I spent some time wondering how I felt about this particular episode because I wasn’t sure. But now that I’ve given it some thought, and since I love the movies of Tarantino, I feel like this is one of the best episodes of the season. Its not an A+, but I will give it a nine point five/ out of ten. (I’m still saving that ten for the rocket launcher episode, and if I don’t get that, I’m gonna be pretty ticked!)
So, let me tell you how my mind works, as regards reviews. I’m sitting there, sort of liking the episode, while its on, but not loving it, and I’m having some okay feels, but despite singing “Stuck in the Middle” , on an endless, loop in my head, I’m still not getting it. When its over, I have some nagging doubts that maybe that wasn’t a good episode, so I chew on this for a while, deciding what it was I liked and disliked, and then I just write it up.
This episode was a little different because I kept singing that durn theme title, either out loud, or in my head, because its one of my favorite movie songs, which led me to reminiscing about the movie Reservoir Dogs, which led me to viewing that opening scene of both the movie and this episode, and from there, I really started to see that this episode is basically a retelling of Reservoir Dogs, one of my favorite Quentin Tarantino movies.
Reservoir Dogs was released in 1992, and it was the first Tarantino movie I’d ever seen.Now if you’re not familiar with the movie, its about a heist gone horribly wrong as the perpetrators hole up in an abandoned warehouse, and try to suss out who betrayed who to the police, and this episode loosely follows all of the plot points of the movie. One of the thieves, Mr. Orange, is mortally injured, and bonds with an older more experienced thief named Mr. White. There’s the weaselly skinflint played by Mr. Pink, the leader Joe Cabot, and a psychopath named Mr. Blonde, who in the movies most famous scene, cuts off the ear of a cop that he has kidnapped.
Mr. Orange is represented by Castiel, who is peripherally related to Ramiel, as a supernatural creature, in the way that Mr. Orange turns out to be an undercover cop, in the film. Mary Winchester is a stand in for Mr. Pink, the most duplicitous member of the group. He’s also the sneakiest and is the only thief to survive the heist, with the loot. It turns out that Mary Winchester is there to steal an artifact, but she doesn’t tell the rest of the team she’s gathered together, that they are in a heist movie. Since Mary is the one who assembled the team, she’s also a stand in for Joe Cabot, when they’re all in the diner. Dean and Sam are a conflation of the honorable and compassionate Mr. White, and Nice Guy Eddie, who is Joe’s son, in the movie.
The episode begins with that iconic Tarantino scene of the introduction of the main characters sitting around a large round table in a diner, as they argue about innocuous things like the meaning of Madonna’s song Like a Virgin. Of course since this is Primetime, the conversation in Supernatural has less misogyny and cussin’, although I still didn’t care for the “women smell like food” commentary. That just irked me.
The discussion of the waitress smelling like food, takes the place of the discussion on tipping that occurs in the movie, and is every bit as annoying,. Dean reminds me of the obnoxious Mr. Pink, who refuses to tip their waitress., and from there the parallels continue. I won’t outline all of the parallels but the most significant ones are the cinematography, as the camera pans slowly around the table taking in all the team members, the slow motion “perp” walk during the opening credits, the soundtrack flitting from one pop song to another, and flashing back and forth within the plot, a la Pulp Fiction.. At first I found that more than a little annoying, but after giving it some thought, I’m good with it. Directed by Richard Speight, it has all the flavor of his type of humor and it’s a nice homage.
So, the Supernatural heist goes bad because someone tipped off the cops, here represented by Crowley’s assistants, and the arch-demon, Ramiel, one of the Dukes of Hell, figures out that Mary stole something from his wall safe . I really enjoyed the flashback to when Ramiel offers Crowley the job as King of Hell. That was a nice touch. I also like the introduction of new demons, and hope this is something that plays out in the coming seasons. I knew there had to be more than one Yellow Eyed demon. There are three left and they were specifically created by Lucifer. With the return of more Yellow Eyed demons, witness also, the return of the Colt, and possibly the addition of Lucifer, as Crowley has a new dog, locked up in Hell.
In the movie, Mr. Brown is killed in the initial skirmish, and the rest of them have to hunker down in a secluded location, while the cops hunt them down, and Mr. Orange dies horribly. The remaining members of the team argue among themselves, as the the two most trustworthy members try to comfort their dying comrade. There! I just recapped both the movie and the episode.
The song Stuck in the Middle With You is by a long defunct group called Stealer’s Wheel. In the movie, that’s the song that plays as Mr. Blonde tortures a cop, and then prepares to burn him alive. In Supernatural that scene is supplanted by Ramiel torturing Castiel.
Moments that I found especially interesting:
That whistling theme is straight out of Kill Bill.
The Fishing Demon! Demons who Fish!
Poor Wally! I should’ve know he was doomed. After all he met up with three Winchesters.
The nature of the dining conversation, as it perfectly captures the feel of the original movie. Dean being as salacious as Mr. Brown (played by Tarantino himself) talking about women, Sam bitching about the WiFi is Mr. White moaning about some girl’s phone number, which irks Joe into taking his phone. Mary trying to call the meeting to order (Joe Cabot), while Cas mostly just looks confused.
Crowley riding to the rescue for the Winchesters. His reluctance to admit he actually likes them, and wants them alive, while he stands there dithering over what to say to Ramiel.
Castiel telling the brothers he loves them. and urging them to leave. Dean’s acknowledgment that Cas is family and they’re not leaving a brother behind.
I wonder if and what Dean suspects about Mary.
Did anyone else want to slap the soul right out of Mr. Ketch’s body for not giving Mary all the intelligence she needed to complete her mission. Did anyone get the impression that certain information was deliberately withheld from her? And why do the BMOL need the Colt? Is it for the Nephilim?
Introducing the Colt again.
Here’s to the hope that the rest of the season is this good.