‘The Winchesters’ Explores Monsters of War, Both Literal and Metaphorical

The fourth episode of ‘The Winchesters’ first season is titled “Monsters of War,” which is a good description of what it was about – fighting your monsters, whether you’re a hunter or a veteran or anyone who’s experienced loss, grief and trauma. The opening is an older man stumbling down a psychiatric hospital corridor, walking right into a vivid flashback of his time in the midst of a war, bombs flying, warning shouts of “Incoming!” blaring. He takes refuge in an empty room only to find himself facing something that calls itself “Destiny” armed with a spear.

Blood splatter, title card, Dean Winchester, narrator.

Dean: Fighting the battle between good and evil isn’t easy, especially when the first monster you have to face is the one inside yourself.

I don’t really need it spelled out for me, but yes, true that. One of the main premises of Supernatural from day one, when the monsters Sam and Dean were fighting were not just the literal ones we saw onscreen. Cut to John and Mary sparring like the aforementioned Sam and Dean often did, Drake Rodger shirtless because, well, Drake Rodger, and Mary looking authentically seventies and I’m pretty sure I had those shorts.

John doesn’t want to stop or take a break, saying he missed fighting, even though in the service it was 24/7 “gym class with grenades” which does not sound like fun. He laughs it off defensively, but when Mary laughs too, he admits that was Murph’s line, and the defensive laughter fades away as he remembers his friend’s violent death. Mary realizes that he needs to punch something “that can punch back” to get those kind of big feelings out, so they spar for real. Mary taunts him a bit with “monsters aren’t gonna play nice and neither should you”, and bests him what seems like a little too easily to me – he’s a trained fighter too, after all, and I wouldn’t mind him coming out on top once in a while to make it realistic.

Carlos arrives when they’re in what looks like a compromising position, asking if he’s interrupting “whatever kind of hetero mating ritual this is” which did make me laugh. Sparring always seems a bit like it should engender those kind of questions to be honest, no matter who’s doing it.

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Sheriff Beau Gets To Fanboy – Big Sky 3.06!

Get ready for tonight’s brand new episode of Big Sky with last week’s wrap up of the adventures of Sheriff Beau Arlen – in which he gets to indulge his fanboy side and do some badass stunts, probably much to the delight of actor Jensen Ackles. Last week’s episode once again opened with a Supernatural-esque creepy scary moment – a noise downstairs, a woman wakes her husband to check it out, when she runs downstairs to see what happened she finds him dead on the driveway. And someone driving away in his sportscar!

I half expected the ‘Supernatural’ title card to flash onscreen!

Here’s my what-happened-to-Sheriff-Beau-in-this-episode wrap up of what happens next. First, Beau in jeans and denim jacket, prominent beau…bow legs looking fine as he and Jenny and Cassie investigate the burnt out blue and white Suburban.

Beau gets a call – which he answers with the very Sheriff-like “Arlen, talk to me” – and off they go to investigate the murder of the poor husband.

Turns out it’s a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, which Beau definitely appreciates. Yes, we get fanboy Beau and some shades of Dean Winchester all in one this episode!

“No way he would’ve left his Baby naked and exposed,” Beau says, and every Dean Winchester fan swoons at Jensen Ackles calling a car ‘Baby’. At a convention recently, someone asked about the Supernatural shout outs in Big Sky and Ackles admitted that yeah, those are put in by him – and that the show has been totally down with going along with that. (Excellent marketing strategy, gotta say).  Anyway, Beau is smart, figuring there’s probably a lojack on it.

Everyone flirts with Hoyt in this episode, including the cop watching the car until they get there – to no avail. He tries hard, but she’s clearly not interested. Beau is mostly interested in the car, swearing when he opens the trunk and sees that someone cut her up.

Beau: Savage!

(Also every Supernatural fan half expected Jensen Ackles to open that trunk and find a devil’s trap and lots of weapons in it, let’s be honest…”

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‘The Winchesters’ Gets Spooky For Halloween Week!

The title of The Winchesters third episode is the message of the episode as well: ‘You’re lost, little girl.” It’s about loss – of all kinds – and also about being lost, and figuring out how to find yourself afterwards. And that does not just apply to little girls.

The Kids Next Door

The episode revolves around Mary’s neighbors, a young girl and boy (8 year old Carrie and 12 year old Ford) whose mother is a long haul trucker who is often away for days at a time. It’s the 70s, but it still seems really iffy to have kids this young at home alone for days at a time – I know, I know, shades of John Winchester later. How much did he learn from the Campbells and their neighbors anyway?

The little girl, Carrie, contacts her mother on the CB radio, saying she can’t find her stuffed bear Bernice anywhere, and asking her mother to come home. The mom says the family needs the paycheck, she’ll be home in a few days, she needs Carrie to be a big girl – which is all kinda heartbreaking and also once again reminiscent of John Winchester of the future asking his son Dean to step up and be a big boy long before he should have.

Side note: I remember CB radios from the time before cell phones (yes, I actually remember those times) – I once went on a cross country trip with my husband-to-be and he had a CB radio in the car and we made the whole trek going back and forth with all the truckers we were sharing the road with. When we stopped at the first truck stop for dinner, they were all amazed that we were “a four wheeler”!

Anyway, there’s eerie music, a thud thud thud, and then there’s a burlap sack on the table. Carrie opens it and Bernice the bear is in it. Yay? Not yay. No sooner does Carrie happily crawl into bed with Bernice than the sack starts wriggling and then a freaking creepy as hell hand comes out, nails like claws, and then we see Carrie scream as a giant shadow looms over the bed.

Now that’s an opener! Worthy of the mother ship and its horror show roots – and it’s scary because we don’t see the monster, we see Carrie and her terror instead.

Family Histories

Cut to the title card and our erstwhile narrator, Dean Winchester.

There’s no map to being a hunter, no playbook. You’ve gotta follow your gut, but that can only take you so far. Truth is, you can’t do it all on your own.  You need other people to help guide the way. Your friends, your family. Otherwise you just end up lost.

I guess that’s a theme of Supernatural too, from the pilot episode on, where Dean came to get Sam at school and said he couldn’t do it alone (Sam: yes you can. Dean: yeah well I don’t want to…)

Dean hasn’t forgotten that lesson, but apparently Samuel Campbell is actually trying to do it alone, and it turns out there’s more than him being missing going on in Mary’s life. Her mother is also out of touch, no word from her and last Mary heard she was working with hunters in Minnesota a few months ago. Mary says sadly that she’s not even sure her mother knows her dad is missing. Apparently Deanna and Samuel are separated, which – what?! That’s a canon change I didn’t see coming (assuming it will make sense whenever things are explained in episode 13 if not before…but surely Deanna would be keeping tabs on her hunter husband even if they were separated?)

Mary says that nothing has been the same for their family since Maggie died, for any of them. I hope they explore that more – I could get behind the show going a little deeper into things like loss, which really can turn a family upside down. It’s such an inevitable part of a hunter’s life, this show could benefit from digging into it.

It’s Mary’s turn to be discouraged, John’s turn to be determined. Mary worries that maybe her father just wants to stay lost, especially because the last time she saw him, they got into a big fight about her quitting hunting. Guilt, such a big part of loss for so many.

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Big Sky 3.05 – Sheriff Beau Gives Hugs, Rides a Motorcycle, and Saves His Popstar!

This was a good episode of Big Sky for Beau Arlen admirers. Not a very good episode for poor Deputy Poppernak though.

Here’s my what-happened-to-Sheriff-Beau-in-this-episode recap – in which we got some heroics, some hugs and some hints of Beau’s maybe troubled past…

We also got a teaser photo from bts on set thanks to Kylie Bunbury (Cassie) of Jensen Ackles taking a probably well deserved nap, after some intense weeks of doing double duty promoting and producing the new show ‘The Winchesters’ and also being Sheriff Beau Arlen.

It’s the Sheriff’s day off, so he’s shopping for a motorbike for Emily at Gorilla Dave’s, acknowledging that her “overprotective mom” probably won’t like it, but hoping it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.

I can imagine that he clashed with Carla over things like this in the past, but he’s also now clearly feeling like he’s losing his daughter as she’s been camping with Avery. A glimpse of Beau’s sensitivity and vulnerability when it comes to his daughter, and also the anger that’s bubbling around in there in competition with Avery.

“What’s that you say, you’ve never seen Emily so happy? That’s because you took her glamping and I bought her a bike,” he says, imagining a conversation with either her mother or her stepfather and him being the preferred parent. He must really be feeling insecure and hurt if he thinks he has to buy Emily’s love. Ouch.

His day off goes downhill in a big way when the owner confronts a guy outside and gets stabbed with a screwdriver. Beau snaps into Sheriff mode and runs after him – I’m reminded of Dean Winchester running so fast while filming ‘The End’ that none of the other actors could keep up with him, though Sheriff Beau does not run quite that fast.

(Fans theorize his pants are pretty damn tight…that’s okay, wardrobe…)  He leaps a fence as smoothly as Dean Winchester however, and though he doesn’t catch the guy, he does get the license plate of the truck he escapes in.

“I got you,” he says as it disappears.

Beau and Poppernak investigate, Beau saying he has a bad feeling about it all. I say this every week, but he has very good instincts!

Poppernak ends up questioning the wrong person and suddenly has a gun pointed at his head and is taken hostage.  Beau sees the truck and realizes Poppernak isn’t answering his phone and also that’s the truck he’s looking for, and we get a real glimpse of Dean Winchester then.

Beau: Sonofabitch that’s him!

No Supernatural fan will ever hear Jensen Ackles say ‘sonofabitch’ and not hear (or miss) Dean Winchester.

A very worried Jenny and Beau find the Deputy’s phone and realize he was in the truck too.

In the back of that truck, one of Poppernak’s captors asks the other if he’s going to kill their hostage. He says he doesn’t know, and oh no, this is not good. The captors aren’t exactly getting along well either, so the whole situation is way too volatile and you can tell Poppernak knows it.

Beau and Jenny figure out the bad guy is a former motocross rider who always escapes on a motorcycle and disappears afterwards, and that he’s stealing a lot more than bikes. Beau takes charge, giving orders and coming up with a plan and is it hot in here?

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Big Sky Gets Supernaturally Creepy with ‘Carrion Comfort’

Forget Easter eggs and callbacks, this week’s Big Sky episode was so scary that it could have been an actual Supernatural episode!  Here’s my Jensen Ackles/Beau Arlen centric recap of the scares, as well as what we learned about the sheriff in this episode.

The episode starts out with the stereotypical horror movie opening, a woman cleaning up after a dinner in her very dark house on a very dark night, with a creepy figure lurking outside the windows. In typical horror movie fashion, when the dog starts barking, the woman goes outside to investigate – and promptly gets murdered by what looks like some kind of furry monster. Aaaaah!!

That’s the monster of the week that Sheriff Beau and Jenny are hunting, trying to figure out if it’s the husband (who she was cheating on), the daughter or her slightly shady boyfriend, or the guy she was cheating with perhaps. (Spoiler alert: it’s not any of them!)

In the process, we get to see more of Beau’s good instincts.

They meet with the grieving husband and daughter, trying to figure out who might have wanted the woman dead. As they walk out of the house that’s the scene of the crime, Jenny says it’s usually the husband, but Beau’s not so sure.

“Something’s not right about that house,” he tells her.

Also I love Hoyt’s Zeppelin tee shirt. Does that count as a Supernatural Easter egg? I was kidding with the “forget about those” – of course there were some!

Beau looking at the neighbor’s camera footage of the killer: Werewolf? That’s a first for me!

(Dean Winchester is laughing somewhere right now…)

Beau and Jenny also visit an antique shop that looks straight out of a Supernatural episode to question the mom’s boyfriend, and the whole thing is incredibly creepy and shot in a suspenseful way that had me jittery all over again.

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