In the second episode of the second season of Supernatural, THAT TITLE IS A GODDAMN LIE. I DON’T LOVE CLOWNS. I HATE CLOWNS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Supernatural.
So, that was a neat episode, though I found myself far more interested in the Winchester dynamics and the Roadside Tavern characters more than the story of the…the clown. The clown thing. The constant It reference. THE WORST THING. I HATE CLOWNS. I ALWAYS HAVE. I ALWAYS WILL. And you know, it honestly has nothing to do with reading It when I was nine years old (a stellar decision on my part) because I hated clowns years before that. How? HOW COULD YOU EVER TRUST A CLOWN? DESPAIR IS WRITTEN INTO THEIR FACES. There is nothing comforting or humorous about clowns, nothing at all. Do you understand that I hate clowns yet? If not, watch the first ten minutes of “Everybody Loves a Clown” for perhaps my most ridiculous display of hyperbole, hatred, and shouting yet. I don’t care, this is the hill I will die on. I DON’T CARE, I HATE CLOWNS.
Okay, with that only somewhat out of my system (ARRRGGGHH CLOWNS), let’s talk about the various aspects of this episode that need discussing!
Creepy enough with the clown imagery, that’s my verdict. They’re actually part of Hindu culture! So, bit of cultural appropriation with the story, but I felt like the writers just used to idea to try and scare the pants off of us. Naturally, I reject the premise that anyone would see a clown like the one in this episode and then invite them into their house, but so it goes. Some people like clowns. Those people are wrong, but we won’t judge! (I’M JUDGING SO HARD. WHY. MAKE THEM ALL GO AWAY.)
This episode gives us an unsettling mystery that unfolds with a few really good plot twists and a neat ending in a funhouse. Plus, I liked the idea of the Winchesters giving Ash enough time to work his genius by getting lost in a case. It felt right that they continue hunting and helping people out, not just because it provided a distraction. This is what they do, and it was a necessary thing to have in order to get Sam to examine why he was behaving the way he did.
Oh, let’s just talk about it.
Winchester angst here, Winchester angst there
This is a painful episode to watch because the writers don’t ignore how raw the wound is within Sam and Dean’s heart, and I adore that sort of emotional continuity. You can tell that it’s only been a week since their father died. So while the clown story made me angry because fuck clowns, everything else the writers explored here was incredibly satisfying to watch. God, you know what I’m going to continue to love about this show? How I went into it picking out the archetypes and tropes present in Dean and Sam, and watching how the writers consistently toy with my understanding of them. And it’s not done in a way that ignores their development; it’s a way of building complicated characters for us.
Take Dean, for example, who is often the one quickest to claim that he doesn’t want to talk, that he’s fine, and that emotions are for other people. Except that’s not at all what he does here, is it? Sure, he keeps some things from Dean, but he’s also the one to make the claim that Sam is acting the way he is out of guilt over the relationship he had with John. He’s the one with an explicit interest in making sure Sam is okay, even if they way he does it is uncomfortable. Of course, we’ve also got Sam trying his best to respect his father’s legacy. It’s a complicated dilemma, though, because I hesitate to want to assign too much blame or guilt on Sam. We’ve all see that John has, historically speaking, been kind of a terrible father to his children. So I don’t think Sam’s past behavior is necessarily worth what happens here? Still, this is about Sam’s perception. He blames himself because… fuck, y’all, THIS IS SAM WINCHESTER. This is the same character who was convinced that he was cursed, that his very existence was to blame for Mary and Jess’s death!
So why wouldn’t it make sense for him to turn his life into some sort of crusade that centers his own guilt? He wants to respect John, so he believes that John would have wanted them to keep hunting. He also believes that Sam isn’t doing anything to deal with the grief he feels, and GOOD LORD THEY BOTH ARGUE SO MUCH. Many yelling. It hurts to watch because when it comes down to it, these two need each other, and they’re tearing themselves apart over losing their father. Dean’s dramatic and shocking outburst at the end of this episode makes it clear that Sam was right, too: Dean is not coping well with this at all.
This season is going to hurt, isn’t it?
THE ROADSIDE TAVERN PLACE
I just sort of realized that this might not be the name of the place? I just remember the sign saying “Roadside,” and Ellen called it a tavern, so THERE WE GO. I’ll try to pay attention next time it comes up. Oh, how is it possible that I know it’ll show up again? I don’t know. I am demanding it. “Everybody Loves a Clown” manages to introduce three new characters, a new subplot, and a bunch of worldbuilding in the span of forty-odd minutes, AND IT’S ALL SO WONDERFUL. Ellen and Jo are fantastic as mother-daughter hunters who run a bar FOR OTHER HUNTERS. I love that the show is opening up this world and confirming to me that there are probably hundreds of hunters around the United States. Possibly the world??? THAT IS SO EXCITING.
I admit it was very satisfying to watch Jo and Ellen take down the Winchester boys so quickly. They can get pretty cocky, so yes, more of this. And then we meet Ash, a mullet-having, no-nonsense, MIT-going genius who is just THE MOST ENTERTAINING THING IN THE WORLD. He’s so strange and brilliant all at the same time, and I admire the show for giving us a character who’s both humorous and admirable.
Yes, this is a demand. MORE OF ALL THREE OF THESE CHARACTERS AND THAT BAR. Less of clowns forever because fuck clowns.
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