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Supernatural Fodder

Supernatural: Long-Distance Call

jpadalecki.jpgI liked this episode a lot. I thought it was one of the creepier and more suspenseful episodes of the season.

But I anticipate it will get crushed on the internet for being too similar to One Missed Call. So I want to get this out of the way right up front - I don't care. Maybe the writers were inspired by the premise of the movie, maybe not, but even if they were, they took a tiny germ of an idea and took it in a whole different direction. Moreover, they made it fit nicely into the mythology of the show. Inspired (or for some, "inspired") or not, this was a solid episode. It had some nice twists, real peril, and snappy dialogue.

The monster

It's a crocotta.

"What is that, a sandwich?"

Great line, and just like Dean (or pseudo-Dean) to always be thinking of food. I'd never heard of a crocotta either. So, of course, first thing this morning I went to wiki. Turns out the writers may have done something they've only done a couple or so times before. They took a mythical creature (one from waaaaay back this time, back when the years had 2 digits, in fact), and changed it substantially. Looking at the wiki page, you can see some of the inspiration for the visuals of the character - the moving jaw, the spiny, horrible teeth. But the mythical creature doesn't take human form, and that was required by the story. Of course, in storytelling, everything is fair game for liberties, so if that's a problem, you just change it.

And it worked. And worked well, in my opinion.

The brotherly love

There wasn't a lot of range of emotions between the brothers this week. But somehow, that's appropriate. Dean's time is winding down, and both of them are frustrated by their lack of progress. They aren't the teary types, despite Dean's jokes about Sam's feminine side, so taking out their frustrations on each other seems natural.

I was shocked that Dean just blurted out the big revelation about his conversation with Ruby. I wasn't surprised that he told Sam that Ruby admitted she couldn't help Dean. I was surprised it happened in the first few minutes of the show. In fact, I was surprised it happened during this show at all. I expected there would be a big dramatic build up, with the bombshell dropped during the next to last episode.

Unveiling this particular piece of info so early makes me wonder what the writers have in store for the next 2 episodes.

Minor annoyances

One little technical thing bothered me. During the big fight with Sam, the camera cut away to show the sharp pegboard hooks on the wall.

As soon as they did that, everyone knew how the fight would end. I give them credit for not using the stereotypical "reversal of fortune". You know, where the hero is almost killed by dangerous object, before the villain is eventually killed by the same dangerous object. The idea is the viewer won't see the villain's defeat as deux ex machina if you bring it in during the fight and show it as a threat to both characters.

That's a really old, and really over-used, convention. In fact, I think they used that one in Season 2's Bloodlust, and probably others.

Of course, you can bring it in earlier somehow. Have a character remark on it - "that thing's really sharp, someone could get hurt on that." or similar. But then, anyone familiar with Chekov's gun would have recognized the spiky thing as a plot device. That's what makes writing hard - and even more so on a deadline. I can understand this editorial or writing decision.

Another thing I hate is when characters do stupid things. "Don't go into the scary house, you idiot!" you scream at the screen. There was a minor moment like that in this episode. Sam is going to comfort the Lanier girl, Dean is expecting a call from John, and sends Sam alone.

Uh, Dean? It's a cell phone, right? You don't have coverage there or something? Go with him.

I can overlook that also. With the emotional dynamics between them to that point - the sniping and general frustration level, they may have felt like they needed a bit of alone time.

Anyway, they're both minor nitpicks in an episode I liked very much.

Next week

Another first - next week's episode appears to feature a monster that was previously mentioned in the Supernatural Origins comic books. I'll have to check mine to see what issue. I'll try to post briefly about it early next week.


Posted by Miller on May 2, 2008 7:01 AM
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