Supernatural Review 8.08 - "Hunteri Heroici"
Posted by Joseph Lee on 11.29.2012
Castiel becomes a hunter and things get loony.
The Road So Far: Castiel returned from Purgatory, unaware of how he got out. It was eventually revealed that an angel named Naomi rescued him and he has to report to her every so often with no memory of the meetings. Meanwhile, Kevin and Mrs Tran got involved with a witch trying to create a demon bomb against Crowley, but it nearly backfired. Crowley ends up getting one half of the tablet while our heroes get the other half.
Season Eight, Episode 8: Hunteri Heroici Directed By: Paul Edwards Written By: Andrew Dabb
Are you a fan of Supernatural season five, back when Castiel was working closely with the Winchesters, he was still very odd and they had some really weird mysteries to solve? If so, then you will love this episode. It's a comedy episode with some serious undertones and it's definitely the best stand-alone episode of the season so far. For those who are fans of Sam, you will love it too because with Dean's Purgatory story told, it's time to finish telling Sam's story in flashback mode.
This episode starts with a man's heart leaping out its chest, just like a cartoon. Soon, more cartoon-like deaths begin appearing and Sam, Dean and Cas decide it "might be their kind of thing". Castiel decides he is going to become a hunter and while he tries hard, he still doesn't quite get how to interact with normal people. Combine that with the strange deaths and you have some of the best comedic Castiel moments of the entire series.
This was very much a Castiel-centric episode. When it wasn't focusing on him, we were getting more information about Sam's time off. Castiel is trying to get back into the swing of things and he still wants to help people after his time as "God" in season seven. So while he's being funny and generally clueless about humans and pop culture, there's a sadness to it because he knows he's done wrong and genuinely wants to atone for it. I happen to be a huge fan of the character, so I have no problem with this.
The Sam flashbacks this time are welcome in general, but I don't know if they were welcome in this particular episode. The comedic moments work so well that it is a jarring contrast to put in melodramatic relationship moments from Sam's past in between them. It's already something of a chore to watch Sam attempt a normal relationship and meet Amelia's father, but to have it in between such a fun and clever episode makes it all the more aggrivating to sit through. The twist at the end is what makes it all worth it, as it was clearly building to something.
I loved episodes like Bad Day at Black Rock, Wishful Thinking and especially Changing Channels. This is a lot like those. The Winchesters are trying to solve what should be a serious case but the circumstances are so loony that it creates absolute chaos. The rules of the cartoon world are affecting the rules of the real world and anything goes. Considering Warner Bros owns Supernatural, I'm actually kind of shocked we didn't get a Bugs Bunny cameo or something. Perhaps that would have went too far.
One notable mention for this has to be Mike Farrell. M*A*S*H fans know him as BJ Hunnicutt. He has a role in this episode that is just fantastic. Whenever he's on screen he provides the best dramatic performance and I actually think he upstaged our heroes just a little. I chalk that up more to the fact he's a veteran of acting than anything by design. Hopefully we see him again on future episodes, as unlikely as that may seem when this is over.
Outside of some "mood whiplash" complaints with the Sam flashbacks, I really enjoyed this one. It was the first real comedy episode of the season and it was an absolute treat. If you're not a fan of the "angst", as some detractors call it, for this show, then you'll probably enjoy this which has an earlier season feel to it.
Next week is the mid-season finale, which means that I'll get a month off of doing this. Benny is back and it looks like he's being accused of killing people. Mid-season finales on this show usually mean a character death. I'm just saying. It happened in season three (Gordon), season five (Jo and Ellen) and season seven (Bobby). I'm guess Benny is not long for this world, especially since he doesn't really work into the big picture.
The 411: The first comedy episode of the season is absolutely hilarious as it references old cartoons and gives Castiel several great comedic moments to shine. Mike Farrell is one of the better guest stars they've had on the show and the story does move along for both Castiel and Sam. Outside of some inappropriate flashbacks (that should have been saved for later), this is a very good episode for Supernatural fans.