Supernatural “Plush” Review (Season 11, Episode 7)


Usually, before I write a review I watch the show twice. Once because I’m a fan and I just want to enjoy the experience of watching the episode, but the second time I’m watching more critically so I can write about it. I didn’t do that with this week’s episode of Supernatural though. Why? Because I didn’t want to have nightmares about the freakish bunny heads and freakin creepy clowns. For the first time in a long while I can honestly say that Supernatural creeped me the heck out. It was actually kind of awesome.

In the interest of full disclosure, I hate clowns. Like seriously with a passion hate clowns. I hate their creepy make-up. I hate their creepy outfits. I hate that creepy music that signifies there is a clown in the vicinity. I just hate clowns. They are all sorts of creepy, so I have always been totally on board with Sam Winchester and his anti-clown position. This episode did not do anything to alleviate my intense hatred of clowns, and as a matter of fact, the show may have just added mascots in general to my list of creepy things that should never see the light of day. My own personal phobia aside, this was actually a really good Monster of the Week episode. I’ve always liked the MOTW episodes because it gives us a chance to see the Boys in their element and doing what they do best. It’s been a long while since we saw them show up in some random town and actually have to work a case. They’ve been dealing with such huge, world-changing issues lately that it was refreshing to see them deal with a (relatively) simple salt-n-burn. It was also nice to spend a little more time with Sheriff Donna Hanscum.

I’ve enjoyed Sheriff Donna since her debut back in season nine. She solidified her position as one of my favorite supporting characters last season in ‘Hibbing 911’ when she discovered the things that go bump in the night are real. She was scared, but she was also resourceful and brave. The same was true in this episode. She may not know all there is about hunting, but she knows enough to call in the pros and to help them sort out what was going on. The show has also done something with Donna that’s actually kind of difficult to accomplish. They’ve written her as comic relief without making her completely ridiculous. I imagine a great deal of that has to do with Briana Buckmaster’s absolutely wonderful performance, but it also has to do with how Donna is written. Donna may be a bit of a pushover, but she’s not dumb and she’s actually good at her job. Even her perky personality isn’t so much over the top that it becomes annoying. It’s really more endearing than anything else.

Sheriff Donna is also developing some history with the Boys, and I’m very much pleased about it. For the last several seasons, Supernatural has been systematically wiping out supporting characters that have any sort of familiar, intimate relationship with Sam and Dean. That’s a problem for several reasons, but primarily because we learn more about Sam and Dean through their interaction with the supporting characters. The show needs to repopulate the Winchester universe if they want to effectively peel back more layers of Sam and Dean. Characters that come on for one episode are fine, but those relationships lack the emotional depth required to have as much of an emotional impact for the Boys and for the audience. For example, last season while Dean was struggling to control the Mark of Cain, he lost it and beat Charlie up pretty badly. Would that have bothered him (and us) if she had been some random person he met while working a job? Yes. Of course it would. However, the fact that Dean and Charlie were so close and we’ve been able to see the evolution of that relationship over the course of several episodes, it made it that much more of an emotional gut-punch for Dean and for us to see him beating her up and being unable to stop himself. Jodie is really the only non-supernatural being that the Boys have in their lives that they have any sort of personal connection and history with, and she’s not as regular as Bobby, Charlie, or even Kevin were. So I really do enjoy the fact that Donna looks like she might be sticking around for a little while. She’s still new to hunting, and given her usual chipper disposition, it’ll be interesting to see how much of a toll hunting takes on her.

Although this episode was primarily a MOTW, there was still a little discussion about Sam’s visions. Dean caught Sam praying again asking for clarification about the visions. Dean continued to insist prayers are a waste of time, but naturally Sam disagrees. Sam has looked at the situation he and Dean are facing and determined that they need some major help this time. That’s why he prayed in the hospital, and that’s why he’s continuing to pray now. It’s not necessarily that Sam no longer believes in him and Dean. It’s that Sam realizes they are completely out of their depth. The lore they’ve been able to obtain is spotty at best, they don’t have access to anything that they know of that could even hurt Amara much less kill her, and they don’t really have any clue on what their next step should be. So Sam prayed and is willing to believe that God is trying to help despite having no proof. Dean, on the other hand, has both his feet planted firmly in the ‘don’t trust God cares enough to listen to your prayers much less show up to help us’ camp. It’s not surprising that Dean has such strong feelings about God’s supposed absence since Dean has always required tangible proof of things. He’s never had what he considers solid proof of God’s presence or intercession on his part, so he’s completely unwilling to believe Sam’s visions are from God. The fact that Sam admitted he’s having visions of the cage didn’t help matters either. Sam is obviously terrified by the thought that he might have to go back to the cage to find answers. He barely survived it the first time, so it makes sense he’d rather not go there again. Dean is also terrified that Sam might have to go back to the cage because Dean barely survived losing Sam the first time. Although Dean has been doing his best to get on board with Sam about them saving people again, Dean’s first priority is still what it’s always been: protect Sammy. Sam gave in way too quickly when Dean declared that going back to the cage was not an option though. I hope this doesn’t lead to Sam doing things behind Dean’s back again, but I would like for them to actually have a discussion about it. I was actually surprised that Sam told Dean the truth about his vision, now fingers crossed Dean will put all his cards on the table too.

As I said, despite the nightmare-inducing clown and bunny head, I enjoyed this episode. It was a nice breather from the major storyline, but it didn’t feel like it was a waste of time. It was also nice to know that eleven seasons in, Supernatural still has the ability to creep me out. I sincerely hope we get to see more of Sheriff Donna because she is absolutely delightful. I also wouldn’t be opposed to having Doug come back again because he was also very sweet. Next week looks like another one off episode, but if the previews are anything to go by, things could get interesting. So what did y’all think of this week’s Supernatural?