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Supernatural - Nightmare Logic - Review

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Supernatural “Nightmare Logic” was written by Meredith Glynn and was directed by Darren Grant, whose other credits include Queen of the South, Saints & Sinners, and Verses & Flow.  This was a reasonably standard episode with some good performances, but for seem reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, really dragged for me.

As the episode opens, we see Maggie (Katherine Evans) on a solo hunt. I really hope that she’s not going to be simply relegated to always being the damsel in distress! She’s wearing a bodycam, and at first, I was a little afraid that she’d branched out into podcasting or a YouTube channel a la the Ghostfacers! Regardless, her ghoul turns out not to be a ghoul and she disappears.

At the bunker, Dean (Jensen Ackles) walks in on Sam (Jared Padalecki) as he finishes up a lecture to a group of hunters. Dean teases him about being a camp counsellor, but it’s clear from the look on his face that he’s proud of Sam. As it turns out, Sam is attempting to keep all the hunters safe if various ways. He’s supplying them with knowledge – and having them contribute to the knowledge base by “doing their homework” and writing everything up. Really, he’s following the Men of Letter playbook. He also has an alert on his phone for hunter check ins.

Dean is more concerned that Sam isn’t getting enough – or any – rest. Sam has clearly taken on way too much for one person. Dean points out that the hunters have survived a war. And as an aside, this was a great way for the show to re-populate the US with hunters after the British MoL decimated their ranks. Sam insists that a war isn’t the same as hunting. He’s supplying them with lore, weapons, tips – and back up. So why did he let Maggie go in there alone?

Both Sam and Dean are concerned when it’s Maggie who’s gone missing. They have a long history with after all. As it turns out, the bodycam is Sam’s idea – they upload directly to the server. Sam is using them as a teaching aid, but Dean points out the value as a starting point when something goes wrong. Sam immediately wants to think the worst, and for a change, it’s Dean who offers the hope that ghouls are scavengers and don’t usually feed on the living. Though we have seen them do that…

At Dean’s urging, the two go after her. It turns out the crypt is in a private cemetery belonging to the Rawlings. Maggie’s lead was a group reporting a “zombie” trying to end them. I loved Sam explaining walkers on The Walking Dead – because it’s always hysterical when they mention their Dad’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) new show! In the crypt, they find drag marks but no blood. Dean suggests the ghoul took Maggie to eat later. The grounds-keeper (Vaughn Clements) chases them out of the crypt and sends them up to the house.

When they get to the house, they mistake Neil (Chris Patrick-Simpson) for the owner of the house. He also informs them that two other inspectors from the historical society are already there – Mary (Samantha Smith) and Bobby (Jim Beaver), who apparently are too senior to check in with Sam – and also both feel responsible for Maggie. And again, this begs the question of why they were hunting using the buddy system but Maggie wasn’t… When Sam suggests that they should have checked in with the main office before coming, Bobby doesn’t pull any punches when he says the main office is “run by idjits.” Nice to see that while this isn’t “our” Bobby, he still has the same catch phrases! I really wish we’d been given more reaction shots to Bobby’s remark than keeping the camera focused on Beaver at that moment.

Mary pulls Sam aside while Dean and Bobby discover that Neil is just the owner’s – Patrick Rawling (Darcy Hula) – nurse. Mary explains that she and Bobby had been talking Maggie through her first solo hunt via text. Mary apologizes for not calling Sam when she stopped texting – and again, why was a novice hunting on her own? Meanwhile, we aren’t kept in suspense and see Maggie in a classic Djinn set up – assuming you’ve seen “What Is and What Should Never Be.” She’s still alive for them to rescue.

While everyone is being introduced to Rawling who is in a coma – so not the ghoul they are looking for – Sasha (Leah Cairns) walks in. She’s surprised that they are interested in the house. She’s estranged from her father and is only there to get things in order before he dies. She’s completely overwhelmed and kicks them out.

We get a nice four-way discussion of what type of monster it is. Bobby remarks that the case obviously isn’t a “milk run.” Bobby points out that they let Maggie walk into something with no idea what it was and she clearly wasn’t ready. Dean asks when are you ever ready – clearly defending Sam. Bobby, however, goes right for Sam when he says a “real leader” would have seen that Maggie wasn’t ready. And in this case, Grant does get a terrific reaction shot of Sam – complete with guilty look and trembling lower lip. Mary then steps in to stop Bobby from overstepping. She takes Sam with her – and sends Bobby with Dean.

We get a terrific scene with Smith and Padalecki. Mary dismisses what Bobby said, but Sam has clearly been having doubts about his own leadership abilities. Mary tells him that she’s been watching him and concluded that this was what he was born to do. I think fans everywhere will agree that studious Sam was always meant to be the next leader of the Men of Letters – with Dean as leader of the Hunter side of things. Certainly, that’s what most of us thought when the entire storyline was introduced!

Sam mentions that he thought that Mary and Bobby had gotten “close.” Mary thought so too, but now she’s not so sure. Things have changed since they got back to this world. Bobby wants to hunt all the time and won’t take a break. Bobby won’t talk about it – and Mary says “he’s not open like your Dad.” And I loved Sam’s reaction here too – because of course the Dad he knew is very different from the man that Mary knew – and she acknowledges this. She’s also clearly come to terms with it – the effect that her death had on John. Mary is clearly thinking about having a relationship with Bobby – which makes Sam uncomfortable. Mary clues in and says she shouldn’t be talking to Sam about it – but, of course, she’s pretty close to his age anyway – what with being dead and all for so many years…

Sam tells her that he’s still getting to know “this” Bobby, but their Bobby wasn’t the most open person either. He tells her about Bobby’s wife and how Bobby got into hunting. Mary asked if he ever had any children. Sam points out that people put up walls for a reason – and if she cares about him, she should try to get behind the wall. The two then find a bunch of burnt clothing and id’s – hunter id’s.

Bobby asks Dean if he thinks that he was too hard on Sam, and Dean tells him that Sam is doing better than his best – and working himself to death over it. The two then find an old cabin. While Dean goes in, Bobby chases after figure he sees in the woods. Dean finds the body of the hunter and is attacked by Rawlings. When he stabs him with his machete, he explodes into smoke. Given that that’s how angels died in Apocalypse-world, I wonder if the nightmare monsters here do it because they share a bit of Michael’s grace in some way to supercharge (as we see in the opening montage). I loved Dean opening the door and asking Bobby where he was – Dean is covered in dust and Bobby comes back with “I could ask you the same question!” One of the few funny moments in the episode.

Back at the house, Sasha is prevented from going into the attic – where Maggie is – by another apparition that attacks her. She says it’s a vampire, but honestly, it looked a bit more like a werewolf to me – but then maybe it was supposed to be more Nosferatu – the typical vampire people think of…

Back at the house, Sasha tells Sam and Mary what she saw, and he tells her about monsters. Neil is just concerned about the historical society – that should have been a dead giveaway! Dean is happy that they’ve already been filled in when he arrives. They quickly determine that Dean’s dead guy was the hunter in the id. Mary is immediately suspicious when Bobby has stopped to get “something” out of the truck. After comparing notes, Sam suggests that maybe what they’re dealing with isn’t monsters at all but some kind of manifestation – and Sam brings up Fred Jones from “Hunteri Heroici.” I really like that the previous seasons are used as the brothers’ own hunting journal!

It’s also hilarious – in retrospect – that Dean tells Neil he has no idea what’s possible. Dean and Sam realize that Rawling was trying to keep Sasha out of the attic by scaring her. Sam goes to investigate the attic while Dean stays behind to protect Sasha.

Sasha is annoyed by Dean’s sharpening his machete. The two share a brief scene, and once again, we see that these two characters have more in common than you would think at first glance. Sasha tells Dean that her father wasn’t the best person. He was gone all the time – working for them, he said. Sound like John much? She also tells Dean that her father knew that depression ran in her family – he wasn’t there, so Sasha was the one who found her mother. We can surmise that she found her mother dead by suicide. If we substitute hunting for depression, the parallel continues – and this may also confirm that Dean did see Mary on the ceiling.

Sasha was 12 when she found her mother. Dean only says that he’s sorry. Her father never told her that he was sorry. She also tells Dean that she worshipped her father when she was young – again, sound like John and Dean? Dean tells her to let it go. It’s the past, it’s just baggage and nothing you can do about it now. Dean tells her that that’s what he tries to do every single day.

Sam finds Maggie in the attic. And again, Grant spends a bit too much time on Sam entering the attic and looking around at spooky stuff – rather than having a longer fight or something equally more compelling. Sam dusts the apparition when it comes at him.

In the woods, Bobby finds his son Daniel (Thomas Nicholson). His eyes have been burnt out – a la angel-death. He beats on Bobby and then skewers him to a tree with an angel blade. Daniel tells Bobby that the angels crucified him. Mary shows up, and Bobby tells her to run. By the time Bobby gets the blade out and stumbles over to where Daniel is strangling Mary, she should have been closer to death. However, the important thing is that he kills his son in order to save Mary. Even though he would know that it wasn’t really Daniel, that’s pretty tough.

Dean notices that Rawlings is getting blood transfusions – Neil says to keep up his iron – but Dean has already recognized the Djinn set up. He sends Sasha to make him a sandwich to get her out of the way. Neil isn’t worried at all at first because he thinks that Dean is still Michael. He tells Dean that he already knew he was a Djinn, and he’s going after hunters because Michael told him to. He thinks it’s part of the game, the test. He thought Michael was checking in to make sure that he was keeping up his end of the bargain to kill as many hunters as he could – quietly.

Neil tells him that now with one touch he can read minds and see all a person’s nightmares – and bring them to life! He found Maggie’s nightmares much more interesting than Rawlings. He saw Apocalypse-world and the vampires that killed her family. He’s also managed to touch Bobby at some point – and his nightmares are even worse!

Neil knows that Dean’s gun won’t kill him – and Dean doesn’t have a blade dipped in lamb’s blood. And the bullet to his leg annoys Neil but doesn’t slow him down from touching Dean. He promises not to hurt Michael’s favorite “monkey suit.” He’s curious about Dean’s nightmares, but when he actually connects, he seems horrified. Now the question becomes why. Does he see Dean in Hell? Does he see Dean become a torturer? Does he see Dean with the Mark of Cain – and its killing lust? Does he see Dean as a demon? Does he see Dean drowning, possessed by Michael? OR is Michael actually still in there somewhere?

And then Dean simply bashes him unconscious. What??? You can’t have invincible monsters that you have a specific way to normally kill and then you can just kill them all by cutting off their heads or easily over power them suddenly to bash their heads in. Once again, it’s just way too easy to kill him in the end. Neil tells Dean that Michael made dozens of traps – all just waiting for Dean’s family.

Dean takes the Djinn rig out of Rawlings and tells Sasha that he’ll be fine once the Djinn poison works its way out. He tell her she might even get her apology. She seems at peace now and says you can’t change the past. When Rawlings stirs, she reassures him and smiles – she’s clearly going to try to patch things up with him.

Everyone heads back to the bunker. The other hunters are thrilled to see Maggie and welcome her back. Dean tells Sam – “You did this. You got her home.” Then the two set to work to warn everyone about the potential traps.

Mary patches Bobby up – nice metaphor for her also helping to patch up his emotional wounds. Bobby tells her about Daniel. He and Daniel got through his wife’s death by hunting together. When the Angel wars started, Bobby was given a platoon because he’d been “called up” before. Daniel was in it and the two got separated. Bobby blames himself for Daniel’s death – and he doesn’t even know what they did to him because they never found the bodies. Bobby tells her that Daniel was the best thing in his life. He’d assumed that he’d be killed in the war, so lately, he’s been looking for other options. Hunting was the logical choice as it ends the same. Mary insists that he not give up – on her. He tells her that he doesn’t know any other way to live. Mary insists that they’ll find one – and after all, this has been her way of living and coping too.

Mary tells the boys that they need a break, so they arrange for them to go to Donna’s cabin. Before they go, Bobby pulls Sam aside to apologize. He tells Sam that he does have it in him to lead.

In the final scene, the bunker kitchen substitutes for the Impala as it often does. Sam tries to tell Dean that the traps aren’t his fault. Dean tells Sam he’s tried to forget and just move on. He was almost feeling like himself again. Sam promises that he’ll work harder – he’ll sleep two hours instead of three. Dean then asks how they’re going to kill him – and Sam says they’ll find something – Dark Kaia’s spear maybe. Dean says he hopes Sam is right, but he clearly has doubts.

This was a reasonably solid episode and gave us some indication of what Michael is up to – if not where he is. The episode still felt really long to me, but I think that was directorial pacing more than anything. Supernatural fans are a bit too sophisticated to be interested in long shots with blue flashlights. I know there is a lot of resistance to seeing Mary and Bobby together – and I still don’t really see it. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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