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Supernatural - 6.14 - Mannequin 3: The Reckoning - Recap by Selina

So with this ominous title we kick off episode 14 of season 6. We are officially done with the first chapter of the story, the quest for Sam's soul, and onto the main villain part plus the fallout from the whole soul business.

Please check out the Out of the Box television blog for more like this!

Previously, on Lost Supernatural

Last week we left off with the shocker of Sam convulsing on the floor, while internally burning in hell. We pick up right at that moment, with Dean desperately shaking him. We even get a "Sammy!" and it's super emotional (slightly lessened by the fact we knew he'd be up and about since seeing the promo). Luckily the fire dies out in his eyes in a very LOST-like shot (those guys really ruined that for anyone else), and he seems okay for now. Phew, false alarm.

Instead of immediate explanations for what happened and what he remembers, we cut to Great Falls Junior College, New Jersey, where a janitor is mopping up a science lab. Suddenly, the creepy skinless human model begins to move, and the janitor is invisibly cut on the forehead, the lights go out, and it's all VERY creepy. Doll episodes generally are. And the poor janitor is killed by the plastic monster. This reminding anyone else of that Paris Hilton episode last year...?

Back on Sam, who looks to have a bad sinus infection, but it's nothing some dodgy pills of Dean's won't cure, apparently.

Sam does remember what happened this time: about a week's worth of torment. He doesn't want to talk about it, but he claims to be "fine." He doesn't want to take it too seriously... Sam wants to fix the bad things he's done even if it means going back to hell, and wow, Sam's sense of goodness is stronger than I thought! I think he might be the most virtuous person this side of the disc eh?

"Have a heart"

Dean thinks the monster is awesome and takes its heart and makes some jokes, rejects a call from Lisa... the usual, in other words.

For some reason Sam and Dean are always the only ones who think to check the security tapes. But the tape is wiped clear of any signs of the monster, of course. Visiting the poor janitor's girlfriend is a big no-go as well - but hey, what's wrong with Glee and foot rubbing?!

It seems to be a general doll epidemic, however, because the next night in a warehouse, three towns over another poor nightshifter falls victim to the dolls and is cut on the forehead and then killed. This is ridiculous, I don't want to watch this anymore! But duty, people, DUTY AND HONOUR doesn't allow me to stop!

When Sam and Dean visit the warehouse they once again find EGF or EFG or whatever the hell it was (I haven't watched season 1 in a while)... and Sam finds the doll connection - though there's a distance greater than usual between the incidents. And even Dean thinks it's creepy!

The oldest trick in the book.

Missing, presumed... Rose Brown, whom Dean and Sam assume to be the vengeful spirit.

Lisa calls for the third time, and they figure it might be important. Turns out to be Ben, calling because "Something's wrong with mom" and he needs Dean's help. Dean is reluctant to leave [Sam], but Sam insists. Sam says something about having to figure out his past, and that's weird, since this has nothing to do with his past but whatever.

Sam visits Rose's sister, and finds out that the two victims were both working at the factory with Rose. An um, interesting investigation montage with um, interesting music (I have to admit, I was more impressed with the editing last week), and one of the guys, Johnny, gives Sam the guilty vibes.

Dean gets back home, to find Lisa... perfectly fine. They were Parent Trapped! I'm going to laugh at the fact that Dean even knows that movie.

Turns out Lisa is going on a date with Matt, a doctor, and Dean is annoyed. "I didn't ask you for anything." "Then ask me something!" great, angsty dialogue. As randomly and backhanded as I still think this pairing was forced upon us, I really like it, and I really like the angle it brings to Dean's character.

Hurry Sam, before all the evidence is dead!

Dean can't answer her what he wants from them, and a convenient camera cut later and we're back at Johnny... who clearly has something to hide.

But while he was cut on the forehead, Sam saves him before the dolls can kill him. He was "the most suspicious interview of all time", lol.

Johnny reveals how it all fits together: the boys made poor Rose think she had a secret admirer, made her go to an address... only to be met with a set-up, a doll... and then she fell and died, with a cut on her forehead.

I am really struck at this point by how straightforward the mystery is this week. I mean, not all episodes can be amazing and they do have the Ben thing to worry about too... but rather than seeking answers for Sam's relapse or anything like that, they are solving a really easy mystery, which doesn't even have the brilliancy of a season 1 last-minute twist, or the emotional investment of actual innocent people being at risk. Obviously Sam and Dean save lives regardless of who they're saving cause they're heroes like that, but we've got two murderers too cowardly to even make sure the poor sister (whom they work with and have to see every day) gets some resolution... well, it's hard to care too much.

Anyway, they predictably dumped the body, and Johnny predictably wishes he could take it all back.

Sam is disappointed, but will none the less help. "In the woods, in a clearing off something-something Road" is enough direction he needs, cause he's got super skillz, so Sam leaves Johnny to stay inside the salt line to look for the bones... yeah, this always ends well. Johnny is annoyed.

The kids are alright... naaat.

Ben and Dean have a moment. Ben wants Dean to come home, but he can't AND won't, and poor Ben blames himself. Dean plays the "when you're older" card but Ben's not getting it. Dean explains, "Just cause you love someone, doesn't mean you should stick around and screw up their life." He doesn't believe he is that person, who can be a part of the family. Ben, naturally, isn't seeing how bad Dean's life is - as any preteen boy or girl wouldn't.

"You say family's so important, but what do you call people who care for you, who love you even when you're a dick? You know you're walking out on your family, right?"

Ouch, Dean, way to get a John Winchester-like wake-up call.

Sam torches the bones... shall we bet there's a piece of her hair flying around in the atmosphere somewhere preventing her from being truly gone?

Haha, there's another dodgy montage, of Lisa and Ben this time... and the music is so RANDOM seriously. These guys need to get pointers from the mvidders over on YouTube, for reals.

Johnny heads to the pub - where he tells Jenny that he's leaving - a DOLL. Wtf? Does he know it's a doll?! Is he crazy? Why is he talking to it? I don't get it.

And oh crap, the doll comes to lifeeeee........... it smiles creepily, and Johnny is killed. Did anyone else find this super convenient and generally just too random to be credible? I get the message, the guy is lonely and has long and greasy hair, but aside from just generally seeming bored and unimpressed with Sam's scare tactics he didn't seem like the type to talk to a sex doll and pretend she is real, and talk about starting a new life with her...

I think again, I'm all for the creepy dolls moving jaggedly but I think this episode would have improved vastly if they'd used a similar camera/cutting technique as last week, where a similarly mundane MotW was made insanely scary and suspenseful by all the erratic cutting between shots and extreme close-ups. Just imagine how much more scary this episode could have been, had they utilised that method! This episode almost can't decide if it wanted to be scary or funny, and thus it kind of ends of flailing in the middle like a Magikarp which could have been a Gyarados.

The Girl With the Haunted Kidney... yeah, no, go with Dragon Tattoo

Sam looks through Rose's things and doesn't find any wayward hair (I still think that's a terribly flawed system, but we'll tackle that some other time), so he makes a new connection: it's all about the sister. Turns out she carries around something of Rose's: a kidney. Um, what now? I think this is a super interesting turn of events, something which again just emphasises how unreliable the "kill ghosts by burning all that's left of them" technique is - besides from organ harvesting in general, what about like, some distant grandchild inheriting a baby tooth, tossing it in the trash and it being buried somewhere under 10,000 tonnes of garbage? What then?!

Sam suggests hoodoo to exorcise the spirit, but as Isabel gets out of the car, Rose possesses the Impala!!!!! Whuuut! Dean is enraged, understandably! "She possesses sex dolls, this is not a sex doll!"

The Impala chases Dean, and it is possibly the funniest scene of Supernatural in a long time! As sorry as he is to do it, Dean tricks the Impala into driving into a window. Which I'm sure hurt him a lot more than it hurt her!

And here's the very convenient resolution to a very predictable mystery, because oh no - Isabel suddenly starts bleeding from the mouth as Rose appears, and Rose takes her kidney back and goes up in flames, killing Isabel. Wow, poor girl, that was so uncalled for! And very, very convenient. I wonder what made Rose do it, because as far as I could tell there was still one guy left unpunished, and why would spirit Rose want to destroy herself AND her sister? That... made no sense to me.

But sad ending huh? Morale of the story: can't always save the innocent!

Luckily the Impala can be fixed up though.

What, no more Braeden Bunch?

Now Dean and Sam have another life on their conscience (although I don't get this part either, because they didn't get her killed; Rose randomly decided to combust herself. But anyway), and Dean is depressed and disillusioned about what they do - what Ben said really got to him. But see, while before I got distracted by the weird-ass montage, I really need to make a point here that I don't think this was the end of Lisa and Ben. I think Ben's line about Dean abandoning his family is going to come back to, so to speak, haunt him, and at some point towards the end of the show we'll see him make the decision to not be like his father, to disobey tradition and actually settle down. Whether or not Lisa will have him is her deal (luckily she doesn't have a lot of personality so she can be molded any which way - though I have to say, I think the actress works extremely well with what she gets), but this didn't necessarily scream closure to me, it was more like, "Yeah so bye for now, but see you in a half season's time". Which kind of generally fits with the tone of the episode, no?

But of course, by leaving Lisa and Ben and going back to Sam, Dean has also made a choice, a choice which I'm sure reassured a lot of SPN fans. Sam is truly back, and is Dean's rock once again: "it's not all bad... at least Satan's left the building," Sam consoles. Sam thanks Dean, for what he's done, and tells him to keep fighting... and it's all very bittersweet.

But whatever happens, Sam's got your back Dean!


Dean (holding out a plastic heart replica): "Be my valentine?"

Sam: "...Rubbed her feet during Glee..."

Dean: "She possesses sex dolls, this is not a sex doll!"

Ben: "You say family's so important, but what do you call people who care for you, who love you even when you're a dick? You know you're walking out on your family, right?"

Rating: 2/5
So that was Supernatural this week - I'm sorry, but a ho-hum episode if I ever saw one! Now, I feel I should explain my ratings system this time: basically, 1 star is the lowest BUT it is still pretty damn good television, as all Supernatural is! 1 is pretty much on the level of Bugs, Red Sky at Morning (though I did like Bela), Criss Angel is a Douche Bag or All Dogs Go to Heaven, while 5 is like, Ghostfacers, All Hell Breaks Loose, What Is and What Should Never Be, Mystery Spot, The Monster at the End of This Book... basically this is a very, VERY personal, subjective list - one which will most likely give next week's episode a 10! I like a special, but not a gimmick. This episode gets a 2 because hey, it wasn't terrible, and the dolls WERE creepy, but other than that it didn't have a whole lot going for it. The real issue, Sam's hell relapse, was totally glossed over, Dean returning to Ben and Lisa was great in theory but reeked of missed potential, and the central mystery was formulaic and unengaging. Only thing that might have bumped it up would have been the amazing Impala chase scene, but even that wasn't enough to detract from the appalling montages. Stylistically it just blanched in comparison to last week, and that hurts it.

Now NEXT week....... as I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on postmodernism in television (and specifically Supernatural), I am already predispositioned to LOVE IT - it is the future of television you guys, I am telling you! But more on that next week - I might even use references for that one. ;)

Please note though that next week's review will be delayed, and appear some time during the week, because I have to go to London next weekend and won't be able to watch the episode till I come back. But have a great week, and see you next time yayyy!

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