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21 January 2015 @ 04:35 pm
The Hunter Games, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love SPN  
Okay, I don't usually do reviews (because we have so many good reviewers here on LJ) but I just felt like plopping down a bunch of scattershot, slightly Sam-ward leaning thoughts. So here goes. (No spoilers for next week's episode, btw.)

First off, the music intro was so smart, with ELO's “Long Black Road.” Man, if that doesn't fit Supernatural in theme, I dunno what does. (Now, I'm listening to the Electric Light Orchestra all day on Spotify. It is beauteous.)

I always go into episodes written by this pair with great reservations—many of us do—but dammit, if they didn't juggle things pretty well this time. They always seem to write busy episodes, where often it feels like they bite off more than they can chew, but somehow they got the recipe right. And yanno, I kind of like the way they write Sam. They give him personality, snappy lines, instead of defaulting to giving all that to Dean, which seems to be the norm. (I totally get it, though; Dean is so much fun to write! I love writing his POV, and Sam is usually put in the role of 'straight man', setting up Dean's punch-lines. That doesn't mean Sam's dialog has to be as flavorless as it has frequently been, though. So good on ya, B/R-L! )

Was anyone else shipping Rowena/Guthrie? No? Awww. Oh well. RIP, Guthrie, we hardly knew ye. Also, angel Ingrid is interesting. I'd like to see more of her. In just that one quick scene, you could sense her passion for the cause and no-nonsense demeanor. She could be a solid ally for Cas.

So. Metatron. The dickwad we love to hate. :) I really enjoyed him in this episode. Yeah, he loves to hear himself talk, but mmmm, did I love to see him shut up when Dean came out of the shadows. It is unreasonably hot when Sam and Dean work together to be intimidating. Brady's death scene, way back when … remember that?

Brady: What is this?
Dean: All those angels, all those demons, all those sons of bitches, they just don't get it, do they Sammy?
Sam: No they don't, Dean.
Dean: You see, Brady, we're the ones you should be afraid of.
—5.20, 'The Devil You Know'

Claire's actress did a strong job in the Astoria Hotel scene; liked her a lot there. She really hammered home the understandable issues Claire has with Cas. He's trying, he really is, but he just isn't human, y'all. I like the way Misha balanced that in this episode. At once, he plumbed Cas' growth in behavior and understanding of what it means to be 'human', but still maintained his drive to repair his relationship with Heaven. I think that's why he could drive away from Claire at the end. He's still not quite there yet, may never be, but he's got his ear to the ground for her. Her guardian angel, as it were. :) (I'm a big fan of angels as Other, so I don't ever want him to go entirely human. Nope, not me.)

Nice jeans, Sammy. Finally found a pair that fit, huh, buddy? The scene with Sam and Dean walking and talking down the hallways of the bunker was faboo! Nice change-up from having them just sitting around, talking. Excellent call. Who directed this one, anyway? * is lazy *

Crowley is starting to feel a tad overly gullible to me. I dig Rowena's machinations, but I want ruthless, sarcastic, dangerous Crowley back. A worthy opponent. But maybe this is a reflection of Crowley's quick spin with humanity. Maybe he's lost his edge. Time will tell …

Best dressed squatters, ever. Damned nice leather jacket, there, lady.

Dean, revisiting his torturer days: SMOKIN'. I do so love a man who's good at his job. ;) Is that a competency kink rearing its head? Probably. And it's DEAN, so, yeeeeeah.

Cas standing there, while Sam ineffectually batters at the dungeon door: silly. If Cas had moved a few times to intercede but Sam was damned mad at that door and it would've been tough to get a word in edgewise, I would've bought it. Not a big deal though, just a little silly.

Okay, let's stop a moment to appreciate how good everyone looked, shall we? Rowena has the most glorious hair. I disagree, Claire, I like Cas without his tie but it is kinda his trademark, so okay. Have I mentioned that Dean, torturing, is hot? And wet Sam. WET SAM. Also, it's good to see Jared getting his shoulders back, dang. About time! Mark Sheppard has been trimming down lately, and it suits him! I love him thick or thin, but a little exercise is never bad for a soul, especially as we age. (Hear that, self?)

My biggest complaint, I think, is that it felt like there were pieces of dialog that wound up on the cutting room floor, due to time. A few conversations felt clipped, and I suspect there was supposed to be a scene where Dean talked to Claire after she tried to have him killed. Such is television.

Last night, when I first watched the episode, I was a little disgruntled; I still feel like Sam isn't being well-utilized as a LEAD character, that his role could be spread out between other characters and we wouldn't miss him (Carver, I'm looking at you), but upon rewatch today, I dunno, we got some teensy glimpses into Sam's brainspace finally, and that was good for me. His hope is returning—that dogged tenacity that there is a solution and if they just look hard enough, they'll find it. I'm still a bit at odds with how seemingly quickly he went from “None of us are more valuable than anhyone else” to “I'll save my brother at any and all costs” but hey, this can be a conversation they'll have if the writers will allow the characters to go there. The fact that they revisited Dean's allowing Gadreel to possess Sam (and the fall-out from that) is promising.

Pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one! Yeah, my expectations are lower in general these days, but that's just the way it goes. I'm slowly getting more invested in where the show is going with the characters again, even if it's tempered investment. If I'm gonna be in this until the bitter end —and I am—I'd better find a way to care! And I have. God help me.

And in closing:
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
Current Music: 'Strange Magic' - ELO
unplugged32unplugged32 on January 21st, 2015 09:53 pm (UTC)
Not enough Sam!! And this coming from a Dean!Girl. I'm really disappointed that he's been back-seated, where can we complain?? ;)
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 10:04 pm (UTC)
Here, darling, HERE! But the rule is for every complaint, we need a compliment. (My New Year's resolution!)

And here's the thing: we don't necessarily need more Sam (though I'll never complain), we need more effective use of the character. When they introduced Charlie and Kevin, they effectively eliminated one of the reasons Sam was important to the show. He was the brainiac, the guy that did the research and came up with the answers. But they took that away from him; then they didn't know what to do with him.

But I feel that slowly changing. I think. Maybe. *crosses all crossable things!*

Btw, I love my Dean!girl flisties! *snuggles*
(Deleted comment)
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 10:32 pm (UTC)
*snigger* I think I love you.
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(no subject) - quickreaver on January 21st, 2015 10:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - quickreaver on January 21st, 2015 11:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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elwarreelwarre on January 21st, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC)
I agree so much with all of this. I miss front-and-center Sam, but at the same time, it's nice to see Dean have a storyline that doesn't involve his family. He doesn't get much of that. I need some Sam-drama soon, though.

And this: If I'm gonna be in this until the bitter end —and I am—I'd better find a way to care! I can't say I love these last few seasons like I loved the earlier ones, but I still love the boys. Can't imagine that ever stopping.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 10:44 pm (UTC)
I love that Dean has the Mark! (Would've loved one more episode of demon!Dean, but ah well.) The difference between what they're doing with this supernaturally infringed brother vs. what they've done in the past is how they've integrated the 'normal' brother into the storyline. They've done a better job of making Dean vitally important to the problem-solving in the past, when he was the 'normal' one. The writers need to work on that a little, IMHO.

But I'll tell you, if they go where we all hope/fear they might be going, full-on Cain-and-Abel Biblical fratricide, I will be wallowing in my happiest angst ever! OH THE DRAMA!

I ♥ the Winchesters.
YohkoByohkobennington on January 21st, 2015 10:06 pm (UTC)
I was like: Sweetjesus, Sam put that sexy wet hair away! *fans self*

The door thingy. Like you I thought it was silly, why didn't he just freaking blew the door from the get go?! But then it dawned on me that to blow the door Cas has to use his grace, and he's living on a borrowed one. So I would think— and would do that if I was on his shoes— that he would try to spare the use of his grace just for cases where he has no choice but, as it turned to be when Sam couldn't break the door and Metatron started screaming indicating shit is hitting the fan inside that room.

I loved the episode. I hope they keep making Sam more active, better than this one, it was good but it could be better. And I like that finally they figure out that if you gonna put a lot of things in an 45 minutes episode you have to tide all of them together somehow so it doesn't look like a mess and out of place. Which they did, everything was tied one way or another and it made the episode move smoothly.

Also, manhandling kink *U*
 photo manhandle him yes_zpsnqkdzfnm.gif

Amberamberdreams on January 21st, 2015 10:12 pm (UTC)
I agree about Castiel using his grace sparingly - these stolen graces don't seem to have a very long shelf life...
(no subject) - yohkobennington on January 22nd, 2015 04:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - quickreaver on January 21st, 2015 10:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yohkobennington on January 22nd, 2015 04:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - cassiopeia7 on January 21st, 2015 11:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yohkobennington on January 22nd, 2015 04:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - runedgirl on January 22nd, 2015 04:44 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - yohkobennington on January 22nd, 2015 04:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
Amberamberdreams on January 21st, 2015 10:11 pm (UTC)
WET SAM! Ahem, yes. I enjoyed it too, and didn't even check who write it - which is always a good sign, because it meant I didn't feel I had to know in order to take them to task. I thought the pacing was good, nothing felt wasted even if I wasn't all that interested in Claire I did like that they gave her the chance to confront Cas with the fact that she can't be asked to relate to him without emotions getting in the way when he's walking round wearing her father's body. Her father who's death Cas is responsible for.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC)
Yup, no arguments here!
Lady Moon-Loona-cy: gemini aujennytork on January 21st, 2015 10:15 pm (UTC)
This episode, for me, showed the difference in how people see things.

This was one of the rare episodes I didn't like.

It seemed overly edited, as though important things were left out. For me, it did very little to move the plot of Dean and the Mark along. It was all talk and very much what ISN'T working instead of finding what IS.

I didn't like the Crowley and Rowena bits at all and it's a sad state of affairs when Crowley feels like the voice of reason.

That said, I will gladly tune in next week because I am not yet ready to give up on this show. And I still hold out hope that Dean will be fixed.

BUT. I will 100% agree with you on Dean's torturing scenes and having a "competency kink". And Sam's hair -- hello, nurse.... :D

So while we may have different feelings, there are areas of agreement and that's a wonderful thing!
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Absolutely wonderful that we can share disagreements as well as agreements!

Carver is taking it really slow this season. I suspect what this episode was meant to do was show that Dean might be able to control the Mark. Maybe. Possibly. Cain did it for years, why not Dean Effin' Winchester, yanno? This is reiterated by Sam's little speech before Crowley buzzed in. WORST PHONE-CALL TIMING EVER. Heh!

Yeah, it might've been overly-edited (or oddly edited or something.) There were a couple of spots where I felt stuff conspicuously missing. I think they could've tightened up Claire's poolhall scene and found time for some of those, but hey, it ain't easy. Finding places for commercials that make sense within the story has GOT to be a pain.
caranfindelcaranfindel on January 21st, 2015 10:49 pm (UTC)
YES. WET SAM. YES. I think my screencap is the same frame as yours, or almost, and DAYAM.

Oh, and everything else too.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 11:01 pm (UTC)
Best Season 10 hair. Ever.
(no subject) - caranfindel on January 21st, 2015 11:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
cassiopeia7: Jared:  WOO!cassiopeia7 on January 21st, 2015 11:16 pm (UTC)
Q wrote a review! Hallelujah! \o/

It is unreasonably hot when Sam and Dean work together to be intimidating.

Indeed. And torturer!Dean is way hotter than he ought to be, considering he's cutting holes in people. I did not care for the Claire scenes as much as you did, but it is good that the character finally got some closure. I actually liked Castiel in the very last scene with Claire. *gasp* And Sam, well . . . we got pissed!Sam, we got wet!Sam (hallelujah!), and we got thinky, hopeful, determined!Sam who IS going to solve the MoC problem, just you wait and see. ;)

John Badham directed, and his movies have been favorites of mine for a very long time. Dude always does a great job. :)

The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 21st, 2015 11:22 pm (UTC)
JOHN BADHAM. He did a masterful job. He's so good at varying shots, perspectives--from the walking-in-the-hallways bunker scene to Rowena's bird's eye view. And I noticed the lighting was a little more like early seasons! COLOR ME HAPPY.

What are some of your John Badham movie faves?
(no subject) - cassiopeia7 on January 22nd, 2015 12:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - quickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 04:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
ash48ash48 on January 21st, 2015 11:59 pm (UTC)
Yay. I saw your comments on my thread and thought "but I wanna know what you thought". I then pondered if you'd done a write up and YES! You did! We seem to have a mirror response to this episode.

I meant to mention the opening music on my review because I LOVED it! Really set me in a good frame of mind for the rest of the episode. The directing was really tight (live the zoom shots of Rowena coming out of her body).

And I agree with your comment above. It's not about having more Sam screen time (though, always nice), it's have an effective and important Sam. At least in this ep he was able to use his depth of character and inner strength to do some good.

I felt there was (finally) some pulling together of past season's threads. To even get a mention of the possession made me happy.

And now Dean is going to have to work hard on restraint. Something that's quite an important character development I think (though, we have seen this before but not necessarily in Carver's era).

The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 04:57 am (UTC)
I don't usually do a review in large part because I love commenting at your journal, but this one, I dunno, just compelled me to write. (Forgive me!)

I'll still pop over there and see what's hoppin'. ;)
(no subject) - ash48 on January 22nd, 2015 05:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - quickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 05:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ash48 on January 22nd, 2015 05:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
thursdaysistersthursdaysisters on January 22nd, 2015 01:12 am (UTC)
Yes Sam was AWESOME in this episode, great mix of badass interrogator/partner in crime/brother, though he and Cas seemed amazingly blase about Dean being in such close proximity to Metatron (Sam even said Dean was too calm), that's like having Jason Todd wandering around your house while Joker's tied to a chair downstairs and then asking who took the crowbar.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 04:50 am (UTC)
I agree with the blasé complaint, but I tend to sit back and take an annoyingly meta approach to it: the writers need Dean to be alone to do Bad Things™, so Sam (and/or Cas) has to be oblivious. Which sucks, but that's probably the real reason. Head canon-wise, I'll chalk it up to the theory that Sam wants to trust Dean, so he gives him a little space. Also, Sam remembers wanting to be trusted, himself. Still probably does. It's a brother thing.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. ;)
(no subject) - thursdaysisters on January 22nd, 2015 10:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
I'm Mulder, She's Scullyrunedgirl on January 22nd, 2015 04:46 am (UTC)
I felt like we got some substantive Sam in this episode, which was really nice. Also, wet Sam and manhandling Sam, which were really REALLY nice. And Dean being badass and dark and unspeakably hot. So there's that. It wasn't perfect, but it actually exceeded my expectations, so yay!
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 04:59 am (UTC)
Yahtzee! Yup, definitely exceeded my expectations too, but interestingly, it took a rewatch for me to realize that. Glad I waiting 12 hours to comment, heh.
There's a scientific explanation for that: Boys - brothershugemind on January 22nd, 2015 08:16 am (UTC)
If Cas had moved a few times to intercede but Sam was damned mad at that door and it would've been tough to get a word in edgewise, I would've bought it.

Like it was mentioned somewhere above, I think Cas was trying to save his grace. He kinda slumped after destroying the door, so it took a lot out of him. Also the recap with Crowley recharging Cas and then Metatron commenting on Cas's new borrowed grace make me think that Cas's battery running out again will soon surface as a plot point.

I liked the Sam&Dean story here. Dean acknowledged some hard truths, and Sam stopped him from doing something stupid for which Dean was grateful and not confrontational. Sam really wants to help Dean and at least on the outside he's this calm and collected voice of reason who will not give up because he knows Dean needs to have a voice of reason to listen to right now.
The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)
Yup, energy conservation makes perfect sense! AGREED.
madebyme_xmadebyme_x on January 22nd, 2015 01:25 pm (UTC)
What a treat to see a review from you! I love to browse through my flisties insightful and thought-provoking reviews.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Hunter Games, it felt more balanced for a multi-character episode, and we seemed to progress each storyline a little. There was a lot of pretty (wet Winchesters, badass boys, Rowena's eye makeup (I just can't stop staring at it)), but there was a part of me that wanted Dean to kill Metatron (although I agree, he was slightly less annoying here!)

I too, will be here to the end - come hell or high water! I came into into this season with no expectations and have been pleasantly surprised by the majority of the episodes. And after 10 seasons, I'm thrilled that the show can still surprise and entertain me, as well as keeping me invested :)

The indefatigable Mrs. Griffinquickreaver on January 22nd, 2015 11:56 pm (UTC)
A treat? Or is it a TRICK, mwa-ha-ha! *ahem*

I was surprised by how much I ended up liking it, too. It gives me a little more hope for where Carver is going with things this season. I'm actually really jazzed for next week, but I'm not sure if you're spoiled or not so I'll stop here.

*thunder buddies to the bitter end!*
(no subject) - madebyme_x on January 23rd, 2015 10:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Long and Winding Roadamypond45 on January 23rd, 2015 02:25 am (UTC)
All the wet Sam and manhandling Sam aside (also that wonderful line to Metatron that echoes Inigo Montoyo!) and the last Sam/Dean scene promising eternal tenacity (Am I wrong to love Sam when he's being so devoted to Dean no matter what?!) I have only one thing to add to the awesomeness here -- DEAN'S RED SHIRT. It's back!!!!