"Supernatural": Abandon All Hope Review

11/20/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Kristen Lopez

A show with such a deep mythology needs to be able to keep the ball rolling while trying to be inventive in how the material is presented. Some shows try to break things up with fun episodes that don't contribute to the overall storyline, then get mired in boring “all-story” episodes when the story isn't that engaging to begin with. A great example is the popular FOX series "Fringe," a series that can't seem to strike a balance between continuity and fun. CW's "Supernatural" has amassed a diehard cult following in the five years it's been on the air. Always on the outskirts of the ratings board, the show has consistently provided creative and complex plots wrapped up in hilarious scenarios. Now entering its winter hiatus until January 21, the latest episode entitled “Abandon All Hope” isn't typical Sam and Dean slapstick but primarily focuses on getting the boys closer and closer to an epic Heaven vs. Hell showdown.

It's difficult to give the complete story of the brothers Winchester since the show has woven such an elaborate story in its five seasons. In a nutshell the series follows Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles), brothers who were raised to hunt all sorts of things that go bump in the night. Recent events have driven them to the brink of Hell, literally, as they are knee-deep in the End Times. Sam is destined to be a human “vessel” for Lucifer while Dean is meant to be a similar vessel for the angel Michael.  In the end, the brothers will have to fight--and one must die. They've been doing a solid job so far of keeping their wits about them, but with Lucifer inhabiting another human and constantly placing obstacles in their way, it's become a challenge for them to hold onto the hope that they can prevent the Apocalypse.

This week's episode, “Abandon All Hope,” has the boys heading to find the demon Crowley who is supposedly in possession of the Colt pistol that can kill anything, including Lucifer. Getting the gun is half the battle though as they meet up with their angel companion Castiel, and fellow hunters Jo and Ellen, to prepare for what should be the final confrontation with the Devil.

"Supernatural" has made audiences laugh, cry and sometimes both all at once. This episode was a tear-jerker as the boys were starkly forced to realize that they might not be able to stop Judgment Day, and people they love don't always make it out alive. I can't discuss this episode without giving a SPOILER WARNING, so if you haven't watched this week, turn back now.

This was a dark day for "Supernatural" fans as we lost the lone female hunters of the series, Jo and Ellen. They haven't received the largest storylines in the show's history but every time they've appeared, they're a welcome breath of fresh air. A mother/daughter hunting duo, Jo has always been the perfect foil to Dean; she's a woman who isn't seduced by his charms or his good looks. Ellen has been the boys' surrogate mother in a sense, a mixture of bad-ass hunter yet still making sure everyone is safe.

The episode opened with group saying this could be their last night and unfortunately for our young ladies, it was. That's not to say the two weren't sent off without dignity as Sam and Dean really had to grapple with the idea that they can't always save those in trouble. Alona Tal has consistently delivered as Jo and knocked it out of the park in this episode. Watching her demand that the group leave her to die with dignity while blowing up the building to get rid of as many of the demons as possible was in line with her character and revealed to audiences what a damn good hunter she would have been. As if losing one group member wasn't enough, Ellen decided to stay with her daughter and help blow the gas station. Ellen is played brilliantly by Samantha Ferris, and fans have watched her lose her son; meanwhile, her husband was accidentally killed by the Winchesters father.  So, to lose her daughter is the final nail, so to speak. She's not willing to live without another member of her family, and especially not without her baby girl, so to have her stay was heart wrenching. That final scene of them going out strong, in each others arms, was a powerful image, and the show's finest moment possibly of its entirety.

Along with that we also got to see Castiel in a few different shades of gray. The angel has been through a lot this season, and in a previous episode, we saw him cut loose completely. Here we got to see the otherwise stoic messenger of God attempt to get drunk! Throwing back 10 shots of tequila easily before stating with a blank face, “I think I feel something.” Castiel also got to kill someone, throwing the demon Meg into a protective barrier and then stepping over her flaming body. Misha Collins has become the unsung hero of the series this season and it's fantastic to finally see him on equal footing with the Winchesters instead of being the proverbial stick in the mud.

With all that it happening, Sam and Dean kind of got lost in the shuffle. The main focus was so tightly centered on everyone else that once Sam and Dean were stuck with Lucifer--and discovering the Colt DIDN'T kill him while also realizing the Devil had resurrected the Pale Horse of Death--it was a bit too much to take in. That isn't to say the boys didn't have their moments, including Dean's failed attempts at seducing Jo in the beginning, it's just that it was fairly exhausting by the end. The very last images were of the two looking at the final photograph of the group together, before they went into the town, and their faces convey everything that needs to be said. You see fear in their eyes, sadness, and possibly defeat. It could still go either way on whether they accept their destiny and turn their lives over to Lucifer and Michael, but it's obvious the events that happened in this episode will shape the rest of their path.

In all, it was a pretty heavy episode, but more than enough to keep audiences hungry for the series' return on January 21, 2010. Early plot lines for the remainder of the season sound promising and creative, so here's hoping they end this stare down with the Devil and it keeps in line with what fans expect Sam and Dean to do. Whether it's dying in their quest, or allowing good and evil to inhabit their bodies, as long as it's in line with what we've seen over the last five years, it's good enough.

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  1. Edward29 said...

    Great episode.
    Can't wait for the remaining season.
    *Raises a shot for Jo and Ellen*