The art of subtext and parallels – Supernatural ‘The Purge’ Review

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Many were scared that The Purge would be an offensive episode full of fat-shaming. Far from the truth, 9×13 turned out to be a pretty decent and interesting filler. The Purge was written by Eric Charmelo & Nicole Snyder and directed by Philip Sgriccia, and follows Sam and Dean on a hunt for a monster that kills people by sucking their fat. WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS.

Just like in every MotW episode, the first scene shows us the first victim of this week’s case: the winner of a hot dog eating contest is mysteriously killed in his car. Sam and Dean are in the bunker. And how upset am I at seeing Dean drinking and not sleeping again? VERY. Gone is the improvement we saw in S8 when Dean would actually sleep and drink coffee in the morning instead of staying up all night drinking his problems away. Fortunately, Dean’s all-nighter served of something: finding a case. Wayne, the victim from the beginning, went from 300 pounds to 90 pounds when he died. Sam suggests gives us a reminder of their last discussion at the end of Sharp Teeth.

We meet who could probably be the most adorable guest star we’ve seen this season: Sherif Donna (Brianna Buckmaster). She shares her worry about the weight loss thing with them and informs them that Wayne did have a rival, Slim Jim, but that he had an alibi with 15 witnesses. At Slim Jim’s, Sam and Dean discover that he’s married to a gipsy named Mala and that she had something that looked like a hex bag in her room. Back at the motel (it’s nice to see them in one again after always being in the bunker), Dean and Sam do some research and deduce that Mala might be putting Putsy Bags (gipsy hex bags) to eliminate her husband’s competition. However, she appears on their doorstep to tell them that she didn’t intend to kill Wayne because she actually loved him and they had an affair.

We’re introduced to the second victim: a woman whose fat gets sucked while she’s doing some exercise to fit in her wedding dress. The next day, Sam and Dean learn that she’s also lost a lot of weight and discovers a suction mark on her back. Dean, who’s very focused on the job, discovers what those two victims had in common: Cannon Valley, a wellness spa.

The Purge

Sam and Dean apply for a job there. They meet the couple who direct the center, Maritza (Anabelle Acosta) and her husband Larry. Sam starts a yoga instructor while Dean works in the kitchen. We meet Alonso (Joseph Julian Soria), who tells Dean to “quit flirting” and get to the job.

We see Donna entering a room in Cannon Valley (what a coincidence! good to see her again, though). This brings us the opportunity to see Maritza working and how those suction marks are created. And then, the unexpected: Maritza’s eyes go white and some kind of suction tongue comes out of her mouth to suck Donna’s fat away. Nice to see more creepy monsters in Supernatural!

In the kitchen, Dean steals some of the pudding for the clients while Sam searches for more suction marks on the clients in his class. Dean gets drugged by the pudding and calls Sam to ask for help before passing out. Sam goes and confronts the chef (Brendon Zub) about the ingredientes of the pudding: roofies, as Dean points out.

Supernatural.S09E13

Dean and Sam meet with Donna and reveal to her that they’re undercover. They ask her if she doesn’t think it’s a little suspicious that she’s already lost 10 pounds in just one day. She agrees and tells them that she got her suction mark from her spa treatment with Maritza.

Maritza and Larry find out that Dean and Sam are hunters, and it’s interesting to see the monster’s side for once. Dean ties Maritza down and gets his “talk first, shoot later” face on. Maritza tells him that she’s a pishtaco (Peruvian fat sucker) and that she’s not a killer: she feeds, her clients lose weight. “It’s a win-win situation”. She tells Dean that it’s probably her brother Alonso who is doing the killing. Larry goes to the kitchen to confront him but Alonso kills him.

They kill Alonso in the basement in a long sequence that serves to add the suspense side that Supernatural used to have in its first seasons. After it’s done, Deans wants to kill Maritza because she’s a monster anyway but Sam won’t have it: “I wanted to keep things strictly business between us. But I still have a heart“, he says. So they get her one-way ticket to Peru. Back in the bunker, we get to Part 4 of Sam and Dean’s codependency conversations saga.

Dean: I may not think things all the way through. Okay? But what I do, I do because it’s the right thing. I’d do it again“.
Sam: And that is the problem. You think you’re my savior, my brother, the hero. You swoop in, and even when you mess up, you think what you’re doing is worth it because you’re convinced yourself you’re doing more good than bad. But you’re not. (…) Please tell me, what is the upside of me being alive?
Dean: You kidding me? You and me, fighting the good fight together.
Sam:
*heavy sigh and sits in front of Dean* Just once, be honest with me. You didn’t save me for me. You did it for you.
Dean: What are you talking about?
Sam: (…) I should have died. But you… you didn’t want to be alone. And that’s what all this boils down to: you can’t stand the thought of being alone. *Dean stands up* (…) You are certainly
willing to do the sacrificing as long as you’re not the one being hurt
(err… remember when Dean actually went to Hell for you, Sammy?)
Dean:All right, you want to be honest? If the situation were reversed and I was dying, you’d do the same thing.
Sam: No, Dean. I wouldn’t. Same circumstances, I wouldn’t.

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In my last review I said that we would be getting a lot more conversations like this between Sam and Dean. And we will. And it’ll get sadder each time. Many people have said that Sam was too harsh on Dean. I don’t think he was being harsh, but the things he was saying were harsh. Because the truth always hurts. Dean isn’t saving Sam for Sam anymore. He’s doing it because he’s learnt ever since he was 4 that it is his job, as he says in All Hell Breaks Loose, Pt 2. It’s gotten to a point where Dean saves his brother because it’s what he has to do, because it’s “the right thing” to do. But the truth is Dean doesn’t want to be alone.

Who does he have outside of Sam? Benny is dead, Charlie is in Oz and Castiel is out there hunting Metatron. Right now, Cas isn’t only Dean’s best friend but also the only person who knows him and loves him for who he is. And this is why Dean and Castiel are being separated over and over again: because Dean has to deal with his own problems first. There’s been lots of speculation in the fandom on the fact that Dean might be bisexual. There’s lots of moments and scenes that support this in canon going back to S2 (you can read some meta on it here). In this episode we got “6 inches… foot longs?”, we got Alonso telling Dean to “quit flirting” with the yoga instructor, we got “best of both worlds: salty and sweet” and we got Dean’s smile when hearing Mala say how Wayne always call her “princess Jassmine”. And we also got the fourth supernatural/human romance in a row:

  • Abner/human wife
  • Cain/Colette
  • Garth/Bess (the guys still considered Garth human)
  • Maritza/Larry

One thing that all of these couples had in common? One of them left their old life behind to have a happier and healthier life with the person they love. Right now, this is where the narrative seems to be leading us to.

FINAL RATING: 8’5/10

Check out the description and promo for next episode, Captives, airing on February 25th:

THE BUNKER IS HAUNTED — Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are stunned to discover the Men of Letters’ bunker is haunted.  Their investigation leads them to a storage facility where the demons have been keeping a prize possession.  Meanwhile, Castiel (Misha Collins) is captured by Bartholomew (guest star Adam Harrington).  Jerry Wanek directed the episode written by Robert Berens (914).

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