Well that was different from the last episode, eh? We continue our romp through B movies with an ode to Wayne's World. Phil Sgriccia directed this one. He's done some good stuff in the past. I especially liked what he did with Time After Time. This episode didn't seem nearly as complicated to shoot as that one. There were still some cool things to note about it.
I try to avoid spoilers but I got spoiled with the title of the episode the night before I got to watch it. I thought, "that'll be a lightweight one." I was not wrong (in more ways than one). I like Garth well enough in his dorky, partial ineptitude. I like that he's not completely incompetent. He just goes his own way. It's nice to see a hunter that is still naive about some things, not hardened, bitter, or drinking himself to petrification. Since we last saw him and he was making eyes at Becky, he's managed to link up with the mom of twins. And he hugs. Awww. You do know that eventually we'll have to watch him get eaten or shot, probably long about episode 10 next season if we have one. He's cannon fodder.
I didn't get spoiled for the end of the episode but wasn't very surprised to see Bobby's ghost. It wasn't until I saw the then section of the intro though that I realized how much I've missed Bobby. I had a lot in common with the old codger, particularly in how we organize paperwork (stacks) and never throw anything out because it might be useful sometime. My hats have more baseball logos and my t-shirts have less fish.
The episode opened with kids doing what they've done for centuries - scare the crap out of each other to impress girls. The young man telling the story may have been wrong about poor Jenny Greentree but he got some of the rest of it right.
The monster of the week seems to be the combination of a couple of meanings for the the word shōjo. It usually translates as girl from Japanese. A shōjō is a kind of Japanese sea spirit with red face and hair and a fondness for alcohol. It also means orangutan. Our shojo is the spirit of a young woman linked with alcohol. SPN incorporates a bit of the water connection also. When she's able to be seen, her image ripples. As she disintegrates, it looks like splashing water.
She was freed from a bottle of sake by this week's troubled sibling who shows up at the campsite to be a jerk while wearing a shirt we've seen before. His vest is an unhealthy color.
Here is Sam being forced to wear this shirt (and body) of another teenage jerk. Ugh, Swap Meat.
Once we get a suspicious death, a hunter shows up. We get a look at Garth in action and there were a couple of cool shots. The first one made me think of the first line of The Outsiders. I don't know why because it's not even sunny.
"When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home."
There is a lot of red here but there doesn't seem to be much yellow mixed in so maybe it's not so dangerous.
Unless you count rude teenage girls.
Garth is what I think Andy would have been like as a hunter minus the pot. He Garths Jenny Greentree, who turns out to have been minding her own business in heaven.
Then we get victim two who has whiskey and yellow with his red.
Finally we find out what happened to Sam after last week. A shave, I guess some sleep, and a change of clothes. He must be ok because Dean is letting him drive. If I had a Pacer, I'd make Sam drive too.
Beetle Bailey. I don't know how this uniform passed as one from anyone's army without at least a flag or rank designation but I guess medical examiners tend to look more closely at the dead. Actually, the people from Geary County would be very familiar with US Army uniforms because Fort Riley, an army base, is very close by.
Then we're off to the Brewery. I love the names of these beers. Microbreweries can get away with some pretty cool ones.
One from back home is called Widow Maker Black Ale after a drill they used to use in the local copper mines. She fits in pretty well.
Anyhow, back to Kansas. (That's what Dorothy said.) Here's Headspinner.
OK, so maybe in Dean's case, only a head turn. I didn't catch that the woman walking with Dean was the sister of the victims. She seems way too calm to be grieving for two family members. Why are she and her father at work? It's not like I want to see hysterics but I would have expected more of a reaction than this. Then we get to see her Dad and his business partner in action. The employee is sorry. Really, really, hang your head over, hear the wind blow kind of sorry.
He gets banished to the graveyard shift. There's some sort of irony there, I'm sure. Sam and Garth go talk to the management in the office. There are a few places where globes or worlds show up in this episode. A couple are in here. It took me a long time to make a connection with why they might be there. At first I thought maybe because the agent of revenge was brought back here from another part of the world.
Later when the little girl is drawing and she's asked what it is, she replies "my world." Three days later of mulling it over...
Oh duh, I'm being really thick. It's like Wayne's WORLD. Smacks head.
Globes show up some when SPN ends up in an alternate universe. One from above is fake Jensen's in The French Mistake.
The shojo came all the way from Japan, probably in first class. That's where the booze is.
There were other reminders that the world is larger than the US midwest. Dean gets drunk on slivovitz, plum brandy from the Slavic regions of Central and Eastern Europe. Evidently the food truck below is the real deal and popular with the crew.
Some of the art...ok, that's stretching it....
Assistance from someone from Japan in helpful, non-threatening, works-well-with-hunters blue.
Like the sister back at the brewery. I like this overhead shot. There are a few others in the episode.
Other shots were taken from below or shot lower looking upward. I'm sure there's a technical term for that but I don't know what it would be.
And some on an angle, especially when the character being filmed was drunk.
Then there were some shots that were just pretty cool.
Dean, buckle up.
I miss the Impala. How about you? Sam does.
When it comes to the victims and places of danger, the colors that I've come to expect are there but they don't dominate the scene like they sometimes do. There is some red at the brewery.
I like how the woman from the logo looks over her shoulder in the same general direction as Lee with a completely different look on her face. She's also an interesting contrast to the monster. Same woman in white with a very pale face and long dark hair but the similarity stops there.
The thigh slapper guy looks amused at the chaos in front of him.
After he recovers from hitting his head AGAIN, Sam also appears amused by his brother, a much healthier look for him than last week.
Oh, don't worry about Sam. The sign says it all.
Dean, with the help of the Force, manages to figure out right and left and where the shojo is on the clock face and ganks her. The blade gets a watery look to it. The guy on the left - no, my left - looks like the heavy metal band members that are the idols of Wayne and Garth in Wayne's World. Alice Cooper has a part in the movie as himself and he looks a lot like logo man. Alice Cooper's stage make-up would give the shojo a run for her money.
The two early victims had a bit of red but not too much. The third victim, their sister, has pink on and is in a kitchen with some yellow and red but not a ton.
Some of the other things that I've been looking for show up but it doesn't seem as deliberate this time. There are pink flowers on the fridge pictures. I like how the word "ocean" is partially there, maybe in keeping with the water spirit theme.
There are also flowers on the glass of orange juice with the alcohol in it and one of the pictures in the room has flowers. It was used before in The Slice Girls hung horizontally instead.
Psst, it's behind Dean.
The granddaughter doesn't have any pink showing until she's in the role of witness. I had no idea who these people were. I thought this was the brewery guy's wife and kid. The transcript by zebra363 on the Superwiki helped a lot.
She looks pretty isolated there on that big sofa and like she's been put in a time out or waiting for the principal. This kid's mother was just murdered right in front of her and she's awfully calm or maybe in shock.
So she gets to talk to Mr. Fizzles, who is appearing as himself. And I thought SPN clowns were creepy. Shudder.
Later, when the daughter who works at the brewery becomes a possible target, she ends up with a red shirt too.
That covers the shojo's possible victims but she's not the only supernatural being present in the episode and the other one is attached to the boys. This time they are wearing red which Sam will wear sometimes but Dean only rarely and then it's coach's shorts or the Red Plaid Shirt of Angst. Their hotel room is all kinds of red. When they can detect the EMF, the scanner lights up red. Garth is there with them in the red room but he's not wearing the red, maybe because he's not being haunted.
I couldn't find much to tie the art in the room together other than local tourism. Photos of Junction City, Kansas, and the owners, running horses, a wooden fishing boat and an abstract city. Is it water? The city seems to reflect in water and the horses might be running through it. There are some very large lakes close to Junction City and Fort Riley was one of the main bases for the US Cavalry, including the Buffalo Soldiers.
Mark and Diane's Last Resort. I wonder who Mark and Diane are. I'm guessing that's their picture.
The couch is awesome. Dean's sitting there holding the things that he's kept of John's and Bobby's. Father and father figure. Kind of like how he's held on to hunting and drinking.
Like a 9-year-old on Christmas morning.
Only this show would have to go out of its way to show that there were enough places to sleep for each guy to have his own bed. Teeny Garth probably got the big one and Dean slept on the couch with his boots on. Sam, who is still probably paying back the sleep debt he accrued, got the rollaway bed with the weird bars that get you in the back no matter how you lie on it including on your stomach.
And there's Bobby, looking pale and really dusty now. I'm guessing he's tied to his flask which Dean's been carrying. Does that mean that he's really haunting Dean, and Sam gets involved because of proximity? That could explain why more of the unexplainable things seem to happen to Dean. Maybe since Bobby's here, he can give them another lead on the Leviathans. I hope this works out well for Bobby. It's going to mess me (and Dean) up if he becomes a vengeful spirit and they have to put him to rest. When he passes over, I hope it's because he's ready to go.
It's bad when you look at your flask like you'd look at a long-lost family member.
Does Bobby flicker out because he's attached to the flask and it's leaving with Dean? How far away can he get from whatever he's tied to?
So, about the flask and the underlying theme of the episode. We had drunk teenagers, a child, Garth, Sam and Dean. In addition, two of the sisters were drinking, one at home, the other at the bar. The action centered around a brewery and the shojo was connected to a bottle of sake. Bobby's ghost is attached to his flask.
I'm guessing this episode played out this way to make more of a point about Dean's drinking or maybe drinking in general. I'm glad they went out of their way to make sure nobody was drunk and driving. The underage kid was worried about being arrested so I guess they addressed the use of alcohol by minors. Sam and Dean got busted by the brewery guy while drunk so there's a warning about drinking on the job. I'm sure the CW's legal department approves.
Dean and his drinking are a whole other kettle of fish. He's been drinking pretty steadily through the last couple of seasons. I'm not an expert on any of this but it can't be good. I don't think it's going too far out on a limb to say that he's a functional alcoholic. He's got a pretty high tolerance for liquor and he's never without it.
Here's the ABV (alcohol by volume) of what people were drinking during the episode that was identifiable.
Wine 9-16% (as a comparison)
Beer 3-9% Garth, Sam, Dean
Sake 18-20% usually diluted to 15% Vic #1
Bourbon, whiskey or vodka 40% Sam, vics 2 and 3, the kid, probably Garth later in the ep, probably Dean's flask
Slivovitz 51% Dean
It's no wonder Dean thinks microbrew beer is whatever water is if it takes a couple of glasses of slivovitz on top of what he's been drinking all day to get him drunk. As for Sam, I hope he's not mixing alcohol with whatever they prescribed for him at the state hospital. That could really mess him up. Maybe he doesn't need to take anything now that Lucifer is hanging out with Cas. Sam seems to be aware of how much Dean is drinking based on him asking Dean if he could even get drunk anymore. He's making a note of it but not getting on Dean's case. Maybe it's a matter of choosing your battles wisely. Ironically, Dean's not drunk enough to see the shojo at end. I've got to think that if this were real life, that Dean's body would be relying on a certain amount of alcohol just to keep moving. I hope he doesn't end up doing a forced withdrawal with no medical help due to some kind of hunting accident. At this point, that would be pretty bad news. I wonder how long he can really go without it. When does functional become malfunctioning? Maybe I've made it out to be worse in my head than where he's at. Seems like the show keeps coming back around to it though. Hopefully, he'll get some help. On that happy note - Cheers.
Caps by Home of the Nutty and true_fellings