In the fourth episode of the eleventh season of Supernatural, THAT WAS A PLEASANT SURPRISE. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
Well, consider me shocked. After eleven years, Supernatural still has it in ’em to drop one hell of an episode. (Unsurprisingly, Robbie Thompson wrote this.) But why is this so good? What makes this stand out from the three previous episodes this season?
First of all, it’s a risk. I’m glad that no one spoiled the premise of the episode because I think I would have been biased against “Baby” if I’d know it. Honestly, the idea is so absurd that I’m still impressed that the show was able to pull it off. This is an entire episode from the viewpoint of a car. How? How do you even accomplish something like that without immediately slipping into self-parody and nonsense? It sounds impossible!
Yet Thompson’s script is minimalist, clever, and incredibly emotional. It’s because of this that it feels almost entirely unlike Supernatural for most of the time, and it’s one of the more exciting things the show has done for a while. See, if I’d heard this premise beforehand, I would have assumed that the show had given the Impala some goofy voice, and there’d be awkward and terrible narration throughout, and I would have written a scathing review and whined about how this show sucks, but THIS IS NOT THE DARKEST TIMELINE.
The perspective was subtle enough that it took me half the goddamn episode to even figure out what was going on. And hell, I knew this episode was different, too. We had never spent so much time in that car before. In doing so, Thompson’s script is able to show us a side of the Winchesters we only hear about or get passing references to. This is an episode about the journey far more than the case itself. I know I’ve commented in a few videos about how unrealistic some of the drives on the show have been, but this episode eschews the easy exposition and plotting in order to show us exactly what happens along the way. There’s lots and lots of driving. Shit, the events of “Baby” are spread between Kansas and Oregon! That’s a long trip, and we get an idea what these road trips are often like.
There are roadside attractions. Diners. One-night stands. Beer runs. There’s bloodshed. Fights. Detours because of exuberant valet drivers. It’s in these details that we get a taste of the life that the Winchesters have, and it’s an incredible experience. But the most rewarding aspect of “Baby”? We get to see what sort of conversations they have while on the road. It’s as if the show took until this episode to finally fulfill the promise to have these brothers be honest and forthcoming with one another. It’s a goddamn spectacle, that’s what it is. Sam admits that he was infected back in Superior, Nebraska. He also tells Dean of his possible prophetic dream/vision AS SOON AS HE HAS IT. There’s no lying here; there are no attempts to avoid the truth. These two characters speak to each other with respect and honesty, AND IT’S ONE OF THE MOST REFRESHING THINGS SUPERNATURAL HAS DONE IN A LONG TIME.
The actual case is fairly interesting, and I, for one, support werepires and ghoulpires. I think it’s the only element here that feels a little stale, but even that comes across as exciting because of the framing. The in media res opening leads us to the pack of nachzehrers building an army to prepare for the coming of the Darkness, and that gives us ONE OF THE MOST BRUTAL FIGHTS IN THE WHOLE SHOW. Seriously, limiting the violence to the inside of the Impala (and immediately around it) created a claustrophobia to the scene, and it was genuinely thrilling to watch.
I don’t know what Sam’s vision are, but I gotta say that the events in “Baby” were far more effective at building up the Darkness than the actual mythology episodes. The silent and creepy atmosphere of this episode (it had no score!!!) made the inevitable all the more foreboding. I feel like I understand the Winchesters more, and at the end of the day, “Baby” is a giant love letter to the Impala, who is a character within this show whether we think it is or not.
The video for “Baby” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– I am now on Patreon!!! MANY SURPRISES ARE IN STORE FOR YOU IF YOU SUPPORT ME.
– I will be at Borderlands Books, Book Riot Live, and Windycon this fall! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Kings, season 1 of Sense8, season 1 of Agent Carter, seasons 1 & 2 of The 100, Death Note, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
– Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!