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Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

FOX's Fringe

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

When an electromagnetic interference downs an airplane, Olivia, Peter and Walter investigate but it seems the crash is the least of their worries. Stopping in the nearby town of Westfield, the team discovers that the entire town has gone insane, some on murderous rages in an eerie Silent Hill style manner. “Welcome to Westfield” is creepy, disturbing, slightly predictable, but downright intense. This is the kind of Monster of the Week episode Fringe does best.

Score: 4 1/2 of 5

>Score<

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Westfield, otherwise known as Silent Hill aka The Twilght Zone.

When a show gets into its fourth season it’s harder to do Monster of the Week episodes because there is so much of a long-plot going on that MotW’s come off as ill-placed filler. The smart move is to connect the MotW to the long-plot thought not make it completely reliant on it. This is what “Welcome” does.

First you have this electromagnetic disturbance which you think is going to affect the drivers, but instead a plane crashes ala LOST style. This is enough to call in the gang who immediately figure out that something Fringe-y is going on. In what is almost a 360 move, Peter, Olivia and Walter go to the nearby town of Westfield to get some pie on their way back to the lab.

Is there anything creepier than an empty town? I would argue probably not a lot. Add the dual personality of the restaurant owner, not to mention the dead body behind the counter and the guy bleeding to death in the freezer and you have a perfect episode of Silent Hill meets Twilight Zone.

If you’ve ever watched Silent Hill, and let’s be honest, you should, “Welcome” is very reminiscent of that style. The fluctuations, the random people walking around bloody and seemingly insane, a few lone survivors hiding out. This is the kind of episode that reminds me why Fringe fills that hole that X-Files left.

Fringe – S04E12 – “Welcome to Westfield”

Peter, Walter and Olivia help a victim of the town's temporal mergance.

Of course when Olivia starts having original Olivia’s memories we know exactly what is happening, the two worlds are colliding. She gets the shakes but is physically fine compared to the other victims, also, her double shouldn’t have any reason to be in Westfield. But then Olivia is special, isn’t she. It comes as no surprise at the end that she suddenly acts like Peter’s Olivia but at the same time we’re almost as surprised as Peter. That’s the sign of a very well done scene.

It would have been nice to find out what happened on the Other side when this occurred but it’s not enough of an issue to push this one down at all. The constant movement and intensity of the episode is what really keeps it going.

Still no word if this will be the last season of Fringe or not, so let’s hope that if we don’t get a season five that the finale is as intense as this episode was!

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Posted by on February 20, 2012 in Television

 

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Once Upon a Time – S01E11 – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

ABC's Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time – S01E11 – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

In the real world, Mr. Glass is a shamed reporter who is looking for revenge against Regina. In the fairy world, Mirror has one of the most unlikely of back stories. While “Fruit” goes a long way towards moving the fairy-tale story along, its predictability, nonsense, and indecision causes it to fall flat and be the worst episode of the season so far.

Score: 2 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

Not sure I want to dignify this episode with a play by play so here is the list of everything that is wrong with “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”.

– Mr Glass suddenly turning his back on Regina? Yeah, like we’re really supposed to believe that? The whole thing being a set up was obvious from the trailer but the episode seemed to try to hide it as a surprise and then gave up half way.

– Wait, Mirror was a Genie? Seriously?

– But hey, we get a Genie, and turns out he’s pretty lame. Come on writers, it’s a freaking Genie! The possibilities are endless but what do they do? Don’t let him do any Genie stuff but give him one of the most overused, cliché, romantic story lines ever… and for once I’m not really exaggerating. Mirror is freed by this guy, goes seeking love, and falls for the wife of the guy who freed him. Even Shakespeare is face-palming right now. If they wanted this story for Mirror, then why couldn’t they have made him something else and used the Genie for another story and really have a go with it. Maybe not Robin-Williams-Aladdin-wild but still, even X-Files did a better Genie story and they didn’t have a fairy world to put her in.

Once Upon a Time – S01E11 – “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree”

Evil Queen sadden by the fact the man she married in order to kill doesn't seem to appreciate her.

– So, is Snow’s dad a douche or what? This statement sparked an interesting conversation, but that aside, think about it. One moment he’s being all noble to the Genie (though it’s easy to give up wishes when you can have anything you want) and the next he is telling everyone how wonderful his first wife was while completely ignoring the fact that his new wife is only sitting a few feet away. He then proceeds to read her personal diary, steal her stuff, and send someone to find out who might possibly be making her happy… instead of, dunno, being a good husband and making her happy by being a good husband? I think the writers might have been trying to garner sympathy for Evil Queen but… something went horribly wrong from concept to screen.

– The “Stranger” is getting the LOST treatment, i.e., vague clips and references as to his real purpose and while at the moment that’s kind of cool, they keep this up and it will turn into a cheap trick stolen from, erm, LOST.

– Oh, and the trailer for this episode really made it look like it was going to be something tense but it just dragged on and on…

– And lastly, instead of admitting that he doesn’t love his wife anymore, asking for a divorce and doing all the stuff a man in his situation should do, David starts a full blown affair with Mary. Great, two classic literary characters from my childhood have now been reduced to soap opera harlots.

So, my biggest question after watching this episode is: Do the writers even know what they are doing at this point? I mean, the show started good but has slowly devolved into something just above Days of Our Lives territory. They had a clean slate with this concept and could have had so much fun, given us something so juicy without the soap opera tricks… I don’t know if they can drag themselves out of this hole they’re digging themselves into.

Next week they tackle my favorite Disney tale, Munchausen Syndrome for Kids more commonly referred to as Beauty and the Beast. Seems they already messed it up majorly but Rumple/Mr Gold has been the most interesting thing about this series, so we shall see what we see.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Television

 

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Chuck S05E12 & S05E13 – “Chuck vs Sarah” and “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

NBC's Chuck

This encompasses both episodes as they aired together as a two hour series finale.

Chuck S05E12 & S05E13 – “Chuck vs Sarah” and “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

Spoilers for previous episodes.

Sarah’s most recent memories have been wiped by the Intersect and Quinn has manipulated her into thinking Chuck is the bad guy. Chuck never gives up on Sarah being able to remember who she is even when she has a gun pointed at him. Will she remember in time to stop Quinn? What will happen to our intrepid group of adventures? How will it all end? Chuck goes out on a mimic of one of the most pivotal scenes of the series, a satisfying conclusion that while not utterly fantastic, deserves a nice slap on the back for a job well done.

Score: 4 of 5

>Spoilers<

Chuck – S05E13 – “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

Chuck, Sarah, and Casey defuse a bomb.

Series finales are the bane of tv shows, especially ones that have ran for longer than four years. If you have kept your audience around that long and know this is the end then you better make sure that you leave things on a note that is very satisfying for fans. While you want to be innovative and go out with a bang you don’t want to be so out in left field that you leave viewers going ‘what just happened?’ Looking at you there Seinfeld. You also don’t want to do exactly what you’ve never done and make a cop-out ending. *cough*X-Files*cough* And don’t get me started on LOST.

Thankfully, Chuck managed to barely skirt on by these hazards and pulled out a pretty decent closure that many fans just aren’t given enough credit too. I could go through the whole plot line of the two hours but really, it was your average Chuck episode. You might not even realize it’s a series finale until the last half of the second hour as the characters start to wrap up their storylines and go their separate ways. Here is what happens to them:

The General: She keeps on being the General, her door always open if the team wants to get back together to save the world again. – Good

Big Mike: Staying at the Buy More which has new owners, Subway! Yes, they lampooned the running gag of product placement. Beautiful. – Perfect

Jeff and Lester: Jeffster actually came in handy, seriously, it was like a miracle (and the singing wasn’t bad at all this time). They even got a record deal, they are going to be big in Germany… and that totally makes sense in that weird way that Germany loves The Hoff so much. – Perfect

Elle and Awesome: Moving to Chicago to take some new, quite well paying, jobs. There they can raise their child in a real home… but away from Chuck? It’s good to see that they finally moved to that point where Elle doesn’t think she has to take care of her brother anymore, but all the way to Chicago? – Passable

John Casey: He’s going to go after Verbanski and as he puts it, he doesn’t run after people, he stalks his prey. Giving Chuck a big hug he finally admits that there is one thing the Russians do right, big hugs. As much as I kinda wanted him to get back with Alex’s mom, Verbanski is probably a better fit and he’s sent off in Casey style. – Perfect

Morgan and Alex: They move in together with Casey’s blessing… and that’s it. It’s a nice, happy, ending, but nothing really happens. – Good

Chuck – S05E13 – “Chuck vs the Goodbye”

Chuck tells Sarah the 'Story of Chuck and Sarah'.

Chuck and Sarah: Sarah’s memories don’t come back to her but she does have a few pieces here and there. Chuck finds her at the beach and she asks him to tell her the story of us. In a short flashback sequence interchanged with a smiling/laughing Sarah, we get a sense of her opening up to what made her fall in love with Chuck in the first place. (Why he doesn’t use the picture from “Bullet Train” we have no idea). Just like the marriage proposal, the episode ends with Chuck and Sarah in a quiet long shot, the two kissing. While I think this is almost perfect I can see where other fans might be upset. They don’t like the reset and want to see Sarah with her memory back. Can’t please them all? – Great.

Overall it’s a decent way to end the series, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted five years of life and I truly believe that all these characters are going to live happily ever after. So I didn’t get to see it explicitly and yeah, it leaves things open for future exploration, but it’s still a conclusion, the end of a novel, and that’s what’s important.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Television

 

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Once Upon a Time – S01E10 – “7:15 A.M.”

ABC's Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time – S01E10 – “7:15 A.M.”

Snow White and Prince Charming’s story takes center stage as the wedding of Charming and Abigail nears. In the real world, Mary and David start circling each other, both unable to get past their feelings. The forbidden romance comes to a head in both worlds but what will be the consequences? Meanwhile, Emma discovers the Stranger’s reason for coming to Storybrooke and the answer opens up more questions. “7:15” is not quite as preachy as “True Noth” but the constant exposition on love and romance does start to wear thin. Nevertheless, another solid episode which pulls us further down the rabbit hole. Wait, is Alice in Wonderland applicable here?

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

Once Upon a Time – S01E10 – “7:15 A.M.”

We see Red Ridding Hood for the first time and she's helping Snow White.

As many unanswered questions as this show leaves us with, I am constantly left to wonder… if no one comes to Storybrooke, then how do they get products in their stores and how does the economy not collapse? I’m told it’s because of magic but that doesn’t really satisfy me. I could write a whole article to the effect of how Storybrooke is just not physically possible. Of course, this comes from a girl who watches shows like X-Files without blinking an eye. I get hung up on the weirdest things sometimes.

Moving on, the episode gives us a congruently running story of Snow White trying to forget Charming and Mary trying to forget David. Snow goes to Rumple, who has mad ninja skillz btw, and asks for the cure for a broken heart, which happens to be a magical memory eraser potion. That’s pretty hefty so she wants to think about it first. Rumple gives her the potion in return for a lock of her hair… yeah, that’s not going to end well.

Mary takes a less noble route and effectively stalks David. She tries to quit but finds a wounded bird which she takes to the animal shelter he works at (in mimic of the carrier pigeon Charming sends out to find Snow in fairy world). Mary becomes determined to get the bird back to its flock but a major storm is brewing, literally.

Okay, so the licensed Veterinarian… how does that work? Was he a woodsman or something and the curse just flopped him into a roll and downloaded all the information into him like Neo. “Whoa, I know Veterinary Medicine!”

Once Upon a Time – S01E10 – “7:15 A.M.”

Snow White joins the Seven Dwarves after leaving Prince Charming.

Typical blah blah trope trope later and Mary and David get stuck in a cabin waiting out the storm while Snow’s plan to see Charming lands her in the dungeon. Insert more forbidden romance hyperbole and an eighth dwarf. Now, I am all for adding more dwarfs but seriously, ‘Stealthy’. You name a dwarf Stealthy and then kill him off because you don’t give him mad ninja skillz? Writers. I.am.disappoint.

Charles Widmore then appears and goes all evil on the Snow/Charming relationship because that is what Charles Widmore does. Eventually both Snow/Charming and Mary/David split up because it’s the right thing to do. Of course, in one of the most interesting, if a bit strange, divergences, Mary/David end up kissing in the middle of the street and Charming dumps Abigail for Snow only she’s drank the magic potion and promptly forgotten him.

We know that Snow and Charming end up together, so why is it the writers chose to create more angst and obstacles in that relationship and hook up Mary and David already? It’s possible they (the writers) like the dampened angst of the Snow/Charming relationship (since we know they get together) and they also dislike the will they/won’t they trope relationship that could build with Mary and David? Time will tell and it’s these small touches which keeps us, or at least me, interested.

Oh, and the Stranger? Turns out he’s a writer who is in town because he has something he needs to get done. Could he be a descendent of Grimm or Anderson? Is he from the fairy world? Is he the writer of Henry’s book? Is he Emma’s own ‘Prince Charming’? Will this all end in a church? Actually, that would work out quite nicely…

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Television

 

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Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

FOX's The Finder

Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

Taking a page from NCIS, Bones regular Dr. Lance Sweets (John Francis Daley) visits the Finder to recertify Walter to work on federal cases. Sweets rides shot gun as Walter attempts to locate evidence to at least stay the execution of a cop accused of killing another cop. A couple of Miami Vice homage’s with Sweets being adorable later and Walter has his man. Well, he’s pretty sure. The B-plot with Willa is kind of dumb but at least shows some character development which isn’t as cliché as the pilot. With the inclusion of several wonderful scenes and The Finder shows marked improvements and a steady gait.

Score: 3 ½ of 5

>Spoilers<

We begin with a rather zealous warden who believes X-Files’ Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is an innocent man on death row. There’s a reminder that Leo is a full fledge lawyer, in case anyone missed that between the backdoor pilot and first episode, and we’re also treated to an interesting spin on Walter’s irreverence. Walter wears a suit, an honest to goodness suit, with no arguments, no jacket over a shirt, etc. It’s an interesting touch, which may or may not have been deliberate, but it is subtle character development. Of course, as soon as he’s back at the bar he strips down to his usual polo and shorts in front of Sweets.

Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

Dr. Lance Sweets accompanies Walter.

Another nice touch is we learn that the bar is actually Leo’s and it runs on the honor system… which is a nice way to address and lampshade the fact that if they are always off finding things then who is watching the bar?

Walter then sets out in search of evidence in the form of a bullet, Sweets in tow. Sweets is a fun character and Bones fans will enjoy this crossover and I think the same is true for non-Bones viewers. Sweets has a certain cute charm which is pretty endearing. His cameo does serve a purpose though, and that is to be the fulcrum in which the missed exposition and background from the first episode is finally lifted out of the way.

Sweets inadvertently gets Leo to admit that his wife and daughter have been killed and that sent him into a very angsty and dark depression. One can guess it was the murderer which Walter stopped Leo from killing, or maybe who Leo thought was the killer. Hopefully we’ll get a little more here and there about this before the inevitable flashback episode because we know one is coming.

Also, best line of the series so far comes from Sweets asking if Walter ever considered committing suicide. His answer: “I can think of at least ten people I’d kill before I’d kill myself.” This really locks in the tone of the series, sharp, witty, and blunt.

Finder – S01E02 – “Bullets”

Possibly one of the funniest gun battles... ever.

The rest of the episode is either a lampoon of 80s cop shows or an overly sardonic and sarcastic treatise on 80s cop shows. I’m not entirely sure what that means but it feels right. Under the obvious Miami Vice pot shots there is the now classic comment “it was a different time in the 80s, a simpler time”. This refers to the concept that before cops became more accountable for their actions, civil liberties were really championed, and a public became more aware of their ability to fight back via video, internet, etc, cops tended to rule as they saw fit. It was the wild west without the tumble weeds in the 80s and cops were on the take, roughed up anyone, and generally acted as seen on tv about the 80s. (How much of this is true and Hollywood hyperbole I really need to look into.) This idea of the 80s has become a fixture in modern procedurals like CSI, Castle, and Cold Case, anytime the leads look into an old case which took place in the 80s.

Walter gets tired of the constant over use of the phrase “it was a different/simpler time” and I’m left wondering just how deliberate this was. Is it a comment on an overused trope or about the misconception of the 80s or a reflection of what the writers think of such an excuse? I might shrug it off it not for Sweet’s later proclaims that the actual murder wasn’t that interesting, it was the finding of the bullet that was fascinating and fun. Could this be reference to the fact that most people don’t watch murder mysteries for the murders themselves but the process in which the detective figures out who the killer is? It’s all about clues that need to be found and pieces together… and what does the Finder do?

Could I be giving the writers too much credit here? Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2012 in Television

 

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Once Upon a Time S01E09 – “True North”

ABC's Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time S01E09 – “True North”

The Evil Queen with Hansel and Gretel

The Evil Queen with Hansel and Gretel

The fable-twist series is starting to get to the second rung of fairytales, the ones that are recognizable but haven’t received major treatment from the film industry. In “True North” we get a spin on the Hansel and Gretel tale where the Evil Queen sends the children into the Blind Witch’s gingerbread house in order to fetch something for her. In the real world, Emma finds a pair of homeless kids (H&G) and tries to find their missing father before they get sent into the foster home. While there is a lot of nice little touches in the episode which will lead to bigger things later on, mostly the audience is treated to long speeches from Emma about how being a foster kid sucks and about what it means to find you have kids. Overall a bland episode but it does lay the ground work for some hopeful fireworks later on. Solid, but preachy episode.

Score: 3 of 5 Stars

>Spoilers<

Only a few things I really want to point out in this episode, for one, the costuming continues to be great! From the Evil Queen to the Blind Witch, this alone makes the show worth watching.

The Blind Witch

The Blind Witch

Pretty much the rest of the episode is the typical H&G story and Emma trying to find the dad of the real world kids. She is able to use the compass their father gave them to get a name from Mr Gold… who just happened to know it though pretended he had it on record as a purchase. We continue to wonder what his game is.

During her investigation, Henry asks about his own father. Emma tells Henry a lie about who he was/is because apparently he was not a very good man. She makes the dad out to be a hero so this little lie will definitely come back to haunt her… because of course it will.

The children’s father is played by X-Files alum Nicholas Lea, wonderful actor who was just on Supernatural on Friday so good to see him getting more work. He doesn’t know what to make of the news of having kids and decides he doesn’t know how to be a dad so they are on their own. This leads to many more speeches from Emma who is starting to turn into Sheridan from Babylon 5.  

In the fairy world, H&G kill the Blind Witch and retrieve a satchel for the Evil Queen who is, amazingly, grateful. She even offers H&G the equivalence of winning the lottery, but they aren’t stupid, she’s Evil, and turn down her offer. In typical Evil Manically Depressed Queen fashion she makes sure H&G and their dad are separated far apart and holds the grudge into the real world.

Oh, the satchel? Holds the infamous Red Apple that Snow White will be eating soon. Nice to see movement on that plot line.

The episode ends with a mysterious stranger showing up (at first I thought he was going to be Henry’s father so nice to see I was wrong). What does this mean for our Storybrooke dwellers? Odds are… nothing good.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Television

 

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Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

CW's Supernatural 
Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

Supernatural is one of those shows that can’t jump the shark because it made friends with the shark, served it a nice dinner, and occasionally takes it out for a night on the town. This is never more obvious than in episodes like “Time After Time”. Sam and Dean need a change of pace from their Leviathan hunting and Sheriff Jody Mills offers up a case for them. In the process of hunting a demon, Dean is thrown back in time and meets Elliot Ness played by X-Files alum Nicholas Lea. This is a time travel episode and Supernatural looks straight at the camera and says “yeah, we know” and proceeds to have fun. The required cliché jokes are underplayed, Dean makes sure to lamp shade Back to the Future and Untouchables, and the dialogue is suitably witty. This is how you do a time travel episode in this day and age.

As a bonus, there is a nice subplot dealing with the recent turn of events in the Winchester’s lives and it’s not overly emo!

Score: 4 Ratings Star

>Spoilers<

The episode starts mid-investigation, Dean disappearing into the ether after chasing a new monster. After the commercial break we discover that Dean is obsessing over Richard Roman, this season’s bad guy. Officer Mills, who is a great character, great to see her back again, gives the boys a case in Canton, Ohio. Bodies are being mummified and the witness sees a guy sucking the life out of the victims with a red light.

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and Elliot Ness (Nicholas Lea)

The red light turns out to be time travel juice and when Dean tackles the monster he’s sent back to Nov, 1944. Dean is arrested for waving his gun in public (which he does all the time in the future but only seems to get pinched in 1944?). He is then introduced to Elliot Ness played by the always wonderful Nicholas Lea. Lea underplays what could easily be an over the top character, especially as Dean starts to roll off stuff from the Untouchables movie.

That’s really the key to this episode, it’s underplayed. It’s all about a hunt, the time travel stuff is just window dressing. As Donald P. Bellisario pointed out in his audio commentary for NCIS episode “Yankee White”, if you are going to pay homage to a film so blatantly then you point it out, let the audience in on it. This way everyone can have a smile at the gag and it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. Dean references Back to the Future on more than one occasion and we realize that this character’s only frame of reference in dealing with the current situation is movies, but it’s working for him so far.

Like a dream, Dean gets to fight along side Elliot Ness. Ness, who such a strong figure in law enforcement history, is probably the only one who can call Dean on his emo-shtick and really put him in place, something that has been in dire need for at least the last two seasons.

Supernatural - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester in 1940s era suit.

Dean also meets Ezra Moore, a tailor who reminds him a lot of Bobbie, so it’s possible groundwork was laid for future exploration. That or again they underplayed the time travel aspect by not specially pointing to the fact she is Bobbie’s ancestor. Either way, win, win.

Finally the monster is revealed to be Cronus (played by the highly charming Jason Dohring), a defunct god who has to suck the life out of ‘sacrifices’ in order to not be thrown through time. In a twist at the end they try to turn him in into a sympathetic character, he was only doing this to stay with the woman he loves and his life is pretty crappy anyway. However, it just fell flat and pointless, a last ditch effort which took a nose dive. Still, it wasn’t enough to detract from the rest of the episode.

The dialogue was amazingly crafted, the 40’s speech patterns and Dean’s wise cracks were spot on without being over done. The set design was passable (they kept the camera angles tight) but managed an awesome hunter’s kit for Ness’s car. And might I say that Dean looks mighty fine in a 40’s era suit, yum. 

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Cronus (Jason Dohring) is not happy.

As for Sam, he’s stuck in the present trying to figure out how to get his brother back and Mills offers her help. They find a spell to summon Cronus but they need him to be touching Dean so that he can catch a ride back. Through some dues ex machina and Back to the Future 3, Sam is able to discover a date and time the two will be together.

Cronus and Dean are pulled to the future along with a weapon provided by Ezra, and in a fight Sam plunges a stake into the god’s heart. Before he dies, Cronus tells the boys that he can see their future and it’s covered in black sludge, an ominous foretelling… but he could have been being a dick since he was dying.

Over all it’s not an arc-important episode but it sure is a fun one with plenty of laughs.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Television

 

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