TV Review: Supernatural 12×07 “Rock Never Dies”

The CW

Just as Rick Springfield sells me on his take of Lucifer, his vessel crumbles to pieces on a tacky rock show stage. But I’ll take it because of that beautiful monologue Lucifer delivers right before he vacates the premises. The one about being abandoned by God once again, during which Springfield’s tear-filled performance almost makes you feel sympathy for the devil. Right before you can, though, the implications of what he’s saying about having no plan start to sink in. Because while his season five plan to bring on the apocalypse was scary enough, chaos wreaks havoc.

This is what’s cool about having two Big Bads this season. Lucifer potentially raining Hell down on everyone for the rest of the season would be an interesting narrative in and of itself. But add in the British Men of Letters, and the hole the Winchesters find themselves in just keeps getting deeper. The BMOL will certainly blame the brothers for whatever is about to come. Whether or not they have the right to will hopefully be at the center of their next meeting.

Having said that, “Rock Never Dies” is not my favorite episode. It’s got a weird pace. The music sounds like we’re watching a sitcom. When characters are carving people’s names into their chest, that music feels grossly misused. The Winchesters head out to Los Angeles (as Dean mentions, they haven’t been there in 10 years, referencing the season 2 episode “Hollywood Babylon”) to try to figure out if Lucifer is still using rock star Vince Vincente as a vessel. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this episode was definitely filmed on location in LA. At least, the establishing shots were. I’m all for authenticity, but the bright city lights and fast moving transition shots of city life were more reminiscent of a CBS crime drama and not Supernatural. The idea of a fallen angel trying to regain his popularity in the City of Angels is a neat idea, but better executed in Angel (for those uninitiated, Angel is not a show about angels, which is probably why the metaphor works better).

Crowley and Cas are back, but they don’t do much. Cas does get another “Assbut!” insult in, but it was just as effective as the last one. It was interesting having four people in on this investigation, though. The duties were split up, Crowley and Cas using their own sources while the brothers have a feeble attempt at going undercover as rock stars (missed opportunity). But when their sources run dry, there’s a weird moment where all four are literally just sitting around in the lobby of some building, trying to decide what to do about figuring out where Vince Vincente is performing that night. As action occurs elsewhere, they still are just sitting around. Supernatural doesn’t normally have this problem, so I’m not too worried. But for this episode specifically, it is indicative of not having enough story to fill out 45 minutes of air time. When characters aren’t driving the narrative, the story stalls. When they wait around to eventually react to something, they have officially become slaves to their own narrative.

Next week is the mid-season finale. Supernatural history says these episode usually pay off. Fingers crossed.

Rating: 8/10


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