Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S04E12 – Criss Angel is a Douchebag

In the twelfth episode of the fourth season of Supernatural, is Criss Angel really a douchebag? I don’t actually know aside from hating his music. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural. 

Trigger Warning: For discussion of suicide/depression, and a brief discussion of homophobia.

Well, this was a neat episode! I don’t think it’s the strongest story in season four, and I think the ties to Sam are a little bizarre, but holy shit. It’s Barry Bostwick! And LINWOOD MURROW. (That’s why I recognized him!!!) And the more I see Genevieve as Ruby, the more I like her. BUT LET’S GET INTO THIS PROPER.

“They’re not tricks, Dean. They’re ILLUSIONS.”

I think there’s something compelling in this deliberate exploration of age and legacy, and I do like that the episode teetered between humor and sadness. I suppose that now that I think about it, Supernatural does that a lot, doesn’t it? Anyway, I was pleased with the characterization of Jay, Charlie, and Vernon as the three men worried that their lives were a little less meaningful now that they were getting older and were unable to keep up with the trends of popular culture. That’s represented in the character of Jeb Dexter, who is arrogant, rude, and apparently a lot like Criss Angel? Like I said in the introduction, I don’t know anything about him aside from when I listened to his band a couple of times and hated it. I suppose I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he really was a douchebag, but I also have no interest in him whatsoever? Actually, now that I think about that, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of his ILLUSIONS ever. Like, in my whole life.

Which isn’t really the point of this! But I understood that Jeb’s jerk-ish behavior was a sign that Jay’s time had passed. Jeb was popular now, even if he wasn’t all that good, and these three men were only playing to small crowds in the middle of nowhere. It’s sad! And it’s not like they could do much to change that. People change, their tastes change, and we continue to age. So I thought it seemed pretty obvious that Jay was the one transferring his “death” to other people. Right??? He used black magic or some terrible spell, combining it with the Tarot card, to ensure he’d survive these ridiculous tricks – ahem, illusions – and then gain the fame and fortune that came of it.

Except… NOT AT ALL. While I didn’t find myself terribly into the episode’s focus on magic, I was impressed by the complicated story here because I THOUGHT I HAD IT ALL FIGURED OUT. It was obviously Jay until it obviously wasn’t. Which meant that someone admired him enough to kill people for him, so it seemed obvious it was Charlie! Charlie revered Jay, looked up to him not only as a friend but as a colleague. AND THEN CHARLIE WAS DEAD, SO NO???? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? So yes, then it was definitely Vernon, who betrayed his friendship with Charlie in order to give Jay some happiness in his later years. EXCEPT HOW THE HELL IS THERE ANOTHER PLOT TWIST???

It’s unfortunate that Charlie’s love of Jay was manifested this way because the whole situation is a mess. And it’s a kind of mess that doesn’t give us or these characters a happy ending, one that feel particularly dark when you compare it with what might be happening with Sam. Jay’s desire to commit suicide that night was circumvented by Charlie’s desire to give his friend happiness. But he did so by murdering people! It doesn’t matter that they were rude because at no point did he consider that Jay didn’t want to be complicit in this. But Jay not only has to watch his friend die TWICE, but he loses Vernon, too, who was just as greedy as Charlie was.

All of this feels a little strange because of the implications for Sam’s story in this episode. I mentioned being a bit tired of the “magic = drug” analogy after having dealt with it in Buffy, and I am still somewhat confused. Is this episode foreshadowing an addiction of sorts in Sam, or is it saying that it’s already there? Or is this meant to address Sam’s loneliness? Both Sam and Jay believe themselves to have a gift, and it leaves Jay alone and friendless at the end of the episode. So what does that mean from Sam?

And you know, Ruby doesn’t help matters, either. She shows up here to guilt trip Sam about his inactivity on the 66 seals, revealing that Lilith has already broken 34 of them. But I see a problem with her technique: she continues to keep Sam in the dark about any specific details. What seals did she break? Which ones are left? What would she be most likely to go after? Why isn’t she helping them catalogue the seals to determine which seals would be the easiest to break and which would be next-to-impossible? Her appeals to Sam in this episode are purely emotional, which worries me. It worries me because that feels more like a manipulation than an honest appeal to Sam to get more motivated. I suppose I think that because of the case they worked in this particular episode and its parallels with Sam’s journey. Of course, there’s no certainty here. ABSOLUTELY NONE. I still feel like I’m no closer to discovering Ruby’s purpose or whether she’s telling the truth or not. And Sam ends this episode convinced that it’s time for him to do some more soul suckin’. Bah, I JUST DON’T WANT THIS TO END BADLY BECAUSE I FEEL A LOT OF THINGS FOR SAM.

Anyway, like I said: a neat episode! Not spectacular, but it was decent. I do want to say that I was a bit bored by the idea of gayness being a punchline yet again on this show, and that whole joke with the man in leather was… bah. It’s not that I found it particularly offensive or anything, but we still don’t have a gay or queer character with any regularity at all, so when this is all we get? It feels crass.

The video for “Criss Angel is a Douchebag” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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