Mark Watches ‘Supernatural’: S05E05 – Fallen Idols

In the fifth episode of the fifth season of Supernatural, Sam and Dean tackle a perplexing case involving famous ghosts committing murders. Sort of. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of racial stereotypes

Let’s just split this up in two sections, since this episode basically gave me conflicting feelings.

The Good!

This might be my favorite bit of Sam/Dean development in the entire history of this show thus far. It fits perfectly after “The End’ because it explores the complications the Winchesters have experienced after spending years together. The promise to start anew made in the previous episode is a lot harder to execute than either brother thought, so I found this to be a reasonable and realistic story for them. Truthfully, we know both brothers are still struggling with their role in bringing about the apocalypse. So can they just move on from all the trauma? Not really, but that’s a good thing. Their longstanding issues with one another haven’t disappeared, you know?

It’s because of this that Dean insists they take on a non-apocalypse case. They can start over! Test their bearings! Get used to working together as fellow starters of the apocalypse! Except Dean won’t let that little fact go. He makes a flippant comment to Bobby on the phone that Sam overhears that clearly shows Sam that Dean is still ready to blame everything on Sam. And the issue isn’t that Sam should be absolved of responsibility. As Sam later says, the problem is that Dean is using all of this to gain control over Sam. It’s about familial dynamics! How can the two of them get along, work together, and successfully solve cases if Dean treats Sam as if he isn’t an equal? It’s more than just the constant reminders to Sam’s time spent with Ruby or his murder of Lilith. That’ll always be a part of it, but Sam can’t find his own sense of importance if Dean is always going to overshadow and belittle him.

What I like about this is that Sam and Dean get to the root of their problem. Dean views Sam as his little brother and only that. That can be a good thing, sure, since Dean is very protective of Sam, but it also manifests as a superiority complex at times. And while Sam is ready to blame himself for his decision to believe Ruby, I don’t think it’s unfair for him to be honest about the reasons he made that choice. If Sam and Dean are going to become better hunters and brothers, then the answer is in their mutual respect for one another. Dean listens to Sam in the end, and it’s so fulfilling to witness. I actually thought that Dean was gonna make some sort of wisecrack to finish off his little promise at the end of “Fallen Idols,” but it never happened. Instead, he promises to see Sam on level ground, as best as he can. AND IT MADE ME VERY HAPPY. I just have a lot of Sam feelings, okay? A lot of them.

While I’ll address the unsatisfying end to “Fallen Idols,” I did think the story was, generally speaking, a lot of fun. This show deals in the surreal often, but holy shit, this was a weird one. It’s actually a common pattern for the writers to make us think the episode is about one thing (in this case, a haunted car like Christine), and then they introduce a detail that doesn’t fit at all, and the real antagonist is revealed. The image of Abraham Lincoln murdering someone is one of the most absurd things Supernatural has ever done, though. Or Gandhi trying to strangle Sam. Or Paris Hilton threatening to eat Sam and Dean. It’s a weird one, y’all.

The Not-So-Good

As I mentioned, the resolution of this episode just… happens? It falls incredibly flat. It doesn’t help that Paris Hilton was just so boring to watch when she was giving her monologue. I don’t even have any particular reason for disliking her or anything! It’s just that the delivery of her lines as she did her big ol’ evil monologue was completely uninteresting. There’s no clever twist or anything here. Sam and Dean just get free, and Sam chops off Paris Hilton’s head, and that’s it? That’s the joke? I think? I don’t even know.

But holy shit, y’all, Consuela is NOT OKAY AT ALL.  The show introduces a character who is, in every single way, a terrible stereotype of Latina maids, and they even name her Consuela. Like, has no one working on this show seen Family Guy? Or did they all think that naming her after that horrible racist stereotype was funny? Because the more I think about this, the angrier it makes me. The entire joke here relies on us laughing at Consuela’s reaction because ha, ha, she doesn’t speak English. And what she’s saying is so wacky!

Actually, what she’s saying doesn’t even make all that much sense. Bigote is a mustache, first of all. And when you’re starting a sentence with Me voy, you’re basically saying, “I am going…,” which means she’s repeatedly saying, “I am going now. I’m going home. I’m going to my home in El Salvador.” Which doesn’t exactly make all that much sense when she’s telling the police that while sitting down. Regardless, the language is less of my issue here, since it’s possible that the actress portraying Consuela said whatever she wanted and the show just never bothered to translate it. This whole issue goes back to the fact that this show hasn’t featured many Latin@ folks at all, so when the first one in a while is a walking stereotype we’re meant to laugh at, it’s not fun. At all.

Not my favorite episode. But DEAN AND SAM. There’s so much good development here, I swear.

Also: If you’re interested, the thing I was talking about in the video (about how hyper-realistic depictions of humans can actually be unsettling) is called the uncanny valley. Wax museums are TERRIFYING, y’all.

The video for “Fallen Idols” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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