Monday, February 21, 2011

Supernatural - 6.14 - Mannequin 3: The Reckoning - Recap

Sorry this is late, everyone. I was away most of the weekend. Fair warning - Sometimes Supernatural really depresses me. This is one of those times. Also, I love Lisa and Ben and Dean completely sucks in this episode.

Previously - Dean was happy with Lisa and Ben, Vampire Dean shoved Ben to keep from biting him, Lisa sort of ended it, Sam jumped into the pit, Death re-souled Sam with an extra special Sammy wall, Sam scratched, Sam convulsed, the wall cracked, Dean freaked, Sam glimpsed hell

We open where Unforgiven left off. Dean hovers over a lifeless Sam, shaking him. Sam opens his eyes, and fire diminishes in them. Very cool, special effects people. Sam gasps as Dean lifts him up. Suddenly, we are in Paterson, New Jersey at Great Falls Junior College, where a custodian is mopping and we get recurring pictures of an anatomy dummy. What? Shouldn't we see how Sam's doing? The custodian is Fatality #1 tonight and frankly I don't care. I do however care if the Great Wall of Sam is irrevocably damaged or just a bit cracked. Not fair, Gamble. The dummy moves but I expect it so I don't freaked out. The fact that Fatality#1 is bleeding from a gash in the head does freak me. Didn't see that coming as I braced for a mannequin attack. Fatality #1 sees his breath and lights flicker. We've got ghosts, folks. It's been awhile since a good ghost hunt so I'm psyched. Scalpels fall, Fatality wigs, and the dummy smirks before killing Fatality and rehanging himself. That's one flexible dummy. And the glass breaks.

We join Sam mid-spiking headache, while Dean gets breakfast. Dean asks how Sam feels. "Like I got hit by a planet." At least he's not shrugging it off. Score one for Sam. Dean offers Sam good meds. Sam: "What are they?" Dean: "Effective." That clears things up. Sam doesn't ride the prescription pill train today so they recap for us. Sam was out for 2-3 minutes but it felt like a week. Dean wants to talk about it (score one for Dean); Sam says it "wasn't fun" but he's fine. Dean calls him on it - "You got a big fat face-full of hell." He worries Sam could have died but Sam downplays it. Then Dean lays down the law. "I'm serious and none of this 'it is just a flesh wound' crap cuz we did it your way. We let you go explore and every bad thing I said would happen happened. So guess what. The past stays past. We're not kicking that wall again." Sam: "Dean, I might have done who knows what and you want me to just forget about it." Dean: "You shut it down and you let it come out in spurts of violence and alcoholism." Sam and I both agree this is unhealthy and no, it doesn't work for Dean. Dean: "This is not a joke. Your life is on the line here Sam. This is not a debate. I mean first you were a soulless dickbag and now you're not. So we good?" Sam: "Yeah, sure." Uh huh. That is Sam code for I'm placating you now so I can do whatever I want later.

I have avoided comments from others about this episode but I'm fairly certain that the fandom is divided. Some will think Dean is right to be adamant and others will say Sam can make his own decisions because he is after all an adult. Both have good points. But at the risk of ticking people off, I think Sam should listen to Dean this time. He needs to stop digging into RoboSam's past. He can't change anything and while I understand the concept of RoboSam still being Sam in essence, Sam cannot take responsibility for what RoboSam did. It will eat away at his heart as well as the wall. No, I don't think alcohol and violence are the answer either, but learning other coping mechanisms is highly overdue here. Neither Winchester deals well with guilt or job pressure. Time to change that.

Dean exposits a new job and they're off to Paterson. Dean: "Hey, maybe we'll have a Snooki sighting." Sam: "What's a Snooki?" Trust me Sam when I say you were lucky to miss it the first time around. Don't scratch that door either. Only VD comes from it. At the lab, Dean removes organs from the anatomy dummy and the producers shoots close-ups of the anatomy dummy's eyes. I know I should feel tense, like it will attack, but it's daylight and others are present. Sorry - not wigged. Dean gets a call from Lisa and rejects it. WHAT!! DEAN!! Why is he ignoring Lisa? Is he in 6th grade? Urgh, I do not like Chicken Dean. It's a phone call. Just answer it. Sam agrees, but Dean shuts him down. "Thanks Dr. Laura. That's very insightful. Look at that; our time's up." Hey! It's the Walkman EMF. I've been wondering where you went. Nice tie to season 1 there. Of course, if I were one of the crime scene processors, I'd be asking questions about it. Still, it screeches near the dummy. Dean: "Ghosts gone wild. Something's up in here." We get another close-up of the dummy. Not working on me, Sera. Move on.

Dean notices a security camera but it statics when Fatality #1 bites it. Of course. Plan B, investigation. Sam's inside a row house while Dean rejects another call from Lisa. He at least has the decency to look bad this time. Elementary School Dean should grow up. Sam exposits that Fatality #1 was a perfect boyfriend, meaning he's hiding something. Nothing weird at the school either. Even the dissections are on iPad. Man, I wish I had that option in biology. Sam: "So we've got nothing." Dean: "Yeah. A big steaming pile of it." Don't get discouraged guys. I see Fatality #2, the security guard at factory filled with mannequin parts. He turns around to find a faceless mannequin in his path. Just my opinion, but the faceless ones are worse than the faced ones. Ghost breath and bleeding forehead ensue as the faceless wonders surround Fatality. One has scissors and he trips over a cart to get away from it. So long, Fatality #2; you've been gutted by a pole. 20 seconds of mannequin shots later, we finally move on.

Dean and Sam arrive at the crime scene and again Sam works the EMF in front of everyone. Again it goes haywire by the mannequins. Sam: "Wait. That anatomy dummy you were molesting at the lab…what if that is what this is about?" Dean: "What exactly are you accusing me of?" Bwah. Sam suggests ghost-possessed mannequins and Dean and I are skeptical. Dean makes an obligatory Chuckie reference, while Jensen Ackles does a great job being creeped out by the faceless mannequin. Good scene. Dean's not sold on the killer mannequin theory because ghosts usually stay in one spot. This one crossed 3 town lines. Dean: "So we dig….Over there…I don't like the way Kim Catrell's looking at me." 13 minutes in and we've got our Mannequin reference.

At a police station, Fatality #2 is squeaky clean too. Bet that changes. They get a lead on Rose Brown, a seamstress who went missing last year. Sam suggests they visit her sister Isabel but Dean gets another call from Lisa. Sam insists he answer it. Thank goodness! However, it's Ben who has been calling. Really? Ben doesn't have his own cell phone? Even kids who can't afford a pencil or to pay their library fines have cell phones at my middle school. Ben describes a Lisa so depressed she can't' get out of bed. Even if I didn't already know this was a trap, I wouldn't fall for this. It doesn't sound like Lisa. Dean says he will call Ben back and Ben rightfully protests since he hasn't been very good at that lately. Dean promises he'll call in 5 minutes.

Dean and Sam argue about Dean leaving. Much as I love Lisa and Ben, I understand Dean not wanting to leave Sam after his hell flashback. Sam insists he'll be fine for 24 hours. Sam: "I get you want to bury it, but I had to deal with my past year. You've got to deal with yours." Finally, the voice of reason. Thank you, Sam. He sees Dean off and heads to Isabel's house. Rose was kind but socially awkward. The sisters were close. She defended Rose and "Rose, did more for me than anyone else ever could." Sam looks at a photo album and sees Fatality 1 and 2 with Rose at the factory Christmas party. Dunh dunh dunh. We've got a winner. Sam catches Dean up to speed and interviews the factory workers. Trucker hat dude is extremely nervous, raising Sam's suspicions. Are we looking at Fatality #3? He was friends with the former Fatalities so I guess yes.

That evening, Dean rings Lisa's doorbell obnoxiously. She answers looking smoking hot but confused, and Dean explains, "We've been Parent Trap-ed." Hey, it worked in two movies. Why not here? Dean surmises that Lisa's going on a date but she has him come in. Dean gets a beer, Lisa gets a sweater and I get a tissue. Lisa paces as Dean digs about her date. Really? It's none of your business if you don't even pick up a phone. Dean snarks, "Oh, Dr. Matt. How respectable." Lisa rightfully blasts his attitude. Grow up, Dean! Lisa: "I called you six times Dean." Dean: "And I almost called you back about a hundred." And that counts, how? Man, you're a jerk! I get that you don't have long-term relationships and don't deal well in uncomfortable situations, but you owe Lisa and Ben more. Dean wants points for coming when Ben called, but since Sam talked him into it, he gets bubkus from me. Dean says he cares, and he does, but it doesn't help. Dean asks what Lisa wants. Lisa: "I'm not asking for anything." Dean: "Well, then ask for something." Aw, this touches my heart although we know that what Lisa needs Dean can't give. Ben interrupts and they both tell him to go to his room. Nice touch, showing how in sync they were last year. Dean sort of smiles to let Ben know it's okay and my heart breaks a bit more. Ben's getting screwed tonight. And me if I don’t see Lisa and Ben anymore. Lisa: "You know, I can't..ask for something. I know what I want but I can't have it, not how you live. My phone rings, I think tiny chance it's you. Big chance it's Sam, calling to tell me you're dead….No don't. Don't apologize for anything. It's just I get to this place where I'm okay and then you show up at our door. You keep doing that. Every time I think I'm never going to see you again. I'm trying to get over you. What are you trying to do? What do you want from us, Dean?" Dean swallows profusely but doesn't answer as the sad music of ending love kills all hope. I hate this! But I love the acting.

We cut back to the factory and I yell, "Noo!" I want an answer. What does Dean want from them and why can't anyone get a happy ending. I'm frustrated and angry although I suspected this from the synopsis. I can't believe we're back to the ghost story but Fatality #3 talks on the phone to someone else involved. He's freaking out about ghosts. I'm freaking out about poor Ben. I wish Fatality a quick death, and I'm in luck as his head bleeds and we see his breath. A faceless mannequin appears but Sam's there with a canister of salt. "You're lucky you are the most suspicious interview of all time." Bwah! He really was. Non-Fatality explains a cruel practical joke they played on Rose. They made up a secret admirer and had Rose meet "him". When she got there, it was a dummy. Then the jerks made fun of her. As she left, Fatality #1 grabbed her and she accidentally hit her head on the coffee table. They buried Rose in the woods to avoid manslaughter charges. Coincidentally, TNT is playing The Kids Are Alright now, so I take a break to watch the beginning of Lisa and Dean instead of the end. MUCH happier times.

Remember when Ben was mini-Dean. (deep sigh) Dean enters Ben's room. Ben plays a videogame and won't look at him. He's not apologizing either. Dean: "A date's not an emergency, Ben." Ben: "It is if it's the third one. I watch TV. I know what that means." Dean pulls the "your mom's an adult" card, but Ben's not buying. "Why don't you come home? Can't you just say 'I'm sorry' and then come back." Dean says he can't but Ben asks if it is "can't" or "won't." Dean says both; Ben is confused. "So you hate Mom now?" Dean empathetically denies it. "So it's me? Whatever I did, I'm sorry." Aww, baby, you're breaking my heart. Dean: "Listen to me. You didn’t do anything. You understand that. Look one day you'll get this when you're older." Really Dean? The adult card again? Ben says he's not six and Dean agrees. "It's like this then. Just because you love someone doesn't mean you should stick around and screw up their life. So I can't be here." Ben thinks Dean is worried he'll bring monsters home. Dean says no. "I think my job turns me into somebody that can’t sit at your dinner table. And if I stayed, you'd end up just like me." Ben argues that Dean isn't so bad and I agree. From all appearances, Dean has been a good father to Ben. Dean sill thinks Ben needs higher aspirations, and no, Ben doesn't get a vote. "But you see this way, you've got a shot at living whatever life you want. You know, pick one. Pick five. Cuz with me, there's just the one road." Ben: "You're a liar Dean…You say family's so important, but what do you call people who care for you, who love you even when you're a dick. You know you're walking out on your family, right?" You tell him Ben! People harp that Lisa and Ben are not Dean's family. That only Sam is Dean's family, but that's simply not true. They have been his family for a year. He loves them and they love him. Them being his family does not make Sam any less Dean's family and I don't know why people insist it be one or the other. Lisa and Ben matter to him, and he is walking out on them. Dean can't respond because Ben is absolutely right. And his expression shows he knows exactly what he is throwing away. This is the scene I have most dreaded. It's heartbreaking and painful, but definitely well-acted.

We take a break from angst to watch Sam salt and burn Rose's corpse. It's comforting to see the basics again and I need loads of comfort now. Sam calls Non-Fatality to say it's safe while Dean drives to the thrumming sounds of love gone wrong with a montage Dean's life with Lisa and Ben. I swear there are extended scenes I haven't seen before. This just depresses me further. But I guess the ghost story isn't over because we're back at McOwen's Pub with Isabel. Non-Fatality lives above the bar and gets renamed Fatality #3 again. Ew, squicky! He's talks to a mannequin about packing up and says he loves it. Yuck! Creepiest scene in the whole episode. He needs major psychological help. Too late. Mannequin love kills him to the sounds of Love Hurts. Good choice of music by the way. Love in all its forms completely bites this episode.

Sam arrives on the scene looking rueful. He calls Dean's other other cell to exposit and interviews Isabel again. And the pieces come together. She goes to Great Falls Community College, works at the factory, and was at the bar. It's all connected to her. Why? Rose gave her a kidney when she was 16. Great, now sister love sucks too! How exactly are they going to salt and burn her kidney? Dean rejoins them. "So that's the girl with the haunted kidney?" Ha! I needed that. They trade bad options and Dean suggests they contact Dr. Krueger for a spare kidney and completely reverses himself by saying the place is surprisingly clean. Sam says voodoo but that only buys them time. Isabel is slow on the uptake, just now realizing that the Winchesters aren't Feds. Rose wasn't the only naïve one. Sam starts explaining but Rose possesses Metallicar. Dean: "You leave my baby alone. She's got nothing to do with this!" He's chased by Metallicar and apologizes to her before purposely crashing her into a building. Is nothing sacred, Gamble! First Lisa and Ben and now the Impala. Not fair! Things aren't so rosy with Isabel either as a hunk of glass impaled her midriff. Guess that solves that problem. Rose appears to say sorry and Isabel dies while Rose's ghost goes up in flames. Nice cop-out there, writers. You just made this ghost story pointless. Whatever!

At Bobby's junkyard (maybe), Dean fixes the Impala. "Well, seeing how she got carjacked by Poltergeist, it could be worse." Good to know she'll be fine. And now the reason why this episode completely depresses me. Dean wants to know what they are doing and Sam agrees it wasn't a win. Dean: "We saved a few dicks and we killed an innocent girl. I got a heartbroken kid and a woman who's so pissed at me...I see what you mean about facing your past. It's, uh, it's awesome….all we do is make a mess." Sam disagrees. "We do save and again." Dean's upset over their bad luck. Sam: "Well, you know, number one, bad luck is kind of in the job description, and two, it's not all bad. Really, look at me. I mean at least Satan's left the building." Dean: "Yeah, it's the little things." Sam: "And I have a soul because of you. I never thanked you for that, did I?" Dean shrugs it off but Sam pointedly thanks him. Sam: "Look we keep our heads down. Keep swinging. We'll lose some. Hopefully we'll win more. And...I don't know. Anyway, for what it's worth, I've got your back." Dean: "Yeah, I know." It's a good scene; don't get me wrong. I love the brother moment and how this time when Sam says he's got Dean's back, he means it. It's a refreshing touch after RoboSam. Again, it's well-acted, but it all seems so hopeless. They lose everything. Good people die. They have no future. Plus, the annoying strumming continues through the entire scene and instead being poignant, it makes me cringe. I don't like the instrumentals throughout the last couple of episodes. Classic rock or nothing, PTB.

So, what did we learn today: 1. Hopeful potential love is a prank that goes horribly wrong. 2. Mannequin love kills (I don't have a problem with this one, since I find it creepy in the extreme.) 3. Conflicted love leaves you cold and desperate for alternatives. 4. Non-communicating love makes you a jerk who screws over people who loved and cared for you during a particularly bad time in your life. 4. Loving a father figure makes you think you are to blame. 5. Sister love kills you. 6. Brother love sticks you in a hopeless situation but at least you're in it together. Anyone else totally depressed? I guess it's good they pushed this episode back a week. It would be worse going into Valentine's Day weekend.

So in the end, I'm thoroughly depressed. I miss Lisa and Ben already. Dean sucks. The ghost story was lame with an ending as superficial as Insta-Day in Bugs. The whole thing feels like filler episode #2. So now that we've had the Sam-filler story in Unforgiven and the Dean-filler story here, next week we get the meta-story. Oh, joy! It's a good thing I like this show and find even humdrum episodes like the last two better than most on TV. I'm ready to move on. Bring in Alpha Mother. Bring on a hunter vs. monster war. Just bring on something because I'm drowning in the annoying strings of Winchester despair here. And I don’t just mean the background noise.

Next week - Dahne takes a mental vacation during the UBERMETA episode. I have no hope for it. Maybe that will be its saving grace.

Screencaps by Supernatural Caps
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