Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Season Seven Showdown: Episode 7 - "The Mentalists" vs. "Conversations With Dead People"

2 in a row! Yes that's right, 2 showdowns in a row. That's because I tried to catch up before last Friday's Supernatural and failed. And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's because you missed the first 6 entries of this here blog series, known as the "Season Seven Showdown." It's where we're trying to determine if Supernatural's seventh season is going to go down the same dark path that Buffy did in it's seventh season. So far, most signs are pointing to "Yes" and yep, that's a reference to this week's episode so let's get to it!

Supernatural Episode #7 - "The Mentalists"
Episode Synopsis:
After being estranged for a few weeks off camera, the brothers reunite in the "Psychic Capital of America" where seers, psychics and spoon benders are being murdered.

The Deets:
Episode begins with a psychic having her throat sliced by a Ouija Board Planchette during a seance. I never knew that thing was called a planchette! Guess I'm rusty on my Ouija. Dean goes to investigate in the half smurf blue run-down classic car he swiped and bumps into Sam, who's also working the case in this psychic themed town known as Lily Dale. Fun side fact: Lily Dale is a real life town in New York State with real life founders Margaret and Kate Fox (villiannesses of this episode), being known for their psychic talents. It really is the most psychic town in America and almost everything and everyone referenced in this episode are true! Creeepy.

So the boys are together again in their hot FBI suits, not that Sam's happy about it since he's still upset about Dean killing Kaylee. They know that all of these townfolk are phonies and buffoons, but there must be someone with real power behind the killings. After an awkward moment in a hippy dippy restaurant where someone recognized them from their doppelganger's murderous spree a few episodes back, they meet Nikolai Lishin, a spoon bender who later gets killed by his own cutlery.

So Sam and compare notes and learn that both Imelda Graven and Grandma Goldy (the planchette victim) both owned the same necklace. Thinking we have a cursed object on our hands, they visit Goldy's granddaughter Melanie, who's a local celeb as well, but doesn't really believe in all this psychic business. She uses the skill of reading body language and can immediately see that Dean and Sam are having brotherly problems. Anyway, she says a local store owner named Jimmy Tomorrow inherited it and when they arrive at said store, they are informed that the necklace is actually an "Orb of Thessalay." Poor Jenny Calendar. I'd like to point out that this seems like both a Buffy and an Angel reference. It not only shares the name of the famous soul-binding object from the Buffy series as a whole, but also because this Orb turns out to be a "made in Taiwan piece of crap", much like "made in China" piece of crap that Angelus blindsides Fred with in the Season 4 episode "Release". Just saying!

So the boys bounce back to Melanie's to tell her that ghosts are real. Skip to a Miss Cleo-esque performer giving a "reading" with a fake islandy accent. Shorlty after, Miss Cleo has a real life premonition of her own death, so Melanie pops by with Dean in tow to help. It's then and there that we finally meet this episode's villianness who is captured on Miss Cleo's surveillance video. It is Kate Fox, famous psychic who along with her sister is honored in the local museum and real life town founders. At the Museum, the curator pulls Dean aside and says he has a message from an "Eleanor or Ellen". The message is "If you don't tell anyone how bad it really is, she'll kick your ass". How bad what is? The Kaylee guilt? The worry over Sam's Lucifer hallucinations? Losing Cas? What already?!

You know, this whole business about Dean being a mess of life, or whatever, is really getting draining. WTF are they even talking about? I mean specifically? They better get to a point because the writers aren't really showing us anything here, either blatant or subtle. People just keep saying Dean's a mess, but is it really more than what we're normally used to seeing?

Aaanyway, the boys burn Kate's bones but that doesn't do the trick. Turns out that particular villianness wasn't the bad guy after all. Back at Miss Cleo's apartment, she's being attacked by another ghost, which forces Melanie to call the boys back for help. They tell her to grab some salt and iron pokers and stuff, but it's all for naught as Margaret Fox, who is the real villianness, decapitates Miss Cleo anyway. Next morning, the boys go to burn Margaret's bones in broad daylight, which Dean doesn't like at all...but the bones are gone. Jeez this episode is complicated. So Dean finally puts 2+2 together that everyone who was killed was supposed to headline a festival and unfortunately for Melanie, she'd be the natural next replacement. After visiting Jimmy Tomorrow at the store again, Sam is sent on a wild goose chase to a Lamaze class after which HE finally puts the 2+2 together than the REAL, real villianness of the episode is actually Jimmy Tomorrow, who as it turns out has some kinky ghost relationship with ghost Margaret.

So Sam goes to Jimmy Tomorrow's apartment and after a scuffle, finally finds Margaret's bones in his bed! But what? This episode is random and weird. During this whole thing Dean is doing his damn best to try and to protect Melanie from ghost Margaret at her place, but man is Margaret putting up a fight. Finally, back at Jimmy Tomorrow's apartment, Sam is forced to shoot Jimmy dead. It's in self defense, but I get the feeling that this is the moment where Sam realizes Dean was right to kill Kaylee or whatever. Anyway, Sam burns Margaret's bones and the bed they were resting in, and Dean and Melanie are finally safe.

In the end, Sam basically forgives Dean for killing Kaylee, despite the fact that Dean said earlier in the episode that Sam was "acting like a little bitch" over it. It was kind of rude, imo, but Sam's all understanding and stuff. He puts his bags in the trunk of the stolen smurf Blue run-down classic car and off they are again, to save people and hunt things. You know, the family business.

Well, I didn't really love this episode like so many others I know did. I actually thought it was kind of boring. Another kind of funny monster-of-the-week with nary a Leviathan in sight. The reconcilliation of the brothers was underwhelming at best. Sam agreed that Dean is right about Kaylee, but I'm still not sure that I do or that I even care. Maybe I would care more if they'd introduced Kaylee earlier in the show, I don't know. Either way, the Kaylee arc seems to have begun and finished with a fizzle, hopefully we can move on to the amazing pace the season started with now.

Buffy Episode #7 - "Conversations With Dead People"
In this music video-esque opening, a band plays at the Bronze and a title card reads: November 12, 2002 8:01 PM. Over the dreamy ballad, we see Buffy walking through a graveyard, Spike sitting at a bar, Willow falling asleep at the library and Dawn coming home to an empty house. When a hand finally forces itself through a fresh grave, the song ends and Buffy says "Here we go."

Here we go indeed, for this is a fan-favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's not in my top 10 (or even 20, 30) but it's definitely a good one...especially in this season.

After the opening credits, we see Jonathan and Andrew for the first time since the events of season 6. They're driving back from Mexico, where they've been hiding out. They've also been having nightmares featuring this season's lame-ass tag line "from beneath you it devours" but Andrew has BabelFish style mistranslated it in "Mexicoan" to "It eats you, starting with your bottom." Ha! See? Even the writers think it's stupid. Meanwhile, Dawn's at home doing things a 10 year old would do rather than a high-schooler such as singing songs about Anchovies and blowing up marshmallows in the microwave. She's also on the phone with her friend, during which a thumping sound is heard followed by strong wind that blows through the front door, nearly knocking Dawnie on her ass. She runs to try and shut the TV, going so far as unplugging it, but it stays on. Creepy! Things start exploding, electronics are turning on and off and Dawn nearly takes an axe to a radio when she hear's her dead mom's voice coming through. Double creepy.

Back at the library, a recently dead Cassie just walks on in purple streaks and all. She sits across from Willow and tells her she's speaking to Tara from the other side. Willow tears up and I don't blame her, but this bitch is acting shady from the door.

In the graveyard, Buffy's fighting the freshly risen vamp at when he suddenly stops mid-fight to make with the pleasantries. Turns out, he's actually Holden Ward from SHS. They reminisce a bit (it's right then and there that we find out that Scott Hope is gay!) when his face turns back to human and she schools him on the vamp, slayer, chosen one scenario. Unfortunately, Buffy's cell phone is by a tombstone so she can't hear Dawn's desperate call for help. She's being attacked all over the place and makes a connection with Joyce, who she believes is in danger.

Joanthan and Andrew are breaking and entering the new Sunnydale High. Poor Jonathan thinks they're on a mission for redemption, but Andrew has other plans. You see, he's been communicating with Dead Warren who's pulling the strings so they will become Gods. And it's this episode that seals the deal of the character of Andrew for me. Tom Lenk may play him with charm and grace but the fact is, he's pretty evil and shouldn't have been rewarded for it. To make my point, it's very sad that Jonathan says here "Do you think they'll really let us join their gang?" in reference to the Scoobs, when in actuality Andrew's going to kill more people and still be the one to get to undeservingly join the Scooby Gang. I'm just not very forgiving with regards to the character of Andrew.

Aanyway, Willow's full blown crying at this point in the library, as Dead Cassie tries to calm her down. At the same time Holden "psych 101s" Buffy about relationship issues, her superiority complex, etc. They finally get somewhere, focusing on how poorly she treated Spike all while allowing him to take her over completely. It's at this moment of vulnerability that Holden smashes her in the face with a tombstone statue and successfully bites her! Not many can say they did that. Flash to Dawn who sees her mother in the spot where she dies, all creepy and white eyes and begging for help. The demon or ghost or whatever it is is trying to kick Dawn out of the house, but she stand strong, refusing to leave her mother.

Then it's quick scenes, Buffy and Holden are back to their in-depth conversation about Buffy's relationships with vampires, Spike is walking down back from the Bronze with a girl he met, and Cassie tells Willow she can't ever use magic ever - good or evil. She passes on Tara's message that she's not going to be ok, that she's going to kill everybody.

After the commercial break what's left of the Evil Trio are digging up something in Spike's former residence, the School's basement. Jonathan hopes that "Buffy will be able to destroy it" and reveals to Andrew that he actually misses High School and all of the people that were in it. Andrew poo poos all over this, saying that nobody cares about him...but Jonathan's having none of that since he still cares about them and that's why he's there. At this, the camera reveals a huge symbol in the subfloor of the basement.

Dawns casting a spell against the evil and while it looks like she's succeeding, I swear she's throwing regular ole' glitter around. Back to Buffy who's telling Holden that she feels beneath her friends and family, and better than them at the same time. Superior. He actually helps her a lot, explaining that it's ok to feel alone just like everyone does. They decide to resume the fight when Buffy mentions Spike again. Holden stops her mid-sentence and reveals that it was Spike to sired him! Flash to Spike biting the girl, Joyce telling Dawn Buffy won't be there for her and Dead Cassie telling Willow to kill herself.

In the final moments Andrew guts Jonathan over the symbol and Buffy finally drives a stake through Holden's heart, all set over the same music from the opening scene. Well done. And hey, is this the only episode that Nicholas Brendon wasn't in?

How do the eps compare?
Well, we have dead loved ones reaching out from the other side (Ellen/Faux Tara). Besides that, they are pretty different except, of course, for still with the "where the eff is Cas/where the eff is Giles." I'm going to keep mentioning it until it changes. Bastards.

Mini Battles!!:
Best Eighties referencing quote: "Think, Mcfly" - Andrew vs. "Geraldo'd" - Dean - Winner: Buffy
Best Orb of Thesulah/Thesulay: Winner: Buffy
Best Episode Villains - Ghost Margaret vs. The First - Winner: Buffy

Final Ruling:
This is one of the few times that The First was actually scary and not a head-scratcher or a total parody of itself. The creepy-calm tone of "Conversations" is also part of what made it fantastic to watch. So much so that compared to "The Mentalists," you'd think Seasons Sevens were good for a series. So Buffy's taking it again!

Season tally so far:


hamstap85 said...

Did anyone else think that First-Cassie was creepy beyond definition? I mean, did you see those effects with the self-swallowing thing!!! *shudders*

Tara said...

Totally, she was kind of Leviathan-esque there, right?

Nathan said...

Buffy definitely deserved this. Although I actually really like season seven (far from my favourite though).

I don't think Dawn was childish, I act like an idiot when I'm alone and I've always wanted to try the marshmallow thing. Plus, I guess Dawn has to focus on being in a dark, adult environment so much, she wanted the night off.

Who knows. Good episode.

elainecleo said...

Dean and Sam were at odds because Dean killed AMY, don't know where Kaylee came from.

Kaaren said...

'Kaylee' is the character the same actress played on Firefly. They're being silly.

elainecleo said...

Thanks Kaaren, I should have caught that, I loved Firefly.