Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to the Supernatural Rewatch!

Sorry that I've fallen out of updating! It's been a rough couple of months but I'm getting back into this and trying to finish season one of the rewatch reviews! I'm going to cover four episodes this time because let's face it, the only thing about season one is getting to the reveals at the end.

Route 666: Honestly, the less I say about this episode the better. Everything about it was pretty weak, from the love interest (hello, we're back to our pretty girls in peril who are never seen again theme) to the bad guy (a ghost monster truck that doesn't look anything but 80's) are just really, really dull. Even the character development is There's pretty much nothing about it that I cared for.

Nightmare: This episode revealed some character and some overall mythology and so that was good. But there were so many parts of it that felt like cheating. Like the reveal that Max was being beaten. The neighbor says that he saw clear evidence of child abuse, but doesn't even throw out a "I called the cops but they couldn't do anything" or something. So that's just great, you've got a guy with all kinds of knowledge that we need to solve the mystery but not enough character development to actually do anything about it himself. Sure, he's a bit part, but the only piece of good screenwriting advice I got from one of my first teachers was "every character thinks he's the main character." So really, it was like this guy knew about the abuse for the five minutes the Winchesters were there, and then he goes back into the bin where they keep exposition characters.

Sam's powers came off awfully convenient too, and while the show made an attempt to build them over time, this episode seemed to go too far, too fast for my taste. I liked the kid with the telekinetic powers getting his revenge, and the way that Sam's visions were worked in. But I just feel like there was too much all at once here.

The Benders: Geezey, this was a heck of an episode. It made me think of The X-Files again, but in a very good way. It worked in all the ways the previous two didn't. The character development and the relationship arcs were more subtle and believable. And the guest character, Deputy Hudak, was one of the best they'd had so far. She wasn't some love interest that the boys had to save, and she took charge. She was one of my favorite guests this whole season. I also really enjoyed that it took the brothers so long to figure out what was going on because their minds were jumping too quickly to demons and the paranormal when it was really just regular weirdo murderers.

Shadow: Two huge thumbs up for Sam not being stupid! I was fully expecting him to just be so excited to see Meg that he falls for whatever weirdness she's up to. But instead he goes straight to skeptical, thank goodness.

But who cares about that, it's the return of John Winchester! Perfect timing too, if there was one thing this season really handled well it was how they drew out and dealt with the mystery with Daddy Winchester. He appeared just often enough to stay interesting, he shows up for a little longer each time, and each time it shows a bit more of their relationships. The whole episode was really well done, it stands out for me as one of the best ones of the season.

Think ahead, in life and in politics

One thing that has started to bother me a bit in this election season is that I think people have lost a lot of the sense of what it is the best people in the world try to do, which is think more about the future than right now.

It's a hard thing to do, there's actually a lot of research out there where scientists are trying to figure out why we are so focused on instant gratification instead of our futures. We do it all the time when we charge a meal out on a credit card that we can't pay off by the end of the month, or buy a pair of shoes we don't really need and then never wear just because they're SO cute.

But it's never more important to think about the future than when we're facing an election, or when we're advocating for legislation.

The common thing that makes people finally think about the future is when they have children. They want to leave the country a better place for their kids. But it seems like these days, people either care less about their kid's future than their own comfort or they're really not understanding at all what the next generation needs or is going to need.

As someone who doesn't have kids, and doesn't plan to, I find it even MORE important for me to try to leave behind a world that is better than I found it because my legacy won't be left with children. My legacy is doing my part, by voting, by supporting specific legislation, and by promoting causes I believe in.

It's vital that right now those of us who are old enough to vote and to create change in our government actually think about what we're doing. No knee-jerk reactions, no quick assessments. We need to really look into the issues and think not about how something will serve us this instant, or tomorrow, or a year from now. How will it change things in ten years, in twenty, in a generation?

As a country, I don't feel we've done that for a long time, and now we're in the middle of the fallout from a lot of things that were good ideas at the time, that helped in the short run, but that ended up doing more long term harm than even that short term good. We think selfishly, we assume that other people have had the same opportunities that we have or better. We want everything to be for ME and for RIGHT NOW. And that's a poor way to run a government, a country, or a life.

One way we can start thinking about our future is promoting better education for all of America's youth. More teachers, more money for schools, more schools even. We need to make sure that no child in any public school leaves elementary school without being able to read. We need to make sure they graduate high school able to communicate, to think, and to do the things they need to survive in life.

We need to end the restrictive testing guidelines that are strangling our teachers and keeping them from actually helping children. We need to let schools and teachers have the time, money, and support they need to take the curriculum we've been teaching for so long and revolutionize it to something that will actually work in the modern era. What worked even when I was in high school won't work now and we need to stop making it so hard for teachers to keep up, to reach their students, and to be current.

And we need to stop the ridiculousness that is the higher education system right now. College should not be prohibitively expensive, and every child who wants to learn more and have a greater education should have that opportunity. It's very true that college isn't always the best path for every person, and that we should think about the benefits of community colleges and public schools before trying to make sure everybody can go to Harvard or Yale. But at the same time, if a child wants to go to college and learn more that child will benefit their community in the long run. And so the community can and should invest in that child's future because it is also an investment in the community itself.

If giving a child $1,000 in a grant today for tuition will help them earn a business degree, then they'll take that degree and form a small business. They could hire local workers, they would be paying taxes back to the local community. The service they provide will increase the quality of life for their town. Everybody wins when even one member of the community is more educated.

Even if you take something so simple as literacy, it's clear from all the statistics I have ever seen that there is a link between criminal behavior and illiteracy. Simply by making sure that every child in your community can read, you will be reducing the crime rate and everybody wins.

So while you're going to the polls, think for a minute. Don't think about what you had to go through to get your degree, it doesn't matter. Don't think about your own student loan debt (though I know it's hard to forget, trust me mine is crushing). Don't think about the past, or how things were. Don't think just about yourself.

Think about how to make the entire country a better place. Think about which amendments will do that, which proposals will help our nation's children become smarter. Vote for the people who support our future. Because I don't know about you, but I'm willing to sacrifice a little right now if it means I have a lot more than I would have later on.

And sometimes I'm willing to sacrifice so that somebody else will have more. Because that's what a good person does.