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TV Review: Supernatural – “Fallen Idols”

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We have been hearing about it for awhile, and the moment finally happened — Paris Hilton graced the little screen and made for a pretty awesome supernatural force to be dealt with. Discussion forums and fan sites were filled with speculation in the last couple of weeks as to the effect having Paris Hilton on the show would have on its ratings; some went even further, stating that this episode might be the one which will make Supernatural jump the shark.

Happily enough, none of this happened; in true Supernatural style, Paris’ visit to the set made sense and fit perfectly with both the myth of the Leshi the brothers were fighting as well as with the style of the last four years and five episodes.

I’ve said it before, but it begs to be said again: kudos to the writing team. We were treated to a great episode that simultaneously entertained viewers and taught them a little more about the paranormal, took the relationship between the three protagonists one step further, and provided for an amazing social criticism.

Yes, three — everyone keeps forgetting about the Impala.

While their complicity isn’t (understandably) the same as it used to be, it was nice to see the Winchester brothers working together again. Many discussion boards and fan sites are already filled with mentions of how great it is that Dean and Sam are finally really mending fences. On the flip side, it seems to be that there weren’t as many Dean quips in this episode as there usually are, but then again, it’s a good reflection of the state of mind he’s in.

The slight shift in the relationship between the two brothers was also interesting, and yet another reason why this show is amazing. Sam being honest with both himself and Dean was a sign that he’s (finally) becoming more mature, and Dean is still able to put his ego to the side and admit when he’s wrong (given time). If at the very least the brothers can learn such important lessons from the Apocalypse… nope, that still doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Oh well… I tried.

This shift in the relationship has a lot to do with both brothers not only being honest with themselves about their own role in the Apocalypse, but also with the fact that they are starting to be honest with each other about the other’s role in starting the Apocalypse. Sometimes I couldn’t help but wonder if Dean was seeking redemption for breaking the first seal by putting the pressure on Sam to stop the Apocalypse from happening. I also can’t help but wonder if the difficulty Dean has been having with Sam in the last couple of episodes has to do with the guilt Dean feels at breaking the first seal that he transferred onto Sam.

Sam: Dean, One of the reasons I went off with Ruby was to get away from you.

Dean: What?

Sam: It made me feel strong, like I wasn’t your kid brother.

Dean: Are you saying this is my fault?

Sam: No, it’s my fault. All I’m saying is that if we are going to do this, we have to do it different. We can’t just fall into the same rut.

Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is that the brothers have started going deeper; they have started to identify the reasons why they fell into the trap (of breaking the first and last seals) in the first place. One of the main reasons Dean went to hell was because he felt it was his role as the older brother to protect his kid brother. But lately, the anger Dean felt because of Sam’s betrayal made him realise that he shouldn’t be there to hold Sam’s hand and clean up his messes; however, he has been realising that life without his brother sucks, and that they both need one another. And Sam has been realising that while Dean has been treating him like his kid brother, he had other ways of reacting to it other than listening to a demon and getting hooked on demon blood. And him talking honestly about it at the end of this episode could be the beginning of the end of the rift between them.

Ah, brotherly love. Is anyone else feeling all warm inside?

I can guess that it’s going to be very interesting to watch how the relationship between the two brothers is now going to be like. Sam asked for his emancipation from only being a kid brother and Dean has started to accept his role as equal rather than as protector. Dean and Sam walking side by side, rather than Dean holding Sam’s hand, is going to make for a much stronger Winchester team.

The writing, filming, and acting needs its share of kudos here, too: the way the show goes in depth into the nature of the Sam-Dean relationship and its shift with relatively little said really is a sign of the maturity of both the writers and the actors; the evolution of the relationship is chronicled not only in the words exchanged between the two brothers and their actions, but also in the way they react to each other, sometimes in very subtle ways. The quality of the show seems more and move obviously related to the quality of each stage of production.

There are a number of other things that I loved about this episode. For example, as a car lover, the ‘Little Bastard’ reference was amazing. I have to admit that my first reaction to the opening scene, after freaking out about James Dean’s car, was to be really excited about a ‘haunted car’ episode (something I would have wanted Mulder and Scully to investigate). Then I remembered this was the episode guest starring Paris Hilton and that a haunted car just wouldn’t really explain the leaked Paris Hilton plotline.

But even with its associated amazingness, the ‘Little Bastard’ reference wasn’t the best part of this episode (I apologize to all my car-loving friends who might have a minor aneurysm or heart attack at the above statement). The honour of best part of the episode goes to the social criticism given by the Leshi. Ironically enough, the nutty god was in the shape of Paris Hilton while giving its pep talk, which made the entire thing all the more unreal.

Dean: You’re not the first god we’ve met, but you are the nuttiest.

 Leshi: No, you. You people, you’re the crazy ones. You used to worship gods. But this? [Gestures at the Paris Hilton form he has taken] This is what passes as idolatry? Celebrities? What do they have, apart from small dogs and spray tans? You people used to have old time religion, now you have US Weekly.

The Leshi’s statement was brilliant for two reasons. First of all, it is true that we have been replacing gods and spirituality with other things, such as materialism and celebrities, which I think of as materialism’s prophets. Case in point: we have people all over the country who have entire rooms transformed into shrines to one celebrity or another. I’m willing to bet that while the amount of money spent on tabloids and all things celebrity related has skyrocketed in the last five years, expenditures related to religion and spirituality have perhaps only moderately increased, if not decreased.

Considering the state of mind of people today as well as their ensuing priorities, does it really surprise anyone that the state of the world is as it currently is?

Not me, it doesn’t. But it does, however, give me hope that instead of idolizing celebrities just because they are famous, we will learn to once again idolize the qualities and attribute of people who made a positive and lasting difference in the world. Because in all honesty, no one is perfect, and no one deserves to be idolized.

Another case in point: all the fallen angels featured on Supernatural. The second reason why the Leshi’s statement is brilliant is that not only does it reflect the state of the real world (i.e. ours), but also the state of the world as defined by the show. Think about Zachariah (ah, how I love putting him down). Perhaps is the angels hasn’t started simply following him and his opinion, perhaps even idolizing him, they would have been able, just like Anna and Castiel, to figure out what is wrong with the picture.

And, perhaps a little more to the extreme, think about God; if idolization and blind adoration had given way to intelligent devotion à la Castiel (i.e. questioning and continuously searching), perhaps religion wouldn’t be in the state it’s currently in.

So the title of this episode, "Fallen Idols", could very well be the fact that the idols of the victims, i.e. Abe Lincoln, Little Bastard and – egad – Paris Hilton, end up killing them rather than bringing them the joy they thought they would have had. It could also be the fact that these people’s idols should have been less of the lower, human or materialistic kind and more of the spiritual kind. It could also be that in the show, the greatest idol of them all, God, has yet to make an appearance. Or it could be one of the best social criticism that Supernatural has had to offer yet, that the world is in serious need and its population should rethink about how its main idol, materialism, has only failed at the eternal happiness is has long been promising us.

On a lighter note, here are some of the great lines in this episode:

 

Sam: So what’s with this job?
Dean: A dude has a head-on collision in a parked car? I’d say it’s worth checking out.
Sam: Yeah definitely, but we got bigger problems, don’t you think?
Dean: I’m sure the Apocalypse will still be there when we get back.

Dean: We’re not your typical cops.
(You don’t say.)

Dean, finding out about Little Bastard: Oh, we are definitely checking this out.

Dean: Don’t speak. Don’t even look at her. She might not like it.

Dean: Darn he’s short.
Sam: Hey. Ghandi was a great man.
Dean: For a smurf.

Dean: Four score and seven years ago, I had a funny hat.

Dean: You couldn’t be a fan of someone cool? Really? Gandhi?

Dean: Let me get this straight. Your, uh, ultimate hero was not only a short man in diapers, but he was a fruitarian.
Sam: That's not the point.
Dean: That is good. Even for you, that is good.

Dean: I’m not a Paris Hilton bff. I’ve never even seen House of Wax.

Dean: Don’t.
Sam, grinning: Dude. You just got whaled on by Paris Hilton.

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