Supernatural, “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning”

What a weird episode.

I’m used to Supernatural throwing me for a loop when it comes to its appealing mix of horror, humor and heart, but “Mannequin 3: The Reckoning” was simply a mess. I don’t know if I have ever had this criticism of an episode, but this one felt as if the writers had a bunch of random ideas on the white board and they decided to smash them all together into this batty episode. And the thing is, there are elements here that are moderately interesting and appealing, but none of it really holds up together in a coherent piece.

Obviously, killer mannequins and anatomy dolls are freaking creepy. This episodes teaser is one of the better ones in a long time just because it’s so damn creeeeepy. I think everyone in the entire world is a little afraid of inanimate objects coming life, especially those with eyes. But it sort of feels like that’s all the writers had up their sleeve for this episode. They thought of creepy killer mannequins and then couldn’t really build around it too much. Sure, there’s the backstory with the seamstress and the terrible guys who treated her so awful before accidentally killing her, and that’s fine. But the fact that the story had to be given an extra boost of weird by having the sister of the vengeful ghost be part of the problem because she had the ghost’s kidney in her tells me that the script was really straining for interesting tidbits after the initial shock value of having mannequins come to life and Dean being chased around by the car, which, admittedly, was fun.

Like I said, I’m perfectly fine with episodes that transition between tones, but this episode did it so poorly because it separated the brothers for so long into entirely different episodes. I fully appreciate the staff’s attempts to make sure Lisa didn’t just disappear off the face of the earth and it was time for Dean to face his issues with her, but having him drive off the case felt so out of the blue and disconnected from what was happening elsewhere that it also showed the Frankenstein-ian nature of the script. The scenes between Dean and Lisa were, on their own, pretty good. They didn’t really cover much new ground, but I liked how it showed that they are both resigned to the fact that this is just never going to work as long as Dean is a hunter — which will be forever — and it was time someone finally said to the other’s face. Dean’s little speech to Ben was also cute.

Having Dean off on his own left Sam to handle the case, but that didn’t really go anywhere. I thought there might be some thematic connection between what was happening here and what Sam’s been going through — apparently, he’s just going to randomly black out and head to hell for a while now — but nope. He figured out who killed the seamstress, lectured the one of the remaining dudes about being an awful human being and then eventually watched the vengeful ghost go away because the sister accidentally got a piece of glass stuck directly in her kidney. Subtle. There was something sort of interesting there at work with the brothers basically accidentally killing this innocent girl while some POS D-Bags got to live, but it wasn’t worth more than a throwaway line or two.

In the post-game wrap-up final season, the writers tried to pull these random threads together by having Dean talk about how he screws everything up, noting his loss of Lisa and their accident with the seamstress, but much like everything else in this episode, it didn’t really hold up past the lip-service face level. Dean has done more good than bad in this world and while I respect his desire to be emo about Lisa right now, we don’t need that to continue across multiple episodes.

From the random, slapped-together narratives to the horrible music choices and those random bits of flashbacks, his was just a weird, sloppy, forgettable episode. Next week: More meta fun!

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