By John Keegan
Perhaps the writers were worried about the same thing, because the story is as much about Dean and his past as it is about the literal “monster truck”. I find it interesting and somewhat revealing that Dean would have little issue with a bi-racial relationship. It perfectly complements the fact that he perceives the true enemy as being the demonic entities that plague humans regardless of racial considerations.
Of course, that also allowed for some commentary on race relations over the years, which was a bit simplified for my tastes. If the area was so racially divided just a generation earlier, in that part of the country, the likelihood that bi-racial relationships would be tolerated is fairly low. Like it or not, there are large swaths of the country that still hold on to the prejudices and “traditions” of racism, complete with the same level of violence and arrogant cowardice.
It may be that this relative harmony was something that the Mayor set in motion, based on his own morality and common sense. But the writers didn’t quite communicate that (at least, from what I recall), and so it feels more like a social message than a logical plot point. That’s not a bad thing, but it does make it seem like the setting of the episode was designed to tell the audience how the world should be, rather than how it is (with a supernatural underbelly).
Imagine, for instance, a subset of the community that knows exactly what’s happening, and chooses to keep the truth hidden to achieve their own goals. It doesn’t mean that this subset had to be overtly racist, but that an underlying prejudice could be revealed when the opportunity presents itself. I was waiting for that to happen, and while it would have been a cliché of sorts, it might have been more substantial that the somewhat idyllic present offered in the episode.
All that said, I loved the dynamic between Dean and Cassie, and it revealed that he and Sam do share (to varying degrees) a desire to find someone outside the family. This helps add something more to Dean’s resentment towards Sam; for a little while, at least, Sam got to have his girl. Of course, that muted Dean’s typical attitude, which is not the ideal situation!
Also non-ideal was the horrible acting job for Mrs. Robinson’s monologue. The intent of the scene was clearly to gain the sympathies of the audience, and while the story and images were aligned with that cause, the acting was so bad that it pulled me out of the scene time and time again. Nor was I particularly sold on the resolution to the crisis. Because those two critical moments didn’t help overcome my initial aversion to the “monster truck”, this episode just didn’t strike me as one of the better efforts.
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