Supernatural meta, reviews & fic recs

SPN 10.21: “Dark Dynasty” Review

Sam and Dean Winchester

When I reviewed “Paint It Black” the previous offering from writing Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Lemming, I said it was the most boring episode of Supernatural ever. With “Dark Dynasty,” they’ve lowered the bar further and written the dumbest episode ever. Filled with poor characterization, terrible dialogue, and lazy plotting, this episode had this viewer experiencing a gamut of emotions from stunned disbelief to unintended  hilarity. I can’t even feel anger anymore at the bad writing. They don’t deserve that much investment.

There was so much about “Dark Dynasty” that made no sense given past characterization and internal logic. Wait, what am I saying? There was no internal logic. Why, while Castiel was taking Rowena out so Charlie could work, would Charlie go off to a motel alone? Not only does that not make sense narratively, Charlie is supposed to be intelligent. She was supposed to have become a great hunter while in Oz. Why leave the protection of an angel? And when the bad guy shows up, why make noise by smashing her Surface and attracting attention when she could have drowned it in the toilet? Why did she not have a gun?

Speaking of which, I just have to mention how Supernatural’s product placement ruined Charlie’s nerd credentials too. Seriously, a nerd using a Microsoft product instead of Linux? Pfft.

How did Sam and Dean fair? They’ve developed an unfortunate pattern of taking enemies back to the bunker and thus revealing its not so secret location. This episode was no different. They took one of the Stynes there and, despite knowing he had some super-human physical abilities, manacled him by one arm. Then, they left him alone to go squabble. And he escaped. Sure, he did it by tearing his own arm off, which they wouldn’t have anticipated, but it’s either arrogance or stupidity to not secure him as they have others in the past. So now the Stynes know where the bunker is and Charlie is dead.

And what is going on with Castiel? Gadreel could heal and resurrect people while injured and healing Sam, but despite getting his grace back, Castiel can’t teleport or heal or resurrect presumably. He’s the celestial snack man. This once badass soldier of the Lord is now relegated to refereeing two adult women and making snack runs. And you can bet that Sam will take the blame for Charlie’s death despite her going in with her eyes wide open and making her own decisions. That infantilizes her. Consider the difference between her death and that of Jo and Ellen whose death was dignified and tragic. Dean may have blamed himself, but no one put the blame on him.

Jacob Stynes’ double-eagle tattoo hinted at the Frankenstein connection, but the way the reveal was handled in the episode made me laugh out loud. In my head, I heard Gene Wilder say, “It’s Fraankunshteen.” And wasn’t Doc Benton in “Time Is On My Side” [3.15] a real life Frankenstein? Hey, season three was all about Sam trying to save Dean from self-inflicted doom as well. Season ten is just a poorly re-written version of season three.

Now, I know a lot of fans accept the idea of Charlie being family to Sam and Dean. I know the characters say it, but I’ve never felt it, not like with Jo or Bobby or Castiel. The relationship never felt organic to me. I have to put it down to the writing. It felt contrived in the same way that Sam’s metamorphosis from emotional isolation to everybody’s pal this season has. The scene of Sam and Charlie’s clandestine meeting was so melodramatic and cheesy, I don’t know how the actors kept a straight face. I give them credit for trying, but the scene could have been pulled directly from a bad soap opera.

“Dark Dynasty” was so poorly written, such a drop in quality from the original series, so cringe-worthy and laughable that one would think that even by the CW standards, someone would be called on the carpet. If we weren’t two episodes from the season finale, I would have to call it quits myself. Everyone involved in the production of this crap fest should be ashamed of themselves, but the writers should tuck their tails between their legs and go home. “Dark Dynasty” was an insult to fans. Just how stupid do they think we are?

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