“Clap Your Hands If You Believe” Review
By Bekah James
Okay, I normally end with the weekly drinking game results, but I need to get this off my chest. I cheated this week; I didn’t drink every time I should have. I was supposed to drink every time I laughed. I counted FORTY instances of laughter before I just gave up. If I had actually taken a sip for those forty, I’d be writing this from a hospital bed. So there you go… I’m a big fat cheater (and sober) pants. Next week, let’s go back to Eric Kripke’s Thoughtful Profile idea! Drink every time you see a Thoughtful Profile from any of the regulars.
Now, on to the review.
This episode had me in stitches. Ben Edlund is always a sure thing when it comes to wacky good times, and he did not disappoint with this story. After eight solid weeks of angst and hand-wringing, we FINALLY got a chance to laugh with (at?) our boys. Straight out of the gate, we were given the gift of an awesome X-Files homage in the first ever Supernatural opening credits. For dedicated X-Philes (such as myself), this in and of itself was worth the price of admission! Mr. Edlund wrote an exquisite script that gave us enough chatter about Sam’s soul to keep us on the mythology train (um, soul train), while delivering laughs by the dozens. I think I will henceforth use “Fight the fairies!” as my own personal war cry.
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester reminded me, yet again, just how epic his comedic timing is. His subtle pauses, his crazy walk-shuffle-run, his quirked eyebrow, his blinks, his deadpanned delivery when saying the words “incandescent” and “douchebags” in the same sentence… it was all so MAGICAL. The fight with the “little naked lady” was excellently choreographed to highlight Jensen’s physical comedy abilities. I laughed more than was decent when he tackled the District Attorney who he mistook for his stalker fairy. (I’m still not clear how he got out of that particular pickle, but that’s okay; I’m good with a little deus ex machina every now and then). I was amused beyond reason at Dean’s pride over surviving an alien abduction, and then at being chosen by the fairies for his awesome and superior first bornedness. Only Dean could turn his FML experiences into a competition (one that he is clearly winning) with his soulless little brother. Seriously Dean… LOL.
The only thing that amused me more than Jensen was Jared Padalecki. He is mastering Soulless!Sam more and more as the Season progresses. In this episode, he fully embraces his outer Jiminy Cricket (aka: Dean) and seeks guidance in the most hilarious ways. I laughed for several long seconds when he was on the phone talking Dean through his close encounter, steadily ordering another beer… and waiting around to finish it after Dean vanished. When Sam pointedly put his hand on Dean’s knee in an attempt to comfort his brother, I snorted a bit of Malibu and Pineapple (ouch, the pineapple-y burn). I am STILL chuckling over Sam saying he’d had time to come to terms with Dean’s abduction—after a half hour! I could go on and on about the funny from Sam, but I’ll spare you (but I will say that I like Sam… he said okie dokie). I always knew Jared was funny at conventions and in interviews, but the heavy comedy (such as it is on Supernatural) has traditionally been left to Jensen. So now I have duly noted that Jared Padalecki is capable of bringing not only the funny, but the HILARIOUS.
It was nice to see the boys having actual conversations in this episode, instead of Dean giving lecture after lecture to a disgruntled Sam. There was a real give and take to their interaction this week, which thrilled me to the bones. I fell in love with the conversation in the bar, with Sam asking about the appropriateness of sleeping with the hippy chick (Devon Weigel) during a hypothetical search for a missing brother. Sam was so very earnest in his attempt to ask what he saw as valid questions. His synopsis that having a soul means suffering made me chuckle… and then cringe. Oh boy, Dean walked himself into that one. That little nugget of dialogue led directly into…
The requisite End of Episode Pow-Wow (EEPW) as they sat on the Impala. For the first time in the episode, I was reminded that I was not comfortable with this version of Sam. Everything that preceded the EEPW was light-hearted and made me laugh, but when Sam refused the End of Episode Celebratory Beer (EECB) (equally as requisite), my laughter ended and my smile slid away. He refused the bonding that the EECB represents, much like he refused taking the Impala back in “Exile on Main Street”. The soul issue was brought back into clear focus with a quickness. Dean questions Sam’s desire to have his soul, and Sam lies. Of course he lies. How can he tell Dean he doesn’t want it back? If Dean would just take his blinders off, he would see that Sam has told him twenty ways to Sunday that he does NOT want it back. I suppose Dean is catching the vibe, if not the giant billboard, since he has asked Sam about it several times now. I hear on the rumor mill that we’ll get some additional answers/information on this point in episode 11 (airing December 10th), so stay tuned.
Here’s where I talk about the production stuff because I’m a little bit of a geek. I was supremely happy to hear “Space Odyssey” by David Bowie. HERE is some Classic Rock (sorta). What an odd—and perfect—song for Dean’s tangle with Nipple Bell. Did she look like a Golden Snitch to anyone else? The CGI guys (and gals) did a great job with that scene… not so much with the silver knife/leprechaun scene later on, sorry guys (and gals). Also, the set designers SLAYED me with the corn motel room. The screaming eagle and buffalo paintings made me chortle. The forest wallpaper with floral chairs that resembled bushes inside the forest made me go “ha”. The freakin’ CORN room divider made me out and out laugh. I don’t know how Jensen and Jared were able to deliver any serious dialogue surrounding by such atrocious surroundings. Kudos, set designers… kudos.
John F. Showalter directed this episode, which was a change of pace from his past work in the series. He directed “Two and a Half Men” earlier this Season and Season 5’s “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”… neither of which were laugh riots. I was pleasantly surprised at the result of his efforts. I especially liked the camera angles he employed during Dean’s running away from aliens/fairies sequences. Also, the shot during the EEPW with the EECB at the end was superb. The background was vibrantly colored and peaceful… as our favorite felons sat on a gleaming black car and drank beer out of the oldest cooler seen on TV today. It was a beautiful and poignant shot that had me sighing and rewinding for one more look.
All in all, I adored this episode. I think Sera has taken Supernatural on a crazy (and brave) new journey that I am falling more in love with each week. I may gnash my teeth and stamp my feet over Sam’s missing soul, or the lack of brotherly bonding, but the God’s honest truth is this: Season 6 is making me think about and analyze darn near every word, every action, every scene, every everything. And THAT, my friends, is damn good TV.