“Defending Your Life” Review
By Bekah James
Supernatural 7.04: Defending Your Life
Written by Andrew Glass
Directed by Robert Singer
Music: “Down South Jukin’” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
I swear time seems to speed up when a Season 7 episode is rolling. For the fourth week in a row, when it ended, I found myself startled—and disappointed. These episodes are tearing through Good and heading straight to Awesome!
Here we find Dean and Sam on what should be a “cut and dry” job. A little bit of impersonating law enforcement, a little googling, and blam-o case solved. But has anything ever gone according to plan in the Winchesterverse? No! And that, dear friends, is why we watch (obsessively)!
Egyptian god Osiris, portrayed by Faran Tahir, makes a cameo for some reason. I’m not exactly sure why he was in Dearborn, Michigan. Did anyone pick up on that? If so, tweet me @rebekahjames and let me know. Faran was a brilliant blend of reasonable and creepy. I like that in a monster/god/supernatural entity. I found that as he presided over Dean’s trial, I started to see his point. He wasn’t saying anything about Dean that Dean hasn’t already thought about himself. No, he never intentionally did any of the things Osiris brought up (and why in the world did Osiris stop short of hauling Amy to the stand? He didn’t strike me as the kind of god to withhold evidence for the sake of not damaging a relationship), but Dean has always blamed himself when bad things happen to those he loves.
I was on tenterhooks, by the way, waiting for the third witness. Sure, it was implied that it would be Amy, but it would have been awesome to the point of epic if Osiris had called Castiel to the stand. Think about it; Dean’s slide into depression (again, a duck is a duck) can be traced back to one thing: The Castiel Thing. You might twit me and say “nay, he’s been all angsty and drinky since Season 3!” but this, this depression is on a much grander scale. Let’s examine the facts: He is hurting (he grimaces and clenches his back just after the Michael Vicking of Christopher Fisher); he is overwhelmed (he references wanting a simple case more than once); he is tired (he falls back on the bed holding an extra large coffee); and he is drinking to excess (so many references to his drinking!). Dean is a walking poster child for those in need of Prozac and intense psychotherapy. Of course, being a hunter, that’s not really an option, so instead… he gets weighed and measured by a damn Egyptian god. Fab.
So here we are, staring straight in the abyss of Dean’s guilt. Let’s call a duck a duck: This episode was a vehicle for showcasing all the crap Dean is carrying around inside of him. I guess the producers didn’t think we’d pick up on the not-so-subtle clues they’ve been giving us the past three episodes. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed the episode. I mean, honestly, who amongst us don’t dig watching the boys squirm with a metric butt ton of angst? Adam Glass is not my favorite Supernatural writer… not by a long shot… but he did all right this go around.
I know I’ve mentioned the drinking thing before, but I’m doing it again. Drinking is a theme this Season. Heck, I’d go so far as to say it’s one of the early runners for Big Bad this go around. Last week, Sam told
Amy that John was essentially a mean drunk. This week, Sam straight up calls his brother out on his drinking. And Dean, for his part, refuses to question a witness from Alcoholic Anonymous, and says that being sober and dead is his version of a bad day, and downs doubles of whiskey like he can’t feel the burn. I will say it here for memory: If the producers/writers send Dean to rehab and completely dry him out, I’m going to be ticked. I like HeavyDrinker!Dean—but donot like ImpliedAlcholic!Dean. Not at all.
Sam did really well as a pretend lawyer. He asked Dean some very good, pointed questions that convinced me beyond a doubt that Dean should not feel guilty for the deaths Osiris mentioned. The big laugh of the episode, by the way, came from Sam’s “I saw that on ‘The Good Wife’.” I get a charge out of knowing that Sam watches a show so girly that even I don’t watch it. Maybe it’s compelling. I don’t know. Anyway, it was a nice change of pace to have Sam watching out for Dean. So many times I’ve wanted to throttle Sam for having more issues than Charlie Sheen. When is it Dean’s turn to go to pieces? Oh. Look at that… apparently now it’s Dean’s turn. Yay?
I can’t not mention the whole Sam-doesn’t-feel-guilty thing. So there it is. I think it’s crap. Who in the freakin’ world could go through everything that Sam has and not feel some level of guilt?
Alona Tal is absolutely gorgeous. Too bad we didn’t get to see her all pink and alive. I’ve always appreciated her chemistry with the boys, Dean especially. I hated seeing her being forced to (almost) kill Dean. Thank goodness she was freed from Osiris’s compulsion before she flicked Dean’s BIC. And I adored the way that Dean knew that Jo was in the motel room with him when he was making his salt ring.
Okay. So, okay… the ram’s horn. Sam went to swipe one from a synagogue. He got busted. But he still got away with the horn. I would have liked to see how in the world he talked the rabbi into relinquishing the religious artifact. If Mr. Glass had no intention of letting us see that, it would have been better to not have Sam being busted at all. It would have made for a tighter script.
You know what I noticed this week? Dean’s blue overshirt was wicked pressed. No wrinkles. None. I don’t know what’s going on with the wardrobe department lately, but the boys jam their clothes in a duffle and toss it in the trunk of a car filled with weapons. When, exactly, can you imagine Dean pulling out an ironing board and starching his collars or working on his creases? I miss the roughed up look of earlier Seasons. Am I alone on this?
There is not a lot I can say about Robert Singer’s direction, because when he directs an episode, I tend to forget I’m watching a television show. He makes me feel like I am there, like a fly on the wall. I will say the Boys-Care-and-Share-Next-To-The-Impala scene was beautifully shot. The coloring was lush and served as a discombobulating backdrop for the deep conversation about guilt and Hell. I always figured that mentions of time served in Hell were required to be accompanied by darkness, shadows and/or thunder claps. Also, I got a little chuckle over the little boat in the background cruising by. I don’t know why, but it amused me.
So there you have it. The continuation of a stellar Season that seems to want to one-up itself with each episode. If this continues, we should see Perfection by time episode 23 rolls around. I don’t know if my brain—or heart—can take it. But hey, I’m willing to give it a go.
Bekah’s Been Drinking:
I drank A LOT this week. I can’t find my notes where I made my little tick marks. I may have used it to sop up a spilled drink. I know… alcohol abuse. It was tragic; much loss of rum. I don’t want to talk about it.
Next week, two Buffy alums are gracing our show. I thought long and hard about this, and I’ve decided to drink whenever I get that surge of SQUEE! in my chest from seeing old friends on my TV—with the boys!! I bet I’ll be sloshed ten minutes in.