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Last week’s season 4 opener of Supernatural, Lazarus Rising, garnered an impressive 3.96 rating; which is the highest rating the hit Warner Bros/ CW Network series has had since the first season episode ‘Devil’s Trap’ was aired on the now defunct WB Network. In Lazarus Rising viewers saw the dramatic resurrection of Dean Winchester (played by Jensen Ackles) by the Angel Castiel (played by Misha Collins). Castiel had yanked Dean out of hell and put him back into his body because God, who has work for Dean to do, had commanded it. This resurrection reunited Dean with his brother Sam Winchester (played Jared Padalecki) who, in his grief over the loss of Dean has turned to the demon Ruby (currently played by Genevieve Cortese) to help him learn to use his special powers to fight back against the new ‘big bad’ Lillith.
The second episode of Supernatural season 4 is titled ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester. This rather lengthy episode title is a take on the title of a very popular Judy Blume teen novel, titled, ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’. Like the novel this episode derives it’s title from, the second episode of Supernatural season 4 deals with Dean Winchester’s questions about God and why God has chosen Dean to be yanked out of hell by the Angel Castiel and given the task of ‘doing God’s work’.
In this episode, Jensen Ackles turns in another stunningly perfect performance. Ackles hits every emotional mark and comedic nuance with seemingly effortless ease as his character of Dean Winchester grapples not only with his ‘why me’ questions, but with issues that are forced upon him by the circumstances of other events in this episode. The last scene between Dean Winchester and the Angel Castiel is an amazing body of work between Ackles and Collins that left this viewer with chill running up and down her spine.
The storyline of the episode, written by Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble, also revolves around the machinations of Lillith. As Eric Kripke himself revealed in a recent video interview, Lillith is working on a plan to free Lucifer from his imprisonment by breaking sixty-six of the seals that, according to the Book of Revelations in the Bible, hold him trapped. The first seal to be broken opens the door for the writers to bring back several fan favorite characters from the past but with a strange twist added to them. The characters brought back are Ronald Reznick (Chris Gauthier), Victor Hendricksen (Charles Malik Whitfield) and Meg Masters (Nicki Aycox), as the vengeful spirits of people the Winchesters couldn’t save. Also added into the mix are two creepy twin girls that Bobby Singer (played by Jim Beaver) couldn’t save.
In my opinion this part of the storyline was unevenly written and could have used having the pace tightened in several places. Since for me the jury is still out on Genevieve Cortese as the new Ruby, it is my opinion that some of the pivotal scenes that Jared Padalecki’s character of Sam Winchester had in the episode were weakened by Ruby not being as strong a character as she could be. To the credit of the actress, it seems to me to be more about the writers not quite finding where Ruby’s ‘voice’ is right now than anything.
However two things within this part of the episode stand out to make all of ‘Are You There God? Its Me, Dean Winchester’ storylines well worth watching.
One is something Supernatural, in my opinion, does better than any other series on television and that is to blend action and exposition into a seamless process. Never is this more evident than how the writers, in the midst of the action, give us more background on the character of Bobby Singer and his life.
The other thing that makes it worthwhile is the presence of Nicki Aycox as Meg Masters. Though I am a bit at a loss as to figure out why most of her story line and action is done opposite Dean Winchester instead of Sam Winchester, Aycox and Ackles have an onscreen dynamic that ignites the screen with energy. Nicki Aycox rises to the challenge of this new variation of Meg with ease. She once again proves why, for so many Supernatural viewers, Meg Masters and Aycox’s acting in the role has set the standard of excellence that other females characters in Supernatural are often judged by.
Are You There God? Its Me, Dean Winchester, is going to be airing up against the competition of Grey’s Anatomy’s season premiere, but despite what I see as some uneven storytelling and some parts that I felt went on a bit too long, I think this episode is going to stand a decent chance of holding onto at least 90% of last weeks impressive viewer ship and ratings. It has all the elements of good Supernatural episode: the Winchester brothers back in action together, Sam Winchester (played by Jared Padalecki) moving ever further into the path of Lillith and her plans to bring destruction into the world. It has demons, angels and spirits. Check it out.
The second episode of Supernatural’s season four, Are You There God? Its Me, Dean Winchester airs Thursday, September 25 at 9PM EST on the CW Network.