The season three boxset of Supernatural was a lot lighter than the previous one I borrowed, because of that pesky writers strike they had back in the day. That aside, it seemed to be pretty much business as usual for the Winchester boys… although Dean managed to reach a new nadir of douche-baggery when he flat-out called his younger brother “Gay” for knowing a few minimal facts about childhood fairy tales… facts which proved essential to cracking the case, and saving numerous lives. Oy! A later episode featuring a genuinely Gay character (or at least one with a heavy man-crush) underlined the show’s position on sexuality quite clearly: It’s cool and awesome and clever and funny for a man to lech over women, but it’s creepy and weird for a man to get all starry-eyed over another man. Which seems a tad hypocritical, really… but I guess that’s the way the majority of “normal” straight men feel? To be fair, the character is played quite seriously and sympathetically… and in fact comes off as rather sweet… but the show still can’t stop itself from giggling about the gayness, even after his gruesome death and heroic deeds (yes, in that order). There’s nothing really hateful about all this, I guess… and I’ve beaten this particular “P.C.” horse into the ground already, so why bother again?
Instead, let’s take a look at all the guest actresses who popped up this season, shall we? Ep #3.1 saw the introduction of ‘Ruby’, a recurring ally who quickly reveals herself to be a demon with a score to settle, and no qualms about helping the boys to hunt her own kind. Personally, I happen to think that Katie Cassidy was miscast in the role… not because she’s a bad actress (she isn’t!), but she isn’t crazy or weird enough to distinguish herself from the weekly damsels-in-distress. For some reason, the people who cast this show seem to believe that their female demons should all behave like bitchy cheerleaders, rather than mentally-unhinged hellspawn. One of the things I always loved about Hudson Leick’s portrayal of ‘Callisto’ in Xena, was that there was something truly psychotic about the pleasure she took in taunting and attacking her nemeses. Girl was totally batshit… but there’s no one here with that sort of manic energy… just a succession of pretty girls being a bit snarky and malicious, like they’re planning to humiliate a dorky girl at prom, rather than plotting to take over the world. Tch! This episode also featured Caroline Chikezie as ‘Tamara’, a feisty black Brit who hunts monster along with her loving hubby. Other credits on her resume include parts in Torchwood, Æon Flux, The Mistress of Spices, Footballers’ Wives, As If (alongside Jemima Rooper), and Virtual Sexuality (starring lovely, lovely Laura Fraser). Ep #3.2 sees the introduction of Cindy Sampson as ‘Lisa Braeden’, an old flame of Dean’s, whose young son becomes the victim of a Changeling gang. Much is made of the kid’s similarity to our “hero”… and frankly, seeing an eight year old boy leering after the girls at his b-day party, and proclaiming that “only bitches send a grownup” when they’re being bullied, was pretty repulsive. That kid needs therapy, not a pat on the head! Apparently Sampson has scored a total of eleven appearances on the show to date, which is pretty good going.
In Ep #3.3 we meet ‘Bela Talbot’, a recurring “procurer” (i.e., thief) of rare and magickal artefacts. At first she was just another annoying antagonist, brought in to snark at the boys in a posh English accent, but she started to grow on me a little more over her successive appearances, as she revealed more compassion and vulnerability. The actress who plays her, Lauren Cohan, was actually born in America, but spent a fair few years studying and working in the U.K., which presumably explains why she sounds so legit. More recently, she’s appeared in Death Race 2, and had recurring roles in Chuck and The Vampire Diaries. I think it’s worth noting that both Ruby and Bela are consistently referred to as “skanks” and “lying bitches” throughout the series. In fact, if you took a shot of whiskey every time they were insulted that way, you’d probably nod off long before the season finale. But apparently the “fans” shared the Winchesters’ low opinion of Bela, because she was killed off pretty darn sharpish, with a rather rushed, perfunctory revelation of her back story. I get the impression from what I’ve read that the show’s hardcore fans actively endorse the fact that it’s a male-dominated show, and get slightly skittish whenever a strong female character is introduced, because… y’know… “bros before hos”, right? God forbid anyone should break-up the endless bickering! Gah!
Sasha Barrese, of The Hangover and The Hangover Part II fame, had a pretty juicy part in ep #3.4 as ‘Casey’, a demonic bartender who seduces Dean. She gets lumbered with a lot of fairly dry exposition, but manages to keep it lively and earn some audience sympathy, so snaps to her. I haven’t actually seen the Hangover flicks yet, but they’re proving to be hugely successful… and she’s also had minor roles in Just Shoot Me!, Legally Blonde, Boy Meets World, and American Pie. I didn’t recognise Mercedes McNab when she first appeared in ep #3.7, despite the fact she was playing another vampire… maybe it was the change of make-up and fangs that was throwing me off? McNab, of course, is probably best known for playing the hilariously shallow and airheaded vamp ‘Harmony’ in Buffy and Angel… but she’s also appeared (briefly) in My So-Called Life, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. and both of Barry Sonnenfeld’s Addams Family flicks. Hurrah! Um… sadly, she doesn’t seem to have done anything quite so awesome since Sunnydale went bye-bye though. Shame. Ep #3.12 features a winning turn by Aimee Garcia as ‘Nancy Fitzgerald’, a churchy secretary caught in the crossfire when a gang of demons lay siege to a police station where the Winchester boys are being held. Apparently she had a recurring role in the later seasons of a sitcom called George Lopez (?), narrated the Adam Sandler film Spanglish, and also had minor roles in D.E.B.S., Angel, and Family Guy. In ep #3.16, an Australian actress named Anna Galvin appeared as ‘Mrs. Fremont’, the terrified mother of a young girl who has become possessed by a powerful demon. She’s mostly known for her recurring role on Smallville as Lex Luthor’s assistant, ‘Gina’, but I was amused to see that she also appeared in the very first episode of the mid-90’s British sitcom Game On, which starred Ben Chaplin before he went all Hollywood and got to have phone-sex with Janeane Garofalo. Lucky fella.