Episode: Supernatural 5.16 – “Dark Side of the Moon”
Original Air Date: April 1, 2010
This episode started out great. First thirteen minutes or so were awesome, the huge special guest star was aces, and there were a number of other things I really thought were fantastic about the ep. By the end, however, I was left with a sour taste in my mouth at the 40 minutes of television I just sat through. For the past two seasons, my enthusiasm for the show hasn’t been anywhere near what it was for the first two seasons and it wasn’t until this episode that I figured out why. Simply put, it feels like the last two seasons have been nothing but the show spinning its wheels.
First two seasons had a near-perfect mix of standalone eps and mytharc eps, and it was for one reason: two brothers were searching for their missing father. The standalone eps didn’t stand out nearly as much as the mytharc eps in these early seasons because they were essentially one and the same. It made sense for them to do odd jobs in odd towns because the job would eventually give them clues to where John was (or would lead them directly to him). It was almost seamless the way the overall mytharc fit into these episodes, even when it wasn’t the focus. You throw in something as big as The Apocalypse and that’s where things get hinky.
I say this because The Apocalypse makes the standalone eps more obvious. So much talk has happened in the show about how urgent and dire the situation is, yet this has been drawn out for two seasons now. Either The Apocalypse is urgent or it’s something that doesn’t, in fact, happen right away and gives people plenty of time to either stop it or get their affairs in order. The latter seems to be the case here, but you wouldn’t really know that by watching the mytharc eps (they give the sense that the Earth’s going to open up and swallow us all tomorrow if something isn’t done to stop it). All the dialogue would indicate that this whole End of the World thing is pretty serious and is going to happen any minute. All the actual action, well, that would lead you to believe this isn’t really so.
For one, no one is really looking for a solution (outside of becoming vessels) for this problem. Two, no one is working together to find a solution (outside of becoming vessels) besides the usual Scooby Gang of Sam, Dean, and sometimes Bobby and Castiel. Apparently, the rest of the hunting community is so stupid they think killing the Winchesters is going to solve something? Or is it that this will just make them feel better? Why isn’t ANYONE working together on this thing that’s kind of a big deal for the ENTIRE PLANET? Because, as it turns out by the end of this episode, no one else is going to bother helping us out here.
I’m going to break this down into what I thought was good and bad about this episode. Let’s start with the Good:
1. Heaven being your own version of Heaven. This reminded me very much of the Podiobooks series Heaven by Mur Lafferty (specifically, the first “season”). I thought it was very telling that Dean’s first impression of Heaven is a memory of him and Sam setting off fireworks (all about his family), while Sam’s first impression is a memory of having Thanksgiving dinner with a stranger’s family instead of his own (none about his family — though I will admit to getting choked up a little at the dog memory).
2. Castiel getting tired of the B.S. from everything and everyone. As much as I would like him to get his Angel Mojo back, I have enjoyed watching his façade start to crack and actually break by the end of the episode.
3. The top of the “good” list, of course, goes to Doctor Badass himself. Ash made the best return this show has ever seen by swooping in to save the Winchesters from Zachariah, all while rocking a luchador costume. I loved that he was still the same character — crazy smart, kind of a skeevy bar rat, still doing the job even from The Attic. One of the best parts of his reappearance (besides the fact that he took a jaunt over to Andre the Giant’s Heaven) was him bringing up the fact that the Winchesters have died about a bazillion times. Which is so true and I had always wondered where they went all those times they died and came back and why they never remembered.
The Bad started right after this bit of awesome. Pamela showed up and started her flip-flopping. Again. This character wanted to help, got burned (literally, in the eye sockets), hated angels because of it, didn’t want to help but did anyway, and then died for it. Now she’s telling Dean to go along with the angels because worst case is that a bunch of people die and end up in Heaven. Seriously? I really liked this character when she first showed up (she was sassy and strong), but every time after she’s just gotten more and more wishy-washy. This entire conversation she had with Dean broke the logic center of my brain. I mean, Ash is “cool” with being dead and in Heaven, yet he’s still helping the Winchesters get to where they need to go so they can stop The Apocalypse. Pamela is “cool” with a bunch of people dying so they can be a part of The Matrix/Heaven. I don’t get it.
Then there was the Memory!Mary being controlled by Zachariah moment. Dean wasn’t your “shackle” and wasn’t the reason you died, Mary. You got yourself burned and gutted because you made a deal with Azazel to bring John back from the dead when you knew better than to make deals with demons. Now, I know Dean has serious family issues, but he shouldn’t have fallen for this crap. And it was crappy that the writers had him fall for it.
The God reveal/non-reveal. Why this whole “I don’t want to deal with it” attitude they’ve given God really chaps my backside is hard to explain. Maybe I’m confused about what the writers are trying to say by having God essentially wash his hands of the whole mess he created so he can play skee-ball on a Jersey Shore boardwalk. Is it that humanity has to try and figure out a way to stop super powered beings without any help because the baby bird’s got to learn to fly someday or what? I mean, I was kind of offended by the whole “He knows everything you’re thinking but he really can’t be bothered to help” deal. I guess it’s because I feel like there should be a balance of some kind, and there really isn’t one here.
All the evil is essentially a supernatural being (with the exception of the two cannibal family episodes) doing bad to humans. All the good is essentially humanity defeating the evil supernatural being. What one could take from this is that all evil is an outside influence on what is basically the goodness of humanity. Which is utter bull. I enjoy the angels not being all about love and joy and happiness, and initially thought they were the natural progression in a show about demons because there needed to be a “good” influence to counter the “bad” influence. So far, it’s been up to Castiel to shoulder that balance. One lone angel is the single example of a supernatural being that is “good” and not “evil” who is willing to help the seriously out-classed humans. I guess I was hoping God would be a little more proactive with the help since he didn’t grace us with any abilities or strengths that could be a match for all of Hell and Heaven. Not sure how the illusion of free will is supposed to be a match for the powers of Lucifer and Michael.
Dean: “Just another deadbeat dad with a bunch of excuses, right?”
Finally, and this was really the nail in the coffin for me, was Castiel calling Dean’s necklace “garbage” and Dean dropping it into the trash bin right in front of Sam. We know Sam’s going to fish that sucker out and give it back to him at some point even if we don’t see it. I’ll be very surprised if that doesn’t happen because everything about these two characters lately has been predictable and boring. It’s not entertaining to watch these two interact anymore because it’s all hurt feelings and sad faces and disappointments. I’m hoping it’ll turn around for the remainder of the season and get back to being entertaining and fun to watch and talk about, but I’m honestly not going to hold my breath for it at this point.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Stars