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TV Review: Supernatural – “Changing Channels”

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No, no — contrary to what some emails from disgruntled fans might have implied, I was as usual really looking forward to this week’s episode of Supernatural. And I have a secret to share with you all: being critical of something doesn’t mean you don’t like it!

What, me, defensive? Not at all. Seriously. I’m amused.

And I’m grateful that this week’s episode was just as amazing as the first six of this season were, so that I don’t have to comment again on the fact that, you know, as awesome as it was, it wasn’t as awesome as…

I should really not go there again.

The episode starts off with a Then/Now recap, in which we are reminded of the fact that Dean is perhaps Sam’s greatest weakness. I don’t think it’s as simple as that; for if that were the case, Sam would also be Dean’s weakness, and, although Sam is the one person Dean would literally go to hell for, this doesn’t mean that Dean is going to break because of Sam. Case in point: remember when Zachariah, trying to convince Dean to accept being Michael’s vessel,  took out Sam’s lungs? Although Sam was at great risk of dying, pending Cas’ very timely intervention, Dean didn’t crack. Dean has integrity, and while, to a certain extent, so does Sam, that integrity doesn’t withstand some tests. So I would argue that no, Dean isn’t Sam’s weakness, but rather that Sam’s integrity isn’t strong enough to withstand the test of losing Dean, or losing the war.

This also touches a little bit on last week’s (brief) discussion about love. Some might argue that Sam loves Dean more than Dean loves Sam, but I disagree. I think that Dean’s love is more rational and mature than Sam’s love for him, which is still highly emotional and scarred from the way their father raised them. And unless and until Sam deals with his feelings of inferiority, he is going to remain extremely vulnerable to Lucifer’s offer.

Then there was the special opening sequence, featuring the boys in less than usual situations: scaring each other by bumping into one another’s back, Sam finding a white sheet with holes for eyes ghost in the closet, Dean wiping his brow only to get car grease on it, the boys tandem biking and racing on mini motorcycles, playing football in the park and eating supper at a proper dining room table in a proper kitchen?

Amusing, yet slightly creepy at the same time…

The case the boys were investigating, the one that started it all off, was interesting in many ways. First off, the irony of the Incredible Hulk killing off a hothead was simply and brilliantly underlined:

Sam: A hothead getting killed by TV’s greatest hothead. Kind of sounds like just desserts, doesn’t it.

But before they came to that conclusion, it was interesting to see the witness in denial about what she had seen for the simple reason that she knew she wouldn’t be believed. Even more curious was the fact that it made more sense to accept that a bear had done all the damages mentioned, which is seemingly just as impossible at the Incredible Hulk coming to life.

Dean: Is it common, a bear doing that?
Deputy: Depends how pissed off the bear is, I guess.

How intriguing that the woman, who saw with her own eyes what happened, changed her story because people were too narrow-minded to believe that potentially she might be right. Then again, I don’t quite blame them, since, well, the Incredible Hulk coming into one’s house to kill one’s husband does make for quite a ridiculous story.

If we push the thought further, perhaps it could be argued that although she saw it, the woman didn’t even believe herself. Which makes me wonder, how many of us do that all the time in our day to day lives? How much do we not see, even if it is right in front of us? Again, it reminds me of The X-Files and Supernatural, how only Mulder and Scully in the former and Sam and Dean in the latter see things and are judged for being able to see them.

Speaking of being blinded, it’s interesting to see how it’s not just Zachariah and Raphael that were blinded, as we find out that, all this time, the Trickster was yet another archangel, Gabriel, blinded by what he thinks is the only solution to the Apocalypse.

Dean: And for the record, this isn’t about some prize fight between your brothers, or some destiny that can’t be stopped, this is about you being too afraid to stand up to your family.

Ah, truer words have yet to be said in this episode. Dean is absolutely right. Zachariah, Raphael and Gabriel are so intent of solving the problem using the path that seems the most obvious and the easiest to them that they are not even able to fathom the possibility that perhaps there is another solution – or even, more than one solution. I again can’t help but wonder what would happen if this dysfunctional family would sit with a therapist (Castiel, perhaps?) and try to consult on other ways of dealing with the problem once and for all.

But until they all see the truth for what it is, rather than what they think it is, no amount of therapy can possibly help.

Dean: All that stuff he (Gabriel) was spouting in there, you think it was the truth?
Sam: I think he believes it.

And so each Archangel is going to continue believing what he wants to believe, while the world continues falling into the abyss caused by the Apocalypse. Does that sound familiar? When there is a problem at the local, provincial, national or international level, does anyone seem to stand up and say: it’s partly my fault, I’m sorry, let’s not try to fix it?

Come to think of it, this situation depicted in Supernatural mirrors what is happening in the world right now. Think about it: we have a conglomerate of very powerful countries (Archangels) and some powerful ones (angels) all refusing to admit that there can be another solution to the problem (Sam and Dean accepting their ‘destiny’). Perhaps if all these countries, be it at the top-most level or at the grassroots level, would reflect on their contribution to the problem, accept it and rise up to their responsibility the world would definitely not be in the state it’s in today.

And what with the two shootings in less than 24 hours that happened in the United States yesterday (Thursday the 5th) and today (Friday the 6th) — don’t tell me there is nothing wrong with the world. No wonder society seems more obsessed with what is going on in Kate and Jon’s lives than the health care debate. Seriously, sometimes when I read too much news, all I want to do is buy a celebrity gossip magazine (and sometimes, when it just gets too much, I do).

Dean: So what do we do?
Sam: I don’t know.
Dean: I tell you one thing. Right about now, I wish I was still in a TV show.
Sam: Yeah, me too.

And the biggest question of the current season of Supernatural still remains without an answer: where is God? Bravo, Jeremy Carver, for writing a great episode. Just one question… how come Dean knows about Facebook, but he didn’t know about MySpace?

Some amazing moments:

  •  Dean knowing all the characters from the doctor show 
  •  Dean’s man-crush on Doctor Sexy
  •  Jared’s amazing CSI Horatio-voice

Some great lines:

Sitcom Dean [looking at the giant sandwich he made himself]: I’m gonna need a bigger mouth.

Sitcom Dean: Hey there, Sammy. What’s happening?
Sitcom Sam: Oh you know. Just the end of the world.

Sitcom Sam [spotting the huge sandwich Dean made for himself]: You’re gone need a bigger mouth.

Sam: This show has ghosts? Why?
Dean: I don’t know. It is compelling though.
Sam: I thought you said you weren’t a fan.
Dean: I’m not. I’m not… Oh God.
Sam: What?
Dean: It’s him. It’s Doctor Sexy.

Sam: I thought you’re not a fan.
Dean: It’s a guilty pleasure.

Sam: It was a trick.
Trickster: Hellooooooooo. Trickster!

CSI: He has a roll of quarters down his throat.
Sam [in his best Horatio voice]: Well I say… Jackpot.
CSI: […] a stab wound to the abdomen.
Dean: Well I say… Not guts, no glory.

Dean: Sam? Where are you?
Sam: I don’t know. Oh crap. I don’t think we killed the Trickster.

Impala Sam: Dean?
Dean: What?
Impala Sam: That feels, uh, really uncomfortable.
Dean slams the trunk shut.
Impala Sam: Ouch.

Trickster: Wow, Sam, get a lot of the rims on you.
Sam: Eat me.

Trickster: Where did you get the holy oil?
Dean: You might say we pulled it out of Sam’s ass.

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About Sahar

  • Sara

    Wow hello anti Sam reviewer. Sound like a massive Dean girl defending him when he doesn’t need it. Sam has proved time and time again how much he loves Dean but it’s never enough for some. I think that’s a shame when its always been clear to me that Sam would do anything for Dean, a lot can be said in the fact that Dean was weak without Sam and lasted one day before he selfishly brought Sam back while Sam was forced to suffer the pain of losing his brother for months and months.

    I can’t imagine that kind of pain, I mean his brother couldn’t last a day yet people still argue Sam doesn’t love Dean as much as Dean loves Sam. I respectfully completely and utterly disagree. Losing Dean destroyed Sam’s everything, it broke him in ways he’s never recovered from.

  • Gadfly

    Loved the episode and loved the review. You’re right that behind the humor, more serious things were actually going on. I loved Leader!Dean toward the end with Gabriel. His comment about the Gabster’s failure to step up and confront his family was right on target. It’s possible Dean may have convinced Gabriel to become an ally.

    As for Sam and his feelings toward Dean, and what happened when Dean was in Hell and last season: Sam tried to make a deal in the same amount of time; he was just turned down. He lasted all of one week before he let Ruby move in and become his new BFF and mentor. Dean without the Dean. So apparently, Sam doesn’t really need Dean, he just needs a support system. And after she arrived, Sam seemed to stop “suffering”: he went to the new Indy movie and bought an iPod because he thought the Impala was “his” car–meaning he’d decided he was never getting Dean back–and he never gave any thought about trying to use his powers to get Dean out of Hell, it was all about going after Lilith.

    Considering the things Sam said to Dean last season–weak and cowardly, not as smart or strong or as good a hunter, in over his head, not able to carry out the angels’ mission (while he, Sam, could–see WTLB)–it’s hard to see that Sam really respects or likes his brother, even if he loves him.

    In this episode, I think one of the things being emphasized was that Sam really still doesn’t see why things went wrong last season.

    Thanks again for the review

  • Sahar

    Hey guys! First off I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner! As Gadfy probably noticed by now, I love getting back to comments ASAP. I have been a little busy with side projects though, hence the late replies as well as the very late reviews on SPN and Fringe this week. Egad!

    Sara, I am certainly not anti-Sam, as both brothers are awesome not only in themselves, but even more so in relation to the other. However this doesn’t change the fact that Sam is immature and irrational at times, and that he is more than willing to set his principles to the side, hence him siding with Ruby previously. And no, that’s not a good thing when it comes to Dean. Sam should know that Dean would not want him to turn dark even for his sake… or even, dare I say, especially for his sake.

    And you understood it wrong; Dean did not bring Sam back because he was weak without him; quite the contrary, not working with Sam was good for Dean in that Dean was able to focus on the job rather than constantly worry about Sam. But Dean was able to stick to his values and responsibilities; he’s Sam’s brother, and has to stay by his side even if it’s hard for him.

    And Sam wasn’t utterly destroyed over losing Dean; it was the fact that Sam wasn’t able to save Dean that destroyed Sam. Again, it comes to the argument that even when he thinks he is acting in the name of his brother, Sam is only acting in his own name. After Dean went to hell, the best thing Sam could have done is tried almost everything to get him out; and I say almost because if Sam really loved Dean that much, Sam would have put aside his dark powers as soon as Dean died.

    Gadfly, I do hope you are right and that Dean managed to convince Gabriel to become an ally. And who knows, after the episode with the Trickster (which is yet another archangel), perhaps Dean made them yet another ally. Very interesting twist, good catch!