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SPN 7.18 - That was sobering. Not.

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


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
I had plenty of issues with this, but your review makes me want to see it again.
Apr. 10th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
I'm glad this helped. The episode was middle of the pack for me as far as the season went but there seems to always be something worth looking at more closely. I think that says a lot of positive stuff about the quality of the production staff and the main cast. Plus, I'm a hopelessly geeky fangirl.
Apr. 10th, 2012 07:38 am (UTC)
1. As always I'm completely amazed by how you notice the little things. Do you seee them the first time you watch it or during a rewatch? Like all the signs (HARD HEAD!!!), posters, globes...? My brain supplies helpful notes like "yeah, decoration, oh, something black, DEAN!!!..." So I enjoy your reviews that make me notice what I missed. ("Ocean" at the fridge door relating to the sake-spirit? Let me shut up in adoration for you.)

2. Garth. Like Dean said- he grew on me. He is special. He has a very vivid mind, he is wide awake- and while I couldn't believe that Sam and Dean wouldn't want to check for Bobby's presence, Garth immedately made the connection. I like how he handles things and gets things done. (Though yes, how is he even alive... but he manages and goes his own way. I appreciate that, because he is a non-stereotype hunter.)

3. Allow me to cry over your reference to Dean on the sofa with John's journal and Bobby's flask.

4. Do I need to watch Wayne's World? Please tell me no.

5. Dean's drinking. I want to smash some writer's heads. (Call me Castiella.) I always forget the episode's names, so in this episode with Joyce and George Dean was strictly on coffee (and some beer, which really must be like water to him by now). And we had other episodes where there would have been reason and opportunity to drink, but he didn't. Is this simply illogical/inconsistent writing, or is it meant to mean something?! Like Dean can still focus at work and go without drinking for some time if necessary?

I don't believe that that is possible for him. Dean almost emptied this slivovitzian bottle, and when you provided the percentage of alcohol I almost fell over myself from just thinking about it! Dean must have heavy tremors if he is without alcolhol in his system. And Sam must know that. Why does he watch his brother destroy himself??? I don't understand Sam. I know he has been to some very disturbing times *coughs*, but if he has the strength left to help total strangers- why can't he call on his brother about his (Dean's) problems?!

6. Bobby. I rewatched Hello, cruel world yesterday (and I seem to remember that title, yay me), and I finally understood that Bobby stays for Dean's sake. You remember that phone call Dean made when he stood in the ashes of Bobby's house? I believe he took Dean's words about his suicide seriously, and so I guess Bobby is staying as long as Dean is alive. And maybe even after Dean's death, if Dean becomes a ghost himself...

But like you I fear the day when Bobby goes dark side and Dean has to hunt him down. That would be such a Dean thing to do.

7. I read on several journals that native speakers needed the transscript to understand certain passages. Do the actors speak some dialect, or are they hard to understand because they swallow syllables or...? I am interested in language and would like to know if Sam and Dean speak a dialect. To me, Dean speaks differently to Sam, though both Jensen and Jared come from Texas. But I am probably wrong anyway. And besides, is there something like a "dialect-free American standard English"?! If you could tell me something about the language/way of speaking, you would make me even happier. :-)
Apr. 10th, 2012 04:02 pm (UTC)
Some things stand out on the first watch but things like the hard head sign come from looking at caps.  Things go by fast.  

I don't think you need to watch Wayne's World.  It's been years since I've seen it.  You could find a couple clips on Youtube that would give you the flavor without having to endure too much teenage boy humor.  Since you're interested in language, you might like to hear how they talk.  Evidently they have drive a Pacer too but I didn't remember that myself.  Kurt Fuller, who plays Zachariah, is in it. 

As for the drinking, I don't know how they're going to handle it.  It will probably be sort of like it is with injuries and how they heal extra fast or how Sam can get hit on the head over and over without serious brain damage.  Not much like real life.  There is starting to be more fan fiction with a more realistic take on it all though and some of that has been interesting to read.

I know people had a hard time understanding Meg because she mumbled and not so much because of her accent.  The US has accents associated with different regions.  The southeast has a very distinctive drawl and way of using words that is easy to pick out.  Other accents from the Massachusetts area, Maine, the Appalachians, New York City, or New Jersey are very recognizable and distinguishable from each other.  When you get further out into the middle of the country, it gets a little harder to pinpoint where someone might be from due to their accent.  Word usage might give them away but even that wouldn't be really obvious unless you are from that region.  With their language and dialects, Sam and Dean speak pretty much like midwesterners in the US speak.  Since they grew up on the road, you wouldn't expect them to have picked up anything really specific to an area like a county or valley.  There are pockets here and there in the midwest where you might hear a lilt or drawl but mostly, it's the same accent you would hear used by a lot of US reporters.  The pockets sometimes exist due to the native language of the immigrants who settled there carrying through to the current English usage.  Education or economics and how long you or your family have been in an area and its isolation from the rest of the region will all impact on your way of using English too.  Every now and then, the Texas comes through to Sam and Dean but not too often.  Texas is an enormous state and it's pretty likely that there would be minor variations in accent based on the part of Texas you're in.  My ear can't pick them up but a Texas native might be able to.  I can hear differences in accents from around my state which is much smaller.  For the most part, most people in one part of the country can understand the English spoken by other US English speakers.  The same can't be said about my ability to understand spoken English used in different parts of the world.  Anyone else reading this can throw in their two cents on the topic too.  I'm not a linguist so these are only my obervations.
Apr. 10th, 2012 12:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks to your posts I was very attuned to the amount of red at the start of the ep, e.g. screencap #5:) If I remember correctly, one of the couples by the fire even had a red sleeping bag.

Excellent pick-up on the "Hard Head" sign. Totally appropriate!
Apr. 10th, 2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
It's fun to watch for the colors. Sometimes it's like the scary music cues. Dun, dun, dun.......
Apr. 10th, 2012 02:49 pm (UTC)
Once again, awesome observations. I wait for these so I can catch all those gazzillions things I missed. Like the colours and the flowers (and here I was thinking.. ha! now flowers this ep...and I was wrong!)

Great catch re Dean holding something of Bobby and John's. That's kinda huge because this episode really brought home how much Dean needs those figures in his life. Like Frank. I felt he had a connection and mostly because he's this older (wiser) figure.

Sam (always) has Dean so we don't see that connection from him. Sure... he loved John and Bobby and everybody who has died, but it's Dean that seems to need to hold on to them. No wonder Bobby is "haunting" Dean. So yeah... Sam by proxy.

So much I could say to all of this! Can I just say yes! and yay!... I love it.


(and how awesome is that motel floor!? I wanted to do a motel post but ran out of time.... but that floor is made of win!)
Apr. 10th, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
That floor rocked especially with the crazy couch and the heavy rock wall. There have been a lot of crazy tile floors this season. I didn't pay attention so much before this so I don't know about other seasons. Is that the same rock wall from the tiki room in Plucky's?
Apr. 11th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
ive only noticed that floor pattern this season. though we've seen a check pattern before. i was sure the wall was the same as the tiki motel but it's slightly different. same look but different type of "rock". .... curious
Apr. 10th, 2012 03:53 pm (UTC)
Fascinating analysis, you catch so many things that I don't and tie them together in ways that are both creative and make sense. Really enjoyed this :)
Apr. 10th, 2012 04:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :-)
They're fun to do.
Apr. 11th, 2012 11:34 am (UTC)
Oh, this is so brilliant! You have a great eye for all those little details and I love all the comments and subsequent thoughts, great work and makes me really think about the whole atmosphere of an episode and how easily our brains can be trained to respond without really knowing why!

By the way I found you from a rec by ash48, when I have a minute I'm going back through other episodes you might have done if that's ok to stomp around your journal?

Edited at 2012-04-11 11:35 am (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2012 02:39 am (UTC)
Thanks, stomp wherever you like. The recaps have the oh so original tag "spn" and there is a little bit of other spn stuff stuck in there. The ones with the caps and comments are mostly the second half of this season. I probably ought to come up with a more useful tag, something original like "recap" would probably work. :-)
Apr. 11th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, don't worry about Sam. The sign says it all.


So many delightful things in this review, as always, fascinating trivia, and lovely visual catches like the woman on the logo and Lee standing back-to-back in the warehouse! Thank you!

Edited at 2012-04-11 08:12 pm (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
I love that back to back cap. She's got that come-hither thing going on and he's got that get the heck away from me thing. Neither of them can see what or who they're looking at.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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