‘Supernatural’ Recap: The Brave And The Beautiful
February 14th, 2013 9:24am EST
You can keep the overpriced roses and forego the horrendous Nicholas Sparks’ movie, because there’s not much more I’d want to do than spend time with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles’ Sam and Dean Winchester on Valentine’s Day.
“Trial And Error” is return to what “Supernatural” ultimately is: an addicting rollercoaster ride that starts campy, peaks at heart-wrenching and finishes with a little mystery and a lot of feels. It’s a ride I’ve been on for nearly seven years, and it never gets old. The CW has wisely renewed the show for a remarkable ninth season, so I’m all but guaranteed another 30+ spins on the “Supernatural Go ‘Round.”
Let’s dive in, shall we?!
Fortunately for all the hapless would-be victims, there’s no cringe-worthy death in the cold open. In fact, there’s a montage of Kevin Tran’s (Osric Chau) grim existence consisting of early mornings, fried hot dogs, early mornings and staring at a magical rock that gives him migraines. He’s pushing himself to the beyond the brink, and as sympathetic as I am, it’s what you’d hope someone would do if they were entrusted with saving the world. Kevin later tells Sam that he just wants his life back. “I can’t leave because every demon on the planet wants to peel my face off. I need this to be over.” Sam is worried, and advises, “This ‘whole saving the world’ thing is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Back in the Batcave, Dean is making me a little weepy as he decorates his room with shotguns, records and a picture of his mother. This is the first time since he was a toddler than he has his own room and he’s downright giddy. He bounces on his bed. “Memory foam. It remembers me!”
Ever the little brother, Sam immediately destroys the moment by dropping candy wrappers on the floor.
Now that they have a kitchen, Dean cooks. Out all of all of the wonderful touches in this episode—the chick flick moments, the soapyness and the gore— it delights me most that Dean bought brioche buns for his hamburgers. This diehard foodie knows her breads, y’all. Of course, just as they tuck into their burgers, Kevin calls, disoriented, asking Dean to come.
To say that our resident prophet is a mess is like saying Lady Gaga is slightly strange. Sam and Dean have probably seen better looking and smelling corpses. “I’ve been getting bad headaches and I think I had a small stroke, but it was worth it. I figured out how to close the gates of hell.”
The Winchesters finally have something actionable. This is, of course, a quest ordained by God, and it is the furthest thing from straight-forward. “Basically God built a series of tests, and when you’ve done all three you can slam the gates.” Kevin has only been able to decipher one of the quests: “You gotta kill a hound of hell and bathe in its blood.”
Dean himself was killed by a hellhound in the resonating “No Rest For The Wicked.” Naturally, Sam and Dean should harbor some hesitation when it comes to killing the invisible guard dogs of hell. “Awesome!” he grins.
Dean is oddly gung ho, and in mothering mode, “I’m nesting.” And it’s an adorable moment as Ackles’ is expecting his first child. He runs out to get Kevin some real food and some uppers. “We are on the one yard line, it’s time to play through the pain,” Dean tells a worried Sam. As soon as he handed Kevin enough pills to drop and revive an elephant, I’m wondering if he’ll make it through episode 20.
Sam tracked ten-year old demonic omens to Shosone, Idaho, specifically, to the Cassity’s, “small-time farmers” who found black gold on land where there never any geological markers of oil. They head to the ranch, and take jobs as ranch hands to spy on the family, so they can intercept the hellhound coming to collect souls. Their boss, of course, is Ellie, an exotically, beautiful woman who looks like she should be on the ranch for a cover shoot, not to muck out stables.
The Winchesters spend five minutes griping about shoveling manure before Alice Cassity’s husband gets mauled by a mysterious creature. The authorities blame the death on wolves they were introducing to the land. Case closed? Dean thinks so.
Sam finds Mrs. Cassity eerily brushing a horse in the stables, looking mighty composed for a widow of thirty minutes. Alice knew Carl for her entire life, and there was never even a flicker of spark between them. In fact, she used to make fun of him. On Valentine’s Day 2003, she ran into him at a party, “and it was like…magic. Carl and I were happy for 10 years. Now he’s dead and I’m not sad, angry. I’m just fine.”
Sam wants to stay because all of the Cassity’s are flying in for Carl’s funeral, and they can find out more about the family. But Dean’s already gathering the ingredients to summon a hellhound. Dean’s overzealousness has festered into all out recklessness, and I’m definitely concerned. It’s obvious that Sam is too. “Except when Crowley finds out we’re dialing up a hellhound he won’t send one. He’ll send 100,” Sam snaps. A trigger-happy Dean gives Sam two days to investigate.
The Cassity’s are Idaho’s version of the Ewings from “Dallas,” old and new. The father is a 71-year-old billionaire on his fifth marriage to a model 51 years his junior. Cindy, the middle daughter, is an alcoholic country singer, for dogs. The youngest is Margie, a sweater-wearing wallflower who lives in Paris. I’m thrilled to see that Tamara Braun is playing Cindy with sassy vitriol finessed on years as Carly Corinthos on “General Hospital” in the early 2000s. The rest of the family, save for angelic Margie, can dish it out too, just like the Quartermaines: “Get cancer and die, old man,” Cindy snips. “You first, sweetie.” Dad fires back. And Sam thought hunting was scary.
It takes the family two minutes before the family glosses over the night they had dinner with a British traveling salesman named…say it with me, folks, CROWLEY! I’m not quite sure why they think it was more than one Cassity, since it’s obvious Carl made the deal for Alice, but I don’t care.
Kevin calls with vague lore about how to make hellhounds visible: “the dire creatures may be seen only by the damned or through an object scorched by holy fire.” Dean darts off to make Supernatural X-Ray specs while Sam heads back to soak up more dysfunctional family bonding. Of course, the finds Daddy Cassity and Margie drunkenly stumbling into the woods with rifles, aiming to kill the “wolf” that offed Carl. Sam offers to go with them. “You know anything about hunting, boy?” Daddy slurs. It takes about three minutes for a hellhound to eviscerate poor Margie.
Dean is trying out his hipster chic decoder glasses when Ellie approaches him, and says he looks like Clark Kent, and then she basically says, “I want to have sex with you” because she’s “feeling her oats.” Dean is stunned by her brashness and probably cursing the cruel timing. Like “Dreamgirls’” Effie White, Ellie’s offer is for one night only. I’m actually a little disappointed for Dean. He’s been topside for more than six months and hasn’t done more than eye-flirted with a goth chick.
Back at the house, Sam and Dean drop their covers and tell the family the truth while cuffing them to tables and chairs and waving their guns around. Once again, our favorite heroes look like psychopaths, and it’ll never not be funny. I believe that Daddy Cassity made the deal because he instantly believe Sam and Dean’s insane explanation for the killings. A little more digging reveals that Crowley closed multiple deals a decade ago. Margie thought her family would be happy if they had money, so she made a deal and they struck oil. Carl made a deal for Alice’s love. And surprise, Ellie made a deal to save her mother from an agonizing death from Parkinson’s. She had even figured out that this was her last night on earth, and literally wanted to go out with a bang courtesy of Dean Winchester.
Now, Dean is determined to gank the beast and for Sam to stay inside. For the entire episode, I thought Dean’s edginess was him pushing through the fear he associates with the thing that killed him three lifetimes ago. When he finally explains why, I think even cupid would shed a tear. Here is Dean’s speech nearly word-for-angsty-word: “God’s little obstacle course, we’ve been down this road before. We both know where this ends—one of us dies or worse. I’m a grunt. You’re not. You’ve always been the brains of this operation. You see a light at the end of this ugly ass tunnel. I’ll tell you what I do know: I’m going to die with a gun in my hand. That’s what’s waiting for me. I want you to have a life…living ‘til you’re fat and bald and chugging Viagra. That is my perfect ending, and it’s the only one I’m going to get. I’m going to do these trials, and I’m going to do it alone. If you try to follow me, I’m gonna put a bullet in your damn leg.” And that, ladies and gents, is why Ackles will deserves all of the shiny gold trophies ever made.
There’s an expression, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans,” and that is pretty much the bedrock upon which “Supernatural” is built. John wanted to find the thing that killed his wife and avenge her, and he died at his hand twenty-five years later. Sam ran to Stanford to live a safe life, and ended up watching his girlfriend immolated on the ceiling. Dean made a crossroads deal to save his brother and inadvertently kickstarted the apocalypse. So naturally, Dean’s plan to kill the hellhound and complete the the first trial is a complete blunder. The hellhound—a silver, smoky beast that’s both monstrous bark and bite—and slashes Dean across his middle and catapults him into a wall, where he loses his knife and his magical specs. It advances, snarling, about to go in for the kill, when Sam arrives to pump it full of lead before gutting it like a fish. He’s showered in vicious, black blood. Now Sam must complete the two remaining tasks and close the gates of hell. It's also pretty great that Sam could save his brother from the hellhound this time around.
It’s also Sam’s turn to lay into his brother: “Closing the gates is a suicide mission for you. I want to live. So should you. You have friends up here, family. You even have your own room now. I see a light at the end of this tunnel. If you come with me, I’ll take you to it. You’re not a grunt, Dean, you’re a genius. You’re the best damn hunter, better than me, better than Dad, so please, believe in me too.”
Who could deny their little brother that?
Dean hands over the spell, and Sam recites it, not three seconds later, he collapses in pain, hand and arm glowing with something decidedly supernatural. Is Sammy magical again? What are the other two tasks? And just how big are Sammy’s hands?! Stay tuned.
To be clear, this episode was nothing short of awesome, because it built on the established mythology in intriguing ways, and examined the ever-complicated relationship between the brothers. If the show can milk this momentum, we could see season 16. From A to F, “No Rest For The Wicked” to “Family Matters,” this episode was a soaptastic A+.
What did you think of the this episode? Did you want Dean to hook up with Ellie? Did you wonder why they never mentioned their history with hellhounds? Are you excited about the other quests? Hit up the comments section!
Meet me at Platform 9 3/4 in King's Cross Station, because next week its all about witchcraft and wizardy! Check out the promo below:
Photo Credits: The CW Network