On each other’s nerves,
Brothers miss the biggest clue:
Tricksters breed mischief.
Tall Tales brought hilarious relief from the crushing weight of guilt, grief, fear, and foreboding that has characterized the second season of Supernatural up to this point. Like first season’s Hell House, this episode brought a shot of lightness with a chaser of belly laughs, and yet had a serious core. It offered a much needed breather before we enter the home stretch of Supernatural’s sophomore season, when everything promises to get darker yet.
Writer John Shiban reprised a narrative device he used before to good effect in The X-Files to have the
Confronting a series of bizarre events on a college campus ranging from a haunt-inspired suicide to an alien abduction to a death at the jaws of a sewer-dwelling alligator, Sam and Dean found their own internal squabbles getting in the way of solving the mysteries, until Bobby pointed out that their very divisions were a clue to the perpetrator: a Trickster, a demigod along the lines of Loki, Anansi, or Coyote, playing pranks on the arrogant with sometimes deadly consequences, and diverting the hunters by distracting them from the target. Confronting the Trickster, Dean in particular felt reluctance at having to take out a somewhat kindred soul, but worked in harmony with Sam and Bobby to get the job done … or so they thought. Not for nothing did Bobby call the Trickster a demigod; it should be no surprise that a force that old and seasoned and fond of jokes should have seen the hunt coming, and found both a way to trick the hunters and the humor to let them survive thinking they succeeded.