Supernatural Ep. 7.21, ‘Reading is Fundamental’: Purposeful pacing builds momentum towards finale

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Supernatural Review, Season 7, Episode 21: “Reading is Fundamental”
Written by Ben Edlund
Directed by Ben Edlund
Airs Fridays at 9pm (ET) on the CW

This week, on Supernatural: Kevin is an honor student, Meg’s handy with sharp implements, and Cas wants you to pull his finger

Picking up right where we left off, this episode opens with the reveal of the red clay as nothing more than packaging for a stone tablet containing (part of) the Word of God. With a few episodes still remaining in this season, it may have been tempting to hold off on this, but luckily the writers go a different way and kick things in to gear. The storm triggered by Dean’s chiseling is effective, instantly adding gravitas and foreboding to the proceedings, and bringing in Kevin, yet another clueless human Chosen to have his entire life turned upside down, is smart, as it forces Sam and Dean to slow down and recap the situation and grounds the increasingly otherworldly predicament our heroes find themselves in. Osric Chau is entertaining and fits in well with the group. It would seem Kevin isn’t going anywhere, so his journey over the final two episodes, and particularly how it contrasts with Chuck’s early appearances, should be fun.

After his confrontation with Dick last week, Bobby takes the episode off. We’ve yet to see him interact with Cas, which is disappointing, but it’s good to have a break from the ghost drama for a bit. It’s unlikely there will be much development in Bobby’s situation before the finale, and if this is the case, there’s plenty of action to explore elsewhere. It’s nice to see Benito Martinez back for example, however briefly. It’s a shame he’s been so wasted. Throughout most of this season, the Leviathans have been nameless and without particularly defining traits, other than Dick Roman, of course. This has started to change in the most recent episodes however, from “Out with the Old”, so perhaps we can hope for more from Martinez as we head towards the finale.

After a season filled with Leviathans, it’s about time the Angels were heard from. They’re used well here and, given Cas’s actions in season six, their reactions to him make sense. It’s enough to make you feel bad for the whole lot, despite how few even decent Angels we’ve ever seen. One can’t help but wonder what Chuck’s up to and if there aren’t celestial counterparts to Sam and Dean working just as hard to put Heaven back together. It’s interesting to see such a clear distinction between Leviathans and Angels, power-wise. Clearly Cas will be playing a minor role in the finale, at least should it come down to a fight, putting the onus right back on Sam and Dean. It’s nice to see a few touchstones here, from the references to Dean’s history with Cas, and Sam’s with Ruby, to the Angelic protection and banishment runes, and this, along with Meg and her trip down memory lane, makes the episode feel far more connected to the series’ history than much of the past two seasons have.

Meg, relegated to funny sidekick status when we last saw her, is featured far more prominently this week, complete with monologue and badass fight sequences, and Rachel Miner delivers. Much of her role this episode is to remind viewers that, as Arya Stark would say, anyone can be killed. Demons, Angels, all you need is the right weapon. It appears that the next episode will see the Winchesters and co. maneuvering to get the ingredients for their Leviathan-killing weapon (bone of a just man? Too bad they burned Bobby…), leading up to a showdown in the finale. The structure of the past two episodes has helped streamline the overall arc, giving direction to the Leviathan storyline. Much of the season has felt stagnant, with Sam and Dean spinning their wheels, unable or unwilling to work together and make progress in their fight against Dick. Finally, things are starting to click into place and the writing feels confident- it seems safe to say we have an exciting finale ahead of us.

What did you think of this episode? Anyone else glad they cleared up the Sam-Cas crazy transfer somewhat? How long do you think Kevin lasts with the Leviathans? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick

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