‘The Hunter Games’ (10×10) – Some very lovely directing and an unfortunate case of the stupids

Episode summary: Everyone needs Metatron to do a thing, and for some reason expects everything to come together.

Let’s start with the good, since I want to be enamoured with this show again.

The directing in this was so great. Dynamic camera angles, the colours were right where they needed to be, and the movements of characters actually made the space seem a lot less hollow (see: Sam and Dean urgently walking and talking through the bunker halls). I’m not saying that a short walk makes it feel like a home, but that really helped cement it as an actual place in my mind, rather than a set.

Rowena’s actress (wee Ruthie!) is awesome, she’s pitching it right where she needs to and killing it. I love her and I love her hard.

Claire also seemed less Mary Sue-ish in this episode. I remember having my jimmies rustled really hard by how they wrote her in her last episode, though admittedly that’s because I was comparing her to teens in shared homes I’ve been familiar with in the past (putting a plucky street smart stereotype of a teenage runaway in that context felt very wrong to me). Her emotions felt more believable this time – the anger is still there, but there’s the fear too. She’s still a kid, after all, and that fear was unjustifiably lacking in her first appearance this season. This episode went a lot way to making that more accessable and realistic, though I think it did make her a little inconsistent. I think that’s a problem I have with her previous episode, rather than this one, though.

Okay… things I wasn’t so hot on. Let’s start specific.

The budget for VFX has been ramped up, or someone with hella skills has come in, and while that’s great I think maybe it’s been applied a little too intensely in certain spots. The flyover when Rowena was tracking what Crowley was up to was nice, but I could have done with it being a few seconds, rather than feeling like an extended clip from The Snowman.

Similarly, why are we lighting up Cas’ eyes at points that are really lame lately? I can understand if we had it as a subtle thing if he was blowing the doors off (no dramatic zoom close up deal), though there’s been no reason given as to why they never used to light up and now they do… but come on, he’s blasting a bit of wood. It’s not epic. Scaring off Crowley when you had those two scrapping over the angel tablet? That was a good use of the eye effect. Not while he’s making splinters (or giving Dean a hug, for that matter).

The lack of clear path and motivation of main characters felt pretty standard in this episode. Sure, MoC, sort out Claire, they’re plot arcs, but like another poster mentioned, there’s no lasting impact to anything anymore. Why should I as a viewer care if Cas feels bad about Claire – it doesn’t matter and it’s fairly superficial, because Claire has no impact on the story, and, as we’ve seen now, is a throw away character. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like maybe Misha might be having a tiny bit of trouble with this too – he can pitch well written stuff really well in how he portrays Cas, but lately there seems to be a case of The Stupids creeping into Cas for no reason other than he needs lines. The texting thing was amusing, but… I don’t know, maybe I’m being stubborn in refusing to take Cas as a do-good comic relief character.

I was going to say something about Sam but then I realised I’m not sure what his role in this episode was, so.. skip that (though hurray for the wet hair – some nice weather variation. Vancouver! Directing!)

Dean is really stuck at the moment. If the plot around him was better put together, I’d say he was nicely poised to go into something really interesting, but with so many loose threads that don’t feel to have any real drive to go anywhere, I think this potential for excitement gets lost. I don’t have faith that they’re going to do anything with him, because they’ve thrown away ways to resolve other arcs in interesting ways so much in the past few episodes. It’s not that I feel wronged by that, I just don’t forsee anything interesting ultimately coming from the MoC line, so I find it hard to get invested. If we were to see Sam and Dean go off the rails with like.. a demon blood/MoC mash up for next season, I would promptly shit my pants and eat my hat, but the writers aren’t that bold, and I don’t think they could handle something that far from what they know.

Crowley, what even are you right now. xD He’s on the leash, and I’m sure it was maybe a call back to the human blood but it wasn’t explicit enough, so it seemed kind of OOC.

Also, can we acknowledge the super-secret conversation that Rowena spied on? I mean, fucking hell. It was like an Austin Powers style sort of bad guy monologue – the type that gives away needless details in order for the protagonist to defeat them. Without wishing to throw unnecessary shade, that was some Saturday morning cartoon level writing.

I really need to stop, I’m sure I’m making enemies by cutting into this so deep. xD I’m sorry!

As a final ‘I can’t even touch this logic’ thought: ‘Sure, ex-commander-that-we-no-longer-trust Cas, here’s heaven’s most wanted angel who has outsmarted you and wrecked your shit several times before. Bring him back in one piece, m’kay?’

I give this episode: Two Metatron stabs.


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