Last night’s Supernatural was, in one word, bizarre. In two words? Bizarre and fantastic.
The episode centered around Sam, Dean and new hunter Cas looking into a series of strange deaths in which the victims’ deaths were seemingly ripped right out of a classic cartoon — a man’s heart exploded out of his chest, someone was killed by an anvil, etc. But, surprisingly, as far as cases go, this one didn’t have too many twists and turns.
The trio was fairly quick to zero in on their father’s former friend Fred Jones, an elderly psychokinetic who was now catatonic and living in a retirement home. They realized that the man was messing with reality and creating a “bubble of weird” that would create these strange scenarios around him. (Note that not all of the strange happenings were deadly. See: exploding cake.)
Eventually it was revealed that the head doctor at the retirement home had found out about Fred’s abilities and was using them to steal from patients and rob banks. The problem was that Fred was not completely aware that his abilities to reshape reality with his mind were being used for bad deeds. So Sam and Cas went into his noodle to try to straighten him out.
While inside Fred’s mind, Sam’s gave a grand speech about not walking away from reality and it was effective enough to snap the old man back to consciousness in time for him to fight back against the doctor. (What’s up, Doc? Nothing — because he’s dead.)
Meanwhile, Sam’s solo storyline in the episode (told almost entirely through flashbacks) was not so neatly wrapped up by the hour’s end.
Throughout the episode, we were treated to glimpses of Sam’s first dinner with Amelia and her father, a former member of the Army who was less than thrilled with Sam being a part of Amelia’s life. At first, it was not entirely clear how — if at all — these flashbacks would tie back to the story theme at hand, but by the end, we learned that Sam and Amelia’s plans to run from their problems together were shattered well before Dean came back from Purgatory. It seems their bubble actually burst when Amelia received a call from someone who told her that her husband was not so dead after all. I honestly didn’t see that twist coming, but I’m glad it did. Just when I thought I was tiring of the flashbacks, I found myself reeled back in.
Speaking of being reeled back in, I loved how Cas’s return is being woven into the big arc of the season. It would have been entirely disappointing to make fans wait for his return and not use it in a clever way. Thankfully, that is far from what happened. This week, we saw a little more of the mysterious Heaven dweller Naomi (Amanda Tapping), who we first met in the last new episode, but her appearance did little to clear up the specifics of Cas’s mission on earth. The only new information we received was that Cas is forbidden from returning to Heaven unless summoned.
Earlier in the episode, it has seemed Cas was far from eager to return to heaven. In fact, he and Dean had a really moving conversation about his lingering guilt for “devastating” heaven and “vaporizing” so many of his own. (Cas: “I can’t go back.” Dean: “…’cause if you go back the angels will kill you.” Cas: “If I see what heaven has become — what I made of it — I’m afraid I might kill myself.”) But by the end, he wanted to return in an act of penance — only to be told he wasn’t allowed.
As most fans know by now, Supernatural loves to pepper its season with a few episodes that abandon convention and, in some cases, are completely silly. And it would have been easy for this episode to be lumped into the “totally fun but not completely useful” category, but I appreciated how it was used for much more than that. With one new episode left before winter hiatus, I’m feeling pretty spoiled by this season so far. Agree?
On that note, it’s time for some burning questions: Did anyone else really appreciate John’s looming presence in this episode? Does anyone else hope we eventually get to see Garth’s safe house boat? Do you think that call Amelia received about her hubby was real? Or was it a spirit trying to trick her? What do you think happened next? Did she leave Sam or did Sam let her go? And what was your favorite “cartoon moment”: Dean smacking his head and seeing birds, the talking cat, “hunterus heroicus,” the gun shooting out a “bang” flag, or the anvil?
Dean: What’s the word, Cas?
Cas: It’s a shortened version of my name.
“Yeah, I capiche.” — Cas
Cas: Can I at least ride in the front seat?
Sam and Dean: No!
Cas: I was being bad cop.
Dean: You were being bad everything.
Dean: Well, I need my four hours [of sleep] so…
Cas: I’ll watch over you
Dean: That’s not going to happen.
Detective: So I gotta ask, do you chase the crazy or does the crazy chase you?
Sam: Depends on the day.
“You can’t tell me this place doesn’t give you the heebs and/or jeebs” — Dean, re: retirement home
“I’ll interrogate the cat.” — Castiel
“Dumbass.” — Cat
[Ed note: I DIED.]
“My brother used do to that…he was the best” — Sam to Amy’s dad after he opened a beer Dean-style