Friday, April 29, 2016

Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 19: The Chitters

So that was a little unexpected

It’s a fairly standard monster of the week episode (monster cicadas who go dormant every 27 years then arise, possess people and make them have lots of sex before burying them to unleash a new generation in 27 years for more murders and orgies). The episode also has a bit part for Kandyse McClure, which I only mention because she’s my “oh hey it’s her!” actress – y’know you always recognise them but can never place them (she’s also tragically underused).

What was surprising was that one of the random young victims was gay (ok he’s dead now, so no points – but a young tween gay kid? Not common on TV even if his screen time is 10 seconds then death) and, much more notable, a couple of hunters they run into who are also hunting the monster turn out to be a gay couple (they badly need to go back to acting school, but still. Actually, that’s wrong, “back” implies they actually went.) And they manage to dodge the usual full Dean freak out (oh so common) and go for a much more easier-to-swallow surprise and any other terrible tropes. The two even live. Between this and the lesbian couple earlier in the season and the fact that both couples included POC and the presence of Rufus in Safe House almost makes me think a writer has finally looked back on some elements on Supernatural’s record and said “what have we done?!”

Yes, I realise I’m giving rather a heavy positive slant on something I would just give a nod to in most shows: after all, 11 seasons and managing a couple of episodes of non-recurring LGBT/POC characters that weren’t terribly troped isn’t exactly worthy of a parade and fireworks – but it speaks volumes for how low my expectations of this show have sunk. So I’m almost torn, a lot of me is really happy to see this – but a fair part of me is a little annoyed by my own happiness because is it really enough to be worth this much hope and even potential glee?

The hunters don’t become recurring characters, despite Sam and Dean considering recruiting them to help with the Amarra issue – but since they have now achieved their revenge they have a chance at their real life without hunting. They’re hunters who have, as Sam and Dean put it, reached the finish line and neither wants to break that. It sounds like a twee reason to not include them further but it does carry the ongoing lessons of the show – of how so many hunters are deeply scarred from their painful losses in their youth. How they’re driven to find revenge – and how that revenge, even if achieved, never makes them happy or fulfilled. Yet at the same time they cannot possibly not pursue that vengeance.

Of course these all apply so much more to the Winchesters and their almost acceptance of their lack of anything resembling a happy ending.