Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S02E07 – The Usual Suspects

In the seventh episode of the second season of Supernatural, Dean and Sam are forced to face the reality of their constant law-breaking when Dean is suspected of a double murder. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Well, that was a neat episode! I liked it, and it was nice to see Linda Blair guest on the show. LET’S DISCUSS.

  • So, I understand the episode title! This episode unfolds in a flashback style that’s quite reminiscent of The Usual Suspects. However, I liked that this wasn’t entirely composed of flashbacks.
  • In one sense, this is one of the more meta episodes we’ve gotten so far, insomuch as it openly addresses the fact that Dean has died, that the Winchesters have likely left their fingerprints behind on more than one occasion, and that the boys often break tons of laws in their line of work. We’re teased with the idea of these two worlds – the supernatural and the unknowing populace – colliding over the death of Karen and Tony Giles. How exactly do the Winchesters operate when they’re forced to deal with law enforcement? Do they have a plan for such a dilemma? And how do they explain what they’re doing without blowing their cover?
  • It’s fascinating to see how they pull this off, especially since we learn that there was a contingency plan in case of an incident like this. They’ve got their hotel method (which also acts as a reference to The Rockford Files); they make sure their stories are precisely the same; they find ways to pass messages to one another. Honestly, it’s impressive!
  • And amidst this, we’ve still got a mystery to solve, and the writers do that thing I love so much: take an existing supernatural trope or story and then screw around with it halfway through the episode. We know that Dean is innocent, and we know that some sort of vengeful spirit is at work, since it appeared to Tony and Karen just prior to their deaths. But how do the Winchesters investigate a spirit while in police custody? And how does Dean explain the fact that HE OFFICIALLY DIED ON RECORD WHILE IN ST. LOUIS?
  • Plus, there are some interesting dynamics at hand. We discover that Detective Pete Sheriden was friends with the Giles and that he’s in a relationship of some sort with Detective Diana Ballard. And if you really want to get into it, technically Diana is Scully while Dean and Sam are Mulder. THIS IS 100% TRUE, HOLY CRAP. That being said, I can’t say that I found “The Usual Suspects” to be of the same calibre as the previous six episodes this season. Again, I enjoyed watching it, but I think that the writers really only scraped the surface in terms of the guest characters. We only know superficial elements to Pete and Diana, enough to tie up the plot, but I never felt any sort of connection to them by the end of the episode.
  • Truly, it’s Dean and Sam who carry most of the narrative weight here, and it was a pleasure to watch them get around the restrictions and obstacles set in their path. Also, they are CLEARLY brothers. They both make the same Matlock joke and try to decode the anagrams. TRUE BROS, SERIOUSLY.
  • It’s also intriguing to note that up until Diana expresses her suspicion that Dean isn’t lying, Dean is one sassy motherfucker. Seriously, he chose to tell the actual truth on camera during his “confession,” and I have a feeling it’s because he knew he had nothing to lose. What else was he going to do? He knew they wouldn’t believe him, and it provides Sam with the perfect opportunity to escape out of the window. Bless. BLESS.
  • While it’s kind of cheesy that a ghost would try to send jumbled messages through the computer or a fax machine or a printer, at least the writers tried to explain why a spirit would even bother creating an anagram. It’s because it’s hard to communicate from the land of the dead! Okay, that’s not the best explanation, but I appreciated the effort nonetheless.
  • But what I was thrilled by the most in “The Usual Suspects” was the twist in Claire Becker. Like “Asylum” in season one, we’re purposely meant to assume that Claire is getting vengeance on Karen and Tony Giles, though we don’t know why. It’s the only thing that made sense, but in truth, Claire was an omen. She never killed anyone; she was trying to protect the people who Pete had made his next target. Of course, communication is jumbled at best, and she doesn’t help Karen or Tony before Pete can get to her.
  • So, the whole “corrupt cop” twist was interesting, but the resolution of it isn’t something that’s as fun as the premise or the story along the way. I did like that Claire appeared as an omen to Pete just before Diana shot and killed him, and it was fun to get a spirit who wasn’t malevolent. Plus, Diana was fun, and there are glimpses of something more during the final scene. She’s aware of the difficulties that Pete has left her with, but she can value what it is the Winchesters do. She doesn’t offer to help them or come with them, and I think she was quietly content with letting someone else deal with the supernatural, you know?
  • A decent episode! Maybe not as great as the others (IT FOLLOWED “NO EXIT,” Y’ALL), but I liked it.

The video commission for “The Usual Suspects” can be downloaded right here for just $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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