Saturday, October 29, 2011

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 6: Slash Fiction

What's exactly twice as good as an hour of TV with characters played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki? An hour where they each play two characters!

Okay, just kidding. Sort of. I doubt that J & J got any extra screen time out of the premise of this week's episode, “Slash Fiction”, but they did get an opportunity to demonstrate their acting chops by playing murderous doppelgangers of Sam and Dean.

As the episode opens, the Winchesters are back in Whitefish with Bobby. Chet, the Leviathan that they've captured, is awake but still not fully powered up. That doesn't keep him from being immune from all the normal tricks—holy water, silver and so on. He tells them to turn on the news, and that's when they find out that two Leviathans who look just like Sam and Dean have committed a brutal bank robbery and multiple murder. It turns out that Leviathans don't need to eat someone to take their form—the DNA from the hair left in a shower drain will do. (Um, eww.) The FBI manhunt for the boys had ended with their reported deaths (greatly exaggerated), but now it's back on.

Bobby sends them to see Frank Deveraux, and old...well, "friend" is a misnomer. He's “a jackass and a lunatic” whose life Bobby saved. Frank doesn't even believe in the supernatural, but his skills are useful at the moment. His advice seemingly strips away everything that makes Sam and Dean who they are--no rock n' roll aliases, pay for everything in cash, and drive a less conspicuous car. Fortunately, they don't live this way for long before figuring out that their Leviathan selves are retracing their path from the time that Sam left Stanford with Dean.

Back on the home front, Sheriff Jodie Mills shows up to thank Bobby for saving her life. She sees some things that need doing around the cabin, so she stays for a while. Bobby tells her to just disregard the newly decapitated monster in the basement. That actually DOESN'T turn out to be the last of ole Chet, and personally, I would think that would be the time to ask your company to leave. It's a good thing Bobby doesn't think like me, though, because thanks to Jodie's mopping, he learns that sodium bicarbonate (a.k.a. Borax) has roughly the same effect on Leviathans as flaming race car fuel.

Bobby calls Dean and shares this discovery, telling him to decapitate the Leviathans and bury the head separately for good measure. This is handy, because he and Sam have just been arrested and separated, and can assume that their Leviathan-twins are on their way to eat them. Sure enough, the doppelgangers show up and each confront the opposite brother. We've learned by then that Leviathans absorb people's memories when they take their form, so naturally, Leviathan!Dean takes this opportunity to enlighten Sam about what happened to Amy. Sam is still reeling from this when the real Dean bursts in to save him.

When all the shoutin' is over, the one surviving local policeman has agreed to declare the Winchesters dead again. We then see that the FBI has been infiltrated by Leviathans. We also finally get to meet the shadowy Leviathan Boss that the others have alluded to, who is masquerading as a wealthy and powerful man named Richard Roman. Crowley comes along (Hi Crowley! Good to have you back!) and tries to make an alliance, but Tricky Dick isn't havin' it.

The episode closes on the brothers, and Dean is demanding o know what's bothering Sam. Yeah, I know—I was tempted to scream at the television at this point. Sam tells Dean that he knows all about Amy, and storms off. *YAWN* This story arc needed to conclude about now, but let's be honest: of all possible conclusions, this may be the least interesting. I wanted my fistfight.

This was a fun episode. In one scene, The Leviathan!Winchesters rag on the real ones in hilarious fashion. Of Sam's diet, Levithan!Sam says “It's like eating self-righteousness!” Moments later, they do an homage to Pulp Fiction...minus the profanity. (This caused me to muse about whether top-tier profanity would feel out-of-character. I guess we'll find out if there's a movie.) The real Sam and Dean get in on the pop culture fun, too, when Dean lip-syncs to Air Supply while Sam looks on in horror. (Come on! We've heard Jensen for-real sing, and it was good. Let's have it again!)

Thee new characters were fun, too. Kevin McNalley was a joy as Frank Deveraux: caustic, abusive, and totally convinced that he's hilarious. He's the kind of recurring character the show could use right now. And James Patrick Stuart exuded menace and power as Richard Roman. “[Demons are] less than humans, and they're not good for much until you dip them in garlic sauce.” Brr!

Of course, I will never complain about seeing Sheriff Mills back on the case. Maybe I should raise my eyebrow about strong professional woman volunteering to do housework for someone else, but honestly, it's good see someone taking care of Bobby for a change. More important is the epic kiss that Bobby plants on her when he realizes that she's helped him find the Leviathans' weakness. They've been circling each other since at least last season, and have a believable, likable dynamic. It was just sad that Bobby tried to pretend it hadn't happened when she left. I wouldn't mind seeing more between them, provided it didn't end with her dying in his arms or something equally ridiculous.

I think we all know that Sam will be back, and soon. We've been down this road before, and these splits never last more than an episode or two. Sure enough, the promo for next week's episode, “The Mentalists”, shows the brothers working together. But I'm way more intrigued by the title of the following episode: “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!”

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