Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #9 – “Home”

A quick note by way of introduction may be required here. For quite some time now, certain members of the Richmond WriMos have been trying to persuade me to watch the CW show Supernatural. I  have relented and am now embarking on watching Supernatural via the wonders of Netflix. This series of posts will simply be my first impressions, almost stream of consciousness style, presented in the form of the time elapsed in the episode and my thoughts expressed as bullet points. It’s effectively live tweeting the episodes except I don’t have to stick to 140 characters or fewer. So without further ado here’s my take on:

Season 1 Episode 9 – “Home”

  • 00:25 – Lots more references to Daddy Winchester in the previouslies than usual.
  • 01:14 – Looks like something contemporary is happening in what I’ve been thinking of as Flashback House
  • 02:19 – Mommy’s being very accommodating of the little girl’s “monster in the closet” fear thing.
  • 03:26 – There’s something downright spooky about a chair sliding to the left, at least the way the cinematography here is handling it.
  • 04:31 – Winchester family photos! Followed extremely quickly by a little girl screaming as something emerges from the closet.
  • 05:10 – Did Sam just dream the teaser?
  • 07:02 – “I have these nightmares.”  “I’ve noticed.” Deadpan Dean is best Dean.
  • 07:29 – Sam finally tells Dean about his prophetic dreams of Dead Jessica and – Dean doesn’t seem to but it. Okaaay…
  • 08:10 – So in this episode Sam’s the more enthused and Dean is the more reluctant, scared one. It makes sense because Dean would remember more clearly. The flipped dynamic reminds me of the Catholicism themed episodes of The X-Files where Mulder would be the skeptic and Scully the believer.
  • 10:40 – “This place has its issues.” Oh, lady, you don’t know the half of it.
  • 11:33 – They sound very unconvincing with their closet denials (And that isn’t a slashy statement in this context!)
  • 11:42 – “It was on fire…” Uh oh.
  • 12:56 – It strikes me as odd that Sam didn’t know it was Dean who carried him out of the house on Burning Mom Day. I would think that if a semi-PTSD Dean wouldn’t mention it, daddy would have at some time in the last couple of decades.
  • 13:52 – By his ducking of the question, it’s more than clear that this doesn’t feel like “just another job” for Dean
  • 14:49 – “I don’t know what to do” – Dean sounding like a little kid needing Daddy’s help here. Great little acting moment
  • 15:33 – A waste disposal unit in a show like this means somebody’s losing a hand at some point. Only more certain way to lose a hand in genre TV/movies involves lightsabers. Also, did anybody ever find those cymbal-banging wind up monkeys anything other than f***ing terrifying?
  • 16:51 – Bloody terror monkey chopped Joe the Plumber (no, not that one)’s arm off!
  • 16:56 – Quoth the closed captioning: “[SCREAMING CONTINUES],” which I think was Kate Capshaw’s entire script for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
  • 17:38 – Did we know Daddy Winchester was a Marine before now? I don’t recall it coming up.
  • 18:36 – A palm reader. We may have a new lead on the Mary Winchester case. Nothing on the current house owners, nor the newly-minted Horatio Nelson of the plumbing industry
  • 19:16 – Missouri isn’t a state in this context (I’m sure Abe Simpson would approve) but a person. Kind of how Lando isn’t a system, he’s a man in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • 19:40 – I like her already. Mostly because she can say “cold banging the gardener” and it doesn’t sound unnatural
  • 20:08 – “And you were one goofy-looking kid, too.” Damn, Missouri is awesome. (Again, not the state)
  • 20:48 – So she’s more a mind reader than a future predictor
  • 21:42 – So Missouri was the one who truly introduced Daddy Winchester to the Supernatural. So, in continuity, she’s the reason the show exists in the form it does. (Well her and evil fiery burny thing from the pilot)
  • 23:20 – Yeah, it can’t all be coincidental.
  • 23:40 – Oh lord, they’re going to trap the toddler in the fridge. Kids, just say “no” to malevolent entities with sippy cups of juice
  • 24:30 – I feel way more terrified for the poor mom than I did for plumber One Hand Clapping
  • 24:55 – Well the show didn’t pull an Alexandra DeWitt on little Richie. Hardly surprising considering network TV, but I did wonder for a brief second, especially as the episode’s present day body count is 0.
  • 26:32 – Not gonna lie, I love how dismissive Missouri is of Dean.
  • 26:54 – A different force/entity. That’s one unlucky property
  • 27:32 – “A magnet for paranormal energy” does sound cooler than “one unlucky property.” I guess that’s why Eric Kripke is writing TV scripts and I’m writing blog entries about those scripts
  • 28:28 – Feng Shui the Winchester way…
  • 30:06 – When Furniture Attacks! Coming Thursdays this Fall to The WB!
  • 30:23 – Lamp loves Sam, but Sam doesn’t love lamp. Tragic really.
  • 31:36 – Man, it looks like they wrecked that poor lady’s house
  • 33:19 – Looks like Missouri and The Winchester’s house wrecking shenanigans weren’t that effective
  • 34:18 – Yeah, that’s a figure wreathed in shadow and flame alright.
  • 35:02 – “Take your brother outside as fast as you can and don’t look back.” Something of an ironic echo coming from Sam’s mouth, I would think.
  • 35:31 – Return of the rock salt shotguns.
  • 36:43 – Whoa! This flaming figure is the spirit of Mommy Winchester. Wasn’t expecting that. I’m assuming that she’s been thwarting the other darker spirit in its attempts to kill off the Mom and kids that live here now.
  • 38:04 – She’s sacrificing herself for her sons in front of them again. I guess that’s going to ramp up the angst/PTSD levels again.
  • 38:47 – Baby pictures might be the only time Sam Winchester is depicted without terrible hair.
  • 39:50 – So it seems Sam’s burgeoning psychic abilities outclass Missouri’s in ghost detecting at least.
  • 40:41 – I just realized after watching the Impala drive off that this episode hasn’t had any rock music in it.
  • 41:10 -Holy freaking Hades! Daddy Winchester was in Missouri’s living room the whole time. I guess that confirms that he’s not dead. Got to say I definitely did not see that coming.
  • 41:52 – But why can’t you see your boys, man?

I’m still kind of reeling from that last scene reveal. I need to know what truth it is that John Winchester needs to know before he can see the boys (which I assume will happen at season’s end). As you can probably tell by the tone and sheer number of bullet points above, I enjoyed the heck out of this episode. I’m always a sucker for anything that advances a show’s core story arcs and this episode did that in a big way, mining a lot out of the backstory that had really hitherto only been shown in the teaser for the pilot episode. I also, rather obviously, enjoyed the heck out of the character of Missouri. It seems like the show might be setting her up to recur, but I’m not sure exactly how unless the boys cover moe cases in Lawrence, Kansas which doesn’t seem that likely going forwards.

Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #8 – “Bugs”

A quick note by way of introduction may be required here. For quite some time now, certain members of the Richmond WriMos have been trying to persuade me to watch the CW show Supernatural. I  have relented and am now embarking on watching Supernatural via the wonders of Netflix. This series of posts will simply be my first impressions, almost stream of consciousness style, presented in the form of the time elapsed in the episode and my thoughts expressed as bullet points. It’s effectively live tweeting the episodes except I don’t have to stick to 140 characters or fewer. So without further ado here’s my take on:

Season 1 Episode 8 – “Bugs”

  • 01:06 – Our two candidates for the Inevitable Teaser Death this episode are a pair of bantering construction workers working on a housing development. One seems a little too happy. He’s toast.
  • 02:14 – Broken ankle and being swarmed by beetles is a nasty way to go.
  • 03:09 – Uh oh, director’s being all “artsy” with a panning up from reflection in water shot. A sure sign of a thin plot in my experience. Or grade school “symbolism,” but this episode is titled “Bugs,” so I’m guessing no water thematic stuff
  • 03:40 – Scams for funding. I guess that’s how they can fuel that badass Impala
  • 04:12 – Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease seems an odd choice for a cover up to me. Maybe it’s because I was in Britain when the CJD/BSE(Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy AKA “Mad Cow Disease”) was the media scare du jour.
  • 06:43 – That flashlight isn’t going to illuminate anything that the obvious bright daylight hasn’t, Dean.
  • 07:06 – Sam just got totally Marty McFly’ed (“Don’t call me chicken”) by Dean.
  • 08:01 – Free food, especially good (non-pork) BBQ would persuade me to crash the open house even without an investigative motive.
  • 09:02 – “We accept homeowners of any race, religion, color or… sexual orientation.” Why do I suspect that this won’t be the last time the Winchester brothers will be confused for a couple?
  • 10:16 – Was expecting more than a minute or so between recurrences though. Dean patting Sam’s butt did make it funnier though.
  • 10:53 – That’s a bloody big spider. Pretty much universal symbol for creepy bug everywhere. And yeah, I find them scary too.
  • 11:28 – Sam bonding with creepy bug kid over poor relationships with fathers
  • 13:09 – Both actors have improved immensely on the exposition dumps since the season started. Feels like natural discussion. Early episodes sometimes felt like the painful script readings you see Adam and Jamie attempt on Mythbusters.
  • 14:00 – If you’re going to squat anywhere, an empty model house seems like the best choice.
  • 15:06 – Spider swarm in the shower! Super freaky. Not exactly the most iconic of shower scenes in horror here, but still indebted to Hitchcock.
  • 15:51 – “This shower is awesome.” – Nice head towel, Dean…
  • 18:23 – Creepy bug kid is current main suspect. There’s too much episode left for it be that simple, though.
  • 19:29 – Talking about insects to segue into spider talk bugs me. They are arachnids after all.
  • 20:32 – Ah, some conflict between the Bros in regards to daddy issues
  • 22:24 – Yeah, I kind of expected it, but finding a human skull is bad news.
  • 25:03 – Backstory, making Daddy Winchester seem more sympathetic and still keep Sam’s petulance relevant.
  • 29:23 – Joe White Tree, our latest Mr. Exposition is a textbook Magical Native American. Unfortunate.
  • 31:53 – Gas leak seems a time-honored way to evacuate a neighborhood when you don’t want to admit some weird stuff is going down.
  • 33:07 – Nice contrasting philosophy between Sam & Dean in relation to truth vs. lies
  • 34:35 – Now that is a biblical plague of insects.
  • 35:21 – A reason cell phones don’t work! Yay!
  • 35:52 – Sunrise seems a long way away
  • 36:38 – No! Not the bees! Augh! – Nic Cage-ing it up in here!
  • 37:56 – Bugspray flamethrower rocks
  • 39:05 – That was an incredibly fast sunrise. Apparently Oklahoma nights are only ten minutes long.
  • 40:27 – Aww, father-son bonding. Cute
  • 41:35 – And it’s helped Sam work through some of his issues
  • 42:10 – Time to leave and rock out to The Scorpions

I liked this episode a lot. For one thing, bugs are legitimately creepy, so it’s solid imagery (even if some of the CGI is very early 2000’s). There’s also the thematic resonance and subplot of the relationship between fathers and sons . I mentioned that a lot in the bullet points above but still missed some of it. It didn’t feel heavy-handed though. And I think the most important thing that made this a good episode is that it didn’t remind me of anything else. It didn’t feel like an X-Files episode (despite visual similarities(, it didn’t feel like a Buffy episode. It felt like a Supernatural episode. I think this is the first stand alone episode where I’ve felt like the show has found its own identity. Going forwards, that is a very good thing.

Return of Four by Flash Piece 6: The Designate

The Designate

I jolt awake in a stark white room. A bright anodyne light on the ceiling bathes everything with an ice blue tint. I have no idea where I am. I have no idea who I am. I am bonded to a royal blue synthskin suit. There doesn’t seem to be a way to remove it.

In the crook of the synthskin suit’s right elbow I see a series of thin white lines. They remind me of a barcode. I straighten my arm and hold it under the light. I’m not sure why I do this, but as soon as I do an inflectionless, mechanical yet female voice pierces the oppressive silence. Aside from my own heartbeats, I’ve heard no other sound since coming to.

“Subject identified: Unit Nine Seven Omega Three. You may continue to the processing center.”

Then, once more silence descends. The designation the voice assigned me is not who I am. Or at least it is not who I was. I had a name once. If only I could remember it. I disobey the impersonal order. I choose to remain in this white chamber rather than enter the ominous sounding “processing center.”

Clearly, some “processing” already happened to me. Memory erasure, dehumanizing clothing and bar codes don’t come standard to humanity. I feel a breeze above as air conditioning blows across my now shaven scalp.

The far wall irises open and a slender, also bald, man in a purple synthskin steps through. His bar code is a mere two stripes. He held a meter long silver tube with two gloved hands. Ribbons of lightning crackled across the tube’s surface.

“Nine Seven Omega Three, I am Beta. Come with me.”

I declined Beta’s offer and stayed where I was. Beta came around behind me and rammed the silver tube between my vertebrae. White hot electrical pain slammed through my nerve endings. Accompanying the pain came something unexpected – memory. I knew me again. I wrenched my body away from Beta’s tube weapon. My movement upset his equilibrium enough that Beta dropped the tube and it began to roll. I picked it up before Beta could and rammed it into his temple. Beta’s eyeball sizzled into jelly as the flesh of his head blackened and puckered. He dropped to the floor, dead.

I took the communicator from his collar and spoke into it.

“Alpha reporting. Memory erasure procedure has failed once more. Delta is now Beta. We’ll have to try again.”

It was the fifth failed attempt that week.


 

As followers of this blog are no doubt aware, back in March of this year, I participated in a Flash Fiction writing challenge known as “Four by Flash,” which had the goal of producing sixteen flash fiction pieces (four a week for four weeks) in a single calendar month. However, the full extent of that challenge was to repeat that schedule four times in a calendar year for a total of sixty-four pieces. I had earmarked June as my second month to attempt this feat, vowing to do better than I did in March, where a late start meant that pieces were still dribbling out in April.

I clearly failed miserably on the actual deadline thing, but I’m still determined to get all the sixteen pieces out. This piece is my sixth of the set and I still have ideas for the rest. 

My  “prompt bingo card” provided the inspiration for this 419-word piece, which combined with my last few pieces means I have four squares marked off. This piece was prompted by the square reading “What is identity?” . This means my card currently looks like this:

Stock photo courtesy of Barun Patro.

Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #7 – “Hook Man”

A quick note by way of introduction may be required here. For quite some time now, certain members of the Richmond WriMos have been trying to persuade me to watch the CW show Supernatural. I  have relented and am now embarking on watching Supernatural via the wonders of Netflix. This series of posts will simply be my first impressions, almost stream of consciousness style, presented in the form of the time elapsed in the episode and my thoughts expressed as bullet points. It’s effectively live tweeting the episodes except I don’t have to stick to 140 characters or fewer. So without further ado here’s my take on:

Season 1 Episode 7 – “Hook Man”

  • 01:38 – This girl’s going on a date in a slightly horror themed media, Clearly she will become the inevitable teaser death.
  • 2:40 – Hmm, her rebuffing the boyfriend’s advances means that she lives if we’re going by Camp Crystal Lake rules. Of course that means he’s dead.
  • 03:11 – I reckon this guy (Hook Man?) knows what they did last summer..
  • 03:24 – Stay in the car, dumbass!
  • 05:09 – Lori is quite the impressive screamer. Oh and Rich is dead.
  • 06:22 – Love the rock soundtrack.
  • 07:32 – Smooth “He’s the artist, the things he can do with a brush.” Makes purple frat guy Sam’s problem
  • 08:50 – The Winchester boys really aren’t dressed for crashing church services. They should have kept the Homeland Security suits from “Phantom Traveler”
  • 09:25 – Would teens in 2005 really care about Reality Bites? Tequila shots are more universal than Winona Ryder/Ethan Hawke movies.
  • 10:10 – Sam brings up Dead Jessica in the most oblique way possible
  • 11:33 – I find Dean’s disbelief that they could be investigating the Hook Man amusing, given that a mere two episodes ago they were dealing with the Bloody Mary
  • 12:10 – Jacob Karnes seems like a localized to Iowa version of good old Jack The Ripper
  • 12:36 – “Doctor Venkman!” Clearly these guys ain’t afraid of no ghosts
  • 14:51 – “Salt being a spirit deterrent.” If I remember my folklore salt was second only to cold iron for that stuff.
  • 16:30 – That’s a lot of blood.
  • 17:19 – “Well you look like a dumb ass pledge.” It’s the terrible hair.
  • 18:20 – I guess it makes sense that Lori would be a suspect. Cop dude does point out that this is the second gruesome murder she’s been connected to.
  • 19:57- The Winchester brothers – not averse to a little casual home invasion
  • 20:03- Spirits smell like ozone, apparently.
  • 21:45 – No one who looks like Jared Padalecki (and his terrible hair) was a geek in college
  • 23:04 – Loved the world weary look Dean gives when he realizes he’s going to have to leave the college party to go grave hunting. Meanwhile, the little bro gets to keep an eye on college girls.
  • 23:31 – I’m fairly sure this graveyard got more screen time on Buffy than Anthony Stewart Head did
  • 24:31 – The good Reverend has been dipping his communion wafers where they don’t belong
  • 26:23 – Dean doesn’t believe in low sodium graves. I imagine burning salty bones probably stink too.
  • 27:32 – Pretty sure that “you will get punished” bit means that ol’ Jake the Ripper has spirit bonded to Lori and not the Reverend.
  • 28:30 – Brief mooning reference to Dead Jessica interrupted as the Reverend takes a hook to the neck. Guess Dean’s grave desecration was for naught.
  • 28:55 – Sam commits “a salt with a deadly weapon” against Hook Man. No, I am not apologizing for that pun.
  • 31:21 – Classic case of “as you know” exposition. I suspect this episode was planned to be shown earlier in the season where such rough edges are a little more forgivable. Wonder why it got moved if I’m right.
  • 32:11 – Library/Research scenes remind me of Buffy so much.
  • 33:46 – Our heroes everybody! Breaking into churches and burning stuff!
  • 34:48 – I know they have mentioned demons before, but is this the first episode to explicitly call out semi-Biblical lore with the avenging angels bit?
  • 36:29 – I realize it’s to emphasize the silver chain that she’s wearing (that used to be the hook man’s hook), but those last couple of frames were entirely filled by Lori’s sweater-clad breasts. How very WB/CW
  • 36:50 – Why is the drywall rasping as the hook scrapes it way scarier than explicit bloody murder victims? This show does suspense well.
  • 37:38 – The shot of Jacob Karns being immolated makes me think of professional wrestler The Undertaker. I think it’s the hat.

A good solid episode with very much a slasher film by way of Buffy the Vampire Slayer sort of vibe. I liked it, but it felt very standalone and kind of filler-y. Like I said in the bullet points, it feels like an early episode that’s trying to figure out what the show wants to be. The dynamic of the brothers seems a little off, and I can’t see Sam even considering abandoning the quest until they find the father. The establishment of (sort of) Biblical underpinnings to some of the supernatural elements, as well as showcasing the folkloric role of salt in vanquishing spirits see like an early stab at mythology. It’s definitely a show still working out what it wants to be at this point. Great soundtrack though, even if the Netflix version had to replace Boston’s “Peace of Mind” with a lesser song at the end. Stupid music rights issues…

Return of Four by Flash Piece 5: Stranger at the Bar

Stranger at the Bar

Verity rolled her eyes as Oasis’ “Wonderwall” started playing over the Overflowing Tankard’s sound system. She had liked Liam Gallagher’s voice well enough back in the nineties, but twenty years had passed. The song was practically cutting edge by the standards of Milton-under-Wychwood though. Verity hated coming back home from her teaching job in Manchester to visit her parents because it felt like going back in time.

The song wasn’t even the most old-fashioned thing about the Tankard. Old Tom Naish still tended the bar, his spiked hair now more grey than blonde but even he looked positively contemporary next to the gangly stranger leaning on the bar counter. This latter gentleman stared blearily at the beer taps, trying to decide between Hobgoblin and Old Speckled Hen. He wore the type of black trousers that Verity’s grandmother would have called “britches,” and an honest-to-God frock coat. Apparently the stranger had chosen his beverage as Tom drew him an amber pint. The stranger grabbed the glass and looked around the Tankard. Verity turned away too late, as the man made eye contact and headed toward her, a brass fob watch clanking against his breast pocket.

“Young lady,” he said with an accent that sounded off to Verity’s ears, “When are we?”

The question struck Verity as peculiar, but anyone who referred to her-forty self as “young lady” definitely deserved an answer. The guy’s watch couldn’t have kept very good time, she figured. She checked the time on her smartphone.

“It’s nine thirty-three,” she said.

“Oh, I know that,” he said, “but which nine thirty-three?”

Verity guessed he meant the date, despite the awkward phrasing, “September 10th,” she said, quickly adding “two thousand fourteen,” when she saw the expression on his face.

“Thank you, milady. I’m late by thirteen years then. I’m William, by the way.” He proffered his hand to Verity. She stuck her own hand out and was taken aback when William gripped it, bowed and kissed the back of her hand.

“This part might bother you a little,” William said, adjusting the hands of his pocket watch.

“What part?” Verity asked shortly before her stomach twisted and then the world around her did the same. When it restored itself, Verity was no longer in the Overflowing Tankard, but in New York City. Specifically in front of the World Trade Center buildings. The intact World Trade Center buildings.

“Well don’t just stand there with your mouth hanging open,” William said, “make yourself useful and give me a hand here.” He threaded a seriously heavy duty chain, one of several that had manifested themselves, through one of the building doors, barricading it.

Verity grabbed the other end of William’s chain and tried to assist.


As followers of this blog are no doubt aware, back in March of this year, I participated in a Flash Fiction writing challenge known as “Four by Flash,” which had the goal of producing sixteen flash fiction pieces (four a week for four weeks) in a single calendar month. However, the full extent of that challenge was to repeat that schedule four times in a calendar year for a total of sixty-four pieces. I had earmarked June as my second month to attempt this feat, vowing to do better than I did in March, where a late start meant that pieces were still dribbling out in April.

I clearly failed miserably on the actual deadline thing, but I’m still determined to get all the sixteen pieces out. This piece is my fifth of the set and I still have ideas for the rest. 

 

The inspiration for this piece came from browsing the Wikipedia entry for the village of Milton-Under-Wychwood where I grew up. The article is pretty standard stuff about a tiny English village except for one of the only sentences with an actual citation, referring to an 18th century clockmaker: “There was a legend that William Green could control the time-space continuum. The fact that sentence can exist so matter-of-factly in a nominally encyclopedic entry amused me and I couldn’t quite shake it off until I had gotten a story out of it.

 

Stock photo courtesy of  Piotr Kozlowski