by Billie Doux
The last two episodes of Supernatural have been outstanding. In my opinion, the best of the entire series. So far.
Last week's was a Sam tour-de-force. I've always loved Dean but haven't been as gung ho about Sam. I'm gung ho now; this episode tipped me over the edge. Jared Padalecki's acting ability really impressed me. And I'm not easily impressed.
It was one thing to talk about the possibility of Sam turning to the dark side, and another whole thing to actually see it. Sam's innocence and confusion in the whole opening sequence completely threw me off. When Sam turned on Dean, it was chilling. Beating Dean, taunting Jo with the details of her father's death... it even felt for a moment that Sam would rape Jo. I was certain he was going to kill Bobby. Sam's lightness of tone, the obvious pleasure he took in evil, reminded me of another transformation: David Boreanaz as Angelus. I don't usually get frightened by television shows (maybe it's the commercials breaking up the tension) but this one got to me.
And then they followed this exceptional episode full of gut-wrenching drama with, of all things, Sam and Dean meet the National Inquirer. Slow-dancing aliens, alligators in the sewers... I think my favorite scene was Dean stuffing those huge candies in his mouth. I laughed so hard I almost passed out. And keeping the trickster god alive in the end? Smart move. Because they have to bring him back.
Supernatural is hitting its stride this season. Padalecki and Ackles have learned to play off each other like tennis masters. I am particularly enjoying Jim Beaver (late of Deadwood) as monster hunter Bobby, and Alona Tal as Dean's tomboy love interest. And they're adding some wonderful touches that really make the series fun. The hotel room in last week's heavy episode (for example) was decorated with fish and floating balls. It made the seriousness of the episode work a lot better than if they'd been in a dark mansion with lightning and thunder in the background.
Four out of four stars for both of them. And for the episodes, too,
(All of my Supernatural reviews are here.)
by D. Halloran
In honor of Valentine's Day, here are my top ten sci-fi/genre romances. I will admit this isn’t super comprehensive and it does contain spoilers about each show, but only in regards to relationships.
Number 10: Sweetness and death
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow & Tara
This is one of the sweetest yet most tragic of romances. It encompasses the virtues of a solid powerful relationship built on love and respect, while it also delves into some of the darkest parts of the heart with Willow’s descent into addiction. The conclusion is nothing short of epic tragedy as Willow nearly destroys not only herself but also the entire world with her grief.
Number 9: On and off again… will you guys decide already?
Veronica and Logan
I could say a lot about this show, and this relationship in particular. But, in essence, it is the most satisfying television love affair that I can remember, and as a love affair of a heroine and a semi-villain, only comparable to Buffy. It may not be perfect, and they've broken up more times then I can count, but in the end I still want them together. Logan at first seemed to be completely unremarkable and unlikeable. But as the show progressed and his vulnerabilities began to show, we followed in Veronica's footsteps by falling in love with his character.
Number 8: Unrequited love, requited!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Odo & Kira
There were several romantic relationships in Star Trek, but in my opinion, none was as poignant than Odo and his longing for Major Kira. For years, Odo refused to express his feelings for Nerys at the expense of his own happiness. What sold it for me was Odo’s complete vulnerability when it came to her, even when nothing else could even faze him. The moment when they kissed for the first time was one of the most powerful moments in the series, at least romantically. At least for me.
Number 7: Extraterrestrial love.
John Sheridan & Delenn
There are several reasons to add this couple to the list, not the least of which is way the series managed to involve two characters that I never saw coming together, and made me love it. Perhaps not the most passionate or even the most romantic, it was by far the most epic. Their love shaped an entire galaxy. What other couple can boast that?
Number 6: Lost Triangles
Jack & Kate & Sawyer
Will she, won’t she, will she, won’t she, will she join the dance. Kate’s heart is the entire mystery of this love triangle. Who will she choose? Those who are up to date with the show know where she's leaning now. But where her heart truly lies is an entirely different story. From what I can gather, she wants to be with Jack, or at the very least someone like Jack. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on which pair you prefer) she believes that she belongs with someone like Sawyer. From what we’ve seen of her back-story she does kind of belong with Sawyer. But I can’t help wonder if the writers are just yanking our chains, and instead she has a lot more depth then they have bothered to reveal. But despite all the twists and melodrama I want to see this resolved. So I guess they’re doing something right.
Number 5: Time travel is a bitch.
Kyle Reese & Sarah Connor
Time traveling paradoxes and a love that should never have been… what really bakes your noodle later on is; if Kyle had never gone back in time, would the world have been destroyed in the first place? You’ve got to love time travel love stories, even if they don’t entirely make sense. This one is the ultimate in its simple weaving of tragic love story, and edge of your seat action set pieces. Over two decades later, I still haven’t seen a movie that tops this one in its particular genre. For me, that is saying a lot.
Number 4: Close encounters of the weird kind.
John Crighton & Aeryn Sun
Okay, so the show is not for everyone. I can relate to the objections to using Muppets as aliens. That aside, the core characters John Crichton and Aeryn Sun were the glue that held this outright bizarre show together. Their romance was slow to grow; the fact that it was set on the back-burner and simmered until season three made it even more dramatic when it finally appeared. As they moved into full-blown love affair, the show got melodramatic by killing one of them off, yet still managing to continue the romance (it had something to do with a duplicate Crichton plot that started with... oh never mind). To this day I don’t think any other show could get away with the stuff that happened on Farscape (yes, even Buffy), and that is probably for the best. This was also the only couple that had two ultimate endings: one tragic and the other bittersweet (but ultimately happy).
Number 3: Better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy & Angel
Painful and often times melodramatic, the turbulent relationship of Buffy and Angel reached its peak during the middle of the second season. This culminated in a life lesson both of them probably wished they'd never learned, and caused fallout for the rest of the series. But despite the passion and violence that dotted their relationship, it never seemed to be more than a first love... better looked back on than kept as a permanent commitment.
Number 2: Beauty and the scruffy beast.
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strike Back
Han Solo & Princess Leia
Classic opposites attract story that defined many a fan-boy’s idea of what love should be. Two decades later it still remains one of the best and most understated romances that I can think of in sci-fi or perhaps in any genre. What cemented this one was the witty dialogue and pitch-perfect acting by Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. I often wonder if Lucas had written the dialogue in that movie, would anyone still care about Star Wars?
Number 1: Love Pains
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy & Spike
How to describe this dark and tumultuous love affair? One word comes to mind: smashed. The room-shattering sex scene in “Smashed” not only took me by complete surprise, it defined the couple completely and succinctly. Spike’s obsession with Buffy and the eventual redemption of his soul made him one of the best characters in any show (in my opinion). Perhaps it was the fact that Spike (unlike Angel) started as a villain and eventually won our hearts that made his journey so great. Or perhaps it was the single-minded love he showed to Buffy again and again that made him worthwhile. Or perhaps it was that despite everything that happened, Buffy learned to respect him on a level that might be described as something like love. That was the kind of thing that made Buffy so classic: that two mortal enemies could find a peace in each other when no one else would suffice.
Almost but not quite
Mulder & Scully
I missed a vast majority of the final season of this show, but I did see the anti-climatic finale. Although the idea of the two of them together was one of the driving elements of the series, they made (in my opinion) the fatal mistake of waiting waaaay too long. This was one that could’ve been filled with longing and passion and instead we got one kiss and a clinical baby.