Director: Paul Edwards.
Writer: Andrew Dabb.
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Lisa Chandler, Faustino Di Bauda, and Andrew Zachar.
When a man's heart pops out like a Walter Lantz cartoon, just what is CW's latest episode of "Supernatural," "Hunteri Heroici" up to? In what may be the strangest episode so far, perhaps watching too many 'toons can distort reality. In this case, to look at real representations of cartoon violence can prove disturbingly gooey when the anvil drops. But for Fred Jones (Mike Farrell), no relation to the Scooby Doo character of the same name, he shows that he can manipulate the world around him if he so desires.
For some people, watching cartoons provides a means of escapism. They inject humour into the dull everyday life of growing old. Jones' argument for their purpose is great. Writer Andrew Dabb has crafted a defining moment that recaps what the series is about: Sam (Jared Padalecki), Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Castiel (Misha Collins) can not run away from responsibility. They have to 'fess up sooner or later. While Sam's argument could use some refining for the viewers watching this episode, he at least convinces Jones to let go.
This episode's plotting comes into full realization with Castiel. At least he is trying to deal with his past mistakes. He never wanted to escape his crime of laying waste in Heaven. This angel still wants to "absolve" his sins. But with Naomi (Amanda Tapping) pulling the strings, Castiel has become a puppet for the new order taking control. She is the gatekeeper, the one with the authority to allow Cas' to walk past the pearly gates. Right now, she is saying no. Sadly, with this character mostly seen sitting behind a desk, not a lot of character development will happen for her.
Naomi may well be an angel of the first order, an Ophanim. They are a class of angels who are living symbols of God's justice and authority. When considering that Naomi's tonality with Castiel is very assertive, this supposition should be no surprise for viewers. Tapping has had plenty of practice playing this type of character, especially when considering the type of character she played in Sanctuary, Dr. Helen Magnus.
With Castiel returning to the series in a major way, to perhaps be the third wheel in Sam and Dean's life of hunting, the team has very little to do. That is, until Kevin can decipher the tablet fragment from last episode. Now that he and his mom are safely holed up in one of Garth's safe houses, the prophet can get to work. The Winchesters can go back to solving some bizarre cases, and Castiel can return to his beloved 4th season self.
And for this episode, the focus is on Sam. He has more thoughts about the girl he left in the middle of the night and they are juxtaposed with the episode's plot about finding a person who can manipulate reality.
The cartoon antics feel out of place for a series that is supposed to be "Supernatural." Instead, the episode feels like a two-headed giant. One side of the presentation is loopy, filled with plenty of Wile E. Coyote moments, and the other tries to be serious in showing audiences what Sam is feeling. Jones passion for 'toons suggest a deeper meaning. A fair bit of bit of time spent showing his love for Woody Woodpecker implies that he feels more for the bird than with life. This annoying miscreant often finds himself challenging and being thwarted by authority figures. In some ways, the way this bird leads his life is like Top Cat. Including Wile E. Coyote, these characters are impoverished characters just trying to get by.
Cas' interpretation about how this coyote is about man's attempt to find God (represented by the roadrunner) should not go unnoticed either. There are plenty of layers for viewers to peel away at here. And when considering the past seasons of "Supernatural," this theme of challenging higher authority figures is a prominent characteristic of this series. And that makes sense for the flashback sequences involving Sam. He finally gets to meet Amelia's father and initially the two did not get along. After a few beers, they finally warm up to each other before a different authority smacks Sam in the face. Don (Amelia's formerly dead husband) is revealed to be alive. Finally, an explanation is given to reveal why Sam left her in the middle of the night.
As for how the series will reach a mid-season cliffhanger before the winter break, either Benny will turn up to mess around with the boys some more, or Kevin will have to tell the boys that they have to go on a last crusade. Learning how "to let go" is going to be far more pivotal to this season's story arc run more so than any other plot device. The boys should really listen to Castiel rather than the other way around.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10.
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