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SUPERNATURAL: Death Takes a Holiday

March 13, 2009 by  

It’s been a good long while since we’ve had a new episode of Supernatural, but our show has returned, and even better, so has Castiel!! Also making a return? Tessa, the Reaper from “In My Time of Dying” who was about to take comatose Dean into the afterlife before John made the infamous deal with the devil to save his son’s life. In addition to Tessa and Castiel, this episode also marks the return (and swan song) of randy psychic Pamela Barnes who reluctantly agrees to help the boys in their quest for astral projection (bye bye Pamela, we’ll miss your double entendres). To top it all off, Alastair is back, in a couple of different incarnations. Whew! And I haven’t even mentioned little Shane Botwin from WEEDS making an appearance as Cole, a young boy who helps the brothers in their efforts to stop Alastair from breaking another seal. Incidentally, IMDb lists Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory as a guest in this episode, but clearly that was a mistake unless she was hiding out in the background somewhere.

This was a nice, juicy character and story-driven episode that added a new twist to the inevitable battle of the titans we’ve all been gearing up for. The tension that’s been building between Sam and Dean all season is out in the open now and the boys are coping with it as best they can without really acknowledging that their differences are increasing and could ultimately pit them against one another. After “Bobby” (aka Castiel imitating Bobby on the phone) informs the brothers of a town where people have been living through events that would seem impossible, they head over to see what’s goin’ on.

Even though it was a fairly heavy and emotional episode, we did get some pretty hilarious exchanges. A selection:

  • Sam: I know you want to think of yourself as Joe the Plumber, Dean, but you’re not. Neither am I.
    Dean: Joe the Plumber was a douche.
  • Dean (in astral projection mode, with his fist shoved through Sam’s chest): Am I making you uncomfortable?
    Sam: Get out of me
    Dean: Prude
  • Dean: How the hell are we supposed to fight that?
    Sam: I don’t know, learn some ghost moves?
    Dean: By tonight? Yeah sure, I’ll meet you back at Mr. Miyagi’s house (sweep the leg, Dean!)

I was so glad to get those little moments of fun, because the tension between Sam and Dean really is beginning to escalate now that they’re both being more open about discussing their thoughts with each other. Dean went so far as to openly acknowledge that Sam has obviously been continuing his training in secret, since his powers have definitely improved, and Sam didn’t deny it.

For now at least, the brothers are still on the same side, fighting the same things. Namely, Alastair who is determined to kill two local Reapers during the solstice (completing this will break another seal) and Sam and Dean have to stop him even though doing so will allow death to continue to affect the people of the town. I have to say, I really dislike Alastair, and not for the obvious reasons. I cannot stand the way he speaks! I think I’ve mentioned before that he sounds like a bad Brando impersonation, and it was even more over the top last night. At least he’s a character I’m supposed to hate, and methinks that this dislike will come in very handy next week when apparently we’ll be watching Dean torture him for information.

As I mentioned and Alastair pointed out last night, Sam’s been having supersecret Soloflex sessions with Ruby and he’s got the new and improved demon-fighting powers to prove it. He’s also developed his cold as ice side too – we watched him tell a complete lie to Shane Cole in order to get his help to determine who/what has kidnapped one of the Reapers. The boy was the last resident of the town to die and is sticking around at home to be with his mom who is torn apart by her grief. He makes Sam promise that if he helps them that Tessa won’t come for him afterwards to take his soul away, which Sam unequivocally does, knowing that Tessa plans to do exactly that. Cold!

Once Dean has managed to close in on Alastair, he disappears suddenly. It’s unclear what happened until Castiel(!) appears, revealing that he had posed as Bobby to trick Sam and Dean into helping him capture the demon. He tells Dean that he had to take this tactic, since the brothers usually tend to do the exact opposite of what he asks of them. Fair enough. This episode will essentially continue next week when the angels hand Alastair over to Dean and table full of torture implements in order to get him to talk – yikes. Hopefully the Chuck mantra (everybody talks) holds up in the world of Supernatural. Luckily the Cole story was wrapped up nicely with Tessa and Dean explaining that leaving will help his mom to move past losing him. I really didn’t watch little Shane Botwin get dragged off to the unknown against his will.

We know that Sam and Dean are going about things from opposite angles and we also know that each is sure that they are following the right path to best accomplish their goal. Sam thinks that he needs to exploit his “gift” in order to defeat the dark side, while Dean knows that with the Angels on his side he’s the one in the right. However by the end of last night’s episode, doubts were raised for both brothers which might make them question their actions to date.

Tessa tells Dean that he’s lying to himself when he thinks that the angels have given him a second chance at life and she says that there are no such things as miracles. Pamela, before she succumbs to a stab wound that she inexplicably did not seek medical treatment for, tells Sam that she knows what’s inside of him (Dean? Sorry, couldn’t resist), and that if he thinks he has good intentions he should think again.

So…what say you? Do both brothers have reason to question their instincts? If so, do you think that one side or the other has more credibility? Aren’t you loving the complexity of each “side” – I love that the “right” choice is still far from obvious, or even if one of them is the right choice. Are you looking forward to the epic torture of Alastair next week, or does the thought make you queasy? I’d love to discuss with you – post your comments below! Also, look for another Supernatural-related post coming soon with some exciting news that I’ll be seeking your feedback on!

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. She lives near Toronto and is spending the winter cursing that fact while trying to convince her friends to do a group move to a warmer climate. So far it’s not working.


5 Responses to “SUPERNATURAL: Death Takes a Holiday”

  1. Patty on March 13th, 2009 11:58 am

    Oh, Show! I am so glad to have you back! (thanks for the recap Nichole! I love reading how other people view the epis!)

    This season just keeps getting better and better! The waters are muddier than ever and I have a feeling the both brothers are on the right AND wrong side. I hope in the end, they will have to fight together to win. There is a balance with them fighting together that is absent when they are at odds with each other.

    My heart broke when Sam flat out lied to Shane Botwin! Wasn’t there a time when Dean did the exact same thing back in S1 or S2? I forget but I know he did. The brothers have totally switched places now and I love it. Although Dean is more AngryEmo!Dean than wussy Emo! Sam.

    I will miss Pam and really wish they would stop killing off all the good female characters. But maybe that’s why they are good. I love them and they are dead. I am so glad that Dean now remembers is reaper time from S2. I think it’s important to be able to now see that as much as he didn’t want to die at the time, maybe things would be different for Sam if he had.

    I can’t wait until next week but I am sad that we don’t just have unlimited episodes to last forever. Is theat really too much to ask? Jared and Jensen don’t need a life, right?

  2. Henry on March 13th, 2009 10:00 pm

    This is the first episode since December that had me rewinding parts and getting emotionally ecstatic at times. It felt like the old seasons when it focused on the overall story instead of isolated incidents that didn’t really add anything. It was all about the Winchesters and not some side characters.

    To be honest, Tessa’s talk with Dean at the end was heartbreaking in the fact that it opened up the possibility’ that there is no “good” side. There’s no such thing as miracles, almost implies that they will drop him back off in hell when he is no longer useful. In fact, didn’t Castiel say that exact thing in a previous episode?

    That miracles comment really got to me. Like, when you remember what Dean’s Angel lover said about God and the other angels wasn’t depressing enough. Suddenly, the seed of doubt has sprouted in my mind. As far as Sam is concerned, I still don’t see anything wrong with what he’s doing with his abilities. If you can’t put your trust in any side because the major players keep you in the dark (angels) or want you dead (demons), your best bet is to use everything at your exposal to further your own will. Like a Winchester!

    Mary Winchester: save husband by sacrificing future son
    John Winchester: save Dean by sacrificing yourself and the colt
    Dean Winchester: save Sammy by sacrificing yourself
    Sam Winchester: …wait, wait… I think I know this one!!

  3. SUPERNATURAL Fans - Got a Burning Question for Misha Collins aka Castiel? | Give Me My Remote on March 15th, 2009 5:22 pm

    […] everyone! As you all know, Supernatural returned last Thursday with “Death Takes a Holiday” (see my review here), which also marked the highly anticipated return of Castiel. I have […]

  4. oneolieo on March 16th, 2009 11:06 am

    Why the hell is the Joe the Plumber reference funny?
    Using their show to abuse a citizen because his question led Obama to make a fool of himself is not a good thing.
    This was a low point for Supernatural.

  5. Nicole on March 16th, 2009 3:39 pm

    I appreciate your input oneolieo, and I think that we just have differing viewpoints of JtheP. If his entire public existence was limited to asking that one question, I think you’d have a fair point (in fact he wouldn’t have been referenced in the show at all I would venture to guess). I think it was his actions/comments/fame-seeking after the fact that got him the “douche” label. You may not agree which is fine, but I just wanted to point out that it wasn’t the question he first asked that got him name-checked on SPN.