No, Harry, please come back! Don’t let it end this way. What happened to “love at first geek?” I know, It’s complicated.
When “#THINMAN” came to a conclusion, I looked at my family – all of us Ghostfacers fans by the way – and said “Well, that’s going to throw the fandom into a fit.” We were all still smiling though. We got the joke.
This script can be described by that one Facebook status, it’s complicated. It’s humorous yet also exposed a lot of interwoven issues between two best friends and two brothers, people who don’t exactly like each other when they get together. Everyone knows my deep abiding love for Ben Edlund, who was the person who conceived the whole “Ghostfacers” story back in season three. He gave Ed and Harry a very ludicrous voice and from it they gained a following. Sure, they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those of us fans, the Ghostfacers universe is sheer wicked brilliance. This script by Jenny Klein is the closest “Edlundian” script we’ve gotten since Ben’s departure, and it couldn’t have happened with a better set of returning characters.
Something I’ve noted about The Ghostfacers previously is that these guys are the anti-Sam and Dean Winchester. That was the original vision when Ed and Harry were first introduced by Trey Callaway all the way in season one (they were the Hell Hounds at the time). They’re inept, arrogant, clueless, and they’re hunting the paranormal mostly for the fame, attention, and money. They drove an AMC Gremlin which is the antithesis of the classic beauty Chevy Impala. They also come from a normal background of family stability and because of that those that know them are waiting for them to grow up.
I’ve been waiting for Sam and Dean to grow up as well. This brotherly drama stuff is getting old. If Bobby Singer were still alive, he’d have kicked their asses eight ways from Sunday by now. I also have been kind of waiting for a Castiel “cut the crap” speech as well. Kevin has told them they need to “deal with it” and they didn’t get the memo. It could be that in order to see what’s truly wrong, Sam and Dean need to see the parody of themselves. Who better than Ed Zeddmore and Harry Spangler?
Maturity has been a common theme in the Jeremy Carver era of “Supernatural,” and here we got to see what happens if the Ghostfacers have to grow up as well. Maggie and Spruce of the “Ghostfacers” episode and spinoff series fame went on with their lives and got real jobs (roller derby counts). Harry was ready to get married and work for his girlfriend’s father. Ed couldn’t let go so he sabotaged the relationship by making up the Thinman legend, which put the Ghostfacers on the hunt for the elusive creature. With maturity comes responsibility, this became a big lesson for Ed as well as Sam and Dean. Maturity and responsibility hurts like a mother.
Come on, admit it. The whole Thinman legend is pretty damned clever. As Ed admitted, all it took was a lot of time on Photoshop. Online frenzy took care of the rest. Dean, who was at his snarky best this episode (another Edlund trait done so well by Klein), had the best description ever of a monster when describing Thinman. “Or Garth if somebody shaved his face off.” Hee, so true! No wonder Ed was spooked when Thinman showed up in Washington and actually started killing people. Suddenly his little joke got very serious. He saw the unintended consequences of someone who just couldn’t let go.
It’s interesting how the whole world was willing to buy into a supernatural creature named Thinman haunting in the shadows before a gruesome death but when it came to two twisted humans using the legend to go off the rails, that didn’t end up being the first thing on anyone’s minds, or the last. Even Sam and Dean were wondering if a Tulpa was back, harkening back to their first case with Harry and Ed. No one even considered the culprit to be humans at all until the twisted idiots revealed themselves. They were certainly an embarrassment to the tin foil hat club. People are the sickest of all, aren’t they?
For all those that complained that the Ghostfacers were way over the top, you don’t know your “Supernatural” history too well. They have always been that way and their behavior ranges from awkward to outrageously clueless. I mean, look at some of their quotes this episode, which follows Ghostfacers canon perfectly:
Ed: She got the creme puffs, she tells you to take out the filling, they’re just puffs.
Harry: Yeah, that was some pretty messed up stuff.
Harry: No one cares what they think. They don’t even have a Twitter.
Harry: Quit raining on my rainbow
Ed: Rainbows can’t happen without rain.
Harry: Don’t try to use science on me.
Harry: The lore says that Thinman hangs out by trees, and the woods is where trees hang out.
Harry: A man could lose his marbles being so close to the blade of doom. Lucky for us, I’m really good at marbles.
Ed: We were the Thinman guys. Without the Thinman we’re just guys. Just, we’re just puffs.
Harry: You crashed the Jenga tower of our lives.
Ed: It’s Scooby Doo time, douchebag. Take off the mask.
Yes, the parallels between Harry and Ed and Sam and Dean were blatant, heavy handed and came at us like a sledgehammer across the skull (or flying anvils is another great analogy, insert your own here). The lines were there word for word, especially “I can’t trust you anymore” and “You didn’t do this for me, you did this for you.” That was also intentional. This is the Ghostfacers after all, where nothing is subtle. This entire rift, this brotherly conflict, really does seem kind of ridiculous when see through the lives of Harry and Ed, isn’t it?
However, Harry and Ed’s conflict did have merit, even if it came across as a bad telenovela. Because of Ed’s stunt, a situation spiraled out of control and innocent people died. Just like Sam and Dean’s situation. Harry’s very foundation of trust, everything he believed in, was shattered by deception. Just like Sam’s situation. Ed was caught in a fatal lie because he couldn’t let go. Just like Dean’s situation. Harry gave up happiness with the woman he loved so he could continue his quest with Harry, just like Sam did last season. The end result for both is what they did was based on a lie. It’s hard to not regret the opportunities lost after being deceived by the one person that you gave up everything for. It’s not hard to never want to do that again for that person.
The scene in the warehouse was a coming of age for Harry and Ed. A tragic coming of age. By owning up and taking responsibility, finishing what they started by taking on these Thinman copycats, Harry was put in the worst situation possible. He had to kill a human being to save Ed. He did it without question, he would kill or die for Ed, but that idea of spending eternity with his best friend wasn’t feasible anymore. He doesn’t want to be in that situation ever again. Plus he’s forever haunted with the idea that blood is now on his hands, and all because of something that wasn’t real. Ed claimed responsibility, but the fall out and losing Harry is going to haunt him as well. He’s lost everything that’s mattered to him. Yes, say it with me, just like Dean.
So Ed, Harry, Sam and Dean are all caught in the same brutal lesson right now. What makes a desperate act forgivable? Was that act truly worth it given the fall out? While Sam so wisely pointed out to Harry that some situations aren’t forgivable, it all ends in a rather lonely existence for all. One where there is no one in that rocking chair next to you when you’re old. You’re alone in that chair possibly remembering the good times, like when you broke you arm when you were five trying to jump off the shed in a Batman costume when your older brother in a Superman costume just did the same thing. Oh yes, that smile will creep up when remembering riding on your brother’s handle bars on the way to the ER. But by that time, it’s too late.
Forgiveness is complicated. Trust must be earned, but is loneliness hard too. How unforgiveable is an act? Sam has been wrestling with his issue long enough and the time has come to make a decision. He and Dean live under the same roof, and this whole “keeping it business” is turning out to be a bunch of crap. It’s only making things worse. It’s certainly frustrating the hell out of Dean and it’s showing in his grumpy mood (that and the Mark of Cain might be contributing). Sam probably knows that making a choice is best for all involved, and considering he’s still with Dean, we know he doesn’t want to leave. He freaked out in that warehouse when the Not!Thinman was ready to slice Dean’s throat. You can’t watch out for each other all your lives and just suddenly drop that instinct. Ed and Harry were meant to reinforce his thought process and let him see the same drama through others eyes. The question is, what choice will come of it?
My speculation is by the time Sam comes to his decision, it may be too late. Perhaps Dean will have already moved on. He’s already headed down a very dark road. When he fought Not!Thinman in the warehouse, he just didn’t off the guy with a quick jab. Nope, he slowly pushed that knife into him, cold and calculated. Again that could be the Mark of Cain at work, but if anything it shows a shift in his brutality. He was short and impatient with the Ghostfacers too, using threats to get his point across. It was fun to see how that didn’t work.
I’m more freaked out about Harry and Ed. What’s going to happen to them? Harry’s world is shattered and Ed is left alone caught in a lie. I know I’ll get tons of comments saying “I don’t care about the Ghostfacers” but honestly, I do. I’ve grown to adore these guys. They need to make up and go back to being “America’s Foremost Supernaturalists.” As Maggie said in the Ghostfacers episode, “It was love at first geek.” Please, don’t leave these guys apart like this. I need closure!
Despite my love of “#THINMAN,” this episode did echo a greater criticism I have with the plotting in this point of the season. Why in the world do such dramas have to be dragged out and take center focus? It’s tiring and honestly, this is a horror show about the supernatural. It’s not called “Gossip Guys.” I get it, a 23 episode season is impossible to plot, especially for a show it’s its 9th season. More and more genre shows are breaking onto the scene with just 13 episodes so the focus can lie solely on mytharc and central plot. The whole “we aren’t brothers” thing becomes too much of a distraction from these standalones and loses its credibility when it’s stretched too thin. I know the show never likes to kick start the action before episode 17, but other seasons have succeeded in avoiding the soap opera route for filler. Even season six did an incredible job of this. I’m all for the story being about the brothers but a lame story? You might as well give Castiel more air time.
Anyone notice the Lumberjack themed room this week? As much as I love the Men of Letters Bunker, I really miss doing a fun motel room examination every week. The room divider was Paul Bunyan! They also went with the giant scenic mural on the wall, this time a large mountain. Thank you Jerry Wanek and crew for your continuing amazing creativity. It’s my goal now to purchase an old motor lodge and renovate each room to look like one from a “Supernatural” episode. I’ll give a hunters discount. 🙂
Anyone notice Dean’s “I can’t believe you’re bringing this up now” stare at Sam when he told Ed, “Secrets ruin relationships.” I’m sure Dean would be throwing up in his mouth a little if he heard Sam’s talk with Harry later.
This episode has some great Dean Winchester zingers. You know, the stuff he used to say years ago when he was a better written character (the best since “The French Mistake.”) Here’s my favorite though: “This all sounds like sad times at bitchmont high.” Yes, I’m old enough to remember when Fast Times at Ridgemont High came out. The movie of our generation. Dean also had a couple of great pop culture shout outs. For one, he called the Ghostfacer van “The Mystery Machine.” Also, “There was no teleporting. Just a couple of douchebags doing a Scream thing.”
There were so many great, subtle little humorous touches. There was the restaurant crime scene, Dean walking away irritated at the Deputy who let the Ghostfacers in there. “Not a fan?” Hee, definitely not a fan. Also, kudos to Harry for throwing Dean’s threat back in his face. “What are you going to do, out me…AGENT.” He even used the quoting fingers! Did I mention how much I love those guys?
As I said, any beef I had is with overall plotting and not this episode. I call “#THINMAN” a real keeper. This is the way standalones should be, and limits can be stretched with you have the Ghostfacers in your story. Jenny Klein, thank you for handling these characters with such care. You captured the true spirit of Harry and Ed, and that’s no small feat.
Next week is a repeat, so enjoy your week break to ponder what we have so far. After that, the real action begins. Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s complicated.
(Also posted at The Winchester Family Business)