TV Round-Up April 15th-22nd (Supernatural and Legend of Korra)

NOTE:  I’m switching my TV review style, in light of the fact that I am now watching/reviewing Legend of Korra alongside Supernatural, and also that Doctor Who and Leverage will both be starting their new seasons soon as well (YAY!! :D). Rather than posting individual reviews of shows, I am now going to be posting a concise synopsis of the episode, followed by some quick thoughts, and then compiling them all into a compendium format.

Onwards!

Supernatural 7.19 “Of Grave Importance”

Apparently, SPN is determined to keep giving us one-two punches this season, mainly in the form of a.) killing beloved characters or b.) bringing them back again. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I still hadn’t recovered from Castiel’s return and subsequent tragedy when we saw Bobby at the end of “Party On, Garth”, so I’ll admit that I may have cried a little.

Annnd that brings us to “Of Grave Importance” where Bobby finally makes his presence known to the Winchesters after they receive a call from the lovely red-headed Annie regarding a haunted house case that she’s working.

I would really have liked to see Annie as a recurring character, but unfortunately it appears that Castiel is the only member of TFW to have dodged the Winchester Sex-is-Death Curse. So far. (We still don't know what happened to Daphne, after all.)

Annie is doomed before we meet her, as she has managed to complete the Trifecta of Death by…ermm… knowing Sam, Dean, AND Bobby. In the Biblical sense, of course. So she and Bobby hang around, all ghost-like, Bobby picks up some ghost-fu, and the case wraps up as most haunted house cases do–only now, Bobby has finally managed to get through those thick Winchester skulls, and it looks like we’re headed for a Team Free  Will reunion of the epic sort… but the Winchesters aren’t sure that having a ghost sidekick is necessarily an awesome idea.

Which leads to this bit of expression-acting from Jim Beaver, sending him firmly into the trying-to-kill-me-with-their-sad-eyes corner with Misha Collins for company. C'mon, boys. How can y'all resist that?

Overall, I thought… it was a solid episode, certainly, and I am psyched as always to see Bobby back with the boys—even if they have some misgivings about it.

I liked…. The very traditional, very old school SPN “Haunted House” plot. Annie, the hunter with… ahem… a varied past. Hemingway being used as a euphemism for sex. Sam’s face when he realized that he, Dean, and Bobby had all slept with the same woman. Victoria, the “fancy lady”.

I didn’t like…. The makeup jobs on Annie and Bobby. The fact that we STILL don’t know what Dick Roman is up to. The slightly laggy, boring bits in the middle. The fact that Dean did NOT step out of the shower in just a towel.

Final Grade… B. Not a stellar episode, but entertaining enough to make up for it. Also, BOBBY.

Coming Up Next… We have Felicia Day as a hot techie hacker-chick! And Dick Roman! And an awesome comic-style promo! AND HOPEFULLY SOME FORWARD MOTION IN THIS PLOT AGGGGHH….

(All links go to SpoilerTV, because they rock my socks and post sneak peeks lightning-fast :D)

Avatar: Legend of Korra 1.03 “The Revelation”

So far, I am totally loving this series. It’s so different from A:TLA and yet so similar, despite the fact that most of the main cast of A:TLA are either dead or very, very old. Korra herself is a freaking godsend– rash, impulsive, strong-willed, and entirely relatable.

Anyway, the episode begins with Korra having made the Fire Ferrets pro-bending team a household name. They’re headed for the championship, and even the stoic Mako seems pretty excited. Of course, the bros have debts, and unfortunately, they’re going to have to come up with more money to get in to the championship…. which leads to some stupidity on Bolin’s behalf.

Bolin's definitely the Sokka of LOK. He's charming, but he just isn't all that bright.

He gets mixed up with the criminal Triple Threats (and I have to say, I do love gangsters in my 1920’s steampunk metropolis, thank you very much) and ends up in the hands of Amon, the creepy and hateful leader of the anti-bending movement. Because Mako’s a good brother and Korra is a BAMF, they infiltrate an Eqaulist gathering while looking delightfully couple-y….

Only to discover that Amon has a terrible power to remove a person’s bending…. forever! *legasp*

Yes. I ship it.

Overall, I thought… this was a pretty phenomenal episode. It had an intriguing plot, and introduced concepts that I believe will be very important in the episodes to come.

I liked… Korra’s badassery (as always). The developing bromance/romance between Korra and Mako. Mako and Bolin getting some time devoted to their backstory. The aesthetics of the animation. The Chi-blocking fights.

I didn’t like… the fact that it ended JUST WHEN everything was getting REALLY REALLY interesting.

Final Grade…. A-. Needed more wow factor to make it perfect, but overall, it was excellent.

Coming Up Next… Was it just me, or are the chi-blockers/eqaulists actually STORING bending energy in their little cattle prods?

(All links lead to Nick.com)

 

New This Week… (A.K.A What You Will See Here Next Monday)

Bones 7.10: “The Warrior in the Wuss”

Supernatural 7.20: “The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo”

Avatar: Legend of Korra 1.04: “The Voice in the Night”

 

TV Review: Supernatural 7.15 “Repo Man”

This week’s SPN episode was definitely a throwback to the old days, complete with season 4 flashbacks and a clever integration of part of season 4’s plot. However, it was a difficult episode to figure out; I’m not sure what, exactly, they were trying to achieve.

The basic summary is this: way back when they were hunting down Lilith, Sam and Dean got a hold of one of her lieutenants– Jeffrey’s demon– and tortured him in order to obtain information. They dumped the injured, recently possessed Jeffrey at a hospital and took off. Now, years later, Jeffrey’s demon is back and the boys are after him. They hunt Jeffrey down and discover that things between the possessor and the possessed might not have been quite what they thought. Meanwhile, Sam’s hallucinations are growing worse and worse, despite his various coping mechanisms…

The story itself was good. I thought the writing was solid and the acting ability showcased by Padalecki in particular was of a higher quality than we’ve seen in the past few episodes. They seemed to be trying to draw connections between both of the Winchester boy’s “situations” and Jeffrey’s psychotically codependent relationship with his demon: granted, Sam/Lucifer fits this mold better than Dean/Cas, but when Jeffrey was going on about being a drunk and wanting to die, it definitely paralleled Dean’s depression, which was definitely brought on – if not entirely caused- by Cas’ death. I think that if they really wanted this to work, they could have taken it a step further, but then again, this episode was all about setup, rather than being a pure MoTW episode, so maybe we’ll see a more thorough exploration of the boys’ headspace in the upcoming episodes.

Pros

  • Lucifer. I love Mark Pellegrino’s take on Satan- always have, always will- and he brought his trademark malicious sass to this episode and brightened up a few scenes that would otherwise have been pretty dull. And I LOVED the way that Luci helped Sam on the case when Dean was in trouble.
  • They tied their plot neatly back to season 4, which I really liked.

Cons

  • I have one huge Con with this episode, and with the showrunners in general: Wicca is a religion. Witches are practitioners of magic. They are not one and the same.

Final Rating: B+.

Coming Up Next: I am so, so excited for this episode. Or these episodes, I guess, since this looks like it’s probably a teaser for both 7.16 and 7.17. Now, if you’ll excuse my rudeness, I need to analyze a still from this promo in order to prove a point of mine.

Left: the shoulder of Dean’s jacket. Right: A woman with dark brunette, wavy hair. So we have Dean and Meg here. Now, from the buzz that’s been going around, a lot of people have been assuming that Cas is coming back as an amnesiac. However, this look, right here? This is not the look of someone who does not remember what he’s done. This is the look of someone who remembers all too well what has happened. He can’t even meet Dean’s eyes, and I’m glad to see it, because while I do love our nerdy little angel, I really wanted him to learn something from his experience, which he can’t do if he can’t remember it.

It’s also time for Dean to learn a little bit about forgiveness. And what a perfect opportunity!

TV Review: Supernatural 7.14 ~ “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie”

So, I’m going to be perfectly honest here; I did not have high hopes for this episode. Dabb and Loflin are my least favorite additions to the SPN writing team. Sure, they’ve avoided the trap of, say, “Mannequin 3”, and they have some pretty nifty, sharp ideas, but I feel like their style does not mesh well with the established styles of Gamble, Edlund, Singer, etc.

That said, “Plucky Pennywhistle’s” was a much more solid episode than “Season 7, Time For a Wedding!”. It did fall into the typical Dabb/Loflin trap of having WAY too much going on– tentacle monsters, killer unicorns, and land sharks are just a few of the beasties that feature in the ep– but the character execution and pacing was pretty spot on, compared with the woefully torturous “Wedding”. There were a few snappy dialogue scenes, and I’ll admit that the central theme of the episode was pretty neatly done. If Dabb and Loflin can pull off something like this–admittedly less adroitly than Edlund has done in the past– then I could see them having a place amongst the writers of Supernatural. Here’s hoping they improve even more with their next offering!

Pros

  • The dialogue was pretty nicely done. Plenty of Winchester snark 🙂
  • The way in which the passage of time in the episode was tracked, I believe, through Sam’s POV, which makes sense. He’d be the sort to count down seconds until the moment of absolute crisis (“Right Friggin’ Now”).
  • The Season 2 references. Robots with laser eyes? Unicorns shooting rainbows out of their asses? Makes me want to go rewatch season 2 right now 🙂

Cons

  • There was no exploration of the Case of Dean’s Vanishing Drink. At all. I am now convinced that this can only be Bobby– we can safely assume Cas is probably already re-embodied and wondering around without any idea of what’s going on.
  • The episode was visually a bit overwhelming, which I’m sure was what they were going for, but I’m not particularly fond of the Dabb/Loflin brand of sensory overload. At least there were less crappy special effects than we’ve seen in the last few.

Final Rating: B. Solid and amusing, but not something I’d rewatch more than once.

Coming Up Next: We are now easing into the “darkerepisodes of the season, the ones where all of us who have been SPN fans for awhile just now that the proverbial sh** is about to hit the fan. With the spoilers circulating about episode 17, we can safely assume that Sam’s descent into absolute madness begins here in  “Repo Man”. The trailer can be found here at Spoiler TV.

I’m actually really excited to see these next few episodes. So much of this season seems to have been focused on breaking Dean (and to some extent, Sam, but he’s already bonkers to begin with), but something tells me this next bit is going to be his true breaking point. You’re dumping his crazy-for-cocoa-puffs brother, his amnesiac angel best friend who he watched die and who he’s still pissed at over… well… the fact that he made Sam crazy to begin with, AND the Leviathan Problem into his lap. If he pulls out of it, it says something beautiful about his character, but something tells me he’s going to have his own pathos to struggle through before that happens.


TV Review: Supernatural 7.13 “The Slice Girls”

To be honest, the preview for this episode made me cringe for many reasons, but the most overwhelming one was that this seemed like a very “Breaking Dawn”-type premise to me. It wasn’t enough to make me not want to tune in– this is Supernatural, after all!– but it did make me a little nervous. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when the episode managed to avoid this trap in a way that shows that they still have some awesome writers on their staff.

The basic plotline of “The Slice Girls” is very simple. Dean breaks his long run of celibacy in a super-sexy/super-gory montage set to ACDC’s “You Shook Me”. Stuff happens. Dean forgets about it and goes back to investigating the case. Dean goes back for something and HELLO BABY. It could have easily been done very poorly, but I thought the execution was quite unique– I liked the incorporation of the Amazon myths– and as always, Dean in emotional turmoil over his “daughter” is both heartbreaking and sadistically hilarious. There was even some exploration of The Case of Dean’s Vanishing Drink, which I am firmly sticking to as a theory now, thankyouverymuch. Nothing is EVER a coincidence in the SPN universe, guys.

Overall? This was a solid, entertaining episode that was well-written and well-executed, which I was starting to think was an impossible concept for season 7. Very nice work.

Pros

  • Dean naked + sexytimes. Set to “You Shook Me”. Hell to the yes.
  • Furthering the case of Dean’s vanishing drink, if a little ham-handedly.
  • The Amazons were actually pretty cool except for the getting killed with bullets thing.
  • Smug!Sam. Oh, how I’ve missed the Stanford-educated, wryly funny Sam. He tends to get lost amongst Brooding!Sam and Stupid!Sam.

Cons

  • I think the special effects are getting WORSE instead of better. The red-eye thing on the Amazons was terrible.

Final Rating: A. Overall, a very solid episode with quite a few intriguing little bits.

Coming Up Next: Sam gets cornered by a bunch of clowns, according to the trailer which can be found here at SpoilerTV. Seeing as this is going to be written by the “dream team” that made such a mess of the episode with Becky earlier this season, I don’t feel at all optimistic about it.*

*That said, this sneak peek was pretty awesome, so I might have to suck it up and ignore the fact that the last episode they wrote was AWFUL.

TV Review: Supernatural 7.12 “Time After Time After Time”

Confession time: I am a Superwhovian.

No, that does not mean I am a Super! Whovian (though… I kind of, am, actually). It means that I am a.) a fan of Doctor Who and b.) a fan of Supernatural and c.) a fan of Doctor Who and Supernatural together. Like, together together. This is my desktop background. I manipulate images. I have even been known to occasionally indulge in some reblogging of GIFS on occasion. I believe that the Impala is a TARDIS because c’mon. That trunk is WAY bigger on the inside.

Consequently, the time travel episodes of Supernatural are always high on my list of favorites, and “Time After Time After Time” certainly earned its place alongside  season 6’s “Frontierland” and 5’s “The Song Remains the Same”.

Pros

  • “So what, you’re strictly into Dick now?” I love the return of snarky-smart-and-funny!Sam. It takes me back to another time, when I actually liked Sam, seasons 1-3.
  • Jody and Sam as the new Batman and Robin. I love Jody, and this episode really gave her a couple of shining moments, and the dynamic between Jody and Sam is awesome and hilarious.
  • Dean communicating with Sam through a crack in the wall. Doctor Who flashbacks, anyone?
  • Non-angelic time travel, despite the fact that—to me—it was rather poorly explained. Whatever. At least people got bounced around in time without any angelic involvement.
  • Dean in 1940’s gear.  Ooh la la. I might have spent the majority of this episode salivating over Dean in a fedora. Maybe.

Cons

  • The last five minutes were laughably bad. I don’t know what exactly made them so bad—they just were. The acting on Chronos Guy’s part seemed very stilted, it took him forever and an age to die, and all he did was natter on about how the Leviathan are going to take over the world. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve heard it all before.
  • I am sick to death of non-Impala cars. Dean needs his baby back, preferably accompanied by his angel and his father figure, and we as viewers need some car!porn. Really.

Stars: 4 out of 5. Was 4.5 before the last five minutes.

Final Grade: A-. Decent and amusing, loved the time travel element, ending kind of bombed.

Coming Up Next: The promo for the next episode, “The Slice Girls”, shows Dean having sex. Oh show, I guess you just realized that there’s been a pretty huge lack of such material recently. It also shows a vaguely Breaking Dawn-like situation that is either going to suck tremendously or be freaking hysterical. I’m holding out for the latter, and also some exploration of The Case of Dean’s Vanishing Drink*.

(I didn’t get around to watching The Fades, partially because I was feeling kind of icky and partially because of the brother’s desire to watch Westerns instead. I did record it, though, so I think I’ll combine ep 1 and ep 2 into one review next week. )

*Which, given this news, might come to fruition by episode 17.

TV REVIEW: Supernatural – 7.11 “Adventures In Babysitting”

So. My favorite CW show about two ridiculously attractive monster-hunting brothers just came back from what we fans have termed the “hellatus”, a portmanteau  of “hell” and “hiatus” used to refer to the 4-6 week mid-season hiatus*. This season’s hellatus was particularly brutal, considering that Supernatural is apparently out to kill off every side character that ever existed in nasty and demoralizing ways. Yes, I am still a little sore about Cas and about Bobby at this point, even with Misha Collins confirmed to return to SPN later this season– but more on that later.

I have to say, my overall opinion of this episode was fairly low. I was more interested in minutiae then I was in the actual plot– or what plot there was, because at this point, the monster of the week plots are starting to get REALLY old. The first five minutes intrigued me with their depiction of the passage of time and the patented Winchester grieving process (no talk, work on case, drink alcohol, pace frantically) and the subplot with Dean and the kid was kind of cute, but there were a couple of really stupid moments in there as well that made me cringe, as well as some terrible special effects nightmares that I can only imagine are there to make up for the fact that AlienBaby!Cas existed.

Speaking of Cas…. didn’t anyone else think it was weird that Dean’s beer literally disappeared? I mean, he had it in his hand. It still had liquid in it, and then he set it down and turned around and BOOM. Gone. Almost like it drank itself. Hmm.**

Pros

  • Yes, I’m just going to admit it right now. Dean’s scenes with that kid were corny as all get out and yet cute in ways that shouldn’t be legal. I loved that she was almost a female version of Young!Dean. I love that Dean was all protective over her. And I love, love, LOVE that she saved their bacon instead of the other way around.
  • Kevin McNally as the paranoid computer geek extraordinaire. I loved him as Gibbs in POTC, and I love him in SPN as well. He’s a fantastic author and he lends a sense of utter believability to a character that might otherwise appear more like a caricature of the paranoid hacker stereotype.
  • The Week-By-Week Winchester Grieving Report. It was almost a little  sadistically funny and at the same time a good depiction of their feelings about losing Bobby, which I was really hoping that they would touch on a little more than, say, their feelings on losing Cas.
  • Frank’s advice to Dean and Dean attempting to follow it. Aww.

Cons

  • The Monster of the Week. I did not find the Vitala particularly intriguing or unique– they’re basically vampires with different teeth. I have not looked up the original Vitala legend for reference, but I’d bet my library that they could have given them a more unique spin.
  • The slow-motion scenes. They seemed unnecessary and broke the flow of the scene. Also, the special effects when the Vitala died, which are really no different from any other MOTW special effects we’ve seen before on the show.
  • When Dean and Frank were working on unraveling the Leviathan’s motives, the plot was awesome, with just enough hints for what’s to come and a couple of good looks at what Dean is going through emotionally and physically. The plot concerning Sam/the kid/the Vitala, however, was fairly flat and predictable, almost boring. I love the MOTW episodes just as much as I love the mythology heavy ones, but this one was just kind of… meh.

Final Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. MOTW plot was a little dull, but overall acting and the bits with the Leviathan were worth it. Would maybe rewatch.

Coming Up Next: Next week’s episode is entitled “Time After Time After Time” and looks to be the 1940’s time travel episode that we were promised. Here’s the promo over at SpoilerTV. I love that Dean gets so into these “period” episodes, and that he gets his understanding of these historical periods from classic movies. It’s cute on him.

Then again, pretty much everything is.***

*There’s also the BIG hellatus that goes on during the summer between seasons, but thankfully we’re not quite there yet.

**Why yes, I am completely attached to the idea of Cas, ghostly and unable to interact directly with the world, following the Winchesters around trying to get them to notice him. Which, since they are idiots sometimes, might be a lost cause.

**2 After taking a quick look at SpoilerTV, it seems like people are also considering Bobby as a suspect in The Case of Dean’s Vanishing Beer.

***GAH JENSEN ACKLES WHY ARE YOU SO PERFECT [/end fangirling]