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'Supernatural' Season 7, Episode 2 Recap

by Maureen Ryan, posted Oct 1st 2011 5:15PM
['Supernatural' - 'Hello, Cruel World']

They walk among us. They look like us. They are dangerous. And they have a plan.

Ladies and gentlemen, the crossover we've all been hoping for has finally arrived: 'Supernatural' has been invaded by Cylons!

All right, technically they're called Leviathans on this show.

(And by the way, I know that at times the plural of Leviathan can just be Leviathan, but I'm going to stick the "s" on there just for kicks).

In any event, our new black-goo-oozing big bads do kind of resemble the 'Battlestar Galactica' Cylons a bit -- but then, these characters also recall any shapeshifter storyline in pretty much any genre. I say this not as a dig, but just as a way of noting that this parallel could be a good thing. A 'Supernatural' spin on the trusty tropes of a "they walk among us" tale could be interesting.

Having said that, something did bug me about the episode: The fact that it didn't end with the words "To Be Continued." Shouldn't it have? I mean, jeebus, I don't mind cliffhangers, and certainly this episode left us with a lot of big questions, but 'Hello, Cruel World' sort of just ended, rather than arriving at a reasonably conclusion-y place.

It really seemed like the first half of a two-parter, but I don't understand the reluctance to call it a two-parter. Ah well. Let's at least tote up the number of questions that are left:

• We don't know if Cas is gone for good or for a good long while. What makes me think that he won't be back for a while is the fact that his iconic trench coat was found in the lake. Maybe his vessel finally is kaput? Though I highly doubt that -- 'Supernatural' has found ways to bring all manner of deceased people back, no matter the state of their meatsuits. Also, the Leviathans kept referring to a "boss" character. Perhaps that's Cas? Hmm...

• We don't know where Bobby is. Could he have been taken over by a Leviathan? I know we saw him talking to the boys from his car, but what if at some point on the way home, he was Leviathanized (or what if the guy temporarily crushed under the car jumped into Bobby?).

• We don't know if Sam's visions are gone for good. My Spidey sense tells me that 'Supernatural' isn't going to be able to pay Mark Pellegrino to appear in a ton of episodes this season, so I'm betting the fact that Sam was able to figure out what is real means that we won't see ol' Lucifer much in future. What does that mean for Sam's mental state? Are there more post-Wall complications to come, or has that whole story been dropped? (A further question for you all: Do you think that Lucifer was projecting himself from the Cage into Sam's mind? Or was the Lucifer projection a product of Sam's own damaged noggin? Thoughts?)

• We don't know what awaited the brothers at Sioux Falls General Hospital. It is probably not sexytimes with hot nurses. Not when Dr. Sexy is running around snacking on patients' internal organs.

So, with all those things in doubt, I don't have a ton to say about the episode, except to say that it was an OK transition episode, one that maybe suffered from a bit of busy-ness, given all the things it had to accomplish. It wasn't a Ben Edlund classic, but there was a light sprinkling of Edlundian humor.

But as I said in my review of the season 6 finale, I'm a little troubled by the grimness of the show's tone these days. Back in Ye Olden Seasons, I'd have described the overall vibe as, "Two brothers go through a lot, but through it all, they have each other." Now I'd describe it as, "Two brothers trudge through a series of hellish experiences, often with the help of alcohol. Also, they have each other, for whatever that's worth."

Now, maybe I'm exxagerating a bit, but I have to admit that I was struck by Dean's go-to response when Sam was having trouble figuring out what was real. He took Sam's wound and pressed it, as if pain was the only thing that could link his brother to reality. It felt as though the intent of the scene was to have the brotherly bond and the real pain bring Sam back from the edge, and if the scene came across that way to you, that's great. But it didn't quite work for me on the brotherly-bond level. It struck me as odd that in that scene, Dean didn't talk about their shared past or any of their memories -- important things that only the true Dean would know about.

It felt like that moment was mostly about making that wound bleed, and that strikes me as a little sad. Can't things other than pain connect us to what's true? Maybe so in our world, maybe not in the Winchesters'. And I don't know that that's a fruitful path for the show to go down. When things are too dark, it can make us check out a little bit. First of all, knowing that things are always going to be grim can make things predictable, and secondly, aren't the tiny rays of hope we carry for the characters part of what keeps us tuning in?

Please keep in mind that my views on the show are always evolving, and I don't mean to imply that I think that 'Supernatural' has fully arrived at the Place of Ultra-Grimness and that I think it intends to stay there. These are just musings, at this point.

But I do have concerns about the way the show is always taking things and people away from the boys. Obviously their parents were the first to go, but also, more recurring characters than I can count have been removed from their orbit, and now Cas is gone too. He may show up in some form or another down the road, but their lives look sadly sparse. And what of Bobby?

Would the show really go so far as to Levianthan-ize him? I don't know. Probably not (and if they did, I'm betting it would only be temporary). But the fact that the bad guys torched the only home Sam and Dean have and that the owner of that home is missing in action -- well, it sounds like even more bad times are coming.

Speaking of Bobby's house, I feel like the boys discovering that it had been torched should have had a lot more emotional and visual impact. Casa Singer is an important place in the mythology of the show, but the moment in which they found the burned house didn't really land for me. For one thing, I don't recall the house having that piece of fence nearby or a road right next to it. I could be wrong, but it looked like the show built a mock-up of a burned house in a different location and tried to pass it off as the crispified version of Bobby's house. But it looked to me like it was in the wrong place, and the episode was so busy with various threads at that point that 'Cruel World' hardly had any time to spend on the destruction of that landmark.

At least all these events -- Cas' disappearance, the torching of the house, the Leviathans' destruction and Bobby's disappearance -- got Dean to finally admit that he wasn't OK. We know Sam's not OK (and the tears in Sam's eyes when he told Dean that Lucifer didn't think Dean was real were heartbreaking).

We'll see where the road goes soon. But I could use a lighter episode sooner rather than later.

A few final notes:

• Shades of Lilith with the Leviathan-possessed little girl, right?

• Biggerson's Pie Bar: "It's like a salad bar, but with pie!" It's Dean's dream restaurant!

• Nice to see Sheriff Mills back, but again, due to how much stuff the episode had to deal with, she was shuffled off stage relatively early. Hope we see her again soon.

• "Don't let Satan change my pre-sets."

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'Supernatural' airs 9PM ET Fridays on the CW.

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53 Comments

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yichella

Cripe, what a painful episode. I think only "On a the Head of a Pin" surpasses it.
When Dean said, "Believe in me, okay? You gotta believe me. You gotta make is stone number one and build on it," it just broke me. Cause... I've been there. I'be been so deluded and desolated I didn't know what to do except trust that one person.
Mark Pellegrino did a great job - Lucifer was damn creepy (and funny... in a creepy way). In fact, the whole cast just did some beautiful work. On to the next episode!

March 23 2012 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Madeline Luft

I'm probably alone on this one, but I love the increasing grimness of Supernatural. I think it's one of the many traits that separate it from other shows. I watch a lot of television, but none of it ever goes as dark as Supernatural. Also, I think we will receive some lighter episodes in the next couple weeks. The writers seems to sprinkle them throughout the season, and since the premiere and follow-up episode were especially dark, it wouldn't surprise me if they aired one sooner rather than later. Also, I doubt Bobby will be Leviathanized. My guess is that Cas is the Boss, and he'll be the secondary character to undergo that storyline, although we probably won't see any of it until the boys catch on.

October 05 2011 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Belinda

I agree...i love supernatural but I feel like it's getting a little more violent and gloomy with each new episode...they should have a little more humour in it...like Dean's witty one-liners...lol

And also, you mentioned:

"It struck me as odd that in that scene, Dean didn't talk about their shared past or any of their memories -- important things that only the true Dean would know about."

I think that the hallucination would know their shared past as well...because in the car, when Sam was with 'hallucination Dean' they were talking about Martin (?) the mental guy who was in one of their past cases...since it's in his mind, his hallucinations would know what he knows, i gues...so he might not believe that it's real Dean even if he talk about their memories....just a thought....

October 05 2011 at 9:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Spirale Rouge

Dontainique says : "They have fewer and fewer connections to the world at large, so the question becomes what's the point in saving it?"

But Sam and Dean don't need to know people (connection to the world) to save them. It's what they do and the saving of a life is a disinterested action, taken with no reward in mind. I don't think that Sam and Dean need any sort of motivation for doing what they do. That's their job, that's all.

In fact, if they have an almost non-existent social life it's logical , all the people too close to the Winchesters have the highest risk of being killed or injured, there is no shortage of examples. This is why (I supposed) they have voluntarily given up any sort of connection to other people (civilians).

Having said this, I wouldn't mind if their circle of friends was a little bit bigger! They really know how to do a casting in this show, we are never disappointed when a new character appears.

..

October 04 2011 at 4:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Spirale Rouge's comment
Dontainique

I agree that there's definitely sound logic for the Winchesters keeping their world as small as possible. That was a major part of why Dean left Lisa and Ben. He felt like he was already vulnerable to attack because of his love for Sam and Bobby, then adding Lisa and Ben to the picture simply made him (in his mind) even more vulnerable. And not necessarily a direct attack on him, but something like what occurred in "Let it Bleed" last season. That was absolutely Dean's worst nightmare come to life. So I can totally see them trying to keep as few ties as possible because of that. On the other hand, it doesn't make sense to me for Sam and Dean to have been hunting for as long as they have and not know any other hunters or have other hunter acquaintances. I'm not saying they need to be as close to the Boys as Bobby is, or Rufus, Ellen, and Jo were, but after more than 22 years of hunting, they've got to have some other connections and other folks they care about. And I get that hunting tends to be a very solitary life (sometimes by choice and sometimes not), but it just doesn't track with me that there's no one else in their world. I get what you're saying about it just being their job to save the world, and to a certain extent I think that's true. But my theory on why they (Dean in particular) view their world as so bleak is because it is just a job to them. Almost everyone they know is dead; they've got nowhere and nothing. Except each other and the job. That's not enough. Which is why Dean's been saying for the last few years (aka seasons) that he's tired. I'm put in mind of something I heard a soldier say once. He said, "You don't fight for what's in front of you. You fight for what you left behind." Dean and Sam don't have anything that they've left behind. So the question is still, why keep fighting to save a world that you have no investment in?

October 04 2011 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Dontainique's comment
Spirale Rouge

Very respectfully, I do not agree with you Dontainique ;-)

You say :“On the other hand, it doesn't make sense to me for Sam and Dean to have been hunting for as long as they have and not know any other hunters or have other hunter acquaintances.”

But they do know other hunters. Helen and Jo, Rufus, Gordon walker...Ok, they are dead, but this is the point : they have a really dangerous life!
In “Dark side of the moon” Dean knew the two guys who shoot him and Sam. From this, we can Presume that there is other hunters they have met during their hunts.
Plus there is not so many hunters out there, it's a small world and we have seen on a few occasions that they don't like to stay on each others territory.

Their whole life Sam and Dean have traveled the country non-stop, never staying long in the same place (sometime a few days or a couple of weeks), in any case not enough time to make friends (plus the fake identities, not helping). And for obvious reasons, they are surely not seeking to make friends.

Dontainique you say : « Dean and Sam don't have anything that they've left behind. So the question is still, why keep fighting to save a world that you have no investment in? »

It's what makes the greatness of their actions (IMHO), they don't do it for someone or something in particular, they do it for the salvation of all humankind. This is a total gratuitous act.

..

October 04 2011 at 9:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Spirale Rouge

I forgot :
EMPATHY !!
Empathy is reason enough for doing what Sam and Dean (and Bobby) do.

October 04 2011 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Melanie

Gosh, Mo. I'm pretty far from you in my take on this episode and on what I think the tone of the show and direction they're going is.
First of all, I'm starting to think that the season is going to be like the serialized 'B' movies used to be - cliffhangers every week. (which is going to kill me ded - but I'll die happy) I think its exciting and the pace is working well for me.
Second - the melancholia, which is pretty much tied to Dean's character is still there, yes, he's lost Lisa & Ben and now Cas, but I really don't think Bobby is 'gone' - but Dean thinking that Bobby might be is the last strut kicked out from under him, that makes him finally admit he's not 'fine' -- which is what he's been needing to do before he can start to get better. And I do think that is the direction the show is headed - not toward more doom and gloom.

Anyway, I think the first two episodes have been very good and I'm really looking forward to the one Jensen directed this week and the one after that, where Dean is put on trial and the one after that with James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter and - - well, you get the idea. :)

October 03 2011 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

I mostly have to disagree with you. I like the pacing so far this season. The season 6 finale blended seamlessly into episode 1 which blended seamlessly into episode 2. I feel like I'm watching a movie with 7 day breaks. I'm glued to my seat and can't believe it's already over when the credits start to roll. To me, this feels like season 4 and I love it so far.

According to Guy Bee via Twitter, Bobby's burned house was an actual house they prepped to look like Bobby's. I don't think we've seen the full reaction to the house being gone because of the pacing of the episode.

I think it would be a great twist if the big bad boss leviathan is still in Cas' vessel and is eventually driven out by the boys, restoring their old friend.

The warehouse scene between the boys had me on the edge of tears. Jared has been outstanding bringing out Sam's despair. Dean recalling his own reaction to Hell and using physical pain to make Sam understand the difference between reality and hallucination was a great example of the brothers' bond. Lucifer telling Sam that it's up to him to get rid of the hallucinations gives us an inkling of hope about Sam recovering.

The humor was great. I have laughed out loud during both of the episodes so far. Bravo to the cast and crew. I know why I love this show so much!

October 03 2011 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

Thanks everyone, for your comments! Really interesting reading.

I've thought about what several of you have said about the brothers' bond in this episode, and I think some valid points have been raised. If they can take comfort from their relationship with each other, then maybe things aren't so bad. I get that, as Dean would say.

I guess part of me wonders, do Cas and Bobby have to be gone for them to rely on each other as they do here? I guess it feels like, at times, the show is saying that for the boys to realize what they have in each other, other major things have to be taken away from them, or they won't realize what they've got in their sibling.

I totally agree that it's good to reinforce that bond, and I'm so glad so many of you got something major out of that warehouse scene. I can see why you did, honestly. But I guess for me, it's not a zero-sum game -- there's no reason to take away other loved ones to make the boys realize that their bond is incredibly rich and powerful.

But you all have given me a lot to think about -- thank you for that! And I am seeing aspects of HCW a bit differently thanks to your insights.

October 03 2011 at 9:54 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Mo Ryan's comment
Sofia

"It struck me as odd that in that scene, Dean didn't talk about their shared past or any of their memories -- important things that only the true Dean would know about.

It felt like that moment was mostly about making that wound bleed, and that strikes me as a little sad. Can't things other than pain connect us to what's true?"

I get what you're saying with this scene. Dean didn't use his usual methods here. But I think the reason this scene landed for me was that Sam was past being reasoned with solely on an emotional level. Dean had already tried talking to him back at Bobby's house and Lucifer was right there to rebut everything Dean said. So helping Sam separate the pain of Hell from the pain of the world seemed like a good plan to me. Almost like slapping the face of someone in shock. And for me, they were still connecting but this time it was through shared experience. I just think it was a different kind of emotional connection than we've seen in the past.

I also agree that the pacing of this episode (and the one before for that matter) was been pretty ambitious and it has me emotionally exhausted! Hopefully after this next episode we'll get a little mental break.

Great review, as usual!

October 03 2011 at 8:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Eva Boon

I really loved this episode, almost nothing to add to the other comments :) For me Bobby's house burned down felt like when they discovered the roadhouse was gone. That (for them) also meant losing a lot of knowledge (Ash, other hunters, jobs). I also remember that Sera (or maybe it was the J's themselves) saying that this season was more about Sam and Dean on the run than being on a hunt.

October 02 2011 at 9:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Katy

Great recap as usual, but I have to ask about this: "It struck me as odd that in that scene, Dean didn't talk about their shared past or any of their memories -- important things that only the true Dean would know about." Lucifer's been inside Sam's grapefruit. Is anything private for him anymore? Perhaps that's where the show loses some viewers (though I'm personally game for exploring it). Nothing is just between Sam and Dean anymore; it's between Sam, Dean, and Lucifer.

October 02 2011 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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