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April 23, 2014

Supernatural: Heart

by Brett Love, posted Mar 23rd 2007 7:00AM
Jared Padalecki, Emmanuell Vaugier, Jensen Ackles
(S02E17)
I was looking forward to this episode for two reasons, only one of which panned out. First, like Dean said, "Werewolves are badass." From American Werewolf in London right up to the recent Dresden Files episode "Hair of the Dog," I like stories involving werewolves. "Heart" can now take a well deserved spot in that long line of lycanthropic entertainment.

What didn't pan out was my mention last week that we would be seeing Erica Cerra (Eureka) in this episode. From the quick shot in the preview, I mistook Emmanuelle Vaugier (Painkiller Jane, Smallville) for Erica. They do look an awful lot alike. While it would have been fun to see Erica Cerra mixing it up with the Winchester boys, Vaugier did a great job in what was a very interesting role.

The best bits of Madison's story didn't come from the usual formula. It was already given away that she was a werewolf, so that was no surprise. Although, when Dean discovered her, that scene did have a nice "made you jump" reveal. And once they decided to go after the beasty that had bitten Madison, I thought it was pretty obvious that it would be Glen (Brad Dryborough, Battlestar Galactica).

The lack of surprise on those fronts didn't detract from the episode though, because the really good stuff was in the interaction of Sam and Madison. Their relationship was working on a couple different levels here. Clearly, she's a cute girl, and Sam was into her. But reading a little more into what he was saying, he was clearly identifying with her situation. Something has been thrust upon her, out of her control, and it could signal her doom. Not unlike the future Sam is so worried about.

Pacing was also very interesting for the story. After the night where Sam locked Madison in the closet while Dean took out Glen, the episode went through the normal little end of the show routine. Sam said goodbye and then we find him with Dean in the Impala, having their normal wrap up talk that puts thing in perspective. The thing is, that was only 36 minutes into the show. I noticed the clock and heard a cheesy infomercial announcer in my head, "But wait... there's more!"

At that point, it would have been a solid episode. What came next, moved it up to great. The moral grey area where Madison was concerned was interesting. After she made it through the night, the boys were ready to give her a pass on the murders, because she really wasn't in control of her actions.

The love scene was good. I'm told the ladies like the shirtless Jared stuff. I'm a terrible judge of what is attractive in men, so I'll take their word for that. What I liked about the scene though was the relief. Sam saved the girl, and gained some hope that he could save himself. It was a nice moment for him, and it made it that much more powerful when he looked up and saw that Madison had turned again.

Now, what about that ending? Who says there's no crying in demon hunting? That was some pretty heavy stuff, and went in a different direction than I thought they would. It might be the years of watching Buffy and seeing Oz locked up in his cage, but I was guessing that was where they were going. Dean had it right though, she would eventually get out, and when she did she would kill more people.

Madison asking Sam to do it was heartbreaking, and a big moment for Sam. At the same time though, I thought that scene did a lot to reinforce just what Dean is all about. More than anything else, he wants to protect Sam. He was willing to let Sam walk away and take care of this for him, as we all knew he would be. When we saw that tear roll down Dean's cheek at the end, it seemed to me that it was much more about how all of this was hurting Sam than anything else.

Overall, a great installment. We are still in something of a holding pattern where the big story is concerned, and it looks like that's going to last for at least one more week, but this is one well worth seeing.

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Ms Jo Little

The music lists I've looked at aren't quite complete for 'Heart' as there is something playing...and I think I may have heard it before...in the bar at the very beginning. Anyone have a clue as to what it is?
Jo.

June 05 2007 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Georgie

I thought it was one of the season's higlights! Most viewers will respond to human emotion, and i can relate to the closeness of the Winchester boys as my brother and i have always been great mates and it was easy to relate! Thanks Haunt for the tip on the Queensryche tip, i thought i'd never find out what it was!

June 01 2007 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
erika

I thought this was a fine episode, sure there were flaws but every episode has its flaws when you come down to it.

I was expecting Sam to be upset at the end, but I was shocked to see him weeping by the doorway in that kitchen, and trusting Dean enough to be seen like that. Dean's pained face and tear as the shot rang out was the perfect sad coda to Sam's loss of innocence.

Sam's pain and fear are visceral. People can mock his paranoia over stupid John Winchester's edict to Dean (save Sam or kill him), or mock him for not seeing how painful extracting a promise from Dean to kill him should be, but to me, Sam is struggling for real connections and real salvation. Key word: struggling. And episodes like this certainly show why Sam needs to and how he suffers for trying. This is why this ending is so perfect. It dovetailed so perfectly with Sam and Dean's tragic position this season, that it uses them to inform Madison's tragedy, and her fate to highlight theirs. It was a damn near perfect confluence of pain.

March 30 2007 at 12:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather

Well, I can certainly understand how some wouldn't like it because I was thoroughly bored with it. I was looking forward to when this show finally tackled werewolves and what did we get? A melodrama used to, for the millionth time, remind us that Dean might have to kill Sam if he goes evil.

Dean's "slow humanization", as someone called it, is like a yo-yo. He's given a little lesson by Sam and his moralizing and then he's right back to being all black and white about hunting until the next time they feel like having Sam show how sensitive he is. Please. It's getting so very old.

The incredibly slow burn of this whole destiny plot is sucking the life out of this show.

The acting was good and the last scene was indeed powerful but they really need to let up a little with tragic doomed Sam. His angsting and crying is getting incredibly annoying and I used to love Sam to death.

March 29 2007 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
burgundy12

Another emotional, heartfelt episode. It had a few plot nicks that bugged me, but overall it packed an emotional wallop, sex or no sex. I'm glad they didn't wimp out and decide to keep her in a cage, a la Buffy. Eventually, people get out of cages. Something will eventually go wrong. A great episode; this show is secure on my list of favorites.

March 28 2007 at 7:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AJ MacReady

You know, I gotta say it: I really feel that this is bar none the finest episodic TV of dark fantasy EVER. And I loved the X-Files and really dug Buffy, but this show blows them away with ease. Of course, I am speaking for my tastes, what I enjoy - but watching this is like Kripke and the others involved know exactly what I would want in such a show, like they're almost making it for just ME.
And this episode is a supreme example of why that is (and I know I'm posting this late but haven't been able to watch the ep until just now, so no one will see this but whatever).
Bottom line: thrilling and clever and heartbreaking. "Landis and Dante"? Classic. I'm not ashamed in the least to say that when the credits came up, my eyes had welled up too. After following the Winchester boys from the very first episode, I think they've earned some honest emotional connection from this fan.

March 27 2007 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sandie

I don't know how you can not like this episode. Putting aside the fact that you don't care for the actress, the issue with the fur. Please, they've taken creative license with more than one of the creatures they have shown ie the wendigo (they made up it's ability to mimic a human voice). That's one of the reasons why this show is so good. It takes the legend and makes it real. No cliched furry animal, just a human shapeshifting into an animal like creature.
Now that I have that out of my system, I have to say I loved this episode. Being a writer, I find it hard to watch anything, tv series or movie and not be able to guess what's going to happen fifteen minutes into the show. The preview had given away the fact that Madison was the werewolf, so I wasn't prepared to be impressed. After solving the problem, killing the neighbor (which was something I caught in the beginning Duh!) there was still twenty minutes left, so I assumed Madison was the start of the bloodline and she had just lied. With Sam's luck ie Meg, I was fully prepared for angst and the usual chase the creature and kill it. To my surprise, which doesn't happen often, they flew past angst and litterly had me speechless. All I could think at the end of the episode was OH. MY. GOD. I had to watch the ending over again (gotta love dvr). I was not prepared for such a 'deep' ending, and so many hidden meanings in the action.

March 24 2007 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cat

Oh and one more thing about Sam having to kill Madison...There's deeper meaning to it, it's about facing the possiblilty of his own demise, if he's so evil that he can't be stopped, it's something he truly has to face. Perhaps he even realizes what Dean is going to feel and go through should that time come between them. There's deep stuff happening here.

March 24 2007 at 12:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cat

I truly loved this episode.
(The love scene with Sam was quite good and he was pretty hot shirtless.)

But back to the show, the end and the tears were powerful moments. That single tear down Dean's face, you can tell how much he loves Sam and what he wouldn't do to save him. It was a difficult time for the Winchester boys and I can't wait to see where else they go.

March 24 2007 at 12:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Haunt

Great comments so far (except for #7... sorry), but I haven't seen anyone comment yet that part of Dean's emotional reaction at the end is likely because he fears he himself will one day be forced into the position Sam is in. Someday, Dean will possibly have to make the decision to put a bullet in his own brother's head because of some inner evil outside of Sam's control, just like Sam had to kill Madison because of something out of her control.

But beyond all of that, I really like the slow "humanization" of Dean as he is forced to see more and more shades of grey.

And of course any use of Queensryche's "Silent Lucidity" gets a thumbs up from me.

March 23 2007 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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