Again, spoilers abound, so if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading.
Season 3 is not my favorite season of Supernatural, and usually if asked, I’d say it’s my least favorite season, but honestly I made that assessment when there were only 5 seasons of the show. Rewatching it now, I remember the reasons why I hated it, but it mostly boils down to this: I hated Dean going to hell and it looms darkly over the entire season and it is a huge component of almost every episode.
Re-watching the entire season – instead of skipping most of the episodes and only watching “Mystery Spot” and a few others – it really isn’t as bad as I remember, however, I still have some major complaints. Because I like to bitch, to the complaints first!
Bela Talbot – I hate this character. Practically every time she is on the screen, I’m yelling “Shoot her in the face” or something more profane. Hate. Her. Master thief? Other than hiring lackeys to do her dirty work, first in “Bad Day at Black Rock” and then again during the awful ghost ship episode, where she basically has Sam and Dean do her dirty work. She tells the boys she’s a “great thief” but really, she’s merely a great pickpocket, and not so great a one that Dean can’t tell she’s doing it by the end of the series.
What’s great about hiring people to do it for you? That’s not being a great thief, that’s just being a so-so manipulator or hiring manager. One of the few things she stole herself (I presume but it happened off screen and she’s a total liar, so…) is Baby, the Impala and that’s a killing offense. If Bela weren’t hot, she’d be dead. The only thing that makes her sympathetic is the charisma of the actress who played the character.
Bela lies constantly, about everything, all of the time. She steals when she doesn’t have to steal – why steal the $38K they won in lottery scratch offs other than to be a bitch? This woman is going to hell THIS YEAR and she still feels she needs to acquire wealth. She is greed personified and with no real reason behind it. She is fine consigning people to death to buff up a bank account she is only going to be using for a few more months. Who does that? Cartoonishly evil assholes.
When we find out that she’s going to hell, I danced a jig. Never has a Supernatural human character needed to or deserved to go to hell more than Bela. I know, we’re supposed to sympathize with her decision to kill her parents via demon, because they were doing something bad to her, probably molestation or the like, but that doesn’t mean she has to then live her life as a total selfish bitch. That’s a choice she makes. She chooses to be a self interested liar, over and over and over again.
Also, she lies about the Colt. This woman is such a worthless, evil waste of space, that even seconds before her death she continues to lie. Never been happier for a character to die, go to hell, and never be seen or heard from again (so far, this IS Supernatural) and Dean’s words about her are the truest – “When that bitch breathes, the air comes out crooked.”
Meanwhile, I know that more people hate Ruby than hate Bela, but Ruby at least was useful sometimes. She brought the demon killing knife, she knows some spell work that saves them and can keep them hidden. Evil skank hell-bent on corrupting Sam? Absolutely. But at least she was sometimes helpful.
Also, Ruby plays the long con really well. She saves them enough times and offers herself up as sacrifice enough times, it is plausible that Sam would trust her. Sam is about 24-26 years old during his dealings with Ruby, so scientifically, he has poor impulse control as his brain isn’t fully formed, yet. But Sam, I’m stretching things to excuse your season 4 self.
I did not like Katie Cassidy as Ruby – she’s good in other things, but her portrayal of Ruby in scenes where the character isn’t angry is just singsong-y to a distracting degree. I very much preferred Genevieve Cortese as Ruby, but that in part is because she and Sam had amazing chemistry, and Genevieve’s Ruby was more earthy, less sing-song, and had a very believable face. I think Jared Padalecki was incredibly smart to marry her – the actress, not Ruby.
Also, I have to say something about the weirdness of Supernatural fandom – people HATED Ruby and I think both actresses who portrayed her got a lot of flak because of it, however, after Jared Padalecki and Genevieve Cortese got married, she became beloved by that same fandom. I loved watching her on screen. She had a great presence, great voice, fabulous charisma, and holy god is she pretty, just absolutely gorgeous. Also, she is like 2 feet shorter than Jared, and she held her own with him sans use of a step ladder – that’s just badass. I’d love to see the actress in more shows or movies, but honestly, after all this crap about Weinstein and the culture of harassment/assault in Hollywood (the country, the world) I understand wanting to raise children in Texas instead. I mean, holy yikes, women actresses. I love being entertained, but not if the cost to you is that high. Ok, enough of that or the whole blog entry will get derailed.
Anyway, season 3 was more fun this time through, as my husband and I decided to analyze the long con that Ruby and Lilith play until the end of season 4, and I gotta say, it’s pretty impressive.
Unlike season 2, season 3 has some clunky episodes that just weren’t all that fun to watch. “Red Sky at Morning” or as Chuck would say, the ghost ship episode, just wasn’t fun for me, in part because I hate Bela. A perfect ending for that episode would be Bela drowning while the boys pointed and laughed. However, they’re heroes so they save her instead of shooting her in the face or allowing her to die. Bleh. She brings her own death upon herself more than once in the season, and I just wish they’d allowed her to suffer at her own hands.
Another of the episodes, “Bedtime Stories” has Dean saying to Sam that Sam is “gay” and using it as a derogative term. Not cool, Dean, and not cool Supernatural. I will say that he never says it again in a bad way, and in later episodes is somewhat more comfortable about homosexuality, but the time of using “gay” to mean lame, stupid, or anything negative is simply over. It was over when this episode came out and before that. It was never ok.
Two episodes that I usually skip “Long Distance Call” and “Time Is On My Side” are at the end of the season. This season is abbreviated because of the writer’s strike, which is mostly a good thing as the Dean goes to hell plot line was somewhat depressing and exhausting. “Long Distance Call” was an ok monster of the week episode, but I constantly forget everything about it. It makes no impact positive or negative on my mind. Most of this episode isn’t bad, just totally unmemorable. I’m a big fan of the monster of the week episodes, but this one just was kind of “meh” for the most part.
“Time Is On My Side” has Billy Drago as basically a Frankenstein type doctor in a subplot that I find tedious and not at all interesting. However, this episode also introduces Rufus, which is kind of cool. He was a good character addition and I was sad when they killed him off. This episode is interesting because Bela goes to hell (fucking finally!!), and Rufus is introduced. Other than that, it’s kind of a throwaway episode.
On to the good episodes – “Bad Day at Black Rock” is simply hilarious and fantastic. When Sam says, “I lost my shoe” as if he’s totally regressed to being a 6-year-old, it is laugh out loud funny. Dean coming to Sam’s rescue and saying, “I’m Batman” is equally fun. The fight choreography for this episode was fun, too. When the two-bit thieves Bela hired (because god forbid the master thief steal on her own) have the rabbit’s foot and Dean and Sam come in to retrieve it, the fight scene is just hilarious. The Winchesters can’t even really fight for tripping over each other, falling down, and other bad luck kind of things. I have no idea what kind of nightmare filming it must have been, but the result is just awesome and wonderfully funny.
“Mystery Spot” is another great episode, but honestly, any involving the Trickster are going to be excellent. Dean dying over and over again shouldn’t be hilarious, but the line “Do these tacos taste funny to you?” never ceases to crack me up. “Sin City” is another good solid episode, with some great humor. “Fresh Blood” was good and I do love how viciously they kill off Gordon, who has been a thorn in the brother’s side since season 2. This was a good episode and a good finish to Gordon’s character.
“Dream a Little Dream of Me” was another solid episode that builds on Bobby’s character. We see that he still holds so much guilt over his wife’s death. We also see that Dean holds a tiny little dream, where he and Lisa have a “normal” life. I know not everyone liked her, but I loved Lisa. I would have loved watching a show where Dean’s life expanded to include this little family as well, but with Supernatural, no relationships really survive the monsters. They could, in reality, but with the pathos of Sam and Dean, it was inevitable it would end, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
“Jus in Bello” is a good “Assault on Precinct….” episode, and it resolves the Hendrikson plot line. Also, it shows Ruby’s game pretty clearly. She wants Sam to make evil choices, in the name of the “greater good” but really, she wants him on the path to perdition and is paving it with his good intentions.
Season 3 for me is a C+/B- It is too short a season to really be able to grade it too harshly, but unlike season 2, there are several episodes that are merely ok and a few that are downright bad.