it probably won’t be mentioned again, but still may be an important plot point later.
The atmosphere is one of normalcy, with routine answers to supernatural puzzles, like trying to retrieve May when she gets trapped in a “mirror world” by an evil witch. There’s no oohing and ahhing about the paranormal in this show. It’s the bizarreness of the situations people are put in, and the relationships between the characters, that is the source of most of the drama. Supernatural started as a show for teenagers, and still has much of that flavor. This is a show about grownups for grownups. The audience is expected to pay attention and keep up. I reminded more of the show Leverage, crossed with the X-Files, more than anything else.
Not that the there aren’t legitimate criticisms of the show. The pacing needs some smoothing, some of the acting is still a little dodgy, but not enough to make me stop watching. It could use some memorable music. I don’t care so much about the special effects, as I don’t think that’s what makes a good show, and some of the acting could be tightened up a bit, but its far from being the worst show on TV, and shows real promise of future greatness, and I’m here for it.
So, I’m off for the next couple of days, and will get back to you, for some weekend reading, later this week.
Well, it’s almost Halloween and so naturally, as it does every other day of the year, my mind turns toward scary movies. I can’t out a whole movie on here but I can share with you some of my favorite short films. I like monsters, so most of these have monsters. I like comedies, so some of them are funny and there’s a couple of these that scared the living shit outta m This movie infuriated me, especially after I realized what was actually happening:
You guys know I’m not a fan of spiders, so I was reluctant to watch this one, but it just so happens it has a surprisingly funny ending:
Itsy Bitsy Spiders
I saw this one last year, and it stuck in my mind for a whole year, but I’d forgotten where I’d seen it, and the title. It took me some time to find it again, and it’s still scary:
Yeah, this one is very, very, creepy:
Yeah, this one is creepy but hilarious, and I think I remember this song from my childhood.
The Cat Came Back
This is a little longer than the others but it’s worth the wait and it’s funny.
This one isn’t particularly scary but it has zombies in it and I thought it was deeply cute:
Less Than Human
Here’s a slightly different haunted house story:
Vienna Waits For You
This isn’t what it seems:
Okay, this is the one that made me actually scream out loud:
The Thing In The Apartment
Hope you enjoyed these. I’ll have some more on Halloween!
So, I’ve watched maybe two episodes of this show and I’m really liking it so far. I’m willing to date this show for a while, because it’s good fun and makes me laugh. Midnight Texas isn’t a deep show. It’s not a Bryan Fuller Joint, or Westworld, but it’s a fun little interlude before going to bed, since it airs at ten, Monday nights, and I gotta go to work in the morning.
The main character, Manfred Bernardo, can see ghosts. His Auntie comes from the town of Midnight, and after she dies suddenly, leaving him in debt to some type of criminal, her ghost tells him the town can be a safe place for him, where his skills will be appreciated.
Midnight Texas happens to be the home of various supernatural beings, and Manfred fits right in. Upon his arrival, Manfred meets a local girl named Creek, and while her father is deeply suspicious of him, the young lady is intrigued, and the two of them develop a relationship very quickly. A lot of things happen quickly in the show, and many of the plot points happen in a kind of throwaway manner that takes some getting used to. I understand the idea is to keep it light, and not get too bogged down in philosophy, meta- physics, and whatnot. The show is supposed to just be fun, and I’ll watch it in that spirit.
I have a lot of favorite characters on the show, most of which are supers. There’s some good representation on the show, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the various characters. I missed the second episode, but managed to watch the third. The creators are trying to keep things light without being ha-ha funny, which is a fine line. It doesn’t look like they’re trying so much to reproduce True Blood, as reproduce the mood of True Blood. Some of these characters are mentioned in the True Blood books though.
Manfred, for example, is the psychic that Sookie met when she visited Dallas. Midnight Texas is based on source material from the same writer, Charlaine Harris. I have not read the books. I opted not to, because I didn’t want my brain focusing on the side issues of the books, while watching the show. I may read them at some point in the future, because they seem like fun, but not right now.
We have a full complement of creatures on the show, so you’d think my favorite would be the Reverend Emilio Sheehan, who happens to be a Were-Tiger, which is kinda awesome. He seems rather morose, which is appropriate as I consider actual tigers to be the “crabby old men” of the giant cat world. There are WoC in the cast. One of them owns the local bar/diner, and I don’t think she has any superpowers, but I could be wrong, and it’s something that could be revealed later. The other is the local witch. The town does have some mundane people inhabiting it, and some of them are aware of the supernatural qualities of the others.
You’d think my next favorite would be the Angel, Joe because he’s really, really hot. I’m not into blondes, as a rule, but I’m willing to acknowledge the occasional hotness of some of them. He happens to be living with a Hispanic man named Chuy, who also happens to be an Angel, and I wonder if the two of them being a couple is the reason they’ve been exiled to Earth.
Well, you know who my favorite is. Lemuel, the rather unique vampire who feeds off human energy, and eats other vampires. We get to see his backstory in the third episode. He used to be a slave and there’s a scene of Lemuel being whipped for trying to escape, which I didn’t appreciate having to look at. That scene is pretty graphic and you may want to skip it if watching Black people being tortured is not your thing. The point of all that is to show how far Lemuel will go to be free, I guess. After a couple of escape attempts, Lem encounters a Native American vampire, who transforms him. Lem’s immediate course of action is to avenge himself on the slave owner, who had him beaten, and that guy’s entire family. That’s pretty graphic too.
Later, Lem and the other vampires in his clan, have a falling out, because Lem thinks he’s become just another slave to his thirst. In the third episode, Len’s Maker returns looking to take over Midnight for himself. The townspeople rally together to kill the vampires.
This seems to be the main theme this season, as we’ve had three/four episodes, in which the townspeople need to band together to defeat some outside force. In the middle of all this plot, we learn that Lem started off as an ordinary vampire, but after encountering Manfred’s aunt when she was a child, she transformed him into something else, a vampire that can feed on other vampires.
The characters often have some deep philosophical insights, but like I said, it’s in a blink and you’ll miss it manner. (Joe and the Reverend do this too.) Lem is played by Peter Mensah, who is extremely handsome, in his bold blue contacts. You may remember him as a gladiator from the show Spartacus.
I like Lem’s girlfriend, Olivia, who is some type of international assassin. She’s a total badass, and she and Lem are the town’s heavy hitters, when it comes to defense. I don’t normally pay a whole lot of attention to White television actresses, unless they’ve firmly established themselves with a good track record, but I like this actress. She’s blunt spoken, clear-headed, and pragmatic, all qualities I admire, and I see why Lem likes her. She has some secrets from her past, that she’s trying to bury, while dealing with anger issues. I could do with a lot fewer scenes of Olivia and Lem gettin’ it on, though. It doesnt need to be shown in every episode.
Fiji is another one of my favorites, and I like her, not because she’s the town witch, although that’s kinda cool, but because she has a talking cat. I don’t know much about the cat’s backstory but he’s snarky, and dismissive, just the way you’d think a cat would be. How it happened that her cat talks, we don’t know yet. Fiji is very young, but she’s also extremely powerful, and well-respected in the town. Most of the mundanes know what she is, and rely on her to protect them.
Fiji is also really cute, and kind of adorkably nerdy. She has a mad crush on one of the townies, a guy with the unfortunate name of Bobo, and her feelings seems to be reciprocated. One of the more powerful images I have of her, is from the first episode, where she crushes a police vehicle, with little more than her bare hands, and a strong will. Fiji looks sweet and vulnerable, but she ain’t the one to mess with. She’s refreshingly different, as Black women rarely get to be emotionally fragile, but powerful love interests, and/or witches either.
I’m going to try to enjoy this show while it lasts. It’s on network television, which has a nasty habit of cancelling the shows I like, so I don’t hold out much hope that Midnight Texas. will be around next year. This is the same station that just canceled Still Star Crossed. But then I was trying really hard not to get attached to that show. (That didn’t work). I’m not gonna try that with this show and it still might get canceled. I might as well get attached. There’s always the books, which I’m told, Charlaine intends to keep writing.
Mr. Mercedes (Audience Network)
I liked this show, too. I was expecting it to be a deeply serious dramatic type show, but it turned out to have a quirky sense of humor, not because the writing is funny, or people are telling jokes, but because certain characters and situations are just odd. It’s not like the show Psych, which was a deliberate comedy. This is not a comedy. It’s just some of the characters are weird.
The show is based on a trilogy of books by Stephen King, the first title of which is Mr. Mercedes, named after the killer in the book. Brendan Gleason plays Bill Hodges, a retired cop who is trying to figure out what to do with himself, now that he’s no longer working. until he is taunted out of retirement by Mr. Mercedes, so-named after he drove a Mercedes into a crowd of job seekers outside a job fair, killing several. I like Gleason’s character. One of the funniest recurring issues is when he can’t believe various women find him attractive. (It’s definitely the beard.)
The show begins with a very graphic scene, and I was heavily reminded of the events in Charlottesville Virginia. There’s no mystery about the killer for the audience, just as in the book. We’re introduced to Brady Hartsfield early in the story. The book remains very faithful to the books, except in tiny details like the wacky neighbor lady who lives next door, and Bill feeding a massive tortoise passing through his yard one morning. I’m not sure if this is a pet or what.
Bill is assisted in his sleuthing, by the kid he hired to mow his lawn, and who happens to be a computer wiz. Jerome is played by Jharrel Jerome, and I like him already. His character is a refreshing change from the Black Male Sportsplayer/Jock, we see so often on TV. Black men are rarely cast as hardware nerds. Brady is also a tech-nerd, and works at one of those big box technical stores, which is something like Best Buy, and I like that Jerome seems to be every bit his equal when it comes to the esoteric workings of computers.
I think Bill’s quirky neighbor is meant to represent a woman with which Bill has a brief, but satisfying relationship, in the books. Or at least I hope so. I don’t know if this will happen on the show, but in the book, Janey is murdered by Brady. This is not a catalyst to make Bill chase after him, because Bill was already unofficially working the Mr. Mercedes case. This is Brady’s attmept to make Bill commit suicide. The neighbor, Ida Silver, is played by Holland Taylor, and if she looks familiar, that you may have seen her in every funny show of the 90s.
The villain is played by one of the alumni of the cable show, Penny Dreadful . Harry Treadaway, who played Victor Frankenstein, is as disgusting character here, as he was on the other show. Apparently, this is how he’s going to make his career, playing unlikable people in perfectly good shows. The show remains very faithful to the books with him too. He has an incestuous relationship with his mother, whom he later poisons, and it looks like the writers are sticking to this plot, although in the book, the mother initiates sexual activity. In the show, it appears she doesn’t know that her son regularly masturbates with her as his subject. (I know! Ewww!)
Their relationship does have a very Bates Motel feel. Brady works at a Big Box store, with other quirky characters, and a deeply stupid boss, who is constantly shit-talking Brady’s dreams of life beyond the store. This goes a long way towards humanizing this incredibly shitty character, who mowed down dozens of people with his car, just for shits and giggles. This is not something that happens in the books, so I wasn’t expecting that.
I’m going to keep watching this because the pilot certainly captured me. The show airs on the Audience Network which may be difficult for some of you to access. I have access to it through DirectTV, and its possible you may need that, to watch this show.
The Void (Netflix)
I love a good creature feature, and I was attracted to this movie because of its use of tentacles in its promotional material. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot when I sat down to watch it. I was sort of expecting a little Cthulhu type stuff, and there’s certainly a little of that in it, but there was also a lot of it I couldn’t make hide, nor hair, of.
It seems to be about a group of cultists attempting to call some dark being to Earth, to inhabit the bodies of humans, and the cultists are partially successful. They’re doing this in collusion with a doctor at the local hospital, where they’ve trapped several people. Daniel Carter, Maggie, James, and inexplicably, an Asian woman, named Kim, who I lost track of by the end of the movie.
These people have to fight off monsters inhabiting the bodies of their friends, and a couple of trigger happy locals, while working their way through the maze of the hospital, to find and stop the doctor from unleashing Hell on Earth, through the body of his pregnant daughter.
I have to give fair warning. The movie is very gory, with lots of blood and other fluids gushing all over the place. People get skewered with knives and/or shot, and sometimes they get torn apart by creatures. The cult members wear white hooded cloaks and look a little like KKK members, but there is no equivocating in this case. They are definitely villains ,whose job it is to keep the hapless victims trapped in the hospital to be fodder for the monsters. There’s also an element of the movie The Thing, as the monster is a conglomeration of various body parts and live people.
The movie doesn’t have the happiest ending either. At the end Daniel, and I guess her name is Maggie, get trapped in an alternate universe featuring a giant black pyramid. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not an A+ movie either. A lot of the plot seems to have been borrowed from other Lovecraftian pastiche movies, like Hellraiser, and Re-animator ,and the acting is sometimes a bit dodgy. But I think the key words here are “not bad”. It’s a good workmanlike plot where bad things happen to bad, and sometimes not so bad,people, who sometimes act like cowards, and occasionally act like heroes.
Daniel isn’t the most charismatic guy in the film, although he is set up as our hero, who has the most sense, and who is gonna save the world. None of the other characters stand out as especially interesting either, really. Basically, if you’re watching this movie, it’s just for the monsters, and gore.
Here’s a list of shows I’m interested in watching for August, and the new Fall Season. I also included shows I’m not particularly interested in, but some of you might enjoy viewing. i didn’t list some of the returning shows I will be watching though. (The numbers preceding the titles, are the dates of the shows, not a rating of some kind.)
4 – Comrade Detective (Amazon)
I know nothing about this show, except it appears to be set in the mid-80s, and involves a Russian detective who comes to America to solve crimes. From what I saw of the trailer it looked like a parody of 80s cop shows. Its available on Amazon Prime.
9 – Mr. Mercedes (Audience Network/DirecTV)
I read the books for this series, and it’s Stephen King, so I’ll watch this. It should be a good substitute for The Mist, which turned out to be disappointingly boring. The show airs this Wednesday. Just to warn you though, the show does contain some graphic, and possibly triggering imagery:
I still have mixed feelings about this, but I will watch it. I hate Jessica Jones, and Danny Rand, but I love Luke Cage, Daredevil and Sigourney Weaver, so I actually hope the show looks, and does well, despite my misgivings.
25 – The Tick (Amazon)
I was never a big fan of this character but I have seen some episodes here and there over the years, and I know some people are huge fans of both the comics and the short lived cartoon, so I’m putting this on the list. I may or may not watch it. I will add that the lead actor is absolutely perfect for the role, though.
5 – American Horror Story: Cult (FX)
I’m gearing up for the final season of this show. Its got a brand new cast, along with three, or four, old cast members. I think this season is supposed to touch on some of the themes of the previous seasons. Here! Have a creepy trailer! Hope you’re not scared of clowns.
10 – The Orville (Fox)
I’m not sure I want to watch this because of the lead actor, (we do not share the same type of humor, really), but the special effects look like fun, and I’m always up for a Star Trek parody, which is what this appears to be. Trailers are sometimes misleading though.
10 – Outlander (Starz)
I kinda like this show, and not just because Jaime is a hottie. I’ve never read any of the books, beyond the Lord Grey series, because I thought they were Romances, and that’s just not my bag. But I like the show. I’m a sucker for a good costume drama, I guess.
10 – Fear The Walking Dead (AMC)
I don’t watch this show because one show about The Walking Dead is harrowing enough, but I know some people love this one, too.
24 – Star Trek Discovery (CBS Access)
I’m eagerly looking forward to watching this. I’ll have to subscribe to the network to watch it though. CBS All Access is a subscription cable service like Netflix. It costs 5.99 a month. The show will air the first episode on network television, after which all the episodes will be available on Access, with a hiatus after about six episodes, and the rest of the new episodes airing in January.
26 – Brooklyn 99 (Fox)
The show’s last season ended on a cliffhanger with Rosa and Jake possibly going to prison on corruption charges. It sounds like a pretty heavy plot, but this show has a way of getting you to laugh at such things, without feeling guilty about it. I’m looking forward to the new season. I love these characters and don’t like to see bad things happen to them.
27 – SEAL Team (CBS)
I keep saying I’m going to watch these military type shows, because I find all this Spec Ops stuff fascinating, but I keep skipping them. There’s an unspoken American jingoism in a lot of them, that just doesn’t sit well with me, and I end up just not liking the shows. Also, David Boreanaz is in this one, and I don’t like him very much.
28 – Gotham (Fox)
Apparently, The Scarecrow makes his debut this season. I like Killer Croc and hope he’s on the show, or planning to be. I’ve been skipping this show, because it hasn’t been holding my attention, and because some of the acting was a bit dodgy. I hated most of the female characters because their acting was terrible. I hated this show’s version of The Joker. Penguin, however, continued to be a favorite. but I’ll watch the season premiere, and see what’s what.
29 – Marvel’s Inhumans (ABC)
This show just looks bad. But bad with the potential to be good. I’m still mad at the show runner, Scott Buck, for inflicting the mess that was Iron Fist on us earlier this year. I swear to gob the next person who mentions the words affirmative action, and undeserving Black hires, in the same sentence is gonna catch some hands. Mediocre stains like Scott Buck are allowed to fuck up multiple times and still manage to have careers. This show could have gone to some deserving PoC instead of this guy. Okay let me stop here, because this rant can, and will, go for several pages.
The Exorcist (Fox)
I stopped watching this about halfway through the first season, but I know some of you out there are still really into it. (It does look kinda scary from the trailers.) Let me now how its going, and I’ll check out a few episodes ,on your rec.
1 – Ghosted (Fox)
I’ve loved Craig Robinson, ever since Hot Tub Time Machine, a movie I profoundly hated. I also remember him from Reno 911, as the commercial conman who was always singing using the same five notes on his synthesizer. He also did some hilarious cameos on Brooklyn 99. I was wondering when he’d get his own show and I’m set to watch this one, where he plays some regular yahoo, who gets involved in some afterlife type of shenanigans, although it mostly just looks like a buddy-cop show, with ghosts.
2 – Lucifer (Fox)
I’m not a fan of this but I heard the show has greatly improved since season one. I’m still not inclined to watch any of it, because I object to the woobification of evil characters. That whole “I’m not really bad. I just like a little drinkin’ and whorin’,” shtick gets real old with me, real fast. If a character is gonna be evil don’t make excuses for them. Just let them be evil.
The Gifted (Fox)
This show isn’t filling me with a great deal of confidence that it will be interesting. Right now it looks like Riverdale with superpowers, and I hate Riverdale so…nah! Also I’m kinda getting tired of the whole’ government is after superpowered people” plot. I find it difficult to believe that anything formed by the US government would have their shit together enough to be that organized. Private companies could pull it off, but not the government.
10 – The Flash (CW)
I watched the last season, and still have no idea what the hell is happening on this show. I’ll probably watch this just to figure out what’s going on.
Legends of Tomorrow (CW)
I’m really looking forward to this. The show is adding some new characters, and Damien Darhk is rumored to be back on the show this season. Also I’m a huge Firestorm fan and never get tired of looking at Jax. Vixen is also a favorite who clearly needs her own damn show.
Black Lightning doesn’t air until 2018, but I’m going to check it out, as CW becomes the Official DCEU network.
12 – Supernatural (CW)
Yep! Gonna watch!
Nope. I always fall asleep on this show. I don’t know why!
22 – The Walking Dead (AMC)
Yep! Gonna watch!
27 – Stranger Things (Netflix)
I think I’ll watch the second season of this, which looks more interesting than the first. I watched a few episodes, and wasn’t greatly impressed, but it also wasn’t bad either, in that I didn’t fall asleep. It does have kids in it, and I’m allergic to watching those sometimes. At any rate, it looks like a good tide-over until the release of Stephen King’s IT, in theaters next year.
2 – SWAT (CBS)
Another military themed show I’m planning to look at, and then don’t.
14 – Future Man (Syfy)
I got nothing. I know nothing beyond the fact that Seth Rogen is involved, and I sorta, kinda like him and this title. I know Josh Hutcherson is in it too, and I have no idea who the hell he is, nor do I care to Google him. I will, however, give the show a looky-loo, see what’s up, and let you know what I think. The Trailer doesn’t tell you much either.
21 – The Runaways (Hulu)
This looks like a better match for me than The Gifted. The trailer for he Gifted just looks really bad, I think. But I like the idea behind this show, and I’ve read a few of the comic books its based on, about the sons and daughters of some kind of Superteam, (like the JLA) battling with their superparents. The showrunners say they’re not going to do the usual racist stereotype stuff, so I’m holding them to that promise. this is another one with no trailer.
29 – Vikings (History)
Hell if I know. I watched all the other seasons without understanding why I love this show. I might as well finish it up.
Midnight Texas, Charlaine Harris’ new show has already begun and is approaching its third/fourth episode. Teen Wolf is finishing its last season, and I’ve pretty much skipped it, for reasons, although I will watch the finale. The show has moved to Sunday nights at 8PM without telling anybody, though.
The most recent show to air is The Sinner, starring Jessica Biel, which I wasn’t particularly interested in, although some of you might be interested, because there may be some supernatural element involved in its plot.
Preacher is nearing its end, and I’m a little behind in my episodes because I’ve been watching movie re-runs (like The Thing and Robocop), and I need to stop it. Game of Thrones is also in its final season, but I’m not much of a fan and I’ve been skipping the episodes. I will watch the Finale though.
I will try to watch Ash Vs. The Evil Dead Season 3, even though I missed the last season. The Punisher is set to be released in November on Netflix. I really liked this character in Daredevil, and I’m looking forward to the show.
Coming in 2018:
We’ll be seeing the second seasons of Legion,Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, this year. Cloak and Dagger, and The New Warriors is set to be released. I’m looking forward to the New Warriors because Squirrel Girl will be prominently featured.
This seems to be the season for movie related episodes. This episode seems like an homage to one of the greatest Action movies to come out of Korea in the past ten years: The Raid: Redemption. Yeah, what you see in the trailer is pretty much the entire plot of the movie. In this episode, […]
I’ve never read any of Polansky’s other books, but I have heard of his Lowtown series and have much respect for his efforts. A City Dreaming is not part of the Lowtown series, as far as I can tell. It’s a new Urban Fantasy novel, with an unnamed protagonist that we simply call M, a man of very long and indeterminate age. Since M is not described in the book, (most of the characters aren’t), I was free to imagine all of them however I pleased. I imagined M (short for Man With No Name, although I suppose that does count as a name), as a British Black man, who looked like Idris Elba, or Chewitel Ejiofor, depending on my mood.
The book is easily read, but more a little confusing, in that it has the barest bones of a plot. Most of the book consists of M, who happens to have minor magical abilities, getting into adventures with his friends, drinking, doing drugs and looking for sex.
There’s no plot as far as I can tell, but that doesn’t stop the book from being enjoyable. M has some pretty funny and amazing adventures. His friends are not as interesting as him, but when they show up, it usually means there’s some problem needs solving, and it’s M who has to figure it out. I love the dialogue, which is wonderful. The book is very easy to read, although the only really great character is M, who sort of reminds me of Constantine, able to talk his way into, or out of, various magical dilemmas, using mostly wit and an an ability to lie a lot, but with less death.
Where the book really captured me was the adventures he had. It’s sort of like taking a grand tour of multiple Earths. A kind of “Day In The Life Of M” series of activities, that he encounters after returning to NY, from some not quite detailed hiatus abroad. The first time we meet him, he’s trying to save his friend, Boy, from the Pirates of the Gowanus Canal, a group of people so enamored of the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”, that they have willed into existence a pocket universe, “pirate lifestyle” in the middle of the city. This entire scene is hilarious. Later, he gets caught in a feud between the two Queens of NY, talks some sort of coffee God out of taking over the earth, takes a train trip to the crossroads of reality via Hell, and gets stranded in a steampunk version of Victorian NY. At no point during the book do you get the impression that M’s life is at all in danger, though, which made this a fun, pleasant, read for me.
I found M’s ruminations on his life and friends, his jaunts, and activities, pretty funny. My favorite is when he crashes a posh, uptown party and upon finding that the waitstaff are all zombies, disrupts the spell that makes them compliant. The zombies break free and immediately begin eating the party-goers. The wizard who bespelled them only compounds that problem by summoning something much worse.
So yeah, it’s an enjoyable read if you can get past the serial nature of the rather barebones plot. It’s mostly M’s descriptions that hold everything down, and keeps you reading, but you’re just moving from adventure to adventure, in each chapter. The downside is that it gives the book an unfinished feel, as if maybe the author forgot to add those details that would tie all these events together, as most of the adventures remain unrelated to each other, except that M and his friends are involved in them. Polansky has so many wonderful ideas for settings. There were a few I wanted developed in greater detail, so I could spend more time there, before moving on to the next outing. Some readers might become frustrated at these little tidbits of a much larger universe.
I kept waiting for all these events, and people, to come together, for some kind of big blowout at the end, but that’s not really what happens, and the end was a little underwhelming because there are so many other world saving events throughout the book.
This was worth reading because it’s Summer, and I like zany adventures, with snarky heroes. If you approach this book like a series of short shorts, you will find it worth reading, too.
A City Dreaming will be available on Kindle, Hardcover, and Audio, on October 4th. Thanks to Netgalley for this pre-release copy in exchange for a review.
I love giving these little updates about what I’m doing or things I’m excited about watching. I’m very busy doing things this week, not necessarily telling you about what I’m doing, though, but here’s some stuff.
I’m currently reading a bunch of books right now:
1.) The Brotherhood of the Wheel by RS Belcher. I’m only about 30 pages into it but what I’ve read is very compelling. Since I don’t know much about the plot, and haven’t read any reviews, there have been a few surprises and I like when a book does that.
2.) Hell’s Bounty by Joe Lansdale. It’s not a very long book. I’m maybe 50 pages in and expect to finish this weekend. Its a fun fast read. Its not an especially deep book, but I am enjoying it, and it is pretty funny, especially Lansdale’s descriptions of Hell.
3.) I just picked up Patricia Briggs’ Fire Touched at the library yesterday. I haven’t had time to read more than a sample of it, so I can’t say what it’s about, but I’m intrigued so far.
4.) Son of the Morning by Mark Alder. I said I was looking forward to this. I picked it up at the library a week ago and I’m about 100 pages in. This one is going to take a minute, as its a Stephen King sized doorstopper. Its about one of the many French/English wars, but with each side trying to call in Angels as their nuclear option. The Angels, although they show up, refuse to take sides, so the powers that be call on some of Hell’s Angels, if you know what I mean, to help them out instead.
I have to catch up on my episodes of Vikings and Sleepy Hollow. I couldn’t be a fan of two more different shows. Now, I’m trying to think of two of the strangest shows I could watch back to back.
This March 18th, the new season of Daredevil is coming to Netflix. I’m very excited by this. Yes, I will be binge-watching it this weekend and I probably will review my favorite stand-out episodes, as I won’t really have the time to review all of them.
I am a huge fan of The Hand story-lines, and of Elektra Assassin, and there is all kinds of awesome Ninja shit goin’ on here. I won’t be able to binge-watch the way I wanted because I have to work the next day, but that’s not going to stop me from trying.
Here’s the new trailer for Daredevil:
Yeah, for those of you still wondering, I have watched Crouching Tiger: Sword of Destiny and I will have a review of that soon.
Also, I’ve been neglecting my reviews of Supernatural, so next week there will be new episodes and new reviews will be uploaded to “A Blog Devoted to Supernatural” by BellaUk.
Wow! This episode had everything I expected and a little extra. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for since season five, the reunion of Lucifer and his former vessel. I’m not very good at speculating about the direction of the plots on Supernatural, but I think I called something on this one, maybe.
This episode is also very mythology heavy, so you have to have some background about past seasons to understand why the fandom is shitting bricks right now. This episode was very intense for us. Lucifer hasn’t been seen since season five, so …deep breaths, deep breaths, everybody.
Amara spends the first half of the episode looking for God and trying to attract his attention. She visits a park preacher, and once she’s heard his spiel, she offers a counterproposal of: water turned to blood and strategic lightening strikes. This has the added benefit, besides ridding the world of obnoxious Christians, of showing us what level of power we’re looking at, on Amara’s end.
Sam and Dean argue about Sam visiting Lucifer in the cage. Sam absolutely insists that God wants him to do it, since Lucifer was present at the Darkness’ timeout ceremony. He prays to God at the park and there’s a burning bush, so yeah! God, right? Uhmm, no!
They go to Crowley to discuss their plan and he says they need Rowena, the slippery, little witch , who will surely find a way to turn this entire situation to her advantage, somehow. As soon as she hears they want to contact Lucy, she spends the rest of the episode fan-girling over him. It’s hilarious. It never occurred to me, since she is a dark witch, she essentially spends her life praying to Lucifer, and this would be the proper reaction for a witch to have. Rowena says she will need The Book of the Damned and the Codex. Of course, she has to get in some snide comments, to Sam and Dean.
The Angels, feeling desperate, make plans to move on Amara. Where is Castiel during all of this?
Amara visits a church and slaughters the parishioners, when she can’t get Gods attention, through prayer. She does make some highly astute, rationalist arguments, against religion in general, although I think it’s by accident that she sounds like an atheist.
The Winchesters lay out their plan to Rowena. While Dean investigates the massacre at the church, she comes up with a plan for Sam to speak to Lucifer without opening the cage. Sam tries to contact Dean to let him know the plan is in motion, but Dean has been distracted by Amara, who spirits him to a secluded meadow.
Sam, Crowley and Rowena go the cage, where Rowena lays out some warding and Sam and Lucifer get to talking. I love Mark Pelligrino in this. Once again we get a different Lucifer than the one we met in season five. He’s a subtle blend of that version, and Sam’s Hallucifer, from season seven. He’s dark and serious, yet snarky and upbeat, too. The creepiest shot is our first glimpse of him as a dark silhouette with glowing red eyes.
Yeah, that’s not good.
Amara explains her purpose to Dean, and why she wants to return the universe to darkness. When he mentions the souls she devoured ,she does tell him that those people are not destroyed or dead. They’re still alive, just a part of her. I kind of thought as much. I had the impression she didn’t believe she was killing these people, but simply taking back something that she considers hers, anyway. She tells Dean she wants to bring peace and bliss to the world. She tells Dean he’s bonded to her which makes Dean The Bride of Darkness, I guess.
Sam makes his proposal to Lucifer, who counters with his own. He wants Sam as a vessel again. Did we not say this was a horrible idea, as there’s absolutely no assurance that he’ll take down Amara? The funniest thing Lucifer says to Sam is, ” you passed certifiable, three off ramps ago,” for working with Crowley. Meanwhile, Rowena drools over Lucifer, in the background. It all turns out to be a trap anyway, because when the wards fail, Sam finds himself in the cage, and Lucy informs Sam that he never got any messages from God. When the Darkness came, it opened some cracks in the cage. Lucy has been reaching out to Sam through the breaks in the walls and all the messages came from him. I kind of thought that, as I really doubted Sam’s assurance of Gods text messaging skills.
On the other hand, Lucifer is The Father of Lies, so I kind of have to take what he says with a grain of salt, too. He could just be lying to Sam as another form of torture and Sam’s messages could be coming from a third party, like Metatron, for example. Lucy really lays it on thick to get Sam to agree to be his vessel again, though. The entire time I’m yelling at my TV, that this is an incredibly bad idea, and at Sam to say, Hell no!
And yeah, I think Rowena may have had something to do with the wards failing, because she would love for Lucifer to be free, and betrayal is her middle name.
Dean attempts to stab Amara with an angelic blade, which breaks. She and Dean are accosted by a group of angels, that Amara has no trouble dispensing with, but killing them forces all the other angels to smite her. She removes Dean from danger, returning him to the park where she snatched him, and the Angels lay down some righteous fury on her.
So, here’s where we are during the hiatus. Amara is in the middle of being smited…smitten?, Dean is bamboozled, but that’s less distressing than Sam being trapped in the cage with Lucifer again, and Dean not knowing about it.
Once again, I hate to speculate (but I will read the speculations of others) because things may not actually be as they seem. Sam may not actually be trapped in the cage and just because Amara says something doesn’t make it the truth, either. I consider her to be as reliable a narrator as Lucifer, which is to say, not at all. It’s possible she may not even be this season’s Big Bad, if there is one. It could be Lucifer, God or someone we haven’t seen yet.
Boy, was I off base when I thought that last episode, with the clowns was going to be funny. I don’t want to make the same mistake here, but I’d like this episode to be funny. We need to lighten up a little bit before we have the season hiatus.
Okay, just for the record, when I hear this title, this is the song I will be hearing every single time, and now so will you. This is not a matter for debate.
Oh, I really liked this episode. I’m also a big fan of Richard Speight Jr., who directed this week’s episode and it shows. The flavor of this episode is very much in keeping with the gentle, but zany humor of Gabriel and Speight, as well. And distinct in style from episodes directed by Jensen. It was absolutely darling and sweet and bitter and funny…it just brought all the feels. I think Sully is now one of my new favorite characters, not just for his clear devotion to Sam but because of his little pudgy body, his fragility and compassion, but also because he was willing to sacrifice his life for Sam, by owning up to what he’d done, thereby giving Sam an example to follow regarding his fear of The Cage and Lucifer. There’s even a tiny bit of Trickster in him too, although he’s much, much nicer than Gabriel.
Aaahhh! I loved his suspenders (braces). I used to own a pair just like that when I was about nine years old, so it was fun and funny to see someone else wearing these. Its also a callback to the show Mork and Mindy. Mork was also a zany, cartoonish character, not unlike the Zannas of this episode, or Trickster Gabriel. (It feels like a distinctive Speight touch, too.)
A young girl named Maddie is having tea with her imaginary unicorn friend named Sparkles. After coming back from dinner with her parents she discovers that Sparkles has been horribly murdered.
Sam wakes up at the unholy hour of 6:30 in the morning. A person should be sound asleep at that hour but he’s up getting coffee. I love how this scene is shot,with the shadow of an ominous figure following Sam to the kitchen. Although once he gets to the kitchen,the viewer can see that the table is set with colorful junk foods. There’s some wonderful tension as we watch Sam wander back and forth waiting for him to notice that.
I think it’s sweet that Sully, having not seen Sam in so long still remembers all his favorite junk foods and the things they used to say to each other. At first only Sam can see Sully but Sully decides to let Dean in on the action, too. Dean is having some real trouble with the idea of imaginary friends and is acting pretty dickish towards Sully, although as the episode goes forward he starts to come around.
The brothers realize that since children are the only people who can see imaginary friends, called Zanna, in Romanian folklore, they can’t just ride up on the house like gangbusters and interrogate the family. This is a delicate situation, so thy’re going to have put on … their “little old man” sweaters. They both look totes adorbs as they pretend to be counselors for Maddie, who refuses to sleep in her room.
Dean, still having trouble with the idea of “real” imaginary creatures, calls Sparkles a “manicorn”, which is even dumber than the “ghoulpire” thing he kept trying to invent in Baby. I have to admit, some of the funniest episodes, are the ones in which Dean just makes up words.
We see why Maddie wont go to her room, when the brothers investigate. The room is covered in blood and Sparkles dead body is still present. I’m feeling a tinge of sadness. Its tragic when unicorns die. Maddie’s mother, as well meaning as she is, is completely oblivious to the carnage and even manages to get Sparkle’s blood all over her face. The Winchesters, reluctant to alarm the mother as well, advise her to shower the entire family. I still don’t know how she’s going to get near Maddie, if her face is covered in blood only Maddie can see.
Simultaneously a young girl’s pool mermaid is murdered in her backyard.
Sam has a flashback to when he was about ten or so and begging Dean to ask John to let him go hunting. It seems Sam has always waffled back and forth about wanting the hunting life. Sully tries really hard to impart to Sam the idea that he doesn’t have to be a Hunter and can do anything he wants. These flashbacks aren’t just to show us what Sam was like as a child but to show us exactly what Sully’s job entails and the kind of Zanna he is.
Sully explains that imaginary people have a form of telepathy which each other, which is how he knows that Nicky the Mermaid is dead. While investigating the scene, Sully tells them she had a jealous boyfriend named Weems and that it would be wrong to leave her body in the pool, so they spend some time burying her huge remains. Dean goes along with this, though he was initially dismissive of her death, and doesn’t understand why Sam ever needed an imaginary friend.
Dean is still kind of a dick, though.
Before they can interrogate Weems, he is attacked and sends a telepathic signal to Sully. The Winchesters and Sully arrive to find Weems still alive and he confesses that he saw the shooter, didn’t know who she was, but she drove an old beat up VW Bug. He does seem to know Sam though. Dean wondering what it is that makes Weems so special as an imaginary friend, finds that Weems can play a mean air guitar. I mean he is awesome at it! Dean is impressed, although he pretends he isn’t and goes off to find the VW.
While he’s gone, Sam and Sully talk about their bad breakup and..yeah, it was pretty bad. When Dean called Sam back to tell him he could go hunting with him and Dad after all, Sam is very happy to leave. Sully tries very hard to talk him out of going but Sam rejects him and sends him away. Sully says he considered Sam to be one of his greatest failures, because he couldn’t save him, even though he sort of worships Sam and considers Sam a hero for saving the world, which I thought was one of the sweetest things ever said. Sam usually gets vilified for the things he’s done.
Its interesting that supernatural creatures know and talk about the Winchesters and their deeds. The Winchesters are almost considered mythical creatures themselves, and Sam looks mildly surprised and baffled by this.
They also talk about The Cage and The Darkness. Sam confesses that he made a mess, and that there may be some price for what he did. He confesses his terror about having to go back to The Cage and Sully is kind and supportive throughout, (he genuinely cares about Sam’s well being) and later, he takes a cue from Sam, and shows by example what should be done.
These conversations between Sam and Sully are notable for another reason. At one point Sam (as a child) discusses running away with Sully, who mildly encourages this form of rebellion, but not explicitly. We do know that when Sam was a pre-teen he did run away and Dean spent several weeks looking for him. We have noted Sam’s tendency to run away from confrontation or drama, (as he is trying to do with The Cage decision) and when he sacrificed his life to save the world from the Apocalypse, was one of the few times we saw him tackle a problem head on. (Although to be fair, Sam has never had a problem running towards danger, its running away from personal issues that seem to be the problem.)
Dean calls and says he’s found their killer. Naturally he was smacked over the head with something and then tied up. The two of them have been tied up so often, that breaking out of their bonds is a fairly routine occurrence, and generally of no remark. The many head-bashings they’ve received over the years might explain their bad decision making abilities.
It turns out the killer is the grownup sister of a young girl, that got killed by a car, while under Sully’s care. Her twin, Reese, blames Sully for her sister’s death and in revenge, she procured a spell and a special knife from a witch, so that she can make Sully pay for what he did. But its not just the death of her sister that is the problem. She is still in grief for the loss of her family because Sully, having committed a horrible mistake, ran away from it in fear, rather than help her cope with her pain. Too caught up in his own guilt and pain he forgot his purpose, which is to help children through theirs.
The irony is that if he’d stayed and helped her through her grief, he would maybe have alleviated the pain for both of them, and Reese might have become one of his greatest success stories, instead.
When Reese threatens to kill Sam, Sully, taking a cue from his hero, steps up to acknowledge the mistake he made and offer his life in exchange for Sam. Dean has not been blind to any of this. Having worked himself free of his bonds, he tells Reese that killing Sully is unnecessary and manages to talk her down. it is clear she really doesn’t want to kill him and is in a lot of pain. She and Sully reconcile, but it’s too bad that Nicky ans Sparkles had to pay for a mistake he ran away from, so many years ago.
There’s definitely a larger lesson in this episode for Sam and the entire season. Running away from one’s responsibilities or mistakes will cost you the one’s you love later. On the way home, having heard this message loud and clear, Sam tells Dean he’s made a decision. He has to go back into the The Cage.
Next week: Sam visits The Cage and has a reunion with Lucy and I’m way too keyed up to talk about that, in any coherent manner.
Ooh! Tonight’s episode stars one of my favorite characters, Sheriff Donna Hanscum. Seriously, I didn’t realize how much I’d like this character. (Of course that means something will eat her next season, because we rarely get more than two seasons, with female characters we really like.)
At any rate this episode looks to be a funny one, with some insight into Sam’s visions, maybe:
Yeah, okay, this episode was not funny at all, outside of a couple of truly awful jokes from Sam and Dean. In fact, the episode was kinda terrifying and reminded me too much of Donnie Darko, a movie which scared the bejeebus out of me and I don’t scare easy. In fact, like Anya from Buffy, I kind of have a thing about bunnies, especially man-sized ones. hell, I hated Harvey.
Stan’s wife castigates him for not taking out the trash and he decides to badmouth the person who cooks his food. We’ve been give the idea that Stan is an unsympathetic character, so when the guy in the plush bunny suit, stabs him to death in his living room, he gets no love from me.
Sam is praying again. Dean, walking past his open door, witnesses this and his next line is the funniest thing said all night,” Hey you want privacy, close the door.” He’s not wrong. What was Sam thinking? The door is just wide open.The two of them argue for a minute or two about counting on God to come through in the pinch, where Sam’s visions are coming from and what to do about Amara. Crowley and Castiel are not mentioned and we don’t know where either of them are.
Donna calls,about her killer bunny case. Its not until they arrive that the brothers are told the specifics. The bunny is in custody but the outfit cannot be removed. Donna is delighted by Dean’s horrible puns. he seems to like Donna as much as the rest of us do, and so does her Deputy, Doug, who has a very obvious crush on her. I like it that nothing comes of that particular plot point. The writers just throw that in because Donna is on a journey and finding new love is part of her growth as a person, I guess.
Okay, did I say that blood-covered, plush bunny is deeply, deeply creepy, just quietly sitting in the jail cell, like that? Donna leaves. Sam makes horrible joke and Dean gives him pissy-face. Suddenly the bunny grabs Dean through the bars and they wrestle for a bit. Sam notices the guy in the suit has a tattoo of his girlfriends name.
Kylie says her boyfriend bought the costume at a shop and started acting weird as soon as he put it on. He stopped talking and walked out. Possession by bunny head, is what I’m guessing. This episode does not make me like bunnies any more than I did before.
Donna and Doug try to lift the tranquilized bunny in the parking lot but he attacks them and Doug has to shoot him down.When he dies, the head rolls off. I kinda saw that coming, though.
Donna, Sam and Dean decide burning the bunny suit is their best move, because hey!its haunted.
A cold mist invades the gym where a young athlete works out with his coach. When the coach goes back to his office, a harlequin masked figure picks up a kettle bell, and attacks the coach with it.
I’m assuming that’s called a kettle bell because I know nothing about weight-lifting equipment and I’m too lazy to look up images of kettle bells. So from now on, that’s what I’m calling it.
The coach lives but is in coma. Donna tells Doug it’s a copycat killer but Doug is smelling something fishy between all of them and ain’t buying it. The athlete says the masked figure was the school mascot and the mask wouldn’t come off. He also ells them about the room temp change, which indicated ghost activity.
Verdict: ghost possession of masks.
Back at the jail, Donna happens to have food salt on her but shooting the victim with rock salt instead, knocks the mask off the young girl trapped under the costume, who confesses that the coach was her PE teacher, but that she didn’t dislike him enough to want to kill him.. The costume was donated, so the brothers visit the person who made the donation.
The woman’s brother, Chester, a children’s performer, committed suicide, so she decided to donate all of his costumes around town. So rounding up the costumes should get rid of ghost.
Donna and Doug get to work..
A masked clown visits the coach in the hospital with a knife and cuts the coach’s throat. He then gets int the elevator with Sam who is too petrified to notice the bloody knife, I guess, until it attacks him. Dosing it with salt, Sam finds a confused, 70 year old man.
Later Sam gives relationship advice when Donna gives Doug the cold shoulder, while Dean speaks to Stan’s widow. Her husband and the coach had accused Chester of molesting kids. Their vigilantism led to Chester’s suicide.
Dean goes back to Chester’s sister but she’s not home. His nephew is home and defends his uncle’s reputation. The mother walks in angry and explains why she lied about the suicide. She explains that after the coach and Stan approached her with their accusations, she encouraged them to handle the situation themselves. Stan and the coach attacked Chester and dropped him in the river, while attempting to scare him. So! Vengeful ghost.
After her confession, her son Max, having put on the last costume that Chester was wearing, a deer’s head, attacks the three of them. TSlat gets the mask off and Sam goes to burn it, but Chester’s ghost is busily attacking everyone. Sam finally gets that fire going just before Dean gets choked out.
Sam and Dan proclaim Donna a true Hunter and advise her to accept Doug’s attention, which she does.
On the way home, Sam speculates about his visions but Dean declares they’ve got nothing to do with the cage and that’s it.
This episode was okay. it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. Mostly a monster of the week episode which was effective because people in giant furry costumes, with big, dead eyes, are hella scary.
What made me think this episode was going to be funny?
This was a highly enjoyable episode of Supernatural and will probably turn out to be one of my all- time favorite episodes for the entire season, something I hesitate to say because it’s so early. We still have about twenty episodes to go, and yet…
I was very looking forward to this episode, too. All of the action, except for the last minute or so, takes place entirely inside the Impala. Like Weekend at Bobby’s, it’s basically a day in the life of the Impala, while she listens to the brother’s conversations, gets washed, bloodied up, or violated by some joyriders. By the end of the episode, she’s as exhausted and beat up as the brothers, but she’s determined to keep chugging along, and come through for her beloved Dean, no matter what.
Even Castiel’s voice gets in on the fun.
We start off with Baby’s backstory and a shot of a bloody knife and Dean handcuffed in Baby’s backseat. Baby must be horribly worried about what’s happened to her Boo. Then we’re on to happier moments. Uncle Sam and Sweetie Dean are giving her a wash. Dean is complaining that he’s washed her twice already and is getting cabin fever, but I’m sure she doesn’t mind all the special attention.
Naturally it rains on her afterward.
I’m convinced that Baby just carries around her own weather, because she’s always lit well and she knows rain makes her look stunning. I love these first moments in the car. Dean annoyed at not having beer, Sam telling Cas about Netflix and Dean never taking Swayze’s name in vain. That’s right! You do not dis the Swayze!
They stop at a roadhouse, argue about whether or not they have a case and, later that morning, after a night of debauchery, Dean says one of the funniest things during the episode: Mistakes Were Made! That is a mantra, right there. Sam begs off hanging with Dean in the bar, to make his own mistakes in the backseat, with a perky blonde. I can see Baby rolling her eyes. She’s seen this before.
Dean, never one to let a parting shot rest, “Night Moves” Sam, with one of my all-time favorite bands, Bob Seger, (because I live in Cleveland, and it’s the law.) Yep! just let it wash over you, Sam. Do not try to resist The Seger! I’m certain this is one of Baby’s favorite songs and she’s laughing at Sam, too. In what will go down in history, as one of the finest moments on television, Sam and Dean are singing in the car, and Baby’s feeling fine. They’re all on the road, they’ve got a case, and her boys are happy.
Later, the brothers discuss one night stands, having some kind of future beyond that and whether or not everything is a Bob Seger song to Dean. Well, of course! Bob Seger was very practical about love.
Later, Sam dreams about a young version of John, or something pretending to be John, (creepy), who tells him that The Darkness is coming and gives the encouragement that only he and Dean can stop it. I still wonder who or what this being is. Is it God? The Devil? Some other opponent or a fraction of The Darkness itself? It doesn’t seem malevolent but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Sam has had visions before, that he used to save people, but those turned out to be from Lucifer.
When he mentions this to Dean, Dean says it was just a fever dream. Sam has to come clean about his infection, in episode one, when he prayed to God for help. Dean is disappoint, but confesses that he dreams about Dad teaching him how to drive. It’s a comforting dream for him. Sam confesses he dreams about Mom. They dream of the normal life they’ll never have.
Their case has some conflicting clues of both vampires and werewolves, and Dean coins the term were-pire, which Sam refuses to acknowledge. Dean gives him pissy-face. Deputy Donnelly, of whom we are instantly suspicious because he’s so friendly, gives them advice on where to stay and eat.
The local eatery only has valet parking, which alarms Dean. I know how he feels. I hate for strangers to sit in my car, too. The valet, Jesse, is less than careful with Baby. I can tell Baby’s nervous about this person driving her and is soon outraged at her violation, (or possibly secretly delighted. Let’s not assume!), as the girl does donuts in an empty parking lot nearby.😄😄😄😄 Dean, however, notices nothing wrong.
The Secret Adventures of Baby without Dean!
We don’t know what she gets up to.
Castiel calls Dean at the crime scene. He’s done some research but Dean isn’t listening to him because Officer Donnelly attacks him and hence he misses Castiel acknowledging his were-pire theory. It takes several more tries to put Donnelly down and even beheading doesn’t seem to shut him up. Baby is worried. She’s helpless as her Boo, fights for his life.
Dean finally throws the head in the beer cooler, and gets a call from Sam about a woman being attacked. After picking up Sam, Castiel tells them about what they’re really dealing with, a Nachzehrer. Or, in Dean’s words, a ghoul-pire, which Sam again refuses to acknowledge. Finding that they need actual copper pennies to kill the monster, they stop to get change.
Mrs. Markham, the woman they rescued, wakes up in the backseat and attacks Dean, while Sam is getting change. Hilariously, their entire fight takes place in the interior of the car. Nobody bats an eyelash at this vintage ’67 Chevy riding around with blood all over its windows. Markham takes the car, while Sam shoots out Baby’s back window. Markham reunites the deputy’s head with his body and he confesses his entire scheme to Dean, about making as many converts as possible, to fight The Darkness. He plans to turn Sam, with Dean as Sam’s first meal. Even the monsters are scared of The Darkness. Like the Alpha-Vamp, of season seven, he’s creating an army.
Sam’s one night stand lost her brooch in the backseat, and Dean uses that to pick his cuffs, and then commandeer the vehicle. You can just hear Baby whispering encouragement to HER baby, as another knockdown, drag out fight, ensues inside the car, between Donnelly, Markham and Dean. And of course, Dean comes through for her, as he always does. That’s why she loves him. After the pack leader, Donnelly, is dispatched, all his victims revert back to human.
Markham, Dean, Sam and Baby, too, all look the worst for wear. Baby’s really tired. She’s got blood all over her, her grill has been bashed in. Baby has been through the ringer on this run, and she’s on her last leg, but when Dean whispers those beautiful words to her, she comes through for him, as he did for her earlier. I don’t care what anybody says, he’s her baby too, and she’ll do anything for him.
Dean grabs his brother, and sweet talks Baby into rallying for him, again. I know she’s proud to hear Uncle Sammy call her their home, while Dean acknowledges his girl has done it again. Dean’s family intact, the three of them ride off into the sunset, to the soulful strains of Night Moves, which is straight-up going on my MP3 player, right now.
It certainly seems as if Crowley has bitten off more than he can chew, in adopting Amara and trying to seduce her to his side of things, but Amara has plans of her own, which probably does not include Crowley’s well being.
Rowena is trying to seduce yet another group of women into joining her cause of “trying to take over the world”, but the three witches she’s trying to recruit are not buying her “Mega-Crap”. They’re also having too much fun sassing her, so when she learns from them that Crowley is not dead, she disintegrates them, like a child having a tantrum. She’s in possession of The Book of the Damned. So much power really shouldn’t be in the hands of someone so childish and petty, and the witches were right to snub her, I think. I also hesitate to wonder what the outcome will be when The Darkness and Rowena meet each other, although it’s possible the writers won’t go there.
On the other hand, I want that red dress she’s wearing, right now! Rowena is a total clothes horse.
The Winchesters are babysitting Castiel,who is still suffering the effects of the Attack Dog spell, cast on him by Rowena. He looks like he has the flu but is also suffering from hallucinations and seizures. I’m a little confused because I dont know what the seizures were. Dean is having visions too. He’s still spellbound by The Darkness’ interest in him. Sam believes God is near becasue of the vision he was given last episode, but Dean and Sam aren’t for it at all. So, it’s visions all around, huh? I wonder if God thinks of Sam as his favorite, which is why he answered him. Of course, that assumes it was a God who answered.
Crowley is babysitting Amara, while making plans to kill Rowena, and almost succeeds, except his henchmen are incompetent. He does insist on treating Amara like a small girl. Trust me, Crowley. That ain’t no girl.
Rowena decides to take her show on the road, to some second tier witches, at another posh restaurant. They still are not with the Mega Coven thing. She’s really trying to make this happen, and almost succeeds, when she’s attacked by one of Crowley’s assassins, disguised as a waiter. I guess this episode is about almosts. Rowena escapes by throwing around some magic. She was good before she got the book, but now its just too easy.
Dean’s solution, for Castiel’s problem, is reaching Crowley, so he can find Rowena. Sam insults Castiel’s crappy, 1978 Mark IV boat that he used to drive. Castiel has yet another seizure, and the brothers are getting desperate, when they hear about Rowena’s shenanigans in the restaurant. Castiel’s response to Dean’s what time is it, is intentionally hilarious. “Earth. Several million years from the beginning.”
Amara has a discussion with her future self in a mirror. She’s learning about the world. About how messed up it is, and she has a grudge against God. Crowley is teaching her about everything evil which is a huge mistake as that’s only fueling her puzzlement and rage against God. She’s going to want to destroy it all, I think.
A demon and an angel meet in a bar, to kvetch about how hard things are for them, and to plan for The Darkness’ eventual dominion. The theme: if the big guns can’t handle it, it’s up to the little guy to do it. Are we talking about The Winchesters, too? They’ve traditionally been cast as the underdogs of the show, taking out opponents bigger and more powerful than them, just by being unwilling to quit, or not acknowledging they could fail. Is this the theme for the rest of the season, too?
Rowena , now alerted to her danger, is getting ready to run again, while Sam and Dean interrogate the surviving witch, from the restaurant. She agrees to do a locator spell on Rowena. Her response is pretty funny too. (She’s nobody’s third cousin, who doesn’t even get invited to dinner!) I think tonight’s theme is how, even the least of people can create the most trouble, for the large.
Crowley continues to underestimate Amara who, after her discussion with herself, is now on another hunger spree. She kills her nanny and most of the other demons that he provides. Every time she kills, Crowley looks distinctly uncomfortable. I just know he’s wondering when he’ll be next, and what he can do to stop her hurting him, if she has a mind to. He’s being shortsighted because he needs to keep the Winchester Nuclear Option in his pocket and he’s neglecting it.
Sam and Dean find Rowena, and Dean sneaks up on her disguised as a cabbie who is wearing the most gawdawful Hawwaiian shirt, I’ve ever seen. Or maybe it just looks wrong on him, as I’ve never seen him wear a Panama hat, either.
Castiel having been left to entertain himself, stumbles across Dean’s online porn sites. Or maybe Sam’s. Let’s not assume.
Amara says she feels the emptiness of the souls she’s eating. She’s feeding on the wrong souls. She really should feed on some more wholesome people, maybe. She does ask one pertinent question, when she asks Crowley if he’d be happy if everyone was evil. This conversation is enlightening because she really does sound like she wants to end it all. Heaven, Hell, it’s all meaningless to her.
The brothers have Rowena but lose Castiel and have to hunt him down before he hurts someone. Unfortunately, they have to take Rowena with them because I’m sure if left alone, she’ll get free. Anytime anyone on this show is left alone, for longer than thirty seconds, they manage to escape. Rowena’s conversation with Dean is interesting. This is a woman who knows exactly what her strengths are. Even if she can’t see her own weaknesses, she most certainly can spot the weaknesses of others, and manages to point out every single one of Dean’s, when he tries to strongarm her into giving up The Book of the Damned.
Well, a road trip with Rowena is certainly not boring. She spills the beans on her deal with Sam and when Dean reacts, she’s frustratingly smug. You just want to give her a sharp pinch. But Dean is right. I thought the two of them talked about keeping secrets. Sam kept his infection a secret. We’ll wait for Dean to find out about that, too.
The brothers find Castiel terrorizing a young woman in a warehouse and stop him just in time to get beat up. Sam, holding Rowena at gun point, makes her retract her spell, but she gets the drop on them both and escapes. Again! She’s like a tiny, slippery, little noodle, so I’m not at all surprised.
The brothers share a beer with Castiel, while Dean looks a little the worse for wear. When Castiel tries to heal him, he says it’s okay, because he had it coming. Did he tell Sam about what he did to Cas when he was soulless? Is that why there’s so much reckless eyeballing, between the three of them, at that remark?
Crowley walks in to discover that Amara has killed her way into an older body, again. She’s definitely in a hurry to get something done. I fear what that may be. Crowley’s facial expressions are getting more and more eloquent. You can hear his brain screaming, “Oh, sh** ! I have totally f****d up!”
Written by Jeremy Carver and directed by Robert Singer, tonight’s episode picks up directly from the season ten finale. So it’s nice to not have some kind of lag of several months between events. Last season, Dean killed death just before Rowena magically removed the Mark of Cain, which was last season’s endgame. But just like in the best of shows, solving one problem, creates a greater, sometimes worse, problem. (Yeah, it’s problems, all the way down!)
By removing the Mark of Cain, Rowena has unleashed a sentient, primordial Darkness, that existed before God made the world. Now Dean and Sam have to figure out what it is and if and how it can be stopped.
Tonight ‘s episode gets me off to a good start with some Creedence Clearwater Revival: Run Through the Jungle. And its kind of appropriate because Cas does quite a bit of this in the show before, as the title kind of says, going from the frying pan into the fire. He makes the desperate mistake of praying for help. In hte middle of his conversation with Dean, his brethren show up ad take him to some undisclosed location fro some fun and games, I’m bettin’.
When the Darkness hits the Impala, Dean gets pulled out of the vehicle and has a special meeting with The Darkness in the form of a beautiful woman. Its a little confusing, as this happens in flashbacks, as the brothers wake from unconsciousness. Is this really it’s true form? Why is she cozying up to Dean?
Sam wakes up in the car (after having been knocked unconscious) and goes looking for Dean,who is lying unconscious, in a field, half a mile from the Impala. He tells Sam about his meeting with Darkness, who claims she doesn’t even know who Death is. So apparently, The Darkness existed before Death?
As Sam and Dean investigate what happened they come across a dead road crew and a highly alarmed Deputy, who describes something like the events in the episode Croatoan. She’s injured, so the Winchesters take her to the local clinic which has also been attacked. If the men who were exposed to the Darkness outdoors went insane, then why didn’t this happened to Sam, who says he was in the car? The reason I ask is because the clinic doors were wide open. Were the people in the clinic exposed? Or were the doors left open by the attackers? There were a some elements of tonight’s episode that were mildly confusing for me.
In the meantime, Cas remembers stabbing Crowley until he smokes out of his body. Crowley finds a female meatsuit, has an orgy with her husband and neighbors, and then calls for help to get back into his old body. His minions inform him of the Darkness, at which Crowley scoffs. He doesn’t believe in it, I guess. He’s informed that half of Hell is in a panic, and there were screams coming from the cell, in which Michael and Lucifer were imprisoned. I think that was the creepiest thing said all evening. Crowley’s scenes are, as usual, the funniest part of the show, though, even while he’s being actively evil.
The Winchesters search the hospital and find a man, and his baby girl, trapped in a supply closet being attacked by one of the infected. The infected man eventually collapses and dies. The trapped man tells them how he got trapped and when they find out he’s infected, he wants the Deputy to take care of his baby for him, to which she agrees. She must be on some tremendously good painkillers, because she just had a major wound stitched up an hour ago and is smiling adn happy when she agree to adopt a newborn baby.
The brothers argue about tactics after the hospital is besieged by some infected people. Dean advocates killing everything in sight, while Sam would rather save lives and find a cure. After some argument, they go with Sam’s plan to lure the Infecteds away, while Dean, the Deputy, and the baby, make their escape and it works, except Sam gets infected, while defending himself, and is now exceptionally motivated to find a cure.
The big question is, will he tell Dean about it, or try to keep it a secret? I bet I can guess which one!
In a very interesting epilogue, the young deputy finds a strange birthmark on the baby’s left shoulder. Its the Mark of Cain. What does this mean for the baby? For the Darkness? For Crowley and Rowena, who I don’t think is going to make it to the end of the season? Is Sam going to be sick again and how will we stand it? I mean, we just got used to him being free of all illness, of some kind, in season ten. That’s really not long enough to get used to seeing him in his right mind for a change.
Has anyone else noticed that Sam, in his right mind, is a seriously stubborn son a b****? I know it must be a special kind of infuriating for Dean to have to argue every little thing with him ,every time he makes a decision. He probably has to resist the urge to knock Sam unconscious himself, which has already happened once, just in this first episode. Somebody should be keeping track of that.
Did anyone else think it was deeply creepy when the Infecteds ran up to Sam, sniffed him and then wandered away in disinterest? Yeah, I know. If Sam’s demon blood kept him from being infected in Croatoan, will it come into play for this new, whatever-it-is, too?
How did you like this season opener? Let me know in the comments.