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Supernatural: Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid

Bobby: "The dead rise during the Apocalypse. There's nothing in there that says that's bad."

Poor Bobby. That was freaking heartbreaking.

Even in a wheelchair, we tend to think of Bobby as this super hunter who rescues the boys repeatedly and builds awesome demon-repelling panic rooms in his spare time. Here, we finally saw past the tough surface to the barely functioning, vulnerable man underneath, who has managed to conceal from the Winchesters that he's actually the town drunk. What a marvelous job by Jim Beaver. He makes you feel it. That's what the best actors do.

What a clever twist to the zombie genre, too. I'll admit I'm not up on the zombie genre, but I'm willing to bet they're rarely portrayed as sweetly and normally as Karen was. She wasn't even creepy-looking. A little pale. ("A good Sunnydale rule of thumb? Avoid white-skinned men in capes.") It was totally believable that even an experienced monster hunter like Bobby couldn't bring himself to kill her.

(Okay, I'll take that back. There was definitely something creepy about a zombie baking all those pies. I couldn't believe Dean was eating them.)

I particularly liked Sam in this one, too. Especially the scene where he found Mrs. Jones, the husband-eating zombie, and was torn between wanting to help her and being too revolted to come closer. ("Yeah, I'm gonna regret this.") The shooting sequence in the junkyard was also terrific, and I loved the closet lockpicking scene. Dan thought the blood hitting the camera lens was a great homage to zombie video games. Since I have never once played a zombie video game, I'll have to take his word for it.

Making an episode about zombies on network television that actually scares you and moves you is no easy task. This one got to me. I actually jumped when the gun went off and we knew Bobby had killed his wife again. Of course, if cremation didn't keep Karen in her grave in the first place, what's to prevent all those zombies from coming back again?

Although I guess the point was that the Horseman Death successfully eliminated one of the Winchesters' two most powerful allies. Job done.

Bits and pieces:

— The Monkey's Paw-like opener was great misdirection, because it made us expect killer zombies. I especially liked the complementary wildebeest documentary on television.

— This episode wasn't nearly as gross as it could have been, probably because they were going for tragedy. Although that scene with Mrs. Jones getting drool all over Sam was a very special level of ick.

— When the zombies went bad, they were eating stomachs. I thought traditional zombies went for tasty brains.

— The initially "pro-zombie" sheriff Jody Mills suffered even more than Bobby did. I kept expecting her to turn her gun on herself. (Note from later: Mildly spoilery, but Jody Mills is a not unimportant character on this show, and I can't believe I gave her only one line in this review. Guess I was totally focused on Bobby and the boys.)

— This was the second episode with Death, and we still haven't actually seen the guy. Although this time, we got a description (skeleton-like). I wonder if he's going to be CGI?

— How long ago did Karen die? It seems like it should have been at least twenty years ago. Bobby didn't become a hunter until after Karen's death, and Dean and Sam knew him when they were kids; Bobby was the one who gave young Sam the amulet in "A Very Supernatural Christmas."

— Bobby lives five miles from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He's been arrested for drunk and disorderly as well as mail fraud. That's so sad.

— The boys were FBI agents Dorfman and Neidermeyer. I didn't need to look those up: that's Animal House.

— This story had some added poignancy because of Jim Beaver's real life experiences.

Quotes:

Dean: "You gave yourself your own nickname? You can't do that."
Digger: "Who died and made you queen?"

Clay: "I can't believe you were going to kill me."
Dean: "You're a zombie."
Clay: "I'm a taxpayer."

Dean: "Awesome. Another Horseman. Must be Thursday."

Sam: "So what do you think?"
Dean: "There's nothing to think about. I'm not gonna leave Bobby at home with the Bride of Frankenstein."

Sam: "Okay, I'll head to town and rescue everyone. Should be easy."

Dean: "It's all right. They're idiots. They can't pick a lock."
(Silence as the zombies start picking the lock)
Bobby: "Don't you ever get tired of being wrong?"

Bobby: "She was the love of my life. How many times do I gotta kill her?"

Four out of four home-baked pies,

Billie
---
Billie Doux adores Supernatural which is a good thing since apparently, it's eternal.

9 comments:

  1. Great and very moving episode. Jim Beaver was fantastic, and I was even more moved when I read about his own experience losing his wife.

    I thought Kim Rhodes's performance as Sheriff Mills was also quite good. Very understated and effective. The scenes when her son turned and when she was standing in the driveway with Sam were quite affecting. She was very good at the cremation scene at the end, too.

    Between Jody and Bobby this was quite the devastating episode. Which is pretty amazing for a zombie outing, which you'd expect to be more of a horror/camp fest.

    I agree about the pies, Billie. I couldn't believe Dean was eating them!

    Great return, Supernatural. I hope the rest of this season is this good.

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  2. I don't like Supernatural. But I like Jim Beaver. The world at large needs more Jim Beaver. I was watching Paranormal Activity the other day, and I thought, 'This would be better if Jim Beaver showed up. Or Alan Tudyk, or maybe Michael Emerson. Neil Patrick Harris would be good too.' And I thought pretty much the same thing while I was watching an episode of 24.

    Even during important events, like mass, or Obama giving a speech, maybe Jim Beaver or one of the other people I've mentioned could stand in the background with a thumbs up. I think the world would be a better place.

    Oh, and Titus Welliver. And Brad Dourif. What the hell, all the Deadwood peeps.

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  3. Reading through that article you linked to, I'm kinda curious about the whole "99% of the fanbase is women" thing. Does that seem accurate to y'all? I'm a guy, and I feel like this is a bit more of a guy's show than a girl's- not saying that women cant enjoy a good decapitation scene, but working solely from stereotypes, this is by far the most guy-oriented show on the CW.

    And if this is true, I need to find out where these conventions are being held and buy a ticket as soon as possible.

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  4. At first I thought this was going to be a fun zombie comedy then Bobby’s wife showed up and I knew this wasn’t going to have a happy ending. But I didn’t think it would be quite so dark, depressing and bloody. The scene where the Sheriff discovers her recently undead son munching on his father’s stomach has to be one of ickiest scenes the show’s ever done.

    Episode like this remind me how much the Winchester boys are a lot like that other great battler of demons and monsters (and inspiration for Castiel’s wardrobe) John Constantine. Like that chain-smoking, Liverpudlian Sting look-a-like the Winchesters seem forever doomed to watch as all their family and friends suffer and die while they go on, often physically (but not emotionally) unscathed.

    As we get closer to the finale it’s a given that Sam and Dean are going to lose more people. Jo and Ellen are gone. Bobby’s sprit appears to be broken. Castiel seems to be getting weaker and weaker. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chuck and Becky were next. Remember the Whedon rule; whenever two characters fall in love and get together one is them is sure to die.

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  5. Excel52,

    I'm sure Jim Beaver was exaggerating. Sci-fi/fantasy fandom used to have a much higher percentage of male to female as a rule; I remember reading that the Highlander fan base was about 50/50, and how unusual that was for a fantasy show with a lot of decapitation. But the cast did consist almost entirely of hot guys, like Supernatural. I think Buffy fandom had a higher percentage of female fans, too.

    There was a big Supernatural con last weekend here in Los Angeles that had Jensen, Jared, Jim Beaver and Misha Collins. I don't like Creation cons and didn't consider going; it seems like a bargain, but you can't see anything unless you pay for expensive seats, and all they do is suck money out of you.

    http://www.creationent.com/cal/supernatural_la.htm

    Hey, if anyone reading this went to this con, how was it? Am I wrong? I've been wrong before.

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  6. You can't forget also that, although the main characters are men, rarely is there an episode not featuring at least one hot girl. I don't watch the show because of them, but it certainly doesn't hurt me.

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  7. That ending in the closet was totally Left 4 Dead (perhaps your husband was referring to that).

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  8. I liked that we saw Bobby in a more vulnerable light, but this is one of my least favorites episodes.

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  9. The term zombies eat brains was from a comedy zombie film return of the living dead

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