Friday, January 19, 2007


Dude. I love this show. Need I say more?

In fact, the more I love an individual episode, the harder it is for me to write a review right after I've seen it. So the fact that I'm posting this on Friday morning should give you some indication of how good this was. The story was very well put together, and covered both the monster of the week and the Winchester Boys' Emotional Arc equally well. And while I usually go on and on about Jensen Ackles, tonight I'll give a nod to Jared Padalecki for acting his ass off. Kudos, oh Tall One.

Apparently a month has passed since the last ep. I'm not sure they've had this much time pass between episodes before, but I'd have to look that up. In any case, the passage of time has been indicated by shearing Jensen Ackles' hair into a semi faux-hawk. I really have no problem with this. Sam is still looking for Ava, who is apparently 5'5" and 108 lbs, which means she should be out snarfing cheeseburgers to get her BMI into a normal range. But he's willing to drop his search for a case Ellen has tossed their way.

So off the boys go. The case of the week involves a creepy haunted hotel where people die mysteriously. Honestly, that's never good. The deaths are connected somehow to a dollhouse that's an exact replica of the hotel. A mysterious force "kills" the dolls, and these events are echoed in the real world. The boys suspect hoodoo magic, but there are even stranger things afoot.

Penned by Matt Witten ("No Exit"), "Playthings" was an impressive piece of TV. Seriously, I think this show has been on a streak of near-perfection since "Simon Said." Veering from laugh-out-loud humor to nicely intense drama to complete creepiness, this episode covered all the Supernatural bases, and covered them well. Seemingly calm at the beginning--Dean comments on his lack of emo-ness--by mid-episode Sam descends into an unexpected drunken emotional purge. He's afraid of himself, of what he might become. Saving people, he thinks, will tip the balance and keep him from becoming a pawn of the Yellow Eyed Demon. But everyone around him is dying. He couldn't save Ava, and he can't save the people at the hotel. Desperate, he entreats Dean to kill him if he becomes "something that I'm not." Dean doesn't want to promise, but he does, because he has to. It's an intensely emotional moment, which undoubtedly had fangirls everywhere collapsing in squeeing heaps. (I don't squee in these situations. I slide gracefully off the side of my chaise.)

By the end, though, Sam gets to save another soul, in a scene reminiscent of Dean's heroic turn in "Dead in the Water." And, in spite of Dean's hoping he forgot their conversation, Sam remembers Dean's promise. I have no doubt that will come into play in upcoming episodes. Probably the season finale. I'm picturing a cliffhanger where Dean has to make that call--is it Sam or is it Memorex? Find out next week if he pulls the trigger... Because that would just be cruel. And also perfect. Except they'll probably think of something even crueller and perfecter, knowing these writers.

Favorite Moments:
The gay antiquing jokes. Honestly, the whole king or two queens joke just never gets old.

Dean's riff on how much Sam loves to dress up his dolls.

Sasquatch. Does Kripke read fanfic, or what?

Interesting to no one but myself:
The normally semi-desaturated nature of this show tonight seemed extra pronounced, especially with Susan, who seems almost black-and-white in some shots, and with anything red, which seemed overly prominent, especially in the cars and the paint on the dolls. I thought the effect made it all extra creepy.