Asylum Review

November 22, 2005

By John Keegan

Visit The Shrine of Entil'zha for an archive of John's TV Review archives!

One vice I have (beyond being a genre television junkie) is paranormal subject matter, even if I can see right through it. And by this I mean the current foray into “ghost hunting” shows. They range from the more professional fare of “Ghost Hunters” to the absolute farce of “Most Haunted”. There’s a certain degree of entertainment to be had, to be sure, and part of that is the inherent creepiness of an abandoned building with questionable history.

The writers clearly borrow from that source material in this episode, especially in terms of production design. I have no idea if this was filmed in an actual abandoned building with that level of disrepair, or if this was one rather impressive set design, but the atmosphere was perfect for the premise. Having seen plenty of footage of abandoned asylums and what not over the past few years, I thought the episode looked genuine and that helped tremendously.

As the season progresses, the dynamic between Dean and Sam becomes stronger, and the actors are growing in those roles by leaps and bounds. One element of the series that I can’t stress enough is the complex and realistic depiction of two brothers with differing philosophies.

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Asylum

November 22, 2005

Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) investigate an abandoned sanitarium and discover that when the hospital was open, the patients held a revolt against the cruel and unusual punishments inflicted by the head doctor. While the brothers search the premises for four lost college students, the tortured spirits cause them to go insane, turning Dean against Sam.… Read More

Home (The Journey Home) Review

November 15, 2005

By John Keegan

Visit The Shrine of Entil'zha for an archive of John's TV Review archives!

This episode was billed as the “biggest event of the year” in the promos, which is actually rather amusing. After all, few people beyond the faithful would have any concept of why this episode is important to the series. This is probably one of those rare instances where an arc episode is less effective than a simple stand-alone tale, if only because the stand-alone episodes have less pressure to deliver.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I prefer long-term and seasonal arcs because of the depth of character development that they provide. A more episodic approach does not prevent that kind of exploration, but as seen on a series like “X-Files”, it can lead to inconsistent character portrayals as characters act in accordance with specific episode demands, not long-term consistency.

This series has been better than most at finding a happy medium between the extremes, and this episode has a lot of disturbing moments just from the perspective of a haunting. Tying it to the overall season arc is perhaps a bit extraneous. Like the previous episode, the return home works best in terms of the insight to the characters.

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Home

November 15, 2005

Sam (Jared Padalecki) is haunted by a vision of a woman trapped in his childhood house and convinces a reluctant Dean (Jensen Ackles) that they need to go home. Upon arrival, they meet the woman in Sam’s premonition and she reveals that the house is haunted. Looking into their personal history, the brothers discover their father had visited a psychic (guest star Loretta Devine, “Waiting to Exhale,” “Crash”) after their mother’s death and they turn to the same woman for answers of their own. Together they discover a malevolent poltergeist has inhabited the house and set out to exorcise it, but are blindsided when another unseen spirit steps in.… Read More

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