Monday, February 28, 2011

White Collar - 2.14 - Payback - Recap

Previously on episode 1.12 (Bottlenecked), we met a Caffrey-wannabe con man named Matthew Keller. He's smart, ruthless, but not exactly suave and charming. Think stereotypical New Jersey con man versus Neal's New York style. He killed a man and then challenged Neal to create a fake wine bottle given to Ben Franklin by Marie Antoinette. Neal accepted only to play right into Keller's hands. He wanted his bottle tested to prove it was real, driving up the price, which he needed to pay off the Russian mob. Unfortunately for him, Mozzie buys the wine bottle for a million dollars he doesn't have, forcing Keller to confess to theft and murder to get protection from Sergei and the Russians.

We open as Hughes exposits Keller's 20 year sentence at Barksdale (maybe? - I can't find it on the internet) for manslaughter. Keller wants to avoid a super max prison with a strong Russian mob presence and is ready to deal - something Neal is dead set against. "His sentencing didn’t go well and now he wants a deal." Hughes: "Probably, but we do that sometimes Caffrey. We make deals with con men." Burned! Love the attitude, Hughes. Keller won't talk to anyone but Peter so Hughes tells him to check it out even if there's nothing to it. Diana asks about Keller and Peter describes him as "a little more Ratso Rizzo than Cary Grant." Neal beams since that makes him Cary Grant. Not sure Keller can be reduced to Midnight Cowboy petty crime though since he's very smart.

At Keller's prison cell, I am seriously depressed. Keller's in typical prison orange in a cinderblock cell decorated with artwork, Tiffany lamp, and an oriental rug. He drinks port, plays chess, and smokes cigars. Nice to know prison is such deprivation for him. Neal's disappointed too while Keller extols the merits of Dominican cigars "infused with Louis the 13th cognac." He offers one to Peter, who declines, and over chess, asks Neal if this is business or pleasure. Neal: "It's always a pleasure seeing you behind bars." Again, the comebacks are cutting today. I love it. Keller wants to work with the Feds like Neal in order to stop the transfer and stay where he is. Neal: "Barksdale Super Max. I don't think they chill the port there." Instead, he's worried about the Russians. Keller's pis aller (last resort) is to give up passport forger Jason Lang in exchange for a pass on Barksdale. "Relax Neal, alright. It's not like I am asking to be let loose on the streets of New York with only an anklet to control my compulsions." Peter states that it's too late to stop the transfer but Keller is convinced they can deal. "These are perfect passports, Caffrey-quality. Just the thing for terrorists and smugglers." Neal makes his last chess move. "Pis aller can also mean the worst thing that can happen." As he leaves, Keller counters, "We're both running out of options, Caffrey. It's your move." He moves the chess piece a final time. (Side note, this rivalry reminds me of Michael and Brennan on Burn Notice, except Brennan annoys the stuffing out of me. Great job White Collar writers for creating a rival I actually want to see again.)

At Peter's house, he searches for his jacket. Elizabeth brings it in since he forgot the dry cleaning. Elizabeth says it's okay, but Peter realizes she didn't call him about it because she assumed he would forget. He doesn't want "to be the husband that forgets to pick up the dry cleaning." Elizabeth says she's not mad but Peter claims it will fester with her all day. You're headed for dangerous territory here, Peter. He backtracks, sort of, and she fires back. Satchmo senses they are both miffed and scurries into the kitchen, causing things to get huffier. Elizabeth: "Ok. Look, I don’t want to be the wife that has to call and nag you to do things. And plus, it's a lot more effort to try to remind you and I don't even know if you are going to remember." They are disappointed in each other but still civil. She calls a halt to the discussion for work and they say awkward goodbyes. Elizabeth: "Have a wonderful day." They kiss. Peter: "You too." Awkward pause and Elizabeth leaves. While it's good to know that they are not perfect all the time and it makes them more realistic, they fight weird. It's all patient sighs and carefully worded speech. They're not going to be on the Maury Povich show anytime soon. Plus, this is so not about the dry cleaning. Peter looks rueful. Satchmo re-enters as sad background music plays. "Yeah, that could have gone better."

On the street, Mozzie wonders what Keller wants. Neal recaps that he's living the good life at some prison I also can't find on Google. Are they making these up? Moz wants Keller to suffer and worries that he'll go free. Neal reminds us that Keller's being transferred and Mozzie brings up Kate. Last time, Keller angered Neal by suggesting that Kate slept with him while Neal was in jail. Personally, I don't buy it because Kate isn't the type to go for oily salesmen, but all 3 of them share past history. Neal claims he's over Kate, earning skeptical glances from Mozzie and me. "Look, she'll always be a part of me but I have to move on." Moz is worried making this is the perfect time for a surprise Kate sighting. I can't shake the idea that Kate's role is not quite over yet. The more Neal protests, the more I fall into a Mozzie-sized conspiracy theory.

At the FBI, Peter exposits that Keller and Lang were partners in a bad con. The partnership dissolved when Keller was shot twice with Lang's gun. Neal surmises that he wants revenge with his stay in jail free card, but they still have to check out the forger over Neal's protest. Peter: "Relax, we're not going to release Keller on an anklet…unless June has a spare bedroom." Bwah! Neal doesn't think that's funny, but I sure do. Peter hounds Neal. "…he had cigars in his cell. I remember your prison cell. No cigars." I love Snarky Peter and the delivery was perfect. Let's see this side more often. Neal finally gets Peter to leave and asks what's wrong. "Your sarcasm goes up in direct proportion to your stress level." These two know each other well. Peter dishes on the dry cleaning saga. Neal asks if Elizabeth was angry and Peter says no. Neal questions for us all us, "And that's bad?" Peter's guilt of being a disappointment weighs on him. He wants to be a better husband (aw!). "And the worst part is that when she left this morning, I didn't call her 'hon'." I love Neal's face here. "Have you ever seen an actual fight?" Neal, we're all on the same page as you. I'd guess Neal and Kate had some doozies. Peter explains that "hon" is their shorthand for "I love you." Neal finds this "efficient"; I find it sad. Guess it's a married thing. Neal common senses that Peter should leave a message and call her "hon at the end. Peter's adorably relieved at the idea. Peter, honey, you're smarter than this. I'm surprised you haven't called already. "I'll call her as soon as we're done here." Yep, that's a doomed sentence if I've ever heard one. We all know something will interrupt that call.

In Lang's all-white studio, Peter questions Lang while Neal looks around. Lang says he's far too successful for illegal activity now. He takes a phone call and Neal points out the color-shifting printer and a Metrolux which creates holographics, both needed to forge US passports. It's enough to get a warrant but Lang runs when questioned. Peter tells Neal to stay and gives chase. Neal of course chases too, but he's not quick enough. When Peter exits the building, a gun is shoved at his head and he realizes it's a trap. Lang tells him to drop his gun and cell. Just as they put a bag over Peter's head, Neal sees him. Unfortunately, he's not faster than a speeding van. As he gets to the place Peter was kidnapped, Peter's phone rings with Keller on the other end. "You lost a key piece Caffrey." Neal: "…this isn’t a game." Keller: "Of course it is. Life is a game. If you stop playing, Peter Burke will die."

Peter is locked in a cell in the garment district, surrounded by creepy mannequins. Is this a new TV theme? First Supernatural and now White Collar. At least Peter doesn't have to worry about mannequins coming alive and killing him. Of course, since Lang makes no effort to disguise himself or his hired thugs, Peter should worry about them killing him. Peter claims Keller will betray Lang, and I agree. He's not the type to share the wealth. Peter reminds me of the movie Sneakers, where Bishop figures out where he is by using turn clues and timing. Lang is less impressed than I am. Peter wants a deal, but Lang was burned by the government before so he's sticking with Keller. I guess people get annoyed when the government hassles them. Lang shoots a dummy for emphasis.

Neal tries a different emphasis point as he shoves Keller into a wall. I puzzle over Neal accessing a prisoner without Peter. The FBI doesn't know that Peter's been kidnapped, so they aren't pulling strings. Keller: "You better protect your king." Neal agrees to talk outside, since Keller apparently makes his own prison schedule. Must be nice. No wonder he wants to stay. Neal knows Keller will kill Peter, so he hasn't informed the FBI. Keller: "Well, it's best not to discuss personal matters with everybody, Neal." This makes me laugh because it's oily and he's trying to be cool, but not pulling it off. While Keller denies participating in the kidnapping, he could help Neal with his "big problem" if he gets 2.5 million. "My sources tell me that I too face dire circumstances unless my debts with the Russians gets (sic) paid." Neal balks at the price since his resources are depleted. I guess the FBI doesn't pay criminal consultants well and Neal often needs specialized items to keep his quality of life and cons up to par. Keller hints at a Scottish item Neal stole 6 years ago. He's confident Neal kept it and gives him 3 hours to deliver the goods before Keller's transferred. Neal tells Keller he will lose again, but Keller is in pis aller and has no choice. If it weren't French, I'd guess this was the name of the episode.

Neal calls Diana about Peter's kidnapping. Hughes starts a manhunt and sends Jones to oversee Keller's transfer. (Give Jones a real story line.) Neal recaps Keller's plan and Hughes sounds the party line about not negotiating with terrorists. Neal: "Sir, all due respect, Keller doesn't bluff. He will kill Peter if I don't engage him." Hughes stands firm behind FBI manpower and says they are going ahead with Keller's transfer. "Come sundown, Keller's going to be bunking with a seven foot Russian named Ivan." Remind me not to get on Hughes's bad side. He tries to reassure Neal but no dice. Mozzie calls Neal about a mysterious voice who called him with a meeting place and time. They agree to meet and Neal asks Mozzie to bring a hammer. Guess he does have the Scottish artifact after all. Mozzie asks Neal what s going on, but Neal can't talk because Elizabeth arrives. He tells Mozzie that Peter's been kidnapped and then hangs up on a distressed Moz. Good to know he is worried too.

Hughes tries to reassure Elizabeth with the FBI manpower speech and arranges for agents to stay at her house. He leaves and Elizabeth questions Neal about Keller. Keller thinks like a chess player, so the manhunt isn't going to work - the exact thing Peter said about Neal in the pilot. Elizabeth: "What are YOU doing?" Neal: "Well they want me to go home, sit tight." He asks her what she wants him to do. "Whatever it takes to bring him home." With Elizabeth's permission, Neal goes forward with his plans, except Diana plays escort. She says Neal's too emotionally involved to make decisions, but he counters that both he and Keller have read the FBI handbook. To convince Diana to play along, Neal tells of an earlier 3-man heist Keller pulled. One of the men thought he forgot his passport back at the scene. Keller killed him right then - no waiting, no checking the facts - even though it was in his pocket. Diana surmises that Neal was the second man. Neal can buy time by playing along but Diana hesitates until he reminds her that Peter would let him do it. She goes for an hour coffee break while Neal meets Mozzie in the park.

Worried about Peter, Mozzie arrives with a bag of hammers, although he claims he "happens to have an arsenal of hammers." The park has special significance. Mozzie met "John Lennon" there in 1991 - ha! - but Neal and Kate often met there. He imagined their kids would play on the playground and Neal planned to propose there. He was going to have Cesar, the park violinist, play "Everybody Loves Somebody" as they walked by. Aww. Moz asks why Neal never said anything but he knew that Mozzie would not approve, although Uncle Mozzie has a nice ring to it. Speaking of rings, that's the Scottish surprise Keller was talking about. Neal hid it under bronze putty on a park statue. Very clever and apparently safer than a safety deposit box. I'm getting paranoid about the safety of my own money because of this show. The ring is a McNally solitaire, coincidentally worth 2.5 million. Mozzie says Neal held out on him, but Neal says he had "hope…that she wasn't gone." Mozzie: "Fate has a way of putting in front of us that which we most try to leave behind." Yep, here's my conspiracy theory that somehow Kate is still alive. Mozzie questions if Neal will really give up Kate's ring for Peter. Neal: "Keeping Peter alive is more important than holding a candle for someone who isn't." Nice job showing the difficulty of giving up on dreams in this scene, Matt Bomer.

Back in Peter’s cell, he picks the handcuffs with the dry cleaning pin on his suit and finally the whole Burke argument makes plot contrivance sense. Lang tosses an empty can into the cell, making plans in front of Peter. Peter exposits that Ridgefield security will let Keller escape during his transfer. He knows that Lang is meeting Neal and will use what Neal gives him to buy Keller's freedom. Since Lang didn't hide the conversation, Peter realizes that he plans to kill him. Correction - Keller is going to do it himself. Meanwhile, Mozzie visits Elizabeth as a magazine seller. He came without prompting, which I buy since those two have a great relationship the show needs to use more often. Elizabeth panics because the FBI won’t tell her anything, but Mozzie reassures her that between the FBI "and Neal, Peter's going to be home in time for dinner tonight." He recaps Neal's deal. Elizabeth agonizes over the dry cleaning fight to Mozzie, since it was the first morning they didn't resolve their issues before they left for work. Really? Surely in all their years of marriage, they've stewed before. Mozzie: "Seriously, this is about dry cleaning?" Yep, Moz, join in our disbelief. He apologizes because "the longest relationship I had is 11 days…and then she deflated." Bwah! I love how Moz tries to cheer Elizabeth up, but it's not working. Elizabeth frets, "The last thing I said to him was have a wonderful day." Moz: "I'm guessing in a fight about dry cleaning that that's pretty severe." Ha! Elizabeth reminds us that she and Peter have the best marriage ever and she doesn't want to lose him. Mozzie gives her an ear bud so she can listen to what the suits are saying. He kisses her on the forehead (aww) and clumsily puts a bug in the FBI headphones. FBI guys need more con training because it works.

Back to the case, Neal meets Lang to exchange the ring, but refuses to give him it without seeing Peter. He starts walking away when Lang calls him back. Neal can ask Peter one question via text message, so he asks what cell phone number he had when Peter first arrested him. How can Lang not see that Peter can send Neal a message? Yeah, Keller is definitely killing him when this is over. Peter sends an alpha message, which I assume are his coordinates. Neal buys a sketchpad and pencil to decode the message - No Transfer! I was wrong. Diana calls Jones to stop the transfer, but the driver doesn't answer. A guard lets Keller out, who wears a suit under his prison garb. Keller locks the guards in the truck because he doesn’t want to pay them a cut. And Lang trusts this guy? Jones chases Keller but loses him and Diana drives like a maniac in a product placed Ford Hybrid. Neal: "You're not driving very green. All your leaves are falling off…I feel like I'm stuck inside The Giving Tree, nothing left but a stump." Bwah! Diana: "I'll grow a new one over the weekend." I love the humor this episode!

Hughes is upset by the escape and Diana and Neal's inability to follow directions. Diana sticks up for Neal but Hughes doesn't budge. Meanwhile, Peter provokes Lang by making him suspicious of Keller. Not hard to do if you have any brains at all. Not sure if Lang qualifies. Peter doesn't think the 2.5 million will cover Keller's mob and prison debts. Lang threatens Peter, recapping that he already shot Keller. Apparently, Lang has his own betrayal in mind as he plans to shoot Keller and keep the ring. Peter points out a small flaw in his plan - Lang's not impressive with a gun. He provokes Lang to come closer and grabs the gun, knocking Lang out with the cell bars. Awesome! He uses a mannequin arm to get Lang's cell phone. Then he calls Jones and demands to talk to Neal. Peter has Neal to talk him "through a jail break." Elizabeth, listening to the conversation, demands they put Peter on speaker but wisely doesn't talk to him. He's got a cell to open. Neal has everyone clear a space the size of the cell in the FBI and then tapes the boundaries. It's very impressive. Peter lists his current assets - cardboard boxes, metal chair, soda can, lamp, light bulb, thread, fabric, and "some really creepy mannequins". You caught Supernatural too, huh? They assemble what Peter has into the makeshift office cell too. It's all very MacGyver and I'm excited to see how they jerry rig this. He lets Neal know what kind of lock it is. Peter needs to short out the backup and cut the electricity. He uses the soda tab as a wire cutter, earning Neal's respect for improvisation. He strips the green wire. Neal has him break the light bulb and attach the filament to his phone battery, causing a power surge that will unlock the cell. Peter reminds Neal that using the battery will disconnect the phone call, but Neal is confident it will work. Hughes wants him to wait for the FBI, but Lang starts waking up. Peter trusts Neal. There's a tense few seconds as the phone call disconnects, but all is well when Peter calls back. He's got Lang at gun point and the FBI (and Elizabeth) are on their way. I love how Hughes pats Neal's shoulder in approval. This episode has so many aawww! moments.

Jones enters first and then Neal and Peter hug - aw! Neal doesn't expect Keller to show. Lang of course is screwed. Peter shows Neal the ring and says that if it's not stolen, it goes back to Neal. Neal says it's been missing for a 200+ years and doesn't belong to him. Neal says Peter should contact the Scotland Royal Museum while Peter wears his Proud Papa look again. I'm surprised Neal gives up Kate's ring so easily. Either the producers are hitting us over the head that Neal is over Kate in order to set up a relationship with She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, or there's something Kate-related down the pike. Considering there’s only 2 episodes left and we haven't seen Adler in weeks, they don't have time for side stories. We need to get the fractal mystery solved first. Anyway, Elizabeth arrives and the Burkes kiss and call each other "hon" and everything's perfect until Keller calls Neal. He's seen the commotion and calls this round a draw. Neal threatens, but I want to get back to the Burkes. Keller says Neal sounds “like a law man" which isn’t a compliment to cons. I don't care because the Burkes are still kissing as Keller tosses his phone and walks off.

All in all, this is my favorite episode since Point Blank. It had lots of humor, action, and poignant scenes. It incorporated the best of White Collar, specifically the bond between Neal and Peter along with Mozzie and Elizabeth's strange but awesome friendship. I wish they recapped themselves less but that is the only small criticism I have in this episode. Keller is a classic rival and I hope he comes back again next season. I'd love to see how Neal reacts to being bested by Keller. Let's hope the Russian mob doesn't get him first.

Next week, Neal and Peter switch identities. I think we can safely say humor will abound again.

Screencaps by Caps by Emma-Jane and White Collar Online
My blog

Supernatural - 6.15 - The French Mistake - Recap

Fair Warning #1 - If you know me, you know I hate meta episodes. Don't get me wrong. I love meta. Changing Channels was awesome and little winks like in Caged Heat when Crowley said, "Castiel, haven't seen you all season" make my day. I just can't stand meta for meta's sake and the refuse it makes canon in its wake. To me, only The Monster at the End of the Book and The Real Ghostbusters were meta episodes, both of which make my Top 10 Worst Episodes list. I've dreaded this episode. However, Unforgiven and Mannequin 3 were both subpar episodes to me, equally boring and equally filler. So, tired of writing negatively about Supernatural for 2 weeks, I decided not to recap this one. Until I saw it. Unlike many, it is not my favorite episode of season 6, not even close. But, it would land squarely in the middle for me. Some of you may be disappointed but believe me, if I think a meta episode was decent, even good, it was one heck of an episode. Certainly better than Unforgiven and Mannequin.

Warning #2 - I know nothing about TV production. Also, I typically avoid all but the very basics in Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki's personal lives, including some DVD extras. I am a huge fan of the show, but it makes me feel stalkerish to delve too deeply into them as people. For these reasons I'm doubly clueless in this episode compared to most of you. I have a hard time deciding if something is meta or plot, so forgive me if I miss an obvious reference.

Previously - Cas and Raphael are in an angel civil war, Balthazar stole heaven's weapons, Balthy killed Raphael's vessel, Meg killed a trucker and dialed home with his blood in a bowl (way to reach back to season 1 folks), Ruby was a manipulative witch who got Sam addicted to demon blood and died with her own knife (ah, the good old days)

Fierce storms hit South Dakota so people with brontophobia beware. Dean copes with copious amounts of liquor (aka hunter's helper), which Bobby is at the store to replenish. That makes Bobby a hero in Dean's eyes. Sam has no time to reply because in pops Balthazar, who helpfully told RoboSam to kill Bobby the last time we saw him. Dean's rightfully nervous, but Balthy's so into his Godfather allusion he doesn't notice. He starts a potion of Dead Sea brine, blood of lamb, and bone of a lesser saint, all of which Bobby has on hand. Makes me wonder what other obscure goodies Bobby procured. Everything is confusing as Balthy pops from one place to another and refuses to answer questions. The gist is that Raphael is after Castiel but can't find him. "So good old Rafy put out a hit list on every last Samaritan who helped out dear Cas, including both of you, and so much more importantly, me. See he wants to draw Cas out into the open." Both Balthy and the Winchesters are in deep trouble. Balthy makes an Enochian sign on the window with the potion and hands them a key. He also got stabbed by a Raphael's best hit man, Virgil, and is "down a lung at the moment." Ha! Sorry - I know I should hate Balthy, but he's funny and fills the RoboSam void. If we must have angels, I hope he survives. He tells them to run and pushes them through the window….

…where they fall onto a TV set (the place where a TV show is shot not the thing you see said TV show on). They do an excellent job of showing fear, earning applause from the crew. A random guy slaps Dean's butt and the director smiles. In a fantastic transition, a crew guy claps the tail slate leading into the broken glass title card. Dean and Sam ponder where they are and what happened to the angels, while the director ponders why they can't use the shot. I ponder whether to get drunk on hunter's helper for the first time since college in order to get through the meta. Sam asks if they should kill someone, but Dean says no. They nix running too. Miscellaneous crew people try to fix the scene and Assistant Director (AD) Parks suggests they reset the window to redo the scene, but that would cut the scene "where they sit on the Impala and talk about their feelings." Bwah! Maybe this won't be so bad after all. The director rejects that - "Right. You answer the hate mail." They end up with the "serviceable" freeze frame solution. Hopefully, this doesn't happen too often in real life. Sucky CW budget! They call it a wrap and one woman takes Jared/Sam, while another pushes Jensen/Dean into a makeup chair. This is getting confusing fast. While everyone else is fascinated by Dean's reaction to the make-up he has on ("I'm a painted whore."), I'm fascinated with the pictures of RealJensen and RealJared attached to the mirror. There's bloody Dean and bloody Sam along with the obligatory goofy pictures. I wonder if this is really what it looks like. Meanwhile, Trish Evian, a field producer, interviews Sam as Jared, who is as confused as I am. What's a field producer? She asks him to "include the question in your answer," which I find funny since we tell that to middle schoolers writing constructed responses.

The brothers exchange horror stories. You know it's bad when Dean passes up free food. Sam exposits they are on a TV show about their lives, they are the stars and their names are Jensen and Jared. Dean: "Why would anybody want to watch our lives?" Sam: "Well, according to the interviewer, not very many people do." True, but while we vary in age and gender, we are all very passionate. "We landed in some dimension where you're Jensen Ackles and I'm something called a Jared Padalecki." Dean: "Oh so what now, you're Polish?" They go outside where Dean sees the Impala. His joy at having "his baby make it" is diminished when someone throws dirt on her. It turns to despair when he sees 4 other Metallicars in various states of disrepair. A two-door version is missing a wheel and the doors. It's disheartening. Dean: "I feel sick. I'm going to be sick." Me too, Dean. Dean is creeped out and "there's no place like home" becomes a refrain. They decide to reach out to Cas. (I love when they pray to get Castiel's attention. It's hilarious.) "Dear Castiel, who art maybe running his *** away from heaven. We pray that you have your ears on. Breaker, breaker." Is it a prayer or the CB channel, Dean? Regardless, they see Cas, who is likely TVMisha in this scenario, so let the confusion reign. Cas uses a deeper voice than normal to robot talk about being in this dimension to avoid Angel Hit Man Virgil. Cas asks for the key, which opens Balthy's treasure trove of heaven weapons. Cas needs them to win the civil war. Sam asks about the show, Dean calls Sam Padaleski, and TVMisha (not Cas) consults his script. TVMisha talks in his normalish, higher voice, making me laugh. Plus he has a sky blue T-shirt underneath the trench coat. Bwah! Dean makes fun of the names Misha and Jensen with a classic "this is screwed" face, while TVMisha is gleeful about their prank. Even I know that's meta for the prank wars that got pretty intense between Misha and Jared. TVMisha tweets, "Ola, mishamigos! J2 got me good. Really starting to feel like one of the guys." I know it's spelled that way because in a case of meta on meta on top of meta, RealMisha tweeted it to about 131,000 fans at the same time this episode aired for the eastern US. I however, saw the episode an hour later when it made a whole lot more sense to me. RealMisha is a hoot so if you're not following him, follow at @mishacollins.

The brothers Winchester stop at TVJensen's on-set trailer, which is helpfully labeled J. Ackles, Supernatural, for anyone confused. Or anyone who has snuck onto the set and wants to surprise an unsuspecting actor. I hope this isn't real because that could be scary with some Jensen Ackles fans. Dean: "That's fake me. This must be fake mine." (snickers and snorts here) TVJensen's trailer has a massive fish tank, toys, big flat screen TV, fireplace, and laptop conveniently waiting for Sam to use. I don't know if it is RealJensen's trailer but if it is, it's sweet. Why don't they just sleep there on those days when they are on "extra pay." I got that term from Jim Beaver's Twitter account by the way. It's a day when they go over schedule at night but still have to start at the regular time in the morning, thus negating their 8 hour break in between shooting clause in their contract.

TVJensen likes watching himself as his giant face is plastered on the flat screen. Sam researches Jensen Ackles, which is strange plot wise since they have more important stuff to research, but meta wise leads to a YouTube video of Real Jensen on Days of Our Lives. I wonder what they paid to show that clip. I'd prefer a classic rock song next week. Dean is also unimpressed. "Don’t like this universe, Sammy. We need to get out of this universe." Meanwhile, Dean picks up a copy of Supernatural magazine (it's great if you haven't subscribed) and makes slurs about male models and Sam's Blue Steel face. Again very meta. Oh, and while the Action Buzz website does not exist to my knowledge, I have seen every one of those pictures on the internet. It looks like most fan sites. However, there is a plot in all this meta, and the brothers realize they're "out of soul phone range." Ha! The new plan is to get the ingredients, draw the Enochian symbol on the window, and zap themselves back.

They search for the ingredients in TVBobby's set house, only to find everything is fake. The knives bend or push in and you can't crush up a rubber saint bone. The director and AD shake their heads but "at least they're talking to each other." Now that is NOT meta since Jensen and Jared get along well on set and off. They decide to leave in the Impala. It squeals and knocks and barely runs. Aww, this is just sad! A desperate crew guy begs Mr. Ackles to stop and Dean does, asking, "how the hell are we supposed to get out of here?" They are chauffeured out of K M Motion Picture Studios and I take that as a shout-out to Kim Manners, former producer, director, and show's soul who died in 2009. Aww! You were amazing Mr. Manners. Clif asks where TVJensen wants to go and he says TVJared's. Clif wonders about them hanging out. I wonder what RealClif thinks since he's the real bodyguard. Suddenly, I'm really confused between Dean/Sam, TVJensen/TVJared, and RealJensen/RealJared. Aaaargh! We're only 13 minutes in and already this recap is three pages. Sam wants to go to TVJared's house and Jensen realizes they are in Vancouver, Canada. "Dude, we're not even in America." Who knew Dean was such a xenophobe?

At the TVPadalecki house, my jaw drops. I have no idea if this is meta, but if RealJared can afford a mansion like this, I'm not feeling sorry for J2. This place is huge for a low-rated TV star's place. Dean agrees. "Nice modest digs, Jay-Z." Sam: "Wow. I must be the star of this thing." Ha! I bet some fans are in a tizzy. They see a tanning bed in the foyer (The foyer? Shouldn't you have an entire room for this? You don't lack space.) and Sam is confused. "What am I? Dracula." Dean counters, "George Hamilton Dracula." Dean spots a bar so he's good. Um, everyone who said that Dean wasn't happy with Lisa because he drank so much? How do you explain his current alcohol rate? Cuz it has not changed one bit. I'm distracted from Dean's cirrhosis by the Warhol-like paintings of Jared and Genevieve Padalecki on the wall. At first I wondered if anyone really displays so many pictures of themselves, but then I thought of the family pictures at my grandma's house and realized it makes sense.

Dean and Sam are startled by a horrible snurfling sound in the backyard. Genevieve (Gen to save space) calls Dean names and says it's an alpaca. She looks smoking hot by the way. Dean calls her Ruby and she sighs that the joke is old. However, the Winchesters are completely confused. She kisses Sam and both brothers have priceless looks on their faces. Dean puzzles out who she is and why "the lovely actress who plays Ruby" is in Jared's house. Luckily a wedding picture clears everything up. In fact, it's their real wedding photo and things are suddenly squicky in a "I feel like a stalker" way, not a "I'm a crazy fan who can't handle that J2 got married" way. At least it should shut up the crazies who insist that Jared and Jensen are married to people other than Gen and Danneel. Dean is as befuddled as I am. "You married Fake Ruby." BWAAAHHH!!! My favorite line of the night so far, given so many people negatively call Gen Cortese fake Ruby as a slur. I happened to like her better, but to each their own. TVGen wants to know what they are doing since TVJensen has never been to the Padalecki house. "Well, now that I know there's an alpaca in the back I'm definitely coming back." Ha! TVGen talks about eco-friendly animals and heads to the International Otter Adoption charity dinner. Dean has a hard time not smirking. I smirk away because I'm guessing this is meta for RealJared's animal charity projects. Gen kisses Sam while Dean eye rolls grimaces. I keep laughing. Best scene in the whole episode. She heads off after saying she's glad they are talking and they check her out as she goes. That's a bit awkward since RealJensen is technically checking out his real best friend's wife. "Well, it looks like you did alright." Sam quickly agrees. "I should figure out her name." BWAH!!! It's at this point I realize that I actually like this meta episode. I nearly fall out of bed in shock.

They use their post-TVGen time to find the materials they need. Cheesy western music plays in the background while Sam sits in front of a huge picture of him as a cowboy. Either it's a still from the yet-to-be-seen western episode or a meta reference to it. I'm astonished someone would want a huge picture of himself hanging over his shoulder as he works. That would creep me out. Dean wants to head to Mexico City to rob a saint's wrist bone, but one perk of being an actor instead of a hunter is legitimate credit cards with a high limit. Hello Foster's World Bank Ultimate Card! I want a card that accepts $100,000 charges. Oh, and a job that pays the bill. They max out TVJared's credit cards and have a great time doing it. Dean: "Money, man. There's nothing like it." Dean couch crashes for his "beauty rest" while Jared grills Gen. At least he knows her name now. He asks about the Apocalypse disasters while she wonders why he's talking about Supernatural's season 5. Didn't happen in this reality, Sam. Gen: "You have been Sam Winchester way too long." Sam takes Gen's fabulously bejeweled hand and gets very lucky. Sometimes it's not bad to be Sam Winchester.

They take Clif's SUV to pick up their holy relics while he questions whether it's illegal. It looks like Dean's going for his seatbelt and I about fall over again. Huh? Anyway, they get out the spell ingredients at TVBobby's house as the director and AD show up. They're shocked to see them so early. Dean talks to the director about clearing the set so they can "do some actor stuff." Director Singer: "Jensen, we're thrilled to see you collaborating so creatively and your enthusiasm is refreshing. You know Dean Cain was like that on Lois and that man's a real actor." Huh? Is that a slam against Jensen and Jared's acting? Surely not. A quick check on IMDB makes me think it's meta about Robert Singer's producing days on Lois and Clark. Still, there's got to be a story here that I'm missing. Singer denies Dean's request and he realizes they have to ACT. He joins TVMisha and Sam. Misha asks what's in the package and Sam replies, "Upper part of a dead person." Again, I snort with laughter at TVMisha's reaction. Sam freaks about having to act. Pervasive hard staring, hand flailing, mark missing, word stumbling, body swaying, and head bobbing ensues. I heard once that the hardest thing for a good actor to play is a bad actor. If that's true, RealJensen and RealJared are acting geniuses because that was atrocious. Director Singer rolls his eyes upwards, "Season 6" he sighs. They decide to splice it together. Sam grouses about lines; Dean's more direct. "Gun. Mouth. Now." However, TVMisha takes the cake. He tweets, "IMHO j&j had a late one last night. Rotflmfao!" Again RealMisha tweeted it to his fans in the 9 o'clock hour while the west coast and St. Louis watched live. However, the absolute funniest thing of actually happened Saturday when RealMisha tweeted, "My phone was stolen and apparently cast into a parallel universe devoid of magic. I've retrieved it. I promise it won't happen again." BWWAAAHH!!! Truly, guys, follow him.

Back to the show - Singer calls Sera Gamble in LA to alert her to the problems. "They started talking to each other." Ha! Sera says that's a good thing, but Singer counters that TVJensen's staying over at TVJared's house where they are smuggling illegal items. TVMisha tweeted it was organ smuggling but AD Parker says it's drugs. I say move on. Just as Singer says, "Anyway, as far as I can see, I think they've lost any shred of talent they ever had," the Winchesters crash through the fake window. Yep, drugs. Back in TVJensen's trailer, Sam exposits no demons, angels, ghosts, monsters, or Apocalypses on alter-verse. No hunters either. Unfortunately, the spell summons Virgil to a fake hotel set. I guess this music budget went to the extra 23 plate glass windows they broke.

The next day, stunt doubles greenscreen while Dean wants out of Canada. It's not your fault Northern buddy. Dean just hates feeling out of control and hockey, I guess. He runs into Virgil, who gets the shock of his eternal life when he has no powers. "Mojo-free zone." "No magic in the house." "Makes you nothing but a d***" The stunt coordinator tries to impress some female I don't know (anyone help here?) while Dean and Sam wail on Virgil. AD Parks and the stunt guys break it up and Virgil flees with the key. That can only end badly. On a conference call to Sera Gamble again, we see a cover of Dean and Sam on TV News in the background. It's a much better picture than the TV Guide cover. Maybe we can use this one next time. They also have at least seven trophies, one looks vaguely People's Choice shaped but with writing in the wrong place. There's definitely a Constellation award (won for What is and What Should Never Be - excellent choice and best SciFi series as a whole), but I have no idea what the others are. Singer voices his concerns about Dean and Sam "beating an extra to death." Sera's response, "Huh." (snickers) Producer Jim Michaels and AD Parks insist that it wasn't so bad because he could still run. They concur the boys are on an acid trip, so Sera agrees to talk to them. Except Jim thinks Kripke would be more effective, since Sera is "new". If "new" means there from the beginning and simply changing jobs within the same show, then…um..Ok. Sera flips and then I do. Kripke's new pilot is called OctoCobra . Is it for the SyFy channel? Kripke, I said I would follow you anywhere, but I can't in good conscious go there. Thanks goodness this is the meta that isn't meta.

TVMisha leaves hair and makeup in a hideous blue snowflake sweater. I think my grandma gave these as Christmas presents. He enters his car with a massive grin, tweeting "Ever get that feeling someone's in the backseat - " You should go with that feeling Misha, as in go out of the car. Then an angelic hit man wouldn't have a knife at your throat. Also, so much for set security if they get through the guards like that. Meanwhile, Dean and Sam enter TVBobby's house only to be confronted by Producer Singer. He asks if killing the extra is about getting a pay raise. Dean: "More money. You already pay these two jokers enough money as it is." Sam agrees. Don't let the CW hear you say that. They'll be all for it. Producer/Director Bob says he is Robert Singer. Dean: "What kind of a douchebag names a character after himself?" Sam: "Oh, that's not right." They ignore Executive Producer/Director/Douche Robert Singer only to realize that Virgil has the key. Singer: "Guys, you can't come to work on poppers and smuggle kidneys in from Mexico and make up your own lines as you go. You cannot make up your own lines…what about your careers." Of those 3, you worry about the lines? Got to love Hollywood. Sam: "You know what, screw our careers Bob." Dean: "You heard my brother. That's right I said brother. Cuz you know what Bob, we're not actors. We're hunters. We're the Winchesters - always have been and always will be. And where we're from people don't know who we are but you know what, we matter to that world. In fact, we even save a (SOB) once or twice. And yeah, OK here maybe there's some fans who give a **** about this nonsense…but Bob Singer, if that even is your name, tell me this. What does it all mean?" It's nice to hear Dean positive about hunting after the downer of last week's "sit on the Impala and share their feelings" talk. Oh, and the Winchesters quit the acting business.

In a dark alley, Virgil pushes a hysterical, weeping TVMisha while whining about this universe. His high pitched squeal makes me long for deep Cas voice. But as Virgil slits his throat, I move on. A homeless man sees Virgil use TVMisha's blood for a phone call, a la Meg in the previouslies. I thought it was a demon party line but apparently angels use it too. He calls Raphael. Meanwhile, Dean and Sam plan to break into a police station and put an APB on Virgil. They are stopped by a crying TVGen, who shrieks that TVMisha is dead. The brothers ask, "Where?" in unison (aaww) which bafles TV Gen. Hey, Canadian police tape looks like American except for the maple leaves. The brothers walk right into the crime scene and I expect a real cop to kick them out. You know, like real life cops do. But I guess it's still the Supernatural world where cops welcome random people off the street to enter and contaminate evidence. They overhear homeless guy talking about Raphael. "The scary man killed the attractive crying man (ha!) and then he started to pray and the strange part, after a while I swear I heard this voice answering." Virgil needs to go to the place he crossed over at the time he crossed over to get back. And, there's the plan. Dean gives him $50 Canadian dollars while Sam freaks about Virgil, the key, and Cas dying. Dean: "Well, then we stop him. I mean, how bad can an angel with no wings be?" Answer - pretty bad when he stocks up at the local gun shop. I bet the gun guy is fish bait tonight. Or just knocked out. It's the customer that gets iced.

On set, Dean reminds Sam and us that they might be stuck in alt-verse. Sam says they'll find a way, but Dean suggests Sam has a good life here. Sam tells Dean not to be stupid, but with no heaven vs. hell politics, there's wiggle room. Sam: "Dean, our friends are back there." Um, besides Bobby and Cas who are family, what friends? Dean: "Yeah but, here you've got a pretty good life. I mean, back home the hits have been coming since you were 6 months old. You gotta admit that being a gazillionaire, married to Ruby, the whole package. There's no contest." Anyone else think Dean gives this speech because here there's no way for the Great Wall of Sam to fall? It's noble to offer Sam the option, but no way he takes it. Sam: "No, you know you were right. We just don't mean the same thing here. I mean we're not even brothers here, man." Dean: "Alright then. Let's get our crazy show back home." There's no Impala but I'm pretty sure this is the feelings talk for the episode.

Meanwhile, Kripke arrives and he chats with Singer about TVMisha for 2 seconds before saying it got them "the front page of Variety." Please let this be Hollywood meta and not Kripke meta. They talk OctoCobra breakthroughs and TVJ2. Until Virgil interrupts by killing them AAALLL!!! As crazy western music plays, Kripke walks until a 3rd bullet takes him down. Bob Singer goes in 1 shot, as AD Parks and others go down too. A random guy dodges the bullets and I laugh out loud. Funniest thing in the last half. Perhaps this is meta about how almost everyone dies in SPN but a very select few have dodged the bullet so far. Anyway, Sam draws Virgil's attention and Dean sacks him. The beat down begins while Sam gets the key and the Enochian symbol glows. They realize Raphael's a-calling but get sucked through yet another window before they can get away.

They land back in the "real" world at the feet of a female Raphael. It's got that kick-your-butt Jackie Brown vibe. She brings the Winchesters to their knees and grabs the key. But wait, Balthazar pops in to explain that the key goes to a bus locker. The Winchesters were a diversion. Great! At least it explains why Balthy saved them instead of just saving himself. It's more believable. Balthy tells her the weapons are gone. "You see, they were so well hidden that I needed time to find them so I volunteered these 2 marmosets for a game of fetch with Virgil. You two were such an adequate stick. Thank you. Thank you boys." Ouch! Got to suck to be angel pawns again after the annoyance of the last 2 years. Sera, you told us we wouldn't deal with angels this year. Can't Virgil blast them away too? Raphael is as ticked as the Winchesters, but Castiel stops her. He has the weapons and does that flashy thing where we see the shadow of his wings. Cas: "If you don't want to die tonight, back off." Very convincing; Raphael disappears, but I wonder if Cas really had the wherewithal to do it. Why not kill Raphael if he could? It would end the civil war - Cas's goal all season long. Balthy: "Well Cas. Now that you have your sword, try not to die by it." I like Balthy! He leaves.

Cas magically transports them back to Bobby's, who is still not home and going to be ticked when he finds the living room window blown out. He might need extra hunter's helper. Sam confronts Cas on using the Winchesters as bait. Cas states that while it was Balthy's plan, he would do the same thing. Dean takes exception but Cas whines for the 93rd time that losing to Raphael would destroy everything. So why not take him out when you had the chance? Hmmm? Dean demands answers but Cas apologizes and leaves. "Freakin' angels." I agree. Let's hope that the weapons end the civil war in heaven and they go through a 10 year rebuilding plan where all angels are too busy to come to earth. I am so freaking sick of the angels on this show. Kill them, move them to an alternate reality, have Death create a freaking Great Wall of Heaven. I don't care. Just be done with them.

Sam gets wiggy and comes straight at the camera. In all honesty, I expected him to talk directly to the fans because this is after all a fourth wall breaking meta episode. Instead, he hits the wall, vastly relieved that it is real and not a set piece. Dean: "Yeah, real, moldy, termite-eaten home sweet home. Chock full of **** that want to skin ya. Oh and uh, we're broke again." Sam: "But hey, at least we're talking." Dean shakes his head. I metaphorically do the same because we get it. They are brothers again. Fan's dreams have come true. No more separations, brother strife and rifts. We got it. You can stop talking about it. Maybe we should send you that fruit basket with our thanks and a please move on.

So to recap the recap, this episode was funny and had a somewhat rational reason for the meta world. It gave us a fabulous new Raphael and increased the rift between the Winchesters and Cas. It nattered on about annoying angels but allowed Misha to do the comedy he does best - again, someone please give the man his own show. Some parts were slow but they didn't recap everything like in the last two episodes. It was vastly superior to MatEoTB and Real Ghostbusters, even if it making alternate realities canon might bite us in the future. However, it wasn't fan meta and that made all the difference to me. I was pleasantly surprised and although it won't make my top 20 episodes, nor even the top 5 this season, it's certainly on the plus side. For me, that's huge!

Next week - we're finally back to the mytharc. Remember the Mother of All a few weeks ago. I know it's hard to remember the 2 minutes she was on, but she's the Big Bad this season. Yes, I realize there's only 7 episodes to establish her as evil on any level much less above Lilith. Hopefully, this episode will move her story line forward. I'm afraid the finale has to cover too much ground with heaven, purgatory, souls, Grandpa Creepy, monster armies, and the Mother if they don’t start tying up loose ends soon.

Screencaps by Supenatural Caps
My blog

Friday, February 25, 2011

Supernatural Fans - Who Are You?

I've been interested in the demographics for Supernatural fans for a long time. Mostly because what people say about us don't seem to match the people I meet online or the fans I see in convention pictures. Now we've got the NY Times claiming that we are around 15 years old. However, my friend Jilly posted a link from the Huffington Post saying it's closer to 36 years old. So it begs the question: How old are Supernatural fans? My guess is every age, but skewing around 30-40's. Please help by answering these 2 demographic questions. I in no way will (and am not technologically capable of) linking any information to you personally. I just want to see the overall results in an informal poll. Please pass the link. The more people who take it the more accurate it is likely to be.

Thanks for your input.
My blog

Monday, February 21, 2011

Supernatural - 6.14 - Mannequin 3: The Reckoning - Recap

Sorry this is late, everyone. I was away most of the weekend. Fair warning - Sometimes Supernatural really depresses me. This is one of those times. Also, I love Lisa and Ben and Dean completely sucks in this episode.

Previously - Dean was happy with Lisa and Ben, Vampire Dean shoved Ben to keep from biting him, Lisa sort of ended it, Sam jumped into the pit, Death re-souled Sam with an extra special Sammy wall, Sam scratched, Sam convulsed, the wall cracked, Dean freaked, Sam glimpsed hell

We open where Unforgiven left off. Dean hovers over a lifeless Sam, shaking him. Sam opens his eyes, and fire diminishes in them. Very cool, special effects people. Sam gasps as Dean lifts him up. Suddenly, we are in Paterson, New Jersey at Great Falls Junior College, where a custodian is mopping and we get recurring pictures of an anatomy dummy. What? Shouldn't we see how Sam's doing? The custodian is Fatality #1 tonight and frankly I don't care. I do however care if the Great Wall of Sam is irrevocably damaged or just a bit cracked. Not fair, Gamble. The dummy moves but I expect it so I don't freaked out. The fact that Fatality#1 is bleeding from a gash in the head does freak me. Didn't see that coming as I braced for a mannequin attack. Fatality #1 sees his breath and lights flicker. We've got ghosts, folks. It's been awhile since a good ghost hunt so I'm psyched. Scalpels fall, Fatality wigs, and the dummy smirks before killing Fatality and rehanging himself. That's one flexible dummy. And the glass breaks.

We join Sam mid-spiking headache, while Dean gets breakfast. Dean asks how Sam feels. "Like I got hit by a planet." At least he's not shrugging it off. Score one for Sam. Dean offers Sam good meds. Sam: "What are they?" Dean: "Effective." That clears things up. Sam doesn't ride the prescription pill train today so they recap for us. Sam was out for 2-3 minutes but it felt like a week. Dean wants to talk about it (score one for Dean); Sam says it "wasn't fun" but he's fine. Dean calls him on it - "You got a big fat face-full of hell." He worries Sam could have died but Sam downplays it. Then Dean lays down the law. "I'm serious and none of this 'it is just a flesh wound' crap cuz we did it your way. We let you go explore and every bad thing I said would happen happened. So guess what. The past stays past. We're not kicking that wall again." Sam: "Dean, I might have done who knows what and you want me to just forget about it." Dean: "You shut it down and you let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism." Sam and I both agree this is unhealthy and no, it doesn't work for Dean. Dean: "This is not a joke. Your life is on the line here Sam. This is not a debate. I mean first you were a soulless dickbag and now you're not. So we good?" Sam: "Yeah, sure." Uh huh. That is Sam code for I'm placating you now so I can do whatever I want later.

I have avoided comments from others about this episode but I'm fairly certain that the fandom is divided. Some will think Dean is right to be adamant and others will say Sam can make his own decisions because he is after all an adult. Both have good points. But at the risk of ticking people off, I think Sam should listen to Dean this time. He needs to stop digging into RoboSam's past. He can't change anything and while I understand the concept of RoboSam still being Sam in essence, Sam cannot take responsibility for what RoboSam did. It will eat away at his heart as well as the wall. No, I don't think alcohol and violence are the answer either, but learning other coping mechanisms is highly overdue here. Neither Winchester deals well with guilt or job pressure. Time to change that.

Dean exposits a new job and they're off to Paterson. Dean: "Hey, maybe we'll have a Snooki sighting." Sam: "What's a Snooki?" Trust me Sam when I say you were lucky to miss it the first time around. Don't scratch that door either. Only VD comes from it. At the lab, Dean removes organs from the anatomy dummy and the producers shoots close-ups of the anatomy dummy's eyes. I know I should feel tense, like it will attack, but it's daylight and others are present. Sorry - not wigged. Dean gets a call from Lisa and rejects it. WHAT!! DEAN!! Why is he ignoring Lisa? Is he in 6th grade? Urgh, I do not like Chicken Dean. It's a phone call. Just answer it. Sam agrees, but Dean shuts him down. "Thanks Dr. Laura. That's very insightful. Look at that; our time's up." Hey! It's the Walkman EMF. I've been wondering where you went. Nice tie to season 1 there. Of course, if I were one of the crime scene processors, I'd be asking questions about it. Still, it screeches near the dummy. Dean: "Ghosts gone wild. Something's up in here." We get another close-up of the dummy. Not working on me, Sera. Move on.

Dean notices a security camera but it statics when Fatality #1 bites it. Of course. Plan B, investigation. Sam's inside a row house while Dean rejects another call from Lisa. He at least has the decency to look bad this time. Elementary School Dean should grow up. Sam exposits that Fatality #1 was a perfect boyfriend, meaning he's hiding something. Nothing weird at the school either. Even the dissections are on iPad. Man, I wish I had that option in biology. Sam: "So we've got nothing." Dean: "Yeah. A big steaming pile of it." Don't get discouraged guys. I see Fatality #2, the security guard at factory filled with mannequin parts. He turns around to find a faceless mannequin in his path. Just my opinion, but the faceless ones are worse than the faced ones. Ghost breath and bleeding forehead ensue as the faceless wonders surround Fatality. One has scissors and he trips over a cart to get away from it. So long, Fatality #2; you've been gutted by a pole. 20 seconds of mannequin shots later, we finally move on.

Dean and Sam arrive at the crime scene and again Sam works the EMF in front of everyone. Again it goes haywire by the mannequins. Sam: "Wait. That anatomy dummy you were molesting at the lab…what if that is what this is about?" Dean: "What exactly are you accusing me of?" Bwah. Sam suggests ghost-possessed mannequins and Dean and I are skeptical. Dean makes an obligatory Chuckie reference, while Jensen Ackles does a great job being creeped out by the faceless mannequin. Good scene. Dean's not sold on the killer mannequin theory because ghosts usually stay in one spot. This one crossed 3 town lines. Dean: "So we dig….Over there…I don't like the way Kim Catrell's looking at me." 13 minutes in and we've got our Mannequin reference.

At a police station, Fatality #2 is squeaky clean too. Bet that changes. They get a lead on Rose Brown, a seamstress who went missing last year. Sam suggests they visit her sister Isabel but Dean gets another call from Lisa. Sam insists he answer it. Thank goodness! However, it's Ben who has been calling. Really? Ben doesn't have his own cell phone? Even kids who can't afford a pencil or to pay their library fines have cell phones at my middle school. Ben describes a Lisa so depressed she can't' get out of bed. Even if I didn't already know this was a trap, I wouldn't fall for this. It doesn't sound like Lisa. Dean says he will call Ben back and Ben rightfully protests since he hasn't been very good at that lately. Dean promises he'll call in 5 minutes.

Dean and Sam argue about Dean leaving. Much as I love Lisa and Ben, I understand Dean not wanting to leave Sam after his hell flashback. Sam insists he'll be fine for 24 hours. Sam: "I get you want to bury it, but I had to deal with my past year. You've got to deal with yours." Finally, the voice of reason. Thank you, Sam. He sees Dean off and heads to Isabel's house. Rose was kind but socially awkward. The sisters were close. She defended Rose and "Rose, did more for me than anyone else ever could." Sam looks at a photo album and sees Fatality 1 and 2 with Rose at the factory Christmas party. Dunh dunh dunh. We've got a winner. Sam catches Dean up to speed and interviews the factory workers. Trucker hat dude is extremely nervous, raising Sam's suspicions. Are we looking at Fatality #3? He was friends with the former Fatalities so I guess yes.

That evening, Dean rings Lisa's doorbell obnoxiously. She answers looking smoking hot but confused, and Dean explains, "We've been Parent Trap-ed." Hey, it worked in two movies. Why not here? Dean surmises that Lisa's going on a date but she has him come in. Dean gets a beer, Lisa gets a sweater and I get a tissue. Lisa paces as Dean digs about her date. Really? It's none of your business if you don't even pick up a phone. Dean snarks, "Oh, Dr. Matt. How respectable." Lisa rightfully blasts his attitude. Grow up, Dean! Lisa: "I called you six times Dean." Dean: "And I almost called you back about a hundred." And that counts, how? Man, you're a jerk! I get that you don't have long-term relationships and don't deal well in uncomfortable situations, but you owe Lisa and Ben more. Dean wants points for coming when Ben called, but since Sam talked him into it, he gets bubkus from me. Dean says he cares, and he does, but it doesn't help. Dean asks what Lisa wants. Lisa: "I'm not asking for anything." Dean: "Well, then ask for something." Aw, this touches my heart although we know that what Lisa needs Dean can't give. Ben interrupts and they both tell him to go to his room. Nice touch, showing how in sync they were last year. Dean sort of smiles to let Ben know it's okay and my heart breaks a bit more. Ben's getting screwed tonight. And me if I don’t see Lisa and Ben anymore. Lisa: "You know, I can't..ask for something. I know what I want but I can't have it, not how you live. My phone rings, I think tiny chance it's you. Big chance it's Sam, calling to tell me you're dead….No don't. Don't apologize for anything. It's just I get to this place where I'm okay and then you show up at our door. You keep doing that. Every time I think I'm never going to see you again. I'm trying to get over you. What are you trying to do? What do you want from us, Dean?" Dean swallows profusely but doesn't answer as the sad music of ending love kills all hope. I hate this! But I love the acting.

We cut back to the factory and I yell, "Noo!" I want an answer. What does Dean want from them and why can't anyone get a happy ending. I'm frustrated and angry although I suspected this from the synopsis. I can't believe we're back to the ghost story but Fatality #3 talks on the phone to someone else involved. He's freaking out about ghosts. I'm freaking out about poor Ben. I wish Fatality a quick death, and I'm in luck as his head bleeds and we see his breath. A faceless mannequin appears but Sam's there with a canister of salt. "You're lucky you are the most suspicious interview of all time." Bwah! He really was. Non-Fatality explains a cruel practical joke they played on Rose. They made up a secret admirer and had Rose meet "him". When she got there, it was a dummy. Then the jerks made fun of her. As she left, Fatality #1 grabbed her and she accidentally hit her head on the coffee table. They buried Rose in the woods to avoid manslaughter charges. Coincidentally, TNT is playing The Kids Are Alright now, so I take a break to watch the beginning of Lisa and Dean instead of the end. MUCH happier times.

Remember when Ben was mini-Dean. (deep sigh) Dean enters Ben's room. Ben plays a videogame and won't look at him. He's not apologizing either. Dean: "A date's not an emergency, Ben." Ben: "It is if it's the third one. I watch TV. I know what that means." Dean pulls the "your mom's an adult" card, but Ben's not buying. "Why don't you come home? Can't you just say 'I'm sorry' and then come back." Dean says he can't but Ben asks if it is "can't" or "won't." Dean says both; Ben is confused. "So you hate Mom now?" Dean empathetically denies it. "So it's me? Whatever I did, I'm sorry." Aww, baby, you're breaking my heart. Dean: "Listen to me. You didn’t do anything. You understand that. Look one day you'll get this when you're older." Really Dean? The adult card again? Ben says he's not six and Dean agrees. "It's like this then. Just because you love someone doesn't mean you should stick around and screw up their life. So I can't be here." Ben thinks Dean is worried he'll bring monsters home. Dean says no. "I think my job turns me into somebody that can’t sit at your dinner table. And if I stayed, you'd end up just like me." Ben argues that Dean isn't so bad and I agree. From all appearances, Dean has been a good father to Ben. Dean sill thinks Ben needs higher aspirations, and no, Ben doesn't get a vote. "But you see this way, you've got a shot at living whatever life you want. You know, pick one. Pick five. Cuz with me, there's just the one road." Ben: "You're a liar Dean…You say family's so important, but what do you call people who care for you, who love you even when you're a dick. You know you're walking out on your family, right?" You tell him Ben! People harp that Lisa and Ben are not Dean's family. That only Sam is Dean's family, but that's simply not true. They have been his family for a year. He loves them and they love him. Them being his family does not make Sam any less Dean's family and I don't know why people insist it be one or the other. Lisa and Ben matter to him, and he is walking out on them. Dean can't respond because Ben is absolutely right. And his expression shows he knows exactly what he is throwing away. This is the scene I have most dreaded. It's heartbreaking and painful, but definitely well-acted.

We take a break from angst to watch Sam salt and burn Rose's corpse. It's comforting to see the basics again and I need loads of comfort now. Sam calls Non-Fatality to say it's safe while Dean drives to the thrumming sounds of love gone wrong with a montage Dean's life with Lisa and Ben. I swear there are extended scenes I haven't seen before. This just depresses me further. But I guess the ghost story isn't over because we're back at McOwen's Pub with Isabel. Non-Fatality lives above the bar and gets renamed Fatality #3 again. Ew, squicky! He's talks to a mannequin about packing up and says he loves it. Yuck! Creepiest scene in the whole episode. He needs major psychological help. Too late. Mannequin love kills him to the sounds of Love Hurts. Good choice of music by the way. Love in all its forms completely bites this episode.

Sam arrives on the scene looking rueful. He calls Dean's other other cell to exposit and interviews Isabel again. And the pieces come together. She goes to Great Falls Community College, works at the factory, and was at the bar. It's all connected to her. Why? Rose gave her a kidney when she was 16. Great, now sister love sucks too! How exactly are they going to salt and burn her kidney? Dean rejoins them. "So that's the girl with the haunted kidney?" Ha! I needed that. They trade bad options and Dean suggests they contact Dr. Krueger for a spare kidney and completely reverses himself by saying the place is surprisingly clean. Sam says voodoo but that only buys them time. Isabel is slow on the uptake, just now realizing that the Winchesters aren't Feds. Rose wasn't the only naïve one. Sam starts explaining but Rose possesses Metallicar. Dean: "You leave my baby alone. She's got nothing to do with this!" He's chased by Metallicar and apologizes to her before purposely crashing her into a building. Is nothing sacred, Gamble! First Lisa and Ben and now the Impala. Not fair! Things aren't so rosy with Isabel either as a hunk of glass impaled her midriff. Guess that solves that problem. Rose appears to say sorry and Isabel dies while Rose's ghost goes up in flames. Nice cop-out there, writers. You just made this ghost story pointless. Whatever!

At Bobby's junkyard (maybe), Dean fixes the Impala. "Well, seeing how she got carjacked by Poltergeist, it could be worse." Good to know she'll be fine. And now the reason why this episode completely depresses me. Dean wants to know what they are doing and Sam agrees it wasn't a win. Dean: "We saved a few dicks and we killed an innocent girl. I got a heartbroken kid and a woman who's so pissed at me...I see what you mean about facing your past. It's, uh, it's awesome….all we do is make a mess." Sam disagrees. "We do save and again." Dean's upset over their bad luck. Sam: "Well, you know, number one, bad luck is kind of in the job description, and two, it's not all bad. Really, look at me. I mean at least Satan's left the building." Dean: "Yeah, it's the little things." Sam: "And I have a soul because of you. I never thanked you for that, did I?" Dean shrugs it off but Sam pointedly thanks him. Sam: "Look we keep our heads down. Keep swinging. We'll lose some. Hopefully we'll win more. And...I don't know. Anyway, for what it's worth, I've got your back." Dean: "Yeah, I know." It's a good scene; don't get me wrong. I love the brother moment and how this time when Sam says he's got Dean's back, he means it. It's a refreshing touch after RoboSam. Again, it's well-acted, but it all seems so hopeless. They lose everything. Good people die. They have no future. Plus, the annoying strumming continues through the entire scene and instead being poignant, it makes me cringe. I don't like the instrumentals throughout the last couple of episodes. Classic rock or nothing, PTB.

So, what did we learn today: 1. Hopeful potential love is a prank that goes horribly wrong. 2. Mannequin love kills (I don't have a problem with this one, since I find it creepy in the extreme.) 3. Conflicted love leaves you cold and desperate for alternatives. 4. Non-communicating love makes you a jerk who screws over people who loved and cared for you during a particularly bad time in your life. 4. Loving a father figure makes you think you are to blame. 5. Sister love kills you. 6. Brother love sticks you in a hopeless situation but at least you're in it together. Anyone else totally depressed? I guess it's good they pushed this episode back a week. It would be worse going into Valentine's Day weekend.

So in the end, I'm thoroughly depressed. I miss Lisa and Ben already. Dean sucks. The ghost story was lame with an ending as superficial as Insta-Day in Bugs. The whole thing feels like filler episode #2. So now that we've had the Sam-filler story in Unforgiven and the Dean-filler story here, next week we get the meta-story. Oh, joy! It's a good thing I like this show and find even humdrum episodes like the last two better than most on TV. I'm ready to move on. Bring in Alpha Mother. Bring on a hunter vs. monster war. Just bring on something because I'm drowning in the annoying strings of Winchester despair here. And I don’t just mean the background noise.

Next week - Dahne takes a mental vacation during the UBERMETA episode. I have no hope for it. Maybe that will be its saving grace.

Screencaps by Supernatural Caps
My blog