Episode: Supernatural 8.03 – “Heartache”
Original Air Date: October 17, 2012
Screencaps by spn-caps
When the missing prophet can’t be found, what’s a hunter to do? Well, take up a case of course! While the storyline might have been a bit more simplistic compared to the myth-arc ones of the past, it was balanced out by the fact that it was Jensen’s return to the director’s seat. And once again, Jensen Ackles proved that he is a multi-talented man who can have a fine directing career ahead of him if he ever decides to take a break from acting.
For his third time around as episode director, Jensen made it a true family affair. Not only did he cast his father, Alan Ackles, to take on a role in front of the camera, he even slipped his mother into the background for an added fan-bonus. Fans may recognize Alan’s voice from prior Jensen-directed episodes, but this was a chance to see father and son onscreen together, and we got solid proof that Papa Ackles can give as good as he gets. His turn as the first cop that the Winchesters came up against showed a weariness and disinterest in having the FBI involved in his case. He didn’t need any hotshots to tell him how to run his investigation and he made that point quite clear. I loved seeing the two Ackles men fight it out in the scene and it kept me smiling to think how Jensen must have loved blocking and acting that one out.
The directing itself was great, as always when Jensen gets a chance to stretch his creative muscles. Unlike prior episodes, Dean had a lot more screen-time in this one, so Jensen must have been exhausted by the time it was all over. However, he didn’t let any of that strain show in the Dean scenes, so I’d say it was a success all around. Many of the scenes were blocked out in ways that were almost fan-service, which makes me wonder if they were meant to be a tip of the hat to the loyal following the show has had. If I had to nitpick anything from a technical side, it might have been a comment on the editing. Many of the scenes were cut really fast, but the question remains on why. On one hand, it may have been a lack of lead-time between endings and beginnings of scenes, but more likely it was done intentionally to keep the drama fast-paced. It didn’t distract me too much, but it did keep me attentive to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
We got this episode as a temporary break from the myth-arc because the Winchesters can’t find Kevin. They’ve been searching a week and they’ve uncovered no leads. So, while Sam wants to focus on just that task, Dean’s ready to get back to what they do best — hunting. He’s found them a case involving missing hearts and he’s fired up to take it on. This harkens back to Dean’s mindset since Purgatory, something that’s touched upon multiple times in this episode as well. Purgatory was pure; Dean knew his purpose and he did it without question. Find the monsters, kill the monsters. Sam hasn’t quite got this purified vision, though, so what Dean sees as their true purpose is running against what Sam now wants out of life. I’m sure it’s going to prove to be a big point of contention before it’s all over, but for a while at least both the Winchesters are focusing on “saving people, hunting things, the family business.”
And now we turn to Sam Winchester. I have multiple issues with Sam, which I’m sure will get resolved over the course of the season, but for right now there are still sticking points with me. Dean was gone, Sam had no one left to close to him that he could rely on, but instead of reaching out to other hunters or searching for answers as to his brother’s whereabouts on his own, Sam just walked away. He stopped hunting, he stopped answering the phone, he stopped carrying on the family legacy of saving people to instead pursue the normal life that he never had a chance to have. I get his desire of trying to be normal for a while, I really do. Dean used to want to move Heaven and Earth to give Sammy the normal life he deserved, but they both came to realize that wasn’t in the cards for the Winchesters, so they dedicated their lives to sticking together and succeeding against all the evil the world throws at them. I just don’t get how, after a year of this seemingly great life that Sam had, he could have forgotten all the things that came before. It’s almost like he’s trying to reset his journey and start again. He’s looking at colleges in a bid to return! It didn’t work out for him at 18, it’s not going to work out for him at 30. The only person he can depend on and have a life with is his brother. Life sucks, get a helmet. He’s a Winchester, he’s never going to get that apple pie life. And, I know it sounds bad to say it, but I hope he doesn’t get it either… if only for the fact that I can’t fathom Dean being able to make it out there on his own. They need each other and Sam needs to realize that they are stronger together than they will ever be apart.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars