Supernatural 8.08 Review: The Perils and Pitfalls of Bringing a Gun to a Gag Fight

SupernaturalIt’s not unusual for Supernatural to step outside the box. When it’s gone to extremes before – in episodes like “Changing Channels” and “The French Mistake” – it’s succeeded on a hilarious level. “Hunteri Heroici” proved that good things actually do come in threes. This week’s episode was Andrew Dabb’s first solo script (he typically writers with Daniel Loflin) and he delivered hilarity and a little bit of drama in a nicely-paced, amusing episode that had me laughing throughout.

The Third Wheel

The episode began with Castiel announcing his intention to become a hunter (or, a third wheel, as he told Sam and Dean). Naturally, the Winchester brothers were skeptical of Cas’ new career choice, but he’s determined to stay on Earth and out of Heaven, leaving him with some free time (more on that later). As it turns out, he’s pretty useful, because he’s already found a case involving a strange death where a man’s heart literally burst out of his chest (which left me laughing and feeling like a terrible human being for doing so).

The trio headed to Oklahoma City (after Castiel was relegated to the backseat of the Impala) and the crazy kept coming. The cause of the man’s death couldn’t be explained, but that was soon overshadowed by the death of a security guard at a robbed bank. By a falling anvil. Literally. The local detective seemed strangely at ease with the crazy deaths in town, but Cas and the Winchesters realized something more was going on. They realized that the bank robbery was one in a series of thefts, which was the connection to all of these strange cartoon occurrences.

Losing Your Marbles

This led the boys to a retirement home where they realized something strange was happening with the residents (and where Castiel was literally trying to interrogate a cat). But the discovery of a photo on the wall caused Sam to start putting the pieces together. One of the residents happened to be an old contact of John Winchester. Fred Jones had known the boys when they were young and was a psychokinetic. And he just so happened to be a resident at the retirement home.

The boys tracked him down and discovered that he was living in a semi-comatose state, but his declining mental health – and his love of cartoons – was leading his psychokinesis to project strange cartoon attributes on the world and people around him. And, as we soon learned, he was actually being used by the retirement home’s director, Doctor Mahoney, as an unwitting accomplice in a series of roberries.

SupernaturalThe trio headed off to stop Mahoney when he kidnapped Fred and then Castiel brought himself and Sam into Fred’s head in an attempt to get through to him while Dean engaged in an utterly hilarious fight scene with Mahoney, who was robbing a bank. Sam implored Fred to take control of his mind and his powers once again and Fred was able to do it, forcing Mahoney to kill himself to stop him from hurting anyone else. But his mind would continue to decline with age, making it possible for him to hurt others with his powers, so Castiel offered to perform some sort of “procedure” that would render these powers void. In the end, Fred seemed semi-comatose once again, but at least he was happy.

That’s All, Folks!

The cartoon elements of this week’s Supernatural were ingenuous. The show could have gone the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” route and put human versions of our heroes into a cartoon world, but I think it was actually funnier to see the cartoon elements in the real world. The contrast of the silliness of cartoons with the very real deaths was amusing in a way that made me feel slightly damaged for having enjoyed it. The fight between Dean and Mahoney in the bank was the pinnacle of hilarity. Seeing the pause with the Road Runner-like ID tabs (with Dean being “Hunterus Heroicus” and Mahoney labelled as “Grotesques Villianus”) had me laughing out loud. It was a gag, but it was an amusing one.

In addition, there were so many amazing one-liners in this episode, with a lot of them coming from Castiel himself. From his literal description of a “third wheel” to his whole “I’ll watch over you” creeper routine with a sleeping Dean, it was so lovely to see the old comic relief Castiel back in action. Props to Dabb for delivering on the funny and to the production team for making the whole cartoon integration gag work.

Concluded on next page…

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