“Time After Time After Time” Review
By Bekah James
Supernatural 7.12: Time After Time After Time
Written by Robbie Thompson
Directed by Phil Sgriccia
For a show that is not Doctor Who, there is a remarkable amount of time travel in this show, don’t you think? I groaned when I realized the bend of this episode. I just wasn’t in the mood for another one of these… but by the end of the hour, I was quite pleased with it. In fact, I enjoyed it very much.
Jensen and Jared, as always, were masterful. They both had their moments to shine. For Jared, it was Sam’s moment with Sheriff Mills and the whiskey. For Jensen, it was his confession to Ness that he doesn’t know why he hunts anymore. You could actually pick a scene and find flashes of brilliance for either of the Js.
It generally goes without saying amongst SPN fans, but here goes: I prefer watching the brothers work together (and in the same time) to solve a case. That being said, I do so enjoy watching Sheriff Mills delving further and further into the role of hunter. Without Ellen or Jo in the picture, the Supernatural world needs another strong female character. I hope Sheriff Mills survives the Season without getting herself ganked.
Nicholas Lea, who portrayed infamous lawman Eliot Ness, was a bit of superb casting. He delivered his lines with all of the seriousness I would expect out of an FBI agent in the 1940s. He wore the fedora (aka: Justin Timberlake hat) and overcoat with panache. I am crazy about the idea of Ness not only being an Untouchable, but also a hunter! Talk about a guy with a lot on his plate. I appreciated the fact that Ness readily accepted Dean’s story about being a hunter from 68 years in the future. I really did not want to sit through an exhaustive round of “no way!/ yes way!” Ness is a no nonsense kind of guy, not one to mollycoddle, as Dean found out in his attempt to talk out his feelings about hunting. I could definitely see touches of Dean in Ness, and those touches were highlighted by Ness’ own personal Bobby Singer (purveyor of fine suits, lore and research): Ezra Moore. I loved Ezra. I know we won’t get to see these two characters again, and about that, I’m a little pouty.
The costuming department worked very effectively this week. My favorite part of the episode was Sam’s shirt, which we have seen a few times before. I am such a fan of the consistency of showing the same shirts over the Seasons. I must also confess that I am an instant fan girl of Dean’s 1944 wardrobe. Even with Dean Smith hair going on, he managed to look dashing in vest and a fedora.
Keeping pace with the costume designers were the set designers. They did a fabulous job presenting a 1944 world. The cars, the interrogation room, the grungy diner door, the flags on the street… there was no mistaking the time period they cast.
Phil Sgriccia is one of my very favorite Supernatural directors. He brings Sam and Dean to life in ways that make them so real and almost accessible. Jensen and Jared seem more relaxed into their characters when Phil is at the helm. The posturing between Sam and Dean during their Rock Paper Scissors match was a perfect example of the natural movements Phil wrings out of the boys: Dean’s weight shifting as he prepares; Sam’s assessing face. Brilliant, subtle stuff. I also enjoyed the shot angles Phil used, specifically the from-below shot of Dean and Sam sitting at the table in 2012 drinking beer and researching. He used the same angle when Dean and Eliot burst into Chronos’ house. He also used different light filters when shooting the 1944 world. It was very red and rich, creating a highly textured and shadowed look that I found captivating. I loved the cheesy shot of Dean’s shadow cast along the fence. It was a fantastic send up to the crime movie genre. I think I could fill a volume raving about Phil Sgriccia, so I’m just going to say he is like chocolate covered awesome, and move on.
Robbie Thompson, who wrote this episode, did an admirable job with the distinctive slang used in 1944—as well as with the distinctive Dean Winchester slang. As I mentioned before, he did not torture us with Ness’ disbelief in Dean’s story. That alone is good enough to make me count the episode as a win. But he also gave us some old timey fisticuffs, Ness calling Dean “nancy” and “soft”, Dean’s “Agent Costner” alias, and the “strictly into Dick now?” line that made me choke on my White Russian. And in the end, he managed to take a monster of the week episode and garnish it with some mythology (Chronos’ death scene future telling). I have no complaints about the quality of the script this week. It was as strong as we’ve seen this Season.
There was one scene—the very last—that blew my mind on the CGI front. The pulsing glow of Chronos’ heart with the stake buried in it… wow, that was amazing. It was a highly creative use of light and timing. Instead of just watching an actor pretend their heart slowed to a stop—which can be effective—we got to see the slowing and the ultimate stop. It was extremely powerful for me and made me feel the death of a god much more potently than I would have otherwise. Kudos to whoever thought of that!
I could not write this review without mentioning the magnificent work of the composers Jay Gruska and Christopher Lennertz. This episode marks the first time Gruska and Lennertz have worked together on the show. They brought in musicians especially for the score of this episode. The music was almost as important as the characters this week. It set the stage for believability in the 1944 world. The muted horns created an underbelly feel to the Dean/Ness investigation. If you did not pay attention to the score on your first viewing, I would recommend you go back and take a second look, or rather, listen. While I am always excited to have yet another Classic Rock song to add to my SPN Playlist, I am glad they did not try to force one into this week’s episode. No, the instrumentation was the much better choice.
All in all, I enjoyed this episode on a very technical and geeky front. From start to finish, there was eye candy flung at me from every direction… and I’m not even talking about the Js! I cringe to think of the black ooze covered future that awaits us as the Season continues on, but if they can do it while maintaining the high standards set by this episode, it is going to be one hell of a ride!