Supernatural: Review: Season 8 Eps 17-20

SupernaturalS08E20The CW, 20 March-24 April 2013

The Winchester Brothers encounter a evil Castiel, a group of would-be teen hunters, take a trip back to purgatory and help Charlie with her mother issues…

This has been an incredibly hit-and-miss season of Supernatural. Every time you think it’s taken a turn for the better, along comes a dire episode like ‘Taxi Driver’ to dent your faith in the show. With only three episodes left until the end of the season, each will have to be a cracker to make the overall trip worthwhile.

‘Goodbye Stranger’ sees Castiel hunt Dean, under the control of Naomi, while Dean and Sam are tracking down a series of demon-possessed humans who all seem to be digging for something. This leads them to another tablet, cutting Castiel’s contact with Naomi. Thrown in for good measure is a final return for Meg, who’s killed off allowing the others to escape Crowley. All the Supernatural elements are here, with a few favourite characters, but it never quite comes together into a wholly satisfying episode, despite the fun of Dean crypt crawling.

A bunch of teen orphans training to kill monsters gets the Winchester’s attention in ‘Freaks and Geeks’. Again, this is an OK episode, although the outcome and resolution is painfully obvious from the get-go. That’s followed by ‘Taxi Driver’, a true clunker. Sam goes to rescue Bobby from Hell, but they end up trapped in Purgatory, where Dean has to go to rescue them. The Purgatory stuff and the Benny character (Dean’s friendly vampire) have dragged the series down every time they’ve appeared, and ‘Taxi Driver’ is sadly no exception.

The show is given a much-needed boost with the return of Felicia Day (second time this season) in ‘Pac-Man Fever’. The 43 per cent increase in viewing figures for this episode should tell the showrunners something obvious, and Day should be signed up as a regular next season. Her geeky Charlie compliments the Winchesters well, and each episode she’s been in had been a gem, and ‘Pac-Man Fever’ is no exception. Day was especially good when clumsily trying to be Scully (‘montage!’), maybe less so when channelling Ripley… The only misstep was the mawkish, unnecessary final scene—especially when there was a perfectly good fade out immediately prior.

Verdict: More down than up recently, Supernatural may have outlived its usefulness…

Episode 17 ‘Goodbye Stranger’: 5/10

Episode 18 ‘Freaks and Geeks’: 6/10

Episode 19 ‘Taxi Driver’: 3/10

Episode 20 ‘Pac-Man Fever’: 8/10

Brian J. Robb

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