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Supernatural 3.08 - A Very Supernatural Christmas - I worship at the television altar
tariel22
tariel22
Supernatural 3.08 - A Very Supernatural Christmas
From start to finish, this was Christmas as only Supernatural could present it. On what other show could you have perfectly decorated and beautiful homes, filled with Christmas cheer, juxtaposed with terror, death, and gore that pushes the envelope of acceptable broadcast standards? Certainly I've never before found myself taking note of home decor that makes me jealous and gore that makes me puke, all within the same five minutes! Kripke, you and yours have done it again.

Of course we knew that Sam and Dean never experienced what most of us take for granted as the normal Christmas celebration, but I must admit it still shocked me to see a Christmas where John didn't even make it back to the random motel in which they were camped at the time. The flashbacks to Sam's most memorable Christmas past were wonderful and heartbreaking all at the same time. Wonderful to see what the boys have always meant to each other, and heartbreaking to be reminded of how quickly they were forced to grow up.

The young actors who played 12-year-old Dean and 8-year-old Sam were phenomenal. I was particularly happy to see Ridge Canipe reprise his role as Dean. He did an amazing job of portraying a young boy who is terribly burdened by the truths he's had to learn at such a tender age. He's sleeping with a gun under his pillow, forced by circumstance to play the role of father and protector to Sam, and forever haunted by the close call we saw in Something Wicked. He must be ever vigilant against the forces of evil, but never allow Sam to know they exist. This episode showed us a turning point in his life, the moment he let Sam in, the moment the brothers truly joined forces for the first time.

Colin Ford played a convincing Sammy, who pushes for knowledge, notices more than you ever realize, and knows Dean better than Dean knows himself sometimes. Imagine learning that monsters are real, your father spends his life hunting them, one of the worst killed your mother, and no one is really safe, all at once. When you're eight. Finding out there is no Santa Claus was just the bitter icing on an already inedible cake. Poor Sammy.

Discovering the story of the amulet was a wonderful Christmas gift from the show! I loved that it came from Bobby originally, and I don't think I could have wished for a better backstory than that it was a gift to a young Dean from a young Sam. By giving it to Dean, Sam is saying that he knows Dean is more of a father to him than John will ever be, and by never taking it off, Dean is saying that no one is more important to him than his brother. And isn't that the whole show in a nutshell?

I also loved the funny little moments in the flashbacks. The boys' snarky humor with one another was already in evidence. My favorite? "Dad probably thinks you're a girl." hee! And how cute was it that Dean was already reading Hot Rod magazine?

I guess it's kind of obvious I really liked the flashbacks! :) So what about the rest of the show?

First off, awesome titles! That vintage "A Special Presentation" graphic was too cool, and the title card for the episode was fabulous. This is the attention to detail for which Supernatural's art department is famous.

All the parts with people disappearing, with small touches of blood or body parts left behind, seriously creeped me out, especially against the backdrop of Christmas, which has always been my favorite, most warm and fuzzy holiday. The gore was really icky, right down to the sound effects (which I might have noticed more than most, because I had my eyes covered through most of those scenes). What a contrast to the outward appearance of the perpetrators and their overly decorated, picture perfect home! I loved how that gleaming exterior hid the terrors of the basement, where even the Carrigans' true faces came to light.

Before the boys found their way to the heart of evil, we saw the investigative journey that brought them there, and it was fun to watch the boys work it all out together, doing research and following clues. Right away, we had the scene of them interviewing the latest victim's wife. Dean, in a suit, all lips and furrowed brow and impossibly broad shoulders. Yum. Then, when I haven't even recovered yet, here comes Sam, a wall of manly deliciousness, also suited up. Guh. Thank you, show!

The decrepit Santa's Village was just plain sad, and their Santa was gross. The bit that ended with Sam's unfortunate "We only came here to watch," was hilarious, though. As was the part later when the boys busted into Santa's trailer to discover him watching Christmas porn (Mistle my toe? Roast my chestnuts? Jingle my bells?). The off-key caroling was funny, but I kind of wish Jensen had treated us to his real singing voice.

How funny was it that Bobby's trademark bluntness found it's way into the episode, even without his presence? "What'd Bobby say? That we're morons." hee!

The final confrontation between the boys and the Carrigans was really upsetting. I couldn't believe they let the violence go as far as it did. I didn't watch most of it, but I caught flashes inadvertently, and listening to it was almost as bad as watching. I was so relieved when the doorbell rang and the boys managed to escape. And killing the Carrigans with broken branches from their own Christmas tree felt like sweet justice to me. That'll teach them to sully my beloved holiday with their wicked sacrificial ways!

Well, I can't put it off any longer, it's time to talk about the two scenes that broke my heart this week. *sighs*

When Dean and Sam sit at the end of their beds in the motel room, at first it looks like the same old argument about whether or not to celebrate Christmas. But then the view switches to the boys in close-up, their profiles turned to one another, the sad music starts, and I start to lose it. Sammy's pouring his heart out about this being Dean's last Christmas. Dean's doing his best not to retreat, he's not cracking jokes or putting on a happy face anymore, but he just can't say much of anything. In the end, there really isn't anything to say. The boys sit, faces bleak, eyes beginning to glisten, and all I can do is cry.

After evil has been conquered, Sammy remembers back to the Christmas Dean once gave him, and decides he can try to do the same for Dean now. He decorates their motel room, trimming a makeshift tree with ornaments made of plastic fishing floats and tree-shaped air fresheners. Awww. He serves up spiked eggnog, and the boys exchange gifts. Dean is adorably excited, and it's all very touching, the scene made only slightly incongruous by the bloody bandages on both boys' arms.

Then Sam tries to say something, but there are no words. He exchanges a look with Dean, nods, sadly smiles, and looks down. The boys are speaking volumes, but silently. When Sammy looks up again, his eyes shine with unshed tears, and I'm gone. As the boys retreat into companionably watching the game, I'm weeping again, and trying to remember it's just a television show.

And I know I'm overthinking this, but I felt like Dean gave Sam the gifts he did, skin magazines and shaving cream, because they're both symbols of adulthood. It was like Dean's way of saying, you're a grown-up now, you don't need me to look after you anymore, you'll be fine when I'm gone. *sniffles*

Random thoughts: Sam has a wonderful laugh. I still want to know what the lore behind the amulet is. I loved the little flash of Dean's tummy we saw when he hit the floor in the basement. And Dean seriously doesn't know who Mary Poppins is? I guess Disney movies were too girlie to make the cut. :)

So, I'm completely unspoiled for future shows, but I hope we see a glimmer of hope soon. I don't know how much more of this my heart can take! This season has been the best yet, and I appreciate each episode immensely, I just want to know that Sam and Dean will be together, and safe, in the end. Please?

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Comments
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: December 17th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I thought last year was angsty! I hadn't considered the significance of Dean's presents to Sam in that light. *resumes sniffling*

So, I guess the message in our Christmas special is that family makes Christmas? (There always seemed to be a moral when that Special sign came up.)
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 17th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
The thing about the gifts just hit me while I was watching it, and I went, wow, my first meta moment! LOL!

Didn't that "A Special Presentation" graphic and music just transport you back? I like your message, I agree. And family is family, even if your family's Christmas includes a crappy motel room and impaling that nice couple down the street with their own Christmas tree. hee!

Don't you love how the icons you ordered were ready in less than 24 hours?
whimsywinx From: whimsywinx Date: December 17th, 2007 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That special sign freaked me out, and I knew it was coming.

Gotta love LJ icon makers!
psychoactivtoad From: psychoactivtoad Date: December 17th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Mistle my toe? Roast my chestnuts? Jingle my bells?"
I want icons.

"I'm weeping again, and trying to remember it's just a television show."
Oh yeah. Me too. I can't read anything about that last scene without tearing up.

"This season has been the best yet, and I appreciate each episode immensely"
I am so glad when I find people who love this season as much as I do. I've been dismayed reading all the negativity.

"By giving it to Dean, Sam is saying that he knows Dean is more of a father to him than John will ever be, and by never taking it off, Dean is saying that no one is more important to him than his brother."
The meaning in this one little act is so profound, no? I saw it as the moment when Sam took his trust away from John and gave it to Dean.

"And isn't that the whole show in a nutshell?"
This is one of the reasons I loved this ep so much: the core reason why so many of us come back to this show was fully evident. As much as I love Bobby [Uncle Bobby!] and enjoy the new characters, it was such an appropriate gift to have as the focus of this show the relationship between the two brothers.

In My Time of Dying has been hands down my favorite episode. I wasn't sure there would be one I would like as much, but this comes pretty darn close.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 17th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I do love this season. I even like Ruby, and especially Bela. You know, during last season I would get all worried about rumors and conjecture about the show, and in the end it turned out I shouldn't have. They know what they're doing. So now I try to stay relatively unspoiled, and put my trust in Kripke. So far that's working out just fine! :)

One of the things that has made this season so good for me is that I think Jared has really grown as an actor. Jensen was already amazing, of course, but now Jared blows me away as well. I just think they're both so good!

I saw it as the moment when Sam took his trust away from John and gave it to Dean.

Oh, I like that. Now that I know what the amulet symbolizes between the boys, I'm tempted to buy one of those reproduction ones. *is a fangirl*

I think this episode ranks up there with the Pilot and In My Time of Dying as being one of the shows that sum up the Supernatural mythology, and the essential story of the Winchester family. It's definitely one to show someone who's new to the show, to get them up to speed.

Thanks so much for reading, and commenting! I friended you back! :)
psychoactivtoad From: psychoactivtoad Date: December 18th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)
I like Ruby and Bela, too, and I agree with you: Kripke does know what he's doing.

I've always viewed Jensen as naturally very gifted, but Jared has really come into his own. I really noticed it last season starting in BUaBS, and he keeps getting better.

Thanks for friending me!
raputathebuta From: raputathebuta Date: December 17th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dean, in a suit, all lips and furrowed brow and impossibly broad shoulders. Yum. Then, when I haven't even recovered yet, here comes Sam, a wall of manly deliciousness, also suited up. Guh. Thank you, show!

Purrrrrrrrrrrr...now that I need a cold shower...

I'm not usually squeamish, but Sammy's fingernail? AAAHHHHH! Then, Dean almost loses a tooth!!!

And I know I'm overthinking this, but I felt like Dean gave Sam the gifts he did, skin magazines and shaving cream, because they're both symbols of adulthood. It was like Dean's way of saying, you're a grown-up now, you don't need me to look after you anymore, you'll be fine when I'm gone. *sniffles* STOP!!!!! You're making me cry all over again!!!

*heavy sigh* These boys...they just kill me!



tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 17th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
There is something about the boys in suits that just makes me melt! That moment as they were walking down the front steps, when the wife said, "Agents?" and they both turned back? *swoons*

Oh, God! I didn't think the fingernail thing would actually happen, I honestly thought Sammy's psychic powers would reappear, so I was caught by surprise and saw the beginning of that moment. I agree, AAAHHHHH! And then I was convinced, since they actually went there with the fingernail, that Dean was really going to lose a tooth! I was pretty much whimpering on my couch. Jesus, Kripke!

I'm all for a good cry, and I love the emotional scenes in this show, but I'm so spent after watching! I really, really want someone to tell me it's all going to be okay, but I don't trust Kripke (or Sera Gamble, for that matter) to necessarily want the happy ending. *worries*
psychoactivtoad From: psychoactivtoad Date: December 18th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Watching Dean with the pliers in his mouth, I thought They wouldn't, would they? No. But they just did, with the nail! Crap, they just might! Kriiiipkeeeeeee!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 19th, 2007 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that was pretty much the exact same reaction I had! You know that feeling you get right before you see a car crash, where you know something awful is going to happen but there's nothing you can do? That's the feeling I had. Yeah, I'm totally Kripke's bitch. Aren't we all? :)
oceantriana From: oceantriana Date: December 17th, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
How funny was it that Bobby's trademark bluntness found it's way into the episode, even without his presence? "What'd Bobby say? That we're morons." hee!

I heart Bobby!!!!

boys sit, faces bleak, eyes beginning to glisten, and all I can do is cry.

Oh seriously. What are these people trying to do to us???? I'm starting to get tired of crying over this show. ;)


plastic fishing floats I wonder which one of them fishes... ;)

I love your thought on Dean's gifts to Sammy!!!! It just makes me say, Awww!!!!
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 17th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love how Bobby was woven into this whole episode. The amulet came from him, he figured out who the big bad was, and he told them how to kill the Carrigans. He's awesome!

I'm starting to get tired of crying over this show.

I know what you mean. I love the story they're telling, and I love what the boys can make me feel, but I just know that by the end of the episode I'll be curled up on my couch, emotionally drained and sniffling. Oh, show! :)
From: onemaskedchic Date: December 17th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful review tariel! I can't think about it too much because it is like All Hell - gets me teary to easily.
I did think *some say fanwank* about why Dean didn't recognize Mary Poppins. My rationale is that when Sammy sat and watched all those movies, Dean simply ignored them. I can completely see him spacing out or simply reading his car magazines. Like many parents, his subconscious probably registered enough to make statements like "oh yea, Mary Poppins. The chic who pricked her finger on the spinning wheel" and Sam would simply roll his eyes. That is my idea - he probably only like I dream of Jenie because she didn't wear many clothes.
tariel22 From: tariel22 Date: December 17th, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! :) Yeah, it took me a few days before I could go beyond just feeling, and try to articulate my reaction to the episode.

I'm the queen of fanwanking! I like your theory. And of course Dean would have paid attention to I Dream of Jeannie! :) I loved in the episode how Sam started to explain who Mary Poppins was, and then just gave up and gave Dean that dismissive wave. The way that Jared did it just made me laugh. :)
From: onemaskedchic Date: December 17th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love thinking about the weechesters *sigh* It almost makes me want to read fanfic again.

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