One thing I love about narrative television is the build-up to the final episode. I love the rush--it's happening on Lost right now (that series has always been good at end games, and seeing as how this is The End end game, they aren't kidding around anymore), and even something as largely procedural as House has gotten in the habit of turning the screws come May. Supernatural's finales are consistently haunting, and I remember last year being pretty keyed up about now. But "Two Minutes To Midnight" is top shelf material, both in the context of the last few weeks, and in its own right. It's episodes like this that make me wish more of my friends watched the show, that make me want to convince horror fans everywhere that not everything on the CW is ridiculous tween-pandering crap. This is great B-movie action, with a boldness and a depth that continue to impress me. I don't want to overpraise, but man, I enjoyed the hell out of "Midnight," and I'm already jonesing for next week.
Last week, we left Sam and Dean with Pestilence's address, and Bobby faced with an important life decision: whether or not to sell his soul to Crowley for Death's location. To the show's credit, we don't see Bobby's answer, because we don't really need to. Characters have sold their souls on the series before, so it's not the end of Bobby, and given the stakes, it's impossible to imagine him refusing to save the world on account of himself. Crowley is quickly tying with Cass as my favorite secondary, and he was in excellent form tonight, mocking the Winchesters, offering a plausible reason as to why he couldn't immediately return Bobby's soul (insurance against stabbing), and even altering the soul-selling arrangement so that Bobby got the use of his legs back. Obviously we can't trust Crowley--he is, after all, still a demon, and I can't think of many demons on the show who haven't eventually betrayed out heroes. Plus, there was something weird going on in Chicago when Crowley led Dean to meet Death. He makes a swell addition to the team, though, and if we're going to have an angel on our side, why not a demon to balance out the shoulders?
Great to have Cass back. He doesn't play a huge role, since his angel powers are on the fritz, but he gets in a few solid lines. There's also a terrific scene with Cass starting to complain to Bobby, still stuck in his chair, about how he doesn't feel complete without his power. Before we're stuck with another angst monologue, Bobby basically tells him to shut the hell up. Another benefit of the approaching finale is that there's not a lot of time left for soul-searching and heated discussions about Sam and Dean's trust issues, and what little character conversation we get is all gravy. Sam's plan to say Yes to Lucifer and then jump into the cage has gone from "idiotic" to "have you got a better idea," and the transition is shown efficiently and well.
"Midnight" has a number of excellent set-pieces, so many that I'd actually forgotten the show-down with Pestilence in the first half of the episode. We've seen similar set-ups in the monster-of-the-week model from earlier seasons, but Matt Frewer really shined in the role, especially his big speech about the glorious purity of disease. Sam, Bobby, and Cass's assault on the vaccine distribution center was also solid, but for me, the strongest sequences in the show revolved around Death, the final Horseman. First we got the terrific introduction with him arriving in Chicago (they showed this in the preview last week, but it was still cool on the replay), and second was the big confrontation scene with the Grim Reaper. So far, the battles with the Horsemen have all played out the same basic way; these are just new demons for the brothers to take down. Death is something else, though, and the episode did a fine job of subverting expectations. Great conversation, great final result. May 13th is going to be a long time coming.
- Sorry this is so late, and a little short; somebody assaulted one of the front windows of my apartment while I was watching the show, and it took a while to get everything settled. No major damage, but it shook me up. I suspect I would not make a very good demon hunter.
- "Did you kiss him?" "Sam!" "Just wondering." And the kicker: Crowley took a picture of the deal-sealing kiss with his cell phone.
- Any theories as to why Crowley gave Bobby his legs back? And why he was acting so odd in Chicago? I wonder if he's gonna pull a Ruby.
- I could really go for a deep dish pizza right now.