Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 4/24/09

I have to hand it to SUPERNATURAL for being such a crafty show. (Is it witchcraft?) Producers used the pathetic cliché of the surprise son to deepen Sam and Dean’s understanding of their late father, John. In an episode cleverly titled “Jump the Shark,” the boys learn that their father had a child in Minnesota that he never told them about. The justification for the sudden reveal was that John wanted to shield young Adam from his dangerous life as a Hunter. While Dean took an instant dislike to the newcomer (because John always remembered Adam’s birthdays and took him to baseball games), Sam immediately took Adam under his wing, explaining the occult world of the Hunters and teaching his new little bro’ how to handle firearms. Sam also parroted the harsh lessons that he himself resented hearing from John just a few years earlier: A hunter can never allow himself to have personal relationships, because they make Hunters weak, and endanger others. Witnessing Sam’s lecture, Dean suddenly realized how like John Sam has become. Dean, the older brother, had to admit that no matter how much he idolized John — dressing like him, copying his habits — Sammy was truly behaving like their father. That was a tough thing for the tightly wound Dean to admit — and for Sam to acknowledge. Sam spent most the first season rebelling from John’s tutelage, but there he was, passing along the same lessons. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki handled the scenes well. The actors are particularly good at expressing the sibling rivalry without ever making it look like the boys truly hate each other. The sense of family always comes through. And hey, it’s always great to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s John again — even if it’s only in brief flashbacks. It’s ironic that Morgan has a deceased character on both SUPERNATURAL and GREY’S ANATOMY, yet it’s Denny who comes back from the grave for a major storyline! Gag of the night: The boys visited a diner called “Cousin Oliver’s,” clearly named after the archetypical jump-the-shark character from THE BRADY BUNCH!

BEING ERICA is all about dredging up the past, dealing as it does with time-traveler Erica Strange. I’m sometimes confused about what Erica is trying to accomplish on any particular journey into her past, and last night was one of those times. She wanted to go back to another social-disaster incident, which meant more 1980s music and dancing. (I’m beginning to think Erica’s real past mistake was being such a social butterfly; most of her problems stem from parties!) It also seems that Erica isn’t grasping the idea that she cannot change her past. Oh, sure, she can rearrange some of the details, but that just makes events go off the rails in a slightly different direction. Then she returns to the present and realizes that she has to look at her past failures in a different light. Presumably, that makes her think her forays into the past are successful. The mission I’d like to see her undertake is going back to the day that Dr. Tom decided to speak almost exclusively in quotations — and brain him! Here’s one of my own:

“I never have found the perfect quote. At best, I have been able to find a string of quotations which merely circle the ineffable idea I seek to express.”
— Caldwell O’Keefe

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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