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'Supernatural' - Defending Your Life

Guilty consciences prove fatal

This review may contain spoilers

A series of victims are killed in improbable ways, such as a man on the tenth floor of an apartment building being run over by a car, or a man inside a locked room in a crowded restaurant killed by a dog that no one saw enter or leave. The boys are investigating when they come across a live one (Julian D. Christopher). The common factors align -- all were in Neil's Tavern when they were magically vanished to a nearby abandoned apple orchard's barn decked out in Egyptian symbols where they are judged and sentenced to death.

All three had done terrible things in their past, faced human justice and were repentant. Bobby (Jim Beaver) determines from remembered symbols that they are facing Osiris (Faran Tahir), the Egyptian god of the afterlife. Osiris evaluates a soul based on guilt, and since Dean (Jensen Ackles) is the Sisyphean protector of the world, and a wallow-er, he will draw Osiris' attention like a moth to a great big bonfire.

Indeed, Osiris gets Dean and finds him guilty despite Sam's (Jared Padalecki) efforts and sentences him to death. Dean has a day to put his affairs in order. At the last moment, Bobby finds that a sharpened ram's horn through the heart will disperse Osiris for a century or two. Sam acquires one and vanquishes Osiris in the nick of time.

Points Of Interest

1. Dean feels responsible for not more effectively discouraging Jo (Alona Tal) from becoming an active hunter. He also feels fairly directly responsible for her death.

2. Similarly, Dean feels responsible for pulling Sam back into hunting when he had made a clean break and was living the dream at Stanford with Jess. He also failed to protect Sam from death (well, four times, but he feels the most guilt about the first one).

What Worked

That they didn't outright vanquish a major god of a major pantheon is good. Most of the details were close enough, and Tahir is certainly divine. The crucial differences are that sins, not guilt, were weighed against the feather, and Osiris was the merciful judge of the dead. I was going to complain about lack of cultural sensitivity (Re: "Hammer of the Gods"), but thenn... angels and God are not portrayed as stereotypically benevolent in the "Supernatural"-verse either. That said, God is portrayed as kind of indifferent at worst. Important, beloved and benevolent pantheon members, like Jesus or Mary, were not included in the evil and cannibalistic feast of "Hammer of the Gods" with gods of similar stature and character like Ganesha and Baldur.

Bobby, when Sam begins quibbling about temporarily dispersing Osiris versus permanently vanquishing him: "Long temporary. I say we slap that bandaid on and leave finding a cure to some hunter in a space suit."

Alona, as Jo, does an excellent job of portraying an unwilling witness and executioner of her friend.

What Didn't Work

If guilt is the determining factor for condemnation, then these accidental or thoroughly reformed criminals who feel guilt are being unjustly punished where a evil sociopath who felt no guilt would get off scot-free. It's a stupid system any way you look at it.

The most minor of disappointments: I would have liked to see Sam talk his way out of the synagogue with the ram's horn.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

"Supernatural" stars Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Faran Tahir, Jim Beaver, Alona Tal, Emilie Ullerup, Julian D. Christopher. "Defending Your Life" was written by Adam Glass, and it was directed by Robert Singer.

"Supernatural" airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

About the Author

Carol Wang is a writer for the entire GenreNexus.
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