Provenance Review

By John Keegan

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Believe it or not, despite months of raving over how the formula for this series is executed to near-perfection, this was the first time that I got my wife to watch an episode. Sometimes it takes that outside perspective to provide a more objective point of view. After all, this is a Sam-centric episode, and I typically find them less interesting.

My wife, on the other hand, felt that the writers really brought the creepy, and she found a lot of the more familiar elements to be quite engaging. That’s an interesting point, because even if this wasn’t the most exciting episode from my point of view, my wife really liked it. That could be a good sign for the series, because she’s basically the “fresh audience”, someone with no context stepping into the series at an odd moment. The episode was good enough to pull her in, so it’s always possible that others could do the same!

Anyway, in terms of the episode itself, I felt that Sam was a lot more expressive this time around, but it still wasn’t particularly convincing. Part of the problem was the guest actress. The plot required the audience to care about the chemistry between Sam and Sarah, and frankly, there wasn’t much of that on-screen. Taylor Cole is an incredibly gorgeous young woman (especially with that shiny lip gloss!), but her line delivery didn’t sound quite right, and her interactions with Jared were often painful.

Conceptually, Sarah serves an important function. Sam needs to move past his grief over Jessie’s death, even if he continues to do whatever possible to find and eliminate the demon responsible. As Sarah said, she has every right to decide whether or not to risk her own life. As someone once said, “to live is to risk”. Sam doesn’t want Sarah to risk herself, but in the same token, he’s avoiding risk of his own. He doesn’t want to open up because he might be crushed if he loses someone again.

Dean was mostly in the background in this episode, unfortunately, but he was still a lot of fun. In essence, Dean felt that Sam needed to get laid and loosen up, and the sentiment is not completely wrong. Dean may be the loyal soldier, but he’s also living life. He has regrets, but he doesn’t live them each and every moment. He’ll find a way to have a good time wherever he is, and even if his methods are often deplorable, at least he’s making the most of his unusual situation.

I’ve said before that the creepy stuff doesn’t really bother me, since there are far more disturbing things in the real world, but I’ll admit that the picture effect was quite nice. It didn’t do much for me, but as I said, my wife found it rather unsettling. I suppose that’s all the producers could ask for. If we do see Sarah again, however, I hope that Taylor’s chemistry with Jared is more impressive and the reunion is more meaningful than I would currently expect.

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