Everyone, let’s put our hands together for Jensen Ackles’ debut as a director as well as an actor. Also, everyone, say hi to Jensen’s dad, playing the hostile cop in the third scene or so — good to know acting runs in the family. Welcome, Mr. Jensen’s dad.
All in all, this was a decent episode. I’m sort of disappointed, if only because this seemed… out of place. It reminded me a lot of earlier seasons, what with the detached feel and the parallels to season one. For instance, the pilot episode ends with the dark-haired Evil Woman of the Week (I smell a counting-gag!) trying to reach a hand into one of Our Boys’ chests, and starts with a reluctant Sam being dragged off on a hunt by Dean who is, as always, gung-ho and happy to have his little bro by his side. There’s also a little call-back to Sam not liking to multitask when there are bigger problems to deal with: This season he wants to find Kevin rather than take a Hunt of the Week, and in season three, he was all about dropping everything in order to break Dean’s deal. It’s actually pretty neat, if you think about it from an analytical point of view, and start to put together how similar the two episodes — and the general feel of this episode and the earlier seasons — are. I liked that, as someone who enjoys thinking too hard about things that don’t matter, it was a really nice exercise in, “Hey, I remember that!”
However, all is not well in this stroll down nostalgia lane. While there’s a lot of the same feeling from the episodic jaunts of old, I find that the continuity that’s been set up for this season — Dean’s Post-Traumatic Stress and the Purgatory flashbacks — was tossed out the window. We get nothing by way of what happened to Cas, or how Dean’s dealing with being back on Earth other than a throwaway line that merely points out how pleased he is to be back with Sam. To say nothing of Benny, our Friendly Neighbourhood Bloodsucker, who hasn’t been seen in the flesh since the first episode of the season, or even a mention of what happened to Thor’s Hammer after the last episode ended. Though I must say, what little we get of Sam dealing with being completely alone (in his last-minute flashback, of course) is interesting: He’s legitimately panicked and distressed over losing sight of Amelia and his dog, adorably named Riot, in a public park, and thanks to Padalecki’s acting, you can understand that, yes, this is bigger than Amelia by far; this is Sam flipping out over not having control and everyone leaving him. It’s a really swell scene, even if the colours are a little out of whack.
On a final note: am I the only one really, really sick of the Winchesters having the same argument every season? Sam doesn’t want to hunt, Dean is all about the family business, and the universe proves Sam wrong and keeps him in The Life via the apocalypse and/or Things Getting Worse. Rinse and repeat. Writers, please get something new, this lack of communication is getting stale.
Evil Woman of the Week: 1
Thor references (season-wide): 2
Winchester Domestic: 1