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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: The Updated Story Arc

This will be a bit of a different critique. I'm critiquing 2 episodes simultaneously, and my inital thoughts are that this will give me a better sense of where I think the story needs to go from here.

Where do we go now?

The show is running out of supernatural creatures. "No Exit" featured an old-fashioned vengeful spirit, though he was the ghost of a very famous murderer. That fact, though, was hardly featured at all in the episode. "The Usual Suspects" features not a vengeful spirit, but yet another "good" spirit - a death omen.

The problem with these menagerie type of shows is eventually you run out of critters. In a couple of the interviews with Eric Kripke, he mentions some ambitious, and interesting, plans for the creatures the brothers encounter. Tomorrow is episode 8 of 22 (rumored) this season, so we're only a third of the way through. That's a lot of ground to cover even with the plans Mr. Kripke has mentioned. So I expect that we're going to start seeing several small, subtle departures (really, more like extensions) from last year.

1) Sweet Child of Mine
Yeah, GNR reference, couldn't resist.

More focus on the family aspects. This is a good thing, in my opinion. It's one of the stronger aspects of the show.

But I expect these changes will be subtle. "No Exit" rocked the brother's world. They were just beginning to acknowledge to themselves that John wasn't perfect (Dean was just beginning to acknowledge it, at least. Sam had for a while). Then they found out that not only was he imperfect, he was possibly reckless at times. There's a nice subtle link to Dean this way - Dean is reckless the same way John was.

And this recklessness ties in nicely to his attraction to Jo. He already endangered her once, causing a rift between he and Ellen. Ellen sees way too much of John in Dean, yet the attraction between Jo and Dean is unmistakeable. And Jo is conflicted - she is attracted to Dean, yet now he's a reminder of her father's death. Talk about love/hate relationship. On Dean's part, his goal is to destroy the demon that killed his family, yet his attraction to Jo can prevent him from taking the risks necessary to achieve that goal.

Wow. All that conflict. That is some seriously good writing.

Dean's got a lot to think about. His obsessiveness on the quest endangered first Sam, then Jo. Now he's got both of them to consider. I think, at the end of it all, when the brothers face down the demon, it's all going to come down to Dean, not Sam. The choice will be Dean's, whether he's willing to risk Sam and Jo to exact his revenge, and justify John's sacrifice for him. If I'm right, when that happens it will be one powerful moment.

And what about Sam? We haven't had much exploration of Sam's inner conflict yet, only a single episode this year ("Simon Said"). But his time is coming, soon, I think. We still don't know what John told Dean before he died. I think when we do find out, it may come between Sam and Dean. I don't know what it is, but I suspect it will cause Sam to question himself the way Dean did when he began to suspect that John sacrificed himself to save Dean's life. I also suspect that this secret will just strengthen Sam's suspicion that he may be dangerous to those he loves.

2)On the Hunt

So far, the job of hunter doesn't carry much of a qualifications list. It's basically like call center work - right off a troubleshooting script, but grosser.

"Hello, this is 'Kill a Creature," what are your symptoms? .... Noises in the walls, moving objects, clanking? Sounds like a poltergeist, we'll send someone right over."

I have to think there is more to the job than just checking John's notebook, finding the correct actions, then killing it and/or salting and burning the bones.

In one of the episodes, I noticed a couple of hunters in the foreground during one scene. They looked just like hunters in the normal world, wearing camo and cleaning their guns. Are there guys out there who hunt, not because they were affected by a supernatural creature, but for the sport of it? That would be an interesting exploration in an episode. Maybe this is how Jo's father got involved? And maybe he got killed because John allowed him on a hunt with no experience, without warning him of the very different risks and the different skills needed compared to sport hunting.

3) Wanted, Dead or Alive

Dean is still a wanted man. I thought this would play into the story line this year, and I was right. But I think it will continue to play in. This is too good for a writer to pass up. There is the ticking timebomb element to it - Dean must find the demon before the police find him. Then there is also the additional risk element - Dean can't be caught, because it jeopardizes his quest. It limits his options.

It also gives the demon another tool to use against the brothers. If they get too close, he can set Dean up and take him out of the equation, which would also take Sam out of the equation because Sam's focus becomes freeing Dean.

When you least expect it, we may see the fugitive aspect of Dean's life come into play once again.

Posted by Miller on November 15, 2006 8:33 AM
Permalink |

Rumor has it that a lot of our questions will be answered,but we'll also have a twist at the end of season 2. I'm curious what your predictions are for the end of the season 2,as well as your guess to what the twist will be.

-- Posted by: magoghair at March 31, 2007 6:11 PM

Sorry for the delay in responding, been taking a bit of a break with all the time between new episodes.

But now that we have more episodes behind us, I'm not sure. Kripke has been consistent in saying he won't string the audience along forever (cough cough... Lost, ahem). He says he's wrapping up one story arc this season.

I don't know what the twist will be, but from reading the episode summaries, I think Kripke was either talking about the episode that follows Folsom Prison Blues (won't spoil it if you haven't seen the summary), or it will be the return of John Winchester - in some form or another.

-- Posted by: Miller at April 17, 2007 7:32 AM

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