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Recaps

Supernatural “Rock and a Hard Place” 

Rock and a Hard Place
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/The CW

Sam and Dean join a purity group to suss out the latest virgin-targeting MOTW case that comes to the boys courtesy of Sheriff Jody Mills. Plus, it’s the return of Seke (Sam/Zeke). Does that mean Dean’s forced to lie again? You betcha.

 

Right off the bat I’m going to say this wasn’t what I’d call a banner episode of Supernatural. And that mostly has to do with the case that’s at the heart of “Rock and a Hard Place.” Sam and Dean infiltrate a support group for virgins and born-again virgins. A lot of this is played for laughs, and mainly comes off over-the-top and not nuanced at all.

 

While occasionally the oldest Winchester can make me cringe at his boorish behavior, it’s usually harmless to me. However, the way he hits on Suzy after finding out she’s a former porn star — it isn’t cute. It had me cringing all over the place. I mean, yes, it’s been established Dean loves women. And he loves porn (Busty Asian Beauties, anyone?). But I’ve never felt he’s crossed a line. Suzy changed her name when she hit town and basically transformed her life. She was born-again, yes, but it seemed like that world was pretty important to her. I guess not. Because it didn’t take long before she hit the sheets with Dean. I wish he had respected that aspect of her. I mean, it would have been nice and not cringe-inducing at all.

Rock and a Hard Place
Photo Credit: Liane Hentscher/The CW

The bright spot in this whole hour has to be the return of one of my favorite recurring characters — Sheriff Jody Mills. She’s comfortable with the boys and especially Sam. And as great as it is to see those two interact as they search for Dean and Suzy, they never go as far with them as I would like.

 

And here’s what I mean. In season seven, in a great episode called “Time after Time,” Dean travels back in time to the 1940s. In present day, Sam and Jody have to work together to figure out how to bring Dean back. While they were doing that, I thought we’d get to see Sam really open up to Jody about what was going on with him, because there’s always something wrong with Sam. The writers never give this guy a break. And while I liked the way they interacted in the episode, I wanted more. If I recall correctly, there was even potential for the two to bond over some booze. And, while I’m not condoning the two getting drunk mid-case, sometimes when this happens, secrets are divulged and feelings are expressed that normally wouldn’t be. And that’s what I wanted to see.

 

So, for me, the Jody/Sam moments in “Rock and a Hard Place” are good but I wanted more. It would have been cool with me if they reduced the amount of time spent underground wherever the virgins that broke their purity promises were being held, especially the stuff before Dean found himself down there.

 

It’s fun to have Jody along for the ride. She doesn’t take any bull. She can joke around with Sam and Dean. She can take care of herself. She’s strong. She gives reasons for why she’s turned to the Church after all the madness that’s happened in her life (yay to mentioning Bobby). And she can save the day. She’s this solid presence that’s good for the boys to be around. She knows what they do. She accepts them for it. She can be someone they open up to should they need it. Love her (and Kim Rhodes, the actress who plays her) lots.

 

Meanwhile, Sam knows something’s up. Yet another MOTW questions what he is. This Vesta goddess chick wants to know why he’s all “duct tape and safety pins inside.” She questions how he’s even alive. Is Ezekiel doing what he told Dean he’d do? He’s been in Sam for a long time now. Why would Sam’s insides still be in shambles? I thought he was supposed to be healing. It’s kind of frustrating how this might not have been happening. So what’s Zeke even doing? I mean, Sam’s tired all of the time. Is trusting Zeke going to backfire on Dean?

 

And, poor Sam, he’s beyond frustrated that, once again, there’s something about him that’s not completely right. I like his questioning of things. He’s finally allowed to give voice to his frustration:

 

Sam: “Why does it have to be something else? It’s always something else. We’re always scraping to find some other explanation when maybe it is just me.”

Dean: “Come on, Sam.”

Sam: “I’m a mess, Dean. You know it. And sometimes I feel like maybe I’m never gonna actually be all right.”

Dean: “You will. All right, ’cause whatever it is, we’ll figure it out.”

Sam: “Or this is, just the way I am.”

Thankfully, Sam’s concerns prompted a guilty Dean to try to come clean. Of course, Zeke takes over and doesn’t let it happen. Because, according to him, Sam would eject him if he knew the truth. He may be right but I’m still unsure if he’s doing any good to Sam right now. At least it seems like we’re closer to the truth coming out. I hope we are. That could be wishful thinking right there. Once again, Dean’s forced to cover his tracks.

 

I guess we’ll see if this all blows up in next week’s mid-season finale. Cas is back. And this show loves to head into winter hellatus with a bang. I’m anxious and excited for the episode all at the same time. Because you know s–t is about to go down, right?

Supernatural airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on the CW.

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13 Comments

  1. MByerly

    I can’t say that I trust Zeke, and I figure we’ll know his game plan in the next episodes as the angels start their rumble, but in fairness, Castiel told Sam and Dean that Sam was changed DOWN TO HIS DNA by the trials so repairing him isn’t a case of putting bandaids on his innards.

    1. Tina Charles

      No but Zeke has been in him for a while now. I figured that he’d be repaired a little more by now. I’m just anxious for this part of the story to be over. I don’t like the lying and the Sam being taken out of the action. But that’s just me.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. njspnfan

    Just a theory but Zeke has had to heal/resurrect a lot of people while not at full strength; maybe he is tapping in to Sam’s soul to heal himself before he can finish physically healing Sam? Definitely more suspicious of Zeke’s motives now but not ready to say he’s one of the bad guys.

    1. Tina Charles

      I hate not trusting Zeke. I don’t want to say that he’s one of the bad guys just yet either. But I’m definitely more suspicious. I’m scared of what is going to happen when the secret comes out.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. StarMinion

    Thank you for this thoughtful review. I’m glad it addressed the very problematic aspects of this episode. I did enjoy seeing Jody Mills again, and I hope she’ll return in an episode that is more worthy of her awesomeness (wouldn’t it be fun for her to meet Castiel too?). Here’s hoping the next episode of Supernatural will be more exciting and engaging.

    1. Tina Charles

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  4. Michela

    While I see where you come from when you say Dean should not have just supposed Suzie would just want to have sex cause she was a former porn star, I don’t really see how the message that got through the ep was offensive like a few people are saying.
    I mean, why we have to suppose the right life choice for Suzie was the chastity group and so suppose she wanted to stick to it? I mean it seemed to me the episode was implying exactly the opposite, like maybe she felt right being a porn star, but felt JUDGED, because people thought about it as WRONG. When Dean is talking about her being “dreams material” he’s saying there is NOTHING wrong about her being a porn star, or about her liking sex.
    Dean saying at the end of the ep to his brother that there is NOTHING WRONG with him is the echo of how he told Suzie that there was NOTHING WRONG with her liking sex/being a porn star.
    Jenny Klein actually wrote about freedom of choice for a woman IMO. Liking sex don’t automatically makes you a slut. Being a porn star don’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
    And while I see why the Dean and Suzie scene may have made you cringe, I disagree on that too, because even if it was obviously over-played for comedy, I didn’t see it as Dean trying to impose himself, or supposing she was just there for sex. I saw it as Dean totally “fangirling” over one of his supposedly favourite porn stars.
    It’s in fact when Suzie says “you’re near me now” that Dean makes a real move on her. Before that he was acting like a total nerdy fanboy, and going on a tangent about her and her work … he surely was flirty, but he was being flirty from the beginning, because she liked that girl from the beginning, porn star or not.

    1. Arafel

      Yeah, I have to agree with this view-even though the wrting was atrociously bad at what I feel they were trying to convey. Dean told her that he’s seen “bad” and she was not “bad”. Indeed, she was the stuff that “good dreams” were made of-at least for him; and that her time as a porn star was nothing to be ashamed of, again, at least in his eyes. Her feelings that God was punishing her afterwards for breaking her vow were also wrong-it was the baddie who was punishing her, not God. I think this was an episode about not allowing guilt to eat us up or take over our lives to the point that we deny important parts of ourselves completely. There was nothing wrong with her still wanting and enjoying sex, just because she’d been a porn star at one time in her life. The vow was flawed for her in that it wasn’t fulfilling her and/or helping her to become whole or her own person-it was in fact, more holding her back from doing that, by disallowing her something that she clearly loved strictly because it was connected to a part of her life that she did not love and was not proud of. Dean(in his own unique and inimitable Dean-like way of course 😉 )actually gave her back some sense of self-worth in that regard, IMO. Now, if only someone could and would do that for HIM…*sigh*…
      I’ve seen some Dean-bashing because of this, but again, I think it has more to do with the overall poor quality of the writing of this episode that muddied up the message and the fact that she was a porn star makes everyone’s initial reaction to her no longer wanting to feel bad or guilty over it seem like a bad thing whereas Dean felt it wasn’t even that bad to begin with. This episode was largely about individual human perceptions and judgements and how sometimes our judgements can be so much harsher than is truly warranted when our “sins” are put into a better and more proper perspective.

      1. Tina Charles

        Yeah, it’s definitely more about the writing and not about Dean. The whole good dreams portion — I don’t know. It made me feel uncomfortable. Just not my favorite episode.

        You know me, Arafel. I will always love, love Dean. 🙂

        1. Arafel

          I know that. And you know me, I feel that the writing of the last few seasons has done so little good for any of the main characters, that if I didn’t feel as if I still loved Dean, there would be no reason whatsoever left for me to keep watching this show any longer. Jensen has saved his character and by extension, the show, as an enjoyable viewing experience, time and time again for me, but man-to go from last week’s more hopeful entry, writing-wise, to yet another jumbled up mess?…*sigh*…IDK. The inconsistency in the writing has been frustrating beyond words for so long now and this is why, more than any other reason, I’m hoping that S10 will be it-at least as far as Jensen is concerned. I’m SO ready to see him in something that’s well written again, and sadly, I don’t think that will ever be Supernatural again. My feeling that the heart of the show, on the whole, died when Kim Manners passed, is stronger than ever now. I’m dreading the writing of the next two episodes. This is where they’ve, more often than not, fallen down the worst since S5’s Fallen Idols, IMO-when it comes time to resolve the now seasonal, but always redundant, brotherly angst.
          Oh, and thanks for the re-cap, of course. My favorite part of this one was when Dean wanted to give the jerk in the dungeon to the baddie instead of Honor who’s leg was broken. The grateful look on her face was awessome there! Go Dean!

          1. Tina Charles

            Agreed. I’m waiting for a Dean story that’s actually really satisfying. I hope that happens before the end of the series. I really want it to happen. I think it could. I’m going to continue to try and have faith.

            This latest episode of SPN is really the first one that I was unhappy with this season. There were a few moments I liked — like the one you just pointed out of Dean and the jerk. I liked Jody being around too. I really, really loved last week’s episode so much more.

            And, you know, Dean looked all kinds of hot in this episode so that was a plus, too. lol
            When in doubt, go shallow or go home. 🙂

          2. Arafel

            Hope I’m replying in the right place to you, Tina.

            Yeah, I’m still hoping for a more satisfying sl before the end of the series for him, too. But I’m also beginning to feel like it’s more likely that what we’re seeing now-guilt!, guilt!, guilt!-is what we’re more likely going to get more of the same of.

            But heh-if looks were all that mattered, I’d have no problem whatsoever because yeah, ITA he’s been looking SO! fine and scorchingly HAWT!! this whole season. I’m loving the constant 5 o’clock shadow and think this look would work perfectly in a dark arc for him. Til next time, friend, and Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  5. Susy

    I also thought that Dean’s actions were pervy, but I can now appreciate another opinion. I shudder to think what Zeke is up to. It was strange that at the beginning of the episode Sam was so tired. I no longer believe Zeke is helping Sam, but may be planning to take over completely and possibly rule the angels.

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