Friday, 14 May 2010

Spotlight: Supernatural – Two Minutes to Midnight

So, I’m taking a break from one of the most monumentally boring weeks of my life to do something I actually enjoy and what could be better than writing about Supernatural?

After the rather “heavy” feeling season four left us with, Eric Kripke seemed to try and return his beloved show to the good old days with season 5. There was more comedy, more monsters of the week, a lighter yet memorable mythology. The problem with that though was that it left very little time to tell the story or at least that’s how “Two Minutes to Midnight” felt.

The episode opens with Sam and Dean arguing over Sam’s plan to say yes to the Devil and then jump into the pit. However a call from Castiel interrupts them. We haven’t seen Cas since the brothers went after Zach and the Winchesters had presumed him dead, of course, I knew better!

However it seems that wherever Castiel went, he came back different. He can no longer teleport, he feels hunger, thirst, pain and by all accounts he would appear to be human. I have to admit I laughed out loud when Cas asked for “Money for an aeroplane ride” and even more when Dean said “It’s ok, Bobby will wire you the cash” and Bobby replied “I will???”

Cas goes on to apologise for underestimating Dean before hanging up. So the brothers set about hunting down Pestilence (Matt Frewer). However, like the Horsemen before him, getting close enough to kill Pestilence is not easy for your standard human. By the time they reach Ol’ Pesty Sam and Dean are so sick they can’t even stand.

Pestilence’s demon sidekick suggests that they get out of dodge before the Winchesters kill him, however Pesty has no intention of leaving, he wants to kill Sam and Dean and if Satan doesn’t like it “HE CAN GLUE THEM BACK TOGETHER!”

So with Sam and Dean at his mercy Pestilence begins to gloat. “You boys don’t look well. Might be the Scarlet Fever or the er Meningitis… oh or the syphilis.”

“So, you gotta wonder why God pours all his love into something so messy! Weak! All I can do is show him he’s wrong one epidemic at a time.” However before the brothers can die of a variety of STD’s Cas turns up and then promptly coughs up blood. Pestilence then confirms that Cas has indeed become human but that he is still an angel on the inside, simply powerless though.

Not so powerless when he cut your finger off though was he? That’s right, Cas grabs Ruby’s knife and cuts off the Horseman’s ring. However the rider manages to deliver his dying words “It doesn’t matter, it’s too late.” and poof he’s gone.

So, it took the brothers only 13 minutes to take down Pestilence and with him gone they moved straight on to Death. With Pestilence’s famous last words ringing in their ears the boys return home to Bobby. “Did he get specific?” Bobby asked, which is a set up for what comes next rather than an actual question. “No, we’re just a little freaked out that he might have left a bomb somewhere. So please tell us you have actual good news.” Bobby is silent for a moment, then “Chicago is about to be wiped off the map.” And then, without a hint of a smile Castiel pipes up “I don’t understand your definition of good news.” Brilliant! God bless Misha Collins!

Of course, Sam and Dean want to know where Bobby is getting his info... Enter Crowley and Bobby is forced to admit he loaned his soul to the demon in order to discover Death’s location. Then... for no apparent reason it occurs to Sam that demons like to seal a deal in a very specific way. “Did you kiss him?”

“No!” Bobby denies vehemently, at which point Crowley produces his mobile phone and shows everyone the picture. Why? This is such a funny moment in what could have been a very serious scene and it just works, it’s a twisted idea but it is very very funny.

Crowley explains that the Demons are planning to infect the country by contaminating the flu vaccine with the Croatoan Virus. So, with Bobby’s soul as an insurance policy the brothers split up and go their separate ways. Dean to seek out Death in Chicago with Crowley as his sidekick and Sam and Bobby to take out the Croatoan virus the demons are distributing in the swine flu vaccines.

As they set off there is a rather touching moment with Castiel, he feels useless. “What am I supposed to do with this?” He asks waving a shotgun at Bobby. “Point it and shoot.” The free spirited cripple replies with sarcasm to spare.

Sam takes Ruby’s knife while Crowley gives Dean the gift of Death’s Sickle and while he’s handing out gifts he gives Bobby back the use of his legs, calling it a sub-clause in the contract for his soul. It’s so hard to trust Crowley, but something about Mark’s portrayal of the character makes me think he’s batting for the home team.

Enter Death, played by Julian Richings, riding upon a pale steed, which was of course reinterpreted in the only way Supernatural knows how, as a Cadillac, accompanied by the rather eerie version of “Oh Death” sung by Jen Titus.

On the way to blow up the Croatoan supply Cas discusses the ramifications of Sam’s plan to trick the Devil. The more this idea gets banded about the more I think they are actually going to run with it. But with a sixth season in the bag can they really drop the Devil and by extension, Sam, down a hole and call it a day? Something is going to go wrong, we just know it. Also the introduction of Death’s sickle suggests that at some point (presumably end of season 6), Death will claim Lucifer.

Anyway, Castiel approves of the plan, based solely on the fact that Sam and Dean constantly prove themselves to be unlikely heroes. This, while true, does not make the plan any less stupid. Castiel also lets Sam know that Adam (their brother) is now Michael’s vessel and that they have next-to-no time before the final showdown with Lucifer that will wipe out half the planet in a righteous fire.

Finally Cas reveals that to accept Lucifer Sam will have to drink dozens of demons dry, something that we know will cause Sam to go off the reservation completely.

So, the little company of terrorists arrive at the warehouse with the Croatoan. The Demons realise what is happening but it’s too late. Sam, Bobby and Cas begin killing Demons and infected humans left, right and centre. Sam rescues dozens of innocent civilians before he will finally allow Bobby to blow the place to hell.

Meanwhile in Chicago Dean and Crowley finally track down Death, in a pizzeria of all places. Dean tries to sneak up on him but he simply ends up disarmed and looking a little naïve. Death invites Dean to join him for a slice.

“So, is this the part where you kill me?” Dean asks nervously. Although for a guy who’s died dozens of times you might think he’d be a bit more blasé about it. Death however explains to Dean that he is little more than bacteria. Death has been around for millennia, at least as long as God, maybe longer.

Death orders Dean to eat, which he does, again rather timidly. In a shocking revelation Death reveals that God too is destined to die, although given the number of gods Supernatural has killed off in it’s five year run, should we really be surprised if another supreme deity bites the mythological dust?

So Death reveals why the Horsemen are serving in the apocalypse. It seems that somehow Death and the others are tied to Lucifer (maybe the Devil beat him at chess). In any case Death wants out, to that end he offers up the final ring, but on one condition, Dean must do whatever it takes to get the Devil back in the pit, even if it means losing Sam. Happily, as part of the deal, Death decides to spare Chicago, if only because of the pizza.

“Well…?” Death asks holding out the ring. “Do I have your word?”

“Okay, yeah… yes…” That’s such a Supernatural line, here is Dean facing Death itself and he says “Yeah…” Death reminds Dean that he cannot cheat Death and so should not try and worm his way out of the deal.

The episode closes out with Dean and Bobby discussing the ramifications of Dean’s choice. “What do you think Death does to people who lie to his face?” Dean asks rhetorically. “What did you say?” Bobby asks. “That I was cool with Sam driving the bus on the whole Lucifer plan.” But Bobby doesn’t back Dean up. “Look, I’m not saying Sam ain’t arse-full of character defects but… back at Niveus I watched that kid pull one civilian out after another. He must've saved ten people, never stopped, never slowed down.  Look. Sam's got a darkness in him, I'm not saying he don't, but he's got a hell of a lot of good in him, too.” “I know.” Dean replies, unable to believe he’s agreeing with Bobby.

“Then you know Sam will beat the devil, or die trying. And that's the best we could ask for him. So I gotta ask, Dean. What exactly are you afraid of? Losing, or losing your brother?”


As I said, this episode has been a bit of a rushed affair, although I’m not sure I would have like to see it turned into three episodes either. Overall it was fun, it got the points across, plenty of hints were dropped about possible places the finale and subsequent seasons will go…

All we know is “it’s going to be bloody, for all of us.” I can’t wait to watch tonight's episode, in fact the only thing I’m not looking forward to about it is it being over for another six months! :(

Anyway, that’s just about enough rambling from me, this has been My Two Cents and now it’s time for a little more from the Winchester Boys…

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