Supernatural 9×13 Review: The Purge

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The way this episode was marketed made me fear that it was going to be nothing but fat jokes from beginning to end. It certainly started off that way and there were fat jokes littered throughout, but it wasn’t as bad as I was bracing for it to be. The episode reminded me very much of the Adipose plot from the Doctor Who episode ‘Partners in Crime.’ There were moments where there were laughs at the expense of overweight people, but it was surprisingly not the focus of the episode.  If the presence of even one fat joke offends you, might might want to skip this episode.  Honestly you could skip it without really losing much as far as the development of the season is concerned. This episode was an average monster-of-the-week episode with a small dash of development on the Sam and Dean relationship front. And when I say ‘small’ amount of development, I truly mean it.  They had a very short conversation that pretty much just reaffirmed everything that’d been said last week.  The only thing that struck me about it was the brief revisit to their difference of opinion on the human/monster dichotomy.  That’s to be expected at this point in the season, but I’m really looking forward to pulling out of these MOW episodes and getting back to the main plot.

In the beginning of the episode we see Dean with an empty bottle of alcohol next to him. It’s first thing in the morning and he’s been up all night drinking and researching.  Dean’s had an alcohol problem for many seasons and whenever we go a few episodes without showing it I have hope that he might be recovering. It’s just a part of who he is, it seems.  Given the extremely traumatic nature of his entire life, it makes sense that he’d resort to drinking as a way to cope. It’s unhealthy and I wish it weren’t the case, but it makes sense as far as characterization goes. It’s a sad and unfortunate fact that Dean uses alcohol to escape his pain.  He’s what I’d refer to as a ‘functional alcoholic.’  He doesn’t go on binges and become useless, but he certainly drinks far more than could possibly be healthy.  It’s self medication for his internal pain.

SPN1-2Moving beyond Dean’s emotional problems, this episode dealt with some other heavy hitting issues that occasionally pop up on the show.  Last week we saw Dean cope with the fine line between human and monster when Garth was turned into a werewolf. This week we saw him deal with the pishtacos, which also made him reflect at that very fuzzy line between the two. Maritza is ethical and only consumes fat from people without actually hurting them. Her brother Alonzo has no such ethics and has resorted to kill those he feeds from. It further drives home the point that monsters are like us in a way. There are good monsters and there are bad monsters.  There are those that try to control their urges like Maritza, Lenore, Benny, and Garth.  Then there are those who just let their urges take over.  It’s not a simple black and white issue. Once again Dean tries to pretend that it is that simple, but Sam seems to be more willing to look at it as a more complex issue.  Sam’s willingness to look at these issues more closely is one of the reasons why I love him so much.  He’s caring and thoughtful and tempers Dean’s often knee jerk reactions to things.

The tension between the brothers is continuing, unfortunately. I’m just as tired of it now as I was at the beginning of the season. It’s gotten worse since the Gadreel reveal and I’m really hoping that we can move past this plot quickly and get on to more interesting things. I want the brothers to make up and be a cohesive unit again, balancing each others personality types out so that they can hunt with optimum potential. I want the drama from the episodes to come from something other than the tension between them. If this show didn’t have a habit of killing off every secondary character we might have more options to choose from on that front. The only episode where the brothers were fighting that didn’t feel like emotional torture was when they each had another character to interact with. Dean had Crowley and Sam had Castiel. While I very much dislike the boys being separated, at least there were outside sources of conflict, drama, and even comic relief. That episode didn’t rely entirely on the brother’s fighting and that’s why it actually worked, even if the fundamental part of the plot was something I disliked. Now it’s just the two of them upset at each other again. Can we move past that please?  There are very few people that I know that actually enjoy the brothers fighting.  Almost everyone is sick of it.

SPN1-3This episode had very little relevance to the overall plot. It was a basic monster of the week episode that further reiterated that Sam and Dean are having problems. The problems weren’t resolved. The main conflict of the season wasn’t addressed. Nothing has changed. The episode wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very exciting either.  It’s one that I’d most likely skip on a rewatch of the season.  In fact, you could probably skip this episode on your first watch and not even notice.

Author: Angel Wilson

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.


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About the author

Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She's contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She's written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.

Comments

  1. I think episode was great.They trying to show us relationship between brothers.And it’s pretty bad.I think it’s because the mark of Cain. (sorry for my bad English)

    1. I agree re: The Mark of Cain. It IS one of the oldest curses and Cain was cursed to wander the Earth away from his family. I can see how the mark might ramp up tension between family members and cause them to want the one with the Mark “away” from them and/or make the person with mark feel compelled to leave.

      Add that to Dean’s issues and… big problems happening here.

  2. My 4 year old agonized over flying because she knew the pilot would fly her off to heaven. She never had a DRAGON GOBBLE MAMMY. Dean did as he carried Sammy chased by the heat and roar of flame across a dark yard to the only place of safety, the Impala and watch with his Daddy, clinging to Sammy, HELLFIRE prove as all 4 year olds know, monsters are real. This is all a story to Sam that decided his fate. How can logical arguments wipe out that night to his brother sworn in horror and blood to protect him at all cost?

  3. After seeing the preview for this week’s episode, my friends and I were also worried that it would be a festival of fat jokes and body shaming. We all commented during and after how relieved we were that that never transpired. One even remarked how refreshing it was to see real understanding of the underlying emotional issues behind weight gain. So I am surprised to read that you felt the episode was ‘littered’ with fat jokes. I’d be genuinely interested to have them pointed out.

    As for ‘no progress’ on the fraternal relationship front – wow! For the first time, Sam actually articulates things the fans have been talking about for months – Dean’s fear of being alone, leading him to make choices that undermine the decisions made by those he loves… And even admits that, given the reverse situation, he would let go and respect Dean’s decision to die. Efffectively providing an answer hanging over from season 8, as to why he didn’t look for Dean.
    Dean is now left to reflect on those hard truths, and perhaps we will see development to a new, more mature relationship between the Winchesters…

    Loved this episode, for so many reasons!

    1. Perhaps the “throughout” part is incorrect as the most notable one was at the beginning. The food eating contest and the part where he snuck even more food with him outside of the contest made me feel like it was a laugh at obesity. I felt like that was going to be the crux of the humor of the episode, but like I said I was pleased that it wasn’t. I do feel like there were a couple of other moments where I thought it started to fear into “lol fat people” territory, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. In order to cite those moments I’d have to watch it again because they weren’t severe enough for me to take note. That was sort of my meaning by saying it wasn’t as bad as I was bracing for. After the initial joke about an overweight food eating contestant eating even more food that was played for laughs, it didn’t really cross that line again in any severe way. Certainly not enough for me to include that moment in my review as a criticism.

      We’ll have to agree to disagree about the brother’s relationship. I feel like we are pretty much in the same spot as we were last week and that what was said this week hasn’t really changed much. They are uncomfortable in pretty much the same way as they were 7 days prior. Next week if they have a conversation that builds off of this one we may get somewhere, but I don’t feel like there was much momentum in this episode compared to the last one. That’s just how I interpreted it, though. You are certainly feel to view it differently. My frustration with the repetitive “the brothers are fighting” arch could very well be clouding my view.

      -Admin Angel

      1. The pre-credit bit with hot dog in the car wasn’t to make fun of the guy for sneaking food with him, it was to show that he did in fact cheat in the contest.

  4. I wish dean could just understand how selfish he is being. How he has always held his fears over what best for sam. What Dean has done to Sam is almost Unforgivable. This is very reminiscent of the s6 Story arc of Willow and Tara for me. It’s an Abusive Relationship based on ‘good intentions’ Sam sees it, tries to walk away but keeps getting sucked back in. I love this show and I love the brothers. But I think it would be best for them to Keep Distance for a few more episodes. Plus Dean and crowley are great together. The brothers fighting arc doesn’t bother me because it’s real. It’s emotion, and pain and raw. They need to get this out so they can move past it. Dean does whatever he wants as long as he can justify that it’s for Sam’s own good. But in the end it keeps damaging them and sam. I think they need to just fight it out. A good ole fashioned brotherly beat down. Give sam a chance to get some of that anger toward the violation that dean allowed out.
    Have Cas take Dean away for a while, do some soul healing. Dean is so broken, I feel so bad for him. But then again I wanna Gibbs slap him for all the crap he keeps pulling. His only defense is “We’re Family” I think we are all tired of that. Just tell the Truth for once Dean, “You are the most Important thing in my life and If I lose you I’m Lost” Now that Lisa and Ben are gone, What would he do? He’d drink, and fight, and screw ( but not who we all want). Till he fell into such a deep abyss that I don’t think Cas could save him. Especially If Sam died and there was a Chance of saving him. It would tear him up inside.
    But I think they need to take a break and figure out exactly what they need for themselves. Sam doesn’t trust Dean, Dean doesn’t trust himself. They just both need to be snuggled in warm blankets and fed cookies and cocoa…

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