The creep factor was in full swing on this episode: director Kim Manners teased us with effective jump scares and a truly creepy, real-life villain. In the clutch, Jo proved her mettle as a gutsy fighter, being terrified but not giving in, keeping her head and reacting with both intelligence and determination. The shared loss of fathers provided the impetus for Jo and Dean to learn more about each other, and for us to get more glimpses into both Dean’s heart and his past. The twist at the end – learning that John had been with Jo’s dad on his last fatal hunt, and that Ellen held John responsible for her husband’s death – was at the same time both a nasty surprise and an almost expected jigsaw puzzle piece slotting neatly into place to explain Ellen’s ambivalent attitude toward the boys, especially Dean, who resembles John in so many ways. It’s a good thing that Sam acquired another laptop along the way, because my guess is that the boys will be keeping their distance from the Roadhouse and its research resources for a while.
I enjoyed Jo in this story: confronting terror, she did some growing up, and she demonstrated skills and instincts that indicate that she could become an effective hunter. Unlike her previous appearances, she was focused on the mission, not on making a play for Dean, and that was refreshing. And notwithstanding both Dean’s attempts to dissuade her and Ellen’s overwhelming fear of losing her, I’m betting that Jo’s desire to be her father’s daughter will ultimately make her decide to stay in the game.