General reviewing schedule note: Grimm starts next Friday (10/28) and Once Upon a Time (10/23) this coming Sunday. We expect to have our first Once Upon a Time review up next Friday. Our reviews of Grimm and season two of The Walking Dead will also start soon. If you’d like to get a free and early look at Grimm, NBC is offering a link for the pilot (Yep, the whole thing) to anyone who follows the show on Twitter. If you follow, you will get a code (usually the next day) by Private Message to watch. Yes, I’ve tried it, so it does work. No, I won’t comment on the show. I’ll let our reviewers, J. Keith Haney and Acacia Rhiannon Nokomis, do that.
This week, we have spoilers for Supernatural:
Supernatural (Friday nights, 9pm, CW)
By Paula R. Stiles
First up, we have 7.06 official photos, of “Sam” and “Dean” (i.e. their Leviathan selves) shooting up a diner with little submachine guns. LevDean stands authoritatively on a table, and casually slouches in a chair, while threatening patrons. Hee. We also have a few photos of Crowley in a limo. He apparently tries to ingratiate himself with the Leviathans. Good luck with that, Crowley.
An EW sort-of-spoiler hints that Sam may end up in a stripper bar at some point. Pretty sure he’s not new to those. A 7.04-specific interview with Alona Tal also came out last Friday, and another Canadian promo for 7.04. Also, Sera Gamble gave a 7.04-specific interview and clips. Jim Beaver tweeted a photo from the set of 7.04. He has a recent (though not terribly spoilery) interview up. And Sebastian Roché teased the fans with a photo of himself with Padalecki and Ackles, all three in matching shirts. It’s probably from last season (as he’s beginning a stint on The Vampire Diaries this season), but it’s still cute. I like the various action faces.
There’s a new official synopsis up of 7.07 (“The Mentalists”):
“”SUPERNATURAL” – (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) NOVEMBER 4
“The Mentalists” (Content Rating TBD) (HDTV)
MEDIUM RARE – Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate the gruesome murders of resident mediums in Lily Dale, the most “psychic” town in America. They discover that an angry spirit is killing off the psychics one by one, but in a town full of people who claim to be summoning spirits, they have a little trouble identifying the medium controlling the ghost. Mike Rohl directed the episode written by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (#707).”
I’m not sure, but I think this could be the first episode by Acker and Blacker.
Titles for 7.13 and 7.14 are up: “Amazon.com” is now “Knocked Up” and 7.14 is “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magic Menagerie”. These titles this season are awful, but I’ve come to start ignoring them. It’s not as if they’re that easy to remember, anyway.
There are quite a few spoilers for 7.05, playing up the casting of Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters. We have, not one, but two clips, a CW promo, a Canadian promo, the previously mentioned photo from page one of TV Guide a couple of weeks ago, and a preview/review/interview about 7.05 that teases things about the brothers…mostly Dean, actually. It appears that Sam will take up running, while Dean has nightmares about Castiel (Castiel fans perk up everywhere) and drinks (sorry, “self-medicates”) more and more heavily. Sam starts to get very worried, especially when Dean starts getting loaded on the job. Also, it appears that there is lots of gore in this one. Lots and lots of gore. This is a good thing.
Guy Norman Bee tweeted that 7.09 wrapped in the wee hours this morning. He also tweeted a few photos from the set. Ooh, look. Green screen. It appears the episode will have some comedy, some tragedy, and lots of Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Jim Beaver. No, Padalecki is not smoking in this photo.
Bee was also encouraging folks to follow this guy on Twitter. Said guy is new to Twitter. Please be kind.
Finally, ratings for “Defending Your Life” were up 0.1 in the A18-49 demo from last week, for a 0.8 and 1.69 million. DVR+7 ratings for 7.02 also showed a large increase, from 0.7 to 1.1 in the demo. In terms of renewal chances, the latter numbers don’t mean much (so, yeah, Fringe still looks pretty screwed). However, Supernatural is already doing well in relation to other CW shows in the A18-49 demo (which does count in terms of renewal), so it doesn’t need to worry too much about that. What the DVR+7 ratings might explain is why Supernatural has relatively low ratings, but does very well in DVD sales. And the new Netflix deal to stream CW shows will likely keep the CW going for the next few years. Streaming for Supernatural begins in early 2012.
So speculation: I was feeling very “meh” about 7.05. Sure, I like Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters, but the whole thing smacked of stuntcasting, which didn’t exactly give us a wow of an episode two seasons ago with 5.05. And the whole set-up feels as though the brothers might be pushed to the side for an episode by the two MOTWs (who are human monsters, being witches). I still feel that way, but the clips do give an indication it might be funny and really, really gross. I’m up for both of those things.
Some folks have asked me to speculate on what is going on with Sera Gamble as showrunner and what might be in store for Dean. Honestly? With all the foilering and outright lies, I just don’t know. While I’m not wildly impressed with Gamble’s skills in keeping the writing and season arc even, as demonstrated so far, I also don’t think Eric Kripke was all that great, either, or anything like as gone as he claimed to be last season. He did write the season finale – the one that stuffed half of the episode with a great deal of rushed conclusion for every other storyline, while devoting a long, leisurely, and excruciatingly boring half to Sam inside his own head. And the halves had little connection to each other. I really doubt a new showrunner can tell her former boss, “Hey, this is a bit pants. Let’s rewrite.”
Personally, I like this season better so far. The Leviathans are a clean, simple uberplot in which both brothers can play (which are genuinely scary, after the genuinely not scary versions of Lucifer and Lilith the show served us) and the MOTWs are about as standalone as this show ever gets (which is to say, not all that much).
After all the chatter last season about Sam’s entire being disintegrating if his wall fell – and then all the Hell angst in the season finale and early this season, Sam’s Terrible Awful No-Good Permanent Psychosis (sorry, PTSD) ended up pretty much the way I figured it would. It went bye-bye. Oh, it will no doubt be back for Sweeps weeks and Very Special Episodes, and get lots of coverage in the season finale, but Sam appears to be, to all intents and purposes, cured, thanks to his fast-forwarded campbellian journey through the Underworld. Well. That was quick. But at least merciful on the viewer.
Dean’s storyline, on the other hand, seems to be just getting into gear. Remember how Jensen Ackles said at Comic-Con that Dean didn’t have any personal storylines at least up through 7.08? Yeah, funny that. Anyway, all those references over the past few seasons to Dean self-medicating are finally getting some coverage. How much coverage and to what end, I don’t know. This could go well, or it could all go horribly wrong, depending on the writing (I’m sure Ackles will give us his best, regardless).
A lot depends on where they go with his guilt issues, but I do find it heartening that Dean will be having nightmares about Castiel (Remember when Misha Collins said he wasn’t in any upcoming episodes, that he knew of? Yeah, about that…). If Dean is dreaming about Castiel, Castiel is not really gone from the show. I mean, the show wrote him out, there was mourning, and everybody seemed to move on. It’s not as though other dead characters linger over and over unless it’s meant to be significant. So, it could be we will get a storyline down the road, where Dean finds out Castiel is still “alive” in some sense and decides to rescue or redeem him. That could be fun. Either way, I really do want to see Dean work through the stuff he didn’t get to work through in season four and come out the other side. I just hope the writers don’t get him stuck in the deconstruction phase.