Recap and Review: Supernatural 6.21: Let It Bleed

By Paula R. Stiles

[spoilers ahoy]

Tagline: Lisa’s non-relationship with Dean goes way down south when she and Ben are kidnapped by demons.

Recap:
Then recap of Lisa and Ben rejecting Dean, Dr. Visyak and the dragons, and Castiel’s deal with Crowley.

Cut to…well, not Now. It’s March 15, 1937 in Providence, Rhode Island. A man in waistcoat and glasses is typing in the middle of the night (in front of a fireplace, no less). As a storm blows outside, he types “The End”. The door creaks open. Alerted, he calls out, “Hello?” Then he eases a gun out of his desk drawer and approaches the open door. He calls out again, sounding frightened, then closes and locks the door. As he pours himself a scotch and shakily takes a drink, the window bursts open.

He turns, shouting in fear at the dark, hulking figure in the black overcoat, “Please, we didn’t know. I’m sorry!” It kills him, anyway, slashing him open. His bloodied hand falls on his manuscript, “The Haunter of the Dark” by H.P. Lovecraft (Historical note: This is a huge flub. Lovecraft actually completed “The Haunter of the Dark” in November 1935 and it was published in Weird Tales in December 1936. Plus, he died of cancer of the intestine five days after checking into Brown Memorial Hospital, so he wasn’t home, let alone writing, his last day on earth).

Cue title cards.

Cut to present day, where Bobby is telling the brothers that Castiel didn’t just show up last night to make up with Dean – he also stole a journal of a Moishe Campbell (“of the New York Campbells”). Bobby says that the journal discussed the opening of Purgatory and Moishe knew H.P. Lovecraft once upon a time, yadda, yadda (How, exactly, did Bobby even know the journal existed, let alone was missing, only weeks after Sam got them into the Campbell family library, let alone photocopied the entire damned thing?). Sam gets all excited over the name; Dean doesn’t know it. Seriously, show? Dean, Mr. Pop Culture Obsessive, does not know who Lovecraft is? Is this an Author Insert, a clumsy attempt to As-You-Know-Bob infodump, or what? But Dean does get a snarky line in about having sex instead of research (even though this was a perfect moment to revisit that bit in “Exile on Main Street” where he spent a year doing research to bring Sam back. No? Alrighty-then).

Bobby’s knowledge of Lovecraft basically extends to knowing a few story titles and that Lovecraft wrote about “opening portals to other dimensions”. I’m pretty sure that Lovecraft wrote about considerably more than that, much of which the show has merrily ripped off over the years, but what do I know? I only edit a Lovecraft zine. Bobby also talks about Moishe visiting Lovecraft concerning a “ritual” Lovecraft did on March 10, 1937. Yeah…no. I think Lovecraft was too busy checking into the hospital so he could die five days later to do any kind of ritual.

Cut to Ben upstairs in his room at his mother’s house, reading Cthulhu Tales (Even Ben knows Lovecraft, but Dean doesn’t?), while Lisa is downstairs watching a game with Dr. Matt and getting him a beer. Suddenly, some guys kick in the front door, grab Lisa and snap Dr. Matt’s neck. Ben comes halfway downstairs at the commotion (Lisa and the guys spot him), sees them and runs back upstairs to call Dean. Dean tries to instruct Ben to get the shotgun he left in Lisa’s closet (no go) or to jump out the window (also no go). Ben gets nabbed instead and who picks up the phone but Crowley.

I’d like to stop to note that Lisa is a reckless idiot for not salting her doors and laying down devil’s traps. She knew perfectly well what was out there. What the hell did she think was going to happen if she didn’t take steps? Hearts and flowers?

Anyhoo, Crowley proceeds to snot at Dean and tell him to back off, as Crowley now has hostages. Dean warns him to let them go or There Will Be Blood. Crowley gets all pissy and hangs up. You know, I like Mark Sheppard and I’m glad he’s got so much work, but Crowley has turned into one seriously useless wanker. What happened to this character’s learning curve? What possible reason could he think it smart to kidnap two people Dean loves, threaten them and then expect Dean not to get involved? Furthermore, why is he whinging endlessly about Dean (and Sam) getting involved in his business when he was the one who wanted them (Dean, especially) to work for him in the first place earlier in the season? Something of which we the audience were reminded two weeks ago? If a character baits a bear and gets mauled, don’t expect me to feel anything but derision for him/her. It’s yet another example of Demons Are Definitely Stupid. I look forward to the day Dean ganks Crowley himself.

I might actually think this was a good plan if Crowley wanted Dean to come after him, guns blazing, and if it were a trap. But alas, he doesn’t and it’s not.

Dean fills Sam and Bobby in on the problem. He wants to go off alone to rescue Lisa and Ben while Sam and Bobby focus on the “big ball” of stopping Crowley and Castiel from opening Purgatory. Dean figures Castiel already knows that Lisa and Ben have been kidnapped and is in on it. Sam won’t let Dean go off alone (though, considering what he gets to do in this episode, he’d have been of more use going with Bobby). Bobby breaks the deadlock by saying he’ll go research the Lovecraft angle on his own. But how will Sam and Dean find Lisa and Ben? Dean has an idea – summon another angel, Balthazar.

Balthazar isn’t thrilled to be summoned and pretends unsurprise when Sam says Crowley is really alive and not dead. That Castiel is in cahoots with Crowley? That shakes him. Dean appeals to his sense of decency in helping Dean rescue Lisa and Ben, saying that they are “innocent”. Balthazar flies off without agreeing to help, upsetting Dean. Sam wants to call Castiel for help, but Dean absolutely refuses.

Meanwhile, Bobby is talking to a Mythos-head who is rambling on about how Lovecraft “should be taught in schools” (pretty sure he is, already, dumbass), who raised horror out of the gutter. Bobby is pretending to be a journalist and is interviewing the guy about his huge collection of Lovecraft’s letters (You mean…like these?). The guy asks him if he’s with the “other guy” and describes Castiel. Bobby says they’re “competitors” from rival zines. The guy doesn’t mind this and tells Bobby what he told Castiel, that Lovecraft held a “dinner party” on March 10, 1937 with six others who (the geek claims) were part of a cult. Umm…let me get this straight. H.P. Lovecraft, on the day he was being admitted to the hospital with extremely painful terminal cancer, was holding a dinner party? Seriously?

Anyhoo, the guy claims that Lovecraft & Friends opened a door to another dimension, just to have a peek (Sera Gamble, have you ever read Lovecraft? He’d have been the last person to do that! He thought that kind of thing was dangerous!). Bobby almost gives himself away by exclaiming that this was a bad idea, but that doesn’t stop the guy from being willing to show him letters Lovecraft wrote afterward (in the five days he had left in the hospital, dying of cancer, no doubt). Unfortunately, someone has stolen them. Bobby is not very surprised, figuring that Castiel has them.

Bobby calls up Sam and fills him in then goes off to interview the son of Lovecraft’s maid (Lovecraft was so poor the last two years of his life that he lived in tiny lodgings with his one surviving aunt. Pretty sure he didn’t have a maid). Sam is back at the junkyard, outside of a big shed, from which is coming a great deal of commotion. When Bobby asks Sam how Dean is doing, Sam hedges. We soon find out why – Sam and Dean have captured some demons and Dean is systematically torturing them to death to find out where Lisa and Ben are being held. He’s already killed three and has a fourth strapped down to a chair in a devil’s trap when Sam comes in. Sam is worried and a bit scared of Dean, since Dean is drinking heavily and pretty clearly out of his mind. Sam references booze, coffee and “whatever else you’ve been taking.” I trust the Great Debate on whether or not Dean abuses pills on top of booze has now been laid to rest. He does. Movin’ on.

Speaking of which, I do not have a problem with Dean being this dark. It makes sense to me that he would react this way to a threat to someone he loves. In real life, sure, I’d want to put plenty of distance between myself and someone as crazy as Dean. But in a story, it’s fun to watch. I just wish the show would do something with all of this darkness, instead of dragging it out endlessly for angst and Dean-bashing potential.

Sam suggests that Dean take a break, or even let Sam take over. Dean refuses, insisting that Lisa and Ben’s predicament is “100%” his fault (I’d beg to differ, since Lisa had quite enough knowledge to demonproof her house, but I understand his POV). He doesn’t mention that he’s also a much better torturer than Sam, but the way Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki play the scene, the subtext is there. He continues on while Sam goes outside and, in desperation, prays to Castiel to help Lisa and Ben. Castiel does come, but only watches Sam from invisibility.

Which is not to say that Castiel is indifferent, impotent or even complicit, as he immediately goes and confronts Crowley. Crowley snarks that Castiel only said he couldn’t harm Sam and Dean, not their friends. His idea is that while Sam and Dean are looking for Lisa and Ben, they aren’t looking for Crowley and Castiel (Which still sounds like a colossally stupid plan, since all demons not named “Meg” eventually lead back to Crowley). Castiel is furious but apparently unable to do much about the situation…yet. A call from Balthazar distracts him and he leaves, after uttering another threat that Crowley mocks.

Balthazar, who is in a forest near a stream in what appears to be British Columbia (because, naturally, it’s filmed there) wants to know if Castiel is shacking up with Crowley. Castiel doesn’t want to admit it, but Balthazar sees through him. Castiel says that they need to open Purgatory in order to win the war. Balthazar guesses that Castiel intends to be the “vessel” for all of the souls there, to suck up their power. But if he can’t hold it in, he’ll blow up and take half of the planet with him. Good to know. Castiel reassures Balthazar that this won’t happen and asks him, “Are you with me or not?” Balthazar reluctantly says that he is.

In a mental hospital, Bobby is interviewing the son of the maid the real-life Lovecraft probably couldn’t have afforded. He’s spent his entire life in there (Come on, show. Have you forgotten the basis for “Asylum”? He’d have been kicked out onto the street along with all the other longterm inmates in the late 60s and early 70s). He seems grateful to have someone who believes him (and that Bobby says he’s sorry about what happened to his mother, Eleanor, who was taken over by something “invisible”) and didn’t trust Castiel when he showed up. He says that Castiel wasn’t the man he appeared to be, just as his mother wasn’t who she appeared to be after that night of Lovecraft’s party. I’m not sure if this guy is supposed to have Dean’s spidey sense for evil or we’re just supposed to believe he was more open to the supernatural because he was a kid. Anyhoo, Lovecraft and the others seemed to believe the spell had failed, but the son knew his mother had changed (“She even smelled different”), that something had come through. And then she disappeared. When he shows Bobby a photograph of her, Bobby looks startled. I figure it’s either Lisa or Dr. Visyak.

Back at the junkyard, Dean is torturing the third demon with something red in a syringe. He makes a mistake of scuffing the devil’s trap (This is annoying. Not only do we see Dean carefully stepping over the lines earlier, but why wouldn’t he draw the trap in something more permanent?). The demon suddenly gets all snarky and blasts him across the room. It then starts choking him when Castiel appears out of nowhere and kills it from behind.

Castiel tries to talk a very angry Dean around to his side in opening Purgatory. Dean points out that he didn’t ask for Castiel’s help and doesn’t trust anything he says now (which, considering how much Castiel has lied to him, is a good point). Castiel notes that Dean said they were family and that he feels the same way, that he will find Lisa and Ben and bring them back. He says that he’s always come when Dean called (bitching and complaining about how Dean was wasting his time for more important things, neither of them says). Dean is…not persuaded. He says that it’s the same deal Crowley offered. He doesn’t say (but it’s true) that Castiel’s is also the same deal Sam wanted from Dean in “When the Levee Breaks”: “to stand behind me.” Not with, behind. Nobody ever seems to want Dean to lead whenever they go off on these cockamamie plans, just follow. Dean tells Castiel to go back to Crowley “and tell him you can both kiss my ass.” Looking devastated, Castiel flies away. Dean doesn’t look very happy, either.

Bobby finds Dr. Visyak at a remote cabin covered with red symbols. He knows her by the name of her host – “Eleanor”. She admits that she came through the door when Lovecraft and the others did the spell and that she’s about nine hundred years old. Possibly this makes her a dragon, though the episode makes no attempt to clear that up. She claims that she is benign, with no wish to see Earth devastated (“I like it here!”). That was why she gave the sword to Dean, so that he could stop the dragons from raising Eve.

Bobby begs Visyak to tell him how to open the door, or at least let him protect her. He warns her about Castiel, saying he’s dangerous and smart and will figure out she’s connected to Purgatory. But she insists that she’s older and wiser than Bobby (She has been spending the past “75 years” keeping the door closed. I guess we’re back in 2012 again), saying, “You’re just a man.” My Lord, there are some dumb supernatural bunnies on this show.

Sam is going for some of Dean’s whiskey when Balthazar flies in. When Balthazar snarks that boozing is more Dean’s “bag”, Sam cites “stressful times” as his reason. Balthazar’s a little stressed out, himself. Much against his better judgment, he’s decided to throw in his lot with the brothers because “I asked Cas some questions and I didn’t like the answers.” He brings up the problem that Castiel swallowing “a million souls” is extremely dangerous, citing Chernobyl as a metaphor for the result. As a way to convince the brothers (Well…Dean, who is fresh out of trusting anyone right now) of his good intentions, Balthazar says he’s found where Crowley is hiding Lisa and Ben. He’d get them out, but Crowley has “angel-proofed” the building. Looks like Crowley doesn’t trust Castiel (awww). Still, Balthazar is willing to fly them there, though nothing more.

To the tune of “Decapitation Variations” [Edit: actually, “The Meatsuit Mambo”]  from the show’s original soundtrack, Dean starts killing his way in using the Spork, tossing the first demon host body to Sam to dispose of. Unfortunately for Sam, they decide to split up once inside and Sam gets knocked out and locked in a cage-like room. Not that Dean really needs him, as he proceeds to slaughter his way into the cellar where Lisa and Ben are being kept. His death count is high – he kills at least two unseen demons and then (when the three demons with Lisa and Ben dutifully troop up the stairs to check out what’s going on) three more. Then he does something really dumb – he cuts Lisa and Ben free before checking to make sure they’re not possessed. And sure enough, Lisa is.

DemonLisa grabs Ben and threatens him with the Spork, mocking Dean (some good acting from Cindy Sampson as the demon, here). She (though the demon sounds more like a “he”) teases Dean that he’s Ben’s real father and then denies is, telling Ben that Lisa doesn’t even know who his real father is. This conversation actually pisses me off. Look, if you’re going to make a plot point of Ben’s paternity, resolve it. Otherwise, just don’t go there, anymore. “Who’s the Daddy?” is the oldest soap opera cliche in the book.

DemonLisa claims that Lisa is “awake in here. I can hear what she’s thinking.” She claims that Lisa sees meeting Dean as her worst mistake in life and keeping Ben as her second-worst (the linking of which would kind of indicate Dean really is Ben’s father, but hey, let’s not confirm it one way or the other). Dean reassures Ben that the demon is lying and that he’s going to be okay. Dean edges a flask of holy water out of his back pocket and splashes it in DemonLisa’s face, causing her to cry out and release Ben. She and Dean fight, with Dean knocking the Spork out of her hand and kicking it to Ben. The demon pushes him off and laughs at him, asking what he thinks he’s going to do now. She’s not very happy when Dean starts reciting the Rituale Romanum from memory (no mean feat, but it is something he’s had memorized since 5.12. And excuse me while I fan myself over the hotness of Dean reciting Latin). DemonLisa stabs herself, mocking Dean that now Lisa is “just a dead meatsuit”. Miserable but resolute, Dean finishes reciting the Rituale and exorcises the demon (I have a feeling that demon suffered but good when it got back to Crowley with news of its failure). Lisa collapses.

Dean and Ben rush to her side and Dean has her put pressure on the wound, gently telling her it’s going to be okay. Dean calls Sam on the phone, but Sam is still unconscious. He reassures Ben and tries to get Ben to work with him, but Ben freezes, completely freaked out. Nothing Deans says gets through to him, so Dean is forced to slap him to snap him out of it. Dean orders Ben to grab up the saltgun and follow him out, while Dean picks up Lisa and carries her. At one point, a demon comes down the stairs and Ben shoots him, looking horrified afterward. Apparently, salt can kill demons now [eyeroll], because the demon doesn’t move again.

Dean finds Sam, who is yelling for help, in his cage and breaks him out. Sam then goes and steals a car and they rush off the hospital, Dean cradling Lisa and reassuring Ben. But at the hospital, where Lisa is on a tube, when Dean apologizes to Ben, Ben gets up and stalks out. I resist the urge to try to reach through the TV screen and throttle the spoiled little brat. Kid, I know she’s your mother, but at least thank him.

Castiel appears in the hospital room. Dean is not thrilled. Considering that Dean believes Castiel is in on the plot to kidnap Lisa and Ben, can you blame him? Last episode, Castiel not only betrayed him and made him look like a fool to Sam and Bobby, he also stole a book from the Campbell Library that could help him open Purgatory. Plus, Castiel says that he’s not there for Dean. Yeah, that bouncing-ball thing of “I love you more than anything” one minute and “But I don’t give a crap about you” the next is tough for us humans to follow: Yes! We have no bananas…. Castiel then heals Lisa and says she’ll be all right. Dean, moved, thanks him, but says that it doesn’t change anything. Which, again, considering Castiel wants to do something that Balthazar told the brothers was incredibly dangerous, is not that shocking. Dean does ask for one more favour. You’re not going to like it, fans. Not at all.

Dean comes back later to find Ben visiting Lisa, who is all better. Neither of them remembers him. Yes, that’s right. The show really went there and hit the Magic Eraser Button, Amnesia Version. Dean lies and says they were in a car accident, that he was the other driver. Dean actually compares his presence in their lives to having lost control of the wheel and hit them head-on. Un-be-lievable. And by that, I mean the godawful writing.

Near tears, Dean leaves the hospital, where Sam is waiting in the Impala (How the hell did they get the Impala all the way out there in the time it took for Lisa to wake up?). And just because this episode-long Deanbash isn’t enough, we then get to hear Sam (Yes, that Sam, the one who forced Dean to promise to go live with Lisa and Ben, in the first place, then came back and yanked Dean away from them a year later, just for his own convenience) start to lecture him bitterly about how he was a Big Blue Meanie for having Castiel erase Lisa and Ben’s memories, even starting to get into his own situation (Yeah, let’s blame that on Dean, too). Fortunately, Dean tells him to shut the hell up. Shocked, Sam does.

In the last scene, Dr. Visyak tries to sneak out of her cabin and drive away. But just as she unlocks her car (Why does a monster from Purgatory need a car?), Castiel appears behind her, grabs her and flies off.

Review:
On first watch, I found this the more entertaining of the night’s episodes, at least for the first two thirds. On rewatch…wow. What a hot mess.

I wanted to like “Let It Bleed” (Incidentally, the title change from “Haunter of the Dark” to “Let It Bleed”? Was a switch from a very relevant title to one that made no sense). It was supposed to be Deancentric (It wasn’t). The acting was great, especially for Jensen Ackles and the major guest stars, and what we got to see of Angry Dean was impressively scary. Bobby got his own hunt and a rekindled love interest. The Lovecraft element was far more than skin deep, to the point of recasting the entire show as Mythos. It had two major recurring female characters. And Dean, for once, got to tell Sam to shut his trap when Sam got too toxic for even Dean to bear.

But wow, what a hot mess.

Let’s start with the biggest problem – Castiel wiping Lisa and Ben’s memories of Dean. That was creepy on so many levels. The message seems to be that Dean is so miserable and feeling so low that he would rather erase himself out of their memories, in a seriously misguided attempt to make them “safe”. I was flabbergasted when the show actually had Dean compare himself to a car accident in their lives.

As for their being safe (or, for that matter, permanently out of the storyline), not bloody likely. There is no possible way that Castiel can erase everything around them to the extent that they can be safe. If he could, he wouldn’t be struggling to keep a leash on Crowley in the first place. And really, what does that say about poor Dr. Matt that his existence and violent death can be erased, or explained away, with such ease (Doesn’t help that Dr. Matt is played by Panou, who is African-American)? And this is all on top of the fact that it was a cheap, soap opera ploy that the writers (especially the character’s creator, Sera Gamble) used to write themselves out of a corner involving pretty much the only storyline that Dean ever had to himself.

I also really, really hated the way they have written Lisa and Ben this season. The storyline had promise, giving Dean a chance to help Lisa and Ben make themselves safe and show how hunters can get into the life in a way that doesn’t involve sudden and violent death. Lisa showed an early tendency, even in season three, toward swinging between a little too perfect and being an irrational bitch. But, as she showed this week, Cindy Sampson was quite capable of portraying something healthy in between, like a younger version of Ellen. And the reasons for Dean, who had previously been quite tolerant of female hunters and even proud of his mother being one, being so smothering of Lisa and Ben were never fully explained. So, I was sad to see Lisa and Ben get “happy”-fridged and Dr. Visyak (who was supposedly old and powerful enough to know better) get kidnapped without any struggle whatsoever.

Also, Ben irritated me a great deal at times. TV writers struggle with writing teens realistically, often making them spoiled and entitled brats. Ben seemed like a nice-enough kid when things were running smoothly, but he treated Dean this season with a great deal of disrespect for someone who had been his mother’s boyfriend for a year, and Lisa was portrayed as going along with it rather than presenting a united front with Dean. Plus, getting angry at the guy who rescued you and your mother from his enemies? Not cool.

Sera Gamble seems to be one of those female writers who try too hard to be “one of the boys” in her writing. This season has ramped up the sexism, misogyny and even racism to disturbing levels and it’s really bad in “Let It Bleed”, which Gamble wrote herself. Lisa is so marginalized that she barely has any lines as herself (and the demon version of her is a sexist pig). Lest we have any sympathy for her, Gamble shows her moving on from Dean at warp speed with Dr. Matt, which naturally makes her look like a complete bitch. Worse yet, Lisa apparently learned nothing from her sojourn with Dean, having not bothered to continue (perhaps even dismantled) Dean’s precautions against the supernatural in her house. This gets her new boyfriend killed.

I’ve seen a lot of fans enthusiastically bashing Dean, apparently unaware that the entire episode is one big deconstruction and torture session of Dean. So, let’s not drink the KoolAid and follow along with the writer’s blatant attempt to paint Dean into a corner and then invite the audience to blame him for it. We don’t even get to see that much of Dean because Gamble has him acting uncharacteristically helpless at odd intervals – like being unable to find where demons have hidden Lisa and Ben without Balthazar opportunely flying in and providing the location. Hello? This is not season one. If the boys can find demons to interrogate, they can find Lisa and Ben.

Similarly, Dean is presented as kind of an idiot for not calling Castiel and having him heal Lisa. However, keep in mind that Dean was under the impression that Castiel was in on the kidnapping plot, so it wouldn’t have been safe to call him. And Balthazar kept whinging about being called all the time. Also, Dean is not good at asking for help, not least because those who help him only do so after lots of moaning and groaning about how Dean is putting them out.

This is a frequent pattern in Gamble’s solo scripts – the first two thirds clip along and you know they’re a mess. But they’re an entertaining mess, so you go along with it all, hoping it will play out to a good conclusion. Unfortunately, Gamble always seems to choke in the third act (in “The Song Remains the Same“, for example, which also includes gratuitous female-fridging, revelations of Castiel duplicity, and mindwipes as a resolving plot device) and everything falls apart, with things hastily tied up in a convenient and tired cliche at the end. In this case, we got the Mind Erasure of the Love Interest (a cliche of which Smallville writers were so fond), so that she can be “protected” (i.e. reset for the next time she finds out the Hero’s Big Secret). Poor Lois of Lois and Clark got her brain reset so many times, it’s a wonder she didn’t have a stroke.

We also got Unnecessarily Rewritten History with Lovecraft’s death. Now, the way Lovecraft died is a well-known part of his legend and there is little mystery surrounding it. He died of cancer of the intestine in the hospital, after being diagnosed the previous year, on March 15, 1937. He was too ill (and too damned poor) to have either a maid or a dinner party. Why Gamble didn’t just move the dinner party back a decade and have him mortally stricken with cancer by the Purgatory creature in 1936, I don’t know. It could have played out very close to what she actually did and still been accurate to his known history.

But Gamble flubs in another big way – she presents Lovecraft as a sort of dilettante cultist interested in the occult (though Peter Ciuffa does a nice job portraying him that way). Obviously, she has him confused with Aleister Crowley of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Lovecraft was an atheist and his Mythos stories aren’t fantasy. They’re science fiction. Lovecraft did write about “opening doors to other dimensions” (though that was hardly the totality of his contribution to horror), but he wasn’t the type to think opening one would be a good idea. In fact, in all of his stories (including “The Haunter of the Dark”, whose protagonist and ending seem to be the actual template for the show’s version of H.P. Lovecraft, rather than the Gentleman from Providence himself) that deal with such things, he emphasizes in his protags’ dire fates what a dumb idea it is to do anything like that. Gamble seems to be trying to do something cutesy along the lines of Lovecraft and Robert Bloch, who were friends, enthusiastically killing each other off in their stories, as G.W. Thomas discussed in his column this month. “The Haunter of the Dark” had a protagonist modeled on Bloch because it was a sequel to a story Bloch wrote in which he killed off a character modeled on Lovecraft. Unfortunately, Gamble’s pastiche, by naming the character “H.P. Lovecraft”, instead of modeling the character on him, just comes off as sloppy history, instead.

Gamble even struggles to keep her own mythology straight. We’re presented right off with the mystery of Lovecraft’s death, and who killed him. A suspect arises in Dr. Visyak, but she denies it (and we never see anything to indicate she’s lying). Then the matter is dropped and never mentioned again. Yes, that’s right – the big mystery of the episode that’s introduced in the teaser is never solved. Oy. What a hot mess.

Fun lines:

Bobby: Hi. Glad to meetcha – Bobby Singer, Paranoid Bastard.

Dean [on why he never heard of H.P. Lovecraft]: Yeah…no. I was too busy having sex with women.

Balthazar: I was drinking ’75 Dom out of a soprano’s navel when you called. That was important.

Mythos Geek: You know, horror (lowbrow) put us in the ghetto, fine. But H.P. Lovecraft? This guy is literature. I mean, he should be taught in schools. He’s up there with Dickens and Dean R. Koontz.

Mythos Geek: Are you working on this with the other guy?
Bobby: “Other guy”?
Mythos Geek: Yeah, trenchcoat, looks like Columbo, talks like Rain Man.

Sam [to Dean]: Look, man, you’re runnin’ on whiskey and coffee and whatever else you’re taking.

Balthazar: Can I ask you a direct question?
Castiel: Of course.
Balthazar: Are you in flagrante with the King of Hades?

Dean [to Lisa]: Hi, I’m Dean. I’m the guy who hit you. I lost control for a minute and I’d just like to say that I’m sorry.

Sam: Dean, you know, you have done some shady things before, but this…has got to be the worst. Whitewashing their memories? Take it from someone who knows –
Dean: You ever mention Lisa and Ben to me again and I will break your nose.

Tomorrow: The Man Who Knew Too Much:
Castiel moves to open Purgatory, distracting Dean by smashing the wall inside Sam’s head.

You can watch (or download) this episode, in standard or HD definition, on Amazon.com.

About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesRecap and Review: Supernatural 6.21: Let It Bleed