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23 January 2009 @ 09:25 pm
SPN: "Criss Angel is a Douchebag" Episode Review + Meta  
Supernatural 4.12 "Criss Angel is a Douchebag"

In this enjoyable episode, we have the Winchesters investigating the death of a magician who happened to die in the middle of the street from no apparent wounds, other than what looked like the be puncture holes, though without the presence of forced entry anywhere. Another young magician is then found dead, and what do both of these magicians have in common? Both had tarot cards of said death around the site of the crime, so the boys investigate Jay, an elderly magician who is their only suspect. However they learn that it isn't him, but someone else committing these murders by the force of real black magic so that Jay can become popular once again. The twists and turns come from the whodunit, magician-style.

Meanwhile the brothers contemplate their futures and whether they will live to see old age or die before that time; Dean is rather pessimistic and realistic, though Sam believes that they can make it, end everything that threatens their lives and everyone elses. Despite it all, Sam despites to take off with Ruby in her offer to take out Lilith once and for all, without telling Dean of his plans, knowing what the consequences for his choice would be.

Futuritisc Hopes and Dreams: What The Winchesters Face In This Life-long Battle

It's quite obvious this episode highlighted the issue that has been lingering around the boys since day one, the search for being normal in spite of living dangerously extraordinary lives. We were also given the parallel between Jay and Charlie, basically they were the older versions of Sam and Dean in the sense of being together like brothers and having spent most of their lives doing what they did best, however it being revealed of Charlie's immortality also connected what Sam's demonic powers were to Dean. Dangerous, if used incorrectly even for the right causes won't guarantee happily ever after.

They talk about the future in this episode, a rarity in itself because they've only focused on the moment and the short-term effects, never long-term. Though we do know that Sam has always been optimistic or tried to live his life and making his own future happen without the hunting, but inevitably his destiny doesn't lie in Harvard textbooks. Dean tends to go for the here and now, in the moment kinds of things, knowing all too well that doing anything other than that will risk the lives of many who are in danger. What's interesting about this episode is how those two different perspectives clash together as Sam visualizes a way to eliminate the main source to end all their problems. Evil will always be there no matter what, and like Dean said that big bad evil snake has many heads; chop off one there will be more, a continuous line of big snake heads to defeat, and sometimes they'll win and sometimes they'll lose. Sam thinks that Lilith is the main source of everything since she's the one opening all the Seals, and it would be nice to get to her...however there's a problem in his logic. It seems to me that Sam wants to end everything by offing Lilith, neverminding the fact that there are other demons and forces of evil out there.

Fact is, he survived Lilith once, but that doesn't mean she won't have a backup plan to take him out. And although he's practiced with his abilities he's not powerful or efficient in them yet, so going off with Ruby's offer in the end almost seems like there's no exit strategy other than taking it head-on.

Jay felt more depressed and devasted for killing his best friend, despite it being the right thing to do for the greater good. But in his mind it was a regrettable decision, because how can things be in the right when the only person who he trusted and loved and cared about is gone? He is alone in the world now, without anything and will die like that. This is the possible road for Sam and Dean, with the probability of Dean having to put his brother down if he crosses over that line to the point of no return. This is something Dean does not want to think about, and yet it has been scaring him for a long, long time and we're finally reaching the end of the line. Sam is nearly halfway to the point of reaching his full potential. What if he snaps? What if that gray area he's been treading on blurs too much to see the difference between right and wrong, even if he tries to justify and rationalize his actions?

It has always been foreshadowed about Sam possibly going Dark Side, and it has always been Dean's brotherly duty to keep him grounded, and that promise he made to do whatever necessary to stop Sam no matter what. Now both brothers are on opposite ends, battling their own personal demons and sometimes neither of them can help the other in that regard, it has to come from within. Though their separate pathways will lead to the same destination, and that is where I predict the brother versus brother confrontation will happen.

Apocalypse Now...Or At Least It Should Be

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself here, but I would definitely like to see more action concerning the Apocalypse. I know, I enjoy these normal hunting episodes too and seeing the boys working together on cases just like old times again, though a part of me wishes they would start taking the threat of the end of the world more seriously as though the task of it were completely on their shoulders. Like Ruby said to Sam in this episode, they are continually uses hunts as a hiding device to avoid the bigger issue.

I realize that this is a battle between Heaven and Hell, and Dean and Sam are merely caught in that crossfire of that, however they are inevitably tied to this war whether they like it or not. Sam being in connection with his demon-blood and Dean in connection with the angels from being pulled from Hell, and having an ambiguous mission from God which has yet to be revealed. From the last we saw in "Heaven and Hell" there was a line drawn between the Winchesters and the side of the angels, at least from the perspective that of the boys, but that doesn't mean there isn't work that needs to be done. Yes, Castiel hasn't visited Dean it quite some time which I need the answer as to why this must be, srsly, Cas needs to be with Dean f'reals so there hasn't been much on the information front as to what to do and which Seal to protect and whatnot, and they can't do anything else about the war otherwise. But they do know about it, and if they cannot go to the source maybe they can try to research on what's happening? On the other hand, I can understand the reasoning of doing what they normally do to forget about the war, try to live as though the world isn't ending (and at the same time battle their own fears and demons, like Dean acting like saving as many people, no matter how big or small the case is, is his one chance of redemption).

This may seem like I'm complaining, though I'm not really. I know we'll be getting back to the mytharc in future episodes, and non-plot related episodes are bound to happen to evenly spread out all the epic shit that's about to go down. We were given the exact total of how many Seals have been broken in this ep too, as promised by Sera Gamble, and we've known the angels aren't winning the war because of their failure to protect those Seals -- which are sixty-six in like what, over six hundred Seals total? Yeah. This is why I do wish the boys were more active in this battle than bystanders. But I have a feeling we'll get there eventually, as it should because they are inevitably direct links in this war whether they like it or not.

Also, this episode was more dealing with Sam coming to that final decision in the end, going away with Ruby from her offer. What will he be doing if it's not what he had been doing before? That has yet to be found out, though as I'm suspecting it will be addressed in the upcoming episodes.

Memorable Moments of the Episode:

++ How much am I enjoying the titles for the episodes this season? Seriously.

++ Was it just me, or did the Metallicar never appear in this episode? It's a rarity to have Supernatural without the Impala unless it's for a good reason (like in the beginning of S2 when it had been totaled) She's like the third beloved main character, yo, an episode would be kinda less without her. Unless she was still recovering from being violated from the last episode or something. ;p

++ DEAN UNKNOWINGLY GOING TO THE BDSM CLUB WILL NEVER NOT BE LOLARIOUS. Though he seemed a little unfazed by it, which leads me to wondering....nah. Won't go there.

++ LOL the magicians knew immediately that Sam and Dean weren't who they said they were. I LOVED IT! Like Bobby once said, "don't try to con a con man" That is so true.

++ So, did we break the record of how many times we can say "douchebag" in SPN? I don't think it'll surpass the usage of "son of a bitch" though, which is Dean's favorite line to say. Haha.


++ The story between the older magicians was certainly heartfelt, nothing big bad about it other than Charlie's misdirection of having immortality. Poor Jay having to make that decision of offing his only best friend he's ever had, having his other friend never speak to him because of it, and being all alone and depressed afterwards even from doing what was the right thing to do. This is what it means to be heroic, sometimes the ends don't always justify the means, that sometimes the ending isn't always a victorious win. I have a feeling that is also foreshadowing the Winchester's for the end of the series.

++ Another foreshadowing, although a little blatant, was the parallels between Jay and Charlie to Sam and Dean; their brotherly kind of relationship clashing with their own moralities of the situation, and we know that if Dean makes the decision to kill off his brother if he turns dark will only destroy him, much like how it destroyed Jay in the end. :((((

++ I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this episode. It wasn't spellbinding or as creepy or monster-filled, but they did a nice job with editing and pacing and tricking us to thinking it's one, no it's the other, no it that one! The "whodunit" mystery of the SPN season. With magic, except stage magic, not witchcraft hoodoo stuff the Winchesters are used to dealing with.

++ Which yay, Sammy liked the magician tricks and acts! One can only wonder how John reacted to that little phase of his, though. Saying things like "that's not real magic, those are just fake and cons" or "why get caught up in that when you know the real deal is dangerous? Use your head boy."


++ Y'know, I did kind of not liked the fact that they watered down Ruby's character, and now with her persistent attitude from being timid and laidback from the beginning of the episode is kind of saying "hey, we're trying to spunk her up - see, look! Ruby's spunky again" and failing. I've said before that Gen's a decent actress and trying her hardest in this role but, my love for Ruby just isn't there. I dunno. I do know that there will be more about her involvement and role in this season, which I do want to see, but only if they stop trying to force the writing on the character.

++ No Castiel this episode, not even in the previouslies! I understand why, it was more focused on Sam and whatnot, but still. Lacking Castiel makes me sad. :((

Overall: Enjoyable episode, nothing hugely spectacular or epic or scary but still, I liked it. It balanced out a lot of what's been happening, with the shared screentime with both of the boys while focusing on Sam as they had with Dean in the previous one. There wasn't any overdone exposition, thankfully, and the storyline of the episode was good and we had the mixture of stage magic with real magic. I had always wondered how they would do something like that, even though I felt sorry for the guys. From the looks of the next episode we might not get Castiel, though I do know we'll be getting him soon and definitely will be playing that drinking game when he does. ;D

Wrote this quickly though with the intent of posting it now because, well, BSG is about to start up in about half an hour and I wanted to get this done and over with before I did my capslock post for the other. OMG Y'ALL THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TWO EPIC SHOWS ARE ON BACK-TO-BACK DAYS! So, prepared to be spammed with awesomeness, oh yes.
Current Mood: rushedrushed
Current Music: Alter Bridge - Rise Today
OhBooth: Awesome First Commentorohbooth on January 24th, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Holy cow woman! Long review, and I am SO guilty of just skimming it, but this stuck out:

This is what it means to be heroic, sometimes the ends don't always justify the means, that sometimes the ending isn't always a victorious win. I have a feeling that is also foreshadowing the Winchester's for the end of the series.

Yup, I got that too! Although I think it is more of a 'end of this season foreshadow with the way the boys are splitting (subconsciously).

And unfortunately I didn't get the twists and turns, cause I read sides and saw them coming :) I am such a spoiler whore!
Renée: Dean/Castiel. Serene.rogueslayer452 on January 24th, 2009 05:43 am (UTC)
Hee! This isn't even the longest I can do since I just wrote it quickly, imagine how it will be when there's one of the mytharc episodes! :D

Either way though, that foreshadowing has been there and now we know that it's not so far that something like that will happen. And yeah, this season will probably have them more parted based on that, but as the series comes to a close I'm sure they'll be reunited again, bittersweet but stronger. At least I'm hoping so.

OhBooth: JDM YED B&Wohbooth on January 24th, 2009 05:54 am (UTC)
Hahaha! But I can't stay away!! I am like spoiler flypaper!! LOL, when I see one (or hear of one) I hunt it down like John did the YED man! XP
Shonaillekalikahuntress on January 24th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
Did not read this post but I am saving it for later when I see it. I need castiel and doing something about the apocalypse dammit. I love SPN but it frustrates me so, thank god for other shows like BSG, LOST, Sanctuary, shows that are going a lot faster than SPN. Okay, maybe not LOST as much which I love too but still...
Renée: Castiel. To have faith.rogueslayer452 on January 24th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's basically what I kind of wrote in here too. More things about the Apocalypse, less with the other stuff, even though I understand why they're spacing it out, but if this is going to be like the second to last season there needs to be more going on regarding the war throughout the season and not just an episode here and an episode there. Heh.

Castiel needs to return to my screen ASAP. I miss teh pretty angel and his badassery.
The Large Purple Weed: Dean'n'Samtracy on January 25th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
You know this already, but I also wish there was more apocalypse stuff going on, and not just because that means Cas will be back. That whole arc is just.. exciting as fuck, for lack of a better adjective. And, well, of course that means Cas will be back. XD Man, that prospect seems like such a distant thing right now that it makes me ache with wondering what Castiel might be going through right now. I wonder how sliding down this losing slope will have changed him by the next time we get to see him. I wonder what he thinks of that line drawn between the Winchesters and the Angels right now. I just want him to be okay and to come back to Dean. :(

What will he be doing if it's not what he had been doing before?

'Toning up', I guess. I'd really like to know what bothers him if it isn't the psychic stuff. Hopefully we'll find out.. maybe not next ep, but the one after that?

I don't want Dean to end up like Jay. :( :( :(

Renée: Castiel. Oh shit!rogueslayer452 on January 25th, 2009 03:11 am (UTC)
Yeah, and you know from the beginning of this season they did focus on lot on the mytharc or what's connected to the mytharc, and I understand the breaks in between to balance out the plot-themed from the normal hunting eps, but at times I do wish even in those normal episodes there were something off to the side having to do with the Apocalypse. And perhaps not something directly linked to the boys. Like, suddenly a case is done and they ride off into the sunset, but we go somewhere else and something bigger is happening. IDK. That's my idea of how the war should be consistent throughout, and ITA with you. The whole concept of this war is just so exciting....but maybe Kripke has something really amazing up his sleeve for upcoming episodes? IDK.

Man, that prospect seems like such a distant thing right now that it makes me ache with wondering what Castiel might be going through right now.

INORITE? We haven't really seen how the angels are fighting this war, and it can't be simple considering that they are losing and how many of his brothers have died already. Not to mention the last encounter with Alastair left him nearly powerless and would've almost perished himself had Dean not been there to save him (♥!) I have no idea what's going to happen because of that, if the armies of Heaven are weakening because of how many Seals have been opened already, and that is creating Castiel's already questioning thoughts and doubts to go deeper into the "whys" and "hows" of it all.

All that plus returning to Dean and making amends or at least try to convince Dean once again of his mission, of what's actually happening and that this war is serious business. Also for the forgiveness and such we already talked about, but again that's my personal wish to have happen. dammit I shouldn't be all excited because it might not happen in the show, but it has to dammit! it just has to!

'Toning up', I guess. I'd really like to know what bothers him if it isn't the psychic stuff. Hopefully we'll find out.. maybe not next ep, but the one after that?

God, that's what really has me curious. We already know the psychic stuff scares Dean well enough, but what if there's something else entirely that goes beyond just that and Sam is willing to cross that boundary line? It would completely terrify him and break him even more about what his brother is becoming, whether Sam sees it or not. :((( OMG CAS RETURN TO DEAN NAO, MKAY?!?!

I don't want Dean to end up like Jay, either. Like that bitter, cranky and depressed old man who has nothing but alcohol to numb his pain of everything he's lost. Oh wait, that's Saul Tigh. Nevermind. XD