“Thin Lizzie” turns out to be a sweet episode. Maybe because I am a Massachusetts native and it is great to see Winchesters in my neck of the woods, or maybe Supernatural is the only show in a horror, suspense genre that can still maintain a certain sweetness when given proper treatment by a writer, but new writer Won’s first trip into our world balances the MOW and the main arc, the horror and the sweet, the echos of the past and the vision of the future.
The Winchesters have been in New England before when they visited an inn in Connecticut that had creepy dolls and a ghost who wanted company. In this outing, the backdrop is the Lizzie Borden B and B and museum in Fall River. Yes, there really is one here!
The title has several subtleties as not only is Thin Lizzy the ’80’s band that sings”The boys are back in town” but the plot of same titled episode is extremely thinly related to Lizzie Borden other than the setting and the murder weapon. Cute references. Remember, the real Lizzie was found not guilty and that is the biggest clue that her ghost is not the perpetrator. The name of the restaurant is Molly Hatchett’s which is also musically related to Supernatural- up to you to find out how!
Won continues to show the Winchesters as brothers on the same page of hunting monsters and saving people. Yet, she manages to show each brother’s quirkiness with some of the best zingers in a long time. The bedroom scene is a keeper as it shows Dean in his macho role not liking doilies and flower prints and it also shows Sam in his geek mode, following his hobby of serial killers but being “Sam” and just having to squeeze the perfume bottle. This is one of the sweet scenes that stays with me. And yes, Sam says Dean has to get another room as we see the one double bed. Remind anyone of the inference in “Playthings”? There is even a creepy doll with odd eyes.
Cas is only mentioned at the beginning of the episode as binge watching on NetFlix, but it is enough to keep that thread alive. He must be exhausted after healing Sam. Dean, and Baby. The survivor of the MOW does go to live with his Aunt Cassie. And while posing as federal agents, Sam takes the name Collins which is not only a reference to Phil Collins of Genesis fame, but also our dear Misha. Is it an accident that Dean takes the fake name of Gabriel? Yes, Peter Gabriel another rocker from the ’80’s, but SPN family- you know who you flashed to immediately!
Won continues to distract the viewer along with the brothers with false clues. It is worth a trip to @jarpad to see the live tweets. The theme of hunger is another subtle entry with the mention of danish pastries, Len’s hunger to catch a photo of the ghost, the babysitter’s empty feeling when played dirty by her boyfriend,her boss, and her outrage at her charge’s parents for their feeding their own needs instead of caring for him. While Amara is the source of feeding that hunger, Won intertwines season 6 Souless Sam from the past and the Darkness in the form of Amara, the soul sucker. While this is the horror aspect of the episode, it shows a sweet side to Dean as he urges Sam to tell victim Len that he is souless. The interchange between the brothers and the final solution to telling Len about his situation is priceless writing. Won continues to push the viewer to ponder how bad is Amara going to be? She eats souls but seems to pick human victims who are already suffering from some aspect of being human whether it be desire, lust, jealousy, rage.emptiness. How dark is she? Notice that those who are killed are guilty of some nasty act against others. Amara has a different world view.
Won also begs the question about how dark does one have to be to kill which is a throw back to the entire MOC cycle. Len still rationalizes that he has to do the right thing because he can’t be let out to kill. Dean can’t kill him since he is on the saving people bandwagon. This is another sweet scene.
Kudos to Jared G. who is cast as Len, the souless voyer turned killer who saves the Winchesters. He plays Len with just enough innocence but perv , that the viewer can relate to his issues. In some ways, he reflects Dean with the MOC. He is driven to feed the need to kill. He escapes the handcuffs at his own peril. He saves Sam from certain gunshot death. He sacrifices his freedom to save the world. He is heroic.
The bro-moment at the denouement is classic Supernatural wrap up while the brothers eat burgers and discuss what happened and what they need to do next. They will follow the bodies in hope of finding Amara.(Yes, Sam’s visions are mentioned). In a creepy final scene that is also sweetly played, Amara the pubescent teenager comes out from behind a bush to let us know that she will see Dean soon. Are they following her or is she following them?
It appears Won wraps up a MOW puzzle inside the main arc with solid writing that encompasses the many aspects of Supernatural. Maybe, it is me and I accept gore, but the flavor of the episode for me is overwhelmingly sweet- especially when Sam talks to the young survivor reassuringly that he will survive this loss with the sharing of his own beginnings and parental loss. As the detective tells Sam during the episode, “everyone deals with loss differently”.
Post-script: Did you notice the shout out to Ghostfacers in the first scene? Did you know that the director of this episode is the same one who did “Thin Man” ?-( the one where the Ghostfacers break up). Another play on the word “thin” . Just sayin’.