SUPERNATURAL: It’s a Terrible Life
March 27, 2009 by Nicole
Oh Dean, it’s so true when you think about it. How can you be sad about your life when it’s your destiny to save the world and while doing it you get to drive a classic car and fornicate with women? The newest angel added to the show, Castiel’s boss Zachariah who is much less scary than “angel gone bad” Uriel, contrived quite the amusing life lesson for Dean in what I thought was a fantastic way to bring his focus back to the stakes at hand. While it was very realistic in the last episode that Dean felt beaten and unable to perform the huge task presented to him, of course he’d have to conquer that feeling at some point in order for the story to move forward. And what a way to do it! Not to mention that it felt great to watch Sam and Dean working together like old times, with none of the angst that’s been growing over the season.
Dean Smith was a rice milk latte drinking, NPR listening, Project Runway watching corporate bigwig and he was so fun to watch. And he did look very snazzy in his fancy suits. I was smiling from the moment I heard the opening notes of The Kinks “Well Respected Man” and we saw Dean rising at the crack of dawn and beginning his very healthy, very proper day. Sam was pretty much the same Sam we’ve come to know and love, although he also had a different identity, Sam Wesson (Smith and Wesson – cute), worked with Dean at the Sandover Bridge & Iron Company and also had virtually no memory of his past life or his brother. I loved the first awkward meeting between the two in the elevator – Dean thinking Sam was hitting on him was fun, despite the cliché. Sam, try looking less like a stalker next time you want to befriend someone, kay? And Dean’s right – you’re a bit of an over-sharer.
Of course in order to unite the two characters, there needed to be a supernatural type mystery to solve, which in this case was a rash of bizarre suicides at their office (can two be a rash? I’m not sure that it can). Two of the tech support guys, both with a history of ill-regarded office shenanigans, go from bad employees to perfectionists over the period of a few days. When each is faced with a mistake they’ve made, they take a fast train to Crazytown and kill themselves at work. The deaths this week were awesome. I love when the show gets extra creative with their death scenes, and these were all pretty disgusting to watch. One man rigged the breakroom microwave so that he could cook his own head, and the other snapped and stabbed himself in the jugular with a sharpened pencil. Good times! I caught myself making a horrified face during both scenes, which is the mark of quality. Lastly, we had the excellent elevator demise, which will probably make me pause every time I run for closing doors for the foreseeable future.
The incorporation of the Ghostfacers was made of win. I knew that they’d be making an appearance but I figured that they would somehow show up on the scene to help the team out. Of course given the twist at the end this couldn’t have happened because the ‘facers would have known who Sam and Dean were. Instead we got a hilarious look at the ghost hunting training video that they posted on their website (the site can be found at http://www.cwtv.com/thecw/ghostfacers, but sadly the training video isn’t on there – hopefully it will be soon). You see, there are specific steps to facing a ghost (most of which Harry and Ed admit were taught to them by the “douchenozzle” Winchester brothers) and they are as follows:
1. Know What You’re up Against
2. Kill the Ghost
3. Burn the Ghost’s Remains
They provide sound advice, such as using iron and salt and what to do if the remains have been cremated, all of which comes in handy when Sam and Dean determine that the ghost they’re dealing with is the original head of the company, Mr. Sandover himself. Apparently he runs a very tight ship from the grave, and appears every time there’s an economic crisis (oh joy – we get to be reminded of the suckitude of the market even during SPN – there’s no escaping it). Luckily for Smith & Wesson, the tips work and they’re able to kill Sandover’s ghost. As Dean so hilariously and earnestly pointed out: those Ghostfacers are geniuses.
Obviously watching the episode I knew at some point there would be an explanation as to why exactly Sam and Dean were living these new lives. At first I thought that perhaps the Trickster was back and up to his usual, but as the ep progressed, I started to see where they were going. Dean needed convincing that the life he’d been leading, his real life, was the only one he was meant to live. Even in a new life with a cushy job, lots of money and the relative safety of Dean Smith’s existence, he still felt that something was missing after working with Sam on the ghost problem. Sam spent some time trying to convince him to do this gig with him permanently but Dean was still resistant. Sam needed no such convincing as displayed in the excellent homage to Office Space where he took a bat to his ringing phone and then promptly announced to the entire office that he quit. LOVED that moment – I can’t tell you how much I would love to do the same to my office phone some days.
The next day, Dean’s boss congratulated him on doing such a great job and presented him with a fat bonus and the prospect of a VP title in a “short 8-10 years”. This was the tipping point at which Dean realized that he had another calling and turned the offer down. The boss finally revealed himself then as Castiel’s boss Zachariah and explained the need to show Dean that he would always find his way back to hunting because it was in his blood. I personally loved the switch from the alternate reality to real life – the colour dulled dramatically and you could see on Dean’s face the moment the true Dean returned (well, that and the “I’m starving” comment gave it away – who wouldn’t be after days of doing the Master Cleanse?).
We didn’t see Sam return to real life but that’s okay because as I said, he was pretty much his usual self just without all of the memories. Actually, both of them did have memories (it would be really strange if they suddenly found themselves in these lives with no past recollection) – they were just false. Did you guys catch the names of their families? Dean’s parents were Ellen (Jo’s mom) and Bob(by!!!) and his sister was Jo. Sam meanwhile was engaged to Madison (a throwback to Heart – one of my favourite eps!). Now Dean can go back to his new mission with a renewed sense of purpose and determination and hopefully prevent the Apolcalypse. The question remains though: will he and Sam be side by side for the battle, or will they have to fight each other in addition to Lillith and Lucifer?
All in all, an episode deserving of praise, for managing to both move the story forward in a significant way and provide a little levity to viewers at the same time. I have to admit I was really skeptical of how this episode would fit after the heaviness of last week, but they did it beautifully. Note to self: never doubt the SPN crew – they will find a way to make it work.
So what did you guys think? Are you feeling as gushy as me towards the writing staff right now, or were you unhappy with last night’s ep for any reason? Do you want to see Sam and Dean go head to head at season’s end or are you hoping that they somehow reconcile and fight as a team? To be honest, I’m open to either – a true Winchester clash (as long as it ends well) could be very, very interesting to watch.
Lastly, how cool does next week’s very meta episode “The Monster at the End of This Book” look?? Should we interpret anything in particular from the fact that the name of the ep comes from the title of a Sesame Street book starring Grover? I remember that book so well from my childhood – Grover didn’t want the reader to keep turning the page because he was afraid of the monster at the end…who turned out to be himself. Hmmmm…food for thought until next week. I’ll meet you down in the comments!
Nicole is a lawyer with an unhealthy t.v. obsession and many t.v. boyfriends. If she had a locker at her office it would be covered in photos of Zachary Levi, Jensen Ackles, Lee Pace and John Krasinski.