TV Recap: Change is Not Always Welcome – A Commentary on Supernatural 5.06 I Believe the Children Are Our Future

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Yes we start off with the usual drill, but have to say there is not a whole lot of big things going on around the fandom to talk about this time around. So I’ll focus a bit on some follow up on some things brought up in last week’s recap.

Last week I mentioned that a statement was put out by a reliable source, One Tree Hill actress Danneel Harris, that neither Jensen Ackles nor Jared Padalecki has twitter accounts. I guess the memo didn’t reach whoever is attempting to impersonate Jared Padalecki on Twitter. However @PadaleckiJared was supremely outed when on Saturday, October 13th they posted a twitter saying that they had to ‘take care of a problem at the studio’. Now normally this might sound just legit enough to fool the unsuspecting fan who wants to believe that this is the real Jared Padalecki, but for one thing. Supernatural fans knew what the faker obviously didn’t, that the studio in Canada was closed that weekend due to the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday and that the real Jared Padalecki was photographed in the Vancouver airport on that Saturday getting ready to catch a flight out to enjoy his time off. The imposter hasn’t yet been back to post to their twitter account since being massively outed by those who don’t take kindly to seeing others being tricked by a faker.

The petition to get more promotion for Supernatural that was mentioned last week is still going strong over at Supernatural-web, but that is an issue in itself that I could devote an entire article to addressing. Speaking of petitions, over on Facebook some fans have started a petition to get Clif Kosterman to be considered as a guest for upcoming Supernatural conventions after Clif jokingly mentioned that he guessed there wasn’t any room on a convention guest list for him as he never seemed to get invited. As mentioned in last week’s recap, Clif played the role of the prisoner Tiny in the S2.19 episode Folsom Prison Blues and has since become bodyguard for series leads Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. I would love to see Clif be a guest at conventions but I have one really important question to put forth about that: If Clif attends a convention as a headlining guest, does that mean that Ackles and Padalecki would come along to be his bodyguards? I mean after all turn about is fair play right? Ok guess not.

On to the recap!

Synopsis: A series of strange and seemingly unexplainable deaths in a small town lead Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) to the home of a young local boy, whose true identity has Castiel (Misha Collins) bent on his immediate destruction.  Guest stars Ever Carradine as ‘Julia’ and Gattlin Griffith as ‘Jesse.’  “I Believe the Children Are Our Future” was written by Andrew Dabb & Dan Loflin and directed by Charles Beeson.

First I want to mention that I was HUGELY disappointed that Sam Winchester was not given the chance to make a sarcastic reference to the 2005 horror movie Devour; which starred Supernatural actor Jensen Ackles as Jake Gray: a guy who on his 21’s birthday is given access to a computer game called Pathway and through it find out that he is the half human son of “the devil” and in an odd twist “the devil” is his mother. Twice now, we’ve seen Jensen Ackles as Dean make sarcastic reference to projects that Jared Padalecki has done in the past. I just think it’s time for Ackles to get a little payback and for Padalecki to get a chance through Sam to make a sarcastic reference and making reference to Devour would have been perfect considering the plotline of I Believe The Children Are Our Future. Oh well, disappointments happen I guess.

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I’m going to start the actual recap with the end of the episode first because that’s the part I have the most issue with. Dean says that given how knowing the truth has made their lives so painful, he wishes that their Dad had lied to them when they were kids about what was really out there and Sam says “me too.” What does Sam mean ‘me too’? According to what we learned in the 3.08 episode A Very Supernatural Christmas’, up until the time he was eight years old and took it upon himself to READ his Dad’s journal, Sam Winchester was totally in the dark about the world of the supernatural.

The episode made a point to show us this and how hard it was for young Dean to be the one to deal with confirming the truth to his little brother whom he had been helping his Dad protect with a blanket of lies. This whole flashback look in to the lives of the boys as wee’chesters was so awesome and did much to cement the dynamic of protective older brother/headstrong younger brother. Now the writers of 5.06 are saying it never happened? And if it didn’t then it only further weakens the veracity of Sam’s statements in 5.05 that he needed Dean to let him grow up. From the ending dialog of 5.06 it sounds like no one kept him from doing that and rather in counterpoint made him grow up when he wasn’t ready to.

:Taps television screen: Hello, Eric Kripke didn’t you make sure your new writers, had even watched the first 3 seasons of Supernatural before you hired them to write scripts? Or don’t you care that you/they are retconning past established canon in order to support this current ‘story arc’? Or is this the season to make Sam look like an idiot? Because I have to tell you between last week’s ‘I ran off with Ruby to get away from you (who cares if you were dead and in hell when I decided to do it)’ and this week’s totally out of canon “me too”, you are doing a good job of it. Things like this often make me wonder if Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki realize that their characters are doing and saying things that go against what has been previously established or do they not remember it or that they have no say in the matter even if they did?

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I’m sort of leaning towards it being the latter so no I don’t hold them responsible for things like this. I understand they are just the actors and are paid to do the best job then can with the material they are given and it’s the writers and series creator Eric Kripke who have fallen into believing it just doesn’t matter if they recant the story they told before. Yet even Kripke can’t be totally blamed for following a television tradition. The sad truth is all shows that run for more than 3 seasons begin, at some point, to retcon established canon and change the histories/background of their characters to suit whatever new ‘past’ they want to create for the characters.

The problem with this retconning history to suit or support a new storyline is that the integrity of the long running characters suffers at the hands of this ‘Swiss cheese memory’ being forced on them. In Supernatural, the integrity of Sam Winchester as a character is suffering from this apparent retconning of canon and it’s doing him a terrible disservice. But he still hasn’t suffered as much as John Winchester has. Sadly John Winchester has been reduced from being a strong character and a vital, though sometimes less than positive influence on his sons to being nothing more than a plot device whose history/background with his son’s changes more often than the Winchester brother’s fake ID’s do.

Retconning of canon aside, I Believe The Children Are Our Future was a semi decent episode and certainly a step above what Supernatural 5.05 was in terms of how the characters of Sam and Dean Winchester were presented overall. This episode was also the right mix of seriocomic without sending Dean into OTT land: something that for me ruined the S3.15 episode, Tall Tales as an episode.

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Dean Winchester’s inner child is still, as Sam points out, a nine-year-old boy. Seeing that this side of Dean is still there and watching him take gleeful delight in simple childlike pranks involving a whoopee cushion and an unsuspecting angel just brings home the point that even with having so much of his childhood robbed from him by the events set in motion by yellow eyes and Dean’s trip to hell as an adult, that Dean still has that kind of innocent playfulness left in him. It’s that playfulness and that bit of innocence that he is going to need to hold onto so that he doesn’t turn into “future Dean”.

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I also liked the “hairy palm” bit that happened to Dean. It was such a creative way to give us a bit of insight into his character and to show us another totally human side of him that’s all guy. So now we know what Dean does while Sam’s off researching and Dean is bored and can’t always take time out to score with the hot chick he just met!

Jensen Ackles was right on the mark in this episode. The material for  Dean’s characterization in this episode was well written and Ackles just seemed to be having a lot of fun with Dean being back to a bit of his old season one self. It was also interesting to see that Dean was true to his word about being willing to stand back and let Sam be a grown up and he only ran minimal interference between Sam and Castiel in their confrontation scene.

Speaking of that confrontation scene, while it was I think very crucial and necessary for Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) and the angel Castiel (Misha Collins) to have it out about what Sam’s part was in freeing Lucifer and how angry Castiel is about that, I’m thinking maybe it’s time to move on from that now. Again the character piece elements were well written and directed. Jared Padalecki did a wonderful job of showing us that Sam has come to an uneasy truce within himself over what he did and maybe even a measure of peace in knowing he is working on fixing it.

My only major quibble with this confrontation scene with Castiel is, as much as think Misha Collins is still playing this role very well, I am wishing the writers would move past the “in your face-bulldog stance” Castiel goes into in every scene like this. It’s time to change it up a bit and find some other way for Cas to show that he is “very serious” about something. Misha Collins is a versatile actor, so maybe its time to let him show a bit more of that versatility.

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It was nice to see that Sam has also moved passed the intensity of his drive for redemption enough that he can fall back a little into being his old season one self as well. Sam’s acceptance of his failure and how he knows he didn’t make the right choice gave his final scenes with Jesse (Gattlin Griffith) a lot of power and impact. Jared Padalecki did such a great job here as well infusing Sam’s words with sorrow for what he had caused and his tone with conviction that Jesse had what it took to do what Sam hadn’t been able to do: make the right choice.

Speaking of right choices, the casting of young Gattlin Griffith in such a pivotal and some would no doubt say controversial role was nothing short of brilliant. This young actor who has an impressive acting resume including a role in the movie The Changeling where he was directed by Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, is on the same level of perfect casting as Collin Ford who played “young Sam Winchester in “A Very Supernatural Christmas” and Margot Berner who played Katie in the Supernatural S3.02 episode The Kids Are Alright. In I Believe the Children Are Our Future, Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin did an excellent job of creating the character of Jesse the half demon and half human nine-year-old boy.

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Jesse was just the right mix of highly intelligent child and innocent young boy without ever once having him falling into the horrid “sitcom precocious ness” that so many characters like this end up in. Introducing what is basically the anti-Christ into the mix was a bold move and it could have very easily turned it into a fiasco on par with the introduction of Bela Talbot, but the writing and the casting of the role, in my opinion not only made it work, but I can’t wait to see Jesse return and where they go from here with the character.

Overall I like I Believe the Children Are Our Future a lot more than I liked Fallen Idols. While I am not happy with the retconning of the past and previously established canon, the characters of Sam and Dean Winchester were far more consistent and flowed much more naturally in the story than they did in Fallen Idols. The Winchester brothers seem more at ease with each other again and for me that’s a good thing because I believe that they and the audience need a bit of a respite from the constant brotherly turmoil that’s been going on since the last few episodes of Supernatural season 4.

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Oh and I’m pretty much betting that cute little “Castiel action figure” that appeared in this episode is gonna be on the merchandising list for fans to snap up and have as their very own in no time at all.

This coming Thursday, October 22nd is a brand new episode of Supernatural season 5, titled The Curious Case of Dean Winchester and guest stars one of my favorite actors and man who was Dr. McDreamy long before anyone ever heard of Grey’s Anatomy – Chad Everett. More about this episode in tomorrow’s promotional article for the episode airing on the CW Network at 9PM EST

8 thoughts on “TV Recap: Change is Not Always Welcome – A Commentary on Supernatural 5.06 I Believe the Children Are Our Future”

  1. I wonder if Sam's "me too" actually meant he wished that Dean had been spared the brutal truth, and not as you say robbed of so much of his childhhood. Could he mean that he wished they had been allowed to retain their innocence together, in a shared childhood?

    Sorry to say this Thursday is a repeat of Lucifer Rising. You'll have to wait for the 29th and the Curious Case.

    1. Grand Sophy that's an interesting take on it. I can see Sam feeling that way especially since I think he might consider it part of the reason why Dean was so overly protective and they are having the 'let me grow up' issue that is going on between them right now.

      Thanks for sharing that and giving me something to think about. Cool!

  2. "First I want to mention that I was HUGELY disappointed that Sam Winchester was not given the chance to make a sarcastic reference to the 2005 horror movie Devour;" Are you referring to when it was stated Jesse was half human half demon? I agree that would have been sweet.
    Unlike you Sam's "me too" didn't bother me, I assumed he was referring to his life with Dean, and when he did find out "For my ninth birthday Dad gave me a shotgun" or having empathy for what Dean went through. So for me I didn't see where it did any damage to the canon. And this season I sure don't feel that they are making Sam out as an idiot. He has a lot of soul searching left to do…and a long road ahead to repair the damage he caused espically with his betrayal with Dean
    <Dean Winchester’s inner child is still, as Sam points out, a nine-year-old boy. Seeing that this side of Dean is still there and watching him take gleeful delight in simple childlike pranks involving a whoopee cushion and an unsuspecting angel just brings home the point that even with having so much of his childhood robbed from him by the events set in motion by yellow eyes and Dean’s trip to hell as an adult, that Dean still has that kind of innocent playfulness left in him. It’s that playfulness and that bit of innocence that he is going to need to hold onto so that he doesn’t turn into “future Dean”.>
    I so like the way you said this. I loved seeing the nine year old inner child of Dean. This is the first real fun Dean has had in a very long time. Very much needed for his recovery.
    <I also liked the “hairy palm” bit that happened to Dean. It was such a creative way to give us a bit of insight into his character and to show us another totally human side of him that’s all guy. So now we know what Dean does while Sam’s off researching and Dean is bored and can’t always take time out to score with the hot chick he just met!>
    I will give in to the creative way but it was still eewww! <BG> and I agree as usual Jared and Jensen both hit this episode out of the ballpark.

  3. The 'me too' didn't bother me either because I thought Sammy was pointed out the years after Dean have made him read the journal , when John have taught him how to defend himself , guns , when they were hunting etc .

    I hope , too , that we will see a little bite more of a change 'of face' for Cas , it sound Sam doesn't like Cas a lot , why ? There is no really connection between them , and if Cas is a friend to his big brother , it doesnt' mean he have to be his friend , too . I'm starting to wonder why Sam doesn't like Cas , I loved that Dean didn't try to defend Sam and let the two of them having their little argument .

    I was really stunned that Supernatural have implied the masturbation in the show and that CW allowed it ! Wow ! Dean Dean Dean , I appreciated the humour even if I am totally aware everyone don't like this kind of humour . That fit the atmosphere of the ep.

    After I wonder like you how the 'new' writers work because sometimes , uh ..

    Oh ! And I want more Cas , I miss Dean & Cas scenes !

  4. There's a lot of childhood left after 9 years old. I think Sam's 'me too' speaks to that and your assumption that the writers have dropped the ball because of that is quite the exaggeration.

    I'm curious if you actually watched the end of S4 because THAT is when Sam ran off with Ruby and THAT is the time period that is a bone of contention to the boys. I don't think Kripke ever ment us to feel that Dean was angry over what his brother did while he was in hell. Dean knew about that from the jump and while he wasn't happy, he wasn't there, so what was he to do? No, the real issue is that after Dean was backm, Sam still continued to side with Ruby. You do remember the Winchester throwdown in the hotel, right? Don't you think that is probably more important to Dean than what happened while he was torturing souls in hell?

    If you're going to rail about cannon, at least get the cannon right in the first place.

    1. Yes I watched the end of season 4. The thing about perception is that we all sometimes see things differently. Thanks for sharing yours. To me, the details that Sam told Dean about in IKWYDLS were setting in canon that Sam chose to allow himself completely follow Ruby after Dean was dead.

      The throwdown was induced and influenced by the siren or do you mean the one where Dean went to kill Ruby and Sam chose sides and the whole 'walk out the door never come back ' scene took place?

      Again thanks for sharing and commenting. Always appreciated:)

    2. 'There's a lot of childhood left after 9 years old. I think Sam's 'me too' speaks to that and your assumption that the writers have dropped the ball because of that is quite the exaggeration. "

      Yes I agree there is lot of childhood left, but I think the point I was making is John started out lying to Sam trying to protect him, as was Dean. Sam took it upon himself to read the journal and expose himself to the truth. We don't know how long John, with Dean's help would have gone on trying to protect Sam from it. So the fact that Sam says 'me too' seems to suddenly put the burden on his dad when in reality, it was Sam who forced the truth onto himself at such an early age by seeking it out. Once he did that, his dad started making him ready for it.

  5. I hate to admit it but I'm not surprised the show is trying to retcon Sam's childhood since they seem to be intent on finding as many excuses as possible for his behavior last year. Too bad, because as you said, it doing more harm than good to his character. The writers really need to trust that JP can make Sam sympathetic all on his own instead of trying to stack the deck in his favor all the time.

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