'Supernatural' Recap: Get Your Geek On
February 7th, 2013 10:20am EST
This week’s episode, aptly titled “Everybody Hates Hilter,” tackles the bleak fodder that is World War II. Of course, this being “Supernatural” and an episode penned by the deliciously weird Ben Edlund, it managed to pack some belly laughs and golden moments to lighten up fare stemming from one of the darkest moments in history.
After I initially watched the episode, I honestly was clueless as to what it was about or even what had happened. This was a windy, exposition-heavy episode that spanned decades, families and unearthed yet another near-extinct secret society. The episode opened at a secret Nazi camp in 1940s Belarus. The direction and staging of the cold open is a thing of beauty from the uniforms to the set design. Naturally, it all gets splattered with blood and guts as a monster so frightening, it makes friggin’ Nazis scream in terror invades their camp. The leader of this motley crew of racist murderers doesn't try to exit through a secret trap door, but casts a spell instead.
As the monster rips a few more soldiers in half with gusto and bullets bounce off his chest like Superman, I realized that this opening is similar to that of last week’s with Henry Winchester’s creating a portal to the future. The monster has fierce face and body so muscular, it looks like it was carved out of rock. The Commandant spouts finishes his nefarious spell, and then vanishes along with a precious book in a magical, concealing fire.
In the present, in Lebanon, Kansas, the mysterious key from last week's episode unlocks a forgotten bunker that holds all of the intel on the paranormal as it has been observed for a thousand years. Sam almost cries with joy as he finds the geek equivalent to Mecca—a giant library. While Sam devours all of the precious knowledge, Dean opts to test out the shower room. The boys, who have been virtually homeless since early for nearly two years, have their very own batcave. “You know damn well we could use a break. What if we finally got one?” Sam says.
The library set reminds me of Sunnydale High’s library in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” but the the Men of Letters are essentially American watchers, so it makes sense. A robe-wearing, sword-wielding Dean wonders just how relevant 70-year-old information could be, and Sam faceplants in the research to show him.
Elsewhere, a rabbi ventures into a facility to examine a mysterious collection. This scene is brilliantly shot, too. It focuses on the details, his use of white gloves, the mysterious bins, even the walls are strangely non-descript and clinical. Just when you’re trying to wonder what kind of government facility he’s in or if the rabbi outfit is just a cover, the camera pulls back to reveal that it's just an ordinary city library. The old man, who we will later come to know as Isaac, finds what he has been looking for and desperately wants to hide it.
The rabbi then walks into a bar, leaves a voicemail, and spontaneously combusts. And no, that's not a joke.
Two weeks later, Dean returns from a trip to visit Kevin and Garth, and Sam shares his discoveries: the Men of Letters recorded information about The Judah Initiative were “hardcore saboteurs” of the war, and a former member was recently killed by fire that seemed to “attack him.” Ever the geek, Sam dawns his best sweater vest to head the library where the Rabbi was last seen. Meanwhile, Dean talks to the witnesses of the poor Isaac’s death. He manages to corner the hottest airheads in the bar, who say witnessing that Isaac’s death was like “watching the most awful movie of the most terrible thing you could possibly see.”
A flustered Dean is an adorable and hilarious Dean, so when he unknowingly engages in some “eye-magic” with another man, the hunter is clearly caught off-guard. He stutters and mumbles his way out of the encounter. It seems odd that Dean’s still freaked out when a man hits on him. With that face, it should happen daily.
When Dean touches base with Sam, he uses code to tell him that he’s being followed. Sam calmly plays the hapless victim, luring his tail to a safe and vacant parking lot while Dean doubles back to get the drop on him. Except in this case, the him is an It. It takes about thirty-two seconds for this creature to uncurl itself to its full height. It’s rare to see stupefying fear on a Winchester’s face, but it suits Dean’s face just fine as does the scream that tears from his throat as he’s tossed like a sack of laundry across the parking lot. His baby takes one for the team and breaks his fall. Sam leaps for the truck armory, but even a trusty machete is no match for the giant killing machine that manages to dwarf our favorite moose. While Dean writhes on the ground, humorously groaning “ow, my spleen,” the man who had flirted with Dean emerges and calls off the monster lest it choke Sam to death.
The monster is a Golem, and they are “shaped from clay and brought to life by rabbis to protect the Jewish people in times of…crappiness,” Aaron, Isaac’s grandson, explains. He inherited the Golem, but he doesn’t quite know what to do with it. The Golem is played by actor John DeSantis ("The New Addams Family"). I suspect he’s wearing some kind of muscle suit to provide the bulk, but he is reportedly 6’9” and his voice was not altered in this role. DeSantis is more than just a ginormous guy growling out lines; there’s real acting chops under those prosthetic muscles. The production crew, who have been kicked ass all season, got a little lax with the staging and camera tricks that are supposed to make DeSantis appear like Goliath's big brother, but this is a tall order considering Jared Padalecki is at least 6’5” and Jensen Ackles is only a few inches shorter.
Aaron's family thought Isaac fabricated the stories he told about World War II in order to cope with the horrors he experience. He often raved about the Thule Society—the Nazi necromancers who sponsored experiments on the undead. Isaac was supposed to learn their ways, much like Sam and Dean were intended to learn Henry’s, but his parents shielded him from Isaac’s teachings, and he later drifted, smoking the Golem’s instruction manual.
Sam’s deciphers the code Isaac left on Aaron’s answering machine, and they head back to the library to retrieve The Red Ledger, the list of all of the living undead. If it’s Wednesday, Sammy’s catching a blow-dart to the throat. To make matters worse, this one is tainted with death. He thwarts the James Potter-y necromancer and stumbles back to Dean before collapsing, slowly dying. Aaron gets a blow dart too, and Dean rightfully sends their own personal hulk to smash the dark wizard. He happily turns the guy into a “bag of legos,” and saves Sam and Aaron’s lives.
“These guys are psychopaths,” Aaron surmises as the Winchesters douse the body in gasoline as Sam proceeds to warm his hands on the resulting flames. This has to be my favorite moment of the entire season. I watched it quite a few times, giggling as I did.
With the necromancer dead and the boys in possession of The Red Ledger, their last problem is the Golem. While he seems to be a weapon for good, Sam and Dean would like to find his off-switch.
Suddenly, the Commandant, who disappeared in the cold open barges into their hotel room and his henchman overpower Sam and Dean. He casts a spell on the unclaimed Golem and he returns to a statue-like state. This tense scene has Sam and Dean in a position we’ve never seen them in before: on the floor and weaponless. There’s the standard monologuing until Aarron whacks the Commandant in the head with a 2x4, creating a diversion for Sam and Dean to scramble for their guns and shoot their henchman. The Commandant boasts that if he dies, they won’t find the rest of the Thule to which Sam and Dean gift him with two simultaneous head shots. “Paper beats Golem; fire beats undead nazi zombie freaks,” Dean says when they return from immolating the dead.
Aaron claims his Golem and his quest as the lone surviving member of the Judah Initiative, and will work to track down the rest of the Thule. MAZEL! Do you think we’ll ever see Aaron and his Golem again? I sincerely hope so. I’d love to see what he could do to demons.
Back at the bunker, Sam falls into his birthright as a Man of Letters, and Dean couldn’t be prouder. The ending for this episode is a disturbingly happy one, and I have no idea how to process it.
As a whole, this episode was a bit muddled and lacked the intensity an episode tackling Nazis should have As usual, the little moments make up for the lack of the bigger ones. From A to F, “Faith” to “Bugs,” this episode was a decent B-/C+.
What did you think of this episode? Did you swoon over Sammy’s sweater vest? Was it weird seeing the Winchesters scared of something? Are you as worried about Castiel as I am? Sound off in the comments section.
Next week, the Winchesters tackle “God’s obstacle course.” Watch the preview below:
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Photo Credits: The CW Network