Thursday, February 15, 2007

Supernatural—Tall Tales

First item tonight--in the "Then" section, they've switched from Dean's money shot coming out of the water in "Dead in the Water" to Sam's comparable shot from "Playthings." As pretty as that shot of Dean is, I think it's fair to give Sammy his due there.

Tonight's episode was... well, it was a trip. I laughed so hard I almost fell off the chaise. And the best part was, as goofy as it got, it all made sense in the end.

The teaser gives us a professor at a college, who approaches a student who's waiting for him out in the dark. Is it just me or does she look like a brunette Reese Witherspoon? The professor has written a book on Modern Morality. The girl isn't really a student. He thinks she's trying to seduce him because he's a celebrity and all. Man, I never get anybody wanting to seduce me cause I wrote some books. What's up with that? He acts all, "I don't want to take advantage of you, I respect you too much," and then macks all over her. But he gets what he deserves because she's a zombie and she throws him out the window onto the steps four stories below. He bleeds a lot.

One week later, Sam and Dean are researching in a ratty hotel and Dean is eating chicken wings in Sam's bed. Sammy is computerless and very tense, and Dean is being brattier than usual because apparently there's something wrong with the Impala. The tension is palpable. They've called in Bobby to help with the case, because it's so bizarre.

And here's where the fun begins. After a season and a half living in each other's back pockets, Sam and Dean are having friction. This comes out as they take turns relating the story to Bobby in a "he said/she said" fashion. Sam thinks Dean is a slutty horndog, Dean thinks Sam is an annoying pansy bitch. Bobby tells them they're squabbling like an old married couple. Which they are, and it's hysterical.

The case becomes more and more bizarre, as they find an apparent alien abduction and a man attacked by an alligator in the sewers. It's like every crazy urban legend that they couldn't spin into a full episode is crammed in here, and in this context it all works. Honestly, I want my very own slow dancing alien. I could do without the alligator, though. There doesn't seem to be a pattern, although Dean notices that all the victims were, in his words, dicks. Their fates are suited to their various crimes.

Bobby, providing a more objective point of view, points out that the fact that the brothers are at each others' throats is their biggest clue. They're dealing with a Trickster, who's been visiting retribution on the various victims. He's also been leaving Sam's laptop stuck on and letting the air out of the Impala's tires to keep the boys occupied so they won't figure out what's going on. They work out that the janitor is probably their Trickster.

They hone in on their culprit, who tries almost successfully to distract Dean with a lecture hall filled with gorgeous women in a room with a bed, a disco ball and Barry White music. It's a peace offering from the Trickster, to bribe Dean to let him get out of town. In the final showdown, Dean gets the crap beaten out of him by girls in lingerie, but finally prevails. Over the hood of the Impala, Sam and Dean almost apologize to each other. And at the very end, we discover the Trickster isn't really dead. A predictable twist, but it still worked.

After last week's angst-fest, this was a welcome diversion into absurdity. Good absurdity, though, and I liked that the story supported even the most over the top bits of this episode, making them fit into the storyline, rather than just being gratuitously funny. The different kind of story let Ackles and Padalecki show a different set of talents than usual, and they carried it quite well. I'd like to see this show tackle comedy more often--they did a great job with it in "Hell House" last season, and once again tonight.

Now if we could just quit with these three-week breaks, I'd be a happy camper.