Supernatural: Hello Cruel World (Review)

Supernatural: Hello Cruel World

I have high expectations for Supernatural. Decidedly unnatural and unrealistic, I look for every episode to be rife with drama, suspense, comedy, and an air-tight flow that moves along the season’s story arc. I know there are filler episodes, but even those serve some sort of a purpose in the Supernatural world (and are pretty frakkin awesome in their own right). Yes, last year started disappointingly slow but by the time Sera Gamble, the new show runner, hit her groove (around the time Sam got his soul back) things were back to the good old fashioned show fans are used to. While the season seven premiere maintained the verve of shows past, the second episode fell a bit flat.

The Leviathans, the creatures from purgatory that had taken over Castiel (Misha Collins) burst loose from their host, infecting the waters of the town and, in turn, several random people (including a little girl). One of the coolest scenes involves their propagation through town on their hunt for hosts. They travel through the water supply, possessing their targets to the tune of “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers. An eclectic and fitting tune if their ever was one.

Dean doing his best to reach Sam before he loses it.

There is also the little nugget of Sam’s (Jared Padalecki) mind playing games with him. He can’t get Lucifer (the subtle and scary Mark Pellegrino) out of his mind; the former angel mixes Sam up to the point where he has no idea what’s real and what’s not. Though he wrestles with much of this himself, a poignant scene between the brothers occurs in an abandoned warehouse. Risking his life at the hands of an unbalanced Sam, Dean (Jensen Ackles) talks his brother down from the edge, convincing Sam that, despite Lucifer’s taunts, he is no longer in the pit but back in the real world. The scene is a summation of the entire series; two brothers, bonded by more than blood and an affinity for ganking monsters. They never—hmmm—rarely give up on one another, willing to set up shop in hell to save the other. It was by far the most emotional scene in “Cruel World”, which brings me to my biggest gripe about this episode.

Simply put, it’s dull.

Contrary to my initial statement, I know every episode isn’t going to be a heart stopping, pulse pounding good time. But I need more than I got from this episode. Backtracking to the Leviathan for a moment; while they will be integral in this season’s arc, there was nothing interesting about them. Sure, they can change shape by touch (how long before one of them flips into the guise of Bobby, Dean, or Sam?), but we got nothing more than a glorified demon cloud or, better yet, black oil a la X-Files.

While not terrible, “Hello Cruel World” is far from what I’ve been spoiled with over the past six years. Other than a handful of scenes—and one of the very few non season finale cliffhangers—I could’ve done without this particular episode. And though it seems as if it’s providing a nice set up for the Leviathan story arc, it’s missing the pomp and circumstance of Supernatural.

Rating: C-

The Good:
  • It was an unexpected treat to see Sherriff Mills (Kim Rhodes) back. It’s been almost a year since last being seen in “Weekend at Bobby’s”. Maybe they brought her back as a potential love interest for Mr. Singer.
  • An in-season cliffhanger? Not something we see much of with this show but the brothers helplessly being transported to the Leviathans’ lair provides an instant jump start for the next episode.
  • I can’t help but go back to the scene in the warehouse; Dean rooting on his brother, letting Sam know he could seal the cracks in his fractured mind was a reminder and testament to the heart of Supernatural.
The Bad:
  • The Leviathan weren’t quite as interesting in their hosts as they were during the short time they’d taken over Castiel. Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy) is the only one of Leviathans victims that held an air of menace that wasn’t easily dismissed.
  • Lucifer’s coercion of Sam ended a bit too quickly. I don’t think they are done with this storyline just yet but it still seemed a rushed conclusion to the episode.
The Supernatural:
  • What would it take to kill a Leviathan? They are in the guise of humans but just how durable are they? I hope to see at least a glimpse of them in their true form before it’s said and done.

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– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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