Television Review: Supernatural [Spoilers]
Everybody Hates Hitler
Season 8 -Episode 13
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Supernatural these last few years. That is to say, I loved the first five seasons when series creator Eric Kripke ran the show (minus the deplorable season five finale), and pretty much hated everything that happened to the show under season six and seven show runner Sera Gamble. I’m a fan of arc-based television series that tell their story and get the hell out of Dodge before things go south. Supernatural, like it’s Vancouver brother The X-Files, had it’s story neatly wrapped up and didn’t need to continue. But, continue it did. Ambling it’s way through lifeless encounters with (now) routine demons and monsters that look remarkably human (I realize the show has a small budget, but don’t introduce dragons as a villain and have them look like an average schmuck). I could have quit watching, but I’m married to a Supernatural fangirl, so that wasn’t really an option.
I’m explaining this is because I’m glad I stuck with the show until now. This is my Supernatural mea culpa. If you’ve read some of our Robot Television Roundups, you might have seen me discussing the show and how it’s turned around. Well, I’m back in the fold, I’m really enjoying Supernatural again, and I can’t wait to see where this season is going.
Following last week’s revelation that Sam and Dean’s grandfather was a Man of Letters (a secret sect of scholars dedicated to studying and defeating evil), the boys set out to find the Men’s secret hideout. Using the coordinates and key that they received last episode, the Winchesters head to Lebannon, Kansas where they find the Bunker … or as Dean refers to it: the Bat-Cave. This tricked out fortified location was abandoned quickly years ago, but still has power and is filled with weapons, documents, and if Henry is to be believed it is the safest place on Earth.
The boys take up residence in the Bunker, with Sam studying the information that it holds and Dean enjoying its amenities (which includes the shower room with “marvelous” water pressure and some sweet bathrobes). Luckily for the eager hunters (and for people who want to watch the Winchesters do more than sit around) Sam cross references some information in the Bunker with the death of Rabbi in Pennsylvania. A case of spontaneous combustion is probably enough for the Winchesters to investigate, but the Rabbi was also a colleague of the Men of Letters — a member of the Judah Initiative: a group of Rabbis who focused on the supernatural.
Between the Men of Letters and the Judah Initiative, the Supernatural universe has gotten a whole lot bigger and leagues more interesting in the last two weeks.
Heading to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (for those who didn’t grow up in Pennsylvania, that’s right next door to Dunder-Mifflin’s own Scranton, PA), Sam and Dean investigate Rabbi Bass’s strange death before being attacked by a real-live (well, as living as a hunk of animated clay can be) golem. As it turns out, Rabbi Bass was in possession of this golem and sent it to his grandson, Aaron, before he was immolated.
As soon as the pre-title sequence showed Nazis fighting an unstoppable creature, I knew that the big reveal was going to be a golem. The golem is a creature from Jewish folklore, created from inanimate material such as clay. I had feared that the golem presented here would feel like a retread of the X-Files episode, Kaddish, which featured such a creature. Thankfully, the script by Ben Edlund steered clear of that. Instead of a scary non-human creature we get a muscle bound golem who looks human and has more than a passing resemblance to The Goon. He’s big, he’s angry, and he’s out to protect Aaron from whoever might harm him — though he’s got serious beef with Aaron’s lack of observance when it comes to most Jewish traditions (The golem angrily explains that Aaron even dines on swine. Aaron’s response: “Everybody loves bacon!”).
As it turns out, Aaron’s grandfather found a ledger containing information about a group of Nazi necromancers. These necromancers are responsible for Rabbi Bass’s death, and try to off our group after they retrieve the ledger. In the end, Aaron learns what he needs to control the golem, and the boys stop the necromancers (for now, but I’d bet we’ll see more of them sooner or later). Despite voicing concern about leaving a golem roaming the world, the Winchesters relent and allow Aaron to keep the golem.
After returning to the Bunker, Dean makes a very astute observation: Sam is now a Man of Letters. It makes sense, Dean was always the hunter of the family and Sam was always the scholar. The Campbell side of their family were the born and raised hunters and the Winchesters were (as we’ve learned recently) Men of Letters. The symbolism is there and I’d imagine it’s going to play a big role in the series going forward.
I’m really excited with the stable of periphery characters the series has built up since Bobby died. Between Felicia Day’s Charlie, Garth, Kevin, Benny, and now Aaron and his Golem — we’ve got a great number of side characters that I hope the series utilizes. It’s been a long time since season two introduced (and subsequently saw the destruction of) the Roadhouse bar. I always liked the idea of the hunters having a place to hang their heads and the Bunker could absolutely become a fortress of solitude for the boys and their friends.
I’m also more than a little excited to see more from our new golem friend. I’ve complained a lot about the monsters on this show looking human and the golem looked human (but he HAD to have been rocking some major prostetic makeup, because that dude was monsterous), but it worked in this case. The only real problem I had was that this episode didn’t feel like a complete story. It’s clear that this was a set-up for the golem, and the villains of the piece weren’t very fleshed out; outside of them being Nazi necromancers, we know very little of them.
But, it was great to take a break from the angel/demon drama that’s been building this season and Ben Edlund always writes interesting episodes. Everybody Hates Hitler was no exception. It’s another great episode in what is shaping up to be the best season since Kripke steered the ship.