Lost Limey Watches Supernatural #42 – “What Is and What Should Never Be”

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 2 Episode 20 – “What Is and What Should Never Be”

  • 00:50 – The previouslies re-establish the deaths of Mommy Winchester & Dead Jessica pretty hard, so I’m guessing we’re getting a lot of myth arc call backs.
  • 00:53 – Opening with Skynyrd is always a good move. Always.
  • 01:31 – The brothers Winchester are hunting genies this episode. In my head canon, the villain of the piece looks like this.
  • 01:42 – Dean is wrong. Barbara Eden wasn’t as hot as Elizabeth Montgomery.
  • 03:15 – The boys have pulled the dumb Scooby-Doo “let’s split up, gang!” move, and it looks like Dean is going to suffer from it, as the genie, who sadly looks more like a tattooed up Billy Corgan than Aladdin’s pal, is working somr glowing blue mojo on him.
  • 03:45 – Can’t help but think that this isn’t the first time Dean’s woken up with a strange woman in bed.
  • 04:59 – Apparently Sam has no idea about genies, djinn or hunting in general. Seeing as how he’s also living in Lawrence, Kansas I’m assuming we’re doing a wish fulfillment type episode. I assume it’ll go about as well as Buffy’s attempt did.
  • 06:04 – Picture frame breaking in overtly melodramatic fashion, complete with glass shards. So of course, us mere viewers aren’t privy to its pictorial secrets.
  • 06:36 – Mommy Winchester is alive. Which is a bit of an upgrade from her last appearance as a fiery ghost woman. It’s the difference between classic KFC and Extra Crispy when you get right down to it.
  • 07:11 – Dean seems rather nonplussed about Carmen, his girlfriend (wife?) du jour… Also, he’s kind of intense in questioning his mother about stuff that doesn’t appear to have happened to her in this version of reality.
  • 08:05 – No fire here. I guess Ol’ Yellow Eyes never did his thing.
  • 08:39 – Though Daddy Winchester is apparently still pushing up daisies. From a stroke, this time. Man, even in alternate universe constructed around him (I assume), Dean still has the all-pervading enemy known as Daddy Issues.
  • 09:03 – Everyone is assuming Dean’s been drinking. I guess he’s an alcoholic Daddy Issues guy in this reality version thingy.
  • 11:00 – Dean’s at a bit of a loss for research without Sam doing the legwork for him. i guess he needs that terrible-haired nerd more than he wants to admit.
  • 11:45 – Laughed hard when Dean popped the trunk of the Impala and the usual aresenal was replaced by what looked to be a Maxim magazine.
  • 11:53 – Pretty sure that’s the ghost woman from the pilot episode. I guess Dean’s guilt is still manifesting in this reality.
  • 12:56 – Dean seems genuinely horrified at the idea of a real job.
  • 13:28 – Joey Ramone’s cover of “What A Wonderful World” might just be the most epic lawn mowing music ever.
  • 14:34 – Dead Jessica’s only living up to half of her name this episode.
  • 16:03 – No-longer-Dead Jessica is now apparently Sammy’s fiancee Jessica.
  • 18:00 – Sam is very confused about Dean calling him “Sammy.” Apparently the brothers aren’t as closely knit as they’ve been for the past 41 episodes…
  • 19:21 – So in what is apparently a reality that Dean’s wished for subconsciously, everybody’s happy except for… Dean. Daddy’s still dead and Sam and him only see each other on holidays and such. So many issues that boy has.
  • 21:46 – More of that guilt complex coming through as we see that this version of the whole plane crash thing went less smoothly. Though I had frankly managed to forget that episode existed and kinda wish that the show had as well.
  • 22:19 – More things that this version didn’t stop, including a girl drowning in a swimming pool
  • 23:16 – Dean can’t cope with the people not being saved. As he says it’s like his old life doesn’t want him to be happy. Seems like a very dark twist on the usual It’s A Wonderful Life pastiche that’s playing out.
  • 24:07 – Pretty impressive angry/hurt acting from Jensen Ackles during his graveside monologue.
  • 25:21 – Of course the intruder that’s broken into Mommy Winchester’s house is Dean. Not sure why a baseball-bat wielding Sam would expect anything different really.
  • 27:16 – Apparently there’s some core of Winchester bro-ness even in this alternate Sam. And i quote: “whatever stupid thing you’re about to do, you’re not doing it alone, okay?”
  • 27:33 – And it’s immediately subverted by the “Bitch,” “Jerk” exchange not going as it should.
  • 28:18 – Alternate Sam is very much freaked out by the fact that Dean has a container of lamb’s blood to dip a silver knife into. Dean’s all like it ain’t no thing. I kind of find this overtly preppy version of Sam to be almost as terrible as his usual hair.
  • 29:09 – And a call back to the Skynyrd opening…
  • 30:43 – Desiccated corpses on’t seem to bother Sam very much. What the hell do they teach them with at Stanford Law?
  • 31:15 – And the Djinn Genie (let yourself go-oh-oh) is back.
  • 33:07 – Nice bit of intercutting to the imprisoned Dean with the wishverse version.
  • 34:22 – Dean going with the full bore “if you die in a dream you wake up” thing by stabbing himself with the silver knife he had prepped with the lamb’s blood earlier. Nicely hardcore.
  • 34:51 – Now the gang’s all here trying to persuade Dean not to make with the stabby stabby. Can’t see it working.
  • 36:19 – Breaking out the whole self sacrifice feels. Fairly sure this show is going to end with an outbreak of manly tears from somebody. Most likely Dean…
  • 37:19 – STABBITY-STAB-STAB!
  • 37:26 – Back to real huntin’ Sammy rescuing Dean from the Djinn Genie.
  • 38:20 – Though as rescues go, he’s doing a damned crappy job.
  • 38:30 – And has to be bailed out by his rescuee killing the Djinn Genie.
  • 39:24 – Turns out that Carmen, girl of Dean’s dreams is from a beer advert. Not sure what that say about him…
  • 41:43 – “It’s not fair, and it hurts like hell, but it’s worth it.” Sam sums up the show philosophy in a single sentence.

I enjoyed this one, but it felt oddly airless. I think it’s because it was obvious to the viewer even more quickly than it was obvious to Dean what was going on with the alternative reality, and happy, mostly conflict-free characters don’t make for particularly compelling TV. It was a nice reminder of the bond that hunting has given the brothers. something I imagine will tie into the season finale. I imagine the said finale is basically the next two episodes purely based on how Season 1 handled it. this episode really felt like it underserved Sam’s character, which I guess is kind of the point as the Sam we saw here isn’t the usual one. Which was an interesting choice, but I can’t help feel that this was the wrong time in the season to make it. Also, having Daddy Winchester still be dead meant no Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and this episode could have done with the spark of energy his appearances have brought to the show.

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