Let’s all talk about – The Winchesters – Hang on to Your Life! (S1 E8)

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    • journalbookbinder
        January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #38360

        It’s been a REALLY long hiatus. I don’t think a new show does itself any favors by having such long breaks. We’ve only seen 7 episodes and it’s been over a month since the last one. I can’t get invested like this. BUT, we are back. I guess they need to stretch it out with only 13 episodes for S1. There has been no movement so far on a renew for S2, but I guess it’s too early to give up on that yet. I can’t even really remember where we were except that John got to talk to his father in the last episode and that was impactful. I have no idea what’s up with Mary anymore.

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      • journalbookbinder
          January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #39480

          It’s late. Thoughts in a few hours. But I loved Carlos’ voice.

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        • journalbookbinder
            January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #39506

            The morning after… I liked this episode more than some of the others. I liked the focus OFF the space crickets this time! I am still not invested in the “big bad” because it’s so non-Supernatural-AU-otherworldly. It’s not what I wanted. But anyone that’s read these comments from me on TW as we go already definitely knows that.

            So a break from the Akrida-focus was something I enjoyed. Even though the last episode we saw was Akrida-heavy when them trying to chase down the queen. Now recovered Samuel is off to do that alone.

            What I liked most about this episode was the glimpse into Carlos’ past. His singing voice honestly blew me away.  I didn’t expect it. That was probably my favorite scene in the entire episode. It has nothing to do with the story! But it was my favorite. I love that his voice lived up to the hype they kept hinting at in the story; no one wanted him to quit, the duo wasn’t as successful without him. I’m still unclear on why he left the music world and chose hunting. He doesn’t seem to enjoy hunting sometimes – he’s very emotionless about it when he says things like “then you have to kill something”. But I enjoyed this look at some of his past and I thought the actor playing is ex-music duo partner was very natural and convincing.

            Louden Swain was totally wasted in this episode, but the focus was supposed to be on Carlos. Louden Swain’s wigs were comical. I kept wanting to say, “Hey, Carlos, God is RIGHT BEHIND YOU!”

            I thought Lata was an enjoyable partner to Carlos for most of this. But I STILL hate that she ALWAYS has all the answers. She brought her books (though Carlos’ comment about her heavy books wrecking the van suspension I did like!) and of course the answer is in there! I don’t dislike her character; she’s just too convenient a solution to the information-gathering problem. They DO interview witnesses. Lata and Carlos talked to people at the bar; but it’s always overshadowed for me by Lata knowing EVERYTHING they need to know to go up against whatever the monster is. I thought the end where she played with Loki trapped in the mirror was a bit too cute-sy too. Going for funny, but it was too cute.

            Loki. I am confused as hell. What was his motivation? Just the fun of cursing humans in a very demon-like deal where he promises enhanced abilities or fame and fortune in exchange for watching a human suffer having to choose who they sing to knowing whoever they sing to will die?  And what ever happened with the bartender? He went up in flames and Carlos’ ex-musician partner said he was NOT singing to that guy. Were ALL of those guys Loki? The roadie…the bartender…just messing with the victim’s heads? I just don’t get what Loki wanted out of it. To make humans squirm and suffer. As when Carlos smashed the guitar, refusing to perform instead of choosing one of his friends to spontaneously combust? I would like someone to explain this to me because I was quite lost with the whole point of it.

            I know Loki is an exaggerated character, but there were too many finger snaps (which RSJ originally did on Pepsi commercials and I thought SPN adopted that as kind of a nod to his commercial career years ago?) and RSJ was overacting to me. But I’m not gonna nit-pick that because the character IS kind of a sarcastic jerk. I felt like, as RSJ played these characters on SPN, they were much more nuanced. Or maybe the WRITING was much more nuanced. I think about his performance in Mystery Spot which was more nuanced.

            Samuel. I just got not much feeling from him. I know it was only his first appearance, but Mitch Pileggi just OWNED that role and I have a hard time divorcing it from him. To me, this Samuel fell a bit flat, but he’s not really established yet. And now he’s off hunting so not much chance to GET established so far.

            I did enjoy the scenes between Samuel and Millie. A lot. Two very decent actors there and that felt real. I guess somehow I bought Samuel as gruff when Mitch played him. Here? He seemed overly-harsh.

            I do love Millie. I think John and Millie continue to be the most natural and believable characters.

            John and Mary. I didn’t like that the first line out of John’s mouth when Samuel started coming around was, “So, are you out then?” I am SICK TO DEATH of all the talk about Mary leaving hunting! They hit us over the head with it every episode. I did like the inkling at the start of the episode that Mary CAN be softer. I’ve though maybe I don’t like her much because that’s how she’s written. Hard and wary and closed-off. But I’m still just not feeling the “realness” of the Mary character like I feel from John.

            Mary told John at the start she didn’t regret the kiss, but wasn’t really ready for more. Then she out of the blue kisses him (really awkwardly!) at the end while John’s looking through Samuel’s printed photos. (BTW, “setting up the darkroom”…it’s not an instant thing. I used to HAVE a darkroom. I guess they always had the chemicals available, etc. and know how to process film.) That kiss came out of nowhere…and then as much as John’s been pining for Mary, she kisses him, obviously telling him she wants more, and he easily gets distracted by the photo? I bought “them” a bit more in the opening scene where Mary finally talked to John like a real person about their first kiss. I didn’t buy “them” in that scene at the end. I am still just not seeing the chemistry Jensen talks about! Not at all!

            The photo. So Dean gave John the letter from his father. So Dean has to mess with history to get John and Mary together? To get John searching in the direction of the Men of Letters? But is it just that – go find out about the MOL to save the world and Mary HAPPENS to show up? Future-Dean or heaven-Dean would have known that Mary would show up. I DO look forward to episode 13 when Robbie Thompson said it will then be clear where Dean is narrating from.

            The narration. It sounds nothing like anything Dean would say! It sounds oddly “greeting card”. Seriously, Dean would never say, “But when you follow your heart”…. What. The. Fuck. I would honestly like the show better without any narration.

            Fans are very upset about the lack of mention of Sam. Fans found the episode photo that they used here for that photo of Dean at the end. It was a photo from Clap Your Hands if You Believe and Sam was standing on the other side of the car (it was a screen still) but of course here Sam was conveniently missing due to the bright flare on the damaged film. Fans are upset about THAT. Saying TW is erasing Sam from existence. I don’t think that! I do wish Sam were somehow mentioned or involved here; even if he just shows up at the very end as a voice in the background if we learn Dean IS narrating from heaven. But maybe Dean is narrating from heaven before Sam gets there, hence no Sam. Kinda lazy to use an old screenshot…

            It really doesn’t sound like I liked this one at all!  I actually did. I enjoyed several moments of this one. The shortcoming continue to puzzle me though.

            All that said. I am drawn to John, Carlos, and Millie (and sometimes Ada). I DO want this show to have the chance to continue though I fear it won’t.

            This episode airing on Dean’s birthday and the cast posting on Instagram singing “happy birthday, Dean” to Jensen was really sweet. I thought so. I do feel like Jensen is trying to keep this universe going for him and for Jared for Jared to come back to when he’s not busy with his own projects. I love Jensen for that. This is not how I would choose to do this show (not the focus I’d have – I’d make the cast smaller – not the monster I’d choose, etc.), but I want it to continue.

            And JoJo can sing to me any day!

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          • journalbookbinder
              January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #39512

              Another thing:

              Winchester surprise. I always had in my mind that this was something Mary invented out of whatever was in the cabinets because she wasn’t a great cook. I NEVER thought it was a “family recipe” from her mother-in-law! Bianca Kajlich who plays Millie said she thought it should be included and Robbie Thompson humored her.

              I guess now I know the backstory of Winchester Surprise too, but it’s not as I always imagined it!

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            • Stedan
                January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #39532

                I wasn’t able to watch the episode live, so I had already seen some spoilers on twitter, which seemed like a battlefield today. It seemed a lot of people had a problem with the episode. I get where they are coming from, the show gets farther from everything we know about Supernatural.

                I don’t have that much of a probem with it because I trust that Jensen wouldn’t destroy Supernatural’s legacy and it seems to me that he want that Supernatural reboot more than anyone. So changing the Supernatural canon wouldn’t make any sense. But what I don’t get is, why they let us so much in the dark. I had the theory from the start that what this is about a changed history and Dean is fighting to get “our” Supernatural back. I actually would really like that as a storyline. But if that is what this is about, why wait then until the last episode for everything to make sense.

                Besides that I enjoyed the episode. I liked the focus on Carlos, who seems to become my favorite character of the Winchesters. And he really can sing.

                I have a bit of a problem with Samuel. I like the “new” Samuel, but shouldn’t they stick with his Supernatural characteristic ? Wanting Mary out of the hunting live was the last thing that our Samuel wanted. And as far as I remember he never really knew much about the mol. I liked Tom Welling’s performance, but this is not the Samuel Campell we know.

                I was a bit confused about the Loki storyline aswell. First, who was that ? Was that Gabriel aka the trickster or the real Loki ? And why was he doing, what he was doing. Just for the fun of torturing people. The trickster was more about just deserts, playing games with people who he thought deserved it. So I don`t get his incitement in this.

                And I still don’t really care about Mary. It might be the acting, I just don’t feel for her. But overall I’ve enjoyed the episode. I just wish, I could either seperate this more in my head from Supernatural or and I would prefer that, they would let us know a bit more about the backstory of all of this. I really don’t get what is the purpose of this secretivness. I think they are loosing viewers, the ratings were not good.

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              • PigNaPoke
                  January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #39536

                  I agree with much you say, JBB.

                  Overall enjoyed it and the break from the Akrida story line and the episode as a whole but I also had several issues.

                  I DID enjoy Tom Welling as Samuel very much. To me his slightly out of touch gruffness in the beginning was fitting for that character to me.  I loved how he waved John out of the chair he was sitting in, implying with one gesture that a young pup should respect his elders. And again when he corrected John, saying “Sam” to “SamUEL is fine” and squeezing his hand so hard that John cringed and shook it. Subtle signs of dominance, that were much like Mitch’s Samuel to me. I mean it’s HARD to compete with Mitch Pileggi, but I was not disappointed with Tom. I hope he’ll be back.

                  The conversations with Millie was great and felt real. The disdain for the “mole men” was funny, buried underground with their books. Knowing what Henry said to Sam and Dean about his preconceived notions about hunters, this was a great counterpoint. HA. And I did like a lot that Samuel softened later when he tried to explain himself in the end, before he left. It seemed genuine and believable to me. Like most hunter parents we met along the years, they TRY to keep the kids out or safe in an awkward way that never really works because most of the kids WANT to be in and help.

                  And THAT is one thing I did not enjoy….MARY….make your freaking mind up. If you are THAT set on being out (And I am just as sick to death as you are JBB of the constant, beating over the head mention of it!!!!) then ….don’t be all whiny and petulant about your dad trying to keep you out…. What sense does that make? And when she talked to Samuel at the end it seemed like now she wants to continue hunting. It just all seems immature flip flopping for me. There isn’t a real REASON for her to want out other than…she wants out and not live the life. But she has no issue running the show and bossing everyone around. So….make your mind up. UGH….the weird, uncomfortable kiss. SO out of place and again making Mary’s character look indecisive and unreliable. She JUST said she needs time…well, that was about 5 minutes….not enough time to feel realistic.

                  I REALLY enjoyed Carlos (and JoJo’s work) in this episode. Carlos seemed more balanced and a little more sincere or less comical, over the top (THAT was filled annoyingly by Loki AND RSJ). Aside from the singing, which was GORGEOUS and as you already said very unexpected (because I had not read any hype about it on line), Carlos also was more focused and operating on his own and I very much liked that.

                  I also LOVE the little moment at the beginning when John says he’ll stay behind with Mary and Samuel and Carlos stares at them both for a long moment and then says “I’ll allow it” HA.

                  I very much appreciate the deeper glimpse into Carlos’ past butting music career as well. It was the type of character story line I expected MUCH earlier in the season. It helps build a connection between audience and that character and make them 3D. I missed that so far. Now I got a sense of what he gave up for the hunting life, which in his case could have been fame and fortune with his voice… I do (like you) want to know the reason WHY he gave it up, though. Maybe we still get that later in the season?

                  I didn’t like that he so readily agreed to “the deal”. WHY? He didn’t even know the full scope of it and we had just gotten him to show that he was smart and more calculating like that. I never enjoy when action directs characters and not the other way around. (My main issue on Walker)

                  Lata continues to be too convenient and too sweet for me, too. You can be a pacifist and NOT be so cutsie. You can be strong and kind and just and find logical ways to deal with situations without violence. I don’t like when she’s cringing in the background of a fight making squeaky noises and looking outraged. It’s cliché and she’s better than that.

                  The fight scene against multiple Loki’s was kinda cool, though, because we hadn’t seen that before. I didn’t mind seeing everyone fight slightly differently.

                  LOKI…..well….I watched it again and I am STILL confused as hell. Was the entire episode written just so RJS could make a guest appearance?? Maybe. Funny or sad enough, there were plenty of things that I DID like the episode so the parts with Loki and RJS’ over-the-top, cringy, clowny performance did not ruin it for me. What happened?? RJS was so so good in SPN as Gabriel and Loki and the Trickster. Cheeky, yes, but also sarcastic enough to give it some edge and you could always feel that there was a somewhat dangerous layer to him. HERE….he was just annoying with the thousand finger snaps and the odd overacted lines.

                  And I do not get AT ALL what his character was after. Like you said, it felt like a demon deal to me, NOT like what we know Loki/the Trickster to enjoy doing to his victims. There weren’t any “just desserts”. The singers wanted success, I guess, but where is the teaching a lesson aspect?  Demons just want to hurt people, but Loki was always more about giving bullies and assholes a kick in the pant. And was part of the “deal” with Loki that it had to be THAT song that had to be sung? Everyone hummed it and sang it who ended up dead or burned.

                  And even the curse itself was confusing. You get the tattoo and you need to sing TO a person to make them burn instead of yourself? I didn’t understand if that was just ONE time, like a payment for the singer’s upcoming success? Or once per performance forever? The whole thing was not well explained and therefore useless as story point.

                  I also have to say that I am not 100% in love with the music they chose for TW. Although 70’s it’s a bit too POP and less ROCK to me and it sometimes seems like a sad shadow of the OG show.

                  The concert was fun. Even if Louden Swain was sadly wasted as background décor. loved the little moment where Lata says she’s more of a metal head. HA, unexpected. The Jericho Kid’s voice wasn’t bad either earlier in the epidose.

                  LOVE your comments on the dark room. I was only thinking “Set Up the dark room? Odd.” Wouldn’t they have a fixed one on the basement or something? Thinking how they would need the ability to develop film with creepy things on it themselves.

                  OMGS! You hit it on the head with your observations about the Dean narration! HE WOULD NEVER SAY ANY OF THESE THINGS!!! The words are too stilted and weirdly “domesticated” and NOT Dean. And hearing Jensen’s Dean voice just makes me sad and miss Dean SOO freaking much. I hate to say it, but I really would prefer him NOT narrating TWs!!

                  Sooo many questions about Dean showing up in the photo at the end!!! Now that is intriguing and feels very SPN to me. WHY did Dean zap back to this time? And I even more so want to know from which point in the SPN story did he zap back and give John the letter? I know Robbie Thompson teased that he’ll explain all that in episode 13….I am very curious.

                  And fans raining hate on Jensen from keeping Sam out of that photo….sorry to say but….get over it! Jensen is NOT erasing Sam….he even said Jared would be a narrator at some point (if we get more episodes). I simply don’t get and don’t want to indulge or give footing to this odd division in the fandom that wants to see only one or the other side of Sam and Dean. To me they are ONE brotherly unit and there are no conspiracies to keep them apart or value one over the other….just…NO.

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                • journalbookbinder
                    January 16, 2023 at 12:23 pm #40006

                    Stedan; yes, it seems like they are getting further from the show we know and love…not explaining some missing piece which is what I somewhat expected The Winchesters to do. I also kind of now hope it is some kind of alternate reality that Dean goes back in time to stop so that we end up with what we know instead of this.

                    I like figuring out a mystery (and always enjoyed episodes of Supernatural where we are figuring it out along with Sam and Dean), but I agree that it’s frustrating to have so much strangeness (with the monster and not knowing where in time Dean is narrating from) and no explanation until the very end.

                    Some folks online were saying that Loki was the REAL Loki…and by having him trapped in a mirror now, forever (which was weird but I’m sure probably part of existing folklore?), that would allow Gabriel to “hide” as Loki later. I don’t know.

                    I agree with Stedan about the viewership. I don’t think they are helping themselves build a fan base by not sticking to canon, by keeping us in the dark about where and when this is taking place (AU or real world and where is Dean narrating from?) and there are such large breaks between episodes there is no real “flow” to it. It does not have enough of the feel (horror and darkness) of the Supernatural we all love. So how will it attract that viewer base? It’s kind of odd. And I had such high hopes for Robbie’s writing! He seemed to understand Sam and Dean so well, but given the chance to really fill out characters we didn’t know as much about, it doesn’t feel right.

                    All that said, I too enjoyed all the Carlos in this episode. I liked that he was used less for comedic relief and the few comedy lines were very natural and understated (like his “I’ll allow it.”). PigNaPoke; I thought Carlos agreed to the deal so fast ONLY to take the curse off his musician partner friend. Like the Mark of Cain – you can take it from someone else, it seemed, and they were free but it was passed on to you and I felt that’s why Carlos agreed and that was the only reason.

                    The Lata “metalhead” moment WAS one of the first times she’s seemed more three-dimensional!

                    I do want to know if Dean is back there running around giving notes to his younger dad from heaven? Or from some point in time before he died?

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                Let’s all talk about – The Winchesters – Hang on to Your Life! (S1 E8)

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