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Supernatural: “Captives” Review **SPOILERS**

27 Feb
Supernatural: “Captives” Review **SPOILERS**

*Disclaimer: Every time I start my first review for a different Tv show, I will provide a brief evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses, its context, and/or the little things that grab my attention each week that keeps me watching.

{{In 2005, Eric Kripke’s Supernatural hit the scene in a transitioning WB/CW network aiming to target a more mainstream audience. While it’s taken about 6 or 7 years since for the network to start nabbing some serious ly competitive ratings, Supernatural has always been steadily drawing its own following. Perhaps the best TV show strung out from the CW since its debut, Kripke’s eerie sci-fi drama tackled ghosts, demons, and family issues all with strong writing and two charismatic leads. It’s tough to argue against Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki becoming two of the most endearing combos in basic cable television because of their looks, but over time they’ve turned into fan favorites through some consistently compelling performances. While the show has been recently handed over to a new showrunner, the dark tone, enticing story arcs, and great cast (including Jim Beaver, Misha Collins, and Mark Sheppard) has retained a comfortable level of drama, suspense, and everything else in between.}}

The Review:

Kicking off at the bunker Sam and Dean have called home for a little while now, “Captives” sparked a little false tension with the sudden presence of a ghost in the vicinity. I’ll be the first to admit that the start of this week’s episode had me totally amused. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Sam pick up a sword to kill a ghost, but luckily Dean was prepared with his shotgun. Dean’s statement that the place was hunted wrapped it all up quite nicely, and I’m sure it generated plenty of laughs.

Shockingly enough, this sudden ghost wasn’t some old soul from the good ol’ Men of Letters days, but one of the likes of former prophet Kevin Tran. It’s sad enough that we all to have see him in this form these days, but at least he’s been around monitoring the Winchesters recently. And he came back bearing some bittersweet news, as he’s discovered that his mother is actually still alive but being held captive down in Kansas by demons.

The fact that Kevin’s been listening in on the Winchester brothers is important. The entire Supernatural fanbase deserved to see him plainly tell Sam and Dean that they need to work out their differences. Sitting them down on the Impala or at the local cafe and arguing about staying alive or looking out for family at the end of each episode is a gimmick that I’ve lost interest in. And we get it already: Sam didn’t want to come back to life, and Dean can’t stand living this life alone if he doesn’t have to. This limited presence that Kevin provided this week was profound enough to echo the resounding strength of Supernatural’s supporting cast.

Too bad those positives weren’t relayed onto Castiel’s subplot. Not that I absolutely hate Bartholomew or his slightly cliché intentions, but his plea to invite Cas into his plan to overthrow Metatron in the angel race was everything but convincing. His torture techniques didn’t give him a menacing sense, either. And he used to kill disobeying captives for a living when Castiel was playing God. What a shame that the writers couldn’t figure out a way to expose the glaring comparisons between them in an alternate fashion, especially since Cas has never turned his cheek on those who rebelled for a good cause. If I were to tell you that Cas’s decision to remain loyal to saving the world without killing his fellow angels was predictable, you’d probably be groaning since everyone else may have said that already.

The most interesting aspect of their encounter was Bart’s past, and the angels who were willing to follow Cas way back when. This lingering effect draws a lot of intrigue into the varying degrees of denial and honesty that has plagued the fallen angels, and presents the slight possibility of forces even greater than Bartholomew himself. Seeing as how Castiel kills him towards the end of the episode already causes a pendulum swing in the power rankings, but the angel following that comes with it will no doubt test his conscious. If Cas is truly keeping his word, he’ll find a way to use this to his advantage without breaking any promises. And I can’t wait to see how in the coming weeks.

Sam and Dean’s venture into ghost communications leads them to a storage facility in which Candy, a ghost referred to by Kevin who was once a fellow captive of his mother, escaped before eventually being murdered. This was a good set up for a cold-hearted demon with sick methods of pain and suffering. Unfortunately, we got a five-foot geek with a poor Interpretation of Crowley’s voice and an even worse MO. I think it was pretty obvious from the get that he was indeed Crowley’s right hand man in regards to running the place, but no one needed to hear his sob story for approval. What kind of demon is? And who cares that Crowley neglects his efforts? Whatever he did to even get this “internship” must’ve been astoundingly strenuous.

I’m still a little upset that neither Winchester couldn’t figure out that he was the monster of the week, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. They did at least find Kevin’s mom, who’s given the honors to commit one of the more anti-climactic demon executions of the season. I walk away bored from most of this hunt-and-rescue, but Mrs. Tran’s reaction to the news of Kevin’s death, and her entire presence in this episode, made it all somewhat worth it.

Due to all of the angel shenanigans, heaven is closed which means Kevin will spend his last virtual hours in the veil. It was sweet to see him decide to leave Sam and Dean and spend that time with his mother, something he truly deserves after the hell (no pun intended) he’s been through over the years. Dean’s apology for his death was also a great moment in this episode, as it provides a reminder that he’s finally feeling the weight of all the lives he’s indirectly led into oblivion. These people meant a lot to him, and their loss is anything but his gain.

The Verdict:
“Captives” is a far better installment than the last two episodes this season, but it’s still frustrating and tedious in some ways. For one, the ending with Dean and Sam storming off to avoid conversation was silly, and I don’t understand why these two grown men can’t just settle their own differences. Bartholomew’s dead, but the buildup and his pitch to Castiel to be his right-hand man never picked up steam. And the monster of the week couldn’t have been less scary and convincing, given the circumstances. Still, there was plenty that worked, and I believe Kevin’s departure this week was the best sendoff imaginable (if, indeed, that is his actual sendoff.) Considering that the Winchesters still can’t find a middle ground amongst each other, my fingers continue to remain crossed for the sake of the season.

Rating: 7.8

+So there ARE some underlying affects to Castiel’s former God-ness!
+Dean’s apology to (ghost) Kevin
+No Supernatural episode is a bad Supernatural episode with Mrs. Tran
-But no Supernatural episode is a great Supernatural episode without a properly menacing monster of the week.
-Bartholomew’s weak proposal to Castiel helping him take down Metatron
-Why can’t Sam and Dean just get along??

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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Supernatural, The CW, TV, TV reviews

 

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