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by Jessy Krupa

23 Nov 2015

Has anyone noticed how misleading Supernatural‘s recent promos are? Advertisements for “Plush” made it look like one of the series’ sillier episodes, with the brothers spouting puns and chasing a giant bunny rabbit. Instead, what we got was a disturbingly dark (even by Supernatural‘s standards) hodgepodge of ideas lifted from other horror movies.

It opened with a stereotypically lazy husband (Kirt Purdy) finding himself brutally stabbed by a stranger wearing a plush rabbit head. Since this happened in Sheriff Donna’s (Brianna Buckmaster) district (you might remember her from last season’s “The Purge” and “Hibbing 911” episodes), she called Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles). This is where the writing starts to get iffy: since the suspect’s mask won’t come off and he doesn’t respond to any questions, the brothers manage identify him due to his college T-shirt and a “Kylie forever” tattoo on his wrist. But first, the rabbit guy nearly strangles Dean (Jensen Ackles). As odd as this is, it doesn’t stop the brothers from making Bugs Bunny and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? references.

Kylie (Megan Peta Hill) tells the Winchesters that the man in the bunny mask is her boyfriend, who’s been acting strangely ever since he tried the mask on in a thrift shop (similar to the plot of both The Mask and a book in the Goosebumps series.) Before they can warn Donna, the man attacks her and her Deputy, Doug (Brendan Taylor), who’s forced to kill him. As he dies, the mysterious bunny head falls off.

Sam and Dean salt and burn the head, believing it to be inhabited by a vengeful ghost. But the same ghost has other costumes to try on. His next victim is a coach (Bruce Blain), who is almost kettle-belled to death by a girl (Cate Sproule) in a high school mascot costume. After Dean’s shotgun of salt frees her, the ghost jumps into a clown suit.

The “previously on” at the beginning of the episode warned us that Sam (like most sensible people) doesn’t like clowns. (Just a joke! Please don’t write angry comments, clown fans.) This was a big build-up to nothing much, as Sam quickly disarms and dispatches the ghost in a hospital elevator, to reveal an elderly man who’d donned the costume to entertain his granddaughter; unfortunately, the ghost is dispatched only after the man slits the throat of the aforementioned coach. 

Eventually, the brothers tracked all of the costumes and murders to a “children’s performer” named Chester accused of “inappropriate actions” with children. (You can draw your own Nightmare On Elm Street comparisons here.) After a vengeful father and coach killed him and made it look like a suicide, his ghost wanted revenge. After the brothers set the last costume, a caribou-like creature that was referred to as a deer, ablaze, the ghost vanishes.  Only the last few minutes of the episode focus on the main storyline of the season, as Sam reveals to Dean that he has been praying to God for help and confirming that his visions are of The Cage in Hell where Sam was trapped for months between seasons five and six. Dean, however, is his usual dismissive self, wondering why God would intervene now when he didn’t bother during the apocalypse of season five.

The only non-misleading aspect of the promos was to let us know that we were in for a stand-alone episode (the only one so far that hasn’t featured Castiel [Misha Collins], Crowley [Mark A. Sheppard], or Amara [Samantha Isler]), but it certainly wasn’t as fun as the promos suggested. It was nice to see Sheriff Donna again (some fans are currently lobbying for her to star in a spin-off with several other notable female characters), who offers a light-hearted and welcome female presence to a very male-dominated series, but other than her reluctant relationship with the deputy that shares the same name as her ex-husband, she wasn’t given much to do. Even the main plot of the episode went somewhat unresolved; we’re left wondering if Chester was innocent or not.

Following a break for Thanksgiving, Supernatural seemingly will continue the theme of silliness, with an episode featuring imaginary friends materializing and going on a rampage. Here’s hoping it’s more successful that this episode.

by Jessy Krupa

6 Nov 2015

Tonight’s installment started in the way that countless horror movies (and episodes of Supernatural) have started: two nervous teenagers being hacked to death in a room so dark that you can scarcely see what happened.

As it so happens, they were staying in the former home of accused ax-murderer Lizzie Borden, which has been turned into a hotel/tourist trap. (Yes, there actually is such a place in Fall River, Massachusetts. It has free Wi-Fi, and is rumored to be haunted.) Dean (Jensen Ackles) and a particularly excited Sam (Jared Padalecki) are soon at the scene, looking into whether or not this was the doing of a vengeful spirit. (Long-time viewers might remember that Sam is a true crime fan or as Dean puts it, has a “creepy serial-killer fetish”.) Their investigation leads into the best part of the episode, when the Winchesters show how the haunted house is a hoax, rigged up with hidden speakers, flickering light bulbs, and an EMF machine in the basement. This is especially unexpected, considering it’s an actual business that the series is fictionalizing here.

by Jessy Krupa

23 Oct 2015

Amara (Gracyn Shinyei) is resetting the bar for creepy little girls on Supernatural.

Because of its two-part premiere, Supernatural‘s third episode could be considered its first “normal” episode of the season. With most of the busywork of tying up last season’s loose ends behind them, this episode gave the show the chance to explore more of its characters’ personalities and the season’s arc.

The episode opens with heartless, evil, and eerily delightful witch Rowena (Ruth Connell) attempting to recruit other witches to her “Mega Coven”; her plans fall on disinterested ears. After furiously turning the other witches into dust, she moves on to two younger witches, who had to be reminded that she holds the mysterious power of “The Book of the Damned” before they showed any interest. However, just as it seems she might have new recruits, one of her son Crowley’s (Mark A. Sheppard) goons barge in and attack them, leaving her alone again. One could come to the conclusion that all the outcast witch really wants is to be included, as she seems happy to be captured by Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) later in the episode. Lest one thinks she’s gone soft, she eventually escapes from them, too.

by Anthony Merino

12 Oct 2015

In the first few minutes of “Eight Slim Grins”, a bearded man grabs Jane Doe (Jaimie Alexander) from behind. This character has shown up in several flashback scenes, as well as appearing to track Jane in the first two episodes. In short order, she elbows him and flips him onto a chair; he picks up a chair leg and knocks her tooth out. Spoiler alert: they fight some more. When he’s finally shot by a sniper, he falls to the floor, tells her not to trust anyone, and dies. In retrospect, his advice seems a little redundant for someone who’s had her memory wiped, received a full body tattoo, and been dropped in Times Square wrapped in a duffle bag.

by Daniel Rasmus

29 Sep 2015

Change is inevitable. It is everywhere and in everything. But some change is more foreboding, more catastrophic: the loss of a loved one, a divorce, and major injury.

To the characters in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, those very human changes mean perhaps just as much as they do to any fictional character, but as Marvel’s Inhumans expose their powers and their capabilities, change will be much more challenging, at the personal level, for those evolving into some other form of human; it will also mean enormous change for those still constrained by their traditional humanity.

//Mixed media

Marina and the Diamonds Wrap Up U.S. Tour at Terminal 5 (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Marina's star shines bright and her iridescent pop shines brighter. Froot is her most solid album yet. Her tour continues into the new year throughout Europe.

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