Supernatural - Family Remains

Supernatural, much to my surprise, has been one of my popular subjects on the blog. I’m aghast by this, but it is fun to write about actually. I choose off-kilter synopses and titles to view for the blog, not really focusing extensively on the show’s key spiritual theme on angels and demons as much as whatever might interest me personally. Family Remains was simply about Sam and Dean pursuing a ghost in a house as a family, still mourning a tragedy that nearly broke the parents apart, arrives to move in. The previous owner is hacked to pieces by what the show hints might be a ghost…and he seemed to know her. Dean has revealed to Sam he was let off a “torture wheel” to torture “souls” in Hell…particularly eye-opening is Dean’s revelation that he liked it! Dean admits that after thirty years (although it isn’t that to Sam on Earth) on the torture wheel, meting out torture himself felt good. Sam can only look on, trying to process this. Anyway, back to the house. So the family (David Newsom, Helen Slater, Alexa Nikolas, and Dylan Minnette; Bradley Stryker plays Slater’s brother) finds movement in the walls and unusual sounds, writing on the wall, a ball rolled to the boy along with communication, and awkward smells. Sam and Dean must vanquish what they think is a female ghost, but when she breaks a salt circle that was supposedly meant to keep out specters, they realize this isn’t what was expected. They investigate the previous owner, learning of a daughter who committed suicide. Well then there is the icky detail of inbred pregnancy and childbirth…and a possible brother. Basically a siege episode where the house and grounds are a playground for captives left in their own hidden room of a house with crawlspaces leading to it. No sunlight and not raised normally in a functioning environment that was nurturing and affectionate, these kids were more or less animals feeding on rats! Dangerous and primal, they are rabid and deranged, not quite human or able to behave rationally and cognitively. That’s the basics of the plot. Dean goes into the crawlspace to find “her”, as Stryker’s Ted follows, locating this hole (damned scary hole, too) he must enter to see if she’s down there. There’s a later scene where Dean goes into a hidden dumbwaiter, yet again leading into a dark place not knowing what lied ahead. While the violence is altogether hinted at and edited to leave most to the imagination, it can be damned effective. Like when the girl is about to enter a shack to attack Slater and Nikolas but the father drags her outside…all we hear is her fighting and being stabbed to death. The scene where the camera shows her dead, open eyes is quite eerie. We never get a good description of the boy, but the girl approaching the family and Dean in the circle, crossing into their space is right creepy. Probably this episode won’t be essential viewing from those completely involved in the main ongoing story of angels and demons at war, and the cast has some good actors (Slater and Newsom) that don’t get much to do other than deal with threats to them (it is all reactionary as the plot moves so fast there’s little time for breath or acting showcases). But I thought it was entertaining enough, and the house has its dark areas Dean must investigate while Sam tries to keep the others safe. The loss of a child is ultimately revealed in the shack as Sam listens, while before all you got were hints in dialogue between the parents of something that put a strain on their marriage. Slater and Newsom do what they can with the time they have…they have the right faces and reactions to get across marriage difficulties and this life altering decision to head for the country to repair their relationship. But the ongoing Dean and Sam drama gets just enough to maintain its presence no matter if the episode deals with angels and demons or not.