The current season is in full swing and already Demon Dean has won my heart, much as I predicted he would. He’s more complicated beast than I expected him to be — more angst and less party animal — but I am still getting a big kick out of seeing what Jensen Ackles is doing with the character.
In addition to making me happy on screen, Ackles has also been impressing me with his talent behind the camera, as well. The upcoming episode, “Soul Survivor,” marks Ackles’ fourth time in the director’s chair for the series. The emotional level of the episode promises a lot of angst for fans and probably made for quite the challenge for its director.
How will it compare to Ackles’ other trips to the director’s chair? I decided to take a look back at his first three directing gigs and see how each one was better than the last.
“Weekend at Bobby’s” (2010) — Season 6 Episode 4
This episode was one of my favorite Bobby episodes ever and I think it was the perfect one for Ackles to tackle for the first time. I’m sure it helped that Dean (and, therefore, Ackles) appeared in the episode hardly at all, but it was also just a good, fun romp into the life of the Winchesters’ adopted dad. The show has always had great humor, but the feeling of this episode was different enough for you to realize that there was another hand guiding the action this time.
“The Girl Next Door” (2011) — Season 7 Episode 3
Whereas Ackles’ first episode as director was lighter, his second time dealt with more emotional issues when Sam went off on a hunt and discovered a woman he met when he was a kid. According to The Winchester Handbook, she was a monster and that meant certain death, but Sam wanted to give her a chance. Ackles really turned on the angst when Dean allowed Sam to think he agreed with his younger brother’s plan, but ultimately, took matters into his own hands and killed Amy himself.
“Heartache” (2012) — Season 8 Episode 3
In each episode that Ackles directs, I’ve noticed that he seems to take on scripts that are more and more difficult. He started out with a light episode, moved on to a heavier one and, in this episode, it seemed his challenge was adding more Dean. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to direct an episode while acting in it, but Ackles handled it very well. This episode saw Dean ready to jump back into hunting after his escape from Purgatory and it felt like Ackles was as ready to jump into a more difficult directing gig.
By all accounts, Ackles will again be upping the ante with his next directing job. According to the episode synopsis for “Soul Survivor,” Sam will continue to try and save Dean from the Mark of Cain, which indicates to me that we are going to see a lot of scenes between Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean. Chances are, those scenes are going to crank the angst up to around 11, so I’m guessing Ackles found the upcoming episode incredibly challenging to shoot.
Sam is looking stressed. Something tells me Demon Dean is not going to back down anytime soon.
Uh oh, what happened to Hannah and Cas?
What is going on here, Sammy?
Watch Supernatural “Soul Survivor” on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 9/8c on the CW.