“My Bloody Valentine” Review
By Amanda Rebholz
I didn’t think I’d be watching this week’s episode, honestly; a very good friend of mine, Michael, is visiting from Australia currently and we’re going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, so it’s been a hectic week and I had already resigned myself to missing the episode. However, an unexpected snow day resulted in us curled up under the blankets to catch tonight’s Valentine’s Day episode, which was interesting because Michael is a relatively new convert to Supernatural fandom. He’s only seen the first season, and had no clue about any of the plot developments that had happened since. I gave him the fastest summation in history during the credits of The Vampire Diaries and then asked him to give me his honest, unbiased opinions on the episode when it wrapped.
I myself thoroughly enjoyed the episode. I was excited about the portrayal of Cupid, and actually having him be a chubby naked man was amusing. Given that angels take the form of vessels, does this imply that cherubs actively seek out jovial-looking fat guys to inhabit, or do they actually have that shape themselves? As always, the acting was on point and Misha Collins’ portrayal of Castiel gets more and more human with each passing appearance. His sense of humor is developing nicely, and his innocence to Dean’s wit (“they are not incontinent, Dean” and “That’s his handshake… no one likes them” were particularly well-delivered moments) is as endearing as ever. While the episode had funny moments, it was equally disturbing and dark— scenes of Sam dripping blood and two lovers literally cannibalizing each other while making out are things you’d expect with an episode title like “My Bloody Valentine”, but it was still disturbing as all get-out.
I particularly liked that the Horsemen are not all going to be attractive, suave, or persuasive. The fact that Famine is a decrepit, withered old man on oxygen in a wheelchair is a brilliant angle— he is frail and feeble, creepy and unsettling— his voice is sybillant and unpleasant, a low hiss that makes your skin crawl. Much like Alastair’s portrayal, this depiction of Famine literally makes you get gooseflesh when you hear their voice or see their image; they are not the sleek, dangerous-looking villains we’re used to, or the more attractive demons we’ve seen plenty of; these are genuinely unsympathetic and unlikeable. Nor did Famine have an awesome car, though the loaded-up black SUV was pretty cool and I liked that all of his sidekicks were dressed in black.
I thought that the bit with Dean’s heart being empty and dead is just becoming tired – we get it, writers. Every single villain has pointed it out here recently, that Dean has nothing left to fight for, that he’s a failure, and that he’s going to lose the war. Dean himself obviously recognizes it and has no hope. However, I gave an angry howl when Sam succumbed to drinking demon blood again— although I sort of revoked my complaint when Sam 2.0 exorcised a whole slew of demons with one twitch of his hand and a single nostril-flare. Long gone are the days of him struggling to wrench the black smoke from one pesky little minion-demon; now he can disable a whole Horseman with just a little nosebleed for his trouble. Drinking demon blood obviously took a long-term toll on Sam, something deep inside his blood that was awakened; after this second round of detox, will he be able to stay away once more?
More importantly, SHOULD he? With Castiel out of the ass-kicking game for the most part and unable to exorcise demons, having someone else with intense powers on demand would be more than useful. Likewise, Sam is the Chosen One for Lucifer and thus the demons are under strict orders not to harm him; it’d be a very useful thing if the demons couldn’t fight back while he pulled them from their host bodies and extinguished them. But clearly Dean isn’t going to see it that way, and Sam doesn’t want to go any more Darkside than he already has— according to a lot of doctors who specialize in substance abuse, a one-time detox/rehab usually doesn’t effectively stop the problem and it can take multiple times to truly get the person ‘cured’. Sam obviously doesn’t WANT to be entirely cured, since he feels that urge even WITHOUT Famine’s aid; seeing exactly HOW powerful he is once he sips the crunk juice really makes one wonder if the means might justify the end in this case.
Another interesting question was raised in this episode— Castiel mentioned that Jimmy’s craving for red meat was what was causing his overpowering hunger. Are we to believe, then, that Jimmy Novak is still inside Castiel’s body? Popular fan theory, while never confirmed by any writers or staff of the show, was that Jimmy was killed when Raphael vaporized Castiel. It would only make sense— the same way that a demon destroys the life of its vessel when the body is destroyed. Otherwise, why didn’t Uriel’s host body take back over after he was stabbed by Anna? If you kill the body, you kill the host. So why not Jimmy Novak? Did Castiel somehow manage to protect him while fighting for his own life against the archangels? If so, to what gain? Jimmy has no reason to live— he can never go back to his life pre-Castiel. Will we see Castiel pulled from the body again and Jimmy in control? Now every time we see Castiel, we’ll be thinking about Jimmy Novak still trapped inside that body that Cas is using as a very handsome meat suit.
When the credits rolled (and I gave a torn cry— anguished because the next new episode is in March, delighted because it involved ZOMBIES and Bobby’s wife), Michael told me that his first impression of the show through fresh eyes was “Man, it’s gotten very DARK from where I stopped watching.” He commented on how it had an overall different feel from the early episodes, and almost felt like an entirely different show because of this. I couldn’t really argue; watching it every week tends to desensitize you to the evolution of the Winchesters, because we’ve been watching the proverbial manure hit the fan for each consecutive episode and watching it get increasingly dark and bleak. But for someone who’s never seen Papa Winchester die, or Dean kiss a crossroads demon, or Ruby feed Sam her bleeding arm, the change was probably astounding. Either way, it sold him on it, and I have the feeling that when he gets back to Australia, Michael will be a lot more interested in catching up on his Supernatural queue so that next time he won’t get the stink-eye from me when he asks “Who’s that guy?” after Castiel appears.