Sunday, September 13, 2009

Julie, Julia and K: A Recipe to Cure Pop Culture Ennui

As I have mentioned a few times in this blog, I sometimes get discouraged with pop culture. And, as you have seen, I can ignore my blog for months at a time. The death of Michael Jackson has left me decidedly un-entertained by the shennanigans of Heidi and Spencer, Lindsay Lohan or even my old throwback, Justin Timberlake, who seems content doing everything but making music (Congrats to him for snagging and Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy Series—the first for an “SNL” host). I don’t care about Kourtney Kardashian’s baby or who’s bonin’ whom on the latest edition of “The Real World.” I’m not even excited for this year’s trainwreck award show, the VMAs. Yes, bloggers, I have been suffering from the worst case pop culture ennui I’ve ever had, and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra” or “Patron Tequila” by the Paradiso Girls isn’t curing it.

But today, in a small theater in Nowhere, Midwest, my ennui was cured, the love of all things entertainment reborn after seeing the delicious little film called “Julie and Julia.” Starring the always scrumptious Meryl Strep (having a ball as always) and the adorable Amy Adams, the movie follows the lives of Julia Child and Julie Powell, two women, one in the 1950s, one in the new millenium, who found their joy and accomplishment in food.

In the first twenty minutes, I was rapt by Julie’s disgust at the daily drudgery of a job she hates, having little money (thankfully, I don’t live above a pizza joint) and edging closer to the big 3-0 miles away from the goals and successes you’d thought you’d have by that terrifying milestone.
My struggles have been briefly mentioned in this blog as well: finding a job that I can remotely enjoy, trying to get my book published, trying to make something of myself and not be jealous of my more successful friends. In college, I discovered a love of and a talent for cooking so much that I have contemplated enrolling in culinary school. Yes, while my peers were doing kegstands and playing beer pong, I was roasting chickens and saving a for a pasta maker. Watching the film felt like being rejuvenated, being heard, being understood just like Julie did when she cooked Juila’s recipes. While I don’t anticipate plowing through all 524 recipes in “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” I definitely search the book for inspriation of my own, and hopefully, it’s in the Boeuf Bourguignon or the Pear Tarte.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Conan O'Brien: The Comedic Supernova Takes Over "Tonight."

Last night, as the stars brightened the summer sky, a miracle occurred. It wasn’t Halley’s Comet or a rare meteor-shower. It was something far more entertaining and awe-inspiring. I, your lover of all things pop cult, full-on belly-laughed during “The Tonight Show…” now helmed by the brilliantly zany (and dare I say handsome and a little more buff) Conan O’Brien. And the most amazing thing is that it happened through-out the fantastically fun debut of “Tonight’s” new host and gorgeous new set. I had an assortment of laughs: a hearty chuckle in the beginning skit of the show as my beloved Conan, preparing for the debut of his show, forgot to move to Los Angeles and literally ran over the Brooklyn bridge, through Wrigley Field, past the St. Louis Arch, the Rocky Moutains, Las Vegas, Death Valley and crashed through the gates at the Universal lot. I giggled ‘til I nearly cried as Conan took over the tram tour at the movie lot, doing everything from critiquing the actor playing Norman Bates’ attire in a way that would make Tim Gunn smile to taking the tram out onto the streets of L.A. to buy the tourists gifts at the 99 Cent Store! I fell over, whooping, at Will Ferrell as he declared that his fellow Tony Award nominee, Liza Minelli, is a communist and a “red menance” and that Conan’s projected success on the show is a “crapshoot.”
If you're a fan, you already know that Conan didn't dumb-down or dilute his trademark screwball humor for the more mainstream timeslot. He is still the same, NBC-bashing, stupid, lunatic he was in New York at 12:35am, and that is a wholehearted compliment. There are certain stars that you want to shine brighter than the rest because of they are unique, intelligent and talented. And Conan O’Brien is definitely one that should supernova. I gladly admit I carried the transcript of his the speech he delivered at the Harvard Commencement in 2000 in my purse for years, because it was as inspiring as it was ridiculous. He is unabashedly self-deprecating and incredibly quick-witted, and most importantly, a hell-of-a lot funnier than Jay Leno (who is still airing before O'Brien in a bizarre programming move by NBC execs).Last night, Conan hit the ground running with his own brand of pompadour-flopping humor with guest Will Ferrill and music act, Pearl Jam. I can’t wait to see him sincerely flirt with Hollywood’s A-listers. Judging by the enthusiastic audience's cheers, screams and chants, and Conan's hilarious first show, it won’t take a miracle for Conan to thrive in his shiny new digs.
Bravo, Conan, bravo!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Why Am I Hotter than All? Jessica Biel Bravely Shares Her Plight

While most people are embattled in horrific situations stemming from the recession, skyrockteing unemployment, foreclosure, swine flu, wildfires and even the casualties of war, one brave actress is speaking out, courageously sharing her personal pain for the betterment of others. No, I’m not referring to Farrah Fawcett’s sobering cancer documentary. Or even Brooke Shields’ struggle with thinning eyelashes (Thank God for Latisse!). It’s none other than the extremely healthy Jessica Biel. In the June issue of “Allure,” she details her frustration and pain about the tribulations of…hotness. Yes, you read that correctly. But it doesn’t end there, Ms. Biel if you’re nasty, thinks that her white-hot beauty hinders her career. Please grab your Kleenex (read: barf bag) and read on if you can:

Jessica Biel says her good looks are hurting her career.
"Yeah, it really is a problem."
The actress -- whose latest film, Powder Blue, (in which she plays a stripper) is going to straight to DVD -- isn't handed plum roles.
"I'm in there with everybody else, fighting for the good parts. Yes, The Illusionist has made a difference -- but a huge, massive difference, so I can pick and choose what I want? No."
Biel, 27, covets the careers of Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman.
"I just want an opportunity. If you don't like the audition, don't hire me!" she says. "But if you don't want to even see me -- that's hurtful. And why? You know nothing about me!"

If you aren’t emotional over that then you are DEAD INSIDE!

In all honesty, celebrities should understand that with half of the country in foreclosure, no one wants to hear about the difficulties of making millions of dollars. With CEOs working entry-level jobs to just make ends meet, the reading public and even the CASTING public doesn’t want to know how one’s perceived hotness is a detriment to one’s career, especially when it is a major job requirement. I guarantee the viewing public would not pay $10 per ticket to see Ron, the IT Supervisor, make whoopie with the Edna, a Wal-Mart salescleark, on a 20 foot screen.

Biel is not a terrible actress, but up until now, she has gleefully cashed in her wiles in the heinous action movie (co-starring Nic Cage) “Next,” the terrible “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” and unforgivable fighter pilot crapfest, “Stealth.” If you depend on your looks for a paycheck—even if you’re paying your dues— you shouldn’t you be upset when Sorsese isn’t calling.

My mama taught me that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I’ll leave my faithful readers to debate Biel’s hotness or lackthereof. But countless other exquisite actresses have struggled to garner critical cred and have managed to do so by, yes, paying their dues, but working tirelessly to cultivate their talents by taking risks. For example, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote “Good Will Hunting” to create starring roles for themselves and their friends—and won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Charlize Theron, the South African stunner and former model, has her very own Oscar for her fantastic and chilling turn in “Monster.” The lovely Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar in 2002. Now that is a career obstacle to complain about. She also has two Emmys for her work in “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.”

I cannot sit here and condone Jessica’s use of a national magazine to complain about a seemingly trivial problem nor can I walk a mile in her Jimmy Choos. As I go to a job I don’t remotely like, I wish I could! I also wish that the beleaguered Ms. Biel will step away from the mirror, count her blessings, and work on her craft and maybe, just maybe, Sorsese will finally call.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Great K Has Returned; DVR Pulled Me Back In!

If you’ve spent even a moment browsing this blog, it’s fairly obvious that I’m a carding-carrying, in-need-of a-12-step-program (and eventually a “Sober House” with Dr. Drew Pinsky) pop culture addict. But even I—the girl who cursed the life of the postman who delivered her beloved “Entertainment Weekly” waterlogged from the current snowstorm—can sometimes be appalled by the ridiculousness of the media. From Jessica Simpson’s audacity to gain eleven pounds, to the inflammatory “she probably deserved it” comments surrounding the anything-but-funny Rihanna/Chris Brown Scandal, to the Kim Kardashian on “Larry King Live” talking about the worsening economy, I sometimes have to take a break from the fuckery.

And there is no better time to take a break than in the beginning of the year when celebrities are too busy patting themselves on the back with Oscars and Grammys and Golden Globes (oh my!) than to actually work. So I took a step back and tried to live life as a normal member of society who didn’t check EONLINE.Com five times a day to see if Britney/Lindsay/Miley Cyrus had any kind of dramatic kerfuffle. But in the midst of the economic crisis and the realization that our shiny new President, even with all of that swagger, common sense and intelligence, can’t fix the country in 85 days, we have embraced all of the ridiculous, petty and ugliness about Hollywood. I’d much rather pay attention to the weed-induced hilarity of Joaquin Phoenix than rant about how the economy is affecting my career (or lackthereof).

So I got DVR.

Normally, I’m a technology-phobe. I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 24 just because I wanted to be different (and didn’t want brain cancer).

I didn’t even want an MP3 player and only got one because my father bought it for me.

I didn’t “get” internet when it was first unveiled in the early 90s.

And now, of course, I can’t imagine my life without those wonderful, beautiful, fantastic toys. My purse has more electronics and adapters in it than makeup and lipgloss.

However, I always wanted DVR, but could never afford it. Now, I have a job working 3pm to midnight, and it became a necessity for K to stay in the pop cult loop and not miss “Supernatural,” “Ugly Betty,” etc. And DVR is officially the best thing that ever happened to me. It, like the perfect man in a romantic comedy, has pulled back the velvet curtains and revealed a world I could only imagine in my sad, loveless, pre-DVR life. I have discovered new shows and have had exquisite rendezvous’ with old friends like…

The delightful fun, fascinatingly disgusting show about Temperance Brennan, a foresensic anthropologist, and her disarmingly attractive FBI partner, Seely Booth (Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, respectively) is one I missed up until now. I watched this show when it first debuted in 2005, but college and impending graduation got in the way of regular viewership. Now, I DVR the show in syndication on TNT, and come home to the classic and oddly romantic “will they/won’t they” sexual tension between Bones and Booth. They make eyes at each other over purreed corpses and pulverized bones. The writing is as weird and gross as it is sentimental and sweet and intelligent. It’s the “Grey’s Anatomy” of cop procedurals (and I’m talking about ‘Pick me. Choose me. Love Me’ Grey’s, not the Izzie’s-sexing-a-ghost Grey’s.) and has magically avoided the behind-the-scenes drama. Bravo!

“Hell’s Kitchen”
The cooking show that makes the entire process of running a restaurant look like a complete clusterfuck is an absolutely can’t miss. Not because I’m dazzled by chefs chiffanodding skillz, but because of Gordon Ramsay’s storied shitfits and the chefs blatant incompetence. This current season has produced a particularly (or purposely) bad crop of wanna-be executive chefs, two of whom Ramsay has eliminated during service. Because they cook the same things every service and always managed to supremely fuck something up. He squeals and shrieks and cusses like a hysterical housewife on a tear, and I LOVE it. “Top Chef” is it not, but it is delectable all the same!

“For the Love of Ray J”
I will admit, when I first saw previews of this hip hop version of “Rock of Love,” I rolled my eyes and swore I wouldn’t watch (just like I did with “ROL” but I watch it like it’s going out of style). Ray J is more famous for his sextape with Kim Kardashian, his “relationship” with Whitney Houston, and being Brandy’s little brother than his musical abilities (which include an annoyingly catchy song called ‘Sexy Can I’ and…um…that’s it). But I was sucked in, and I LOVE it. The girls are classier than the barhags and strippers they scraped off the shallow end of America’s intelligence pool, but the show is just as salacious. Ray J is smarter than he looks, and uses his experience as an entertainer to heighten moments with his (scripted?) confessional recaps of the competition for his heart. From literally falling off the chair when a girl made herself into a human banana split (by rubbing herself in ice cream and nuts and deep-throating a banana in the splits no less) to hilariously wincing when a bikini-clad drunk contestant poked in him the chest with a fork, pure guilty pleasure entertainment. And with the aide of DVR, I can fastfoward through the commercials and the repetitive champagne ceremonies, and get straight to the good stuff.

I anticipate this mid-season new show will be canceled before the weather turns warm, but my prediction is a compliment. I love this show about the imaginary country of Shiloh and the politics of its power-hungry king and the inevitable ugliness behind the polished propriety of the royal family. Chris Egan plays David, a soft-spoken, but intelligent and brave soldier who literally slays Goliath to save the king’s son, and becomes the country’s hero. Naturally, young David, who was raised on a farm, stumbles as he traverses the high society. With fantastically nuanced performances, swift and slick plotlines and the wonderful cast, the series is better off for the more sophisticated HBO viewer and is wasted on a flailing network like NBC.
DVR has changed my entertainment viewing life for the better, and has pulled me back into the industry I love so much. Just in time for “Fast and Furious” and the onslaught of frothy summer movies and TV shows! Thank you, DVR!

More articles to come, promise!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snarky Supernatural Recap: After School Special

While the Supernatural fandom mourns the seemingly unexpected death of beloved Supernatural director and producer, Kim Manners, this week’s installment of the show provided fans with a (rare) Sam-centric storyline, Dean in some fetching red shorts, and some patented Supernatural angst as an escape. Thank you, show, for proving that no matter how bad our lives get, Sam and Dean’s will always be worse.

The “THEN” previews are from all the way back in the first season, touching on Sam’s rocky relationship with his shitty father, his need to live a normal life, Dean’s inherit need to protect Sammy, and their collective miserable childhood. “NOW.” In the cafeteria of Truman High School in the fictional Fairfax, Indiana, a group of cheerleaders and jocks gossip about another, approaching cheerleader. She’s a “slut” who apparently had sex with another popular guy and gave him the “reverse cowgirl and everything!” Now, in my high school, gossip as salacious as that would make mighty popular. Go figure! Anyway, the head cheerleader, who is blonde, of course, declares their table is a “skeeve-free” zone and Skinny, Skanky Taylor needs to take her arse somewhere else. The table then starts a very obnoxious cough-into-the-hand chant of “slut, slut, slut” which predictably embarrasses Taylor in front of the entire school, and sends her running to another table to sit with a girl who isn’t a size two and is therefore obese! Jessica Simpson tells her that her friends are jerks and that she’s “sorry” about the way they treated her. Taylor, angry and humiliated, snarls back, “Don’t you feel sorry for me, you fat ugly pig!” and thus pays forward the social torture. She immediately regrets it when Jessica Simpson darts out of the cafeteria, feeling just as miserable and lost and alone as poor Taylor. Ah, high school, the supposed best years of our lives!

The next day, in the girl’s bathroom, Taylor comes out of the stall, tears falling freely and she tries to make herself presentable for her next class. Jessica Simpson is abruptly standing behind her, leering with dead eyes. “You think I’m ugly?” she asks in an eerie monotone. Taylor, whose coifed brunette hair belongs in a Pantene commercial, apologizes and promises she didn’t mean it. Jessica Simpson just stares at her blankly before snatching a handful of Taylor’s silky tresses and ramming her pretty little face into the mirror, breaking the glass. She then thunks her chin on the hard porcelain of the sink. Blood splatters from Taylor’s mouth, because that’s never NOT disgusting. Jessica Simpson bodily yanks a writhing Taylor across the bathroom and into the stall. Without hesitation, she pushes the cheerleader’s head into the toilet and flushes. “I’m not ugly,” Jessica Simpson declares as she drowns the poor girl, who is putting up one hell of a fight. But, of course, Taylor dies after inhaling putrid public high school toilet water, and Jessica Simpson throws her body onto the tiled floor, and still stares with a stony gaze. A nasty, black tear dribbles down her cheek as she announces to the soggy corpse, “you’re ugly.” I think killing her was a good enough come back, Jess.

Awesome! This almost makes me forget about the last two episodes. Hee!

Pimp title card! A beautiful, vertical shot of an old, classic building morphs into an orderly’s familiarly broad back. Jessica Simpson, who has recovered from whatever supernatural force overtook her body, is looking out the window of yet another insane asylum. “I’m not talking about it anymore,” she says. “I already told the cops and the doctors, no one believes me. They think I’m crazy!” “I’m a little more open-minded than most,” Sammy’s deep voice rumbles off-screen. Shocker, y’all, he’s the orderly! And wow, his voice has gotten octaves deeper since season one. Proving for the millionth time that our Darling Sammy is ALL man now! Apparently, Jessica Simpson’s real name is April, and she told the police she was possessed. And now we know why Sammy is talking to the witness and not Dean, because he has personal experience with demonic possession. April won’t tell Sammy why she thought she was possessed, but Sammy just twitches his magically sensitive eyes at her, and she relents. She’s a Sam-girl! Like me! (HEY!) Sorry, Dean! “When I hurt Taylor, I was there in my head but I couldn’t control my body. I could see what I was doing, but I couldn’t stop. I just wanted to stop.” And I now know that she’s a Canadian actress, by the way she pronounces the word “stop.” Haha! To make a long scene short, after Sammy asks if she smelled sulfur or happened to notice any black smoke trying to jam its way into her body, April is convinced HE’S crazy.

In the Metallicar, Sammy relays the information to Dean, who thinks that “maybe it wasn’t a demon, I mean, kids can be vicious.” Sammy concedes, but he thinks they should check out the school since they are in the area. Dean is reluctant, “Truman High, home of the Bombers,” he says with faux nostalgia. “We went there for like a month a million years ago, why are you so jazzed to go back?” Dean wonders. Sammy promises he’s not, that he just wants to be a thorough hunter. We know that’s a damn lie because he already has their covers picked out. Hilarity is about to ensue!

Dean cranks the Metallicar’s engine and the beginning drums of Foreigner’s, “Long, Long Way From Home,” plays on the soundtrack as the flashbacks begin! Truman High School, 1997. I have no idea what it is about this scene, be it the bright, happy, normal colors of a suburban high school, the blatant car porn as the Metallicar ambles up to the school in lurid slow motion with young Dean (played competently by Brock Kelley) in the passenger seat (and damn if that’s not a weird sight. Dean drives with GUNSHOT WOUNDS!), or the kinetic electric guitar of the song, but I squeal and scream and giggle like a true fangirl that I am. Young Dean, with full model face, licks his lips and ambles out of the car in Dean’s vintage leather jacket, collar turned up of course. These few seconds are enough to convince me that Brock Kelly knows just how hot he is in real life and as this character. And I’ll be damned if he doesn’t look like he could be related to Jensen Ackles. Great bit of casting!

Wee Sammy is small. Really small. I mean, he’s like four-foot-seven. But I recognize him immediately, because he’s broody and angsty and carrying a backpack that’s almost as big as he is! (Young Sammy is also being played by the same amazing little Colin Ford, who played him in “A Very Superatural Christmas.”) After he thanks his shitty father for a ride (who we never actually see, because he’s too busy playing a ghost on Grey’s Anatomy. Wrong show, Jeff, wrong fucking show!), he asks Sammy if he has his “Lunch? Books? Butterfly Knife?” Sammy glums a “yeah, Dean.” Dean steps in front of Wee Sam, asking him if he’s okay. Some things never change. Wee Sam is frustrated, “look this is the third school we’ve been to this year, and it’s only November. I’m just sick of always being the new kid.” “Anybody gives you any trouble, you just let me know?” Dean says, flexing his big brother muscle. “Relax, Dad said this hunt will take two weeks, tops. Soon as he gets back, we’re outta here!” “To another school,” Wee Sam sulks, “awesome.”

The next scene beautifully illustrates just how different yet alike Sam and Dean are in a way that only siblings can be by intercutting between the two Winchesters being introduced to their respective homerooms. Sam is crestfallen and sick of the entire process, while Dean calls the teacher “sweetheart” and “sugar” and is literally too cool for school. Sam slinks to this seat, head down, while Dean ambles down the aisle and charismatically spins into his desk in a way that would make The Fonz and AC Slater very, very proud. Both boys draw the attention of student. For Sam, it’s a freckle-faced geek in thick glasses who is impressed when Wee Sammy’s butterfly knife falls out of his backpack. For Dean, it’s a pixie-faced blonde in a pink sweater. The icing on an already delectable and ingenious scene piece of film is that Wee Sam’s class is reading “The Outsiders” as indicated on the board behind the teacher. I am falling in love with this show all over again.

Dean’s craggly-faced teacher asks him where his books are, and he smiles, “Don’t need them, sugar. Not gonna be here long enough anyway.” And the entire class, including Tinkerbell, thinks he’s just so dreamy and badass. I just might, too, because this Dean hasn’t been to Hell, doesn’t have the weight of the world on his shoulders, and is just a mouthy, teenage spitfire who knows his way around a sawed-off.

As Wee Sam’s class gets an essay assignment on “their most memorable family experience,” the geek, who more like an adorable Paul Pfeiffer from “The Wonder Years” introduces himself as Barry just before a burly bully starts repeatedly flicking the poor kid’s ear in an attempt to beat his previous record. Poor Barry winces, but takes the abuse. Sammy, bred to protect people who cannot protect themselves from bullies or…banshees, tells the bully to leave him alone. “You wanna take his place, midget?” Burly Bully asks. Wee Sam pivots in his seat, “yeah, sure,” he says, and stares the bully down with Giant Sammy’s unnerving confidence and a little smirk that makes him seem dangerous. Wow, Wee Sammy is a badass! Burly Bully is shocked by such a turn of events because little freshman midgets should be terrified of him, and this does not compute.

Wee Sammy continues to stare him down, and the screen morphs into Giant Sammy’s prominent mug as he walks the same halls in a janitor’s uniform. The bell rings and the same teacher who introduced Wee Sammy steps out of the classroom just as Sam passes it.

Gym. A whistle blows as the camera moves from one net of balls to…well Dean’s balls. That’s right, folks, our beloved Scrappy Doo is rocking a pair of supertight shorts, a Truman High Polo, high knee socks, and a red sweatband in a cute, sexy, hot, wrong, bow-legged way that only Dean can. Wow. Um, seriously, thank you, Supernatural! Next stop: SPEEDO! Dean is subbing as a gym teacher, and he walks up and down the line of Truman High School students, praising the game of Dodgeball like it’s an ancient, sacred art. If you’ve ever played Dodgeball in middle school with boys, you know how lethal it can be. And Dean was definitely the kind of kid that would injure and maim as many dorks as humanly possible with those painful rubber balls. “You will have the honor of playing one of the greatest games every invented. A game a skill, agility and cunning. A game with one simple rule: DODGE!” And with that he takes a ball and whips it full throttle at a poor little kid, who doesn’t catch on and dodge, and gets nailed in the gut for his short bus brand of specialness. That will definitely leave a mark. I’m ignoring the little comments about “Ms. B being in Massachusetts getting married,” because hello, the lesbian gym teacher joke has been done a five gazillion times. Dean forces the kid who dare defile the game of Dodgeball to take a lap, and I’ll be damned if we don’t have our Deano back! He just used the Dean voice. The real, non-pyscho Christian-Bale-as-Batman one! He’s gruff and embracing another role with Dean’s trademark reckless abandon. We haven’t seen Silly!Dean since before he admitted that he remembered his time in Hades waaaay back in an episode I refused to admit exists because it’s was as bad as “Route 66” and “Bugs” COMBINED!

Janitor Sammy steps into the gym, and literally fills up the entire doorway with his gigantic, manly frame. Jesus, I need to meet Jared Padalecki just so I can climb him like a Great Oak. Dean tosses the net of balls up in the air, and tells the kids to “go nuts” while he gets an update from Sammy. Sam hasn’t found any sulfur, and Dean quickly concludes, “No sulfur, no demon; no demon, no case” and he is itching to get on the road, but after lunch because it’s Sloppy Joe day. Aww, Dean’s appetite is back! Sammy winces as a kid predictably get beaned in the face with a ball off-screen and runs through the shot with a hand covering his mouth and nose. “Good hustle, Colby! WALK IT OFF!” Dean growls in a way his dad probably told him after he stabbed him with a pick-axe or something equally brutal. Then he licks his lips and smirks at Sam in a way that is so adorkable and hot, and why, why, why don’t I work on this show?! Oh, that’s right, the restraining orders. Moving on. Dean officially wins the Battle of the Pretty for this Episode. Just for that! Good job, Winchester!

Home Ec. The camera pans across a food processor as three finger-sized pieces of are tossed in, and the whirring blades chop, dice and mince it finely in mere seconds. After four seasons of watching this show, I already know where this is heading, and I’m simultaneously excited and nauseous for the impending gore. The same jock from the late Taylor’s table is bugging a poor skinny kid with emo hair. “I need to copy your algebra homework again!” Emo McGee ignores him, spacing out. Jock shoves him roughly and repeats his demand. Emo McGee looks at him menacingly. “Why, because you’re a stupid brain-dead dick?” He seethes, and then turns on the food processor, prepping it for the assignment. Just as surprised as Burly Bully was at Wee Sam’s defiance, Jock is momentarily stunned by the refusal. Then, of course, he amps up the aggression to threaten, “I’m going to shove my first down your throat, you freak!” “That fist?” Emo McGee evilly inquires. “Yeah!” Grinning, Emo McGee shoves the aforementioned fist into the appliance of doom! I highly doubt Bobby Flay will be serving THAT up for dinner. Jock screams and howls as Emo McGee laughs and laughs. Blood splatters all over them, and the camera even zooms in for a shadowy glimpse of the hand being julienned in a bowl full of blood and flesh. Tasty. I may have been screaming in a psychotic combination of glee and visceral disgust during this whole awesome display of gore, but you cannot prove it. The show hasn’t been that gory in a while, and it definitely beats out the hand-down-the-garbage-disposal from “Home” in Season One. The students, raised in the post-Columbine generation, scatter, duck and bolt as the teacher rushes poor screaming, bloody Jock and his mangled hand pass Janitor Sammy—who has quite a mess to clean up now— and down the hall. Guess what? Jock ain’t a jock anymore. It’s a tragedy. Emo McGee, who is splattered in Jock’s blood, passes out. Sammy rushes over to him and notices an icky black substance oozes from his ear, and THAT seriously skeeves me out, maybe more than the hand in the food processor. Ick. Emo McGee is disoriented and woozily asks Janitor Sammy what happened. Sammy just frowns and has nothing good to say.

In the deserted hallway, Sammy is using his trusty EMF monitor to check for any readings, when Dean finds him, wearing an absolutely fetching Truman High tracksuit. And I haven’t been this happy with the guys’ wardrobes since “In My Time of Dying” when Dean ran around for the whole hour in a tee shirt and thin cotton pants. He looks loose and comfortable and gorgeous. Red is definitely his color. Sammy asks how the “Non-Violence Assembly” is going. “Apparently shoving a kid’s arm into a Cuisinart is not a healthy display of anger.” No, but it makes great TV. Ha! Sam tells Dean that he saw ectoplasm leaking out of his ear, and figures they are dealing with a ghost possession from a very angry spirit. Sammy does admit that they can’t figure out where the ghost is haunting, exactly, as it’s not giving off any readable electromagnetic activity. They need to find record of “someone dying bloody” inside the school. Dean, picking an incredibly odd time to start doing his homework, already found out that “three of the cheerleaders are legal” and “there was only one death on campus back in ’98, some kid named Barry Cook.” Um…quoi? Suddenly Sad Sammy snatches the paper in shock and surprise. Dean says that he “slit his wrists in the first floor girls’ bathroom” which is where poor Taylor was “swirly-ed to death.” Obviously, they figure out that the ghost is possessing nerds and using them to go after bullies. Sam confesses that “Barry had a hard time” in school.

In another seamless transition, the camera zooms tight on Wee Sam’s face and then curls around to show the busy hallways Truman in 1997. Barry, the kid Sam met on his first day, walks down the hall when an older jock swipes his books and sends them flying down the hallway. Students in the hall laugh as Barry scrambles to gather up his textbooks and pencil case. As Sam dutifully helps him, we learn that Barry is counting the days until he’s free from high school and he can go to Michigan State and becoming a veterinarian, because “animals are a lot nicer than people.”

Janitor’s Closet. Young Dean is making out with Tinkerbell, and describing his perfect date night to her: “you. Me. A bucket of popcorn extra butter. And a midnight screening of ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ at the Cinedome.” He says between kisses. Tinkerbell can’t because she has an eleven o’clock curfew. Dean, having a terrible father, who rather fight demons and train his sons like warriors than be a good parent, and a crispified mother, doesn’t understand. “So if I break it, my folks will ground me for a month,” she explains. “Yeah, parents terrifying,” Dean buhs. I guess the threat of eternal grounding isn’t exactly scary when you were raised to battle evil. Tinkerbell is shocked to learn that Dean’s father has left him to his own devices for two weeks while he’s “on a job.” Dean claims he has a “pretty sweet set-up at The Pines [Motel]. HBO, Magic Fingers, free ice, it’s great.” I definitely agree with him on the free ice, but apparently, he’s never swiped Citrus-Infused Water from Marriott lobby in downtown Chicago. It is fantastic! Dean and I are both incredibly cheap dates. Back to the show. “I do whatever I want, when I want, it’s perfect.” Dean admits. When Tinkerbell asks him if he misses his dad, Dean becomes uncharacteristically quiet, because his bravado is hiding the fact that he is more than likely petrified that his father will never come back and exhausted from the responsibility of taking care of a 14-year-old while he’s gone. Dean ends their make-out session and greets Sammy as he walks through the halls with Barry, who thinks Dean is cool, and even cooler because he was hanging out with Tinkerbell. Sammy and Barry walk directly into the path of Burly Bully, who towers over Wee Sammy and outweighs him by a good 75 pounds. “Hey, tough guy, still want to take [Barry’s] place?” Barry runs to get a teacher, and Wee Brave Sammy places a hand on Barry’s rotund tummy to keep him from following. The whole school gathers around to watch Burly Bully antagonize and then punch poor Sammy. Wee Sammy falls to his hands and knees, and struggles with anger and the fact that he could easily kick this bastard’s ass. Unfortunately, Mr. Wyatt arrives to escort Burly Bully to the principal’s office before Wee Sammy can unleash a smackdown that he deserves. Barry stands behind Sam as he watches him go.

And I want to take a moment to praise the flashbacks. Usually, I hate flashbacks in television shows, especially when they don’t use the same actors. Supernatural has always made the flashbacks fit flawlessly into the plot of the show and it always sheds an enormous amount of light on the characters, painting them as layered, complete, and complicated people in a usually gut-wrenching, heartbreaking manner. Bravo!

We fade into Sad Sammy salting and burning his childhood friend’s bones. “So long Barry Cook,” Dean says, somewhat insensitively. Rain coats the Metallicar’s otherwise pristine windshield as Sammy broods in the passenger seat. “You alright?” Dean asks, and for some reason him saying that feels wonderful. It comforts ME because it’s been months since he was worried about Sam, and not the other way around. Regardless of how big and strong and big Sammy is, he is still Dean’s younger brother, and Dean will always try to protect and worry about him. That’s just the way it is. “Barry was my friend, and I just burned his bones,” Sam responds. And no, he’s definitely not alright. “Well, he’s at peace now, Sam.” Dean offers weakly. “I mean if Dad had let us stay just a little while longer, maybe I could have helped the kid,” Sammy shoulda-coulda-wouldas. Dean, being pragmatic, admits that Barry was on every anti-anxiety and anti-depressant available, and his parents had just gotten divorced. He even admits that “school was hell for that kid”—and we know Dean is sensitive about the use of the word “Hell”—and he “just wanted out.” Sam couldn’t have saved him. Dean skillfully changes the subject, and admits he was glad they left that school because he hated it. Dean wonders why Sam didn’t think it was “that bad” after “what happened to [him].”

Whiteout to Wee Sammy sitting outside on the bleachers, brooding as Dean plots Burly Bully’s death in a way only Dean can. “That kid’s dead! I’m going to rip his LUNGS OUT!” Hee! Brock hasn’t exactly mastered the Dean growl, but neither did Dean until the end of Season One…it’s as close as anyone else can get. Sammy pleads for him to “just shut up” because he doesn’t need Dean’s help. “That’s right, you don’t. You could have torn him apart, why didn’t you?” “Because I don’t want to be the freak for once Dean. I want to be normal.” And the writers just scored majority continuity points, because Giant Sammy hates being considered a freak just as much as Wee Samy. “So taking a beating, that’s normal?” Dean asks. I could easily site the whole Superman-complex to back up Sam’s argument (Superman’s alterego Clark Kent is a bumbling, spineless wimp not because that’s how Kal-el saw mankind, etc) but I won’t. Sammy is smart enough to know that most kids aren’t trained to take down grown men and demons, so he hides it. Sammy asks if Dean’s heard from his father. Dean pouts that they’re going to have to stay another week, and he is weirded out because Tinkerbell wants Dean to meet her parents, and he “doesn’t do parents” as he’s never had a real one.

Wee Sammy gets detained by the teacher by Mr. Wyatt. Sam is worried that he got in trouble about the fight, but Mr. Wyatt wants to talk to Sam about the essay he wrote. His most memorable family experience was killing a werewolf with his dad and brother. Mr. Wyatt gives him an A even though he believes Sam wrote mistakenly wrote a fictional story because he it was a well-written. Being an English teacher, Mr. Wyatt asks if Wee Sam has ever thought about pursuing a career in writing. “I can’t. I have to go into the family business” which is wink-wink car repair. It just occurs to me, and hopefully to the audience Wee Sammy thought about doing anything else but hunting demons. He was born into a world of parent-stealing evil and violence and assumed that he had to stay there. If your heart has broken already, you won’t make it to the end of the episode, so bail now. Mr. Wyatt asks Sam point blank if he wants to follow his dad and brother’s footsteps. “No one’s ever asked me that before,” Sam says. And then? “More than anything, no.” Mr. Wyatt then offers Sam probably the most invaluable piece of advice of his young life: “I don’t want to over step my bounds here, but you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Look, I know what it’s like, I come from a family of surgeons and that wasn’t me. So I traded in the money and prestige of being a doctor for all the glamour you see around you. The point is there may be three or four big choices that shape someone’s whole life, and you need to be the one that makes them. Not anyone else. Just live the life you want to live.” And those are probably the most beautiful, precious words Sammy has ever heard in his entire life.

Everyone has a teacher that touches their lives and makes them feel special. For me, it was my first grade teacher, Ms. Harris, who was Southern and had perfect red hair and was the most glamorous and smart woman I’d ever seen. For Wee Samuel Winchester, it’s Mr. Wyatt. We now know why Sammy was so determined to get back to this school and why he had the strength to leave his family behind for Stanford.

The next morning, Dean drives Sammy back to the school, so he can have his “Oh, Captain, my Captain moment” with his former teacher. In a neat moment of continuity, the camera spirals around Giant Sammy and then morphs into Wee Sammy as he runs his fingers through his hair, then back to Giant Sammy as he does the same thing with that almost-mullet. When Sammy turns into the Antichrist, can he get a makeover? I’m thinking a trendy fauxhawk, some eyeliner and black suits. Yes? No? Before Sammy can even knock on the door, a young, tiny student mysteriously appears out of nowhere to ask for directions. I now know that if I ever get the pleasure of meeting Jared Padalecki, I will come up to about his navel, because this girl and I are about the same size. After Darling Sammy gives her directions, she smiles sweetly and innocently, and says, “Thanks, Sam.” Wait, WHAT?! Sam quirks his head to the side like the confused puppy he is because she thanked him by name. Kung Fu Spice takes this moment to whip out her standard issue tenth grade compass and stab Sammy in on one his finely chiseled pectoral muscles! Possessed or not, this bitch needs to die! How dare she defile the sacred pec! Her voice drops several octaves when she proclaims, “you got tall, Winchester!” And she then does what my father taught me to do to bring guys to bring them down: she kicks him swiftly in the balls. And honestly, I’m more pissed off about the pec-stabbing than the scrotum-kicking, because I know where Lil’ Sammy’s been, and I want none of it. She follows up the nutcracker kick with a roundhouse to the face that sends Sammy (well, his stunt-double) crashing into the lockers and then to the floor. Why is Sam getting his ass kicked by a 15-year-old? I know he knows he could render this possessed girl a vegetable if he actually fought back, but come on, Sam! Man up! Ectoplasm oozes out of Kung-Fu Spice’s mouth as Sammy recovers, takes out his trusty flask, and pours a handful of salt in his palm. Since when does he carry salt in his flask? Mighty convenient, show! Anyway, he rolls to his knees and jams the stuff down her throat. Kung-Fu Spice shakes and wiggles as the salt forces the ghost out of her. The black blob of the ghost bounces down the hall and splatters through the ceiling like demonic flubber. Cool! Sammy saved the girl from the ghost, but she now has high blood pressure from ingesting a year’s worth of salt.

The funniest part about this whole scene is that he cradles the now unconscious Kung Fu Spice the gorgeous chest she stabbed not seconds ago. He caringly hooks his chin over her head even though he’s still on his damn knees. Wow. He’s huge!

Dean has parked the Metallicar near a scenic creek with a bridge used in the pilot as a backdrop. (Another fantastic touch!) Sammy is nursing his ego and his wounds. Dean digs in a cooler and produces a thoroughly chilled bottle of what looks like malt liquor. “Trust me, this’ll help.” At first, I think he means drinking it it’ll help with the pain of his pectoral puncture wound and be a great disinfectant, but Sammy sheepishly takes the bottle and gingerly places it between his legs. Hee! I can hold that there, Sam. “That ghost is dead!” Dean seethes. “I’m going to rips its LUNGS OUT!” Dean growls, providing his character continuity. “Well, you know what I mean,” he amends, because ghosts don’t actually have lungs. And I know this entire scene—Dean worried about Sam’s injured johnson and defending his honor and all—is going to send Wincest fandom into a frenzy.

“It knew my name, Dean, my real name.” Sam declares, “what the hell?” Clearly, he’s bewildered because both Sam and Dean thought that Barry was the ghost and the case was essentially over. Dean figures they missed something and checks out the stolen stats on the three nerds-turned-aggressors, and realizes that all of them ride the same bus. But it’s confusing because as far as Dean knows, “Ghosts are tied to the places that they haunt, they can’t just bail.” But Studious Sammy knows that there is “lore about ghosts possessing people and riding them for miles…when they leave the body, they’re bungeyed back to their usual haunt, but until then the ghosts can go wherever they want.” “Ghosts getting creative, well that’s super,” Dean glums and opens his own bottle of malt liquor while they gameplan.

To make a long recap shorter, it’s time to summarize! Sammy and Dean investigate the bus “a flap of skin, a hangnail” anything that could tie the ghost to the bus. When Dean looks into the glove compartment, he finds that driving permit was issued just two weeks ago—right before attacks started—to a Dirk McGregor, Sr. Sammy, of course, knew Dirk, Jr. “Did you know everybody at this school?” Dean wonders.

Flashback. School is letting out and Sammy steps outside to see Burly Bully once again picking on helpless Barry. He immediately comes to his defense, “Leave him alone, Dirk!” That’s right, folks, Dirk Jr., is the Burly Bully. “You never learn, do you, MIDGET?” Dirk hisses. Sam sighs and tells Barry to get on the bus. When he tries to follow, Dirk pushes Sammy to the ground again and starts to heckle him. “Come on LOSE-chester, let’s see what you got? Come on, FREAK!” Dirk found the magic word, because Wee Sammy springs up from the ground and shoves Dirk, ready to RUUUUMMMMMBBLLLLE!! Dirk swings, and Agile Sammy dodges it, and clobbers him with a punch to the gut. Sammy backs up and lets Dirk take the offensive. Dirk swings and misses again, allowing Sam to nail him in the stomach and knee him chest, and then punch him in the face. Sam continues, punching him with a left and a right, and then kicks him at bend of his knee, taking Dirk to the ground before effectively finishing the fight with a teeth-rattling haymaker! The crowd, of course, cheers Wee Sammy on and so do I, because Wee Sammy is better at the hand-to-hand than Giant Sammy. Wee Sammy gets his first lesson in how to loom and tower over bad guys as he leans over Dirk to inform him, “You’re not tough, you’re just a jerk! Dirk the Jerk.” And now the Burly Bully runs away as the crowd laughs and chants “DIRK THE JERK! DIRK THE JERK!” The tables have been turned.

Are you proud of Sam? Are you glad he put that bully in his place? Just wait, because you’re going to feel like shit in about two minutes.

The guys visit Daddy Dirk claiming to be friends of late son. Dirk’s father is an old man, who looks like a cross between a Santa Claus without the beard and Bilbo Baggins without the hobbit feet. He has white eyelashes, sad eyes, and seems eternally grateful for the company. Dirk apparently passed away when he was 18 from booze and drugs. “He slipped through my fingers. It was my fault.” Daddy Dirk guiltily admits, because because “school was never easy for Dirk” because “they didn’t have much money. Kids picked on him. They called him poor and dirty and stupid. They even had a nickname for him: Dirk the Jerk.” Sammy gulps down his responsibility for that. To make matters even worse, Dirk’s mother suffered for years with cancer before dying when Dirk was thirteen. It fell to Dirk, Jr. to “makes sure Jane got her medicine” and clean up after her, because Dirk, Sr. worked three jobs. Sammy looks at a picture of Dirk, young and clean and smiling like a normal kid. Not the mindless blowhard he remembers. Now, it’s time for Daddy Dirk (the mean, evil writers) to twist the knife a bit deeper. “You watch somebody die slow, waste away to nothing, it does things to a person, horrible things.” Dirk never talked about the mighty, psychological burden his mother’s death took on his son but he knew that he was incredibly angry. And that’s why he bullied kids at school. Dean takes over for Sammy, who looks like he may vomit from the heady realizations that he and Dirk actually had some common ground, and lies to Daddy Dirk about wanting to pay respects to his son. Dirk was cremated. “All of him?” Dean blurts out. HA! Daddy Dirk apparently keeps a lock of his hair in his Bible on his bus.

The dead of night. Papa Dirk’s haunted bus plows through the fog, taking the still unspecified sports team to or from a game or meet. Eddie, a huge dude who looks like a Hell’s Angel with his bald, goatee and sun-weathered skin, is a substitute driver for Daddy Dirk. We know he’s haunted by his devilish smile, but ectoplasm leaks out of his nose for the folks in the back. Coach asks Ectoplasm Eddie to watch his speed, but Ectoplasm Eddie is on the plan for revenge. Fortunately for everyone on the bus not named Ectoplasm Eddie, it is derailed by a row of spikes placed in the middle of the road by Sammy and Dean. The bus rolls over them and blows all of its tires, forcing Ectoplasm Eddie steer the bus to the shoulder of the road running through the Canadian backwoods. Ectoplasm Eddie steps off the bus to smell the air and look evil and isn’t surprised when Sammy pops out of nowhere, a shotgun trained on his back. “Winchester?” he sneers, “what are you going to do? Shoot me?” “Don’t need to!” Dean pops up and ties Eddie up with a length of rope that’s been soaked in salt water to keep the ghost from jumping bodies. Um, okay. Sure. I guess that works. Dean bounds on the bus, and demands everyone to stay where they are in his best hero voice. Someone asks if he’s the gym teacher and he blows his cover. Sort of. “I’m like 21 Jump Street. The busdriver sells pot. Yeah!” Hee! Now I don’t remember the show “21 Jump Street”, but I don’t think Johnny Depp ran around tying people up in ropes soaked in condiments. Dean’s cute enough to make the kids buy it, so they do. But Scrappy Doo can’t find the hair, and Ectoplasm Eddie apparently stashed it somewhere they’ll never find it. Ew. Not there, nasty!

Sammy, desperate, slams him against the side of the bus and demands to know where the hair is. “Sam Winchester, still a bully.” God, this ghost is clueless! Ectoplasm Eddie decides to launch into a tirade about the evils of Sammy the Bully and the jocks who think they’re better than everyone else. “To you I was just Dirk the Jerk, right?” Um, you tortured him from the second you saw him, so yeah, that’s what you were. “Now you evil sons a bitches are going to get what’s coming to you.” “I’m not evil, Dirk!” YES YOU ARE! I KEEP WAITING FOR THAT EVIL TO EMERGE! “I’m not!” Sammy implores. “And neither were you. Trust me, I’ve seen real evil. We were scared and miserable, and we took it out on each other. That’s high school, but you suffer through that, and it gets better. I’m just sorry you didn’t get a chance to see that. You or Barry.” Sammy explains, continuing to break my heart. But this isn’t exactly comforting to Dirk the Ghost. “Things aren’t going to get better for me, not ever!” He screams and gains the strength to snap through those salt-encrusted ropes. Sammy shoots him (and his host body) twice in the chest. Granted it’s rock salt, but OUCH. Dirk the Ghost jumps from Eddie to Plump Stan on the bus, who tackles Sammy and starts pummeling him all about the face and head. Dean shoots the poor possessed bastard in the back, but that has no effect, and Sammy would rather he find the hair and not further injure the teenager. Dean searches and searches, and even pats down a wheezing Eddie and eventually finds the hair in his boot. He immediately torches it, killing the ghost in an impressive display of computer generated sparks and fire. Plump Stanley promptly passes out ontop of Sam, who chokes and coughs beneath his weight, and it’s a lot funnier than it should be because of Jared’s long, long limbs. “Lil’ help!” he hisses as Dean comments about Plump Stanley giving his brother “the full cowgirl!” Hee!

Want to know why Dean hates Truman High School? Here’s why: Dean being Dean decides to sabotage his relationship with Tinkerbell by making out with an unnamed dimpled brunette and gets caught by Tinkerbell. But she’s not mad at him. She feels sorry for him because she thought that “maybe underneath your whole, I-could-give-a-crap bad boy thing that there was something more going on, like the way you are with your brother. But I was wrong. You spend so much time trying to convince people that you’re cool, but it’s just an act. We both know that you’re a sad, lonely little kid, and I feel sorry for you Dean.” And she says this in front of the whole school. Dean’s only response is “Don’t feel sorry for me. I save lives. I’m a hero. A HERO!” to Amanda’s retreating form. Tinkerbell is right, and it reads all over his pretty, pretty face. As this is happening to Dean, Sammy is being congratulated and praised by everyone in school for whooping Dirk the Jerk’s ass. So there Sam learns the rewards of doing the right thing, and eventually decides to dedicate his life to doing the right thing the RIGHT WAY. John soon arrives to collect the boys. Dean trips over himself to get out of that school, and Sam has a newfound confidence, but he has to leave Barry. Without his protector, Barry will be terrorized by Dirk the Jerk until he kills himself just that next year. Dirk will suffer for three more years before dying as well.

Sammy’s “Dead Poet’s Society” moment isn’t exactly a happy one. He admits to Mr. Wyatt that he did indeed go to college, probably because the advice he gave him, but that eventually the real world responsibilities caught up with him and he had to deal with that. Sammy thanks him for “taking an interest in him when no one else did.” Mr. Wyatt, being a teacher, replies, “the only thing that really matters is that you’re happy. Are you happy, Sam?” Jared Padalecki’s face barely moves. His lips tense a tiny bit, but his eyes seem to sink and darken as the camera tracks his face and eventually fades to black. He’s not happy. He only had four years to live his life the way he wanted before he was blindsided by the death of his girlfriend, and then everything he ran away from, and then the fast-approaching apocalypse.

The episode was heavy, not only for the boys, but for anyone who has dealt with bullies and teasing and lives ending far too soon. It was fantastic and sad and smart and very, very real. Sammy and I are the same age and it dealt with a lot of issues I experienced as a youth. Fortunately, my biggest worry is trying to find and keep a job in this economy, and not the safety of the human race. As always, Sam and Dean’s terrible lives put everything in perspective. Thank you, boys.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Pop Culture Thanksgiving

By this point in your Thanksgiving holiday, the turkey has been devoured and the pants are unbuttoned and you’re either curled up by the fire watching movies and dozing, or huddled over the Thursday sale papers to gameplan how to get the most Black Friday loot. I’d like to take a brief pause between slices of homemade coconut cake and my mother’s sweet potato pie to list what I am thankful for in pop culture! I know you’re excited! Let’s go!

*Rihanna’s “Rehab” Video featuring Justin Timberlake.
Justin’s Timberlake’s recent surprise “SNL” appearance reminded us why he is a Grammy-winning, Emmy-winning superstar at the ripe ole age of 27. He can do the impossible: upstage Beyonce and look fierce in a leotard and heels. In the music video for a song he wrote and produced, Mr. SexyBack and Sasha Fierce’s biggest competition, Rihanna, combine their uber-hottness in a way that is nothing but scrumptious, sexy candy for the senses. The video has no actual plot, but is a live action work of art. There’s a gulf-stream trailer and leather and tattoos and those weird one-piece fashion suits celebrities have suddenly decided are the new black. All of these pieces add up to three-and-half minutes of visual ambrosia that will leave you very much addicted.

*Pink’s “Funhouse”.
Pop’s baddest bitch discovers her inner singer-songwriter just in time for The Divorce Album. True to Pink form, she’s not crying in the corner. In her most coherent and focused LP, Pink honestly and cathartically presses the bruises and scars left by her split with motocross champ, Carey Hart. The crash-bang fury of “So What”, the party anthem-turned-ex-husband-hate-mail that launched the album, ebbs away to expose the softer side of a rocker chick in beautiful ballads like “Glitter in the Air” and “Crystal Ball.” It saddens me that Pink doesn’t garner the unabashed praise that is erroneously heaped onto her poptastic competition (Katy Perry, Beyonce, even Miley friggin’ Cyrus), because she is a consistent, self-aware and open musician, who wholeheartedly deserves it. I downloaded this disc when it leaked two weeks before the album’s release date, and loved it enough to buy it when it was in stores. A month later, I am suddenly enamored with songs I usually skipped, like “One Foot Wrong” and “Please Don’t Leave Me.” Other tracks, like “Funhouse,” “Ave Mary A” and “Bad Influence”, make you selfishly glad she got divorced.

If you haven’t noticed by my extremely detailed and snarky blogs immediately following this entry, I have been completely obsessed with this show, and have been since early last season. It is the best television show (about two brothers who hunt demons and other “supernatural” monsters) you’ve never heard about, complete with dreamy lead actors in Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles and fantastic writing. I’ve stopped watching the shark-jumping “Grey’s Anatomy” for this show, and you should too! Jeffrey Dean Morgan died on this show before Denny was a even a figment of Shonda Rhimes’ imagination. So it’s odd that he is playing a ghost on a medical drama. It’s just one more reason, you need to watch this show.

Oh and just for laughs, find their Supernatural Convention videos on Youtube. Those two riff off each other and make the most mundane of stories absolutely hilarious. You can also discover how scarily dedicated their fandom is. Hee!

*“Seven Pounds” Trailer.
There is nothing better than a trailer to a new movie. Trailers are an adrenaline-packed promise of what a movie can be or what the producers and directors think it IS. They’re all gleaming and slickly spliced and hit all of the right buttons in order to get butts in those expensive, red velvet seats. The promo for Will Smith’s new movie, “Seven Pounds” is thirty-seconds of mounting drama that leaves me aching for its opening day, Dec. 19th. Will Smith’s character has apparently done something terrible and decides to pay it forward to seven strangers—one of which is Rosario Daweson—before doing something unthinkable to himself? Yes, please!

*Ugly Betty, “When Betty Meets YETI.”
Last week’s installment of “Ugly Betty” reminded me why American Ferrera is nothing but awesome, and why “Ugly Betty” is still a fabulous fun. While I find the show a warm and fuzzy guilty pleasure with its frothy, pop art aesthetic and deliciously eccentric characters, I also have a very real and very sincere appreciation for its entire premise: a big-hearted, hardworking, not Elle’s versions of pretty woman works at the nation’s hottest fashion magazine. She’s no “Gossip Girl” or tarty career woman desperate for a man, she’s a Queens raised daughter of a Mexican immigrant who wants nothing more than to succeed in a cut-throat business while maintaining her innate goodness. “When Betty Met YETI” pits Betty and Marc against each other as they vie for a career-launching slot in the Young Editors Training Initiative. In true Betty form, she has two days to come up with an idea, goes the most logical root, then starts over, compelled to follow her heart. Her application pitch for B Magazine is not a fashion mag, of course, but one that encourages young women to be smart, intelligent, confident and powerful. In short, it’s the anti-“Cosmo”. She is picked over Marc, who spent three months creating an entire magazine that serves as both of a subscriber and critique of the celebrity machine. He nastily points out that it was because of affirmative action, and Betty’s reaction is so viscerally real that I wanted to cry watching her reaction.

“Ugly Betty” uses the backdrop of kitsch and camp to comment on the true uglies of society, and uses the completely wonderful brilliant, undeniable talented American Ferrera as the main source of beauty. As a woman of color who has to put on heels to reach 5’2’’ and hasn’t been skinny since 2004, I can relate to Betty (and America) more than any character on television, and for that I am truly grateful.

*Barack Obama.
After a 20-month president campaign, I constantly have to remind myself that it is over. That we have a winner, and it doesn’t involve the (feminist) nightmare that is Sarah Palin. That when I see Barack Obama speaking with Barbara Walters or Dianne Sawyer, he’s speaking as the President-elect, and not the Democratic National Nominee vying for votes. And every time that happens, I swell with a pride I didn’t think I would feel in my lifetime, and simultaneously breathe a sigh of relief, because not only is he an admirable man who's rejuvenated the American Dream through his smart, no-nonsense politics, swagger and unflappable aplomb, he is this country's first black president. This writer has no way of expressing how she felt during those historic moments on Tuesday, November 4th even though I've tried every day since. I’m awe-stricken and hopeful for the first time in eight years. The icing on a truly wonderful cake? My birthday gift will be watching President-elect Barack Obama become President Barack Obama. That is a present for the entire nation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snarky Supernatural Recap: I Know What You Did Last Summer

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are 87 miles away from me at a “Supernatural” Convention. 87 miles. That’s all the preamble you’re getting for this awesome episode, because knowing that fact, I can barely concentrate on anything else. Let’s delve into the angsty goodness, shall we?

The episode opens in the patient’s room in a mental hospital. The décor—the old-fashioned bed with white metal headboards, the windows with antique moldings, even the stark white of the walls—screams, “Girl, Interrupted.” It is a classic mental hospital setting. And our patient is playing classic crazy: slackened mouth, aimless gaze as she listens to the crescendo of voices in her head. A soothing, female rich voice calls the patient’s name, asking her if she knows where she is. She looks as if she has been given the Paula Abdul cocktail of drugs, and isn’t aware of anything really, except the whispers in her mind that immediately cease when the doctor speaks. “You’re at the Connor-Beverly Behavioral Medicine Center.” Against the white of the walls, Anna’s hair looks as if her colorist is three packets Cherry Kool-Aid, and not Ken Paves. Free from her happy place, Cherry fingers the medical bracelet on her wrist as if she’s never seen it before. The unseen doctor asks her if she knows why she is there, and Cherry gives her a groggy shrug as an answer. “You were hysterical. It took four people to restrain you.” “I was trying to warn them…everyone. Forget it. It was stupid,” Cherry begins, but loses her confidence, because she knows they thinks she is “nuts, but it’s all true.” The doctor speaks with an irritatingly slow and melodic cadence that is reserved for crying babies and crazy people. She is a professional woman with her make-up perfectly applied, every curly over-highlighted hair in place. Since this scene is classic, she has her legs crossed in her lap and a pen in her hand—the classic psychiatrist. “You can tell me, I’m here to listen,” Doc says. And I take a moment to realize that this is the first time (in months? Years?) I can remember two women occupying a scene on “Supernatural” in which they weren’t naked, hysterical, or under the Jedi-mindtrick of some pervert. This is groundbreaking television, people. “The end is coming. The apocalypse.” Cherry explains in jilted speech. I can tell the drugs are controlling her terror. “Like in the Bible?” Doc says, and she seems oddly hopeful (because Anna is talking to her) and stupidly unaffected (because she’s thinks this girl is three meatballs short of spaghetti). “Kind of Anna says. Same bottom line. This demon, Lilith is trying to break the 66 seals to free Lucifer from hell. Lucifer will bring the apocalypse. So smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” Wait, she ain’t crazy?! She’s right on. I am officially rooting for this girl, because if you honestly knew about the apocalypse, wouldn’t you lose your damn mind? I know I would. But this also makes me wonder if schizophrenics are really just people who are somehow receptive to The Truth, and it’s so violently awful that they can’t articulate it and who would believe them if they could? Now, that is a terrifying thought.

The whispers pull Cherry back in a trance-like state, and once again, her head tilts to the side, and her mouth parts. Doc asks her what she was doing once she snaps back to…earth and Anna says she was “just listening.” She recounts more about Lilith’s progress bringing about the apocalypse, but then confesses that Lilith just has to open 66 out of 600 possible seals, so that makes it “nearly impossible to stop her. That’s why the angels are losing. That’s why we’re all gonna die.” Cherry sure is a breath of fresh air, isn’t she?

Outside of Cherry’s room, a ridiculously large orderly wheels a creaky medical cart and enters with her paper cup of pills. Cherry, of course, is rocking back and forth and drawing in a sketchbook, because that’s what classically crazy people do when their not bouncing around padded rooms in straight jackets and listening to angels. Cherry turns around, and is immediately and inexplicably scared of the approaching orderly. “What’s the matter, sweetie?” The orderly in a such a breezy, innocent way that I almost believe he’s not there to kill her, but I’ve watched this show for three years now and I know what’s what. “Your face!?” She gasps and slides backwards on her bed and back to the wall. “What happened to your face?” To the normal, non-supernatural eye, the orderly’s face is perfectly ordinary, but Cherry can see something beneath it. She can see through it like Dean could before he bit it back in “No Rest For The Wicked.” “I know,” Demon Orderly says, letting his eyes flip beetle-black, “I’m downright kissable.” He shushes her in an entirely creepy way and takes his time stepping inside the room and securing the door. Cherry cowers against the wall, but then her eyes grow wide and she stares at bureau a few feet away from the demon like it is some sort of weapon. Like it occurs to her that she can heave it at him in order to protect herself. So she does. WITH HER MIND!111. The enormous bureau careens forward and slams into the demon’s chest. The sheer force knocks him backwards, head shattering glass window, and rendering him unconscious. Cherry darts forward, sidesteps the subdued demon pinned against the door and bodily yanks it open just enough so she can slip through the space and presumably out of the hospital. FREE WINONA!

Awesome title card. Our beautiful heroes are…in a skeevy bar hustling some poor stupid bald biker. Why do I know they are hustling pool? First, they’re playing pool. Second, because Sammy’s “drunk” and we all know he doesn’t drink. Third, Dean runs up to the bar and pleads for his brother to stop, which Dean would never do. He’d beat him with a pool cue and drag him out of the bar by his collar if he actually sloshed enough to loose so much money. Finally, the devious duo shares a conspiratorial eyebrow quirk after Sam pushes the bet up to $500. Part of me wishes Sam was drunk so he can hilariously go off on Dean like he did in the awful “Playthings.” Remember Sam’s fine bod draped in that chair and laughing, all “you’re bossy….[giggles] and short……..stupid”? We like Hammered Sammy! Sorry. Again, 87 miles! My mind is going to wander! Dean stands sentry as Faux-Drunk Sam leans all the way down to take aim and sinks four balls on the break. Bald Biker sighs in disbelief. Sam’s fake-drunk face is hilariously pinched and his eyebrows are primly knitted together. He looks pleased with his break. Man, Sam truly has embraced the life. Sam’s blue eyes swing out and in the negative space of bar patrons, he sees Ruby 2.0 sitting at a distance table. He instantly sobers. “Keep the money.” Dean’s gorgeous eyes fly to Sam in horror. And if that’s not eye porn, I don’t know what is. “Keep the money?!” Dean and I echo, horrified. Sam says as stands all the way up, slides the cue on the table and walks away. Dean is confused until he sees Ruby 2.0 and he too forgets about the cash and remembers his violent disdain for the black-eyed skank whom we haven’t seen since I started my lucrative recapping career with “Metamorphosis.” Sam approaches Ruby 2.0 but can barely weep about how much he missed her before Dean bursts in, “You have a lot of nerve showing up anywhere near me.” AND OMG, I just said that to a disgusting guy at the bar the other day. Hee! “I just have some info and then I’m gone,” Ruby assures him. Yay! Make it snappy, Wildfire! Ruby has updates from the demon grapevine, “a girl named Anna Milton escaped from a locked ward yesterday. The demons seem pretty keen on finding her. Apparently, some real heavyhitters turned out for the Easter Egg Hunt,” she says directly to Sam because Dean steps away to procure some much-needed alcohol. Ruby doesn’t know who this woman is, but assumes she is valuable, because the demons want her ALIVE. She suggests that they “find this girl before the demons do.” Ruby and Dean snipe at each other, because he hates her both on principal—she’s a demon, thus the enemy—and he believes she tricked Sam into using his DEE-monic Telekinesis. I don’t know about you, Dean, but that’s a GOOD thing…for those of us who like Bad Sign Sammy. Ultimately, I don’t care who hates whom for what reason, I just love bitchy Dean. “Well it sure ain’t goose-chasin’ after some chick who for all we know doesn’t exist just because you think she’s important.” He thinks Anna doesn’t even exist and lies about being on a case. Ruby’s all “I told you, I’m done with it.” Sam nearly pleads for the name of the hospital.

Metallicar. Back road. Rainy night. On the phone, Fed-Like Sammy asks to get a copy of the missing person’s report as Dean steeps in his bitchiness at the wheel. When Sammy hangs up, he then relishes in the opportunity to tell Dean that Anna Milton is in fact a real person. “Don’t mean the case is real, and this hospital is a three-day drive,” Dean grumps. Man, I wonder how many miles are on that car. “We’ve driven further for less, Dean.” Sam points out. Silently, Dean shakes his head and steams in unspoken frustration in the exact way my mother does, which drives me absolutely batty, because grown-ups should USE THEIR WORDS. Apparently, that fucking expression has the same effect on Sam and he challenges, “You got somethin’ to say, say it.” And Dean’s all, “oh it’s on now,” but can only come up with “this sucks.” Sammy needlessly points out that Dean’s not mad that they’re following up on the girl; he’s “pissed Ruby threw us the tip.” I think they’ve established that. Pull over, take off your shirts and start throwing punches, please. “As far as you’re concerned that hell-bitch is practically family. Man, something major must have happened on while I was downstairs, because I come back and you’re BFF with a demon.” Sammy is as defensive and guarded as ever, and says that Ruby just helped him go after Lilith. “Thanks for the thumbnail, real vivid.” Dean asks for more information, for more details, because he just can’t wrap his mind around why he trusts Ruby 2.0 so completely. And I need to interject for a moment. Besides the season premiere when Dean thought Sam used some black mojo to bring him back to life, when has Dean ever asked Sam how he coped after he died? He hasn’t, has he? Punk. Back to the action. Now it’s Sammy turn to be a fabulous bitch, “Sure Dean, let’s trade stories! You first, how was hell? Don’t spare the details!” He snarks in scathing sarcasm. Hee! Dean, as we saw last week, refuses to talk about hell, so he says nothing. Sam turns his eyes back to the road, and angrily triumphant because Dean isn’t sharing his the dark traumas that haunt him, so neither is Sam. As the Winchesters settle into yet another long drive, Sam’s face settles in one of stony sadness, because he is remembering his own personal hell.

The screen flashes in a cool and literal transition into a flashback to “Six Months Later” as indicated by the words on the screen. It is dark. Sammy digs a huge hole with his bare hands. When he grabs the rusted tin and sets it in the hole, I know that he is at the crossroads that Dean went to save Sam’s life in “All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2.” Sam claws dirt over the box with one hand and clutches a liquor bottle in the other. The Woeful Orchestra of Woe creates an intense ambiance Sam sloppily stands up and guzzles from the bottle not caring about the burn. He’s self-medicating, but there’s not enough liquor on the planet to staunch the aching loneliness. Swaying, he kicks dirt over the hole with his giant feet. Sammy is truly inebriated, and it’s anything but funny. Sam’s giant shadow looms over the ground as he stumbles and drinks and waits for the Crossroads Demon. When it doesn’t come fast enough, he rages, “COME ON!” and hurls the bottle into the cold night air. “Where the hell are you?” Sammy spins around and squints into the night air. A tight shot reveals that our pristine darling Sammy looks very worse for the wear, all unkempt hair and shadows under dark eyes. “I was wondering whether to come or not, I mean you shot one of my co-workers,” the MALE Crossroads Demon says as he stands a distance away under a light. Remember, folks, the Crossroads Demon that Sammy killed in “Bedtime Stories” was played by none other than his former fiancée, Sandra Not-Padalecki. And that was really mean. I apologize. Her name is Sandra McCoy, and I loved her in the video for NSYNC’s “Pop.” She was quite bubbly and effervescent and adorable.

And wait just a damn minute! Every other Crossroads Demon has been female, so why are they suddenly sending a man? Is there just as much sexism in the demon world as there is in the mortal one? And no, Sarah Palin’s candidacy for Vice-President isn’t a valid argument for progress the women’s movement. Her presence in government and the national spotlight makes Gloria Steinum CRY. Do they think a guy would have been chance against a distraught Sammy Winchester? Or do they just not want to completely obliterate Sammy’s trademark goodness and decency in one episode by having him doing bad things with demons in female meatsuits. But I’m getting way ahead of myself.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Sam, but you don’t look so hot, buddy. I guess burying your brother didn’t agree with you.” XY Crossroads says as his eyes flash red. This flashback takes place in first few days after Sam insisted they bury Dean instead of salting and burning his corpse. And I just had a pain typing that. I hate this show. Stop torturing the pretty. Grief-Striken Sammy spreads his arms out, showing off his impressive wingspan, and is more than ready to get down to business. XY Crossroads wants to see The Knife, so Sammy pulls it out of his magic hoodie (which he was rockin’ in season one!) and slams it ontop of a weathered table. “No Devil’s Traps either. I’m not here to play games,” Sammy snarls. XY Crossroads approaches in a casual manner, hands in the pockets of his dress pants. His unbuttoned collar and loosened tie makes him look like a businessman who just got off work and is on the way to the bar. “Lemme guess, you want to make a deal. And round and round the Winchesters go,” he singsongs as he approaches and (stupidly) puts his hands flat on the table like a lawyer. “Sorry, Sam, that’s not going to happen.” Sam’s face is blank for a second, but Jared Padalecki is doing something indescribably awesome with his eyes, and faster than I’ve ever seen him move, Sammy snatches up the knife and plunges it through the hand of XY Crossroads. Ouch. The demon groans in agony as his hand snap-crackles-pops with supernatural light and he fights to get free, but Devastated Sammy holds it in place and pins his other hand to the table. “I don’t want ten years. I don’t want one year. I don’t want CANDY. I want to trade places with Dean.” DUN! And that DUN was just my heart breaking. I just want to hug him and love him and cut his messy hair.

XY Crossroads shaking with pain offers up a manly…erm, demonly, “No.” Sam rages, “JUST TAKE ME, IT’S A FAIR TRADE!” “NO!” XY counters, relishing Sammy’s torment and desperation. The Last of the Winchesters abandons rage for complete flabbgastedness, because this is his last hope for getting his brother back. You can pinpoint the second he realizes that he will never see Dean again; that Dean will be tortured in hell for eternity because he offered his soul to save Sam in a moment of similar and complete grief; and Sammy actually has to live without him, and it’s so soul-shatteringly wrong that he can’t even fathom it. “Lilith wants me to dead. Just let him go; she can have me.” He pleads, and there’s spit on his chin. XY Crossroads has the upper hand—and the irony of it all isn’t lost on me—because “it’s not about your soul. Dean’s in hell right where we want him. We’ve got everything exactly the way we want it. You want to kill me, go ahead, I’ve made peace with my lord.” Sammy, of course, kills him, and we hear his death echoing in Sam’s mind back in the present. I’m still reeling from it all. And so am I. I just might need a cigarette, because I’m quite satisfied after waiting to see Grief-Striken Sammy since the season premiere. FINALLY, we get ANGSTY GUILT and ANGSTY GRIEF and RAGE WRAPPED IN ANGUISH AND SMOTHERED IN ANGSTY GRAVY. As a viewer and an Equal-Opportunity Winchester-er, it’s cathartic and riveting to watch Jared Padalecki devour some truly terrific material like Jensen has been doing all season. Bravo! He made Sam’s misery palpable. Although the nitpicker in me wonders why this wasn’t at this at the beginning of the season. And WHOA! It seems the demon world is playing divide and conquer with the Winchesters! They figured out that Dean was keeping his brother firmly on the straight-and-narrow as well as protecting him with his life. So once they bought Dean’s soul, they traded the contract up to the higher demons, and waited until he died so Sammy would be unprotected and vulnerable for the advances of the darkside or death. Demons are patient as they are demon-y, I see. Back in the present, Sam and Dean are silent, remembering their awful time apart. We can hear the patter of the rain against the car. We can hear the windshield wipers squeak against the windshield. We can hear the rumble of the engine. But the air between Sammy and Dean is so cluttered with everything they’re not saying to each other, and that is the loudest thing of alll. I say it again, stop torturing the pretty, “Supernatural.”

“Girl, Interrupted” Medical Center. Fed-Like Sammy and Un-Fed-Like Dean are wearing their beautiful black suits in the whitest hospital ever (Random Fact: Something like 82% of hospital rooms are actually mint green, not white). They speak to Doc about Cherry Winona Jolie’s escape. Doc explains that Cherry knocked the orderly unconscious and “he doesn’t even remember coming into her room.” Maybe because he was possessed. Dean points out that subduing the orderly would have to be a mighty feat since the orderly had “eighty pounds on her.” Doc assumes she planned the attack by waiting behind the door and she just punched him. Wait, no one noticed that the bureau was about five feet closer to the door than it should be? Or the orderly’s magically broken ribs? For someone who went to school for 12 years just to become a doctor, she’s pretty stupid. He was pinned to a door by a BUREAU. All of the inaccuracies are making my eye twitch, so I’m going to summarize: No less than two months ago, she was a normal college girl, a Journalism major (HOLLA!). Then, she was overtaken by DEE-monic delusions, because she apparently suffers from television’s favorite mental disorder, Schizophrenia. Doc hands over Cherry’s Sketchbook O’ Crazy and her drawings depict everything that has happened this season in awesome stylized pictures, which Dean calls “Revelations.” We also learn that Cherry’s father was a church deacon, and so it’s not all that shocking that her schizo paranoia took religious overtones, specifically centered on Lucifer’s rising. Sammy and Dean know that Anna knows The Truth, and are very concerned…and pretty.

Cut to a house that is presumably Cherry’s. There are two cars in the driveway, but no one is answering the door. Un-Fed-Like Dean tries the knob—his suit jacket pulling tight across his back, I might add—and walks in. I hate people who are too stupid to lock their front doors. Unfortunately, Cherry’s not there and her parents are dead, throats slit by demons, judging by the sulfur scattered on the floor. Dean finally sees that Ruby 2.0 wasn’t lying, and the demons “want her, and they’re not screwin’ around.” Thankfully, Dean and Sammy didn’t buy the recounting of how Cherry escaped from the asylum. “So I’m Girl, Interrupted, and I know the score of the apocalypse. And I just busted out of the nutbox—possibly using superpowers by the way—where would I go?” Dean thinks aloud as he sorts through their mail. That’s a moot point, because we all know Dean would be at the nearest strip club, regardless. Sammy continues to spread his fingerprints and DNA around the house by picking up a photo from the buffet table. He notices that the beautiful stained glass window that was in the Sketchbook O’ Crazy is that is the picture, it’s her family’s church. So, he continues the roleplaying game, in a completely non-sexy way. Boo! “If you were religious, scared and had demon on your ass, where would you go to feel safe?” Entertainment Weekly’s New York Office, duh! What? That’s MY church.

AWESOME establishing shot of the Milton’s church with the front bumper of the Metallicar in the foreground. Suck it, “Heroes.” This show is everything yours should be, but better! Sammy and Dean, out of their sheriff suits, and in their hunting ensembles, enter the attack of the church with their guns drawn. I would riff about the beautiful detail of church setting is, what with dark wood buttresses and antique light fixtures, but I don’t want to bore anyone with my love of art history. Hee!

Sammy sees the shadow of Cherry crouched behind a stained glass partition, so he puts his gun away and motions for Dean to do the same. Gently, he says that he and his brother are there to help, and specifically gives her their names. That coaxes her out of her hiding place. She asks if Dean is “The Dean,” which I know is going to be his new nickname, and she too is in battle gear—jeans, white cleavage-friendly shirt, and an Army green jacket that’s almost as ugly as Sammy’s. “It’s really you,” Cherry marvels as she stands in front of an enormous white and lavender checkered glass window that is way too modern to fit in with the décor of the church. “The angels talk about you. You were in hell, but Castiel pulled you out and some of them think you can help save us.” She says as she advances towards Dean. Dean is amazed and looks positively gorgeous. She reluctantly talks to Sam, “some of them don’t like you at all.” Hee! “They talk about you all the time. I feel like I know you.” Now that Cherry is free from the hospital and all of the drugs, we can tell that she is timid and shy, despite her cherrylicious red hair. She has big brown eyes that are silvery and jump from beautiful man to beautiful man as she tells them that she can’t speak to the angels, she just overhears their conversations but believes the angels probably don’t know that she even exists. And we all know that will come back to bit her in the bum. “Like right now?” Dean asks lifting his eyebrows in a way that is completely adorable. She isn’t hearing them now, but she can’t ignore the voices, because there are so many of them. “So they lock you up with a case of the crazies when really you were just tuning into angel radio?” Dean sums up with his trademark eloquence. Cherry is finally glad someone believes her. “Yes. Thank You.” Oh, and the first words she heard were on September 18th: “Dean Winchester is saved.” They now understand why the demons want Anna so badly, because she can hear everything they are planning. “You’re 1-900-ANGEL.” Dean jokes to Anna, and she smiles. God, she’s a Deangirl! And Dean does too, softly, pleased that he put her at ease for just a moment. I must note that Dean hasn’t even attempted to look at her rack. Does he LIKE her?

Cherry then asks if her parents are okay, because she was too scared to go home. Um, awkward? Before either of them can share pregnant gazes and avoid the question, Ruby 2.0 bursts in tell the boys that the demons are coming. Cherry recoils, because she can see Ruby 2.0’s true face, her putty face. You’ve heard of a Butter Face (or Butherface), Genevieve is a Putty Face. I think she’s a very attractive girl, her skin is so smooth and she has thick features, and sometimes, it looks like her whole face was molded out of silly putty. Sam tells her that Ruby 2.0 is a good demon (OXYMORON!), but Dean points out the convenience of Ruby popping up with a demon on her tail. And he’s not being adorably bitchy anymore, now he sounds like a broken record. Shut up, Dean! Ruby 2.0 says that the “big time” demon followed them from Cherry’s house. Sam points to the statue of The Virgin Mary, because her EYES ARE BLEEDING! Whoa. “It’s too late. He’s here.” Ruby 2.0 says. Sam stashes Cherry in a closet. Dean stares at the bleeding statue as he’s seen it before, but he can’t remember where or when. And neither can I, because that’s NEVER happened on this show. Sam walks back out, pulling out a tiny flask of holy water, which seems like it would be useless against a demon that can make carved pieces of rock BLEED. “You have to pull him right away,” Ruby 2.0 commands. Dean, of course, is having none of that. And Ruby sets him straight, “Now is not the time to bellyache about Sam going darkside. Sam exorcises that demon or we die.” Dean has no snarky comeback for that, so Sam puts away his flask and turns to the doorway as the soundtrack shakes with an intensifying rumble. The door flies open, revealing a sour faced man with close-cut white hair, who looks like he just left from a polo match in his navy blue blazer and khakis. Calmly, he walks up the stairs. Sammy raises his right hand and thinks real hard. The demon clutches his neck as his eyes flash yellow in a way that looks like he’s blocking Sam’s mojo, and then adjusts his collar and coughs, mildly annoyed. “That tickles.” That was PIMP! Get that dirt off your shoulder, Demon!

I just noticed this, but there is a quick flash to Ruby 2.0’s putty face tinted with guilt, like she knew Sammy couldn’t pull him or that this was a set-up to see if he could. Please tell me this black-eyed skank isn’t pulling the dee-monic wool over Sammy’s eyes. “You don’t have the juice to take me on, Sam,” Pimp D announces and then uses his own DEE-Monic Telekinesis to yank Sammy forward. His feet skid helplessly over the floor and his arms flail before he tumbles through the banister and careens down a flight of stairs. I really hope that was a stuntman, because OUCH. Dean, pissed, wields The Knife and lunges for Pimp D. But the demon easily stops him and instead of hitting him, he sucker-punches the audience with “Hello again, Dean.” MY HEAD IS ALREADY SPINNING! How does Pimp D know Dean?! He slams Scrappy Doo into one of those lovely buttresses I didn’t mention earlier. Meanwhile, Ruby 2.0 snatches a petrified Cherry from the closet and they presumably leave. Pimp D is now pummeling my poor Dean all about the head and face AND HE’S SO NOT PIMP ANYMORE! NOT THE FACE!NOTTHEFACE!NOT THEFACE! The Knife falls to the floor because Dean is getting his ass kicked and bleeding a lot. “Don’t you recognize me? Oh wait, I forgot I’m wearing a pediatrician.” Heee! He’s pimp again. Sorry, Dean. “And we were so close…in hell.” “Alastair.” Dean chokes, blood in his mouth and streaming from his nose. Alastair apparently has demon sense because he doesn’t continue smashing Dean’s head in like a pumpkin, but turns around expecting an incoming attack. This opens him up for Badass Sammy, who plunges The Knife directly into Alastair’s chest, just off of the heart. Go ‘head, Sammy! “You’re going to have to try a whole lot harder than that son,” Pimp Alistair teases, before tossing Sammy aside. The Knife did hurt him however, because he groans as light snap-crackle-pops inside his chest as he pulls it out. Sammy grabs Dean and both know they need to escape and fast. They eye the hideous, checkered window, and then each other before they take off. Tell me they’re not. OH, YES THEY ARE! Sprinting, they hurtle themselves against through the glass, and plummet at least a story to the ground below, because as motherfuckin’ awesome as Winchesters are, they can’t fly. Alastair watches, grimly defeated, but he now has The Knife. Crap.

Bloody, half-stitched gash. Yes, you read that correctly, Sammy (ONLY?!????!!) sustained a five-inch long laceration in his lovely, tanned bicep from their dive through a stained glass window, and onto the pavement some 30 feet below, and he’s now stitching it up himself! And that’s it folks. *stands up, places hand over heart* I officially pledge my allegiance to Sammy Winchester! Sorry again, Dean. He pushes the needle through his own flesh and vocalizes the pain. In the bathroom, Dean spits blood into the sink ands asks if Sam’s almost done. Sammy, who is now pulling the thread through his own flesh, snarks that he’s “going as fast as he can.” Dean walks into the room, “Good, cause I got a dislocated shoulder over here.” Don’t be a wussy, pop it back in yourself, sugartits! I will admit that it’s kind of shitty of Sammy to opt to stitch himself up before tending to Dean’s arm. But judging by the amount of blood on Sammy’s shirt, I’m sure they thought that wound was pretty serious. Dean self-medicates with alcohol as Sammy holds the threat with his teeth and snips it. Breathless with pain, he impatiently motions for Dean to give him the bottle of booze, and uses it to disinfect his freshly stitched wound. Dean completely adds insult to injury, “We lost the magic knife, huh?” “Yeah, saving your ass!” Sammy snaps and he gained a ton of badass points for it too. “Who was the hell was that demon?” “No one good,” Dean cryptically answers. Wow, now that’s specific. Dean is a hypocrite! “We gotta find [Cherry].” “Ruby’s got her, I’m sure she’s okay,” Sammy says, panting. He looks at Dean, remembering that, despite Dean’s uncannily high tolerance for pain, his shoulder is still dangling out of the socket. Sammy gingerly stands up and moves behind Dean as he leans against the bed, bracing himself for what’s to come. He knows it’ll hurt but he’s prepared for the pain, and whatever comes next…and no, I’m not even kidding. I can only write what is on the screen, and that’s exactly what happened. I can hear Wincesters swooning as we speak. Dr. Sammy says that he is going to pop Dean’s shoulder back in on three, but he is an asshole and does it on one. Dean screams and literally walks away gripping his hair in reaction to the pain that is so realistic, it makes my stomach hurt. Shut up! I’m empathizing! They’re in PAIN. “You sure about Ruby? I think it’s just as likely she sent us to find Radio Girl and then sent that demon in to kill us,” Dean says for the 54th time in 17 minutes. Sam insists Ruby will keep Cherry safe and she hasn’t contacted them because “that demon is probably watching us right now, waiting to follow us right back to [Cherry] again, that’s why he let us go.” Sammy has grown quite smart since Dean’s demise, and again, I think he’s faced off against some heinous demons during his Deathwish Phase. He sure does know how they operate. “You call this letting us go,” Dean scoffs, icing his poor mangled shoulder. “Look killing us would have been no problem for that thing, that’s why we just have to lay low and wait for Ruby to contact us.” Sam assures him, but later admits that he doesn’t know how she is going to do that. Tossing the ice pack aside, Dean tells Sam that he needs to know why Sam trusts Ruby so much. Put that back on your shoulder, stupid! He promises he is “not trying to pick a fight,” but he just “deserves to know more.” This is completely valid, since Sam’s entanglement with Ruby puts Dean’s life in jeopardy. A lot. Haunting strings from the Woeful Orchestra of Woe lilts as the camera creeps closer to Sammy’s sad face. He avoids Dean’s gaze and confesses, “because, she saved my life.”

“Six Months Earlier” flashes over the blurry frame that slowly ebbs into focus and tracks a drunken Sam as he wobbles down a hallway. I’m assuming this takes place immediately after The Crossroads Disaster (and no I’m not talking about the 2002 Britney Spears movie, although that was a major clusterfuck). He unlocks the door and shuffles into the hotel room with the balance of a dizzy toddler, holding his arms out and inching woodenly towards the bed, ready to collapse inside of it, and not get up for weeks. A line of light from the window illuminates Sammy’s face, and despite his clean-shaven jaw, my poor Sammy looks absolutely terrible—his eyes are dark, red-rimmed and dead. He senses something in the room and turns to catch a first to the jaw. Deathwish Sammy reels in stupefying pain and surprise, and by the time his booze-drenched mind can comprehend that he is being ambushed, and try to fight back, he is punched again. HARD. At this point, Sammy’s attacker could be a run-of-the-mill human lowlife, because Sammy is downright blitzed he can’t even see straight, and frankly, my dear, Sammy doesn’t give a damn. The attacker actually manages to restrain giant Sammy and a woman in a cheap billowy trenchcoat that screams “Matrix” materializes to knee him in the ribs until his legs collapse. Whoever this is? She needs to be put down now! WE HATE HER and her abdominal-damaging knees! The henchman snatches Sammy up my his hair as the henchwoman reaches in his puffy magic hoodie and retrieves The Knife. “Thanks for keeping this warm for me, Sam.” She singsongs, trying to be nasty. “Ruby.” Sam says almost immediately. Really? So Ruby 2.0 is really Ruby 3.0? Fuck that. From now on, it’s RUBY. Done. I can’t keep track of all the bodies she ruins. “It’s nice to be back. Even for hell, it was pretty nasty. I guess I really pissed Lilith off.” Ruby’s current body is that of a lithe blonde woman with ice blue eyes I’d almost kill for, and dimples that rival The Padalecki’s. While she’s about as threatening as a Carebear, she is a breath of fresh air from Wildfire's stilted interpretation of Ruby. “Imagine my relief when she gave me one last chance to take it topside, and all I had to do was find you and kill you.” New Ruby jabs the knife in a hilarious mime of a lethal stab. She’s so cute! But Sam doesn’t really seem to care about THAT right now, because Ruby’s demon henchman, who is pulling out clumps of his hair, is all of 5’9’’ and he’s bending Jared Padalecki backwards in all sorts of painful shapes. Defiant and suicidal, Sammy slaps henchman’s arm away and extends his neck out to Ruby in a brazen invitation. “Fine. Do it!” He hisses. They share an intense gaze and for the briefest of moments, she looks incredibly sad at what The GRIEF has done to Sammy. She whips her arm back, ready to put Sammy out of his misery. At this point, I’m ready for her to do it, because maybe Sammy can be reborn and rehymenated and rejuvenated like Dean was. I kid, I kid. We all know she’s not going to kill him. I am shocked, however, when she drives the knife into the henchman who has probably left Padalecki in dire need of chiropractor. Score! Sammy’s face flashes with disbelief and then…fucking disappointment as he watches that poor man’s body fall to the floor, dead. “Grab your keys. We gotta go. Now,” Ruby commands. Deathwish Sammy just wishes he was dead.

Sammy is driving the Metallicar. I repeat Drunken Deathwish Sammy Eugene Winchester is driving the Metallicar. I really think Jared and Jensen need to film a drunk driving PSA before the season is over. And Ruby is defiling Sammy’s dead brother’s wheels by sitting in the front seat. Ew! I bet the leather will rot right off the frame when she gets out. But she’s giddy about being topside, and she wants some fries. “I just escaped hell. I deserve a treat.” Yeah, rub it in Ruby. Sammy looks despondent, broken. “You know a ‘thank you’ would be nice.” “Who asked for your help?” Sammy replies wearily. “You have no idea what I’ve been through. When Lilith gets pissed, she gets creative. You want to hear about the corners of hell I’ve seen?” I’m gonna say NO since his brother is there, and Sam is already two minutes away from driving the Metallicar off a cliff. “I’m a fugitive for you, Sam,” She stresses. I see she has pledged her allegiance to Sammy too, but WHY? I really don’t believe this demon could endure centuries of torture and anguish and still cling to her humanity only to throw her support behind a human who was (is?) supposed to play a pivotal role in the approaching Apocalypse. “I took all this risk to get back to you, so yeah, I deserve a damn thank you.” Why does Ruby sound like less of a badass demon and more of like a mopey, clingy ex-girlfriend-turned-stalker? He simply asks if she knows of anything that can save Dean. “Nothing I know of is powerful enough to do that,” Ruby resigns. Sam jerks the wheel to the side of the road, “then I have no use for you. Get out.” She doesn’t leave, of course, so he levels her with this: “Whose body are you riding?” Ruby is flabbergasted, “You’ve never asked me that before.” “Well I’m asking now.” “Some secretary,” she admits, ashamed. “Let her go,” Sam demands, “or I’ll send you straight back to hell.” Do it! Sam, please do it!

Cut to hospital. The body that Ruby started the season with is in the bed currently occupying a bed in the ICU. A label at the foot is labeled Jane Doe. Now isn’t that convenient! Two doctors in scrubs stand over her body. One doctor says, “All right, pull it,” and resident detaches the respirator (that has no tube in it by the way) and all of the monitors scream as Jane Doe dies, because she was probably brain dead for a specified amount of time before the state decided to cut off her lights. As the doctor calmly writes on her chart, Jane Doe melodramatically gasps back to life and shoots ramrod straight breathing even as the monitor still reads a FLATLINE. We never see Ruby’s black cloud of demon smoke enter the body, but Ruby’s got tricks, I guess. Whatever. “Who do I have to kill to get some french fries around here?” I have refrained from riffing on what a terrible actress this girl is, but I’m saying it now. She is awful! I can’t take it anymore. I don’t even believe that she’s breathing hard! I was never crazy about the character, and Genevieve’s Ruby makes me hate her. I miss Kate Cassidy, DUIs, overacting and all. COME BACK KATE!

Abandoned house. Sam has taken to Dean’s favorite hobby of cleaning guns after a meal of crappy take-out pizza and cheap whiskey. Sammy is squatting in a dilapidated cabin previously occupied by the Unabomber judging by the looks of things. One of the walls has completely eroded to studs, allowing lush overgrowth and the sun to stream inside. There is a harsh knock on the door and Sammy grabs his trusty sawed-off, holds the forend to cock the weapon one-handed. Hee! He walks down the hall of rotting walls and warped floors and presses the barrel of the gun to the door before opening it. Um, paranoid much? There stands Ruby with a note from her very confused doctors, proof that her new body is “ 100 percent socially conscious. I recycle. Al Gore would be proud,” she says, entering the house uninvited. Sam seems almost amused that she “grabbed a coma patient.” His voice sounds strange, like he hadn’t spoken since he saw the last time he saw her. “You said you wanted a body with no one in it. Apartment was empty. You happy?” Ruby continues as she surveys Sammy’s new digs. Sam does the same to Ruby. “Why are you here?” He wonders and his mouth moves in an eerie, deliberate way, over-articulating words that still come out slurred. Sam’s drunk. I doubt he’s been sober since Dean died, but he's just functionally drunk right now, which is good since he was playing with guns. But wow, Jared plays drunk quite well. I wonder how much research he did for this episode. “I can’t bring Dean back, but I can get you something else you want.” Sam can’t imagine wanting anything ever again. “Yeah, what’s that?” He inquires, trading the shotgun for the ever-present bottle of booze. “Lilith.” This gets Sam’s attention, “You want me to use my psychic whatever?” Ruby begins her hard-sell and Alcoholic Sammy interrupts. “Skip the speech, I’m ready. Let’s go.”

And I need to interject. Jared Padalecki is absolutely rocking this entire episode, especially this scene. In “Yellow Fever,” Dean’s overwhelming fear turned him into a character I didn’t recognize, and Jensen Ackles’ performance was one for the “Supernatural” history books. Now, I feel the same thing with Sam. Sam’s debilitating grief has turned him into someone I don’t recognize. He isn’t the sweet-faced, well-intentioned, rational nerd who happens to be a fifteen-foot-tall lethal weapon. He is a gigantic, intimidating, embattled alcoholic who is fueled by grief and little else.

“Slow down there, cowboy,” Ruby warns. “Just show me what I have to do.” Ruby finds another bottle, and takes a swig. She raps about her time in the joint and how her cellmate, Lilith, is cookin’ up something that is “apocalyptic big.” She will teach Sam everything she knows but he has to promise her “patience and sobriety.”

Back to the Future. Dean is still hunched over cradling his injured shoulder that he’s still not icing. Now would be a great time to ice your mangled shoulder, moron! “So, what’d she teach you?” He wonders, engrossed in storytime. “That I’m a crappy student.”

Back to the past. Sam stands, sweaty, and painted orange by the light of the fire. He eyes Ruby before he focuses on another being in the room. The camera pulls back to reveal a demon that is riding the body of a balding, thirty-something man who probably works for The Geek Squad. Sammy lifts his hand and thinks real hard. The demon doesn’t really struggle but seems confused when his mouth involuntarily opens and gooey black smoke escapes. Finally, he realizes what is happening, and the demon white-knuckles the arms of the chair he’s lashed to. He’s symbolically clinging to this body and this mortal coil. The smoke stubbornly slides back into its body as Sammy stops and grabs his head. Geek Squad seems tickled by Sam’s pain. Determined, Sam tries again, and pulls the shit-eating grin right off Geek’s face, along with his essence. The demon visibly struggles this time, because Sammy’s fighting so hard and rolls with the pain until his nose starts to bleed, and it intensifies. He bends over with agony, head in his hands. Ruby, in her form-fitting, badass leather jacket, stands sentry with The Knife, overseeing this whole process even though she never says a word. Some Ms. Miyagi you are! Geek Squad laughs demonically at Sam’s inability to perform. So Ruby stands by her man, and kills him by stabbing The Knife through his face so hard that the blade comes out though his neck as the life snap-crackle-pops out of him. “Not funny.” Ruby declares to some poor man’s dead body. Um, Sam still knows the 50 words of Latin. You didn’t have to kill him.

Cut to Cabin. Sammy walks back into his shack with a shovel, and tramps over the devil’s trap with Ruby right behind him. A close up of the pentacle shows that Sammy was kind of enough to scrape the paint off so Ruby wouldn’t get stuck in it, although I think he might regret that move in about three minutes. Sammy, in a form-fitting blue tee shirt, slams the shovel down on the table and digs through Dean’s duffel bag for a bottle of painkillers. “Just give it time, Sam, it’ll get better,” Ruby promises. “What? I need more practice?” He winded from, ya know, burying the poor man Ruby killed. He pops the pills and washes them down with a long, searing of liquor, and I worry about Sammy’s liver. Also I can see the lean wave of his stomach beneath the cotton. O that I were a shirt upon that stomach, that I might touch that stomach! But sadly, Sam sinks to sit on the table and I can’t see it anymore. Boo! And we all know the only reason he sat down is so tiny little Genevieve could talk to Ginormous Sammy without breaking her neck. “I’m not talking about pulling Demons,” she pauses. “I know losing Dean was—“ “HEY!” Sam reflexively snaps, “I don’t want to talk about it.” The camera switches to film over Sam’s head for Ruby’s side, and we get a shot of Sammy’s beautiful back. I hate that tee shirt more than I hate Ruby right now. “You know what? Where do you get off slapping me with that greeting card ‘time heals all’ crap? What the hell do you know?”

Ruby inches closer. “I used to be human, and I remember what it’s like to lose someone.” How? Ruby was human “back when the plague was big,” and tortured in hell for centuries, how could she possibly remember grief and anguish? I don’t buy it. Her character is becoming more human, and the more that happens, the more I suspect her motives. Ruby is softer now and she places her hand on Sammy’s shoulder and seriously says, “I’m sorry.” Sammy recoils, sweeping her arm off like she burned him. He can’t be touched. “Don’t.” The camera switches to his face and his shoulder is literally shaking where she touched him, and he weakly confesses, “I can’t.” And his face twitches like he’s going to cry or completely fall apart, because he is talking about everything, not just Ruby’s sudden need offer demony comfort. “Sam, you’re not alone.” Ruby swoops in to kiss him, off-center and sloppy. Sam doesn’t kiss back or do anything for several agonizing seconds. Finally, he shoves her away in disgust and jumps to his feet. “What are you doing?” He walks across the room and sits on the ratty couch. “Sam, it’s okay!” Ruby says, and her putty face is gone. She looks pretty. Sam wipes his mouth off. “That is ANYTHING but OKAY!” Sam yells. “What’s wrong?” “Where do I start?!” Sam is still rubbing at his lips, leaving his hands over his mouth. Ruby advances, and fluidly strips off her leather jacket and tosses it aside. I bet you wished you kept that devil’s trap intact, huh, Sammy? “Is it because of the body?” She asks and she places her hands on Sam’s knees and kneels down in front of him. “I told you, it’s all me in here.” She puppets his giant hands on her stomach and inches closer. “There’s no one else in here, and it’s nice inside this body, Sam. It’s soft and warm.” She’s SEDUCING him. Her voice gets breathy and porny. Sam valiantly tries to fight it, but it’s a losing battle. Her rubs the soft skin of her stomach. “What are you doing?” Sam duhs. Ruby kisses his forehead and trails her lips along his face, knowing all of the manly buttons to push, “is it because you’re really scared to go there with a demon? Because it’s wrong and it’s bad and we shouldn’t?” She taunts and teases her mouth against his. Sam’s face twists in a valiant effort to push her off or send her back to Hades, but he finally gives in, and kisses her hard. He lifts her up so she is straddling him. Ruby’s shirt comes off and Sam continues, yanking fiercely at her hair and kissing and biting. His shirt flies over his head, and they are officially the beast with two backs. I don’t even realize that Sam is doing the dirty with a demon because I’m identifying all of the muscles in Sam’s magnificent back, and there are some extras that aren’t in my college anatomy book. It’s also amusingly obvious that Jared Padalecki is flexing all those muscles because he knows just how hot he is. Thank you, Padelecki! I wish I could eat sushi and pudding off that back. I wish I would have gone to the “Supernatural” Convention that’s a mere 87 miles away just for that back. I wish I was a putty-faced wildfire who got to this part on “SPN.” And I’m…yeah, sorry.

Even though I’m ready to build shrines to the SexyBack of Padalecki, there is nothing beautiful about this tryst, despite the roaring fire and passion involved. It’s ANGRYGRIEFSex. Sam is in such an ugly state that this is just another kind of release like drinking or fighting or screaming, just with orgasms, hopefully. I know the Samgirls are camped outside of Erik Kripke’s office with torches in a protest against necrophilia or rape, but this is where I would point out that it’s a fictional, and it’s really not that serious. But I don’t think Dean would buy that. We flash to Dean’s horrified face, because remember, Sammy is telling Dean this story in vivid detail. “Um, Sam? Too much information!” He hisses, horrified. “I told you I was coming clean,” Sam says. “Yeah, but now I feel dirty,” Dean shoots back and starts drinking. “So far all you’ve told me about is a manipulative bitch who screwed you, played mind games with you, and did everything in the book to get you to go bad,” he summarizes. Sam promises that he’s not finished with the story. Dean leans forward, still scarred “skip the nudity, please.” “Pretty soon after…that, we put together some signs, omens. Lilith was in town, and I wanted to strike her first.”

Five Months Earlier. Shack of Sin. Sammy’s zips up his fugly brown jacket thing as Ruby tells him he isn’t ready to face Lilith. Sam isn’t listening, because he is trigger-happy and ready to attack. Happy. He’s downright giddy. This is can't end well. Ruby points out that Sam hasn’t been “too successful” with his training (maybe because she sucks as a teacher), but he says that he’ll use The Knife if he needs to. It’s simple. Ruby snatches Sam’s wrist and demands, “stop! You can’t just fly in there reckless, Sam. We need you to take the bitch out.” Sam is overly confident that he will. “You get one shot, and that’s it. You’re the only one who can do it Sam, so if she kills you first…” Sam tears his eyes away. When he looks at her again, there is no fear, no hesitation. “You don’t want to survive this. It’s a kamakaze attack, you want to die fighting Lilith,” Ruby understands now. “That’s stupid!” Sam scoffs, but he’s walking away again, and Ruby is right behind him. “No, it’s the truth, because if you kill her and you survive this, you have to go on without your brother!” Ruby, who barely comes up to Jared’s shoulders, has to run to get in front of him, to get through to him. “This isn’t what Dean would have wanted! This isn’t what he died for!” She throws herself against the door in an effort to stop Deathwish Sammy. “Get out of my way!” Sam fumes, quiet. His jaw is set and he barely controls the rage and the desperation that resides just beneath the surface. “No, Sam, this is suicide!” Sammy explodes, and slams Ruby into a wall, The Knife at her throat. The creepily, wild expression on his face shows us all that he will kill her if he has to. Because the ANGRYGRIEFSex wasn't about love and it didn't fix anything. He opens the door, knife still at her throat and leaves. And that’s her big speech? Please tell me there’s more, because she didn’t starfishing him to get him to stop or tell him how awful death really is. There HAS to be more.

Normal suburb. Sammy walks alone down a street filled with regular people living normal, danger-free lives. Sammy seems so out of place. He searches for something and finds it in through the window of a beautiful home with pink flowering plants hanging from the window: a little girl, sitting motionless at a table that is covered in desserts and candy. The set-up is eerily similar to Lilith’s infamous shore leave in “No Rest For The Wicked.” Deathwish Sammy makes his move. Stupidly, he enters the house through the front door with The Knife at the ready. He clears the front closet before venturing further. The house is dark and silent. There are no guards or dead bodies in foyer. He inches towards the dining room and finds the girl in a blue dress with white bow at the back sitting in a gorgeous black and white upholstered chair. She’s Alice in Demonland. He inches forward with The Knife above his head, ready to dispatch a 12-year-old girl possessed by a demon or die trying. For one horrible minute, I actually think “Supernatural” was going to go THERE. Having Sam kill a child, possessed or otherwise, would be 73 times worse than human-demon sex. Suddenly, she turns around, and sobs, “please I wanna go home!” Shit. It’s a set-up. I think I realized that before Sam does, because a motherfuckin’ giant knocks The Knife out of Sam’s hand another demon henchman materializes. I guess the economy is better in hell than topside, because Lilith has a ton of employees. You think they get a 401k? The leader shoves Sam against the wall. “Lilith sends her regrets. She couldn’t make it!” He laughs with his gravelly voice. Crap. Sammy is trapped. And this time, there is no one to come save him. He’s alone, unarmed and outmanned. He eyes The Knife that he can’t reach, terrified now that death is a certainty. I don’t know why he doesn’t try to exorcise the demons. I also don’t know why these guys aren’t bludgeoning the life out of that wretched Sammy Winchester, who’s probably exorcised most of their friends. While they waste preicious ass-kicking time, a feminine hand scoops up The Knife. Surprise! It’s Ruby! She dispatches one of the lesser henchman with a grand slice of his throat. Tiny Ruby pulls the other guy off of Sam, and commands that he save the girl. Sammy does just that, leaving Ruby to fight a man bigger than Sam. She goes in for kill, but the leader blocks it and holds onto her tiny little wrist. Ruby punches him twice across the face, but that has absolutely no effect on him. He easily disarms by breaking her arm and then flings her into a wall, lifting her off her feet by her neck. There is no special effect needed, because this ox of a man is THAT strong. “Ruby, you’re in so much trouble!” He seethes. He heckles her so more, until he gags and coughs to the side. That’s weird. Ruby frowns until she sees Sam behind him, hand outstretched, thinking real hard. Sammy’s face bends into that almost-evil expression as he rides out the pain that causes a nosebleed, and expels the demon almost instantly. “Thanks.” He says, and finally Deathwish Sammy is no longer.

Back to the Future. “Whatever you have to say, she saved me. More than that, she got through to me. What she said to me, it’s what you would have said. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here.” As Sammy shares this, the camera moves in tight on Dean’s battered face as he understands why Sam trusts Ruby with their lives. He doesn’t need to hear anything else, that’s more than enough. While I agree it was noble that Ruby came back for Sam, I think that defining moment in their relationship should have been much more dramatic and dire to drive the point home, because I completely missed the first time I watched it. Sam has been in the very same position hundreds of times and always survived. Ruby has been swoopin’ in to save the fine Winchester asses since last season, so for a dramawhore like myself, it doesn’t feel as big as it should. Maybe it would have if those demons had done their job and kicked Sammy’s arse. Dean doesn’t have to agree with my awesome insight or compliment my beauty, because housekeeping knocks on the door. RATS! Dean tries to get rid of her, but she insists that she has clean towels. He gets up to open the door, and a large black woman on the other side (Media Studies Kira is rolling her eyes!). She pushes the towels in Dean’s arms, closes the curtains and stalks right over to Sam, handing him a piece of paper. “I’m at this address.” She tells him. That’s RUBY! She really is burning through bodies, isn’t she? Sammy’s slow on the uptake. “Go now. Go through the bathroom window, don’t stop, don’t take your car, don’t pass go. There are demons in the hall and in the parking lot,” She rattles off. Finally, Sam understands, and makes an adorably shocked face once he figures it out. “So, I’m possessing this maid for a hot minute!” She sasses. Jane Doe’s body is “slowly rotting on the floor back at the cabin with Anna.” Dean grimaces in disgust as he probably realizes that Sam bumped uglies with a dead chick. Again.

The cabin Ruby stashed Cherry is more of a boathouse or a barn. It’s constructed of bare wood and no insulation with high open ceilings. Cherry promises the boys she’s okay, and then tells that that Ruby “isn’t like other demons. She saved my life.” “I hear she does that,” Dean smiles at Cherry and then pointedly looks at Ruby. “I guess I…ugh…ya know,” Ruby waits, arms folded, as Dean fumbles over an apology. “I guess I owe you…for Sam…I just wanted…ya know.” “Don’t strain yourself,” Ruby snarks, lifting an eyebrow. But I think Dean just pulled every emotional muscle he has. “Is the moment over? Because that was awkward.” Sam smiles at them fondly. Aww! Then they chanage into matching leather outfits and sing, “We Are Family!” Who know that Dean Winchester could tapdance?!

Cherry interrupts the bonding to ask if she can call her parents. Sam and Dean exchange loaded looks. Sam lets out a weary sigh as he sits down beside her. She searches his face. Poor Sammy has just relived visceral aftermath of his brother’s death, and has lost everyone he’s cared about, so can’t even say the words just, “I’m sorry.” Cherry collapses into sobs and rocks back and forth as Dean looks away, feeling it too. Sammy lays his giant hand on her back as she cries. He looks so much older now and a little colder than the Post-Dean’s Death Sam Winchester I knew and loved. He's forever changed. “Why is this happening to me?!” Cherry sobs. “I don’t know,” he answers. Anna continues to cry, head in her ands, until she shoots up, mouth parted, hands frozen on either side of her head, listening. “They’re coming!” She ominously announces. The lights flicker and Sammy hustles Cherry into back room as Dean goes for the weapons. Um…she can her angels, y’all, not demons. Ruby should be scared, but you should be relieved. Sam returns and Dean hands him his trusty sawed-off and Ruby rifles through the gun bag, searching for The Knife. “Where The Knife?” Ruby can’t believe they lost The Knife even though it doesn’t matter because THE ANGELS ARE COMING! NOT DEMONS. Even though Jensen and Jared are only 87 miles away, they still can’t hear me! “Hey, don’t look at me!” Dean yells. “Thanks a lot!” Sammy shots back. Aww, they’re being cute in the face of danger! Dean offers him one of his amazing fake smiles as Ruby berates them for losing the knife even though it DOESN’T MATTER! The wind mounts and the door to the cabin shakes and shutters until it blows off its hinges much like it did when Alastair arrived. Sam, Dean and Ruby wait at the ready, guns blazing. There’s a familiar flapping of wings and then Castiel and Uriel strut into the cabin. Ruby’s putty face melds in fear and her eyes flip beetle black. Angels, prepare to smite! Relieved, Dean hopes the angels are here to protect Cherry, because they’ve “been having demon issues all day.” Uriel nearly snarls at Ruby, “I see that. You want to explain why you have that stain in the room?” Uriel demands. But Castiel doesn’t give them a chance, “We’re here for Anna,” he says, stoically. The Brothers Winchester want to know if they will help her. Castiel proclaims, “She has to die.” Um, crap!

87 miles. God, I’m a fucking dumbass.