Last week, we had a rather underwhelming return for Supernatural with a standalone episode that was rather weak on both logic and characters. At the end of my review, I hoped for better things this week with “Criss Angel is a Douche Bag.” Would I get my wish? Short answer, sort of. For the long answer, keep reading.
From the title, you would expect this to be a silly episode, but it definitely wasn’t. There were a few jokes, but the comedy stuff wasn’t all that funny this week. You can only say “X is a douche bag” so many times before it stops being funny. The whole thing with the Chief would have been good for a chuckle if it hadn’t been so blatantly telegraphed in advance.
Unlike last week though, this episode had a degree of logic to it. And the mystery was pretty good. Charlie was my lead suspect pretty early into the episode, but when he died, I figured that put an end to Charlie as a viable suspect. I didn’t think it was Jay or Vernon either, which had me grasping at straws to solve the case, even pondering if it could have been Vance’s assistant or the bartender, minor characters that would have made absolutely no sense.
Even though the mystery was good, the problem was that, once again, I didn’t really care about this week’s guest stars. They were clearly trying to get us to feel conflicted about what happened, and Jay’s decision to kill Charlie, but it just didn’t work.
Perhaps the reason it was difficult to feel much sympathy or concern for Jay, Charlie, or Vernon is that, after Ruby’s appearance, their whole dilemma was clearly meant to be seen as a morality play for Sam.
On the Sam front, it was obvious that by the end of the episode, Sam would take Ruby up on her offer. It’s still not clear what exactly her offer entails, but I continue to speculate that it involves Ruby instilling Sam with demon essence. Though probably not in quite the same way that Yellow Eyes did. Most likely, Sam and Ruby’s previous liaisons were about more than just the sex.
It’s also clear that Sam is making a “bad choice” by taking Ruby up on her offer. His intentions are good, but the tone of pretty much any scene involving Sam’s powers lets us know that while these powers could help save a lot of lives, we are clearly supposed to see them as problematic, evil, and bound to hurt Sam in the long run.
Personally, I’d like a little more ambiguity on the powers front; it seems to me like there’s an argument to be made that maybe the risks ARE worth the reward. And that just become something is derived from evil doesn’t make it inherently evil itself (exorcising demons without killing the human host seems like quite a good thing to me).
While we all knew that Sam would accept Ruby’s offer, his reason was weak. Even if he manages to destroy Lilith and stuff any and all demons back into hell, that doesn’t mean that there’s still not a seemingly endless supply of ghosts, vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, fairy tales come to life, and whole lot of other nasty stuff out there in the world. Not to mention, demons have destroyed Sam’s life; hunting is all he knows. After all Sam’s seen, would he really be able to settle down to a quiet, normal life?
I can appreciate what they were trying to do on Supernatural this week, but the whole thing felt forced somehow. As a result, I didn’t care about the characters, and it just didn’t work. I do have high hopes for next week though, with “Afterschool Special.” Let’s hope those hopes pay off better than they did last time.
Trevor MacKay is the sci-fi/horror/fantasy/cheesy/random geeky stuff guy. If something is geeky and/or unbelievably cheesy, he’s there.