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"Time For a Wedding" Review: The Funhouse Effect
ChuckWriting
farawayeyes4
First Appeared on The Winchester Family Business on November 14, 2011

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"Time for a Wedding," takes the viewer into a proverbial fun house effect. It begins with Dean sitting in a bar, talking to the waitress about the "annual sacred pilgrimage" to Vegas. A text message pulls him away, telling him to put on a suit and meet his brother at a chapel. Upon arrival, the doors open, revealing Sam, dressed in a suit and oddly happy. It tells the viewer that they are entering into a fun house effect where things will become distorted and twisted. Sam jovially announces to Dean that he is getting married. Dean is stunned. Sam hasn't been seeing anyone as far as he knows. The bride enters, wearing a veil to hide her face. When it is lifted, Dean is stunned at the bride's identity. It's none other than Becky Rosen.

If Sam getting married out of the blue wasn't enough to disturb the elder Winchester, the bride solidifies that there is something significantly wrong with his brother. In their past encounters, Sam has always looked uncomfortable and unhappy in Becky's company. Here, not only is he marrying her, he seems unable to contain his joy at seeing his bride.

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Supernatural sticks its tongue firmly in its cheek with the Becky character. She, as a character, divides the viewers. She is either a spiteful representation of the fans in general and an uncomfortable addition, or she is seen as amusing as the show pokes fun at itself and fandoms in general. It is a fine line and a risk to include her, and yet on some levels it works.

This is not a serious episode by any means---and so when viewed through the lens of the fun house the events that transpire can be taken with a grain of salt.
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Sam seems delighted and enthralled with his chosen wife. Like Dean, the viewer can't help but wonder how Becky managed to not only get him to marry her---but to like it. They're sitting in what would seem to be her apartment having a quiet dinner while discussing the cases of wildly successful people meeting their demises so soon after making it big. Here, while Sam is distracted by an extreme headache and confusion, Becky takes out a vial of a purple liquid and pours it into Sam's champagne. She convinces him to drink it down and upon doing so seems to be fine---and ecstatic to be in Becky's presence again.

In a normal episode's lens, these actions would be far more sinister. With the fun house effect in place, it leads to hilarity and the ridiculous. Sam and Becky start to team up together as husband and wife on the case, complete with a hunters wall. She is delighted when he brings her a gift---after rubbing the marker off of her nose in an intimate gesture. He has made his and hers fake I.D.s and she is thrilled with them. Her joy is short lived when Sam finds her journal, splashed much like a pre teen's crush notebook, with"Sam hearts Becky" endlessly.

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Sam's horrified expression is deceptive. He glances towards Becky after thumbing through it and gasps, "This is----beautiful." He hugs it to himself and looks at her with adoration. In the guise of the fun house, his reaction is hilarious and equals her over the top nature in every way. Sam is becoming the same as Becky---over enthusiastic, silly, and ridiculous. His distortion is a huge portion of the episode's feel and effect. Sam has most certainly entered and been consumed by the fun house.

Unfortunately for Becky, she is the ultimate Mary Sue gone wrong. In any story (usually created by a fan) that has a self insertion into an established canon, the so called Mary Sue character has the ability to capture one of the main character's love, has amazing powers that stun both the heroes and villains alike, and is almost more powerful than the main character that is to be their love interest.
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Becky is none of these.

She fails to capture Sam's love on her own. She has no real powers except for her ability to recall Chuck's books. She does not impress the main leads or villains in any way. Instead, she is uncomfortable, awkward, and over the top. She's designed as such, and this is why she fits the fun house lens used in this episode. It is also why she can offend easily. She's a love or hate character, and as such, she divides viewers.

Her control over Sam is tied to the potion and she has to keep resupplying to keep him in this state. There is also Dean sticking his nose into the situation. He arrives to give Sam a wedding gift to "show my support." He also realizes that Becky is the next target. She just got what she wanted out of the blue and he tells his love struck brother that his wife is next. Sam scoffs and tells him that he doesn't need his big brother anymore. This is the real crux of the episode in the brotherly relationship. It hurts, even if Sam's saying this from a spelled state.

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Meanwhile, Dean is stuck in his own fun house being paired with Garth. Garth was referenced as being inept and foolish when he called Bobby in "Weekend at Bobby's." He arrives to assist Dean with the case and his first impression is not a good one. Dean passes the paper off to him, telling him about the case at hand. Instead, Garth opens up to the comics and giggles in glee over Marmaduke. Dean knows immediately that he's in trouble with this guy.

They hesitantly agree to go to the office building to question people, posing as reporters. Upon arrival, Dean spots Sam and his new "wife" already doing the same. Sam asks Dean who the scrawny guy is, and Dean mutters in a clipped tone, "temp." Garth is so clueless that he doesn't even seem to be offended by the slight.

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Garth is, in some ways, the male version of Becky. He doesn't have the fan connection to the book series, but he seems just as in awe of the idea of being a hunter. He's earnest but inept. It'd be interesting to see why he even knows about this particular line of work. In some ways, he's a stand in for the Ghostfacers here. They, too, are inept and ridiculous.

Returning to Sam and Becky, he succumbs again to headaches as the potion wears off. Becky scrambles to her bag to get more only to discover that it has poured out into the lining. Without this potion, she has absolutely no control over Sam. He will leave immediately upon regaining his faculties. If she is to keep him with her in the fun house, she must act quickly to keep him from realizing his situation.
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Since she can't get more potion in time, she thinks fast and uses Dean's gift to render him unconscious. He wakes up later in a bed, tied down in spread eagle, unable to move. He has left the fun house effect behind with the wearing off of the potion, and yet this lens still plays a factor as Becky talks to her “Wiccan” friend to acquire more to regain Sam's love. She is extremely gullible and susceptible to suggestions and persuasion in acquiring what she wants. We, much like the now recovered Sam, can easily tell that this silly girl has gotten in way over her head and that her friend Guy is no friend at all.

Sam overhears and quickly deduces that this"Wiccan" is the one responsible for the deaths taking place in town. He tells Becky as much and she blows him off, convinced that this is her friend helping her to get what she wants. She leaves to meet with him, despite Sam's protests at leaving him tied and gagged. Upon meeting up with Guy, her supposed friend, she discovers the truth to the phrase that if a "deal sounds too good to be true it probably is." For such a huge fan of the book series, she should have remembered Azazel telling Dean as much after his own deal. Guy is no Wiccan. He's a Crossroads Demon and she's his next mark.

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We've seen Becky go to the extremes to capture Sam thus far and we're lead to believe when she is offered the 25 years and Sam's undying love that she will succumb to this new deal. But unfortunately for Guy, he is set up by Becky and Sam (and Dean) to end up in a trap, confronted. Familiar tools and weapons make reappearances as they revive the meta that has been this direct since season 4's "Monster at the End of this Book." Guy ends up in a trap, facing off against Dean, who still has a mighty reputation in Hell. He asks, half sarcastic, half honest, "Dean Winchester. This is really thrilling. May I have your autograph?"

Instead, Dean wields Ruby's knife, and retorts, "Sure, how about I carve it into your spleen."
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It's not missed that the reason for Sam's latest predicament is the actions of a demon. Almost all of Sam's problems have their roots with demons. Azazel dripped blood in his mouth and turned his powers on, Ruby manipulated him and hooked him on demon blood, and demons have been after Sam to lead Hell for a period. The fact that Becky led a demon to Sam's doorstep and used its power to capture Sam is extremely meta fictional. With Becky being the catalyst, however, this too gets distorted and twisted into the fun house this episode presents.

Neither brother is willing to deal with Guy. They are ready to kill him when his accomplice, Jackson, steps in and breaks the trap. Dean is physically choked while Sam is choked by telekinesis. Dean, in his struggles, drops Ruby's knife. Becky picks it up, and after all of her awkward behavior, makes one move that takes her one shade from the fun house character she is to a potential serious character if only briefly. She stabs Jackson in the back, killing the demon and allowing the brothers the upper hand.

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Guy's boss arrives, angry and perturbed by his underling's behavior. Crowley faces the brothers, and asks them why they haven't seen any demons as of late. He's called his demons off the Winchesters, needing them to take out the Leviathan---monsters he tried to deal with and failed. His appearance, and Becky's stabbing of Jackson, start the end of the fun house effect.
Guy is afraid when confronted by his superior. He pleads his case, even though he knows he has none. Crowley barks, "There's a reason we don't call our chits in early: consumer confidence. This isn't Wall Street, this is Hell! We have a little something called integrity."
Sam and Dean demand to know what he'll do with Guy, and Crowley says that he'll make an example out of him. They disappear, leaving Sam, Dean, Garth, and Becky behind to deal with the fall out. The fun house is collapsing quickly around them and reality is seeping in. There is no place for Becky in this place, nor is there for her male counterpart in Garth.
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We see Sam try to convince Becky that there is someone truly out there for her---that he is just not it. They quickly annul the marriage and Sam and Dean head towards the stolen Challenger to skip town. Garth, Dean's temporary partner, greets them there. Dean tells Garth that he "doesn't suck," and in return Garth hugs him. Sam thinks this is highly amusing, and as the fun house effect truly fades, we see a serious moment hang between the brothers.

Dean admits to Sam that he knows his brother is a grown up, that he doesn't have to always watch out for him constantly. Sam thanks him for doing so, but then says, "You can start looking out for yourself for a change. About time." Dean nods, but it is clear as reality totally takes over again that he's unsure of how to do that. It's another step in this season's journey to making Sam and Dean equals----and it is something Dean has never thought about before. Even when he lived with Lisa and Ben, away from Sam, his existence was taking care of them, not himself. Now he must.

The acting in this episode had great comedic timing on many levels.
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Emily Perkins always brings the awkward and over the top Becky to life expertly. She's bubbly, goofy, and hilarious. She seems to grasp Becky's nature well and turns it up just a notch higher to drive it home. Perkins has a way with showing not only Becky's extreme enthusiasm, but her naivete. She may be an expert in the books, but when it comes to the real Supernatural world, she is out of her depth. Perkins gives us a Becky that in one turn annoys and then gives us a slight glimpse into her subtler and softer side as she does when she confesses to Sam how unhappy her real life is. With as much energy as Becky has, if she were to focus it in other avenues it's easy to say that she would succeed.
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DJ Qualls was a delight as the inept Garth. He seems the exception to the hunters we've met thus far, and as Bobby exclaimed in exasperation during "Weekend at Bobby's," we're too left wondering how he's "still alive." He is more focused on Marmaduke, doesn't seem to have the hard edge that most hunters have, and seems to find the job an amusing game. He is nerdy, silly, and Becky's male counterpart without the direct meta connections. It'd be interesting to hear what made Garth even consider the life of a hunter, considering how he seems squeamish and harmless. It'd be a nice thing to see his return into the Supernatural fabric in some way. Considering his life span likelihood in the field and his flightiness, it's a wonderment if he should make it that far. Qualls was a great foil to Jensen's Dean in this episode, the fun house and the reality of Supernatural standing side by side.
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The actor that presented Guy, our newest Crossroads Demon, was a delight. He seemed like a nice guy, and yet the viewer could tell what Becky could not: he was up to no good. He's cocky, self assured, and slimy once his identity is revealed. It's been awhile since we've seen such a smart ass of a demon on the show---outside of Crowley or Meg---and seeing one here was a real treat. It's a shame that it would seem we'll not see him again as Crowley has seen fit to punish him for his transgressions.

Mark Sheppard's appearance was also a treat. Anytime Crowley arrives is a great moment. Crowley telling the boys that he's staying out of the way was great, and the way Shepphard sells the self serving King of Hell is such a joy. Crowley's not stupid enough to offer dealing with them as direct allies necessarily---especially after the deal he made with Castiel recently. But he also knows that if they fail he's next. Seeing him deal with his subordinates with such disdain and exasperation was funny. He might be King of Hell, but it's obvious that even Crowley thinks the job is highly overrated.
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Jensen excels at dramatic episodes, no question, but he has such excellent comedic timing, too. Here, Dean's exasperation, shock, and bewilderment are clearly written all over Jensen's face. He's not only stuck dealing with a brother put under a love spell, but the most inept partner he's ever had working by his side. Any attempts at doing his job the way he knows how is twisted, and Jensen gives us great comedy in Dean's reactions. Dean is almost always the one on the outside of the fun house---save perhaps the French Mistake---and as such his reactions are in part the viewers. Jensen's ability to make us laugh at the situation through Dean's reactions is a testament to his well rounded talent. When Dean sighs, we sigh, when he rolls his eyes, we do. He is the straight man thrown into the fray and left to flounder. While everyone around him is distorted beyond recognition, it is Dean that sticks to his basic characteristics, making do with what is given to him. Seeing him arrive at Sam and Becky's door with his waffle iron pleading if him and his brother are good is a great example of how Jensen shows us this Dean. His strongest scene, however, is the very last moment when he looks over the car, the look on his face clearly stating "How do I do that?" No words are said here, and yet the viewer get the message loud and clear.

Jared's dual performance here is brilliant. He gives us Fun House Sam under Becky's spell with all its hilarity with precision comedy. His exuberance at the chapel is engaging. The more Dean becomes disturbed, the more Sam amps up the ridiculous. Jared, much like Jensen, shines in dramatic moments and episodes, but his comedy is just as good. Sam, usually a brooding and graceful character shown through Jared's movements becomes a large bouncing ball of energy here. Jared gives us one of the most hilarious moments of the episode when we see him pick up Becky's journal. A flash of the real Sam shines on his face in horror, and yet when we see him look over at Becky, Jared's expression changes into an exaggerated one of adoration. His soft exclamation of "This is---beautiful," is the perfect punctuation. Once the spell wears off, Jared gives us an angry and annoyed Sam. His reactions to being tied down and when he delivers the line "Oh yeah, I'm thrilled," the sarcasm and anger is apparent. Despite his anger, Jared gives us a concerned and caring Sam, too. Underneath his intense anger, he can't help but feel sorry for Becky on some level, and his approach to her is pure Sam.

The last scene between the brothers also gives us a chance to see Sam and Dean in a way we haven't in some time. They're teasing each other---Sam about Dean making a new "fweind" and Dean about Becky "not being your soul mate." Both smile and seem more at ease, and we see both Jared and Jensen's chemistry merge again as balance is slowly being built between Sam and Dean. It's refreshing to see the brothers this way again.

Now, who's ready to see the boys hunt the Jersey Devil? Surprised we haven't already.

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