'Supernatural' Recap: 'Cause We're Worth It
February 28th, 2013 11:30am EST
I must confess that I am a sucker for Greek mythology, and I was a fangirl of those campy, and now classic ‘90s television series, “Hercules: The Legendary Journey” and “Xena: Warrior Princess,” so I was delighted when the brothers Winchester decided to tackle Mt. Olympus.
Grab your trusty Chakram, and let’s dive in, shall we?
The cold open finds a treasure of society drunkenly guzzling beer as he speeds down a windy, dark road, heedless of the man walking on the shoulder. It's a direct hit and run. If the man didn't die on impact, he definitely expired during frigid winter night. A state trooper finds him frozen solid the next morning with an eagle feasting on his innards. When he returns from calling for an ambulance, the victim is gone, his tracks leading into bear country.
It’s refreshing to see Sam and Dean cling to their FBI covers as the state trooper confidently tells them that the formerly dead man was a zombie. He must have mistook "The Walking Dead" as a documentary. “People don’t walk away from that; zombies do," he says. "Aim for the head,” he advises the boys before they head out to another medical examiner's office where the victim was brought in with a toe tag, thanks to a vicious grizzly. "Woodchipper beats everything, so does grizzly bear,” Dean states as he's ready to get back to their home in Kansas, and his comfy bathrobe.
As Sam and Dean discuss the case, Shane awakens and slides off the table, trying to escape. Dean intercepts him, smashes him into a few things and makes with the threats. It's kind of intimidating (and totally hot), but I'm not sure why it would be to someone who can't stop dying. Shane figuratively spills his guts: he was discovered on a mountain in Europe after getting caught in an avalanche of which he has no memory of. He dies every day, only to be resurrected after a few hours. He had sought refuge in the Unabomber's old digs, until someone shot him, and he had to run to keep them from discovering his secret. Shane, played with earnest exasperation by John Reardon, is immediately believable, and Sam and Dean want to help. That night, he is attacked by a leather-clad woman. It's not Xena, or even Katniss, but she is definitely supernatural as she has a magical blade and vanishes into the ether when cornered. Shane knows kung-fu, and bests her after she easily kicks Sam and Dean’s asses. Of course, then the excitement of combat induces a heart attack, and Shane dies. Again.
Sam and Dean are baffled as they "sit Shiva" at Shane's bedside. “What do we know of that has Jason Bourne fighting skills, dies a lot and has a history with violent women?” Sam wonders. “I don’t know, you.” Dean deadpans.
But it's about to get a lot more complicated, because a woman with a little boy arrives, clutching the article that mentions the John Doe found in the morgue. Her name is Hayley, and she had been in the avalanche with Shane, and even attributed his daily demises as "exposure or shock." When she saw him die and awaken for the first time, she bolted. But she was already pregnant. Seven years later, Hayley needs to find him again, because her son has inherited the affliction.
Sam, proving his own legacy, quickly geeks out over Greek mythology, discovering that Shane is actually Prometheus, the proto-god who gifted humanity with fire and was doomed by Zeus to have his liver plucked out by an eagle every day for his sins. Sam and Dean hypothesize that if they kill Zeus, his curse will break for both him and his son.
Of course, it's never that easy if when the research, lore and weapons all fall into place in a matter of minutes. Hayley, who was desperate enough to believe all of it, stupidly thinks that Zeus is just a nice old man in a flashy suit, and breaks him out of the trap once he was summoned.
The resulting showdown between Sam, Dean, and Shane, and Zeus and Artemis is more of a disaster than it normally is, because they are fighting sinister gods with nasty powers. Zeus (John Novak) is as decadently evil as you think he’d be, with a butter rich voice and a perfectly pruned beard, he is a modernized version of the ancient king. “I could never have conceived such a horrible fate for such a beautiful child. We must all leave room for happy accidents,” he hisses. He’s apoplectic because of Prometheus’ actions are “the reason we’re not ruling the world, why they’ve forgotten all about us” and his pain is equal to that of “a thousand children dying in unison.” He tortures Prometheus with gleeful abandon and wicked bright blue lighting while Sam and Dean are pinned to a pole. While the Greek god certainly has more pizzazz and better fashion sense than demons, their powers aren’t much different. But that is a cage match I'd buy tickets for: Crowley v. Zeus.
Artemis, the goddess of hunting and Zeus’ daughter, leads Sam and Dean to their doom. That is, of course, until Sam starts with the reverse psychology and trash-talk, while is left hilarious confused and a little scared. He figured out from her wistful glances that Artemis had fallen in love with her father’s sworn enemy. Sam forces her to see that Zeus' hatred of Prometheus had made him more outrageously evil, and she goes back to kill her father and free both her lover and his son. Ever the god, Zeus uses Shane has a shield, and he takes her glowing, god-killing arrow right in the heart. Before he can die for the millionth and final time, he shoves the arrow through himself and into Zeus, killing them both. It was a poignant touch that Prometheus' furneral was a traditional pyre, and that the gift he gave humanity would finally bring him peace.
One of the best decisions of this season was to give Sam and Dean a real home, and I love watching them settle into it. Dean relishes in the space and familiarity, and he even flashes some leg Angelina Jolie-style as he struts into the bathroom wearing boxers and a robe. Last week, Sam covertly and inexplicably coughed up blood. What once was a few drops is now a steady stream as he rinses his month and spits out crimson. He’s scared, and Dean immediately notices it, and calls him on it. But Sam is a Winchester, and doesn't say a word.
When Sam and Shane venture out to dig up the bones of a worshipper, Sam explains that thinks Prometheus' sacrifice, the one that had him tortured for humanity, was wroth it. It’s a small moment that shows just how dedicated he is the cause, and that a little blood won’t detour him from his goal. I know that it's going to get much worse than that, and now I think Sam does too, and he's preparing himself.
And he does try to prepare Dean, confessing that maybe he was being naïve to think that he’d come out of the trials unscathed as it had never been that easy in the past. Dean won’t hear of it, and hopes Sam has a coronary shoveling snow at 76 like a normal American, and he teasingly encourages him to chow down on his burger.
In the privacy of his own room, Dean crumbles a little under the fear of losing his brother, and reaches out to the only other friend he has. Jensen Ackles’ offered flawless work in the final scene that rendered a perfectly decent episode into a heart-splintering one. “I’m not one for praying, because in my book it’s the same as begging. But this is about Sam so I need you to hear me. We are going into this deal blind, and I don’t know what’s ahead or what it’s going to bring for Sam. Now he’s covering pretty good, but I know that he is hurting and this one was supposed to be on me. So for all that we’ve been through, I’m asking you, you keep a look out for my little brother, okay?” Castiel doesn’t materialize or even answer, and Dean asks the same thing a lot of fans are. “Where the hell are you, man?”
"Remember The Titans" as overwrought as a "Homer's Odyssey," and packed with more angst. The production gets slicker with every episode, the writing more deft and clever. From A to F, “The Born-Again Identity” to “Bugs,” the episode was a divine B+.
What did you think of this episode? Did you recognize "Melrose Place's" Brook Langton as Hayley? Were you worried that Shane wasn't actually dead when they lit him on fire? Did Dean's prayer break your heart? Hit up the comments section below.
“Supernatural” has been hitting it out of the park in 2013, and it deserves a little break. The show returns on March 20; Cas, Crowley and Meg do too. Check out the preview below.
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Photo Credits: The CW Television Network