Supernatural: Hollywood Babylon
(S02E18) They don't do much in the way of developing the big mysteries, but I do like it when the Supernatural team takes time out to have some fun. Such was the case this week with "Hollywood Babylon." If it was the overall style of the show, I don't think it would work nearly as well. But as an every once in a while thing, these tongue-in-cheek, laugh at yourself, episodes are a fun diversion from the norm. Although, I would have preferred to see this one and "Tall Tales" separated a little more on the schedule.
It is a minor gripe though, and a forgivable one. There was a lot of fun to be had in every part of this episode, right from the get go. The surprise that Wendy was actually Tara (Elizabeth Whitmere) filming a scene from Hell Hazers II: The Reckoning was actually blown by the previews that showed the boys going to the set. They made up for it with Dean and Sam on the studio tour. I loved the look on Jared's face when the guide pointed out that Stars Hollow was coming up on the right. The joke about the weather feeling like they were in Canada was cute too.
That was the last time that Sam had the lead for the episode though, as this became the Dean show rather quickly. Jensen Ackles doesn't get a lot of press for his comedic ability, but I always like him in scenes like this. From the fascination with the "wonderful" food, to being star struck when he met Tara, right on through how he embraced being a P.A., he was very funny. And it makes perfect sense that the one part of pop-culture Dean would have a firm grasp of would be bad horror movies.
On top of that, this might have been the most well cast episode the show has ever done. Gary Cole (American Gothic) has done a ton of great stuff. My favorite would be his dramatic and touching portrayal of Harvey Birdman. Getting him for the role of studio boob, and murder victim, Brad is pretty impressive. And made that much more so when you add Don Stark (That '70s Show) as the producer, Jay. I also liked Regan Burns (Halfway Home) as Supernatural producer McG and Michael B Silver (Daybreak) as Martin, the writer.
Hell Hazers II was a pretty good send up of bad horror movies as well. I just happened to be watching something called Boo this evening before the show, and Hell Hazers seemed to be in that same league. Not that there's anything wrong with it. Done right, a bad horror movie makes for a very entertaining time. What would SciFi Saturday be without them? And where would we get our Lance Henriksen fix? The Hell Hazers II trailer that played as if it was a commercial was a nice touch.
Mixed in with all the yucks, the boys actually stumbled onto a pretty good mystery this week. St. James being hired to fake Frank's death in order to create buzz for the movie was a nice bit of misdirection. I was suspicious of the incantations as soon as Tara started reading them, but didn't catch on to where we were headed until Martin revealed that Walter (Benjamin Ratner) had written all that "Latin crap." It made for a nice, albeit bloody, commentary on what the studio system sometimes does to a movie in the transition from page to screen.
I really liked the end of the episode too. So many times we get these heavy endings with discussion of the demon, or what is to come of Sam, that once in a while a happy ending doesn't hurt. We root for these guys every week, so it's nice to see them catch a break now and again. And Dean got the girl. What's not to like? The walk off into the fake sunset has been done hundreds of times by now I think, but it still made for a nice final shot.
We'll get back to the dark and scary stuff with huge ramifications for the future soon enough. For now, this was a great time. For the yucks, Gary Cole, a ghost with a cracked open cranium, and the pink Power Ranger (Alycia Purrott), I'm giving this one a 6, out of 7.