Let’s all talk about – The Winchesters – Art of Dying (S1 E6)

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    • journalbookbinder
        November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #29632

        It’s Winchesters night!  Let’s see where the story goes now that Mary has allowed herself to be slightly vulnerable in front of John and John seems to have gotten a taste for hunting monster. Directed by Richard Speight Jr. Others have said that the next one (ep. 7) is the one he’ll appear in as Loki.

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      • journalbookbinder
          November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #29741

          Okay…I liked several things about this. I liked the lack of space crickets. I liked finally seeing a bit of caring out of Mary (six episodes in!). I liked them going out and meeting/talking to another retired hunter. It has felt a bit like they are acting in a vacuum – not to much contact with anyone outside the core group and it was nice to have another one-episode character which is very much in the tradition of Supernatural.

          This is the first hunter’s funeral we’ve seen since Dean. That was surprisingly hard for me! Because it made me think of Dean. I did like how that entire scene was shot (kudos to RSJ!). Especially the arm flopping out as the body was lifted onto the pyre. I always thought the neatly died up bodies on SPN were a bit too clinical for a gory show and I liked the arm flopping out to remind us there was a person in there.

          But this show still does not give me any “Supernatural” feeling. It’s like it’s a completely different show on a complete different subject than Supernatural. I am almost thrown OUT of the show by Dean’s voice over. I miss him so much but it’s like hearing him there makes no sense to me because it feels like a show that has nothing to do with Supernatural.

          I was annoyed that again Lata “knew someone” who could solve the mystery of what they were dealing with.  Carlos getting flustered was cute. I still want Carlos to be more of a badass though!!! At least Lata got a bit more depth here. We know a bit more about why she’s non-violent.

          So…there was more to this one between the characters and I liked that.

          I can’t get used to these “out in broad daylight” monsters. This show does not have the dark feel of Supernatural at all and that was something I had hoped they’d go back to – more of an early-season SPN feel, but it’s not that.

          I did like this one better, but I’m still left oddly not-compelled by this overall storyline.

          I’m starting to feel like there is TOO MUCH talking about leaving hunting. It’s like every episode!  I want them to SHOW us why she needs to leave, not talk endlessly about it every time. The main theme of the series seems to be MARY NEEDS TO GET OUT OF HUNTING. I feel that we already know that since we saw what came after, and on Supernatural it was unraveled (Mary’s story) much more slowly and in a much more clever way. It was a bit of a shock on Supernatural when we found out that Mary was NOT Dean’s idealized memory of her. (I’m conflicted about THAT, but it WAS unexpected on Supernatural.)

          I find it strange that back when travel was more difficult, this other team of hunters went outside the U.S. mainland to hunt monsters!  Barbados? I get using monsters from different cultures, but I think I expected a prequel to drill down even more into U.S. lore instead of going for the “monsters being called in from everywhere” idea (which they also did in Supernatural when things went sideways with other big bads).

          The traditional SPN blood spatter at the start in the barn was not quite right. It was like someone was just pouring a bucket of fake blood from above on the floor. Lack of kudos to RSJ there. It looked NOT like it’s supposed to look on SPN.

          Weird that Carlos got sentimental about the body part that his new love interest touched. It’s weird to me that this young bunch of hunters are so UNBOTHERED by gore. I can get maybe John’s time in Vietnam hardened him to that, but they seem too young to already have seen enough to be totally fine with and not shocked by anything.

          I still feel like I’m watching something where it feels like someone is writing about characters in a way that I just don’t see or imagine them (John and Mary). Like I’m reading a fan fic where I think, “Huh, that’s really not how I would write them.” When Robbie Thompson (as show runner, I’m talking; he didn’t write this episode) took this on, when he was so good at understanding the core traits of the characters on Supernatural and what made them compelling, well, it seems absent here.

          There were a few little cultural nods that I can’t now specifically remember; like calling one hunter Gellar (or an alias?) – Sarah Michelle Gellar; Buffy the Vampire slayer (but then it wasn’t a vampire they were dealing with and obviously that’s a “today” cultural reference). There was also some sexual innuendo that I found funny at the time.

          I still wish this show gave me more of a sense of that other era too; apart from cars and clothes and music. Some indication that Carlos’ interest in another man might not be the easiest thing? Some friction about the perceived roles of women or minorities or something to make the era seem more real and dangerous in cultural ways? This group pretty much breezes around doing whatever they want. Remember Supernatural when Sam and Dean were pursued by law enforcement for grave robbing (hey; no one’s dug up a grave on this show yet!) and murder?  There’s none of that here. No tangling with the police. And when there are police it’s conveniently John’s ex-girlfriend so there aren’t any questions. Overall, many things are too convenient for me.

          But this episode was more enjoyable for me to watch than some. Lots of talking and exposition. That was a lot. It still just does not feel right to me; not part of the Supernatural universe. I keep hoping that with time, I will get to know the characters and that will make up for that a bit; once I start caring about them. But so far, that has not happened. I do not dislike these characters, but there’s none of that deep caring or even fascination that I had early on for Sam and Dean.

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          • kate38
              November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #30404

              “I keep hoping that with time, I will get to know the characters and that will make up for that a bit; once I start caring about them. But so far, that has not happened. I do not dislike these characters, but there’s none of that deep caring or even fascination that I had early on for Sam and Dean.”

              So much this!! I think part of the problem might be casting? These actors are also all young; but then again, so were Jensen and Jared, but they still had chemistry from the very beginning. And there was also something right away that made me care about them and their story. I’m not completely there with The Winchesters. I care about John and Millie, but so far, that’s it.

              I think it’s rare for a show to come right out of the gate with such an amazing cast, writers, directors, etc that it grabs me from the very beginning. Supernatural, West Wing, and The Crown are the only examples I can think of right now that did that for me. I guess it’s just one more example of how rare and special Supernatural actually was. It was lightning in a bottle. And as talented as Jensen and Robbie both are, maybe they’ll never be able to create anything that even comes close.


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          • PigNaPoke
              November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #29913

              I enjoyed the addition of two older hunters and that they were both female. Of course, one didn’t make it long, but I appreciate the effort. LOL

              “Aunt” Tracy felt real to me in her no-nonsense attitude to live and hunting. The actress found a good way to portray the fine line between being hardened by a hunter’s life and still emotional enough to seem shaken up by the loss of her friend and remorseful about her past mistakes. I very much liked her as a character.

              I can also understand why she would be a great inspiration to Mary for starting to think that “getting out” is an option for her. Tracy did it and had at least a good long while success at it. (Well, until we find out she has a DARK past and reason to get out, but ok, who doesn’t have some skeletons in their closet in this universe?)

              I agree, JBB, that so far in the series they talked about Mary wanting to leave the life too much, but in this episode and against this particular circumstance, I actually didn’t mind or even enjoyed it.

              I, too, thought that the BUCKET of blood at the beginning was very odd and not SPN “real”. HAHA. RSJ should know better. Unless they were referencing some specific thing I am unaware of.

              To me it was  way better this time how they had to piece together the evidence. It wasn’t Lata for once who immediately knew it all. She just “knew a guy” who then helped and even THAT led them only part of the way. I thought Lata’s mentioning of a specific “monster identifying” book that was left behind in the club house was ridiculous, though!!! WAY too Harry Potter for me.

              The hunter’s funeral was done REALLY well and tastefully filmed, I thought, as we’ve never seen the prep of a body before in any SPN episode. Here it conveyed a somber respect and reverence for the fallen comrade in the care they took to prepare and wrap her. I agree, JBB, that the flopping hand was a very nice and realistic touch here as well.

              It, of course, reminded me as well of Dean’s funeral pyre, and mostly made me very sad as to what Sam had to go through to prepare Dean for it. But even with that grim thought, I liked the fresh look at it in this episode here a lot.

              I also thought Carlos had good moments. I really like his more serious side, like when he’s trying to convince John to go to therapy with him, and his sly remarks without being too silly. However, the whole flustered thing over the hunky taxidermist, Anton, was annoying to me. I just didn’t buy that confident, flirty, Harlequin-romance-novel-adoring Carlos would get THIS bend out of shape this quickly. It felt overdone and silly to me and went on too long.

              I don’t mind the Soucouyant witch-pire baddy this week. YES, it was a little weird about Barbados for the reasons you mentioned, JBB, but I heard about Soucouyant stories in New Orleans (due to the Carribbean influences there) and maybe they just didn’t want to base another story there so soon?

              I very much agree with you, though, that fighting monster witches in bright sunlight is NOT scary and really not giving me SPN vibes! I want creepy, nighttime hunts and shadowy locations to explore.

              I did enjoy Anton and Lata digging into the witch’s arm with glee, but I do think overall that the young hunter’s are a bit too nonchalant around gore, too.

              NICE twist with the monster being possessed by Mac’s vengeful spirit that then jumped into John. I didn’t see that coming and it was a good story point (plus Drake did a good job at playing it). I just thought the exposition about Mac as a bit labored and long. And the parallel about the “dark soul” hunter to what John might become was too heavy-handed.

              To me Meg did a better job in this episode giving me a little more emotion from Mary. Like in the scene with John after he got injured by the Soucouyant. Maybe she was just playing off of Drake here, who I thought nailed that scene and John’s conflicting emotions, but as a whole I felt more from Mary giving him crap about his motives. And the last scene with John was warmer and more believable to me as well. (And I say it again, maybe Meg’s portrayal of Mary isn’t bothering me as much because I never expected that much open emotion from Mary to begin with because I never felt that from Sam Smith either. LOL)

              Of course, it was idiotic and very “Winchester” of John to do exactly what Mary accused him of being his weak point. But I can see that as a character trait of his, the running into danger without much considering his own risk, because we know that so well from his sons.

              I’m sure everyone involved was very proud of the fight scene in the barn….I think they need some more practice to make it look better. It seemed pretty amateurish to me. Tracy should have at least TRIED to fight back when Mac/John has her in a choke hold. Carlos was out too quickly – no doubt to even the odds. Mary does not look like an experienced fighter, she fell down too much. LOL. But I don’t fault them for lack of experience here. Maybe if they had made Mac/John look MORE powerful it might have balanced out? But I appreciate them trying to include an epic fight scene. Those will get better with time.

              I loved that Lata saved the day with HER special gift of empathy. THAT was a nice touch and I’m really glad we learned so much more about her past and motivations. She gained nice depth for me this episode and made me believe that her constantly sunny attitude we’ve seen so far is really just put on to hide her doubts about being a liability and torn between two worlds, like she says to Carlos in the van. So, it was lovely to see her actually being the ONE who was best suited to solve the issue in the end and get through to Mac and convince him to let go and break the cycle.

              I’m a little surprise that Tracy lived, but I’m pleased by it! YES, she fucked up in her earlier hunter’s live, but I’m glad she has a chance for redemption and was just discarded!!

              I very much agree with you, JBB, on the point that I want to see more “real life” friction for the characters as well. You make an excellent point how they currently kinda float through their surroundings in a bubble without much real interaction or conflict with the world. I get that the world wasn’t as connected back then in the big picture (like law enforcement catching on to some of their minor crimes like B&E) but there should be some of the strive that comes from living in a smallish town in Kansas and their unconventional way to live and “work”. I am sure there are plenty of opinions circulating at the diner and the supermarket and the church….etc….I would love to see some of the character’s interactions in a real way with that part of life.

              Still, overall it was one of the strongest episodes so far to me, because there was real character development, an interesting case and a widening of the season story arc.

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              • kate38
                  November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #30407

                  “NICE twist with the monster being possessed by Mac’s vengeful spirit that then jumped into John. I didn’t see that coming and it was a good story point (plus Drake did a good job at playing it). I just thought the exposition about Mac as a bit labored and long. And the parallel about the “dark soul” hunter to what John might become was too heavy-handed.”

                  I thought Drake did a great job of showing us two distinct personalities in “Mac” versus “John”. Even when Lata was talking to him, I could read the internal conflict on his face; very nicely done :). That could easily have gotten silly and ham-fisted, but Drake made it subtle enough to be compelling.


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              • kate38
                  November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #30394

                  This show might finally be getting its legs under itself. This episode didn’t suck! If the previous episodes had been this good, I’d be much more optimistic about the future than I am. I was already in love with Supernatural by episode 4 or 5. But this show? No so much.

                  What I liked:

                  I thought the funeral scene was sweet and well-executed. It was the first time it seemed like the cast members (aside from Drake/John) were actually INTERACTING and communicating with one another instead of just reciting their lines. I even saw a glimmer of caring in Meg’s eyes. This might be the first time she seemed invested in her own performance.

                  The monster kicking the door in was a nice jump scare.

                  I liked the parallels and foreshadowing about how difficult it is for a hunter to leave the life and keep the past from eventually catching up with them.

                  It finally feels like they’re trying to give Lata some dimensions. She’s kind of right about a pacifist-hunter being a difficult contradiction to overcome. I don’t think it will last, though. Eventually, she’s going to land in a situation that she can’t talk her way out of.

                  What bothered me:

                  Unfortunately, Carlos is still comic relief, and I don’t think the actor is very good. With rare exception, most of his performance is over the top and he generally annoys me.

                  In the beginning, when they suspected a werewolf, why didn’t they check to see if the victim’s heart was missing? I looked at the body, and there wasn’t any blood on or near the center of her chest. A cursory visual exam would’ve told them that it wasn’t a werewolf. Sigh. Last week, the writers chose to ignore djinn lore, and this week a group of supposedly experienced hunters needed to examine the curvature of a claw to realize the monster wasn’t a werewolf? Okie, dokie…

                  Speaking of that monster fight, when Mary hacked the monster’s arm off with the machete, why didn’t she just chop off the head instead?? When in doubt about how to kill the thing, shouldn’t beheading be near the top of the list of stuff to try?

                  It felt like that first argument between Mary and John was too contrived and forced. That said, their conversation at the end of the episode was the very first time that I’m seeing any real chemistry between them, and I liked that scene for all the right reasons. I also enjoyed the meditation scene between John and Lata. It felt sincere. I think both of these scenes probably worked well because of Drake, but I’ll take them as wins anyway.

                  I’m a little annoyed that they made John seem so reckless. I get that he was trying to deal with anger issues and all, but John Winchester was never that stupid.

                  Anyway, this one gets a cautious A-minus. I hope they can keep the good writing going.


                  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by kate38kate38.
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                • kate38
                    November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #30397

                    I didn’t know RSJ directed this one! No wonder it’s the best one so far!

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                  • Stedan
                      November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #30489

                      I definitely liked this episode better than one last week. Unlike some of you I felt a bit like a Supernatural vibe at the “case” of the week.

                      But my main problem remains and that are the characters, or better the lack what I feel for the them. I usually like Carlos, but this week his antics seemed a bit exaggerated to me. And I just can’t bring myself to feel much for Mary, she seemed a bit better in this episode, not so forced, a bit more sympathetic. But I still can’t say that I really care about her.

                      And I think that is the main problem. I don’t really care about the characters, I don’t sympathize with them. I mean, we are at midseason now and we have a pretty long hiatus ahead. But I can’t say that I feel like I’m eagerly awaiting to find out what happens next, other than that I hope for some familiar faces in the upcoming episodes.

                      I’m really sorry that I have to say this, but now we have seen half of the season and my resume is, I wouldn’t be shocked if the show didn’t get a second season. That’s at least how I feel at this point. I still hope that I will be able to change my mind and I really want Jensen and Danneel to succede.

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                      • kate38
                          November 22, 2022 at 1:21 pm #30500

                          Hey, Stedan 🙂

                          I feel your pain…

                          I SO want this show to succeed, for Jensen’s sake. But I’m worried about season 2 at this point. Mark Pedowitz is no longer in control of the CW, so (unlike Walker) this show will have to succeed on its own merits. I hope enough Supernatural fans are hanging in there to give it decent ratings. I know people who are hate-watching Walker just to support Jared, so hopefully Jensen will benefit from comparable loyalty from the fandom.

                          As you and JBB have both said, I don’t “care” about most of these characters yet. Part of my issue is that, aside from John and Millie, they seem too much like caricatures for me to care about them. To me, Lata and Carlos lack any depth, and Mary is just plain unlikable. Another issue is that they aren’t really interacting in a convincing way with one another. With a large ensemble cast, I need sincerity and communication in the performances. Otherwise, it’s like a band or a string quartet where everybody is just playing their parts, but nobody is listening to anyone else, so it doesn’t feel true.

                          I find that the scenes I like the most (so far) are normally the ones between only 2 cast members — like John and Millie; or in this episode, the meditation scene between John and Lata, and that final discussion between John and Mary. Maybe Drake is the common denominator there? Or, maybe these scenes are easier for the actors, because there’s only one other person to focus on. It’s when the whole Scooby gang is together that the show starts to feel cheesy and silly to me. I hope that gets better, before it’s too late.


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                    Let’s all talk about – The Winchesters – Art of Dying (S1 E6)

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