Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Season Seven Showdown: Episode 8 - "Season 7, Time for a Wedding!" vs. "Sleeper"

Thank you for joining us for another entry of the "Season Seven Showdown." See, all TV season long we've been trying to determine if Supernatural's seventh season is going to turn to poopy the way that Buffy did in it's seventh season. Will it leave me feeling sad and alone with nary a Joss Whedon Eric Kripke in sight? Will I not understand why Buffy Sam & Dean can't kill a single damn Ubervampire Leviathan? Will the lack of Giles Cas leave me frustrated and throwing popcorn at my television in a fit of rage? So far it's been a bit touch and go but we're not quite there yet. Funny enough, Supernatural seems to be in my little game here, referencing their own demise with this week's title: "Season 7, Time for a Wedding." Cute! Let's get to comparing episode 8 of each series:

Supernatural Episode #8 - "Season 7, Time for a Wedding!"
Episode Synopsis:
Sam gets married to one of us fans, much to Dean's horror, and it's fricken' hilarious. Since Sam and his new bride are off in the honeymoon phase, Dean's left all he takes Bobby's advice of teaming up with a hunter named Garth (played by Road Trip's DJ Qualls).

The Deets:
The episode begins with Dean in a strip club pouring his heart out to a cocktail waitress. Apparently the boys make a yearly event out of partying in Las Vegas and even though it's a little annoying this has never been mentioned before, it's kind of fun that the boys do this bit of brotherly bonding. This year, however, the bond has been broken because as Dean exposits to the waitress, Sammy has bailed on him to go camping in the woods or something. Seconds later, Dean gets an alarming text from Sam to meet him quickly and "WEAR FED SUIT".

Later, we see Dean in said Fed suit looking spiffy as ever. He's on his guard with gun in hand, looking for the perp, or monster or whatever when a door flings open to reveal a smiling Sam who pins a boutonnière on Dean and says he's getting married! What follows is a hysterical mix of Dean's shocked and disgusted expressions along with a mysterious veiled bride sloowwwly walking down the aisle. When she finally reaches them, she is revealed to be none other than Wincest fanfiction writer Becky Rosen! Ugh. Cut to a well designed, modern wedding cake exploding into the normal Leviathan Goo title card. I really hope there are some Leviathans in this ep, despite the shenanigans.

So I'm smelling a love spell. Also, side detail: the music is really wacky in his ep. It's like it has to sit down and explain to us in great detail that the episode is wacky. No need, Season Seven had me at "wedding." Moving on, Becky's tweeting up a storm how she's now married to Hotness #2 and Dean's still hilariously flipping out. He leaves to call Bobby and gets into the temporary car. I do miss the Impala but this smurf blue hunka's kinda fun. So Sam and Becky are off to Delaware to start their Newlywed life together, but not before Becky stops into her High School Reunion set up to show off her hot new husband to the girls who were mean to her. Since it's now an obvious love spell situation, we are introduced to Becky's spell-in-a-vial supplier named Guy, who's helping to plan the Reunion. Dean's been tailing them this whole time, but also notices that separate supernatural hijinks are afoot in Pike Creek, Delaware. Hijinks such as local townsfolk running into a string of good luck followed by a string of bad luck and death. Hmmm.

At Becky's house, Sam and his bride are about to get it on (what with the lingerie and the champagne and whatnot) when Sam gets blaring headache as the spell starts wearing off. Becky notices and makes sure to quickly re-hex him with some more potion. Meanwhile, we're shown a hooded figure watching a guy in a random baseball field. There, the hooded figure uses so dark magicks to pelt the guy in the face with some automatically dispensed baseballs, killing him dead. And scene! Back at Becky's house, Dean thankfully interrupts the date-rape currently underway, arriving with a waffle iron of a wedding gift. It's then that he learns Becky & Sam are conducting their own investigation of the Pine Creek hijinks. Because this is both annoying and infuriating, Dean throws a hissy fit and finally unleashes his feelings on the whole marriage matter. Those being that "people's dreams are coming true in this town" including what one would suspiciously assume is Becky's. Sam's having none of it, though, so Dean storms out.

Outside, Dean calls Bobby again but since he's indisposed and Sam's got the love-whammy, Bobby suggests Dean call a local hunter for an assist. This hunter turns out to be Garth played by the adorably geeky DJ Qualls, you know the skinny kid from Road Trip.

Suffice it to say, these 2 hunters don't really have much in common but Dean needs the they end up at an insurance company where something suspicious is going on. There, they run in to Sammy and his blushing bride. They also learn that the while the new CEO of the place seems lucky, he actually didn't even want the new promotion that he got. It becomes pretty clear that the CEO's bitchy wife Marsha manipulated the whole promotion in some supernatural manner, when Dean has to save her from a killer chandelier dropped by the same hooded figure from the baseball stadium. Marsha then admits to selling her soul for her husband's promotion.

Meanwhile, Sammy's spell is wearing off again back at the house and Becky's shit out of luck because the contents of the spell-in-a-vial have spilled out into her bag. So she instead decides to whack Sam over the head with Dean's waffle iron wedding gift, somehow drag him to a remote log cabin, and tie him to the bed, Misery stylee. There, Sam wakes up sans-pants and overhears all the details of Becky's relationship with Guy the spell-supplier. He appropriately freaks out to the point where Becky gags him with a stinky sock and leaves. Now that's love. Becky meets up with Guy at the Reunion location where we finally learn he is actually a Crossroads Demon responsible for all of the deals-gone-wrong in this episode. This time, however, he is prepared to give her an exclusive deal of a full 20 years married to Sam in exchange for her silence and her soul.

So Becky goes back to the cabin to lay the whammy back on Sammy, or so we are to believe, during which there is some hilarious sock talk coming from Sam...I'm pretty sure there was a "Fuck You" in there somewhere. Becky then goes BACK to the Reunion location to seal the deal with Guy. Right before she kisses him though, she drops a lighter on the carpet and it ignites into a Devil's Trap shaped symbol, courtesy of some Blueberry Stoli. Hee! While Guy is trapped there, Sam, Garth and Dean reveal themselves (the latter 2 having found Sam's location via Twitter) and Dean readies himself to stab Guy with Ruby's demon slaying knife. Guy then admits to strategically capitalizing on a loophole in the Crossroads Contracts. See Guy can't breach the normal 10 year deals himself, but his crony, the hooded guy we've seen throughout the ep, can make sure the victims meet an early demise...thus allowing Guy to collect early on their payment. Of course, the hooded crony is there right now and proceeds to kick the boys asses.

Long story short, they fight, and fight some more, and just at the right moment Becky saves the day (and Sam's ass) by picking up Ruby's knife and sticking the hooded guy with it. Dean then readies himself to stab Guy with said knife once again, when yay! It's Badger Crowley!! Crowley is there and he is pissed that Guy damaged consumer confidence and the integrity of the Crossroads Deal. This is Hell, after all, not Wall Street, and if word of the shady deals gets out no one will deal with them. Gotta love Crowley. He agrees to call off all of Guy's crooked deals and punish Guy appropriately in Hell - not out of the goodness of his heart, but because he wants the boys to "squash 'em all", Leviathan that is. And in case they haven't noticed, this is the reason they haven't been encountering many demons of late, because Crowley has instructed Hell's creatures to steer clear of the boys while they try to rid the world of Leviathan. Finally, we're getting somewhere here. And dammit, they better pick up the pace next episode with this exciting turn of events!

In the end, Becky and Sam's flash-in-a-pan marriage is swiftly annulled, and I swear I do have the willpower to resist a lame Kim Kardashian joke that's clear as day here. Feel free to let your own mind wander, though. Sam tries to pep talk Becky, but it's kind of weird.

There are a few things to note about this episode. Yes, this ep was pretty mean to the batshit fangirl who maybe represents all of us fans. Am I mildly perturbed that we are maybe thought of as ugly, pathetic, loser rapists? A bit. Luckily, it's revealed that Becky and Sam never consummated their marriage, so she's technically not that type of criminal...not a huge comfort. Further, the actress that plays her is certainly not that ugly at all and even if she were, it's all in the eye of the beholder. The thing that does suck about Becky is since she IS a 4th wall breaker and knows as much about the 'verse as we all do, she really should've known way better. I'd like to believe most of us would know better. Also, yes, the monster-of-this-week has been hailed as weak and recycled, but I actually liked Guy and the gang. I would've preferred more Leviathan, but I would rather a sassy Crossroads Demon with a bonus of Crowley over some red dirt or a hexed mannequin any day. In general, the ep made me laugh, was fun and entertaining.

Buffy Episode #8 - "Sleeper"
This episode of Buffy starts right off where "Conversations" left off, except for the fact that Xander was of course missing from the last episode. Buffy goes to Xander's place looking for Spike since she just learned the shocking fact that he sired now-dusted vampire Holden. Cut to Spike digging a fresh grave for his latest kill humming along during his handiwork. Oh man, this is where season 7 really starts to lose me. It's times like these that I can't fathom why Spike, who I really am a big fan of, wasn't dusted years ago. He's became such a liability to the gang. I guess Angel's in the same boat but at least he's not living with them. I don't know, it's such a mess.

Cut to London, England as then title card reads - and as soon as my hopes dart up that we going to see Giles, I learn that NO! We are not. Instead we find a man finding a women dead and bloody on the floor. Back in Sunnydale, Willow enters the Summers home finding Dawn and her post "Conversations" trauma and mess all over the damn place. Dawn tells Willow she saw her mom but Willow sets the record straight that it was really "The Big Bad". Dawn's desperately holding on to the Joyce theory for now, though. At Xander's, Buffy is in similar denial, defending Spike while Xander brings up the attempted rape again. It's really fun! Ugh. Spike walks in and Buffy tries to quiz him about his whereabouts, but learns nothing. She asks Xander to watch him but since he's got a big meeting in the morning, he passes the buck to a reluctant Anya.

Buffy finally gets home and freaks out when she sees what happened to the house. Willow had just put Dawn in bed and explains everything that happened - what with her seeing fake Tara at the Library and The Big Bad seeming to know them all personally, trying to fake them out. Willow's hair looks fantastic and Buffy has a pimple on her chin. Buffy tells Willow how she is shaken over the whole Spike thing. Back at Xander's, Anya nervously goes through Spike's things for evidence while he sleeps. He catches her in the act, but she covers by claiming she was in there to offer some kinky-stake related sex. Luckily (or unluckily if you 'ship the Spanya) he denies her and she fakes being outraged and insulted and accuses him of thinking her skinny ass is fat. It's a little funny. A little. He leaves and Anya calls Buffy to alert her of his exit.

Immediately after, we see Buffy following Spike through the uncharacteristically crowded streets of Sunnydale with tons of street vendors and harmonica players. Spike picks up a random girl and Buffy frantically loses them as they turn into an alley. They make out and Buffy approaches...but we quickly realize it's not Buffy at all since she instructs Spike to bite and kill the random girl. Once he realizes what he's done he runs off and "Buffy" morphs into "Spike".

Back at Xander's, Buffy wakes Spike up from his sleep and asks if he "killed the girl last night" so I guess it's now the following evening? I'm definitely confused by this timeline. Anyway, they argue and Spike explains that he wouldn't hurt someone now - not because of the chip, but because he can't live with what he's done. I guess it's important that they beat us over the head that rape is wrong episode after episode, but I definitely already knew that so I wish I didn't have to keep thinking about that awful series-changing scene. I'm 100% certain at this point in my life that it didn't enhance Buffy the series in any way and we all would've been better off without it. In other words, it was a huge mistake. Sorry for the rant, see this is one of the many reasons I think this show should've ended in it's Season 5 prime.

Aaannyway, Buffy's interrogating Spike about what the hell he was doing last night and why Holden said he sired him but Spike, although pissed, can't really explain WTF is going on. Back at the Summers home, Willow finds that there is a total of 10 missing people in Sunnydale, mostly girls. Loving the fact that Willow is useful in this ep, a rare treat in Season Seven. Back to Spike, he's getting flashes now of the gaps in his memories...a blonde girl dead on the floor. He goes to leave for the evening and punches Xander in the face when he tries to stop him from leaving. His chip sets off, giving him a brain that's still functioning. Spike goes to the Bronze where Aimee Mann is performing and interviews some people, looking for evidence of his innocence. Instead he finds a vampire girl who reminds him of their recent hook-up. They fight. He ends up staking her with a piece of Bamboo from an incense holder centerpiece and I'm surprised that worked! It's not really wood, right?

Buffy talks to a bouncer about Spike at what I guess is another hopping Sunnydale club? Yeah, ok. Whatever. The bouncer informs Buffy that this guy is a real player since "chicks like Billy Idol" and that he's been leaving with a lot of different girls lately. Buffy then gets a call from Spike, who realizes that he has in fact done "some very bad things." The Not!Spike says that he shouldn't have made the call as it's not time yet, but that they can "make it work". Buffy meets Spike in a house and she's reluctant to go down the stairs. He explains that he thinks he killed the woman that lived in the house amongst others and buried them in the basement. He doesn't know how or why. Not!Spike starts singing a tune at which point actual Spike vamps out and cuts Buffy with a piece of glass. They fight and all the victims Spike has buried now emerge from the ground as vampires. As Spike's about to bite Buffy he remembers everything and Buffy stakes the whole lot of the vamps.

Spike tells Buffy to "do it fast", meaning stake him. For some asinine reason she refuses. She tells him about The Big Bad and how it's messing with them, as Not!Spike watches from the corner. So we don't know it's The First at this point? Man this season sucks. Since Spike's now a full on out-of-control serial killer who's been recently feeding on human blood, Buffy feels he should be as close to them all as possible...much to the Scoob's dismay. But none of that matters now because YAAYY!! IT'S FINALLY GILES! Giles finds "Robson" dying on the floor who tells Giles "It's started". With that we see a hooded figure swing an axe towards Giles' and once it's within an inch of his neck the screen turns black. Thus setting up one of the biggest (and most frustrating) still-as-yet unfinished mysteries of the Whedonverse.

How do the eps compare?
For some horrific reason, both episodes seem to think we want to our prime time entertainment to feature attempted rape in some form. Thanks for that guys! Sheesh. 

Mini Battles!!:
Best Self-Referencing Quote - "I hate playing vampire towns" - Aimee Mann, Buffy vs. "Supernatural's not exactly popular" - Becky, SupernaturalWinner: Supernatural
Cas/Giles sighting?: Winner: Buffy
Best Episode Villains - Not!Spike vs. Guy the Crossroads Demon - Winner: Supernural

Final Ruling:
Buffy's "Sleeper" didn't necessarily have bad writing, acting or production of any kind. In fact, the episode looked great. The problem is the thing is just such a downer and it's not how I want to be entertained...with characters I used to love killing innocent people while other characters I used to love acting like a bunch of idiots in denial or just all around absent. This is why Supernatural is winning this season so far. The episodes aren't the best and aren't featuring the best writing of the series - Hell I'm getting full on infuriated at the lack of plot movement, not to mention lack of Cas! - but at least the episodes are entertaining and I don't feel depressed after or like there are better things I should've be doing with an hour. Supernatural is taking this one.

Season tally so far:


Chris W said...

While i agree that Supernatural was better than Buffy in this particular episode showdown (and that the crossroads demon was the best option in terms of a monster of the week enemy), i had one HUGE problem with this episode.

SAM AND DEAN ARE DEAD!!! How in the world did they get registered? When the met with ol joshamee gibbs, he gave them new IDs and everything and "killed" the names Sam and Dean Winchester for good. Right? So how'd the You can clearly (well, mostly clearly) see him sign the divorce papers as Sam Winchester.

Also, did no one at the town hall or wherever you submit marriage forms recognize the name? Wouldn't the exact name of one of the serial killers going around a few weeks earlier sound off a few alarms?

While i did enjoy seeing a familiar face return, and i liked Guy as a baddie, as well as Crowleys disgust at the idea of an "unfair" crossroads demon, It was too sloppy in my opinion, if they want to bring back familiar faces, let it be under better circumstances and in less of a sloppy manner...

elainecleo said...

Loved this ep of SPN and all the emotions on Dean's face over the wedding & bride. Got to hand it to Jensen he has many emotions and I love them all. No one can do tears & torment better than he can.

I also want Misha back in any form they want to use, loved him as Castiel, Jimmy, Hippie Cas, Misha playing Misha/Cas, God and vessel for the baddies of the season, the Levi. Just bring him back.

Tara said...

Dude, Chris W you are totally right! That is MORONIC! Why the hell didn't they just wash it all away with "the marriage wasn't legal anyway since those identities are no longer real" -or- "Since we used a fake name during the ceremony since we're known criminals." Lazy, lazy writing. Totally annoyed with what was otherwise an adorable ep.

And agree with you too elaine! Jensen's expressions were spot on...just bring back Misha already!