Monday, February 28, 2011

CW's Supernatural and It's a Mistake? A Television Episode Review ("The French Mistake")

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From Episode 15: The French Mistake
Creator: Eric Kripke

Alternate universe stories can sometimes be a mistake, and if it can be pulled off right, viewers will no doubt want more. In CW's latest episode of Supernatural, "The French Mistake" boldly goes where no man has gone before.

The civil war that's going on in Heaven has become one of attrition. The crossroads angel Balthazar, appears before the Winchester brothers and he hands them a set of keys that accesses a special weapons locker in heaven. Whoever possesses them can change the sway of power.

To keep them safe, Sam and Dean are tossed out of their universe and into 'our' reality—where there is no such thing as magic, demons or angels. Instead, this episode enforces Shakespeare’s greatest line: all the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.

If that is the case, then this episode gives a satiric take on the series as a whole. To see what happens behind the set is a bit interesting, but very brief. There is not enough to give viewers an idea of what goes on in the making of a television show.

The connection for this episode is to put faces to the people behind the scenes and to poke a bit of fun at itself too. Sera Gamble, Bob Singer and Eric Kripke make more than just a cameo. In this universe, they’re carrying the show.

Curiously, various studio staff repeatedly point out that Padalecki and Ackles are not on speaking terms. In a show that has lasted for six seasons, one has to question why this fact is so important.

Even the hard-nosed Castiel does a roundabout. Misha Collins, the actor who plays the often-grungy angel, is a self-absorbed twitter-a-holic with a squeaky voice. To establish the fact that the Winchesters were thrown into ‘our’ universe, he even tweeted out, “Ola mishamigos! J2 got me good. Really starting to feel like one of the guys,” at the exact time the episode made its first-run on Friday night, Eastern Standard Time.

If that is not enough, long time fans of the show will know that Jared Padelecki is indeed married to Genevieve—she played the demon Ruby from a previous season. Fortunately, none of these portrayals are real. They're all exaggerated, and this also includes Eric Kripke's showdown at the OK Corral. That does not go so good when he is confronting the Angel Virgil, sent to retrieve the key. When nearly everyone at the sound stage gets offed, perhaps that is a sign.

The series has gone ‘meta’ before with the two brothers crossing over to other dimensions that are based on other television realities. Sometimes, too much parody is self-depreciating, even if what Balthazar did was to send Raphael and Virgil on a wild goose chase with the brothers as bait. But have the writers finally crossed the line? The first three episodes in the second half of season six have been solid with enforcing a point, but if the hints in this episode are any indication, perhaps season six is going to the series final hurrah!

Dragging it on will only hurt the show’s lasting legacy than preserve it.

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