Reviewbr> "Why is it our job to save everybody?" - Sam Winchester
The Winchester boys are on the hunt for a djinn, as opposed to a House of Mouse styled genie. Sam determines from research that your garden variety djinn likes hanging at dilapidated buildings, the bigger the better apparently, as it gives them more places to hide. Dean, who's cruising the roads for some unknown reason, notes an old closed factory a few miles back and heads on in to investigate. Well Dean got it right in one but unfortunately is overpowered by the djinn. Seems you get a wish, though.
Dean wakes up the next morning to find himself in an alternative reality where Mary Winchester didn't die and Sam's girlfriend Jess is also still very much with the living. John Winchester passed on in his sleep however so it's not all wine and roses. Everything would be peachy keen but Dean keeps having visions of a girl who isn't there, he also doesn't get on with Sam apparently. The second emotionally charged episode late in season two ensues. Ready for all your wishes to come true?
If Heart was the episode that put Sam through the ringer then What Should Never Be repeats the dose, with Dean on the receiving end of things this time round. The episode is pretty much all about Dean, what he may want, and the realisation of why he can't have it. To a certain degree it's pretty obvious that the episode is setting the background for the season double header finale.
Before going much further, a word on our creature for the evening, even though we only get some djinn action at the start and at the end of What Should Never Be. Excellent makeup and SFX went in here that surprisingly produced a creature I haven't seen before in a horror flick. Basically humanoid, it's an extra doing the business, with plenty of gnarly tattoos going down. Just got to say the djinn would put most Samoans to shame with the amount of ink work, awesome! Adding to the whole effect is ice blue eyes, calling contacts there, and some blue hand magic stuff. Pretty cool package overall and have to say highly effective.
Director Kripke for the most part keeps this episode in close up focus. What Should Never Be is all about personal realisations and Kripke keeps Dean in focus for almost the entirety of the episode. I would be very much surprised if the total amount of frames without Dean being the major subject exceeded ten minutes duration. It's tight, it's narrowed down, and the Director is on his game in getting every nuance out of some pretty emotional scenes.
Dean explores what he could of had if he hadn't said hello to the family business
Raelle Tucker handles the scripting duties for the episode and delivers on the requirements. Besides getting in a few licks on the humour front, people keep asking Dean if he's been drinking, Tucker delivers on the lead character's wanting to believe, and his gradual realisation that his new found reality isn't in fact real, before final acceptance of a fate he may or may not want. Tucker brings in characters from Dean's past and shows what might have been if the family business didn't overtake his life. All this is wrapped up in a pretty cool creature feature concept that has one nasty premise underlying it. Full marks to Tucker for the handling of the Islamic djinn myth and especially for putting a new spin on the whole "wish"Łgranting thing that Disney has somehow corrupted beyond all recognition. The only slight nit picking I had with the script was where the hell did that lamb blood come from? Consider my nit picked, and hey it's a minor point to be honest.
I guess people may be forgiven for wondering who is the better actor, Jared Padalecki (Sam) or Jensen Ackles (Dean), and no doubt personal preference comes into the decision for most people. I'm calling Ackles kicking Padalecki's arse with his performance in What Should Never Be. On the evidence in this episode Ackles is well overdue a major Hollywood role, and as luck would have it is getting one in 2009. More on that next year friends and neighbours.
Special note that Samantha Smith (Mary Winchester) and Adrianne Palicki (Jessica Moore) reprise their roles from the very first episode of Supernatural and the odd cameo since. Now how is that for continuity!
The whole djinn thing, used here as a plot device, was of course handled with some style by the Wishmaster series of movies. Actually I had no idea that Disney had pulled the wool over my eyes with the whole genie thing till the Wishmaster movies put things back where they belong. I also have a vague notion that either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or an episode of The X-Files may have touched base with the whole wish granting thing as well.
We're back into mullet rock country with What Should Never Be and thank God for that. On the agenda in this episode was Lynard Skynard's kick arse Saturday Night SpecialŁand Joey Ramone's take on What a Wonderful World. I think I may have missed a third track toward the end of the episode but can't find anything listed in the normal places so maybe it was a Skynard reprise or something.
I was expecting a demon-orientated episode leading into the season finale, got what was expected, but it came delivered as a curve ball. While digging the whole episode I can't help but think this one was aimed more at female Supernatural fans than male. All in all I was entertained though I can't say What Should Never Be is my favourite episode of the season.
Out of interest, the 2005/06 television season was notable for the number of studios attempting to cash in on the success of J. J. Abrahms' Lost franchise, and Abrahms himself hasn't been backward in trying to cash in to be honest. A bumper crop of five sci-fi/fantasy/horror series landed on the networks as the studios jockeyed for position and the all-important advertising dollar. Threshold, Invasion, and the reworked The Night Stalker failed during the course of season one and were quickly dropped. NBC did better with Surface which managed a full season of fifteen episodes and received decent ratings week in week out. Not entirely sure why that one didn't head into a second season to be honest. Supernatural was the only survivor of the class of 2005 and continues to catch viewer imagination. Just thought I would do that round up to show how stiff the competition was and how good the franchise has to be to keep afloat in a pretty cut throat market.
What Should Never Be is worth a look to round out your season two Supernatural dance card. To be honest, female fans will probably dive right in here to the emotionally charged waters, while dudes may hit the fast forward button in places to bypass the emoting stuff. The episode may not be the classic Łone we were expecting heading into the season finale, but it does set some ground work for what could be dynamite stuff in the final two episodes. Was your wish granted for What Should Never Be content, check it out and report back.