“Halt & Catch Fire & The Executioner’s Song” Review
By Annie Kenney
Due to having surgery I wasn’t able to watch last week’s episode of Supernatural until this week so therefore I got to watch this week’s episode straight afterwards. To be honest I am quite stunned as the two episodes couldn’t have been further apart in their content and style. Halt & Catch Fire was a typical monster of the week episode which resembled something from Season 1. It had some wonderful brotherly moments, a good sense of threat and doom and it showed that the show still maintains it’s (often sick) sense of humour. The whole thing reminded me of classic X-Files (The Ghost in the Machine was actually referenced) and it could have formed the plot for a horror film. A casual viewer could have turned on the TV, watched the episode and come away happy. You needed no prior knowledge of the Winchesters and what they do as the Then montage told the audience pretty much all they needed to know.
The Executioner’s Song was typical of the more contemporary Supernatural episode. It was full of characters that all link together in the overall mythology. It had the mark, the blade, Cain, Crowley, Castiel and – woe is me – Rowena all thrown together in the mix. Even lifelong fans had to follow it closely to actually know what was going on and a casual viewer would have found it totally confusing!
This brings me quite neatly round to my MOW episode V Mytharc episode. Which is better? Is one better than the other or is it just down to people’s personal choice? I loved Halt & Catch Fire and didn’t particularly like The Executioner’s Song. However I’m pretty convinced that 50% of the fan base probably has the opposite opinion. There are upsides and downsides to both episodes and it really is down to how the viewer/Supernatural fan feels.
There were excellent parts to The Executioner’s Song. Cain is a totally tremendous character and fits into the Supernatural universe without any problems at all. Timothy Omundson is so good and so believable. He is also pretty scary! I love his massive coat, huge amount of hair and enormous beard. I love that he is so well spoken and so reasonable on one hand and yet totally unhinged on the other. I also like Dean’s fight with the Mark and I am starting to worry about Sam’s fate again. Cain actually told Dean he would end up killing Sam and that scared me. Dean seems rational at the moment but – as we have seen by Cain’s behaviour – that won’t last long. It’s good to see Team Free Will working together again and it is obvious both Sam and Castiel really want to save Dean. It is a storyline I’m interested in, one I am invested in and then there is Crowley but more importantly there is his mother.
Try as I might I cannot warm to Rowena. She is just a terrible character – like some sort of pantomime villain – an over the top Disney wicked witch. She stomps around and her presence undermines Crowley at every step. This might be the writer’s intentions but it hasn’t worked for me. I LOVE Crowley and the introduction of his mother has just ruined his character for me. I still fail to see the point of her character and nothing is becoming clear. She might be lined up to be this season’s big bad but she is about as scary as my Jack Russell and her cunning seems to involve a lot of over the top facial expressions and not a lot more! I guess I might have to eat some humble pie (with Dean) if the writers actually do something good with her before the season ends but at the moment she is driving me crazy!
As always though Jared and Jensen are the center of the circle, the heart of each episode and their acting just gets better and better. Dean’s guilt, his sudden spurts of violence (smashing computers and phones), his killing of Cain, his utter desperation and dejection just jump out of the screen at you. Sam’s need to help his brother, his sad eyes, his awful gut-wrenching confession to Castiel at the end of The Executioner’s Song, no amount of bad characters can take this away from me and I loved the brothers in both episodes.
So Supernatural is taking a break and moving to a different night; what will happen when it returns? Will Dean begin a downward spiral? Can Sam save him? Is the season finale going to involve the hideous sight of Dean killing Sam? Will Rowena have any purpose? Is Cain really dead? All these questions and more will no doubt be answered in a way that only Supernatural can and I hope the break doesn’t seem too long…