5.5 Fallen Idols
Ah, Yes, the widely used yet misrepresented word ‘blah’. Perhaps originating from the French ‘blasé’, it can be used to represent a feeling of lethargy, apathy and fatigue. To have ‘the blahs’ in 1969 meant you were bored with life and the black seas of depression had washed away that childish grin, that feeling of meaning, that flutter of excitement in the depths of your heart.
Well, it’s a good thing that the psychology department of ’69 invented the term, because it makes for a damn near perfect analogy of Supernatural‘s latest episode and token car wreck Fallen Idol.
It’s an introduction far removed from last week’s review, I know. And sure, my pendulum of opinion has swung so far out that it’s created its own orbit, but to put the fantastic former episode The End with Fallen Idol back to back is like watching Mohammed Ali fight an incontinent kitten. No one wants to see that kitten fight for our love and appreciation. It’s just embarrassing. The fluffy ball just ends up pissing all over its self respect and, inevitably, we grow to detest its very nature (just a reminder, we’re talking about the episode here. The whole ‘kitten vs. Ali’ thing was a terrible analogy.)
The first thing which must be discussed is the guest appearance of Omni-socialite and walking ‘blah’, Paris Hilton, who took to the role of an evil shape shifter with all the charisma of a catatonic cadaver. That isn’t conjecture, you understand. That’s just honesty. Paris Hilton can’t act. She’s not an actress. She’s just a woman who owns lots of bags and a tiny dog.
With all fairness, however, this was not Miss. Hilton’s doing, rather, it was Supernatural‘s producers who invited Paris to appear, probably in a vain attempt to contribute to ratings. That she had co-starred in the comedic flop House Of Wax alongside Jared Padalecki might also have had something to do with it.
Paris doesn’t show up until the episode’s disappointing climax and, as a result, the main storyline wasn’t a complete disaster. The breakdown is this: the Winchester’s hear of some strange deaths which have cropped up in Canton, Ohio, with one thing tying them all together: each murder seems to have been committed by the victim’s idols.
Yup, Abraham Lincoln, James Dean’s car and Paris Hilton all show up and, for a while, poor Sam and Dean are awfully confused. Turns out the culprit is a shape shifting Pagan God who has grown tired of waiting around for human sacrifices and has decided to take matters into its own hands. There’s the usual punch-up before Miss. Hilton finally gets to deliver the postmodern ditty: “You used to worship God’s, but this? This is what passes for idolatry? Celebrities?”
This line of dialogue sums up the intention of the episode and its plea for purpose. Supernatural gets to attempt a cynical standpoint in regards to Hollywood and celebrity but, in casting Paris Hilton in the first place, the show only ends up looking hypocritical in the process.
While there were a few funny moments in an episode which saw the series go back to basics with its ‘monster of the week’ format, with an apocalypse on the way there wasn’t another reason for this standalone to exist.
With previous episode The End feeling too short for what was essentially a mini horror movie, there may be reason enough to declare that episode four should have been split into two parts and that Fallen Idol need never have existed.
In the excellent season four episode, The Monster At The End Of This Book, the prophet Chuck asks, in a postmodern twist, if Dean and Sam have really lived through all the terrible things he has prophesised in his books. After getting a positive nod from both, he looks aghast before saying, “Did you really have to live through the bugs? What about the ghost ship? I am so sorry. I mean, horror is one thing, but to be forced to live bad writing? If I’d known it was real, I would have done another pass.” It looks like Chuck will have some more apologising to do in the future…
Read our review episode 4 here. Catch the show on Living in the UK.