“Paper Moon” Review
By Annie Kenney
Tonight I felt as if I had gone back in time; as if ten years had just slipped away and the Winchesters’ had started on their mission of ‘Saving people, hunting things, the family business.’ Paper Moon was an old fashioned monster of the week episode, but it went much deeper than that and it left me wishing that we could have this sort of episode every week. An episode without angels or demons; an episode where Sam and Dean actually talk and connect, in harmony (sort of) for the first time in a long time.
In the first instance I have to confess that Bitten was one of my least favorite Supernatural episodes ever. I’ve never gone back and re-watched it and I thought, at the time, that it was too much like the film Chronicle which I’d seen only a few weeks before. Cloverfield aside I’m not a fan of real footage films and TV episodes so, in reality, Bitten left me cold (I am a fan of werewolves though, but more of that later).
Despite this I really, really liked this week’s episode. The opening sequence was wonderful and the use of Warren Zevon’s ‘Werewolves of London’ was a great touch. Already I was curious as to what was happening but the song was definitely the clue here!
I happen to think the next scene was something all Supernatural fans have wanted to see for a long time; the boys enjoying some downtime together. How cool to see them sitting by the lake with shades on. It would have been nice if they were fishing or, even better, swimming but I am getting too greedy here! I loved this scene, loved that the brothers were actually talking to each other and that, for once; they weren’t at each other’s throats. Sometimes I wish the writers would give us more scenes like this, glimpses of the brother’s lives outside of hunting. We saw Sam trying to live a normal life with Amelia in Season 8 and Dean with Lisa and Ben in Season 6 but we haven’t ever really seen Sam and Dean doing fun things together. Sure there have been prank wars and Chuck touched on it in Swan Song but we have never really been party to the Winchesters in a domestic setting and this episode bought us a tiny bit closer to that.
There were hints scattered throughout the episode that Dean isn’t 100% cured. He was antsy and eager to be back on the hunt for a start and he also seemed a little off his game. I don’t think that the mark of Cain will go away and I don’t think we have seen the last of Dean’s demon side. However how refreshing it is to see Sam as the protector for once. This role reversal is something new and long may it continue. Dean has been, in his own words, looking out for Sammy, since episode 1 of Season 1, so it is good to see Sammy looking out for Dean.
As in the Ghostfacer’s episode Thinman, the writers used the two werewolf sisters to shadow what was happening in Sam and Dean’s lives. A lot of people who have reviewed this episode have compared Kate curing Tasha rather than letting her die with Sam curing Dean but to be honest I saw it more as Dean putting Gadreel in Sam right back in Season 9. It was interesting to see that Sam & Dean are not the only siblings who go the whole nine yards to protect each other. I also liked the fact that the sister’s situation forced Sam and Dean to talk about what had happened to them. Only too often Supernatural tends to gloss over things; doesn’t go in too deep and sort of stamps over interesting plot lines never to re visit them. This time though the writers decided to let Sam and Dean talk it out – several times – and it was original, fresh and very, very welcome. Sam’s little speech about carrying Dean’s body back to his room was so very touching and Dean’s ‘Thank you’ to Sam left me feeling choked up. It was nice that the brothers still shared a sense of humor with Dean mocking Sam every time Sam reminded him he was a demon.
My only concern about this episode was what the writers were trying to say. We know that Sam cured Dean rather than kill him and we know that Sam wouldn’t have killed Dean even if he hadn’t have been cured. We saw Sam put the knife down and without Castiel’s intervention we can only assume Sam would have died at demon Dean’s hands. Kate turned Tasha rather than let her die but once she realised her sister was a monster Kate did the noble thing and killed her. Are the writers foreshadowing what is going to happen? Is it conceivable that Dean isn’t really cured and will become a monster again? If so will Sam have to make the painful decision to kill him? I don’t know, but this episode seemed to be pointing that way or maybe I’m reading too much into it; only time will tell.
Sorry to say I didn’t miss Castiel or Crowley or the angels this week; how refreshing to see things from Sam & Dean’s perspective from the get go. It was so much simpler to follow the story because it wasn’t flashing from Sam to Dean to Cas to Crowley and back again! I admit I’m not the biggest angel fan but I know that there are a lot of people out there who love them so I’m not starting a petition to get rid of them just yet. However, note to the writers, a few more monster of the week episodes would be very welcome – from this fan at least!
So, all in all, this was an 8/10 episode; lots of lovely brother moments, the brothers actually being honest with each other (Sam’s confession that Lester wasn’t his only victim for a start) and affectionate with each other. A reasonable plot that made a lot of sense, another touching sibling relationship and a nice bit of gore. Excellent!
The next episode is the 200th episode and I can’t wait! I’m chomping at the bit to see what the writers and producers have in store for us and I’m pleased to say that Season 10 is shaping up very nicely.
Let’s all share that delicious looking Impala cake and wish the boys a happy 200th birthday! I imagine that we are all going to have great fun and be sharing hangovers in the morning…