Thursday, October 18, 2007

Supernatural—Bad Day at Black Rock

Tonight's episode is by Ben Edlund. I really shouldn't have to say anything else about it. I mean, this is the guy who brought us "Simon Said," and "Hollywood Babylon," and, a few years ago (has it really been that long?), turned Angel into a puppet. And tonight he's going to construct an entire Supernatural episode around a rabbit's foot. Which seems odd, but not as odd as turning Angel into a puppet, and that was one of the highlights of my TV viewing history. So yeah, looking forward to this one.

Before we get to the bunny toes, we catch up with Gordon, who's still in prison, but getting outside info from another hunter about the devil's gate fiasco at the end of last season. Gordon still seems to think Sam needs to die. But didn't he do that already? The hunter, Kubrick, joins forces with another hunter and goes in pursuit of Sam, who's collecting more Satanic nicknames as Kubrick starts calling him the Adversary. I think he paid a little too much attention in Sunday School. Heck, by the end even Gordon thinks Kubrick is taking his whole mission from God thing a little too seriously, and when Gordon thinks you're off your nut, you probably have some serious issues.

Dean isn't too happy about Sam's chatting up Ruby the demon last week. I'm kind of surprised Sam told Dean about that. It seemed like he was playing his research cards close to the vest since Dean told him about the loophole. Although it's probably good he's opening up to Dean. At this point I'm wondering, though, if he's told Dean about Mary's history as revealed last week via Ruby.

They get a call on John's old cell phone about a storage container being broken into. They go to investigate and find the container filled with childhood memorabilia (Sam's soccer trophy, Dean's first sawed-off shotgun) as well as a potentially useful arsenal and a collection of curse boxes filled with bad mojo, locked away for protection. One of them has been stolen. I liked this scene and what it revealed about John and his love for his sons. I also liked that John is in many ways still an active character in the show, much as he was in the first season before the boys caught up with him. Tying family backstory into this episode was a great move on Edlund's part--it added a layer that made it feel that much more accessible.

Sam and Dean chase down the thieves and aquire the rabbit's foot that was inside the curse box. Dean, seeing the effects of the artifact, buys lottery tickets, because he's Dean. Sam, though, is certain the artifact is cursed. Which of course it is, as evidence by the really gross death of one of the men who initially stole it. Seriously, how do they come up with all these inventive yet really repulsive ways to kill people off? And this one had the added bonus of being funny. Anyway, the bunny foot was made to kill people--when you lose it, you die in less than a week.

And a waitress in the restaurant where they stop to eat lifts the rabbit's foot out of Sam's pocket. Sam and Dean now have to figure out how to break the curse so Sam won't die. And the restaurant's publicity shot of Sam and Dean as their one millionth customer leads the hunters straight to their prey.

Poor Sam gets saddled with the bad luck, which leads to lots of pratfalls for Padalecki, who is as hysterical in this turn as put-upon Sam as he is scary when he gets to tackle demon-possessed Sam. Seriously, I've been watching Gilmore Girls and Padalecki has come a long way, and is developing some serious talent. Fearing for both their lives, Dean leaves Sam in the hotel room ("Don't even scratch your nose"--so of course Sam's nose immediately gets itchy) and pursues the thief, a new hot chick named Bela who apparently specializes in this sort of thing.

While Sam is afflicted by more and more off-the-wall accidents (the air conditioner catches fire while he just sits there trying not to do anything dangerous), Dean regains the rabbit's foot and manages to make me laugh hysterically while at the same time being completely hotass. "I'm Batman." Yes, I rolled right off the chaise. Sam's death seems to be inevitable when Kubrick catches up to him, but Dean makes use of the rabbit's foot's powers while luck is still on his side. It's this kind of assured competence in the most bizarre of situations that makes me want to lick Dean all over. Did I say that out loud? In the end, he tricks Bela into touching the rabbit's foot, so she'll be forced to let them destroy it. But she gets her revenge by pickpocketing Dean's scratch tickets.

I have to say I'm very happy with my show so far, even with the changes that have been introduced. I had high hopes for the new cast additions when rumors first hit the internet over the summer, and so far Bela and Ruby are playing out quite nicely. I was afraid Sam's storyline might fall by the wayside, but instead it's just gathered more layers. And Dean's impending death, while it continues to color the tone of the show, was more or less set aside this week, which I think was a good thing. While it's an important subplot, it doesn't need to be explicit in every episode. Kudos once again to Edlund for a stellar hour (well, okay, about 42 minutes) of TV.