BEYOND THE MAT – 8.5/10.
It’s a beautiful thing when geekdoms collide and that’s exactly what happened in this week’s episode of Supernatural. Followers of this blog will know just how much I love rasslin (more than Karen Gillan, less than Batman), so you can imagine my delight upon discovering that Sam and Dean would be investigating a series of mysterious deaths linked to an indie rasslin troupe. I was even more excited to find out that former WWE champion, The Miz would have a starring role in the episode, making this the first time that I have ever been excited about The Miz being involved in anything. With the boys still reeling from Castifer’s big reveal, they attempt to cheer themselves up in a very Winchester way, by attending the funeral of their father’s favourite rassler, The Hangman.
It seems Hangman’s death is just one in a string of tragedies that have followed Top Notch Wrestling on the road. After a fan is murdered at the TNW show they are attending, Dean and Sam decide to take up the case. While Sam hits the books, Dean spends most of the investigation getting drunk with rasslers and fanboying over his childhood hero, Gunner Lawless. Miz pretty much plays The Miz in this episode as arrogant rookie, Shawn Harley, who serves as the number one suspect once the boys identify the killer as a Sumerian demon. But this theory is soon put to rest when Harley is violently abducted by none other than Gunner Lawless. Lawless delivers Harley to his master, a drug dealing demon named Duke who offers him a deal; his soul or his life.
While the Winchesters try to rescue Harley from Duke, Crowley is seemingly rescued from his role as Lucifer’s slave. Since his return Lucifer has taken great pleasure in humiliating and degrading the former king of Hell. With Lucifer distracted by his search for another Hand of God relic, Crowley is offered the chance to escape by a minion named, Simmons. They fight their way out of Hell, heading to a lock up where Crowley can grab a change of clothes and his own Hand of God, The Rod of Aaron. Of course it turns out to be a trap set by Lucifer in order to claim the Rod for himself. Crowley tries to use the Rod to destroy Lucifer but Simmons takes the holy bullet for him. With the Rod’s power spent, Crowley makes a wise exit before Lucifer is able to go biblical on his ass.
Harley’s rescue doesn’t go much better than Crowley’s and the Winchesters show up in time to find Gunner standing over his bloody corpse. While Sam tries to fend off Duke, Dean is forced to fight his hero. Gunner isn’t evil; he’s just made a lot of bad decisions including selling his soul for a shot at a title that he would only hold for a week. Dean does his best to appeal to Gunner’s better nature, finally convincing him to turn on Duke. With the demon dead, the Hell hounds soon come to claim the bounty on Gunner’s soul. Dean offers to help him to fight them off but the proud veteran accepts that his time has come. Despite everything, Gunner managed to inspire Dean and he feels a renewed sense of purpose, vowing to save Cas, ice the devil and shank the Darkness.
While this was a generic ‘monster of the week’ episode, its subject matter helped to elevate it into something a bit more special. However, for anyone who doesn’t share my obsession with oily men in spandex then this episode probably felt like filler. That said, the juxtaposition of the life of an indie rassler compared to the life of a hunter was quite poignant and the Crowley/Lucifer sub plot also helped everything to feel more relevant. The episode also served to further establish the importance of the Hand of God relics in the battle against both Amara and Lucifer. It seems likely that they will play a big part in the final showdown between Amara, Lucifer and the Winchesters. Although judging from Simmons’ messy fate, using it on Lucifer may not be the best way to save Cas.
Despite the presence of a bonafide Wrestlemania main eventer, it was Misha Collins who managed to steal the show once again. With the cat out of the bag in regards to Lucifer’s return there is no longer any need for him to pretend to be Castiel, which means Collins was able to go full and joyously evil in this episode. While all the elements of Mark Pellegrino’s Morningstar are still there, Collins manages to bring his own take to the character and it’s a lot of fun to watch. So what can we expect from the next few episodes? It seems likely that Amara will be brought back into play, while Crowley will most probably join the Winchesters in their search for holy relics. Whatever happens we will definitely have to endure a few more MOTW episodes before business really begins to pick up.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- As ever, Lucifer got all the best lines, even going so far as to quote Nelson Muntz’ immortal threat to Bart Simpson, “you made me bleed my own blood.”
- It was nice to see both Sam and Dean revert back to teenagers at the TNW show, with Dean trying to hide his disappointment at not being given Gunner’s glove and Sam getting flustered by meeting the object of his childhood crush.
- Fun little fact we learnt from this episode; Dean got his first B & E charge at the age of ten after breaking into someone else’s house to watch a rasslin PPV.
- Double entendre of the night goes to Crowley for his line to Simmons, “With all due respect Simmons, I don’t think you could handle my rod.”