Episode 6.14

“Mannequin 3: The Reckoning” Review
By Bekah James

I’m not too proud to admit that I was a fan of Mannequin… although not the sequel (shudder). I mean, come on, HollyWOOOOOd was worth the price of admission, baby! When the title of this episode was unveiled, I giggled and looked forward to some creepy doll action. And really, I wasn’t disappointed.

See, it wasn’t so much the mannequins/anatomy model/sex toy being animated that got me; it was the disappearing and reappearing of said dolls that did me in. When the faceless dummies started surrounding the security guard in the factory, oy vey, I freaked! The music, by the way, really helped with that freak out (thanks for that, Music Department). The anatomy model was a little heebie-jeebie inducing because of the eyes, but then the cheesy moving of those eyes made me snort-chuckle. It was so obvious. I enjoyed the Barbie Gone Bad sex toy… I wonder how long the writers had worked to get one of those on film. Tee hee.

Okay, so, is anyone else concerned about Sam? He seemed… off. He wasn’t RoboSam, but he also didn’t seem to be Cares & Shares Sam either. He was a little more business-like and just-the-facts-ma’am than I expected after the last two weeks’ episodes. I kinda liked the weaving of the brash Sam and the soft Sam, especially when he was confronting Johnny the Douche. The burning we saw in his eyes when he regained consciousness, if I’ve learned anything from Supernatural, harkens a problem with the Great Wall of Sam. His two minutes on the floor felt like a week to him—what the hell does that mean? Was Dean right about him getting a face full of Hell while he was down? We all know time in Hell passes differently, so that might could be. I bet he’s gotten back some of his awareness of his ruined soul and is struggling to work through the psychological pain. The headache in the opening showed how the psychological pain was manifesting as physical pain. Is this a precursor to the real pain in store for our Sammy?

Sam letting the (accidentally) murderous Johnny go with just a warning really reminded me of the quirkiness of this show. Our heroes are repeat felons who have killed innocent people and stolen thousands of dollars through identity theft. And instead of tsking our tongue in disapproval, we smile fondly at their antics. It’s not like Sam could’ve called the cops in, but it was one of the few times we’ve seen the boys confronted with a moral dilemma like that one. Of course, in the end, it didn’t matter that Sam let him go since his own doll killed him dead.

Maybe that’s why Lisa and Ben came back this week; to also remind us that the life of the Winchesters is far from normal, so normal reactions/ justices do not work for them. I don’t know, I’m probably reaching. But I was surprised by the Braedens’ return. I thought that was pretty well resolved. We saw Lisa tell Dean to leave them out of his life and we saw Dean struggle through the pain of losing them. I always wondered why Dean didn’t tell Lisa about his temporary vampirism, but hey, he’s a Winchester and as such, is a hard and fast non-communicator. I was willing to accept Dean’s decision and move on; but apparently the writers were not so ready to let Dean’s apple pie life go. So yeah, I was surprised when Ben called and Dean hied off to the rescue. (And yeah, I kinda bought Ben’s story about Lisa… I’m a sucker for kids.) It was an emotionally draining few scenes with Dean and his family. I cried my way through them, like it was a freakin’ Hallmark commercial. Poor Dean and his self-imposed isolation.

Nicholas Elia was excellent as Ben, the pouty and manipulative teenager hellbent on reuniting his parents. And yeah, I’m one of those that fully believes Ben is Dean’s real son. He was right to remind Dean that he abandoned his family (although I understand why Dean did it). I wanted to jump through the TV and force them to hug it out or something. I can see the writers leading us down this path again with Dean. He is doubting his place in the world. Lisa asked him what he wants from her and Ben; he couldn’t answer. Oh yeah, Dean’s got his thinking cap on now. My “Concern-o-Meter” is blinking in the “mildly worried” zone since Season 7 is not yet a sure thing (and why the heck isn’t it? The boys are in… is the CW?). Is this the in the producers need to send Dean down the road to retirement and wrap the show in a tidy little package? God, I hope not.

Now that I have let my drama flag fly high above my head… This episode felt very much like a soap opera to me. Perhaps it was earnestness of Sam’s furrowed brow, or the equally as earnest delivery of Dean’s lines. The ultra dramatic feel seems to be somewhat of a specialty for writers Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, who also wrote “You Can’t Handle the Truth” (with David Reed). I have no complaints about the writing this week. There was a blissfully perfect blend of the emotional mythology of the brothers as well as a mostly ordinary MOTW (the haunted kidney was an awesome touch that made it just different enough that it wasn’t trite).

New director Jeannot Szwarc (well new to Supernatural) did a fine job at escorting the boys through this taxing episode. You have seen his work, I am sure. He directed the movie “Supergirl” (!!) as well as episodes of “Smallville”, “Fringe”, “Heroes” and “Bones”. I enjoyed what he did here so much that I’ll even forgive him the two montages to show the passage of time and/or memories. The first one when Sam was investigating solo—it felt very CSI. The second one when Dean was leaving Lisa and Ben—it was very [insert daytime soap here]. I hope to see Mr. Szwarc back so I can get a better grip on his style.

There are a few things that I wanted to point out that have no rhyme or reason; I just liked them:

1. Sam: I might of done…who knows what – and you want me to forget about it? Dean: You shove it down and let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism

2. Dean: I don’t like how Kim Cattrall is looking at me. (Tee hee… I love that Dean references the Mannequin movies (wherein Kim Cattrall played the mannequin). But I bet he also slips in the odd episode of “Sex & the City” in between Dr. Sexy reruns.)

3. Dean’s little twitchy smile after he sees Ben the first time—even after yelling at him to go to his room. I just adore Dad!Dean. He would be the ultimate in dads, wouldn’t he?

After bitching about the past two episodes, I am thrilled to say I adored this episode muchly. The writing was great, the direction was great, the acting was great. It was just… great. I am going to do a ceremonial dance naked in my backyard to the gods of really great tv that it continues for the rest of the Season. Pictures to follow; watch my Twitter.

Bekah Forgot to Drink

I got so wrapped up in this week’s melodrama that I forgot to drink!! I mixed myself a Yellow Eyed Martini and then left it on the coffee table to condensate. Never fear, I went ahead and drank it down after the credits rolled, but I just didn’t keep an eye out for any thoughtful profiles. That’s a damn shame because I’m willing to bet Dean couldn’t gotten me five sheets to the wind alone!

Next week. OMG, next week. It’s the mother of all episodes. I’m going to try to drink every time I recover from a laughing fit. Join me?