Saturday, February 19, 2011

'Supernatural' Saturdays: "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" Tweetathon Round-Up...

- Fact: The eyes on porcelain dolls really creep me out. Fact: After tonight, I bet eyeless mannequins will, too. #Supernatural

- I love Ben. I just hope the Ben that comes back tonight is#KidsAreAlright Ben, not Weeny S6 Ben. #MANnequin3

- Dean, I will play doctor with you any day. *You* are effective. #MANnequin3

- Hmm time down in hell is like dog years. Even when you're not physically down in hell. #MANnequin3

- How could Sam be up for a job? I'm still exhausted from last week and I only watched! #MANnequinn3

- Ugh, #Supernatural name-dropped Snooki. I am so not okay with that. Have some standards, SPN! #MANnequinn3

- AND a #glee reference? I just threw up in my mouth, too. Seriously, #Supernatural: standards!! But feel free to reference MY book. :)

- (because in MY book, I reference Jensen. It's one big, happy circle)

- Fact: Whenever a character says "Hello?" to an empty room on TV, I say "Hello" back. Ala Sydney Campbell & the fake nosepicking in #Scream

- Vengeful spirit is much, much too easy for an "off the axis" season six! #MANnequin3

- Oh. Dear. God. Is Lisa pregnant? #MANnequin3

- (no one answer that last part)

- I don't like that Sam called Lisa and Ben Dean's "past." They were supposed to be his future! Stupid Sam had to come back from hell :(

- The weather on tonight's #Supernatural perfectly matches the weather outside in LA tonight. #thethingsInotice

- Jake, is that you?? #MANnequinn3

- Heh. Aw Ben, you are back! How I missed you :) Way to man up, kid. #MANnequinn3

- For real, I missed the opening credits, is that Jake Richardson in #Supernatural tonight?

- I can answer that if Dean can't. I want to see Lisa and Ben on the road, too. Been awhile since we had a woman hunter. And never a kid.

- Why does Rose look like she stepped out of a different decade than everyone else? #MANnequin3

- "We didn't mean for it to happen." Oh, you never do... #MANnequinn3

- I wonder what would happen if someone on #Supernatural DIDN'T feel guilt. Would the spirit be unable to "get" them? #MANnequin3

- Wow, Ben is still buried in video games. Just glad it's at least a new game. But I think he should be playing Angry Birds. #MANnequin3

- "I watch TV; I know what that means." Wow TV sure has changed since I was Ben's age! #MANnequin3

- Really, Ben, he wouldn't have to talk to you like you were six if you weren't acting six. You were more mature when you were eight.

- Um, can we get Nicholas Elia to a convention? He seems way more interesting than some of the ppl who have been at recent ones...

- Sam, Sam, Sam, do you never learn? You have to stay and make sure ALL of the bones burn. This isn't going to end well, is it? #MANnequin3

- Aw cute Lisa and Dean moments from "the lost year!" I want more on the special features of this DVD set! #MANnequinn3

- Okay new Twitter poll: Which is creepier, the mannequin girlfriend on #Supernatural or the Japanese body pillow girlfriend on #30Rock?

- Seriously, Sam; you had one job! #MANnequin3

- What's w/the weird flashes of memory, Sam? These are not "lost year" memories; these are "we can keep up; we dont really need em" flashbacks

- Haha "baby teeth in a locket." Wait, I keep @MrMadisonC's baby teeth in a pill box. Is that weird? #MANnequinn3

- "Haunted kidney," really? I just...I don't even know what to say to that. #MANnequinn3

- Also, the car has been possessed before. And yet somehow I'm surprised it has not been possessed MORE. #MANnequinn3

- I am, however, thrilled at the return of "Sonofabitch!" #MANnequin3

- I'm glad Dean asked what they did back there because I was left scratching my head, too. This episode was weird. All around. #MANnequin3

Closing Remarks: I had really high hopes for this episode. Serious family stuff aside-- really, that's ALL that happens when Sam scratches at the wall? And Dean just lets it go as quickly and easily? Not really complaining since I want more story line for Dean, but I was still surprised...

Anyway, serious family stuff aside, I thought the concept of possessed mannequins could cause some really creepy-- and really creative-- ways to showcase the same old spirit stuff. I was expecting great pop culture references, a lighter tone, and witty one-line zingers. I also expected a lot of Dean (Jensen Ackles) keeping a watchful eye over Sam (Jared Padalecki), unsure if he was fully back to normal after seizing on the floor and taking a mind-detour back to hell. Unfortunately for me (and for all of us, really), "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" didn't really deliver on any of that.

Instead, the episode took an often-told tale of a vengeful female spirit getting revenge on the men who wronged her but wrapped it in the quirky "sex doll" imagery in order to trick us all into thinking it was unique and clever. And it may have been, even if the "most obvious suspect in the world" (Jake Richardson) didn't look, well, so obviously like a guilty man. And also, kiiind of like a pedophile.

I admit, the fact that the haunted item was actually (SPOILER ALERT) an organ the dead girl donated to her sister would have been clever, too. But by the time the reveal actually came, there wasn't sufficient time left to dedicate to figuring out a way to vanquish the spirit without, you know, ripping the organ from an innocent woman's body. And since Sam now has his soul back and is, therefore, once again completely hell-bent against the idea of killing an innocent person, well, the show had to find another way for her to die so the spirit could be squashed once and for all. But quite frankly, I can't figure out how it happened. I mean, yeah, the Impala sped through a plate glass window while possessed by the spirit, but that couldn't have done it. The car didn't explode in flames after, and everyone knows the remains of the spirit's corporeal form must be burned. ALL of the remains.

I was glad that we got to see Lisa (Cindy Sampson) and Ben (Nicholas Elia) again because I've been in the "Dean deserves a regular family" camp for a long, long time, and I never felt they had the proper closure. I also was glad Ackles got something else to do tonight. But after their latest encounter, I still don't feel like they had the proper closure. For one thing, everything Ben said to Dean was absolutely on the money, and yet he still walked out. For another, an odd, piecey montage of a life together (much of which we never even got to see play out) is not a way to close a chapter on a relationship. At least not a cop-out way. And if that's all they're going to give Ackles to do, then I am going to start the petition to just put him behind-the-camera again. So I will be holding out for yet another return of both Lisa and Ben at some point in the future. It always upset me that Dean and Sam could have really memorable connections with people only to never see them again, and even if Lisa and Ben just return in a "two ships crossing in the night" fashion, it would be nice to see some sort of constant in Dean's life that isn't a classic car, classic rock, or a classically tall passenger.

I know I've been hard on this episode. I know I've been hard on most episodes lately. But I just feel that this season has been inconsistent at best. In previous seasons, I always felt like the writers had a plan for the overall arc; even if I didn't like or agree with where it was going, I could clearly see where it was going and I could clearly see they had a bigger picture in mind. But I don't get that sense this year. I get the sense that they wanted to keep #NoSoulSam around longer than he actually was and now they've scrambled a bit. But what's worse is that in episodes like "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning," it feels like what used to make the show so brilliant-- the balance of the larger mythology with the push-pull between the brothers and of course some humorous anecdotes-- is too much for them. It feels like they're struggling to fit everything in. A lot of the naturalness and realism (as odd as it may be to call it that, considering the subject matter) is lacking. Even between Sam and Dean who used to be insanely co-dependent. This year, all of their "talks" just seem forced, as if they are both too tired and just going through the motions. It's unfortunate because their deep bond was always the saving grace of a lot of the situations.

I'm sorry, but it's episodes like this (and from what I've seen so far of next week's meta-for-the-sake-of-meta "The French Mistake") that solidify my statement that Supernatural should have ended at season five. I hope Ben Edlund's usual genius will rear it's head next week and prove me wrong. I hope they can turn it around for the last few episodes of the season, but I'm losing faith week after week.


Kaly said...

I agree with most of your criticisms, though quite frankly, after watching Dean wring his hands over Sam for 5.5 years, I don't need to see him fretting over Sam in every scene.

I get the feeling this season that they really have no idea what to do with Dean. It's like he's extraneous to the story (of Sam) and they just keep shoe-horning him in. Not unlike what they've done with Cas, except that they are obligated to give Jensen more screentime.

It's bizarre for a show that claims to be about two brothers and it's a colossal waste of Ackles' talent. I hate to say it but the show is just dull when Dean doesn't have much of anything to do but fret over Sam.

I did like the idea of the Dean/Lisa/Ben story but as we saw in the montage where they used pretty much every scene they were in, that story got so little time and attention that it seems more obvious than ever that it's just time-pass for Dean before getting back to the real story of Sam. It also makes Dean's angst feel slightly unearned since what he's angsting about happened mostly off screen.

What we needed to see was Dean and Lisa making it work for a couple of episodes before Robo!Sam blew it all out of the water. We needed to see them being happy for a bit in order to feel the tragedy of Dean choosing not to let himself be a part of their lives. Instead, we got All soulless!Sam all the time.

Eve said...

The great thing about comments is a person can tell the writer she is all wrong. I have recently been re-watching from the beginning of the series and the fore-shadowing to events this season can be recognized.

Rachel said...

I agree with Eve. Every season for me since season 1 has grown organically and this season is what this season is and I have personally not felt any inconsistency, or character growth gaps... ect.

imcharlie said...

I absolutely agree with your assessment of not only this episode but the whole season.
The season has been inconsistent, disjointed and simply boring, not to mention characters behaving completely 'out-of-character'.
The Dean staff is almost non existent. I read somewhere that the interrogation scene (Sam and the 'guy doll') was almost as long (-20 seconds shorter to be exact) as Lisa Dean one? The significance? One of the scenes dealt with a relatively unimportant part of a relatively unimportant investigation in a forgettable MOTW story whereas the other was supposed to close/move forward a part of THE ONLY ( it seems) mini arc for one of the leads. It just further illustrates that if a story this season is not Sam centric is simply not important.
Also, I've been reading a lot about Supernatural recently. And I'm sorry to say Eve and Rachel, most fans - and critics - seem to agree with the authors assessment. It isn't to say you are not entitled to your opinion.
Oh, and Eve, Danielle presented her opinion. An opinion cannot be 'wrong'.
Finally, I totally agree with you Kaly. Really well said.
It's becoming really frustrating to see Ackles talent being wasted like that. Last con, during meet and greet Jensen said he was exhausted. In my opinion, they have just used the actor to tell Sam's story not giving him anything substantial on his own. Basically, he supports Jared, does all the hard work and then Jared/Sam gets all the praise and final victories.
I's really baffling because when I talk to my off line friends (quite a few of them) Dean/Jensen is FAR FAR FAR more popular. I'm sorry Danielle because I'm sure now you'll have a lot of comments supporting Sam (I've noticed monopolising of the boards by very vocal and very aggressive Samgirls recently) but facts are facts. Also, I hope Jensen wins TV Guide poll but if mid-results are anything to go by (Jensen was first, Jared was last...) people really adore Jensen. So why putting Jared/Sam in the spotlight and so completely waste Dean/Jensen? I will never ever understand that.

Linda said...

An interesting review, and I mostly agree with what you said. Especially the part about the waste of Jensens talent. He needs more to do than fret over Sam constantly. That has become a rather boring storyline.

amber said...

"And if that's all they're going to give Ackles to do, then I am going to start the petition to just put him behind-the-camera again."

An emphatic, "You said it, sistah!" to this. I'm baffled by how this season has been allowed to become so unbalanced, to the point that more and more fans and critics are wondering what the heck is going on. By making Dean's only purpose to be Sam's hand wringing caretaker, demoting the character to the status of a rusty, second rate hunter who can't overtake a monster, and not giving Jensen opportunities to show his true potential, the show is effectively shooting itself in the foot. The season isn't exactly getting universal rave reviews as it is. Most shows would push a character with such wide popular appeal into the forefront, in the hopes of attracting ratings and critical notice. I have to wonder at the rationale or the wisdom behind the decision to effectively make Dean a secondary character; one who has screentime but not a whole lot to do during it.

And like you, I've also gotten the sense that the writers are scrambling to accomodate a shortened soulless Sam storyline. During the ChiCon, Jensen spoke of pleading with Sera to give Sam's soul back. He had just gotten the script for episode 10 at the time, which would imply things might have gotten turned around in a hurry. Which still begs the question of why, if Sera realized the soulless storyline had some issues, continue to perseverate on Sam's soul in every episode? I get that it must be the most special plot device ever but seriously, there has to be more to a season than one storyline. Discussion boards are fairly dead these days because there's really nothing much to talk about. Despite the weakness in this episode, at least it gave fans the chance to discuss Dean for a change. And forget Cas- I have no idea why they bothered signing Misha up.

As to the episode itself, I thought the MOTW story was on the weaker side and fairly boring to boot. The pacing felt off throughout too. And while I thought the scenes between Dean and the Braedens were just heartbreaking, I agree with you about the ones between the brothers feeling flat for some reason.

I really hope there is another season, to give the show a chance to end on a high note. But that's only if the showrunners try to correct the issues with this one. If not and it's going to be just another round of Sam's storyline while everyone else to relegated to the background, then they should just end the show now and let Jensen move onto other projects.