Ben Edlund, veteran of The Tick and the Whedonverse, delivered a smashing script for his Supernatural debut, directed with energy by Tim Iacofano (24, Smallville, and much more), that restored some of the balance and more of the humor reminiscent of the first season, while driving the Winchester family plot line relentlessly on. Cued in by another of Sam’s migraine visions, Sam and Dean found two more of the grown-up children like Sam, with mixed results. Along the way, Sam made disturbing guesses about what the Demon’s plans might be, and shared the truth about himself with Ellen. Responding to Sam’s need, Dean pulled far enough out of his cold grief slough of despond to resume his customary role of protective big brother, even though he was forced to reveal to Sam the fear he would never willingly have admitted: that Sam might be right in thinking that he’s a part of something terrible. Most disturbing on the personal level, the tale left the brothers looking at each other with unvoiced new concerns about how they now appeared in each other’s eyes. And the final twist of the plot leaves us all wondering how many more “children like Sam” are out there, and whether there’s any reliable way to track them all down. On that note, I agreed with Ellen: “Better break out the whiskey.” And Soundgarden’s “Fell on Black Days” playing in the background was chillingly appropriate. (“Whatsoever I've feared has come to life / Whatsoever I've fought off became my life / … Cause I fell on black days / … How would I know that this could be my fate?”)
Seeing Dean once again sensitive to Sam and back in full-on, hands-on protector mode was satisfying to the soul. We all realized long before Sam did that Dean’s persistent defense of Andy’s presumed innocence was grounded in the need to find a harmless example he could hold up to deflect Sam’s fear that he’s destined to become something evil. Andy was such an unspoiled, inoffensive nebbish that Dean’s reassurance ploy might even have worked, if only Andy hadn’t wound up killing his “evil twin” Webber. And Sam clearly doesn’t realize what his negative reaction to Andy having killed will imply to his brother, who is still struggling with his own guilt demons. By shooting Webber, Andy saved Dean’s life, and likely Tracey’s. Sam’s accusing comments on Andy afterward (“He’s a killer after all … Bottom line, last night he wasted somebody.”), dismissing the reasons that he pulled the trigger, have to be salt in Dean’s own wounds of conscience, because Dean knows that he’s a killer, too. In Devil’s Trap, Dean admitted that he scared himself with what he was willing to do or kill for John or Sam. Sam dismissing Andy as a murderer implies that, deep down, Sam considers Dean a murderer, too. Dean thinking that of himself is one thing; Dean seeing that in his brother’s eyes is something else entirely. I believe it wasn’t anything that Sam intended, given that he’s focused on his fear of what he himself might become, and I don’t think he even realizes how Dean may have perceived it, but I think the hurt is there.
Dean’s reluctance to engage with other hunters for fear of how they would react to knowing about Sam opened a door of hurt in the other direction. “There’s going to be hunters there. I don’t know if going in and announcing that you’re some supernatural freak with a demonic connection is the best thing, okay?” What did Sam key off of in that speech? Right – “So I’m a freak, now?” In the first season, Sam was afraid first to tell Dean about his nightmares, and once he finally came clean in Home, he continued to fear that Dean, the consummate straightforward hunter, would look at him differently and be freaked out, particularly as the nightmares morphed into daytime visions in Nightmare. Sam is still afraid not only of what he might become and do because of the Demon’s plans, but of losing his place in his brother’s heart. It doesn’t matter how foolish that latter fear is (could anyone imagine Dean ever giving up on Sam now? Didn’t think so …); fear isn’t rational, but it’s powerful, nonetheless. And in Max and Webber, Sam has had two very graphic examples of how mental abilities can be twisted into evil and destruction.
I was glad to see Sam deciding to take the chance and share the truth about himself with Ellen, despite Dean’s distrust and continuing reservations. They need a support structure that goes beyond the two of them, and Ellen seems solid.
On lighter notes, the steady return of more humor to the show was very welcome. Ash (the hilarious naked Dr. Badass) and Dean are becoming quite the comedy team. Introducing Andy using Spinal Tap was a scream – “
Single favorite scene? Dean being compelled to tell the truth while Sam went from startled to appalled to horribly fascinated. Dean babbling and unable to stop would have been funny enough, but the look on his face – particularly that sick smile as he tried to make light with his face of telling Sam that he was scared – was priceless. “See, he thinks you’re a murderer and he’s afraid he’s gonna become one himself ‘cause you’re all a part of something that’s terrible. I hope to hell that he’s wrong, but I’m starting to get a little scared that he might be right.” And that “Oh, god, let me crawl into a hole, throw up, and die” groan with his head in his hand right afterward was perfect. Jared and Jensen were both spot-on. I wonder how many takes that scene took? Here’s hoping we get outtakes on the season two DVD!
Next week: No Exit, this time not by Sartre , but by a real-life historical monster named H.H. Holmes, the first serial killer in