TV ReCap: Continuity is a Good Thing – Commentary on Supernatural S5.11 Sam, Interrupted

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Before we go into why I think continuity is a good thing in last week’s episode of the hit CW Network series Supernatural, let’s take a look at a little continuity in real life involving Supernatural fandom. We all know that Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are the two hot lead actors who play Sam and Dean Winchester on Supernatural. We know that fans are always looking for opportunities to talk to and interact with the guys and they keep hoping that one of the plethora of social networking sites that pop up under the actor’s names really does belong to them. This usually prompts one or both of the actors to make statements at conventions that they do not have Myspace, Facebook or Twitter accounts. Their friends and co-workers who do have these kinds of accounts have repeatedly stated that the guys do not have them.

The continuity of this denial has never been broken and, unfortunately the fakes also continue to pop up and one in particular on Twitter became more than just an annoyance. This prompted Clif Kosterman, the bodyguard for Ackles and Padalecki to join twitter in an attempt to oust the fakers. It has also prompted the two Supernatural leads to make a video stating once more that they do not have any social networking sites and asking fans to not be fooled by imposters.

Check out the video for what Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have to say and stay connected to Clif Kosterman’s Twitter account to find out how fans can help him get rid of fakers.

Now on to the episode commentary and why I think Supernatural S5.12 Sam, Interrupted had a lot of interesting continuity in it.

In Sam, Interrupted, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester go undercover at a mental institution in response to a distress call from Martin Creaser, a former hunter (guest star Jon Gries) who’s a patient there. Creaser thinks supernatural forces may be the real reason behind a large number of patient suicides and is afraid for his own life, but the experience proves to be a very dangerous one for the Winchester brothers as well. Sam, Interrupted was written by Andrew Dabb & Dan Loflin and directed by Jim Conway.

The first thing I want to say about this episode is that I really am intrigued by the way in which Andrew Dabb and Dan Loflin have consistently kept the continuity going for the characters of Sam and Dean Winchester that they established individually for them in season 4 and brought it all together here in season 5 in Sam, Interrupted.

In the S4.5 episode, Yellow Fever, we see Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) who, while under the influence of something called “ghost sickness” loses all of his ability to control fear. He becomes paranoid and frightened of everything to the point that it is mentally and emotionally crippling for him. In the S4.13 episode, After School Special, we see that young Sam Winchester (played by Colin Ford) has some deep-seated issues with anger and aggression and with being labeled a freak; it’s his hot button, which releases uncontrollable rage. In the S5.12 episode Sam, Interrupted the writing team of Dabb and Loflin bring these two apparently strongly rooted individual character elements for Dean and Sam together to be examined in an episode based in a mental hospital.

Like I said, I really like this storytelling aspect of keeping continuity going for the two lead characters on Supernatural, but what I would like to ask the Dabb/Loflin writing team is “are they ever going to explain why and where Sam and Dean got these two psychological aspects of their character and what if any integral part do they play in the ongoing story and mytharc?”

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I think that hints have already been laid down about why Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) has the deep-seated rage and I thought it was very telling that Dean said almost the exact same thing to Sam at the end of Sam, Interrupted about keeping the rage inside of him and using it to keep going on that Lucifer did at the end of S5.11 Abandon All Hope. I think it would be intriguing to find out that the anger and the unfathomable rage that Sam finds himself feeling is part of what the YED did to him as a baby to prepare Sam to become the vessel of Lucifer. I think that this glimpse into Sam’s unguarded inner workings and his shall we say “inner demons” was one of the many things I like about this episode because it gave us a look inside of Sam Winchester.

I also think I maybe the only one who really liked the whole autopsy sequence and saw it as an allegorical moment that showed the writers and creative team behind Supernatural acknowledging a few things that fans and that viewers like myself have been talking/complaining about. During all Supernatural season 3 and most of season 4, there was a lot of upset that the writers didn’t show us what was going on inside of Sam’s head. So I thought it was very interesting and telling that in an episode about getting into people’s heads and seeing what is going on either to fix them or prime them as a meal, the writers chose to use an allegorical scene of Sam literally getting inside of someone’s head to find the answer to what was happening to people being killed by the wraith.

In my humble opinion, the autopsy scene in Sam, Interrupted said so many things on so many levels about Sam Winchester and what is going on with him and how he has changed and what he is out to prove for himself; about how far he is willing to go to get answers and to set things right. I loved it. I loved what they gave us of the Sam that has been so radically changed by his own behavior and the things he did when he was with Ruby that we didn’t get to see and that led him to become a demon blood addicted man out of control and easy to manipulate. To me, the scene was so allegorical of Sam and of his fans and of viewers of the Supernatural wanting to go inside of his head and find out the answers. It showed us clearly that, no he isn’t the Sam of seasons 1 and 2. He’s a broken man trying to put himself back together and put Lucifer back in his box and it’s going to take Sam doing things he has never done before to get answers to make that happen.

I thought it was amazing.

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I also thought that both Padalecki and Ackles did amazing work in this episode. Both actors more than met the challenge of their characters having to go slowly crazy in their own way and at the same time come to terms with some of the psychological pressures they are under. I thought it was interesting that the fantasy doctor that Dean’s subconscious brought forth to confront him with his darkest emotional issues was female; but not surprised by it. I liked that it showed us a vulnerable side of Dean Winchester and that maybe he is looking for a woman he feels safe enough to talk to. It also ties into the way the writing team of Dabb/Loflin is aware of the importance of continuity- the first person Dean ever let down his guard with about what the family business was, was a woman.

I liked the character of Martin Creaser and I thought that Jon Gries was an excellent casting choice for the role. The writing team of Dabb/Loflin created this hunting buddy/old friend of John Winchester who had seen something so terrible on a hunt in Albuquerque that it had left him a broken man who could no longer deal with his “real world’ of hunting Supernatural creatures.

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Creaser had a quality of reality to him that immediately made the character believable and likeable. His interaction with Sam and Dean was on par with that of Bobby Singer who is played by Jim Beaver. Like Beaver, Jon Gries had a solid working chemistry with Ackles and Padalecki that to me immediately added Martin to the ranks of good characters I want to see again on Supernatural.

I liked the wraith she was fun and I think part of it was because she was, in her own way, as crazy as the people she fed on. Lara Gilchrist did an excellent job of playing the sweet talking Nurse Foreman whose persona hid the deadly wraith. Eagle-eyed Supernatural viewers and fans might also recognize her as the character of Holly in Supernatural S1.11 episode, Scarecrow.

I really had no serious complaints about Sam, Interrupted. I guess I just liked the episode overall and thought it was nice break from the heavy mytharc driven storyline that we got in Abandon All Hope. I like that it gave us insight into Sam and Dean and showed us a part of their past and where they are still headed for in their future.

And speaking of their future, the next episode up is S5.12 Swap Meat, which airs Thursday, January 27th at 9PM EST on the CW Network. Check out a sneak peek at the episode which finds Sam Winchester forced to change bodies with High school nerd Gary (guest star Colton James), who conjures up a body-switching spell.