Supernatural Review by John Keegan

Supernatural 10.19: The Werther Project

Supernatural 10.19: The Werther Project

Written By:
Robert Berens
Directed By:
Stefan Pleszczynski

Once upon a time, Supernatural represented something of a gold standard for genre television; it was the best show hardly anyone was watching.  Fast forward six seasons(!), and the show has certainly seen better days.  I’ve made no secret about my opinions of the Carver Era: a plot arc filled with plenty of nostalgically wonderful story nuggets spread far too thin.  That Carver admits Season 10’s already thin story was further stretched out to allow for Season 11 only adds to the problem of terrible casting of guest stars.

There are shades of the latter-day struggles of The X-Files, in the sense that heroic mutual sacrifice between the Brothers Winchester has reduced, in many ways, to suicidal codependence.  But that’s what late-season episodes are designed to do on this show: cut to the chase of the psychological issues and status of Sam and Dean, and that’s what happened in this installment.  Both brothers had to face their own demons, thanks to a diabolical “lock” constructed by a former Man of Letters.  Oh, and did I mention that Sam was trying to open the Werther Box to grab a witch’s codex, necessary to undo the curse of the Mark of Cain, without Dean’s knowledge?  Yeah, so the adventure Dean thought brought them closer together ended with Sam still lying through his teeth.

But that’s precisely what a good “bottle episode” does: it traps the characters in a situation that forced their psychological state into the storytelling limelight.  And this is such a well-constructed “bottle episode” that it would be very easy to overlook that structural script design.  Funny how all it takes, ten seasons in, is an episode focused almost entirely on the Winchesters to bring the show back to its former standards of quality.  They even managed to keep Rowena from being the personification of fingernails on a chalkboard.

One very interesting shade to the current “one Winchester saving another through dire means” rehash is the sense of nihilism.  It’s so inherent to Dean after his seasons in Hell (yes, it’s been going on for six seasons now) that it’s no surprise when he defaults to it, but Sam’s sense of duty is clearly meant to turn his Season 8 attitude on its head.  Carver took so long getting Sam here that it almost loses the point in the process, yet we’ve all arrived at the proper point.  Sam and Dean are both once again devoted to saving the other at any cost, and almost rushing to damnation in the process.  This cannot possibly end well, so the end of this season is shaping up to be a gut-wrenching ride.  That is, if they can avoid the pitfalls that have been the hallmark of the past couple seasons.

Our Grade:
The Good:
  • The core of the episode was the Sam/Dean relationship again
  • Connections to the Men of Letters lore are always welcome
The Bad:
  • Rowena wasn’t as annoying as usual, but she was still annoying

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Supernatural by - 4/24/2015 9:16 AM211 views

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