Category Archives: Speculative

Doctor Who Celebrates Nine Years Back on TV

It’s hard to believe it’s been 9 years since Doctor Who returned to TV with the airing of “Rose”. The modern show feels like such a part of British culture that I can’t imagine the BBC without it.

It’s also difficult to realize that it’s been less than 18 months since I got into the show. Like with my first watching of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I was initially so-so about the show, a bit put off by the weirdness (whether aliens or vampires) and the cheesy special effects. Then the characters started to grip me, a plot twist blew my socks off, and the show became my new favorite!

I haven’t blogged much about Doctor Who since catching up with the modern show, thanks to a busy job and dying computer. And now that I have no job and a new computer, there are no new episodes to blog about. But that hasn’t meant that I’ve not been sharing my love of Doctor Who with the world. Just check out my British TV board on Pinterest, nearly 3,000 pins strong and focusing mostly on the Doctor (be wary of Doctor Who and Sherlock spoilers if you’re not caught up!). I also have a lot of Doctor Who on my Tumblr. I’ve introduced the show to many people and have started to collect quite a bit of DW-related paraphernalia.

Here’s a promo from the first series of the rebooted show – I would have loved the chance to watch this when it first aired!

What is your opinion of Doctor Who?

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Rebuttal to the Actual Plot Holes in Doctor Who

Just read the following article: The Actual Plot Holes in Doctor Who | Doctor Who TV. While I like that it makes the point that there are fewer plot holes in the modern version than people think, I disagree with the article about many of these being actual plot holes.

1. An out-of-place comment in the Russian translation? I’m guessing the author added this just to make it an even 10. Ludicrous that this is even included.

2. The Angels Take Manhattan end. A lot of people have a problem with this one. I explain it away in my head with the Doctor feeling he can’t mess with Amy and Rory’s timelines anymore. The gravestone indicates they should grow old and die in NYC. If he tries to mess with that, even by visiting (because how can he be sure he/they won’t try to travel together again?), it could have disastrous results.

3. Telepathic circuits. I’m not sure where it is established that only people who have been inside the TARDIS get the automatic translations. But the TARDIS is smart, and is shown in the future as extending force fields and air tunnels outside her doors. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind extending the translation ability temporarily to a few of the Doctor’s allies in a pinch.

4. Meta-Crisis Doctor. Having the same memories as the Doctor does not equal having the Doctor’s exact personality (see every single other regeneration). While Meta-Crisis is similar to Ten, the different physiology means that other things can be different as well. The same battle-born PTSD symptoms that Nine had, for example.

5. People have mentioned in the comments that whistling and snapping can be done with gloves on. Even if it couldn’t, this is far more a continuity error than a plot hole.

6. Zombie-like patients running. I see this as more of a dramatic timing thing than an actual plot hole. Some could be more sick than others, they could have grabbed a shot of adrenaline somewhere – there could be a dozen reasons for this. It’s very unimportant to the storyline, and I’m glad they didn’t waste valuable screen time explaining.

7. The Doctor’s age. This is quite easily explained with the Earth vs. Gallifreyan years theory. It’s also hard to calculate the age of a time-traveler at the best of time, let alone when years have different lengths depending on where you are in space.

8. Blink – angels moving at different speeds. Another dramatic timing issue. Who knows if weeping angels all move at the same speed? Further episodes show that they can decay and move more slowly at times.

9. Father’s Day. This is a straight up date error made by the writers, not a plot hole. Rose being missing for a whole year meant she was 19 in 2006 as well as 2005, which likely led to the error.

10. The reality bomb went off in a parallel universe. This is the one plot hole in the entire article which I feel had some merit (I might also include the Amy/Rory one). The easiest way to explain away this one is that Davros is mistaken. We know the reality bomb can effect other parallel universes, but there is nothing beyond Davros’s boast to indicate it could affect all universes. Maybe it does wipe out a dozen, a hundred, or even a million parallel universes. All we know for sure is that it doesn’t go off in our world, and Pete’s world still exists.

What do you think? Do these explanations make sense? Are there any other plot holes you see in modern Doctor Who that this article failed to mention?

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BBC News – Doctor Who casts Samuel Anderson in new role

The TARDIS is getting a new occupant! Samuel Anderson is joining Doctor Who on a reoccurring basis for series 8. His character’s name is Danny Pink, and he’s a teacher at Coal Hill School, where we saw Clara teaching at the beginning of the anniversary episode.

I’m pretty excited by this bit of casting news, probably the best I’ve heard since David and Billie were announced to be back for the special. Glad to see there will be a young guy around to help us transition to an older Doctor! Might there be a bit of romance in the air for Clara? I don’t know if this photo indicates Pink’s look or not, but if so, I highly approve!

More details at the link below:

BBC News – Doctor Who casts Samuel Anderson in new role.

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Star-Crossed – Pilot

I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for sci-fi shows (and movies and books) about people who look human but really aren’t, and all the twists and turns that can bring to the story. So it was pretty much a given that I’d been at least checking out this show. But even with that anticipation, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the pilot episode of Star-Crossed was.

We open on the day the aliens invade. Only from their point of view, they’re Atrian refugees who crash-landed on Earth after their planet was destroyed. Adorably cute little alien boy Roman runs away from the fighting caused by this misunderstanding, and hides out in a nearby shed, where he discovered by adorably cute little human girl Emery (played by Ben & Kate’s Maggie Elizabeth Jones). She brings him a blanket and cold spaghetti, and he in turn tries to protect her when police dogs sniff out his location the following day, and is shot (and she believes killed) for his efforts.

Fast forward 10 years, and Emery is about to go back to school after 4 years battling an autoimmune disease, though not without stopping for a quick chat with her still-ill hospital buddy, Julia. I like how this background puts Emery out of sync with the “normal” teenagers she meets at high school. I wish we’d gotten a better look at her relationship with her friend Lukas, who at this point is little more than token platonic African-American school tour guide. He was helping with the hospital club table – is that how Emery knows him?

Emery’s first day back is also the first day for seven Atrian teenagers to start attending a human high school as the initial attempt at integration. Of course, Roman and Emery eventually reunite, and there are sparks, but the sci-fi elements are just as intriguing and perhaps even more so. The armed guards and curfews of the Sector (the government internment facility where the Atrians are forced to live) contrast strongly with the exotic bazaar-like vibe inside.

I expected Roman to be more open-minded toward humans than the rest of his species, but instead his father and sister have that role. In Roman’s experience, only one human has been kind to him – Emery – and his reactions to others are filled with hilarious sarcasm, which was easily one of my favorite parts of the episode.

There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the Atrians. I enjoyed the reveal that Roman’s two hearts was what saved him from dying as a child (are we sure they aren’t refugees from Gallifrey?). And the cost of what Roman did for Julia puts an interesting twist on sharing technology. I’m also curious to see what effect the ending scuffle in the Sector will have on the rest of the series.

The CW will be airing a repeat of the pilot today at 9/8c. Be sure to check it out if you missed the initial airing, or watch it online on the CW’s official site!

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Fall TV 2013 – Part One

Fall TV season has begun, and I have returned to blogging about it! Right now we’re halfway through premiere week (with Fox getting a jump on other broadcast channels by premiering most of its shows a week early), so I thought it would be a great time to see how the fall season is shaping up so far. Besides, Wednesdays are my “light” TV night, so I have a bit of time to catch up and share!

Solid Start

One of the most-talked about new shows is Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and the pilot did not disappoint! To be honest, I love all of Whedon’s TV shows, so the only thing I was a bit nervous about going in was the cast, since most of them are newbies. Still not sold on Chloe Bennet, who plays Skye, and Brett Dalton has a difficult job getting people to relate to his stoic character, Ward (though the Granny bit helped – wish they’d had time to show more of that scene). I think the show unveiling of characters will make the show better, I just hope people won’t get impatient and tune out. For me, as soon as the truth serum shot happened, I knew this was my show.

Disappointing Beginning

Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s promo bumped it to my “will watch” list and made it one of my top 3 anticipated comedies of the season, which made the fact that the first two episodes weren’t funny at all that much more disappointing. I could forgive the pilot, since the promo gave away all of the episode, but the second episode was even less funny. I may give the show one more episode to win me over, since it has so much potential, but otherwise, farewell.

Creepy Commencement

Sleepy Hollow was on my to-try list, but recommendations from friends and a high premiere rating made me make checking out the pilot a high priority. So glad I did! After catching up on Grimm, I was in the mood for another spooky/cop show, and I love stories about the American Revolution. Tom Mison is pitch-perfect as the fish-out-of-water Crane, and I’m quickly warming up to the rest of the cast.

As well as marathoning through Grimm, I recently caught up Bones, Castle, The Neighbors, and Suburgatory to prepare for their next seasons. Unfortunately, that meant that I was spoiled about many events in season finales, but at least I don’t have to wait as long for resolution to the cliffhangers.

For shows that have already returned, here’s a few quick thoughts: How I Met Your Mother is poised to deliver an amazing final season, with a likeable and perfect-for-Ted mother. Can’t imagine what NCIS will be like without Ziva, and hated that half of her farewell didn’t even include her. Liking what Bones is doing with the new season, not sure about Castle. New Girl and The Mindy Project feel a touch off, waiting to see what the continued fall out is from major events. NCIS: Los Angeles seems to be back to normal, excluding Deeks, and Person of Interest looks like it will be a ton of fun this year.

What are your thoughts on this season of TV so far?

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Five Characters From The Walking Dead That Should Be Dead, Or Should Have Died Earlier Than They Did

Guest Post – enjoy!

So last Sunday, while I was watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead, I was watching the Governor escape death while he was cornered by zombies in a warehouse (no thanks to Andrea.) At this precise moment I began to think, It seems that there are a lot of characters on The Walking Dead that manage to escape death, that realistically shouldn’t have.

Now I understand that if a character died every time they faced a difficult situation, The Walking Dead probably wouldn’t have made it past Season 1. However for the sake of argument, I have assembled a list of five characters that should have died earlier than they did, or should be dead now.

Let’s begin…

5. Merle Dixon

Let’s be honest, during the zombie apocalypse, there are not an abundance of doctors at your disposal. It would be foolish for one to think that someone could cut their arm off, on the roof of a building, surrounded by zombies; and survive. Now this may be a credit to Merle’s character, but our favorite racist would have died for sure.

4. The Governor

Almost everyone that watches The Walking Dead hates this creep, he kept heads in a jar in some room, he chained his zombie daughter up in his closet, and he plotted to kill everyone at the prison. Outside of being some closet tyrant, we have seen this dude get stabbed in the face with a sword, and fight off a ridiculous amount of zombies while chasing after Andrea. Let’s be honest, the Governors time is coming to an end, however he should have died awhile ago.

3. Shane

Shane, Shane, Shane, the macho lunatic that let the walkers out of the barn. Not only did Shane have an affair with Rick’s wife Lorie, but he began to claim Rick’s family as his own. Shane had a cold personality and he was willing to kill Rick to secure himself as the leader of the group and to become a family man. Let’s be honest, outside of all the times he avoided death by zombie, Rick should have killed Shane a long time ago.

2. Hershel

Ahh Hershel, I wasn’t a huge fan of him at first, but he has grown on me. This unfortunately happens to be another case of, lose a limb = you should be dead. Let’s not forget, doctors are few and far between during the zombie apocalypse, so the odds of an amputation going well doesn’t seem possible, and the odds of an amputation going well and not getting infected is even more unlikely. Let’s be honest, Hershel would have died when he was bitten, he would have lost too much blood when his leg was cut off, or his leg would have became infected and he would of died a slow, painful, diseased death.

1. Carl

Carl is my number one character that should not be alive in The Walking Dead. It’s not that I don’t like children in the zombie apocalypse, however, Carl got shot in the chest with a high powered rifle. Most people would not survive getting shot in the chest with a high powered rifle if we were in a world where you can receive proper medical attention, let alone the zombie apocalypse. I know I sound like a broken record, but no medical attention + getting shot in the chest with a high powered rifle = death.

Thanks for checking out my list of the five people that should be dead, or should have died earlier than they did in The Walking Dead.

Written by Dustin Fransen.

Website : WoW gold tips

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Beauty and the Beast – Out of Control

I want to love the CW’s Beauty and the Beast, but the writers are making it very difficult with their middling plots and terrible dialogue. This episode was one of the best so far, however – it’s a shame it didn’t get higher ratings. I see glimpses of potential in the show, and that’s what keeps me watching.

Spoilers for the episode below!

I must say, I love this new story twist of Vincent losing control and beasting out without realizing what he’s doing. Finally, we’re getting some real beast in the story. Though the explanation of Cat being the trigger for these episodes is really lame and inconsistent. Heading to her place, hearing her on the stairs, and being with her in the tunnels supposedly triggered it, but what about all those other times he was with her or thinking about her? It has to be more complicated than that.

And yay for more Evan this week! I really hope the writers continue making him more of a main character instead of just medical examiner/possible love interest. It would be awesome if he figures out Vincent’s secret soon.

New intern was far too obvious of a plant for being the murderer (though it didn’t help that Grimm, probably the closest show to Beauty and the Beast in terms of police department mixing with characters who get beastly, also recently did an intern-is-a-serial-killer plot), but that’s hard to get right. The recreating-famous-murders angle was neat, though.

My heart broke a little for Vincent at the end of the episode, finding out that he’d locked himself up to keep from hurting anyone. I do hope they figure out a way to manage these “episodes” he’s having soon, but in a way that it’s too trite or removes them from the picture entirely. This felt like a very Oz (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) episode, with tranquilizer darts, possibly murdering an innocent guy, and getting locked up. (Can Beauty and the Beast have a Buffy writer do an episode? Please?)

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Doctor Who – Thoughts on Its 49th Anniversary

I just finished watching “The Girl in the Fireplace” and felt an overwhelming urge to write some thoughts on Doctor Who. Turns out, today is the 49th anniversary of the very first episode airing, so my timing is perfect! (Spoilers through that episode – S2E4 – below!)

I’ll admit that this show has taken a while to hook me, and that’s even after starting with the more modern series. I’d watch an episode, be unimpressed, and then wait months to try another. I finally decided to try a bit harder to get through season one in a timely manner (since I’d heard things got better in season two) around episode six, “Dalek.” That was a decent episode, and even though the Dalek didn’t inspire as much fear on my part as its powers seemed to warrant, it was a vast improvement on the cartoonish villains of early episodes. “The Long Game” had good moments and bad, but the preview for the next episode made me delay getting back to the show (I started Pushing Daisies, did a three-week marathon through The Vampire Diaries, and dealt with the onslaught of new and returning fall shows instead).

The preview was misleading, however – when I finally got around to it, “Father’s Day” became my favorite episode thus far on the show (I’m a sucker for messing-with-personal-history time travel) – until the double whammy of “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” trumped it. I’d say those were the episodes that hooked me on the show. I think it was a combination of the charismatic Jack Harkness, added humor, the WWII setting (which I adore), and especially the Doctor’s joy when he realized everyone would live. It could have been a cheesy moment, but in that moment, I got it. The countless death the Doctor wades through, trying to save the world. Losing fellow comrades-in-arms, friends, his entire race – gaining victories at terrible costs. And finally one day, when all hope is lost, there is a solution that cures EVERYONE. As awesome as heartbreaking moments of this show are, it was that moment of joy that won me over.

“Boom Town” was a bit of a let-down after that, especially since it signaled the return of one of my least favorite villains. But “Bad Wolf” and “The Parting of the Ways” were great. I knew that Rose “was” Bad Wolf going into the episode, and that the Doctor would regenerate at the end, so that was a bit spoiled for me (plus knowing that Rose wasn’t really dead). The rifts on reality and game shows were fun, even if the only one I’d seen was The Weakest Link. The Daleks still weren’t that scary – maybe if I’d seen them in the classic show?

“The Christmas Invasion” was an interesting return to the modern-day story, this time with a new Doctor in tow. I’m pretty surprised how much Jackie and Mickey have been a part of the show going forward from the first episode of the new series. I’d honestly expected not to see them again after “Rose,” except maybe for a brief cameo when she stopped being a companion (any other sci-fi fans also think of Inara from Firefly whenever that word is used?), but I’m glad they’ve stuck around. More people tend to form a Buffy-like Scooby gang instead of being “two good ol’ boys, behind the wheel, chasing down bad guys” a la Supernatural (bonus points if you knew that quote was from Leverage). This episode also had an interesting parallel to The Avengers – the whole “we know there are aliens out there now, so we have to create weapons using alien technology to protect ourselves” thing. A disappointing turn for Harriet Jones’ character, though.

“New Earth” and “Tooth and Claw” were okay episodes, but definitely not among my favorites. It’s cool how they parallel episodes 2 and 3 of the first season – “New Earth” taking place not long after “The End of the World” and including a common villain and mysterious friend, while “Tooth and Claw” matches “The Unquiet Dead” with famous 19th-century characters and seemingly common supernatural character which were really a form of alien. So now that we’ve had ghosts, zombies, and werewolves, where are the vampires?

“School Reunion” featured Anthony Stewart Head at a school, but sadly no Buffy references (also, IMDb says that no other BtVS actors have shown up in the new series to date). Fans of classic Doctor Who were probably overjoyed to see Sarah Jane again, but I had no previous connection to her, so what I mostly gained was a look at the Doctor’s history. I did enjoy Mickey’s role in this episode, especially his identification with K-9 The robotic dog did seem like it belonged to a younger show, and I’m guessing this episode helped set up the children’s spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. Unlike Jack Harkness with Torchwood, this episode gave me no inclination to watch the spin-off, and nary a push to watch the classic Doctor Who.

I don’t know how long it would have taken to get hooked on this show if I’d started with the first Doctor, as I tend not to enjoy older shows unless they’re ones I grew up watching. Terrible special effects, bland dialogue, and too-neatly wrapped storylines means I rarely watch any shows airing before the late 90s. While it isn’t exactly the same, I felt no need to watch the old Battlestar Galactica to enjoy the new one, no need to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie to enjoy the show, or the old V to enjoy the new V. I prefer the Addams Family movies to the show, and while the new Beauty and the Beast still makes me cringe too often, I couldn’t even make it through the pilot of the old show. I’m not saying newish is always better with shows and movies (I do love the older Star Wars more), but having done the bulk of my TV watching post 2007, I’ve come to expect a certain level of shiny, or I’m pulled out of the experience.

And now to talk about the episode that got me itching to write this post, “The Girl in the Fireplace.” As I mentioned before, I love episodes that play with time, and this one did it in such a cool way while also being a lovely standalone story. The preview for the episode was just awful, nothing that made me look forward to watching, but it was nice in a way since I was so pleasantly surprised. The idea of a spaceship riddled with portals to various times in one person’s life was so cool, as was Reinette falling in love with the Doctor over the course of her life, while to him it was only about one day. And walking around in each other’s memories created an instant connection that prevent this from being a simple one-episode crush. Plus drunk Doctor was hilarious.

The villains were just the right amount of creepy and logical and fascinating – I also loved the steampunk vibe. And although Rose was supposed to be mad at Mickey in this episode, I liked that they got along, even if their adventures on the ship paled in comparison to 18th century France. It was fun spotting Angel Coulby (Gwen on Merlin) in a scene, and apparently more actors from that show end up on other Who episodes. I knew very little about Madame de Pompadour before watching this episode, though I was proud that I understood Mickey’s reference to Camilla.

The ending of the episode was superb. I didn’t quite believe the Doctor would trap himself in France with no way out, but I think his emotions overruled his logic. (And what were Rose and Mickey supposed to do, stuck on the broke spaceship?) I think it would have been interesting to see what he’d do if he didn’t find the remaining portal right away. As it was, choosing to go back without her, just for a minute, seemed destined to go poorly. It should have been, at the most, several weeks (based on the previous times he’d used that portal, but the unevenness made me think of the Narnia time differences), but six years pass instead, and he arrives just in time to watch her coffin leave the palace. Her letter to him was so sweet and sad. My heart broke for him as he watched the fire burn out.

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Grimm – Season of the Hexenbiest

Text on screen right before credits: “To Be Continued . . . Sorry.”

Those four little words completely sum up my frustration with this episode of Grimm. This was the midseason finale. Everything was building to a climax. Characters were dancing around each other trying to keep secrets. And the writers kept up the dance right up until the end, where they gave us one minor reveal before fading to black.

At least they apologized about their meanness.

Full review here: Billie Doux: Grimm: Season of the Hexenbiest.

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Grimm – To Protect and Serve Man

In this Hank-centric episode, we get a glimpse of Nick’s partner as a young cop, arresting a murderer with a crazy story. Now that Hank knows about Wesen, he’s starting to think the story might not be so crazy, and he and Nick have only 36 hours to find the truth before the man is executed.

Go here for full review: Billie Doux: Grimm: To Protect and Serve Man.

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Grimm – The Hour of Death

This week’s episode was unusual in that it opened mid-case, with Nick struggling to get some sleep on the couch while dealing with an intense missing-persons case.

Full review here: Billie Doux: Grimm: The Hour of Death.

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Supernatural – Route 666

And after a couple of decent episodes, Supernatural returns to a ho-hum one. This time, we get a blast from Dean’s past when his old girlfriend calls him up about her father’s suspicious murder. It should have been a great episode, but it was hampered by the fact that there wasn’t much chemistry between Dean and Cassie.

The best part of the episode was Sam’s facial expressions. He played the teasing younger brother role to a T. And I loved Dean’s reaction to Sam’s confession that his plan (which involved using Dean as bait) was only a theory he thought would maybe work.

The title of this episode didn’t have much to do with a series of racially-motivated murders committed by a ghost truck. While three of the murders took place off of Route 6, the location didn’t have anything to do with them. They turned out to be all tied to a murder/cover-up from the 1960s.

While there were a few intense moments when vehicles or people were being chased down by the truck, in all the episode didn’t have a creepy feel to it. It also seemed pretty standalone, with no references to the traumatic events of the previous episode. And since it looks like Cassie never shows up again on the show, there won’t be much if any impact on future episodes.

I’ve gotten far enough into the show that one episode like this isn’t going to make me put the show on the back burner, but after the past two episodes I was hoping for something better. Only nine more episodes left until season two (which I’ve heard really improves the show)!

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Grimm – La Llorona

Monroe: “Halloween for us? Come on, that’s, like, bigger than Christmas. There’s a long Wesen tradition of an All Hallows’ Eve midnight Woge – running through the woods, scaring the crap out of villagers. Literally, sometimes.”

This episode of Grimm gets a Hispanic twist as a child abduction points to the legend of “La Llorona” – the woman in white. Valentina Espinosa joins the team as an expert on these serial kidnappings.

Full review here: Billie Doux: Grimm: La Llorona.

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Supernatural – Faith

Great episode! It kind of reminded me of early Angel episodes, which I’m sure was helped by the guest star appearance of Julie Benz, who played Darla on both Buffy and Angel.

This episode starts out with the brothers taking out a baddie that needs to be electrocuted. Only problem – when Dean zaps him, they’re both standing in the same puddle of water. The shock causes Dean to have a heart-damaging cardiac arrest, and the doctors only give him weeks to live.

Dean’s actually pretty resigned about the diagnosis (I guess with his choice of occupation, he has to figure something will get him sooner or later), but Sam is determined to find a cure for his brother. He tries to contact their dad (I’m liking the guy less and less – not even coming when your son is dying?) and calls up all the contacts in their dad’s journal. One of them points the boys to a faith healer. Dean is skeptical, but Sam convinces him to go, and Dean is healed by the blind pastor.

But Dean sees a shadowy creepy old man as he is healed, and when he finds out a local man died of a heart attack around the same time as the healing, he begins to question whether the “miracles” are something darker. After matching up other healings to other deaths, Dean and Sam figure out that a Reaper is at work here, possibly bound by the pastor to do his bidding.

They do some investigating and find out it’s the pastor’s wife who is meddling in black arts and choosing victims based on their immorality. Dean’s snooping around puts him on her hit list, but Sam is able to save the day by destroying her talisman, and the Reaper takes the person who has bound him for so long.

What could have been just an episode about hypocritical church people gets a different spin by the presence of Julie Benz’s character, Layla. Dean is initially attracted to her, but is thrown for a loop when he finds out she has an inoperable brain tumor. (She’s there with her mom, so it was easy to assume the mom was the one who needed healing.) Stopping the Reaper means that Layla will die in a few months. I loved her and Dean’s conversation at the end of the episode, where she tells him that if you’re going to have faith, you can’t just have it when the miracles happen, but when they don’t, too. And Dean admits he’s not the praying type, but he’ll pray for her.

The episode differed from the previous creepy episodes, in that it was more of a mystery with few spooky moments. I would have enjoyed a few more twists, but all in all, this was an excellent episode.

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Supernatural – Scarecrow

Well, the people who mentioned this was one of the better episodes of season one were right – I enjoyed this episode more than any of the previous ones. Interestingly, it was the first episode after the midseason break, which fits well for change to the holding pattern we’d been stuck in (Sam wanting to find their dad, Dean wanting to carry on their dad’s mission).

“Scarecrow” picks up with the duo right where the last episode left off – the call from their father, John Winchester. He wants the guys to stop looking for him, and he gives them info on another job. But Sam has finally had enough. The call came from a payphone in California, and that’s where he wants to head, not a small town in Indiana where road-tripping couples disappear yearly. He gets out of the car, grabs his gear, and starts walking. Surprisingly, Dean lets him go and drives away, leading to a refreshing change of format for this episode.

Sam comes across a fellow hitchhiker named Meg, and the two later meet up at a bus station and share “not wanting to live up to family expectations” stories as they wait for their bus. She seemed like more than a random one-episode character and I thought I’d seen the name come up before on Supernatural sites.

Dean arrives at the town in Indiana, but his direct approach in asking about the previous year’s couple leads to the sheriff escorting him out of town. He comes back and rescues this year’s couple from a creepy animated hook-handed scarecrow made out of last year’s victim (recognizable by an arm tattoo). Dean realizes how much easier this would be with Sam along, and he and his brother talk on the phone and make up, though Sam still plans to go after their dad. Dean even admits he respects the fact that Sam is willing to buck his father’s orders. (Yay for a well-acted scene! Interesting that the actors had a better connection in two separate places during one call than they had in some previous entire episodes.)

They figure out that the deaths are likely a ritual sacrifice to some sort of pagan god, and Dean finds a nearby professor to help him with determining which one. Only the professor is in on the ritual, and since the other couple is gone, Dean and a niece of one of the townspeople are kidnapped to be the sacrifice. Sam gets worried when Dean isn’t picking up his phone, and instead of getting on a bus with Meg, heads to make sure his brother is okay. He arrives just in time to rescue Dean and the niece, but the scarecrow grabs her aunt and uncle instead. The three burn the sacred tree fueling the god, preventing future animated scarecrows.

Sam tells Dean he doesn’t want to chase revenge for their mom and Jess, or go after their absentee father. He’s going to stick with the person he cares about who is right in front of him – finally moving from a begrudging/reluctant companion to one who will stick with Dean through thick and thin (hopefully!). I’m glad they finally brought that part of the show to a rest – the push-pull of leaving/staying was getting annoying.

And they started a far more intriguing story arc, as the final scene has Meg having the guy who picked her up pull over, then slitting his throat and collecting the blood in a chalice, which she uses to “call” her “father.” Yep, Sam was the safer choice of hitchhiker to pick up. We only hear Meg’s side of the conversation, but she’s unhappy at not being able to dispatch both Dean and Sam on her timetable.

So this episode had a lot of things going for it – change in format, start of new story arcs, and an interesting local bogeyman of the week. After “Asylum” seemed to have an endless amount of “wander in a creepy area and wait for something to jump out at you” moments, it was nice that this episode kept them collectively under 5 minutes, even with 3 separate scenes. This is the kind of episode I was looking for when I started the show. No, it’s not perfect, and I’m still longing for more of a Scooby Gang a la Buffy, but I genuinely enjoyed it and am actually looking forward to the next episode.

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