I feel I need to preface this with the comment that YES, I know the show isn't what it once was. (I made the mistake of watching the last three episodes of S3 before the premier of S12. Don't do this to yourself, folks.) On the heels of that, my feelings are that the acting is still fantastic, the writing waxes and wanes, but I feel the series as a whole has suffered from the network's request that they "lighten up the look". I miss the old grit and grunge and chiaroscuro, the long shadows and desaturated hues. It was such a hallmark of the show, added such gravitas. Please, network, can we do this again? No? Well, shucks.
Annnnywho, the episode at hand! I jotted down thoughts as they occurred to me, numbered for ease of reply, so that's what yer gettin'.
1.) Eye crinkles. Jensen is a beautiful man. I loooooved Dean's interactions with Mary. Sam Smith does a masterful job at depicting Mary's confusion without overplaying it, without making it a joke. She's amazing. And the way Jensen lets all of Dean's heartache play across his face, SLAY ME.
2.) That music. It's like Pavlov's dog; every time I hear it, I'm crying.
3.) MoL London: our spin-off?
4.) Cas always gets the BEST entrances! A+++
5.) "Animals...people...they're all meat." Seriously, lady? I don't care how much money you threw at me, I'd fish out the bullet and report it as soon as you drove off. But that's just me. I guess they don't want us to feel any sympathy for Momma Toni. Yet.
6.) Okay, so, demons. Why are they so effin' STUPID now? They're hacks. Grunts. They're not even vaguely scary anymore. The casting was wan, the acting even worse. The characters just stood there, awkwardly repeating their lines, trying to be funny. And can we not put everyone in dark suits? Angels, demons, MoL bodyguards. It's all so visually dull.
I dunno maybe this is the direction's fault? Phil Sgriccia, SPN alum, has directed a crap-ton of episodes. Is he getting a little bored? Resting on his laurels? It just wasn't as cinematic as the show has been. I know Phil can be more creative. (Easy for ME to say, heh...)
7.) "No, I don't have a harp." Heee! I love it when Cas is literal and exercises poor people skills. :D
8.) I'm kinda in the minority, but I dug Ms. Watts (I think that was the MoL heavy's name?) Cas tried to do the forehead thing with her, but she started walloping on him with her Enochian sigiled brass knuckles (COOOOOOL), and he was like Superman getting hit by kryptonite. She knew her stuff. Remember, Dean is running on no sleep; he's not gonna be as hardy as he might normally have been. I bought it.
9.) What cued them to suspect the veterinarian again? Boy, Sammy has zero luck with those, don't he?
10.) Yes, YES, Dean...you do make the world a better place! It was really nice to hear him admitting something positive about himself, about what they do! Of COURSE they've screwed things up--who of us hasn't?--but they did it out of love. For each other, for humanity, for good. It's never a question of "right" or "wrong", though. Like, ever. (If they always did the "right" thing, this would be an intolerably boring show. Go watch Touched by an Angel if you want that.)
11.) I dig that Lucifer burned through vessels, a little nod to the old concept that certain human lineages are better suited to holding archangels than others. I hope they give Crowley some juicy stuff this season. Make Hell Great Again.
12.) Sam. SAM. Sammy Sammy Sammy. Saved his bits for last, because me. :D
Jared does so, so well when he's acting with his whole body. You know he feels what his character is feeling, physically FEELS. It hurts me to watch, hurts so gooood. Also, kudos to this season's hair team. Y'all know me; I love his hair long, but barring that, when it's layered? The curls come out. His flippy little curls. *pinches dimpled cheeks*
What were talking about? Oh, Sam! Yeah, Toni, you ain't gonna break him. Good luck with that. The look and editing of their scenes was fantastic. Nice and dark, snappily cut together. I wasn't keen on the way the fx department depicted Sam's hallucinations; it was a tad cheesy. I think it would've been better to just show us smeared, blown-out peeks, as Sam was probably seeing them, instead of those floating image wisps. But that aside, yaaaasssss. Sam's burnt feet, how tightly he was affixed to the chair, how TOUGH he was, spitting out "SCREW. YOU.", fooling Toni into checking on him and almost escaping (another beautifully choreographed scene), and then...THEN...Sam sitting at the bottom of the stairs, forlorn. In pain, alone, his head-to-toe body language just dripping exhaustion. My id is gloriously happy!
13.) Just wait until Dean and Mary get there. They'll snap London like Dean snapped that cell phone. (ROWR!)
Overall, it was a solid, satisfying episode! I see this one and the next as kind of a combined premier, since this one had to do a lot of setting up for the whole shaboodle. I hope we get to see more of Mary's POV of what her sons have become, get some deliciously feelie family heart-to-hearts, and unlike some fans, I'm looking forward to more Lucifer. I still have hope we'll get resolution for Sam on this front (hello, almost two centuries of torture), and serious acknowledgement from Cas that he really screwed the pooch with that possession stunt. We shall see!
All comments welcomed! Just be nice to each other. I reserve the right to shut down personal attacks and blatant character bashing. We don't all have to agree, but we can be civil, yeah? :D