In the ninth episode of the fourth season of Supernatural, THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ME. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Seriously, there’s a lot going on in “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” so let’s break this up so I can talk about the various plot threads.
Y’ALL. I’M SO INTO THIS CHARACTER. (Which worries me, since that is basically one of two super powers I have. If I like a character a lot? They’re dead. If I submit them to be President? They’re dead. So this is me admitting this eerie ability and trying not to get too attached to Anna. Too late, actually.) Now, I admit that I’m not generally a fan of the way that genre shows or horror films use asylums for settings because too often, all we get is the same trope playing out over and over again. The narrative deliberately others people with mental illness, and the story relies on that. That’s not to say that this episode engages that trope, nor is this a great depiction of mental illness either. But I did like the fact that the writers deliberately created a character who actually is telling the truth because I kind of have a thing for stories where the disbelieved are finally believed. Anna’s story isn’t a story to her, though her doctor is convinced she’s got a particularly intense form of schizophrenia. (Is that even medically accurate, though?) And we know that she’s telling the truth, though we don’t know how it’s possible that she could know about the seals, Lucifer, Lilith, or the upcoming apocalypse.
So it’s incredibly powerful to watch her meet Sam and Dean, to have her experience validated, and to see her surround herself with people who believe her. I LOVE IT. I still don’t understand how she can hear angels speaking, but she’s instantly the most fascinating character in this episode, AND I WANT SO MUCH MORE. How does she have psychic powers? What else has she heard the angels say about Sam? About Dean? What does she know that Dean and Sam don’t?
One of the big themes of this episode involves trusting beings that could easily be manipulating the Winchesters. I picked up on this before when I mentioned that both Sam and Dean now have supernatural beings who are trying to guide their lives. The writers have also purposefully written both the angels and Ruby in such an ambiguous manner that there’s no real way to tell who has truly good intentions. There’s no way to tell whether or not Ruby is manipulating Sam. There’s no way to tell if what Castiel and Uriel have planned for Anna is a good thing. It’s one of the most entertaining things about this season, and it’s such a brilliant way to introduce the mythology of angels without making this show seem preachy or heavy-handed. I mean, we know that Uriel and Castiel have plans for Dean, and they both sort of buck the expectation we have for an angel. They’re detached, they can seem cruel, they are extremely self-centered in some ways, and they’re are ruthless. Again, we don’t know their endgame, and we don’t know too much about angel hierarchy or power. You better believe I want to know more, though.
And this also has ramifications for Dean’s characterization, though the bulk of this episode is about Sam. “I Know What You Did Last Summer” introduces us to the very first demon that Dean remembers from his time in Hell: Alastair. WHO ISN’T DEAD AND HAS RUBY’S DEMON-KILLING KNIFE AND WILL PROBABLY PLAY A HUGE PART IN THE STORY TO COME. I mean, he can’t be exorcised by Sam’s powers, so he must be some big-time demon. AH. AHHHHH!!!! SHIT IS GETTING SO REAL ALREADY.
Because it also deserves to be said, I was very touched by the fact that Sam was so completely honest with Dean, especially given what happened in the previous episode. I dunno, I just like it when Sam and Dean get along and trust each other so openly? FRIENDSHIP. IT’S MY FAVORITE.
But holy shit, this episode is mostly a flashback to Sam’s summer after Dean’s death, AND I WASN’T READY TO SEE ANY OF THIS. I WASN’T!!! I THOUGHT THAT WE’D NEVER SEE WHAT HAPPENED BUT NOPE. Oh my god, Sammy. What we witness here is heartbreaking on a number of levels, and somehow, it’s even worse than what I could have imagined. Again, it doesn’t help that while I can clearly see Ruby doing good things for Sam in these flashback scenes, you could still read every scene as part of some sort of grand manipulation of him. She “saves” his life upon returning to this world, but what if Lilith asked her to fake this? She agrees to take a body without a soul in it as a demonstration of good faith, but what if this was also to mess with Sam? She pursues his cooperation while he’s clearly alcoholic; was she genuinely trying to help him turn sober, or was she going after him because he was at his most vulnerable?
Here’s the problem I see in this theory, though: I don’t get what the end result of this would be. Ruby is still helping same exorcise demons and send them back to Hell. She’s still helping him save people who otherwise might have died had their possessions continued. And she continually demonstrates to Sam (and now Dean, who appears to have finally accepted that he might be wrong about her) that she can be trustworthy. She saved Anna, and then she legitimately kept her away from the demons. Even Anna admits that Ruby isn’t like the other demons, and that must mean something, right?
Look, there are a lot of points along the way where Ruby could have either let Sam die or she could have killed him herself. So, if she’s manipulating him, why keep him alive? What’s in it for her? But the seduction sequence doesn’t exactly feel good natured, so I am left here to be CONFUSED FOREVER, and it’s made even worse by the fact that I know most of you are sitting in the comments, cackling your heads off because I CANNOT FUCKING FIGURE THIS SHIT OUT.
This was the episode, though, where I totally bought Genevieve Padalecki as Ruby. It took me seeing her transformation into her to really appreciate her, since she hasn’t had as much time onscreen as Katie Cassidy did. BUT I’M SUPER INTO HER PORTRAYAL! It’s totally different in a lot of respects, but I could see Ruby in her all the same.
So, cliffhanger, right? Yeah, fuck you, Supernatural. DON’T DO THIS TO ME.
The video for “I Know What You Did Last Summer” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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