Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S02E19 – Folsom Prison Blues

In the nineteenth episode of the second season of Supernatural, Dean and Sam are purposely arrested in order to complete a hunt. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

This is a strange episode, one I liked but thought could have been executed better. There are like five separate ideas at work here, and all of them never really get to shine as much as they could. LET’S DISCUSS.

Dean and Sam in Prison

There’s an idea that works on the surface and, for most of this episode, it’s used for two reasons: humor and a framing device for the narrative. Like “Hollywood Babylon,” Dean’s knowledge of cult movie classics informs the way he performs while undercover and also makes him a giant goober. He’s so EXCITED TO BE IN COUNTY PRISON! Who knew? Sam, for the most part, is barely able to tolerate this environment, and he spends most of this episode berating Dean for THEIR WORST IDEA EVER. And in a lot of ways, this is a terrible idea, though I suppose that’s half the fun. How do they solve a case with limited means? THEY’RE IN PRISON. They can’t do research, they have no access to weapons, and they’re in prison. The Winchesters end up being quite clever in adapting to the circumstances, which is a pleasure to watch. But in terms of worldbuilding, the prison feels a little stale. Most of what we see is based entirely on stereotypes or movie cliches. I mean, that was the cleanest prison I’ve ever seen! And with the exception of a brief moment from Tiny and Deacon’s whole character, there’s not a thing in “Folsom Prison Blues” that feels more than… well, I guess the minimum standard.

Dean’s relationship with Mara Daniels

I really don’t think we’ll see Mara again, so her role in “Folsom Prison Blues” felt hollow to me. Truthfully, we’ve seen this same dynamic before in this season. “The Usual Suspects” already addressed the idea of Dean having to convince someone that he was a “bad” guy, that the charges against him were unnecessary. It’s neat that she decides to trust Dean and then misdirects Agent Henriksen, but we don’t really see why this happens. Why did she decide to believe him? What’s her purpose here except to provide Henriksen with a distraction?


It was exciting to see Agent Henriksen finally catch up with the Winchesters, but I think I expected more than I actually got. Henriksen’s presence certainly threatened the hunt. And I adored the idea that as the Winchesters continued to break more and more laws, their collision with law enforcement became more and more inevitable. But nothing really happens. Henriksen yells at Mara and completely misunderstands attorney-client privilege. Because right??? That’s not how it works, dude. He’s extra sassy to Dean’s face in the beginning of the episode, but otherwise, do we learn anything about Henriksen? Does he make any sort of progress? The FBI is certainly going to be pissed that they’ve been fooled, and eventually, Henriksen is either going to find out the truth about who the Winchesters are or… what? I suppose I wish I had some other sign that there was going to be more to his character or this story. It just doesn’t seem to go anywhere.


BUT I TOTALLY LOVED THAT DEACON WAS THERE THE WHOLE FUCKING TIME. Holy shit, he works in the prison. I just assumed that “Deacon” meant he was the deacon of a church, but LORD. I wasn’t prepared for that. I mean, I thought that Deacon was acting a bit too stereotypical as an abusive prison guard, but I assumed that just fell in line with the rest of the portrayal of the prison. Nice touch!


And was SUPER FUCKING CREEPY. Again, nice touch in the red herring of Mark Moody! It’s nice to be surprised.

Other than this, though? I kind of feel like I don’t have much to say. With just three episodes left this season, it seems weird that we still haven’t moved any further in this season’s story arc. What’s happening with Sam? Will the yellow-eyed demon appear again? What’s his plan? I didn’t hate this episode, and seeing Sam and Dean in orange jumpsuits was a trip. I just didn’t find it as memorable as others in season two. Hell, this actually felt like it belonged in season one in some ways. It was entertaining, but I don’t feel very strongly about it one way or another.

The commission for “Folsom Prison Blues” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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