Supernatural 15×06 Review (Golden Hour)

Dean’s depressed, Cas’ fishing “vacation” gets cut short, and Sam takes center stage to embrace his witchy powers and save an old friend. “Golden Hour” is a rare Supernatural episode that gives Sam the opportunity to shoulder both the main plot and most of the major emotional beats and it makes for a really good episode.

Whenever I talk about how the show focuses on its various characters, I feel like I have to mention at least in passing that while Dean and Cas generally split time as my favorite character, I love Sam and think that he gets unfairly shafted a lot of the time. The balance between Sam and Dean was fairly even at the start of the show, but Dean has taken over more and more of the mytharc lately. He’s always been the emotional center of the show, so when he gets the plot stuff too, Sam almost seems like the second fiddle. So it’s exciting when there are episodes that are specifically Sam-centric. Especially in the last season, he deserves more of them. I want both Sam and Dean to have happy endings by the time this season wraps up. I have an idea of what that could look like for Dean, but I still don’t know for Sam, and episodes like this can clear that up.

This week’s recap focuses on two major things: Rowena’s death and the DeanCas breakup. It’s a pretty good recap, as those are the two major emotional anvils hanging over the guys’ heads. It probably would’ve been good to have some older footage of Eileen, though, because—much as I love her—she’s only actually been in two episodes previous to “Golden Time,” and more casual fans might not have recognized her as easily as I did.

Since there are two plotlines this episode, I figured I’d split them up instead of alternating back and forth like the actual episode does.

Sam, Eileen, Dean, and Rowena

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Book Club: Holes

holesBecause of NaNoWriMo, I haven’t had time to write my usual book reviews and as a result this blog has suffered. Since my most popular posts are my book club discussion questions, I figured I would post questions I wrote a few years ago for one of my all-time favorite books: Louis Sachar’s phenomenal Holes. I’ve read Holes many times over the course of my life, and loved it every time. However, as I’ve aged and gotten better at reading, my love for Holes has expanded from thinking it’s a funny book with the best protagonist’s name ever to knowing that it is a masterful, nuanced novel full of complex issues and, yes, the best protagonist’s name ever.

If you haven’t read Holes yet, you should, no matter how old you are! It’s so, so good.

As is always the case, these prompts are full of spoilers. Read on only if you have finished Holes or don’t mind being spoiled.

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Supernatural 15×05 Review (Proverbs 17:3)

This review is super late, and I apologize for that. NaNoWriMo makes blogging difficult.


After a brief recap that reminds the viewer, among other things, that Sam is having creepy death nightmares and that Cas dumped Dean, “Proverbs 17:3” jumps right in: a trio of essentially identical blonde girls are camping. They might’ve been okay, but one of them gives a toast to “eleven years of not dying,” which of course means  they’re all going to die. You can’t say stuff like that in the cold open of a Supernatural episode.

To the surprise of no one, two of the girls are immediately murdered. The third, Ashley, gets chased down but apparently makes it out of the encounter with nothing worse than a single scratch on her cheek, courtesy of a werewolf who she recognizes and is able to name.

It’s a legitimately frightening opening scene. I can’t remember the last time Supernatural made me this nervous.

Sam has been texting Cas to no response. The texts show that Dean hasn’t told Sam what happened with Cas, so poor Sam is left entirely in the dark. Actually, Sam is having a rough time of it for more reasons than one. His dreams are getting even worse. This time, his dreams go back to the white-suited-Lucifer!Sam days. Dean shots him in the head, but of course that doesn’t work, and Lucifer!Sam snaps his neck. Later in the episode, Dean gets to be the evil murder brother, as Sam dreams of Dean back in the Mark of Cain days.

Sam keeps the truth of his disturbing visions from Dean, because of course he does. When the chips are down and the season is young, the Winchesters keep each other in the dark.

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Supernatural 15×04 Review (Atomic Monsters)

I was excited for tonight’s Supernatural episode in large part because I didn’t realize that there was no episode last week (who scheduled things so that there was no Halloween episode? Boo). Thankfully, this is a very good episode that was worth the long wait. It’s very self-reflexive. One half of the episode in particular does some really interesting meta work, and even though from the outside this might look like one of those old-school bros only hunting episodes, there’s actually a lot more going on.

Just to get this out of the way: the monster-of-the-week episodes are always my least favorites. Supernatural has been going on long enough that placeholder episodes with no plot or character development beyond finding and killing a monster don’t do anything for me anymore. The episode needs to have something special, like a secondary character who isn’t usually present for the hunts (like Hunteri Heroici, when Cas decided to become a hunter) or a silly gimmick (Yellow Fever is the one that comes immediately to mind) or some reference to the main plot of the season. Otherwise the episodes just feel like treading water. I thought Atomic Monsters was going to be one of those, but the guest stars saved it.

The episode opens on a dream/AU/vision. It takes place in a beard-inverted universe saturated in red. Well, not totally beard-inverted. While the usually beardless Dean has one and the normally bearded Benny is unrecognizably clean-faced, Sam’s facial hair situation is the same as ever. I’m not kidding when I say Benny’s unrecognizable. If Dean hadn’t addressed his friend by name, and if Benny hadn’t busted out the catchphrase, I wouldn’t have known who he was.

Benny appears only to die (RIP Benny), which seems at first to be a waste of a fan-favorite character. But after thinking about it more, I’ve decided it’s actually a freaking brilliant cameo, for two reasons. The first reason is both more immediately obvious and more of a stretch. AU!Dean and his crew are racing through a bunker, fighting demons. Before killing one, Dean demands, “Where is he?” I thought that the ‘he’ in question was going to be, well, a question for longer. We find out quickly that Dean is referring to Sam, specifically a Sam who is evil and high on demon blood.

That said, a scruffy Dean running around with Benny, killing monsters, and searching desperately for someone rings a bell. What is it? What is it? Oh, yeah.

dean where's the angel supernatural

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Ninth House (Book Review)

ninth houseEvery few months, I read one of Leigh Bardugo’s books and then explode enthusiasm all over this blog. It’s been a few months since I read King of Scars, so it’s time for another one. She is one of my instant-read authors. When I heard about Ninth House, I knew I was going to read it and love it before I even read the synopsis. Then I found out that it was the choice of the book club I run for work and I got even more excited. You mean now I get to read the new book by one of my all-time favorite writers and then I get paid to discuss it for an hour? Score.

What’s it about?

Alex has always been able to see ghosts, an ability that has reduced her to a state of constant terror. When she is discovered at the site of a bloody mass murder, passed out from an OD next to the body of her friend, she is hospitalized, eliminated as a suspect, and picked up by the dean of one of Yale’s secret societies. Because of Alex’s sight, she is ideal to join the Ninth House, Lethe, which exists to keep the other houses—and, more specifically, their dangerous and bloody magical rituals—under control. Lethe seems like a lifeline, but things quickly get out of control when Alex’s mentor Darlington disappears mysteriously and a young woman’s body is found campus on a night when a ritual nearly went sideways.

What’d I think?

This book is so, so good. It absolutely lived up to my high expectations.

six of crowsIt has a pretty different feel from the Grishaverse, but I wouldn’t say that it’s more adult. Before reading Ninth House, I wondered what was going to be in it that would classify it as adult fantasy rather than YA like the rest of Bardugo’s books. If you’ve read Six of Crows, you know that it’s not exactly bright and cheery. Think about Kaz’s beginnings in Ketterdam. Remember the time he rips a dude’s eye out? Yeah, it goes to pretty dark places.

crooked kingdomNinth House actually addresses some of the same larger themes that are present in Bardugo’s earlier books. Alex turns to drugs to drown out the ghosts and Darlington takes a magical drug to be able to see them; Nina gets hooked on the jurda parem and Crooked Kingdom deals in detail with her recovery. Alex’s boyfriend Len essentially whored her out to get in with unsavory types; Inej spent years as a prostitute before Kaz rescued her. Like Alex, the crows are experienced with hunger and poverty. Both stories deal with the violent underbellies of society. The difference isn’t the content; it’s the context.

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Book Club: Ninth House

ninth housePlease enjoy these discussion starters for Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Feel free to use them in your own book clubs or to respond to them in the comments. These questions are full of spoilers, so make sure you’ve read the book before diving in!

It’s also worth mentioning that Ninth House deals with difficult subject matter and as a result these questions reference sexual assault and rape, violence towards women, abuse, drug use, and more. So… proceed with caution.

I’m also wrote a regular review for Ninth House. If you’re interested, you can read that here

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