“Proverbs 17:3” has that old school Supernatural feel, while giving the audience something original and noteworthy. It’s visually stunning, tells a fantastic story, and the performances of Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles remind us why the Winchesters remain the heart of Supernatural. Writer Steve Yockey goes back to basics, but with a demonic twist, while director Richard Speight, Jr. creates a Wes Anderson-inspired design.
It’s all in the details
“Proverbs 17:3” is a monster-of-the-week story that isn’t what it seems. It’s a very well written episode that includes all the traditional elements—fake badges and uniforms, a blasé sheriff, an interview in the hospital, a forest-themed motel, a cabin in the woods, and, of course, monsters. Yet each of these aspects are really well thought out, with an unusual amount of fun and visual appeal. Responses to their fake identities, which reference Star Wars (last used in Season 1), remind us that 15 years is a long time. Sam and Dean wear ridiculous fish and wildlife hats. The lady sheriff sits before a backdrop of mounted animals and has an “I’m the Sheriff” mug. The hospital scene is colored with bursts of blue and pink. The Sleepy Bear Inn has one of the best-detailed motel rooms we’ve seen in a while. The cabin features heart cutouts on its blue shutters. There’s a lot to look at in this episode.
Along with director Richard Speight, Jr., the look of the episode was crafted by producer and production designer Jerry Wanek. The episode opens with a camping excursion featuring a tent and outfits that could be right out of Moonrise Kingdom. Throughout the episode we see a lot of hats, a signature of Wes Anderson. The inn features a sleeping bear alarm clock, wildlife wallpaper, and a carving of a bear climbing on the bedpost. It’s not just these wonderful details and interesting colors that contribute to the Wes Anderson aesthetic; Speight underlines the theme with wide-angle symmetrically framed shots.
The ties that bind
Initially, “Proverbs 17:3” feels like a standalone episode with the Winchesters saving people and hunting things. Dean tells Ashley (Anna Grace Barlow), “Werewolves, monsters, they’re all real. And me and my brother, we hunt them and we kill them. That’s what we do.” Later, Ashley asks Dean if he likes his job. He tells her, “I do. I mean there’s bad, don’t get me wrong. A lot of bad. But still, it feels good to help people.” Halfway through the episode, we find ourselves hooked into the season’s story arc.
The return of Lilith feels like the obnoxious little girl in “No Rest for the Wicked” has come back all grown up. She has the same demanding and dangerous tone. It makes the character both interesting and consistent. Barlow does well playing both versions of the character, making for a memorable guest appearance.
Sam and Dean have some funny moments in “Proverbs 17:3” with ghost pepper jerky and old badges. Through his tightened expression and painful looks, Ackles skillfully displays Dean’s frustration of being played by Chuck. Proverbs 17:3 refers to the Bible passage, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.” Chuck loves nothing more than to test Sam and Dean through trials and hardship. Sam’s dreams allow for some impressive action sequences between Padalecki and Ackles, even if they are just in Sam’s head.
Sam Winchester is still having bad dreams—really bad dreams. His dreams turn out to be harbingers of something completely unexpected. It all feels a little Harry Potterish, but nevertheless creates an interesting turn of events with He-who-must-not-be named hanging about and replaying the Winchesters’ greatest hits.
Proverbs 17:3 review
“Proverbs 17:3” focused on the Winchesters, showing us the strength of their relationship and Chuck’s obsession with it. It was a fun episode of Supernatural, showcasing the talents of the cast and the crew. We can’t wait to see which ghosts of the past will show up next. We’re hoping for Ruby.