If Supernatural has a stock episode, this is it. 'Halt & Catch Fire' was very old school Supernatural: a complicated ghost story with a twist, gruesome but comical deaths, a touching denouement, and an ending that featured a brother-to-brother moment of bonding and clarity.
The ghost plot was very Black Mirror. Four college students are driving along, so busy posting updates and taking selfies that they accidentally kill Andrew Silver, a young newlywed. He haunts his wife and at first he's cool and she is happy that she has more time with him, but just like nearly all the other ghosts on this show, most notably our beloved Bobby, Andrew gets murderously angry and seeks revenge.
What this particular episode did well was the creepy deaths (one of Supernatural's strengths), particularly the death by decibel, something I don't think I've ever seen before. (But I don't watch horror movies, so I've probably missed some prime example.) Dean and Delilah trying unsuccessfully to hide from wi-fi was clever, too. And I liked that the ghost had some depth. He told Billy's girlfriend to get out of the truck before he crashed it, and in the end, his wife talked him down and he realized what he was doing was evil. Sad.
The best part of the episode was Dean. It was like he was channeling the old Dean from season two: leering at every co-ed on campus, eating like a pig, enjoying the hunt. Saving people, hunting things. The only sad thing about it was that in the space of this series, Dean has gone from near college age to too old for a co-ed. That Gen X exchange ("Who's Christine?") made me cringe just a little bit.
But Dean talked about choosing peace, and that's what this particular episode was about. All he's ever wanted is to follow his calling, to fight evil. I'm not sure if that was just the Supernatural way of giving us stand-alone episodes in the middle of an arc about The Mark, but I'm okay with that. It's what Supernatural does.
Bits and pieces:
-- "Halt and Catch Fire" refers to a CPU ceasing operations. I didn't know that, but it certainly fits the episode.
-- I mentioned Black Mirror above. This particular episode reminded me specifically of "Be Right Back".
-- At one point, I thought Delilah's guilt was causing the deaths. I also thought that Andrew wouldn't target Delilah because she was the only one of the four that tried to get them to do the right thing, the one who kept leaving flowers on the road.
-- And I also thought early on that we were getting a repeat of a monster created because people believed in it, like season one's excellent episode, "Hell House."
-- No Castiel or Crowley. But Cas has discovered riverboat gambling. I want to see that.
-- This week: Spencer, Iowa. I don't think there's actually a Kasem College. Maybe it's a reference to Casey Kasem.
-- Dean was Agent (Dave) Grohl and Sam was Agent (Kurt) Cobain. Nirvana. That one was obvious, but maybe not on a college campus.
Sam: "A croissookie?"
Dean: "Yeah. They're the new cronuts."
Sam: "Okay, so what? Half cookie, half…"
Dean: "Who gives a crap? They're freaking awesome."
Sam: "You have to excuse my partner. When it comes to technology, he's a little behind. He just learned to poke on Facebook."
I never got the poking thing on Facebook. What is it supposed to do?
Sam: "What are you saying? If you died and I drove your car, you'd kill me?"
Dean: "If you stunk her up with taquitos, probably."
The thing is, though, Dean has died, and Sam did drive his car. Ten seasons. Geez.
Delilah: "Everyone knew Billy. He was the president of Sigma Theta Delta."
Delilah: "How do you deal?"
Dean: "Whiskey. Denial. I do my best to make things right, whatever that may be."
Dean: "My peace is helping people. Working cases. That's all I want to do."
I'm having a terrible time coming up with ratings for Supernatural these days, so it's up to you guys. How many taquitos out of four?
Billie Doux is the founder of Doux Reviews and has been reviewing her favorite shows for quite some time. More Billie Doux.
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