Supernatural Review by John Keegan

Supernatural 12.06: Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox

Supernatural 12.06: Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox

Written By:
Steven Yockey
Directed By:
John Badham

The previous episode, “The One You’ve Been Waiting For”, was the first genuine misfire of the season.  Despite allowing Dean the particular pleasure of killing Hitler, everything seemed to be off-kilter.  The dialogue felt off, the plot felt like a bad piece of fan fiction, and the performances seemed forced and out of place.  This installment doesn’t have any of those problems, but it does suffer from being an obvious “bottle episode” and relying just a bit too much on shoehorned-in character history.        

 


 

Any series that has run for twelve seasons has a long and complex mythos and continuity, and there’s plenty of room within that continuity to generate stories with resonance to the larger tale.  So why create an entirely new character that is supposed to be so important to Jody?  And a Hunter, no less?  It was fun to see the Brothers Winchester letting their hair down a bit (love the reference to Dean’s interest in hentai and how Jody perked up) and the way their crazy adventures have been interpreted by Hunters, but felt like the writer was trying to force the audience to care about Asa’s death when, honestly, it didn’t matter who the fallen Hunter was.  It was a plot device given far too much attention.

 

Bottle episodes are also a nice cost-cutting exercise, but they need to balance the lack of set/situational diversity with deep dives into the psychological space of the characters.  Preferably the main characters, though that’s not a requirement.  JL was a solid enough adversary, able to deliver on the mind games, so it really came down to how far JL could push the characters into uncomfortable spaces.  A big chunk of the exploration was piecing together the truth about Asa’s death, so it ultimately matters if we as an audience care about that death.  In that sense, the episode didn’t quite deliver, and much of what happened didn’t require the Winchesters’ involvement at all.

 


 

The interest piece for the long-standing fans looking for more than a mildly clever adventure had to be Mary’s interaction with Billie.  Granted, the various Hunter deaths served to lure Billie to the location, but it was the implication that Mary would be better off going to Heaven that raised an eyebrow.  I immediately thought of how Bobby’s spectral presence was increasingly problematic a few seasons ago, and I wonder if something similar is at play with Mary.  Thankfully Mary doesn’t take the easy way out, and we’ll get to see how that choice affects the family dynamic for a while longer.

 

But now that we’ve had a few side adventures, I’m ready to get back into the larger story arc again.  And with the season coming up on the usual timing for a transition from introductory to complicating elements, I suspect that either Lucifer or the British Men of Letters will be coming back into the picture in short order.


Our Grade:
C+
The Good:
  • The conversation between Billie and Mary
The Bad:
  • A bottle episode that also felt like a filler episode, which is never a good combination

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 - 11/18/2016 1:20 PM119 views

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