Thursday, March 6, 2014

Supernatural Season 9, Episode 15: Thinman

The Ghost facers?

Ok this review is delayed while I get some damn booze, because there’s no way I’m enduring this while sober, damn it.

Ok, glass full, bottle poised, let’s tackle this.

In Washington a faceless, really really creepy creature kills a girl with a knife – the standard lead in supernatural murder.

Dean gets one of the girl’s photos showing the faceless man and considers it a case – though he and Sam are still having lots and lots of tension which is getting old. They go to the scene and do their standard impersonating the FBI to interview the mother of the dead girl – and she already knows some things about the supernatural. Yes, the Ghostfacers have already asked her questions

Time for that bottle, methinks.

Dean is almost as unthrilled as I am and tries to threaten Harry and Ed into leaving. Please don’t threaten them, just get to the murdering (there are only 2 of them at least). Alas there is no murdering and the annoying pair don’t go away, but this booze is probably not strong enough.

Doing some research the brothers find that Ed and Harry think the monster is a Thinman, a creature that lurks in the background of someone’s lives before it kills them. And it looks like they’re right but Dean is unwilling to give them the credit. He stubbornly keeps looking at ghosts.

Alas we have to go back to the Ghostfacers and their attempts at comic relief and someone refill my glass or kill them horribly. Either will do. Double points for both. In between ongoing “humour” about Harry facebook stalking his ex and him creepily sniffing the dead girl’s clothes, Ed at least has the good sense to want to turn tail and run – yes, run Ed! Spare me the desperate desire to murder you!

Back to the Winchesters and more research that basically points to the Thinman – except all the other mysterious deaths are clearly fake (or, rather, the Thinman photos were). Only the most recent death is authentic. There’s also the question of how a photo on the dead girl’s phone got on the internet in the first place. Especially since the photo was sent 2 hours after the girl died.

And the Thinman claims his next victim – the owner of a diner. Which means police and Winchesters go down – and the Ghostfacers are already there. And, alas, they’re allowed to talk rather than being brutally stabbed until they stop making noises. They all see the extremely creepy CCTV footage of the death though

In their van, Harry is eager to go exploring the woods at night to try and find the murderous monster (c’mon, killing him now is a Darwinian service to the species, damn it!) while Ed is growing increasingly nervous.

Back to the Winchesters and shock that the video of the man’s death has already gone online which, round about way, leads to childhood reminiscenses of dressing up as super heroes. Reminiscing and angst interrupted by Ed showing up, alone, to pass the case to the Winchesters and make a confession. The Thinman is fake. Harry was going to leave the Ghostfacers with his girlfriend who declared the whole thing ridiculous – so Ed faked the Thinman to give Harry a reason to keep going; and leave his girlfriend. Sam takes the chance to make a big thing about how Secrets Ruin Relationships (oh you’re subtle, real subtle there Sam).

Of course, Harry is out there with some kind of killer which is not advisable so they have to run to the rescue. In the trees, Harry is ambushed by the Thinman who slashes him – but seems to be considerably less adept than he was in the past. Harry manages to run, though he’s injured. The gang finds him and gives him some quick first aid – and some revelations

We now bring you Sam and Dean’s argument. The role of Sam will be played by Harry (I can’t trust you, you lied to me, our relationship is shattered), the role of Dean will be played by Ed (I did it for us, for your own good). The role of drunken, bored watcher will be played by Sparky, who is rapidly running out of booze. Then Sam and Harry talk about forgiving and being unable to get past the betrayal, before Dean drags us back to the plot with some very mundane clues to the killer.

Dean and Sam arrive at the location complete with their inept deputy contact who attacks them from behind with tasers the minute they let him get behind them. They wake up tied up (of course. And, yes, Dean makes a crack at the deputy’s weight and him being the Thinman). And he’s not supernatural at all – it’s the deputy and his co-murderer in a mask (a waiter in the diner who we kinda sorta recognise but Sam reminds us just in case). Their murders are for very petty reasons – the girl wouldn’t date them, his boss was mean, the sheriff wouldn’t give him time off; and they have a little rant about how everyone ignores them and how sad it was.

They get ready to slash Dean’s throat, Sam loses his shit – and there’s a noise at just the right moment. Alas it’s the Ghostfacers – death may have been preferable and I am out of booze. Day is saved, the end.

What I got to keep going? Damn. The Ghostfacers get captured really easily but while the clowns and the fools were fooling around the Winchesters managed to free themselves. Violence follows and Dean stabs one killer with his own knife – including a cool little moment when Sam gives Dean a “you just killed an actual human being Dean” look. Definitely a moment. And Harry saves Ed’s life shooting the other killer.

Aftermath, Sam and Dean reflect on real people being the monster for once (“real people are sick.”) And Ed and Harry haven’t just made up – they repeat the same argument (this time “too many people died because of your lies.” “I do this for you,” and “no you did this for yourself” and “I can’t forgive this”) that Sam and Dean had. They drive off – Sam and Dean giving Harry a lift so he can have a final chance at really unsubtle parallels – this time the shock of realising someone you thought would always be there now isn’t there.

I call shenanigans on the cutesey childhood memories! The whole point of the history of Supernatural, a core element of their character building is that they didn’t have a home or a normal childhood. Stop forcing clumsy angst with bad canon.

I have to admire subtle messages in a show. Alas, there was nothing to admire here. They couldn’t possibly have been more obvious forcing the Ghostfacers to be a metaphor for Sam and Dean’s relationship, even having them almost repeat the same argument Sam and Dean had word for word

And it didn’t work for me. Not only because Sam and Dean’s epic conflict has been building for 9 seasons and the last thing we needed is having it pantomimed by circus clowns but also because the basic foundation is broken:

Ed lied to Harry, in doing so he ruined Harry’s life, broke up his relationship and manipulated him into a wild goose chase.

Dean lied to Sam to save Sam’s life from certain death. I’m not saying all of Dean’s choices and actions were justified, but there isn’t a parallel between what Ed did and what Harry did

Also I’m tired of Sam and Dean being attacked from behind and waking up restrained. I know it’s hard not to be repetitive in a 9 season show but there has to be a limit. Honestly guys, Dean was ambushed not one episode ago by a guy you let get behind you because you underestimated him. You’d think in a world of shapeshifters, demon/angelic possession and you-name-it-we-got-it they’d get past turning their back because someone seems harmless. And why do all these villains just tie them up then wait for them to wake up and prepare their escape before trying to kill them – did they go to the James Bond school of villaindom? Are piranha pools not in the budget?