I ‘m still not sure I liked this episode. It was a good episode, although I think saying I enjoyed it, is too strong a word. I think my problem is in trying to fir this particular story into the larger narrative of this season and not being able to do that. This may be one of those stories whose significance may not be understood until the end of the season.
Note, this is the second time this month that Dean has had a vision of a seemingly dead Sam. I’m not sure if his first image, in last week’s episode, was a presentiment of Sam’s death this week, or just a general fear he always has, but this episode elaborated on that image somewhat. Billie the Reaper was able to determine very quickly why Dean was trying to make a deal with her and how far he was willing to go for his own ends, because really, that’s what she was calling him out on.
So the narrative thread I’ve seen so far is an examination of how far Dean is willing to go to save his brother and why. Last season we got to see Sam go through this same process, and since the show has been renewed for a 12th (and possibly 13th) season, I wonder how this part of the story-line will play out long term.
The general monster of the week plot-line was not very remarkable. Werewolves are a staple of Supernatural, although the “Born Werewolves”, from that stillborn spin-off episode, were mentioned. This episode was one of the smaller and more personal that we’ve been seeing, in the middle of the season, as the show vamps its way to the finale.
I didn’t have so many feels for Sam’s supposed death beyond outrage that he got taken out by a pissant, selfish, human/werewolf guy. I just kept saying in my head, “Not like this! Not like this!” Sam is meant for a much grander, bigger death than the meaningless trifle, of being strangled by some asshole, while he’s wounded. Really?!!
But the show pulls the wool out from under us a couple of times Sam’s supposed death, and Dean’s complete inability to make a deal with Billie, which I really thought might happen, before it was revealed Sam wasn’t dead.. At some point, they or someone, is going to have to deal with her. And, you never know, we may find out that death isn’t even dead (only discorporated).I’m inclined to think he’s not dead because people are still dying. He may simply be disembodied and need a new host or something.
At any rate, I have to hand it to Sam. He has superhuman levels of pain tolerance. Anyone who has ever experienced any form off abdominal surgery can tell you how incredibly painful that is. (I had a hysterectomy 3 years ago, and an appendectomy this year, so I well remember what it felt like. My pain threshold is pretty high, too and I was knocked on my butt both times. I was only able to drive three days, after I got out of the hospital. And that was with painkillers.) Sam manages to kill two werewolves, drive across town and kill another one, with a streaming gut wound, and then hop in the car with Dean right after getting sewn back up, (although there is a strong possibility he was really, really high, at that particular moment.)
This sort of highlights the differences in how far the two of them are willing to go for each other. Dean is more likely to take the easy way out, strike a deal, do an end run around the rules type of thing. Sam bucks the rules too, just on a more personal level than Dean, usually requiring superhuman efforts of will on his part. Sam is almost pure willfulness. Dean is just stubborn, which is a subtle, but important, distinction.
I’m still not sure what to think about Billie. She’s not exactly a villain. She is just doing her job. She’s not actively trying to kill them although her snark level is pretty high. Is she mad because the Winchesters killed her boss? Is she mad because they keep weaseling their way back into the world, by making deals, and upsetting the natural order? I’m not sure. She’s certainly not your typical mustache twirling villain, for which I am entirely grateful.
The biggest problem I had with the episode was how quickly Corbin leaped onto being a werewolf and killing people, although to be fair, he had shown an ambition for killing before became one. (Seriously. dude! Strangling the wounded! How wrong is it! I still can’t seem to get over that.) To her credit, his wife Michelle, was willing to make up for her husband’s questionable actions in helping Sam die, by helping Dean die.
But tonight’s episode was full of useless humans. The sheriff who arrested Dean is much like Billie. He’s just a guy trying to do his job, but I still wanted to smack the shadangles out of him. I think Michelle is the only side-character I didn’t want to defenestrate. Okay, maybe the doctor. She didn’t deserve the death she got but that’s entirely in keeping with the Winchester track record. Everyone around them dies.
The Winchesters exist in a world full of living ghosts.