Let’s all talk about – The Winchesters – Masters of War (S1 E4)

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    • journalbookbinder
        November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #24001

        I think this one might give us more of John’s Vietnam backstory. I’m looking forward to it. I hear on the SPN Then and Now podcast that Jensen had to fight to be able to film the Vietnam sequences (for cost reasons; the network was against it) and he “took it all the way to the top” which I’m assuming was Mark Pedowitz (though Jensen didn’t name names) and that person approved it, saying he trusted Jensen to tell the story the way it needed to be told. Jensen felt the Vietnam experience was so important to who John is. I worry for the future of such decisions without Mark Pedowitz at the head of the CW.

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      • Stedan
          November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #24361

          Am I the first one to write anything ?
          I think that was my favorite episode so far. Maybe that is because it was not so much about John and Marys relationship. But what felt a bit weird, was that I at times almost forgot that this is the story of our John and Mary.
          I loved Carlos character development. I`m glad that he is not just there for the fun moments and jokes.
          Johns portrayal of ptsd was amazing and the ending scene was heartbreaking.

          The only thing that did bother me a bit, was the coincidence that they found the book with the text that could kill the god, found in this room in which no one has been for a while. A bit too much luck to be believable.

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          • kate38
              November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #25684

              Hi,Stedan —

              I think you hit the nail right on the head! This has been my favorite episode so far, and I think it’s because there was very little focus on Mary and on the “relationship” between John and Mary. Aside from the sparring scene in the beginning, they had very little screen time together. I enjoyed the focus on John and Carlos (even though I don’t take Carlos seriously yet). I also appreciated the main story being nudged forward a little bit, as if John’s development will be a critical factor when they face the acreta.

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          • journalbookbinder
              November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #24369

              My fears do seem to be well-founded as now there are articles out about how The Winchesters (and Walker: Independence) has not had the second half of the season ordered…so the first season will stick and hold at 13 episodes. Damn you, Nexstar for buying the CW!!!! But they say that NOT ordering the second half of season one does not mean they won’t order a second season. I want this show to have the chance to succeed. Bad timing on this change of ownership for our shows. But shows have much shorter runs these days…so I could see it just being a shorter-run show (like The Boys with only 8 episodes per season!).

              BUT, on to the episode…

              I love Drake as John. I can see John, Sam, AND Dean in his performance and I love it. For someone so new to acting, he’s a natural. He was inspired casting and I will keep watching just for him. Seeing the characters I love IN his portrayal right now feels to me like the only thing connecting this show to Supernatural.

              I am continuing to have a hard time with the weird monsters. I understand that these are monsters from all different cultures and Mary is surprised to see them turning up so it is out of the ordinary and THAT has something to do with the Akrida. As we learned, the Akrida want to do away with everything on earth; humanity AND monsters and it seems that, judging by this episode, even Gods are worried about it! I wish I knew WHAT the Akrida wanted and WHY they want to do this! I can’t find this threat very threatening when it’s so vague and so weird (giant spider/crab dogs that so far just run around and follow a figure in a cape and hood).

              I am just not finding these monsters scary. And I loved the scary monsters of early SPN. The actor playing the God in this one did a fine job – going from veteran to God and I didn’t see that coming! But the Samurai outfit…the fact that the guy in it was very “American” yet supposed to be from a different culture…it just didn’t fit for me! The spear…all of it was way too fantasy/video game for me! Not scary. I did like that this week’s God/monster was a thinking and talking being that obviously had some kind of plan for John; to make sure he was ready/violent enough to fight the Akrida (and deemed he WAS ready). I wish a thinking, scheming adversary would last more than one episode though.

              I liked finding out more about Carlos, but…I wanted more. I wanted a war story – more than just apprehension from seeing the burning cigarettes of the Viet Cong out in the jungle. I wanted something that we didn’t expect of Carlos; a story about some kind of uncharacteristic and traumatizing war violence. He seemed surprised at the violence displayed by John after he killed the God. I did like the moment when he hugged John. For all Carlos’ bravado, he cares about John and I liked that. I also liked him in his Navy uniform because it looks so out of character to his usual hippie-equse wardrobe and I enjoyed the revelation that we really don’t know much about these characters yet.

              The whole storyline with Maggie’s death is falling flat for me. It was a big trauma for Mary and Lata but we never knew Maggie (no flashbacks, etc.), so her death doesn’t have the traumatic urgency for me I want to feel.

              Let’s talk about Lata. I love that there is a character of Indian descent. Love it. But I do not like this character!!!! She’s too…nice. She doesn’t seem real yet. And she ALWAYS has or finds the answer! One of the things that made Supernatural feel so real was Sam and Dean scrambling to find answers on their own. There was a “time is of the essence” feel and it was suspenseful. Here, they go to the “clubhouse”, Lata pulls out a book, and voila; she has most of the info. they need. It’s…boring and I did not expect that from Robbie Thompson.

              Right now, this show has too much of a young adult novel fantasy feel to me. Not horror. Not Supernatural.

              But I love John. I love Carlos (“What kind of heterosexual mating ritual am I interrupting?”) but want Carlos to be revealed to be a lot more of a badass!!! OR show that he was forced into violence at some point and that is why he’s now adopted the holy water water gun and less hands-on violence: because he didn’t like the person he was when he WAS violent. There’s no sign of that yet, but THAT would be interesting to me.

              I haven’t talked much about Mary because…I’m still just not feeling Mary. Again, I know this may be by design. We had a little peek into what were supposed to be more real emotions when she was trying to escape the monster and talking on the CB radio to John last week…that was a step forward, but she seems overly-confident in her knowledge (maybe on purpose; maybe so it can bite her in the ass later) and what made Supernatural so good was Sam and Dean NOT having answers. If anything, I expected this show to be even more “in the dark” as far as how to fight monsters because it was decades before Sam and Dean so I thought the knowledge would be more scanty. But if anything there seems to be MORE info. from Mary and Lata.

              I like that Mary is a strong female and not a pushover…she’s the leader really and I like that IDEA, but I’m just not feeling much from the actress yet. Unlike Drake who does make me empathize with him.

              Millie REALLY accepted the whole crazy “God” story from Lata WAY TOO FAST! This is supposedly new to her (unless she’s also some kind of closet hunter!) and she accepted all of that without question which seemed very lazy writing to me. Wow. Never thought I’d EVER accuse Robbie Thompson of lazy writing when he wrote such intricate & thoughtful dialog as he did in “Don’t Call Me Shirley”.

              Somehow, this show does not feel REAL to me yet. In spite of the crazy stories and monsters and concepts, Supernatural always felt REAL which is why I cared so much about Sam and Dean and WANTED them to “win” and figure things out at the last minute and save each other every week. I don’t care much yet about these characters. It’s still early. But I already cared immensely about Sam and Dean by the 4th episode of Supernatural. I did.

              I would have enjoyed the fight scene with John because it’s the first time we really saw his “cold blooded killer” side – but the glowing SPEAR was so video-game ridiculous I couldn’t take it seriously!

              So, this one had moments between characters that I liked…but I’m still wishing for more.

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              • kate38
                  November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #25686

                  Hi, JBB!!

                  You make some excellent points 🙂

                  I like Drake a lot, too. I like his approach to John and I like how sincere and relatable they’re making him. John and Millie are still my favorite characters. That shower scene at the end was so tender and real – I loved it.

                  I agree with you about Maggie. I had to keep reminding myself who she was and why I should care about her death at all. I also agree with you that Lata having all the answers and always having the right book is already getting boring. And I realize that the Scooby gang needs a base of some kind, but the Men of Letters “clubhouse” (love that, by the way) is lame.

                  Speaking of Lata, how do you rush to the hospital, rush to find the magic vase, but then stop to admire the craftmanship before you destroy it to save your friends? That seemed odd to me.

                  If I recall, Millie knew about Henry being a Man of Letters (or trying to be one, anyway), which means she already knew about monsters and the supernatural. My guess is that’s why she accepted the god-dude theory so readily.

                  You also make a good point these characters. By episode four of Supernatural, I already CARED about Dean and Sam and I was invested in their story. So far, I care about John and Millie, but that’s it. I’m not really connecting with the rest of the characters. Maybe like you said, they’re not believable. I hope that changes soon.


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              • PigNaPoke
                  November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #24409

                  Hi Y’all,

                  forgive me if some of the following thoughts are repeats of yours, but I am posting without reading first:

                  I did like the sparring sequence at the very beginning. Good choreography and it looked real to me. I also liked the glimpse at how Mary sees that something’s bothering John but instead of talking she offers a REAL sparring match to get it out of his system. Very “Winchester” of her. I wondered for a moment if John would go all out on her and how she would be fairing. I liked the little twist that even though she offered herself as a punching bag she ends up showing him he’s fighting too fairly or squarely.

                  I’m warming up to Mary a little more. She’s less wooden and I can see that she is trying to be less bossy with the gang. Her scenes with Latha going through Maggie’s things were very nice and I loved the little ritual they picked up from Maggie with the post cards stating some GOOD things that happened during the hunt! I like that we can see Mary constantly observing and assessing John, trying to figure him out. I like that they are not totally googoo-eyed for each other but learn to like and respect each other first. That’s refreshingly different from normal TV love stories.

                  Drake is doing really well as John. I see a little of both Sam and Dean in his performance at times. He has a Jensen-esque ability to keep emotions just under the surface but let us clearly see them. When they DO jump to the foreground like John’s occasional violent outburst or the tears at the very end, it’s hard to watch because it’s believable and you feel for him.

                  Love the scenes between John and Millie, both actors are great in them and I like the loving but realistically complicated relationship they seem to have. John is already displaying the very “Winchester” don’t talk about it, just bury it, attitude here and I like hearing from Millie that she struggles with talking about feelings as well, so he obviously learned that from her. But then when he REALLY needs the emotional support at the very end, she’s right there and jumping into the running shower to hug him tight. LOVED that scene.
                  Also already visible is John’s willingness to sacrifice himself for others and it seems natural for him and the jump into action and ask questions later vibe very much reminds of Sam and Dean.

                  The case was interesting to me at the start and I liked that at least some of the info, like that there are other cases like this all across the country, came from an outside source (the reporter kid) this time. Of course, then they magically find the right book again quickly to figure out what they are fighting.
                  (Side Note: I had really hoped that The Winchesters would slow down the case solving to maybe one in every TWO shows to make the search for clues more time accurate….BUT I get that I’m the minority with this and that most audience probably wants the MOW format….hence….magic books at every turn.)

                  I didn’t get the reasoning, though, that the “white old men” of the MoL would not have similar books at the club house and Latha and Mary had to go into Maggie’s room for it?! That seemed pretty tortured.

                  I enjoyed that we got Carlos and John working together and have Latha and Mary on the outside. The new team up was a nice change.

                  Glad to find out more about Carlos here and was surprised to find out he was in Vietnam as well and why. I did like his therapy sharing scene but needed a little more to the story to really understand his trauma there. He gets a little too emotional for me there without an obvious part of his story causing it but I do liked the glimpse at a more serious and deep Carlos. I wondered for a moment if he was just ACTING and sharing the emotional story to get out of there to search the files? Until he talked to John about how talking about it really helped. I do like how their friendship is still hesitant but growing warmer in this episode. They aren’t exactly sure of what to make of the other but sense that it’s worth figuring out.

                  Unfortunately, later in the episode the case got really thin and confusing to me:
                  Why would the god-monster want to have John join him to fight the Akrida? What interest does the god have in that situation? Was he after ANY soldier that could be honed? Why only in psych wards? And WHO moves the amphora around? Neto himself?

                  When Neto says to John that there are centuries of violence and anger in his blood, I guess it’s a reference to the SPN revelation about Cain and Abel? How would he know that if he’s a god from a non-Christian pantheon?

                  Why would John go into the jungle room without a clear indication that Carlos as in there? I’d liked to see him find something of Carlo’s at least to lure him in there….

                  The fight scenes were great, though! Lots of good action and different because of the spears.

                  Millie wanting to check out John, the Doc first telling her that the psych ward is locked and then suddenly giving them free reign because Millie threatens with the news was WEIRD!

                  Also ODD that the ladies were looking in bags and in drawers for a vase.

                  Also ODD that John breaks the spear and kills Neto with the wooden shaft. WHY? If that is the only way to kill the god, how did John know? And if that wasn’t the only way to do it why not use the actual glowy, pointy end??

                  Some scenes felt to me like they were stunted, maybe incomplete because parts were being edited out?

                  I really liked JoJo’s performance in this one, less airy, a little more weight, a little more nuanced. Like when Carlos finds John after killing the god and John is pretty much covered in blood, Carlos gives him a GREAT look that is in equal parts understanding and a little scared. Very good. And his last outfit when he sits back in the group therapy is Price-style fabulous.

                  My favorite parts of this episode were the inter-human relationship building scenes. I do like each of the actors and they make me interested in the characters and wanting to find out more.

                  I’d give this one a 5 out of 10. Wonky case but stronger character scenes.

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                • PigNaPoke
                    November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #24415

                    Hi JBB,

                    I totally agree with you on Latha!! I am very disappointed with her character. I love the diversity as well, but I need that also to STAND for something. I don’t want nerdy-smart Indian book girl! I want more grit and less Disney-ish delivery of everything she says. She’s like a ray of sunshine that breaks through the curtains and doesn’t let you sleep – warm, bright and annoying.

                    Maybe it gets better if we get more of her back story, but at the moment she sticks out and not in a good way. She’s pretty unnecessary on the road, too. She would be more believable if she stayed behind and support them from her library job and MoL club house.

                    I want to like her, but there has to be more there.

                    I keep thinking of Charlie on SPN. She was cute, bubbly, innocent, nerdy, smart, clumsy – pretty much all the things Latha displays – BUT you could tell immediately that there was more to her story and she is brave, which I haven’t seen from Latha yet.

                    Of all characters, she leaves me the coldest.

                    I don’t have a problem with believing Mary’s trauma over the loss of Maggie. I can understand her sadness over losing a sister of sorts. Aside from that it seems to me that Maggie’s death at such young age gives Mary some anxiety over the ticking timer on her own chance to get out AND at the same time Maggie’s death gives Mary the impression that she won’t make it out of the life at all. Locking all that away by not going into the room seems realistic to me.

                    Does Millie maybe know more about Henry’s MoL activity and is not AS disbelieving of the supernatural as a complete innocent would be? And if it’s not that….maybe it’s just in the Winchester family to be totally ready to roll with the supernatural punches? John did the same thing. LOL


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                  • kate38
                      November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #25678

                      Hi, Guys!!
                      I don’t have much to add about this one. It’s my favorite so far, which is encouraging about the rest of the season.

                      Ahem. A surgical cap is completely worthless if 90% of your hair isn’t under it. Just sayin’…

                      I enjoyed the focus on John in this one, and I respect the writer’s and producers’ choice to shine light on PTSD. John Winchester is one of the strongest, most complicated, sincere and mentally solid characters I’ve ever encountered in any television show or film. If HE can have PTSD, it can affect literally anyone. My only criticism of this story line is that back in the 1970s, there was a real stigma associated with “getting help” when a soldier had problems like those depicted in this episode. I thought they handled the whole “Let’s get therapy” thing a little too lightly and eagerly. That made is less credible for me. Otherwise, I really do appreciate what they tried to do.

                      Interesting that Millie said John has been running toward danger since he was four. Is that how old he was when Henry left? I got the impression he was older. Or maybe that was just a heavy-handed reference to parallel Dean.

                      The whole fight scene kind of confused me. I thought the god-dude said John needed to draw “first blood” in order to save Carlos; but when they switched back to the fight, John was bloody, but the other guy wasn’t. And why kill all those other soldiers in all those other states if the dude’s goal was to prepare John to face the acreda? Unless I misunderstood that part, it seems like a weak connection.

                      Overall, this one gets a solid B+ — the best episode so far. Keep it up, Jensen!!


                      • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by kate38kate38.
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                    • kate38
                        November 1, 2022 at 10:23 am #25682

                        Hey, JBB!

                        I’m glad Jensen got his way this time! Although I was a bit confused by the motives in the fight scene, I thought it was well done and well choreographed. And I like that they keep reminding us about John’s military service without beating us over the head with it.


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                    Let’s all talk about – The Winchesters – Masters of War (S1 E4)

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