In this episode of Supernatural, we got a throwback to an old school case format. And while the return to simpler times may have made for a great case in the second season, the evolution of the Winchester brothers made this one play out a bit too problematically. Maybe the saying is true: you just can’t go home again.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
The entire time I was watching the episode, I couldn’t help but question who wrote it because it felt…off. It wasn’t until it was over, and I researched, that I found out why the feeling permeated throughout the hour. The episode was written by Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, the writing team that has penned some of my not-so-liked episodes. This week’s entry into their writing credits felt both simplistic and pieced together. The ghost storyline, while a favorite during the earlier years of hunting, was a case that the boys should have tied up more quickly than they did. It was as if they were stumbling over obvious clues and ignoring the big flashing lights of “right here, this is the ghost and the way he’s getting his power.” Added to that, we had Dean’s funny eating bits just thrown in for good laughs and a reminder of the Mark of Cain slapped onto the end. Cohesiveness was not the episode’s strong suit.
And, not to put all the blame on the writing team, perhaps a bit of the frustration over the storyline being so obvious and the outcome being so expected was a result of the CW advertising team. The ads leading up to this episode made it blatantly clear that the ghost was traveling over wi-fi, so when it takes the boys almost the entire episode to figure out the same thing, it just makes them look like fools. And knowing that the victims would be dying out quickly made me not care about any of them, or have the desire to keep up with them. The resolution was also a little too neat for my liking. This girl is partially responsible for a man’s death, yet his widow doesn’t seem to hold ill will over the incident. And, yes, maybe that lies in the fact that her husband had killed off the rest of the college kids in the process, but all the emotional interactions of the episode surrounding the dead man felt too muted to me.
And, as almost an afterthought, we had the Mark of Cain. Yes, we did start off the episode with Sam talking about Cas and his continuing attempts to track down Cain, but instead my mind was focused on Dean and his snack foods. This was a continuing theme throughout the episode, as we soon learned, since the visual gags of Dean with food hanging out of his mouth or piled up in front of him were numerous and repeated ad nauseam. And we tie up the episode in a neat little bow with some brotherly conversation about the Mark. Not that I’m against Winchester heart-to-hearts! But considering what we know next week’s episode will focus on, it felt too forced and without purpose.
Even though Sam’s still motivated to go out and find Cain, Dean can’t do it anymore. He cannot live in the in-between of not knowing when or if they’ll succeed, just biding his time until the darkness overtakes him. So, he’s not going to do it anymore. Instead, he’s going to focus himself on what he does best, what brings him peace — hunting. He’s done trying to find a cure, even though Sam is disappointed. He’s going to fight until he can’t anymore, and go down swinging. Perhaps it’s previews that are to blame, or bad writing, but overall I felt this episode could have been better. So much potential, so little follow-through.
Rating: 3 / 5 Stars
Screencaps by screencappednet