Friday, January 6, 2012

The Season Seven Showdown: Episode 9 - "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters" vs. "Never Leave Me"

Woopsie! It's 2012 and we're behind on our Season Seven Showdown! We still have 2 episodes to battle before the mid-season premiere in a just under an hour. That's not going to happen, but here's at least one done. We'll catch up before next week.

Now, if you missed the events of last year and have no idea what we're talking about, all season long so far we've been trying to determine if Supernatural's seventh season is going to turn to frownie face the way that Buffy did in it's seventh season. You know what with the nonexistent Father Figure, the snore-fest Villain and post near-rape trauma and such! Good times. And further more, should a 5th season be a show's last? Well, Supernatural is proving that theory wrong so's winning, but not by that much, actually. Current tally is Supernatural 5-Buffy 3.

Let's get to it and compare the 9th episodes!:

Supernatural Episode #9 - "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters"

Episode Synopsis:
This episode started off as a stinker, veering toward "Doublemeat Palace" territory in both theme and quality (what with the mystery meat in the fast food and all), but it makes a turn for the great. Too bad that ~SPOILER ALERT!~ Bobby had to get shot in the noggin at the end. Also, I'm going to consider this and the following ep a straight-up two-parter. Not sure why the fools in charge didn't just officially make it so.

The Deets:
So, the stink starts with a quirky couple camping in the Hammonton, NJ woods in a souped up tent, or something, complete with a tv and a "nature sounds" track soothing the male partner to sleep. Next thing we know, he's strung up upside down in a tree and being eaten to death! Jump to Hotness Dean bitching about the crew's quality of life as he hot wires a very run-down house, also in the Southern Pine Barrens. And here's where I'd like to bitch, thank you very much, about why the hell they're hiding out without the Impala still even though Sammy got married just the week prior using his full legal name? To echo what reader Chris W. was saying a few weeks back, this didn't ring any Leviathan radar or anything? They are known serial killers who used their real identity to file legal paperwork in Vegas. Stupid. Anyway, the boys plus Bobby are in deep hiding. They believe they may be hunting The Jersey Devil and that's what killed the "Glamper" or "high end camper" that got killed at the top. And while it's nice that this particular NJ set ep doesnt portray the state as a bubch of drunken, Jersey Shore guidos, dumb-ass rednecks and glampers isn't much better. Poor Jersey gets no love, how dd it get this way?

So the boys get fancy in their suits and interview "Ranger Rick" who seems like a bit of a stoner, in a Biggerson's restaurant. Turns out his assistant ranger Phil is missing, but he's too stoned to care. Enter Bobby who reports that the dead Glamper's killer is a mystery. Meanwhile bitchy waiter Brandon randomly flips out on Sam, Dean & Bobby, nick-naming them: "Big Bird", "Ken Doll" and "Creepy Uncle", respectively. Hee! Dean's annoyed at this but is now too busy moaning at the magnificence of the new Pepperjack Turducken Slammer sandwich he's ordered, and eiww.

Later in the forest, Bobby's looking not unlike Elmer Fudd as he reminisces on his deer hunting past. They unfortunately find asst. ranger Phil dead up in a tree, poor guy, and Ranger Rick arrives on the scene to call it in. Not two seconds later Rick gets eaten alive as well. They can't seem to find the perp up in the trees so Bobby uses his mad Buffy skills to listen to the sounds of the forest, or something, and shoots the thing right out of mid-air. Exact same woodsy scene as in "Same Time, Same Place", I swear. So the boys bring the creature to their hidey hole and find it's still alive as it attacks them as soon as they close the door!After killing it dead a second time, they learn the thing was actually a human who as lost a considerable amount of weight on a steady diet of Rick, a pine cone, wrapped up gum, more humans, a whole cat's head, etc. The dude's adrenal gland is enlarged and green and yuck already!! All throughout this nastiness, Dean is acting like a big ole' toolbag, and somehow hungry, to boot.

Back at Biggerson's, Dean eats another TDK slammer and toolbags it up some more. Bobby and Sammy finally have their lightbulb moment where they look around and notice all of the stoners enjoying their TDK Slammers just a bit too much. They take Dean's sandwich back to their hidey hole for a little inspection and find the thing collapsing into a pile of gray goop, to which Dean replies "if I wasn't so chilled out right now I would puke." They devise a plan to spy. Later, Dean sleeps it off during the stake out and Sam confides that he's worried about Dean as usual but he's content with his own crazy for now, all as he presses on the scar on his hand. Poor Sam. They see some action and decide to follow a truck labeled "midwest meat and poultry" Elsewhere, bitchy waiter Brandon gets bitch slapped by Edgar the Leviathan. Yay! Leviathans! This is where the episode goes from Doublemeat to damn good!

So Edgar enters a warehouse and meets up with that Surgeon who nearly got Deputy Jody Mills. See he's been conducting a little experiment with turducken sandwiches but Edgar urges him to dispose of this little case study as "Dick is coming." Back at the stake out, Sam's doing a little recon while Bobby lectures Dean on his new "party line" which is pretty much that the world wants to end, so fuck it all. Bobby's bottom line is Dean's not a person, he's a hunter so get it together, adding "if you die before me, I'll kill ya." sniff. Poor Bobby, I can't take what's going to happen.

Anyway, Bobby sees the arrival of "Dick Friggin' Roman" and we're treated to a video snippet explaining who this "top 35 man most powerful man in America" personality is, complete with photo op with George W. Bush. Dean says he thought when Crowley was going on about "hating Dick" that he was just being general. HA! Back inside, as hinted, Dick Roman is not pleased that the surgeon's experiment resulted in some monsters which made the papers and ends up forcing the surgeon to EAT HIMSELF. Jeez this ep is gross. Bobby, who was eavesdropping and witnessing this whole disgusting thing, has been caught and knocked out cold by a Leviathan!

After the commercial, Bobby wakes tied up in Dick's office but the boys are quick to the rescue, smashing through the front door spraying Borax cleaner on the Leviathan minions. And then another commercial. I kid you not.

Dick goes to see what the ruckus is about while Bobby rifles through the paperwork Dick left behind. Cut to Sam and Dean splashing the hell out of Dick with the cleaner while Bobby catches up to shoot him in the back. They barely get away, with Dick shooting at the van as Bobby closes the van door. just when we think everyone's ok, Sam picks up Bobby's hat and notices the hole in it. Yup, Bobby's been shot and I'm sad.

Next ep, we have a guest reviewing the mid-season finale and thank goodness, because I'm not sure I could take it.

Buffy Episode #9 - "Never Leave Me"
The Scoobs minus Buffy are chatting in the Summers Home about how "William the Bloody" is back, Anya's words, referring to the recent revaluation that Spike killed and sired a bunch of innocent people. Jump to Warren and Andrew walking down a Sunnydale street chatting about how the latter needs to go and kill more people himself. Andrew's hesitant, the little lurch, but First!Jonathan said it didn't hurt so bad so he better continue so they can become gods. What a fucking idiot, seriously. I can't deal with Andrew. Meanwhile, Buffy ties up Spike in her bedroom. Kinky!

Sunnydale High: Principal Robin Wood scolds some kids in his office when Dawnie interrupts to lie that"Buffy has stuff coming out of both ends." I'm sure Buffy appreciated that. Back in the bedroom, Buffy tries to call The Watcher's Council to find Giles, to no avail. Spike vamps out. Willow offers to kill Anya but they instead decide to get some animal blood to feed Spike with. Shoot over to the symbol in the Sunnydale High basement and Warren is instructing Andrew to gut a pig for sacrifice. Man, this episode is all over the place! But it's all for a purpose, because once Andrew fails, he ends up at the same Butcher as Willow to obtain some pig's blood. Coinkidink? I think not.

Willow gives chase! They bicker but she drags him back to the Summers home and now he's getting tied up too. I think in Dawn's room, if the pink teeny stuff all around says anything. Kinkiness all around. Anya starts beating the crap out of him. Xander and her are playing good cop/bad cop and it's sort of funny. Spike suckles from a bag of blood that Buffy's holding in the room next door. He then confesses the whole story about the soul-getting business. That he went to get it for her, the trials, the torture, etc. She's not that happy about him saying he's "redefined the word pain and suffering since he fell in love with her." And he's also not at all happy that she used him because she hated herself. It's kind of a mess.

Xander unties Andrew and gives him some water. He tries to get him to talk but it doesn't work until Anya bursts in beating the hell out of him. Buffy steps out for one minute to see what the ruckus is all about, but First!Spike gets a hold of real Spike while she's out and she hears the whole thing. Why is he lying about this? He's way smarter than that. Guess it's the First's mojo or something? Whatever, the First sucks. Anyway, he breaks free, grabs Andrew through the wall and starts feeding on him. This is definitely the point where Buffy should stake Spike. This whole thing is so out of control. Instead she knocks him out.

In the living room, the Scoobs have a meeting and Xander figures out that Spike has a trigger, the song. They develop a plan. Back at Sunnydale High, Principal Wood decides to take a little stroll down to the basement. It's seems he's eeeevil as he hovers over Jonathan's dead body on the seal. Buffy wakes Spike who is now in the basement of the Summers home and he asks her to kill him. That would make the most sense, slayer! Buffy rationalizes why she won't but Spike says "it's not love, you like men who hurt you." She says that's not true and it's also not true that he's a killer anymore. She gives him a version of the "Amends" speech. You know the one. She believes in him so he should fight back.

The power cuts off in the house as a hooded figure jumps through the window and attacks! Several others storm in and everyone fights! The scoobs survive but Spike is kidnapped. One of the attackers is killed and Buffy figures out who he is. It's a bringer, also ala "Amends". The big bad? The First. Thanks, Buff tell us something we figured out weeks earlier! Meanwhile, Principal Wood buries Jonathan's body somewhere.

Over in England, the Watcher's council is briefed by Quentin Travers, who is confirming this season's snorefest of a big bad and adding they'll be visiting Sunnydale. His speech ends with "My friends, these are the times that define us. Proverbs 24:6. For, by wise council, you shall make your war." just before the entire building is blown to bits!

The episode ends with Spike getting some symbols carved into him by a bringer knife as First!Spike yammers on and morphs into First!Buffy. As his blood drips on to the symbol in the Sunnydale High basement, it opens up and an orc-like monster rises out of it. Let the shitstorm begin!

How do the eps compare?
I have to say, at this point in the game I'm equally confused as to what the hell the Leviathan's plans are as well as what the hell The First's plan is (was). If they are both so powerful and un-killable, why not just take over all the nuclear missiles the dumb ass humans have built and launch them? Or something equally devastating, you get the picture. Instead, it seems the writers of both series have exhausted all lesser villains at this stage and have no choice but to go the "bigger is better" route, but without the big reason behind it. We know that this sadly goes nowhere with Buffy, it's still up in the air for Supernatural. We'll see. Also, still no Cas/Giles. It's getting annoying people, fix it already.

Mini Battles!!:
Best Kinky Restraints - Bobby vs. Spike Winner: Buffy
Best Episode Villains - Leviathans/Pepperjack Turdunken Slammers/Dick Friggin Roman vs. Spike/Andrew/Bringer/The First Winner: Supernural
Best Ending - Bobby getting shot vs. Ubervamp Winner: Supernatural

Final Ruling:
This episode of Buffy was a decent bridge explaining how we got to where we are to finally revealing the season's big bad. I have to remember, this was before the whole "Mid-season" finale and premiere event crap that the networks are giving us today, or else this episode might be as action packed and tense as Supernatural was. But even still, I'd give it to it Supernatural anyway as "HTWFAIM" was actually a great Part 1 to an even better 2-parter with a truly shocking ending. Supernatural it is.

Season tally so far:


liliaeth said...

Now why would the Leviathans want to destroy the world with nucleair weapons? That'd destroy their entire food supply. They want to eat people, sure they'll kill them for fun and other reasons as well, but primarily, they just want to eat. And that's done easiest while keeping humans from panicking. Which is what the plan in this ep was about. Find a way to 'calm' humans down so they'll let themselves be easily led to the slaughter and won't even resist when their friends and loved ones get eaten right in front of them. But if they can't have that without causing an error or two, then they'll just stay under cover and kill without getting spotted.

No reason for them to destroy most of their food supply and poison what's left of them.

Tara said...

Agree. I take that point back. The Leviathan's entire plan is still a bit unclear (or maybe just underwhelming), but they do have their whole global domination thing. To your point, if they blow up the earth, then they won't have food...just as if they convert the whole world to Leviathan, they won't have food.

Still stands as true for The First as it ever did, though.

liliaeth said...

Well the First's plan was also pretty simple, at least as long as you utterly ignore the comics, which I do, which is easy since they suck.

The First wanted Buffy to share the power and turn all the potentials into Slayers.

Just think about it. It starts attacking potentials, not all of them, but several, enough to panic the Watchers and send those that are known by the watchers for protection to Buffy. then the First puts a bit of pressure on Buffy. Does some work on the population of Sunydale, gets them scared. To give Buffy the idea that something serious is going on. And then for no reason whatsoever, the First sends Caleb and its Brings to dig up the Scythe, a weapon Buffy doesn't know about before that point.

And just to help her along a bit, up shows this old lady, out of nowhere with some story about where the scythe comes from bla bla bla...

But the topper of it all, remembers the Firsts line to Buffy in Chosen, she basically feeds Buffy the idea of having more than one Slayer.

In short, the First needed a bigger influence on the world. There's only so much it can do with demons, but with an army of Slayers, well... they're only human,mentally, so easy to influence, possibly even to control...

Like the First told Buffy, it's not out to win, it's out to play the game...And the chance at corrupting an army of Slayers, is probably the biggest coup ever.