Supernatural, S8 Ep16 – Remember the Titans

Sam, Dean, and Artemis with her bow

It’s filler time! Another Monster of the Week episode, oh boy. I almost wish American network TV had just six or twelve episodes a season like British shows, that way they could focus on telling the season’s main story arc without having to throw in episodes like this just to make enough to fill out the year. Though that would also mean that I wouldn’t see my favorite characters as often, so maybe not. Just imagine the carnage if they pulled a Sherlock on us and only released three episodes every couple of years.

Prometheus draped in a sheet

Meet Prometheus. Doesn’t he look so Greek? Not.

So Sam and Dean are still waiting to hear back from Kevin about the next trial, and Castiel is still on radio silence. Clearly it’s time for a good old fashioned monster case, like in the old days. The only thing about that is there’s such a thing as plot and character development and maturing beyond the “old days,” and these kinds of episodes get in the way of the story I really care about. When they’ve put so much effort into evolving these characters and the story, whenever we get these one-off adventures it always feels so rushed because there’s just not the time to develop the same emotional attachment for the new characters of the week as we have for Sam and Dean. Sometimes they can pull it off, but other times these episodes just fall flat. I have to say this week’s is marginally better than last week’s, but I’m giving it a low grade still because of one thing: I love Greek mythology, and this episode seemed like the writers barely even glanced at Wikipedia.

There was another problem I had with this episode, but it had nothing to do with the writing itself. There was a mystery set up in the beginning of the story, the mystery of the guy who kept dying and coming back to life. Unfortunately, the released episode summary, episode title, and promo advertisements already told us that he’s a Titan, specifically Prometheus, so there went that mystery before we could even get started. Knowing who he was already made it less interesting, though the zombie stuff at the beginning was kind of funny (that sheriff really wanted to go fight a zombie). The biggest surprise for me was that Prometheus had a son (or, if you know your mythology, another son) because that was the one thing I hadn’t had spoiled for me by the previews, but that only kept me hanging on for so long. I did like Haley’s reaction to the supernatural, though. She’d had a little taste of it already, what with her son following in the footsteps of his father by dying every day only to pop back up a few hours later like it was no big deal, so she wasn’t completely surprised by the big reveal, but her reaction felt believable without being over-the-top. Plus, you gotta love someone who called Sam and Dean Ghostbusters.

Dean looking so happy he's a legacy

Check him out, he’s a Legacy! This is the guy in charge of all the secret knowledge in the world.

One thing I liked about the main plotline of the episode: Dean showing off being a Legacy of the Men of Letters. He just looked so proud! And here we thought Sam was the only one reveling in all the ancient society stuff.

Also, Dragon Penis.

But what bugged me about the episode would have to be what they did with Greek mythology. Now, Supernatural always likes to play with the myths and legends that they feature, twisting them into something sometimes completely unrecognizable, but this time it felt more like a lack of research rather than creative reinterpretation. For one thing, I thought Prometheus was supposed to be alive when he had his liver eaten out every day. That was supposed to be part of the torture, right? I don’t recall ever hearing that he was supposed to actually die, but that due to being immortal he was alive and awake throughout the whole thing. Oh, and in some stories, Hercules freed him, so he wouldn’t be on that mountain anymore anyway.

Zeus in his suit and tie

Zeus has got his suit and tie.

Also, Sam asked Prometheus why he went against Zeus and gave fire to man. Since Prometheus had amnesia at the time, I can forgive him for not knowing the answer, and maybe I could just pretend that Sam forgot about the one little aspect of the myth that says Prometheus created man from clay. In Greek mythology, Prometheus created humans, so I imagine Prometheus brought fire to his creation because he cared about them – that, and because he had a bit a of a trickster aspect to his personality. So Sam asking him why he did it was kind of like asking someone why they would steal bread for their starving children. When Dean lit Prometheus’s funeral bier, I did like how they used fire to put him to rest. I especially liked the use of the lighter, because it showed the ease with which we can now use Prometheus’s gift. It’s kind of a nice send off, showing that he was right to make the sacrifice that he had. But the story itself kind of felt thrown together and a little boring. I liked parts of it, but it wasn’t particularly memorable.

Artemis with bow and arrow

I understand wearing modern clothes to fit in, but why the modern bow? I’m pretty sure that’s going to stand out no matter what.

Another aspect of their reinterpreted mythology that bothered me was how they treated Artemis. Artemis is supposed to be a strong, confident goddess who don’t need no consort, and yet here she was meekly following her father. Instead of being a decent person who thinks that torturing a child is wrong, apparently she needed the reason of being in love with Prometheus (and wasn’t she a virgin goddess) to want to stop Zeus from hurting Prometheus’s son. That is not the Artemis I know and love and kind of fear just a bit. So no points for the Greek myth shout outs in this episode. Sorry, boys.

Sam concerned about the blood in his water

You might want to get that checked out.

Now, what did I like in this episode? Why, the brothers’ never ending angst-fest of course! I like how even in these stand alone, kind of boring MotW episodes, we still have some emotional character development of Sam and Dean. It makes it impossible to completely hate any of these episodes even when there’s nothing else that grabs my attention. Sam was spitting up more blood and still hiding it from Dean, but he did voice his concern about not making it out of the trials alive. That was interesting, because we still don’t really know what’s going on with him. Why is he coughing up blood? What the heck, man? What if it’s not even connected to the trials and he just needs to go to the doctor or something? Sammy, get a check up, for the love of Chuck!

Dean alone in his room

This moment is too sad for a funny caption. Though why is he looking for Cas on his bed…

And then there was Dean. Dean! He knows that Sam’s covering something and he’s worried, so what did he do? He prayed to Cas! Dean prayed. To. Cas. He wants Cas to watch over his little brother! But Cas didn’t respond. That’s how they ended the episode, with Sam thinking he’s probably going to die, again, and Dean pouring out his heart and soul to the friend he misses and from whom he desperately needs help, but who won’t show up. Why must this show hurt me in this way? Especially since we’re not getting another episode until March 20. The writers love torturing us as much as Zeus loved torturing Prometheus. They might as well chain us to a mountain and have our hearts eaten out by a bird every week, because that’s what this feels like. I have to say…well done!

So, final verdict: another so-so story with some nice emotional pain to keep us coming back for more, like the masochists Supernatural fans not-so-secretly are. When the show returns in March, so will the angel tablet storyline. Yay! And Cas will be back. Yay! And he’ll be…stabbing people? Yay?