It’s Christmas in July! What a better way to celebrate than to re-experience, for only the second time, the twisted, gory, heart-wrenching, fast-paced, cynical, and downright brilliant Supernatural version of Christmas. Kripke and Co. are a bunch of sick bastards, and we love them for it.
I tried in an exhaustive number of ways to get this review down to a reasonable length, but this episode contained an overwhelming attention to detail. It’s impossible to overlook enough of the elements that made up one of the most outstanding episodes of the series to get it down to a decent size. The episode went all out, beyond the usual great writing and acting, it gives us several unique camera shots, extreme set decoration, a brilliant cast of supporting characters, loads of eye catching background details, and even a clever cover story as to why Ypsilanti, Michigan was looking so lush in December. So, in a first for me, an episode recap will be broken into two parts. This is part one, part two will follow later.
The writer of this episode, Jeremy Carver, gives us his first solo script here, and I wonder how many Andy Williams Christmas specials he’s seen in his lifetime (I assume enough to drive him crazy). As with his other masterpiece, “Mystery Spot,” this script is very diverse, offering snappy and outrageous (in a good way) dialogue; a multitude of jabs at the history of Christmas culture; a progression of scenes going at a wild yet seamless pace that blended laugh out loud moments, powerful emotional ones and very disturbing ones; and a compelling story involving Pagan lore that sucked us in from beginning to end. Plus, it ruined Christmas. What could be better?
The directing on the episode is phenomenal as well, this time coming from J. Miller Tobin. He’s directed many TV shows, and this is his second go-round for Supernatural. Considering his first episode was the stellar “Born Under A Bad Sign,” he’s got an excellent track record with the show. What he did with this episode was nothing short of incredible.
I knew we were getting an exceptional program the second the old CBS intro “A Special Presentation” popped on the screen. As a kid, that intro always let me know that something cool, like Rudolph, was coming on, causing me to squeal with glee. That’s exactly what I did here, too. The show didn’t waste any time going for shock value either, starting as if we were watching a cheesy Hallmark Holiday special. The living room décor takes a page straight out of the Christmas edition of Martha Stewart Living, a pleasant flute plays “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in the background, and chubby-cheeked little boy greets his Grandpa with glee, for it is Christmas Eve. I can picture the director telling these two “ham it up as much as possible,” and boy did they run with it.