I lent a friend of mine the first season of Supernatural boxset, and he liked it so much he ended up ordering the second season for himself! Having watched this second instalment of episodes, I’d have to say that most of my complaints about the previous season still stand. The brothers continue to rag on each other and smirk at “sissy” behaviour like a couple of overcompensating macho douchebags, and they still bicker about exactly the same things they were bickering about back in the day. Since we know that every episode is going to involve a spooky mystery of some sort for them to investigate, and since we know that’s going to be the funnest part of the episode (certainly the only part I’m interested in), it’s just irritating when they waste so much time arguing over whether a potential lead might pan out or not… obviously the *characters* don’t know that they’re on a monster-of-the-week schedule but *we* do, so why can’t the writers just cut to the chase, dammit?
The skewed gender bias is also still in full effect, as Sam and Dean balk at maintaining any meaningful long-term connections with the women they meet on their travels. I thought things were looking up in ep 2.2 when they encountered a feisty, tough-talking mother and daughter duo who run a regular watering hole for Hunters… but those characters have only appeared in six or so episodes in the entire series (so far). Tch! To be fair, the daughter is allowed to join the boys on a hunt for one episode, but they mostly just use her as bait, and the writers throw a bullshit twist in at the end of the episode to kneecap their cosy little collaboration before it’s even really found its feet. Interestingly, when she first tries to convince the boys to let her ride along and they refuse, she accuses Dean of being sexist, but he insists that he knows women can hunt… he’s just worried about what her mother will think. So does that mean that there actually are a few female Hunters somewhere out there in the Supernatural universe? If so, I await their appearance with breath that is bated… because so far, the women they meet are still falling firmly into the “victim” and/or “villain” categories. Anyhoo, the daughter, ‘Jo Harvelle’, is played by Alona Tal, who hasn’t had many other recognisable roles, but she kinda reminds me of a younger, blonder Sarah Silverman, so I’d definitely like to see more of her in future. The mother, ‘Ellen Harvelle’, is played by Samantha Ferris, who appeared in the finale of Hiccups as ‘Bambi Weeks’, Millie’s nemesis and rival nominee for a coveted children’s book award.
Other notable guest actresses include: Nicole Muñoz playing a young girl named ‘Nora’, whose parents are killed by a super-creepy clown, after he follows her home from the carnival (ep 2.2). Shudder. Muñoz has previously appeared in Defying Gravity (2009) as the wounded ‘Palestinian Girl’ that one character kept seeing in his recurring, guilt-fuelled hallucinations. She also played a younger version of Selena Gomez’s character ‘Mary Santiago’ in Another Cinderella Story (2008). In ep 2.3, Amber Benson appeared as ‘Lenore’, a surprisingly level-headed and progressive vampire who claims to have sworn off human blood. After being so besotted with ‘Tara’ in Buffy, it was strange to see Benson sporting dark hair and a mouth full of fangs… but she does a great job with the character, and it’s disappointing to discover that she didn’t score a recurring role. Would it be such a liability to have a do-gooding vamp on the team? They are impervious to bullets, y’know! In ep 2.7, horror legend Linda Blair pops up as ‘Det. Diana Ballard’, who’s working a homicide case in which Dean was implicated. He’d been declared legally dead in the previous season, after a shapeshifter stole his identity and committed a series of murders before being gunned down… so it was nice to see the law finally catching up with the Winchesters, even if they wiggle their way out of the cops’ clutches again before the end of the episode. I guess there wouldn’t be much of a series if they were actually convicted for the many crimes they commit in the course of their investigations… but it bugs me a little that all of the Hunters are lone-wolf vigilante types, and the authorities are depicted as completely clueless as far as their activities are concerned. Where are Mulder and Scully when you need them, eh? Hilariously, no matter how many times Dean gets framed for murder, he still has a habit of picking up bloody weapons and smoking guns at crime scenes as soon as he discovers them! Does he have some sort of OCD? Either way, it was great to see Blair again, even if she does seem a little too cute and cuddly to be playing a hard-bitten homicide detective. There’s a supposedly tense scene where she’s involved in a “Mexican stand-off” with the real killer, and at one point the camera cuts to her pouting and flashing her big doe eyes at him like a sad puppy… which is adorable, but not especially intimidating. The writers also undermine the coolness of her cameo by having Dean make a “pea soup” joke at the end. Feh!
In ep 2.10, Katharine Isabelle appears as ‘Ava Wilson’, a young woman with psychic powers who the boys have to protect from another, rather more psychotic Hunter. She’s very charming and chirpy here, and she gets some funny scenes with Sam… but sadly she doesn’t live to see season three. Now, technically Gary Cole (of The Brady Bunch Movie fame) isn’t a woman, but I would kick myself if I failed to mention his comical cameo as a sleazy Hollywood suit in ep 2.18. Unfortunately, it had the rather adverse effect of making me wish I was watching a second season of American Gothic instead of this show! To be honest, there weren’t really many interesting supporting players in the second half of the season, but Adrianne Palicki did return in ep 2.20, as ‘Jessica Moore’, Sam’s late love interest, who died at the end of the pilot. I didn’t mention her in my post about the first season because I didn’t actually know who she was back then… but apparently she’s been cast as the new Wonder Woman, so I guess I’d better start taking an interest! I’d say 2.20 was probably the best episode of the run, actually… certainly the most emotionally effecting, anyway. Dean has a run-in with a Djinn who grants his wish to see what the brothers’ lives would be like if their mother hadn’t been killed by that pesky yellow-eyed demon… which is obviously just a new spin on the old It’s A Wonderful Life plot, but they play the whole thing totally straight, and it does manage to pluck a few heartstrings. Shame they didn’t bring back Megalyn Echikunwoke to play Dean’s old love interest ‘Cassie’ as well, though. As it stands all of the major recurring African-American characters introduced this season were either straight-up villains or voluntarily trucking with demons. Oops!