Supernatural: Everybody Loves a Clown
June 5, 2021 5:10 AM - Season 2, Episode 2 - Subscribe

After the events at the hospital, and with no idea as to the whereabouts of the demon that killed their mother and Jessica, the Winchester brothers investigate murders committed by a killer clown.
posted by orange swan (11 comments total)
The clown bits are one of the genuinely freaky parts of the series.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:14 AM on June 5, 2021

Sam: All right, Dean, it's just we've been at Bobby's for over a week now and you haven't brought up Dad once.
Dean: You know what, you're right. Come here, I want to lay my head gently on your shoulder. Maybe we can cry, hug, maybe even slow dance.

Dean: I know what you're thinking, Sam. Why did it have to be clowns?
Sam: Oh, give me a break.
Dean: [laughs] You didn't think I remember, do you? Come on, you still bust out crying when you see Ronald McDonald on the television.
Sam: At least I'm not afraid of flying.
Dean: Planes crash!
Sam: And apparently clowns kill.

Dean: [driving a rattletrap minivan on loan from Bobby] This is humiliating. I feel like a freakin' soccer mom.

Sam: Hey man.
Dean: What's the matter, you sound like you just saw a clown.

Dean: You called our Dad and said you could help. Help with what?
Ellen Harvelle: Well... The Demon, of course. I heard he was closing in on it.
Dean: Was there an article in the Demon Hunters Quarterly that I missed? The ma - -. Who - -Who are you? How do you know all about this?

Series debut of Ash, Ellen Harvelle, and Jo Harvelle.

The second house that the killer clown visits is the same exact house that was used in the 1991 television series Step by Step, with Patrick Duffy & Suzanne Somers.

Jo says that most hunters' idea of romance is pizza, a six-pack and side one of Led Zeppelin IV: Black Dog, Rock and Roll, The Battle of Evermore, and Stairway To Heaven. Dean is definitely a type.

This episode contains the very first appearance of what the crew of Supernatural affectionately calls Jensen Ackles' "one perfect tear" (the fandom sometimes calls it the "single man-tear", as referenced in episode 10.5, Fan Fiction (2014)). When Sam and Dean are burning John's body, Sam is full on crying, with tears streaming down his face and a runny nose, whereas Dean is handling it more stoically until just before the scene fades out, when a single tear falls. Jensen Ackles has said that for some reason it's usually just the one tear and the focus puller gets excited and tends to focus right in on that "leaky eye". Indeed, the solitary tear tends to be the way that Dean cries, typically because it escapes while he's trying to hold the emotion in (with a few notable exceptions). This episode marks the first time we see Dean actually cry, though it's not the first time he's been emotional.

I've never been afraid of clowns, but that one was fucking terrifying.

Ash's character is a lot of fun. And it seems that the actress who plays Jo, Alona Tal, is Israeli-American and ex-Israeli military. My goodness. But I suppose most of the actors who play hunters on this show would have had some pretty advanced combat training prior to being on it -- they would need it. 

Sam didn't seem all that freaked out about the clown, but then he didn't really see it. 

Would it have been possible for Sam and Dean to have gotten their father's body released into their charge so they could just take it off and burn it, or would they have had to steal it? 

John Winchester was a... problematic father, and his sons are having an especially difficult time dealing with his death. Dean had never really become his own man and was still letting his father order him around, and while Sam had a hard-won independence, he'd never really made peace with his father or with what he had to do to get it, or had a chance to get to know his father as an adult. Added to this, Dean knows his father sacrificed himself to save his life, and now he's keeping secrets from Sam. So yeah, the two of them are struggling, with Dean in an especially bad place. 

On a general note, I don't think either Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles are great actors, but I would say Ackles is fairly significantly better than Padalecki. Padalecki has some strengths. He's very athletic and good at action, he has good presence, he has good chemistry with everyone he interacts with, and he can do a hot love scene. It doesn't hurt that Padalecki's exceptionally attractive, and will be more so once he finally gets rid of that awful shaggy puppy hairstyle he's sporting next episode -- it makes me want to take a brush to him, and not in a good way. His body is a thing of wonder to me. Sometimes I find myself staring in fascination at his perfectly turned forearms, or at the sheer length of his legs. (I, uh, like 'em tall.) And I find Sam's thoughtful, kind, gentle character appealing.

However, Padalecki's limited as an actor. When he's trying to act angry or like he's in pain, I usually don't believe it. It seems so put on/histrionic. I gave Padalecki's new show, Walker, a shot recently, but I couldn't seem to get into it. It's not unwatchable, but it is forgettable. He was playing a Texas Ranger whose wife was murdered and who was trying to deal with the fallout for himself and his kids, and it had no resonance. I could barely see any difference between Cordell Walker and Sam Winchester. Padalecki's not that good at being funny either -- he tries to hard to be funny -- though he doesn't make a bad straight man.

Jensen Ackles, on the other hand, shares Padalecki's strengths (the athleticism, chemistry with others, his looks), but has more to offer. Ackles will never be a great actor who disappears into his roles, but while I suspect he will always play some version of himself, he's a competent actor who makes everything he says and does look natural and real. When he acts angry I believe it, and I even find some of his outbursts horrifying, such as when Shapeshifter Dean was brutally subduing a young female college friend of Sam's, or when Dean hit Meg in "Devil's Trap", or took a sledgehammer to the Impala in this episode. Dean is a slightly more layered character than Sam, and Ackles manages to carry off a lot of ridiculous, even unsavoury behaviour as Dean, while still making Dean seem lovable and someone to root for, because there's always a feeling that there's a stellar character underneath that rough outer shell. I also think there's no denying Ackles is exceptionally good at comedy. He is effortlessly, continuously funny. He's pretty charismatic too. And he's ridiculously hot. Lord, is he ever. 
posted by orange swan at 5:39 AM on June 5, 2021 [3 favorites]

In 2009, Jensen and Jared both starred in remakes of classic slashers- Ackles in My Bloody Valentine and Padalecki in Friday the 13th. Maybe it's just a better script that hews closer to the source material, but the one with Jensen Ackles is a way better flick.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:56 AM on June 5, 2021

Remains are pretty tightly regulated, especially once they enter into a hospital system.

The carnies ragging on Dean (until Sam realizes) was cute.

Not sure why the Rakshasa has a physical clown costume, other than to drive the plot. Traditionally they're illusionists, and when they turned after being confronted by Dean, their knife thrower suit didn't fall to the floor, just disappeared.
posted by porpoise at 12:54 PM on June 5, 2021

Remains are pretty tightly regulated, especially once they enter into a hospital system.

Whereas the US Postal Service will just send you five hundred of these for free no questions asked.
posted by jameaterblues at 1:37 PM on June 5, 2021

I think that after cremation, cremains are no longer regulated and you can do as you please with them.

Huh, maybe it wouldn't be so difficult after all. "In some states, you can transport a human body by ground yourself without the services of a funeral director but it is critical that you make sure that your state allows this. If you plan to cross state lines be sure to check each state you will be traveling through. Some require embalming or refrigeration."

Maybe if you got a funeral home to sign off on it, you could claim that you're transporting the remains somewhere else for internment.

I know in Canada, we had to have a registered funeral home sign for and accept a deceased relative for cremation, after passing in hospital.
posted by porpoise at 3:50 PM on June 5, 2021

The shaggy puppy hairstyle is definitely not an A-1 styling choice, but I think the semi-sideburns are even more distracting that all that floof. I can't say I paid enough attention to his hair in the later season episodes I've seen to really make a difference in how attractive I find him. (Between Padalecki and Ackles, the latter catches my eye much more easily.)

It's funny how we change. Much, much younger me would have definitely been on Sam's side. The straight-laced, tried to do the right thing, nose-in-the-books attitude would have definitely been more familiar and more sympathetic to me. Much older, current me, finds Dean a much more interesting character, precisely because (from what I've seen, and perhaps because of the actor's delivery) he has those contradictory layers and complexities. And you're right, orange swan, Dean is a horn-dog ass (which is so unattractive) but there is definitely still something that makes the viewer want to seem him win. It's a pretty impressive coming together of acting and writing for a silly genre TV show.
posted by sardonyx at 9:08 PM on June 5, 2021

It goes against my sense of justice that the more conventionally attractive one should also be the better actor but that is...mostly the case. They can both kill me dead when they nail it, though. (The hair issue.)

Over time the degree to which the show lives in Dean's...I don't know quite the right word here. Perspective? Point of view? made me wish for a little more balance sometimes. Some of Sam's layers in the later seasons come (maybe kind of accidentally) from how often you don't know what's in his head. But the gestalt entity of SamnDean is like...95% of the selling point of this show, I'm about as bi-fraternal as they come.

But anyway--solid monster, mostly solid jokes, the Harvelles! "We don't want to go to school. We don't want regular. We want this." Really nice offramp from the Yellow Eyes story into the rest of the season.
posted by jameaterblues at 10:31 PM on June 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Ash is really just about the best character- his whole schtick of hard drinking, hard living redneck who also happens to just possibly be the best computer scientist alive (when he cares to be) is fantastic.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:50 PM on June 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the exchange between Sam and Ash in which Ash says he went to M.I.T., and Sam says, "M.I.T.?" in condescending amazement that Ash would have gone to such an elite school. Ash believes (because, after all, does Sam look like a Stanford graduate?) or affects to believe that Sam doesn't know what M.I.T. is, and says, "It's a college in Cambridge, Massachusetts." You've been out-condescended to, pal!
posted by orange swan at 5:52 AM on June 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Jensen Ackles cast as Soldier Boy for season 3 of 'The Boys.'

“Our goal was to highlight a bygone era of overt masculinity and grit... luckily Jensen Ackles embodies all of that.”

"...Eric Kripke previously called Soldier Boy “mostly just kind of bumbling and subserviant to Homelander”

posted by porpoise at 2:34 PM on June 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

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