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3.13 Ghostfacers

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  • 3.13 Ghostfacers

    "You know, I kinda think it was half awesome."

    Ah, this episode makes me happy. Not only do they tell us the date, out loud, but they also specify, out loud, exactly how much time Dean has left. February 28-9 and two months respectively. Which completely confirms the accuracy of the timeline I drew up for seasons one and two. Yay!

    I always enjoy a strong outsider perspective, being able to view the boys through someone else's eyes, someone who doesn't know them inside out the way that we do, so this episode was a lot of fun! They all must have had a blast playing around with the format, and it worked really well – I love that the opening credits were moved to the very end, so as not to break the narrative structure. It's a little slow in the initial build-up, but the moment we hear the Impala's engine, we're up and running. And the return of classic rock! Woo!

    I also love that they got a little dig in there about the writer's strike. Way to be all post-modern with the internal meta! Very up to the minute.

    "It was love at first geek."

    Ed and Harry take themselves so ludicrously seriously. They're brilliant. I enjoyed the episode first time around. But the second time of viewing I found myself getting really attached to the little Ghostfacer team, and their dynamics, and all: cutie Corbett with his crush on clueless Ed, and Harry being a little concerned about it, and Ed's sister Maggie providing a source of conflict between him and Harry.

    Maggie's interesting. We don't really get to understand her motivations; she seems as into all the geeky ghostfacer stuff as the others, but we also see that there's a line of tension between her and Ed over the fact that she is adopted – he stresses it as a matter of fact, and she seems a little hurt by that. So it kind of seems like at least part of her reason for being with the team is that she wants to hang out with her brother and feel included, part of his life, one of his friends, wants to feel she really belongs in his life. Plus, there's Harry.

    I like the subtle build up for Harry and Maggie's fledgling could-be romance – from him teasing her at HQ and her giving as good as she gets, to his holding her hand when things get scary at the house, to making out in the middle of the crisis, in fear of their lives. It kind of kills me that their moment is captured on camera because Spruce stopped to covertly film them, the perv! And then when Ed sees them, he gets to take time out from the crisis to wig about them being together – so I guess if Maggie was in any doubt about her place in her brother's life, that should reassure her! "My best friend" And my best sister!" Cue bitchslapping tussle. Hee. Ed and Harry are so much fun.

    "Didn't you guys get, like, a permit or something?"
    "A permit? That's a good idea for next time."

    How amateurs react to, interpret and try to interact with the supernatural world is something that's been explored before. We saw it with Ronald in Nightshifter, and we've also seen Ed and Harry's take on it, in Hell House. They haven't really learned that much, it seems. Not everyone who comes into contact with the supernatural and takes it fully on board has what it takes to become a hunter. Two years on, and Ed and Harry are still treating it as a game, almost. It's a hobby, a competition, and a means to an end. They aren't looking beneath the surface at the meaning or the full danger, instead treating haunted houses as a resource to be used for their own advancement. It's certainly a striking contrast to the Winchester brothers' focus on the fact that they have civilians in danger who must be safeguarded at the same time as resolving the haunting.

    The Ghostfacer team have actually done pretty decent research – they just failed to cover all the angles, because they are looking from a very specific perspective. And although they talk big about EMF, EVP, etc, they have no clue what ghostly static is when they see it. Their shaky, handheld camera work really conveys the chaotic nature of the situation, though, with so many personalities in the mix, all working at cross purposes, and the positioning of the cameras around the house is well done, allowing every aspect of the case to be covered by those amateur cameras. They don't make life easy for screencappers, though!

    The best bit is that they really do make reality TV shows like this! Albeit without the actual murderous ghosts...

    "Not cops, just hicks."

    The arrival of the brothers Winchester is, of course, the moment the episode really, truly kicks off. I'm sure we'd all recognise Dean's gruff bellow anywhere. The censoring is hilarious! Having this narrative format, making the episode as a documentary with bleeping out of the cussing, allows them to break the characters out of the world they usually inhabit (self-censoring, and I can well believe John would have drummed that into them) and plunging them into ours, bad language and all.

    I love that Ed recognises the brothers long before they realise they've met him before. For them, the hell house was just another day in the life, one job among the many. For him, it was an epiphany. But I like that the moment they've placed him, they also realise that Corbett is someone new and remember that Ed was hanging with Harry last time, and ask if he's there as well – that's the priority, the need to locate and safeguard all civilians before moving on with the job.

    Dean can be so stern when the civilians he's trying to look after make the job that much harder. "Closer to the herd, okay?" He's very on the job here. Doesn't so much as glance sideways at Maggie. But the trouble here is that the civilians in danger are just too many and too excitable to easily secure.

    Dean's reaction to Sam's disappearance is so very predictable, charging around bellowing. "SAMMY!" It's so reminiscent of The Benders and All Hell Breaks Loose, how he doesn't let himself panic immediately, but it sets in pretty quickly after that. And the moment Sam is snatched, Dean's focus changes completely – keeping the civilians safe can no longer be his priority, so they just have to scamper to keep up with him. Finding Sam is all that matters.

    I love seeing SmartDean in evidence, as the show doesn't always remember how clever he has to be to be as good as he is at his job. He gets a really strong outing here, putting all the pieces together and reaching the right conclusions, figuring out the bomb shelter and locating it just in time to save Sam.

    "Well, it's 12:04, Dean. You good? You happy? […] 'Let's go hunt the Morton house,' you said. 'It's our Grand Canyon.'"
    "Sam, I don't want to hear it."
    "You've got two months left, Dean. But instead, we're going to die tonight."

    Wow. It's a tiny moment caught on Spruce's camera, but that's my favourite little scenelet of the episode – the only reference to ongoing continuity we get, but it tells us everything we need to know about exactly where the brothers are right now: Dean wanting to go down swinging, to just keep doing his job for as long as he's still standing, while Sam is starting to freak out about how little time they have left. Plus, I love the call back to Dean's suggestion in Hunted that they take a trip to the Grand Canyon.

    The scene also gives Spruce something to puzzle over – he's the quietest and least defined of the Ghostfacer team, but seems like a pretty observant kind of guy. And it's very striking that, when he and Dean get separated from the others later and Spruce questions him about this overheard conversation, Dean is so distracted that he actually very nearly comes out and tells the story! "It's complicated. A while ago, Sam…no, no, no. I'm not going to whine about my bleep problems to some bleep reality show. I'm gonna do my bleep job." Man. Dean's attitude to his situation in a nutshell. Not gonna whine, just going to keep doing his job. It's the only way he knows how to cope – with anything. Especially since Sam is currently still in mortal danger at this point. And Spruce immediately guesses cancer, because he comes from the real world, couldn't even begin to conceive the things Dean and Sam have been through. It makes for a nice contrast of preconceptions.

    Plus, when Dean shifts the heavy cabinet all by himself, and Spruce is like, whoa, strong, and Dean just gives him the finger? That's funny.

    "Come on, wake up. Be dead."

    I love the way this story is structured, the way all the little elements that will be needed later are built into the action fairly subtly as it progresses, like Dean yelling at the second death echo in an attempt to 'wake it up' and Sam explaining why to the team, so that they can later use that information to get through to Corbett, so that he can save all their lives.

    Sam, bless his heart, has this inherent urge to instruct and explain.

    It's a really awful moment when Ed, Harry and Maggie see Corbett's death echo and realise what happened to him. But that then allows Ed his moment of grace, when he puts the pieces together and realises that they can still do something for Corbett – they can reach out and help him find peace. And I like that it's Harry – who had previously noted Corbett's crush on Ed – who works out just how Ed can get through to him, because Ed still hasn't registered that facet yet. That's nice character work. "Ed, you've gotta go be gay for that poor dead intern! You've gotta send him into the light."

    So then we get a spirit taking out another spirit once again. That's happened a few times on the show now.

    "Listen here, Chisel Chest."

    Mwahahah. I love the look on Sam's face when he hears that, and that Dean doesn't react at all, he's too busy staring Ed down and being exasperated.

    It's also hilarious when Harry's team go rushing downstairs to tell Ed and Corbett about the ghost they saw, and fall silent when they see the brothers. It's the looks on Sam and Dean's faces, with the wonky camera angle, that does it.

    "Huh. 'Survival under atomic attack'. An optimist." Mwah. Oh, Sammy. I love Sam humour. He has his own very special brand of snippy sarcasm.

    "Look, seriously. Does looking at this nightmare through that camera make you feel better, or something?"
    "Oh, yeah. Yeah. I think so."
    Dean-Maggie, followed later by:

    "Seriously. You're still shooting?"
    "It makes me feel better."
    "Don't ask."

    It's how the Ghostfacers deal with the reality of their situation – the same thing the scriptwriter did in Hollywood Babylon. It's too much culture shock to internalise, so instead they break it down into something they know how to deal with, reduce it to an event to be caught on camera, just make believe, a story to be told. A form of denial.

    I love the little string of 'Ewwww's as they all realise what the amateur taxidermist did with the bodies he snagged from the hospital.

    Shouldn't there be more corpses down in that bomb shelter if the spirit has vanished several people from the house and taken them down there to join the party? Corbett's death really ramps up the tension, though, because suddenly Sam is in very immediate danger, and the others don't seem to be any closer to finding him.

    ROFL at Ed and Harry thinking Dean wanted them to get in his duffle bag. And his exasperation at their slowness in following his line of thought. He knows what he meant, it's obvious to him, but they don't have his absolute understanding of this world.

    I love Sam's casual one-handed blasting of the spirit when it attacks Spruce. I also love the pretty, pretty shot of the Impala at dawn, when it's all over. And Dean rolling his eyes at the still-rolling camera as they leave the house, while Sam gives Ed his cell number, because these guys are clearly not about to give this up, and could need help again in the future.

    "Gay love can pierce through the veil of death and save the day." Mwahahah. I love how pompous Ed and Harry can be about their storytelling, despite being more annoyed than anything about the same quality in Andrew, in season 7 BtVS.

    "Electromagnet, wiped out every tape and hard drive they had."

    For the final scene we finally break out of the narrative structure of the Ghostfacer documentary, to see Sam and Dean watching the tape on Ed and Harry's laptop, completely lost for words. I love their silent communication, sharing their enjoyment and amusement with the situation and wordlessly agreeing what they have to do. Plus – SmartDean at work again! They both seem so light-hearted at the end, and I think having this experience with these guys and being able to appreciate and despair of and enjoy their naivety was something the brothers really needed after all the heavy angst of late. A real breath of fresh air, both for the brothers and us, before we are all no doubt plunged straight back into the angst, angst, angst of the final three episodes.

  • #2
    My thought was that this was the episode that "Storyteller" (Buffy 7.16) should have been. And, like Dean, think it was half awesome. If this is how "Supernatural" does filler episodes, than they really have this whole TV show thing down.

    Really, I liked that they only had that little touch of the ongoing mythology. It actually reminded me a little bit of "Cloverfield", how the poignance came from seeing/hearing these private moments and realizing how much was going on below the surface. In "Cloverfield", it was moments like
    watching Lily and Rob from a distance as they mourn his brother/her boyfriend.
    Here, it was Spruce picking up on the subtext of Sam's "two months" remark, and even trying to explore it with Dean later. That's actually a nice character bit for Spruce, insofar as it matters that he has character bits, because it's the very journalistic/documentarian thing to do, to explore that observation. I *really* liked that Dean almost opened up to a total stranger and his camera about it, because that seems like the sort of thing that Dean never does but probably needs to do (his rebuff felt a little too meta about reality TV, though).

    I sorta hope that Harry and Ed become the Lone Gunmen of this 'verse, and pop up again. I kept thinking that something awful was going to happen to them at the end when they were recording their little Corbett talk, like that Evil Red Riding Hood would randomly appear, wipe them out, then taunt Sam and Dean in the camera, and that the frame-story ending would be them watching the footage. I'm glad they're still around to pop up in future episodes.
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    • #3
      ugh! I have to do this.

      My stupid CW station was playing a baseball game and go SN got pushed back to be aired at 11:30pm. So when I went og go watch my DVR recording? The freakin' baseball game is still going...and then eventually Smallvile comes on. Wtf?

      The strange part is that I was supposed to be at that baseball game but ended up not going.

      Sorry to trail slightly OT...but I just had to bitch about the stupid programming!
      follow daydreaming on twitter / livejournal / tumblr / facebook for instant site updates!


      • #4
        Two month of forced hiatus but finally the break is over! As one would expect after heavy episodes like Jus In Bello and Mystery Spot, Ghostfacers took a more light-hearted stance, the show loves to counter the tragic with the funny. Another episode where Ben Edlund got the chance to play with his knack for the bizarre and ludicrous!

        As soon as I heard that Harry and Ed will be back for this week’s episode, I was looking forward to it. I loved the geeky ghost-hunter duo from Hell House and I was always hoping they would be back one day! Thank you Show! Hell House is my favourite comedy classic of Supernatural and therefore I had high expectations for this episode. I was pretty sure that they can’t screw up with this premise of a ghost-hunter reality tv show, especially after I saw the CW mock website for Ghostfacers, which already had me laughing so hard, that I further anticipated the episode. And it was funny, but what I didn't expect, it was also seriously creepy! Definitely one of the scariest Supernatural episodes ever for me!

        Granted, I have a soft spot for this kind of semi-documentary style, complete with shaky hand cameras, murky lighting and breathless voices from the off. I think it’s especially effective for the horror genre, creating a claustrophobic and creepy atmosphere basically from nothing but the way it is filmed and not of what it is showing and giving the viewer the illusion to be right in the middle of the events. Inevitably Blair Witch Project comes to mind, which is one of my scariest horror movie experiences to date and Ghostfacers obviously took the same line, so I was kind of bound to love the episode.

        I also adore outsider point of views on the boys, we don’t get that very often in the show for obvious reasons, so this was another factor that put the episode very high in my affection. An outsider’s point of view, apart from giving a different angle on the characters, is also the perfect vehicle to distance the episode from the ongoing plotlines, without betraying the viewers investment or reducing the character depth, justifying a more light-hearted approach. Hey, what can I say, I am still bitter about Hollywood Babylon! *g*

        Ed: “And two lone wolves need … other wolves!”

        I love how cleverly the concept of a ghost-hunter reality tv show is played here, providing a stark contrast between the harsh and bitter reality of the Winchesters as we know it and the artificially dramatized world of the Ghostfacers. Ed & Harry and their team obviously take their business very seriously, you know, in a geeky sort of way, but their utter lack of real understanding what they are dealing with and the dangers they expose themselves to in combination with their self-important attitude reduces them to (loveable) caricatures for the viewer.

        When those two worlds suddenly collide though and the Ghostfacers need to face a real tragedy born out of their own ignorance they become three-dimensional characters. Corbett’s death shocks the group into a genuine reaction of fear, guilt and grief and I am glad the episode allowed the characters to grow beyond their humorous surface here. Ed’s attempt to get Corbett out of his death loop gave his character an unexpected level of sincerity and compassion and Maggy’s and Harry’s grief was heart-felt.

        Anyway, after the Ghostfacers escaped the immediate danger and returned to the bright sunlight again, with plenty of opportunity to just repress the more gruesome and disturbing aspects of their experience, they deal just like most other persons that faced the unimaginable, retelling the story in a form that makes it bearable for them. Sam just phrases it best, the video honours Corbett’s memory while it at the same time grossly exploits the manner of his death, it’s a testament to both, the ridiculous and the sympathetic in these characters. The little pre-hunt interview with Corbett that was attached at the end of the video, predictable and clich├ęd as it was, was actually pretty moving and in the end it makes me sad that Sam and Dean had to destroy the evidence, because the family and friends of Corbett will never have the chance to see it now.

        As a sidenote: Interestingly enough it is the most ‘invisible’ character of the group, Spruce, who doesn’t react emotionally to the situation at all and keeps his distance, always observing, asking questions from the off. He reacts differently to Sam and Dean’s presence than the others, on a more professional, analytic level. While the others panic and are pretty much absorbed by the whole situation, he processes the little snippets he overhears here and there and approaches Dean in a moment of quiet with pretty intimate questions. I perceived that as obtrusive from his side and his lack of reaction to the general situation a tad disturbing.

        Sam: "Well, it's 12:04, Dean. You good? You happy? 'Let's go hunt the Morton house,' you said. 'It's our Grand Canyon.'"
        Dean: "Sam, I don't want to hear it."
        Sam: "You've got two months left, Dean. But instead, we're going to die tonight."

        Naturally there is no in depth character work going on in this episode, but as viewers we know the Winchesters so well, that a total sum of 3-5 lines over the course of 40 minutes give us an exact picture of their frame of mind here. Dean’s time is nearly up, no solution to the deal in sight and Sam is freaking out, obviously having other concerns on his mind than hunting, but indulging his brother’s need for some (questionable) fun nonetheless!

        The little reference to Croatoan where Dean stated that he wants to take some time out with Sam, visiting the Grand Canyon, which he never had the chance to see despite all their travels throughout the country was a beautiful touch. The Grand Canyon is the American natural wonder, a national symbol if you so will and I love how in the world of the Winchesters its equivalent is the most haunted house in America. Dean surely has his very own brand of tourist attraction and it’s so telling that he wants to use the time he has left at least partly to fulfil some of his dreams, just in case. He knows Sam will try his best and I am sure trusts his brother’s efforts but if Ruby is right and there is no way to save him, he has at least satisfied some of his curiosity and made the world a little bit safer in the process.

        Dean’s initial reaction to Spruce’s questions about the 2 months remark he overheard earlier, starting to explain their situation and then stopping himself was interesting. It’s not unusual for Dean to share his feelings with strangers rather than with those close to him, easier to keep his distance and way less compromising, we’ve seen that on several occasions. I think what’s stopping Dean here is the realisation that Spruce uses the moment as part of his recording, it comes off as sensationalism and not as genuine concern about Dean’s situation, just like he secretly filmed Harry’s and Maggy’s kiss, no concern for their privacy either. Additionally there’s really no way to tell someone outside of their line of profession “My brother died and I sold my soul for him and by the way I am going to hell in 2 months” without coming off as completely nuts. As Dean so eloquently states at the end: The truth only gets you a straight jacket or a punch in the face. Sometimes both!

        It’s of course also a dig against reality shows, where people expose their most private lives, loosing any sense of dignity and self-censoring in the process. In the end the whole episode can be seen as a meta comment on reality tv and bit of fun poking at their own show. Ben Edlund surely likes to play with this kind of meta story-telling.

        Ed: We were here first, we’ve already set up base camp. We beat you!”

        I love that when the boys arrive at the scene they pose as police officers, self-confidently asking for Corbett’s identity although they don’t even wear uniforms, trusting their natural authority to work. It was realistic that Dean didn’t recognise Ed at once, after all it is 2 years and they work a lot of cases and I found it funny that once they figured out who they are dealing with Sam rattles off the specifics of the Hell House case, such a stickler for details our Sammy! Also, Dean’s immediate and rather physical reaction to Ed staking their claim was just delightful.

        I love how Sam and Dean struggle to maintain some kind of order and discipline with the huge group they suddenly have to protect, making their job so much harder. Their exasperated reaction to the group running around in panic like headless chicken or their annoyance at the continuing running cameras was priceless. While Sam and Dean work very calmly after Corbett’s abduction, the situation changes drastically for Dean when Sam vanishes. Btw, that was a brilliantly edited scene, with the flickering camera light showing Sam clearly in the middle of the room and with the next flicker he was just gone. Spooky!

        Anyway, Dean instantly focuses on retrieving Sam, not really caring any longer if the group follows his lead or not. He actually has a moment of panic, running through the house, calling out for Sam although it’s clear that it is not likely to show any results, didn’t for Corbett either. But he gets his head together pretty fast and manages to work out the solution under pressure quickly, piecing together the different information they gathered earlier and rescuing Sam just in time. Hmm, smart and protective big brother Dean is my favourite kind of Dean!

        Seriously, the scene with Sam and Corbett held captive by the creepy ghost, freaked me out and Supernatural rarely scares me. They brought the format to full effect in this scene with the tinny music in the background, the dim lights, the shaky camera, blurry filters, only allowing for poor vision and highlightening the sounds. The close-up of Corbett’s death agonies built a stark contrast to those effects, giving it full impact. Nicely done, Show!

        It’s great that although Sam and Dean do the brunt of the case work here, the Ghostfacers in the end don’t prove to be utterly useless but have their part in vanquishing the spirit, by freeing Corbett out of his loop and convincing him to go after his murderer. Corbett and Daggett’s spirits cancelling each other out was very reminiscent of Red Sky at Morning, nifty. By the way, it’s also nice that after three seasons of Supernatural they still find new variations of their standard haunting/spirits. The ‘death echoes’ were new and hence made a good tool for exposition without boring long-time viewers to death and still gave new viewers a comprehensible introduction.

        What else is noteworthy?
        I guess this episode was easy on the budget because the ROCK was back! The use of Focus’ ‘Hocus Pocus’ made me really giddy! I didn’t have that for a while with the music in SN.

        I loved that there were so many little things in the background that had absolutely no meaning for the Ghostfacers but were telling for the viewer: the Impalas unmistakable rumble that announces the boys before we see them, the silent looks Sam and Dean throw each other, communicating, the constant flickering of Spruce’s camera, who is clueless about the tell-tale sign of a spirit close-by. It’s fun for the viewer to be one-step ahead of the protagonists and I love when the show adds these kind of layers for the audience.

        Overall this was a highly entertaining episode, wonderfully executed and with some really nifty writing and the return of some well beloved characters from S1. I for one am glad for this short reprieve before we delve into the abyss of angst that undoubtedly will be the last three episodes for this season. Roll on finale!
        Last edited by galathea; 28-04-08, 12:01 AM.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Llywela View Post
          Their shaky, handheld camera work really conveys the chaotic nature of the situation, though, with so many personalities in the mix, all working at cross purposes, and the positioning of the cameras around the house is well done, allowing every aspect of the case to be covered by those amateur cameras. They don't make life easy for screencappers, though!
          LOL! That's what I was thinking immediately during watching!!!
          I've managed to get some good caps, but it took me ages to cap this episode LOL

          Originally posted by galathea View Post
          As soon as I heard that Harry and Ed will be back for this week's episode, I was looking forward to it. I loved the geeky ghost-hunter duo from Hell House and I was always hoping they would be back one day! Thank you Show! Hell House is my favourite comedy classic of Supernatural and therefore I had high expectations for this episode. I was pretty sure that they can't screw up with this premise of a ghost-hunter reality tv show, especially after I saw the CW mock website for Ghostfacers, which already had me laughing so hard, that I further anticipated the episode. And it was funny, but what I didn't expect, it was also seriously creepy! Definitely one of the scariest Supernatural episodes ever for me!
          I'm surprised that you found this episode one of the scariest episodes while I didn't at all. As far as I know, I'm the one easily creeped out, not you... LOL

          The moment where Corbett is killed is creepy though, that was hard to watch a second time.

          I can't write such long and detailed reviews like you guys.
          But I'd like to share that I totally loved this episode. It was well wrapped, funny, ridiculous and also a bit scary, but not too scary
          The characters worked really well, and those idiotic skuls covering the swearing were hilarious!

          It's definately one of the best filler episodes out and about. And I'm really curious to the last three episodes


          • #6
            Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
            My thought was that this was the episode that "Storyteller" (Buffy 7.16) should have been.
            I didn't occur to while watching the episode but I just realised that it does infact have lots of similarities to Storyteller, which for me is good 'cus that was one of my faves of Buffy s7. It was a really good episods, and I love how they kept it in documentary style for almost the whole thing and then had the credits at the end. I like what whoever said about those two becoming The Lone Gunmen of Supernatural.
            My DVD Collection:


            • #7
              I should also point out that I loved the "Ghostbusters" shout-out -- I'm sure, since these characters aren't new, that it probably got all pointed out way back the first time they showed up, but "Spengler" and "Zeddmore" are the last names of Harold Ramis' and Ernie Hudson's characters in the legendary comedy.
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              • #8
                So happy that series 3 is back in the UK, Last nights episode was great and I loved how they brought the writers strike into it as well.

                I thought it was a really different episode, I loved how they filmed it in a documentary style, I wasn't sure if I would be able to get into the episode at first and was kind of hoping that the whole episode wasn't going to be in that style. But I am really happy they kept it in documentary style. It just made the episode really different, also I loved how it involved all of the conventions of a docu-soap. Also it was very funny how it's like a "Micky take" of most haunted and all of the other shows like that.

                Also love them two characters and how they brought them back, also love how they kind of left it open for them to come back later on, maybe for revenge? Who knows?

                I am just so happy it's back and I thought that was a real good episode to bring it back with.