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Supernatural - Atomic Monsters - Review



Supernatural “Atomic Monsters” was written by Davey Perez and was directed by Jensen Ackles (Dean) doing double duty in front of and behind the camera. The episode continues the walk down memory lane as we check off characters we’ve known and loved – or hated. Becky Rosen – played by the always wonderful Emily Perkins – and Benny Lafitte (Ty Olsen) are this week’s special guest stars.

The episode has a kick-ass beginning as there are bodies strewn around the bunker and Dean comes out of a hallway swinging – and if you’re wondering where that long hair came from, they would have shot this episode first so that Ackles had prep time as director. The action is heightened by the red lighting and moving from regular speed into slow motion – a really nicely done scene director Ackles! If you are also wondering if Ackles does his own stunts, there’s at least one – Dean punches a guy, grabs his arm and somersaults over him – that Ackles posted as the worked it out before hand. Olsen seems to get short shrift as Benny barely gets one line before dying, essentially in Dean’s arms. However, Benny wasn’t scripted in the episode, and it was Ackles who suggested bringing Olsen in to play the scene as Benny was one of his favorite characters!

Dean questions a demon who tells him that “he’s” closer than you think – and then Sam (Jared Padalecki) steps out, seemingly unarmed – and perhaps channeling Lucifer once again – he does seem to have hooked up with demons after all. Annnnnd we’re back to the demon blood. Dean tells him that he has to fight it, and Sam asks why he would do that. He then demonstrates why he wouldn’t by snapping a guy’s neck with a single thought. Sam has apparently already killed Bobby and Jodi. We get an absolutely fantastic close-up of Sam’s evil-face – and his eyes turning black – Padalecki is super here. And then he kills Dean! Annnnnnnnd Sam wakes up because it’s a dream.

The opening scene is nicely balanced by the humor and brotherly moment over breakfast. Dean has considerately gotten Sam veggie-bacon, and Sam tries to get Dean to stop calling himself the Meat Man. The scene reminds us that these guys can play tough, killer, evil and do humor and brotherly-love. Dean gently probes Sam for what’s going on with him. He knows that Sam isn’t ok and that Rowena’s death is really preying on him. Dean has the perfect cure for a Winchester’s melancholy – a hunt. Dean won’t take no for an answer. It’s pretty hilarious to watch Sam spit out the bacon once he realizes that it’s not, in fact, veggie-bacon…

And the brothers are off to Beaverdale, Iowa – really? It is a real place… I had to check… A girl’s body was found ripped apart. Sam is speaking with a Vice Principal Bailey (Alison Araya) when they are interrupted by Janet (Anne Marie DeLuise) and Henry Whitfield (Andrew Airlie). Sam is appalled when they are concerned that the game is being cancelled in respect for the girl who was killed because a scout is coming from Yale to watch their son play lacrosse. The in-joke here has to be that Ackles played lacrosse in high school!

Sam meets up with Dean who’s been to the coroner to see the body. He has a vamp fang. Sam points out vampires drain their victims, they don’t rip them apart, and Dean tells him that there weren’t even any defensive wounds on the victim! Dean, of course, is completely amused by the beaver mascot that cycles by him.

Sam and Dean visit the site where the body was found and quickly determine that the girl wasn’t killed there because there’s no blood. Dean mentions that the local police are completely freaked out and don’t know how to deal with it. Sam points out that that’s there job – to deal with the truth and keep everyone else from finding out what’s out there – and there’s a nice shout out to The X-Files – and of course, Kim Manners – the great director who inspired Jensen. Sam is clearly jealous of their “white-pickett-bubbles.” Dean points out that ever since Sam was little, Sam wanted to live in a town like Beaverdale. But Sam sees now how little these people really know and how small their worlds are. The two are interrupted by a call from Bailey that Tori (Jillian Knowles) has gone missing.

Our first view of Becky is with her husband!!!! – Roy (Jay Hindle) who is heading off with their kids!!!!! As the van pulls away, Chuck (Rob Benedict) is standing on the other side of the road. Becky freaks out and runs to get inside her house. She tells him that she doesn’t want or need to see Chuck. Chuck tells her that he has nowhere else to go.

The show goes a long way to recovering Becky – whom they ruined in “Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!” when she doses Sam with a love potion and kidnaps him. There was much bad blood between fans and the writers at this point as Becky is the quintessential fangirl. Now, Becky tells Chuck that she’s realized that she wasn’t in love with the real Sam Winchester – just the character. And of course, it’s one of the big bones of contention – do fans love Jared Padalecki or Sam? And can they tell the difference? Here we see a mature, stable Becky, who clearly does know the difference and has gone on to be a successful wife and mother – and run the biggest online shop on Etsy for Supernatural maquettes – and other items.

The two then go on to discuss the merits of monster stories versus those brotherly moments. Becky is still writing, but she’s concentrating on the homey aspects of doing laundry and so forth. Chuck maintains that people love monster stories – and I have to say that I miss the really good monster stories – most of which came long before the Leviathans – who were really just silly. It was the fiction – that wasn’t making a profit – that turned Becky to her miniatures, which did.

But Becky is busy – she has deadlines and the house to herself. She tells Chuck to hurry up and talk! He tells her that he’s had a falling out with the Winchesters and that his sister rejected him when he went to her for help – because she sucks. He’s hoping that his number one fan can help him feel big again. And I couldn’t help thinking that this might be the writers giving Kripke a hard time as he is now very busy with The Boys – and has invited SPN fans to watch. Just FYI? It’s a great show! Or is it that the writers aren’t happy that so many fans want Kripke to come back and write the final episode? In the end, Becky refuses to “fluff” him, and she tells him that for the first time in a long time, she likes herself and she doesn’t need him.

Chuck tells her that she’s right. No one needs him. And he’s glad she likes herself because he kinda hates himself right now. Yeah, Chuck. We all hate what the writers have done to you. Chuck admits that he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he’s lost. Becky asks him what makes him happy, and he tells her writing and creating. Becky tells him that that means he’s go to write!

Chuck is looking for something stronger to drink than apple-cranberry juice. He tells her that he can’t write because things are different – he can’t see Sam and Dean in his head anymore. She assumes that he’s lost his prophet powers – but he rubs the bullet wound and it seems maybe that is what broke the connection. Becky tells him to write about something else, but he tells her this is his favorite story. Becky then tells him to write about the Winchesters. He’s a writer who’s not writing. And when a writer doesn’t write it makes them sad – and it’s just procrastination. The only thing that will make him feel better is to write. Chuck tries to diss fanfic as not the same as really writing – another comment sure to make fangirls hate him – and again, totally out of character for Chuck – but Becky insists that writing is writing.

Becky tells him that she has to fight for time to write – so when she does have a spare minute, she writes! Chuck immediately jumps in front of her laptop and starts writing. Much later, Becky reads what Chuck has written – and declares that it’s SO good! She’s inspired to get back to her own work. Chuck insists that Becky must have notes. She has to be pushed but she eventually tells him that the jeopardy feels a bit thin – the stakes aren’t high enough. There’s no classic rock and no one even mentions Cas (Misha Collins) – and hey, Becky, thanks for mentioning him here!

Becky looks up from her very correct criticisms – of the show for the last few years! – to find Chuck scowling down at her. He pushes her away from the laptop and insists that he’ll give her danger!

Dean interviews the mascot – who is a smart guy and has access – he knows a lot about cheerleaders! But not in a creepy way. Dean’s discovered that Susie (Berkeley Ratzlaff) was number one and that Tori was number two. He’s also learned that Veronica (Mellany Barros) is next in line…

Veronica is trying to get close to Billy (Burkely Duffield) when Janet pulls him away. Veronica practices her eulogy to Susie. Dean and Sam walk in and Dean calls her on milking it. They suspect that she is vampire – and Dean’s even armed with deadman’s blood. They rule her out as soon as they notice that she has braces.

At the Whitman’s we follow the camera as it takes us to the garage where Tori is tied up. It seems like Henry is to blame. Meanwhile, Sam and Dean get a license plate on the security camera footage. Henry is insisting that he didn’t want any of what his parents are trying to give him – when Sam and Dean show up, looking for Henry.

Henry thinks they’re there to arrest him, but Dean pulls out a machete. Meanwhile, Sam goes to investigate a noise in the garage. He finds Tori – and Janet shows up with a gun. Sam carries Tori into the living room at gunpoint. Henry tries to get Janet to just take Billy and leave. Sam realizes that it’s not Henry but Billy. Billy admits to it, but tells him that he didn’t mean to hurt Suzie. They were just kissing and then once he tasted her blood, he couldn’t stop.

Sam is not impressed with their parenting skills. Henry insists that if they had kids they’d understand that they’d do anything for them, including kill for them. It’s Billy who tells them to stop. Janet insists that they just wanted him to have a normal life. Billy tells her that he can’t control it. He’s a monster. Billy tells his parents to take Tori to the hospital and tell them that he took her and then ran away. He then tells Dean that they’ll go for a “ride” – because that’s how this works. There’s a nice montage of Janet and Henry following Billy’s wishes and ending with Dean taking off Billy’s head set to Radio Company’s “Sounds of Someday.”

We return to Chuck and Becky. Becky is distressed. She tells him that all it is just an ending. It’s SO dark. Chuck admits that he doesn’t know how he’s getting there – but he knows the cover will just be a gravestone that says “Winchester.” Becky tells him it’s awful, horrible, and hopeless. She tells him that he can’t do that to the fans. She’s appalled by what he’s done to Dean and Sam. Chuck is just happy it’s making her feel something.

The two are interrupted by the return of Becky’s husband. Chuck snaps him out of existence! And then he snaps her kids out of existence. He insists that he didn’t kill them – just snapped them away. He then tells Becky that he’s God. Becky tells him to bring them back. Chuck tells her that he can do anything because he’s a writer – and he snaps her out of existence.

The final car scene is also powerful. Dean admits that they’ve lost so much, and it’s hard not to just want to check out. He tells Sam that what brought him back was Sam. It’s a crap job. They do the ugly things so people can live happy. They do the job – and they do it for everyone who ever gave a damn about them, for their memory. And now that Chuck’s gone, they are finally free to move on.

Sam doesn’t know if he can move on. He still thinks about Jessica – and that’s a nice shout out to where we all began. Sam tells him that he doesn’t feel free. Sometimes he feels like he can’t even breathe. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe he’ll feel better in the morning. Dean asks him what if you don’t – and Sam says he doesn’t know.

In the final shot we see Chuck furiously writing on Becky’s laptop, joined by Sam and Dean bobblehead funko pops. He’s sure that what he’s writing is going to be good. I doubt any of us would agree.

This was another great directing job by Ackles. His choices always enhance the story rather than distracting from it. I also love that he always includes some easter eggs from his own life – and I’m sure that I missed a bunch! He certainly got great performances from the entire cast. I’m not going to lie – I loved seeing Becky back and having her character redeemed. Now. If they can just do something about what they are doing to Chuck. Is this a way to try to ruin Kripke’s legacy? It’s hard to say. I suppose the writers will consider it a win to know that they made me feel something even if it’s only frustration. Why make Chuck into Metatron? Been there done that. Overall however, this was a good episode once you step back from the Chuck character assassination. The monster of the week was a bit unexpected and resonated with the Jack storyline. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!




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