Friday, October 19, 2012

Supernatural, Season 8, Episode 3: Heartache

Minneaoplis Minnesota

A late night Jogger is happily running his way down a track when he is lapped by another jogger, apparently in worse shape. At the end of the track, he concedes the other jogger is faster than him – and that other jogger rips his heart out. Nice

Sam drags Dean around a farmer’s market while Dean gripes again about Sam quitting the family business for a year, in particular he notices a case in Minneapolis of people getting their heart ripped out – and there’s a pattern of hearts being removed every 6 months. Dean thinks Sam dropped the ball ignoring this and isn’t happy that people are dying while Sam concentrates on produce. Sam wants to concentrate on finding Kevin and it’s clear that he looks upon this as the last act. Hunting this monster isn’t just a distraction from finding Kevin but also dragging him back to being a full time hunter, which he’s trying to avoid.

Time for a trip to the police where it’s clear that they never considered Paul, the overweight man, a genuine suspect because of the difference in fitness between himself and the victim (which seems silly, even if you buy the idea that fat people are inherently unhealthy, surely no-one can deny that it’s quite possible to be fat and strong). They go to interview Paul and find him a happy man who, after a health scare a year ago, is very much into healthy lifestyles, he seems fairly harmless.

Meanwhile, another heart is taken in Iowa which causes a quick change of scenery. Interviewing the police they find that the victim was a pizza delivery man – he delivered pizza to Arthur Swinson, an exemplary cop, and was found outside his house with his heart ripped out. The police man was crumbled in a corner, crying and covered in blood. Checking the timing they find he was in court when the murder in Minneapolis took place – and Paul was being questioned by police when this murder took place.

They go to see Arthur in a secure cell and find he’s babbling incomprehensibly in a language they don’t understand, repeating the same line over and over and utterly non-responsive to stimulus. Holy water proves he isn’t a demon. They also draw attention to the fact Swinson’s eyes are different colours.

That night, while still chanting, Swinson rips a metal bar out of his bed and carves out his eye.

Sam listens to the recording and they run it through Dean’s translating app that doesn’t recognise it – thinking it could be a dead language, Sam sends the recording of the chanting to their anthropology professor they previously consulted on ancient Greek legends. At the hospital they interview the doctor caring for Swinson and learn he cut out an eye that he got a year ago in a transplant. Remembering Paul’s health scare, Sam checks his records and finds he also had a transplant – a kidney transplant.

Next up in Boulder, Colorado, a stripper called Miranda takes a client into a back alley – and rips out his heart. Later we see her in a ceremonial room, holding the heart and rubbing blood on her face chanting the same thing as Swinson – she eats the heart and her heart and eyes glow red.

Sam and Dean do some research and find that the eye and the kidney came from Rick Holmes, a star quarterback who died in car crash and that he gave 4 organs in total. Their only lead, they go to check on his surviving mother in Boulder Colorado but she’s evasive to say the least – clearly doesn’t want to answer questions. When they leave, Miranda speaks to her, telling her Rick’s heart is inside her and they need to stay together – the “three of them.”
The professor gets back to them about the chanting – it’s Ancient Mayan saying “The divine god Cacao is born”. Cacao was the god of maize and the most powerful god of the pantheon. Dean has also tracked down another organ receiver in Phoenix – but they’re concentrating on Rick Holmes and his mother since he’s the clear connection. During the research they also find that Sam has expressed interest in college applications much to Dean’s disapproval.

The next step is to search Rick Holmes’s mother’s house and, after much snopping, they find a hidden room in a closet. The room is filled with sporting equipment of every kind as well as lots of trophies, newspaper articles – and a big box of letters. All of the letters, whether 40 years old or just last year, are love letters addressed to Betsy. They all talk about him winning various sporting achievements – boxing, racing, baseball, football – all kinds. The most recent of them says “I’m so tired of it all.”

Back at their hotel they run the names on the trophies through the computer and Sam notices something – putting the pictures of the athletes together they all look extremely similar. Despite going back decades and all showing men in their 20s, they all look like the same man. Their Mayan research also shows atheletes who used to make human sacrifices to Cocoa by taking out human hearts. There follows a huge leap of logic from Dean – Rick made the deal and when he died the magic of it went to his organs. The recipients were then compelled to sacrifice hearts and Swinson broke because, as a dedicated cop, he just couldn’t handle it. Looking through the old photos they also find a picture of Betsy – it’s Eleanor, the woman posing as Rick’s mother.

Time to go see her and pressure her into spilling the truth before any more people die. Without Rick alive to protect she quickly folds and tells them that Rick was a Mayan called Inyel who made a deal for two sacrifices a year in exchange for sporting prowess and eternal life – so long as the sacrifices continued. They fell in love but they both became tired of life – especially as she aged and he didn’t – and she thinks his car accident was actually suicide. But the spell lives on in the heart – since the heart is the key and that is currently in Miranda’s chest.

To the strip club – much to Dean’s delight. But Miranda is not alone, Paul and another done are there – with the enhanced strength of the Mayan god. Sam is knocked aside and they pin Dean down while Miranda crouches over him. She intends to tear his heart out slowly and begins to claw it from his chest – until the ridiculously ignored Sam knocks one of the people holding Dean’s arms aside and Dean draws a big knife – and stabs Miranda in the heart. The other 2 donees collapse. Clumsy, sloppy and a little anti-climactic, I have to say.

They ride off into the sunset – with Dean buzzing about the kill – and Sam very much not. Dean tries to get Sam into the same headspace as him but it’s clear Sam isn’t enjoying it – he wants a normal life and, once they’ve found Kevin, he’s done. We end with flashbacks of Amelia.

The summation of the Mayan civilisation: All about killing conquest and sacrificing people. Really? To have a millennia spanning ancient empire that mastered architecture that even today people are in awe over, one of the few commonly written languages in the Americas

For that matter, summarising them as a dead people and a dead language is pretty inaccurate as well, since the Maya, their languages, their people and their culture are still very much present. Even their representation of “Cacao” is so clumsy that even a wiki article could do better.

I have to say I’m getting a little tired of the “woe I want a normal life” storyline. It’s been done and done and done and Sam’s not my favourite character anyway – tending to be a bit whiny. I’d actually rather look at Deans GARGANTUUM PTSD.

The whole monster of the week seemed rushed, poor research even by Supernatural standards and with a big bad who was almost brushed aside – and not in a “oh the Wincester brothers are far too touch for this” which I could have accepted – but by simply ignoring Sam? That was pretty pathetic.

And yes, I did notice there was no Castiel in this episode. 

Castiel Castiel, wherefore art thou, Castiel?