The Frog and the Scorpion has a one-off feeling however, the episode is tied into the essence of the characters of Sam and Dean as they chase their current need to find Jack. I believe Meredith Glynn penned this script. She is good at catching the essence of central characters but also shows her knowledge of prior seasons and the fandom’s protection of beloved characters. She allows Sam and Dean to be the brothers we love to watch from the opening scene to the final scene-feelings and beer bottles in the bunker.Bob Singer’s direction is one of delight as he knows how to intensify the tension of a darkened stairway as well as let Ackles show is comedic side in a serious episode. There is a great balance of the funny and the serious. There are twists and turns but these are not so surprising as Dean tells the audience while talking to Sam. that things always go sideways for them. The details in the set design for each scene are so alive with the flavor of the show and the lighting casts shadows at just the right time. As a stand alone the episode works well and, it does not lose the thread of the alternative universe or Jack arcs as the motivation to get a locator spell to find Jack even though it requires working for a demon. I miss Crowley- his word was his bond. Demons being demons.
Like the Aesop fable, where the scorpion stings the frog even though the frog does a favor because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting, thus we have demon double crosses, a villain whose intentions were originally good ones, and Sam and Dean who sacrifice what they need to save someone who made a bad choice,(albeit she is actually quite old since her contract with a x roads demon has been extended which we have seen before in The Mat.) There is respect for the lore, as demon bones are given the proper treatment, the demise of Crowley is noted, and this story becomes one for the win column for the Winchesters, but not a big win, although Dean returns to himself-willing to fight on and on and on despite not gaining much in the process.
As serious as the heist of demon bones for a x road demon is for the plot, the sprinkles of humor keep it balanced. I always love to see Dean enjoying pie, the brothers discussionof movies they have both seen. Dean becoming a divining rod, again his blood is special, although it bordered on silly, but a good way to revive the special formula of his blood as a man who has gone to Hell and back, his hesitancy at putting his hand into an unknown hole is a chink in his bravery, but he comes through in the end to save a soul. Is this a new thread or improvisation as Dean showed the same hesitancy in the previous episode when he had to jump into a grave and Ackles improvised for fun and the director kept it in for a chuckle. Thoughts. He reverts to brave Dean, no worries.
That entire cellar scene went from scary, to funny, to epic, to serious with a bit of Indiana Jones with a twist thrown at us for fun. (remember how Sam outsmarted Metatron’s Indiana Jones maze?)Darts. darts.darts. The vocalization of Bart, the demon, calling Sam the smart one is not lost. He does know the difference between a gorgon tooth and a snake thing from Harry Potter. Dean calling out Alice for her ’90s boots and eventually putting her on a bus to safety saying,”Stay weird” and her gestures just made me think of Charlie and Dean’s relationship but she is not Charlie. Even Felicia Day,(Charlie) commented that she was Charlie in this character!
I am heartened to see that producers bought Sam a new plaid shirt. The orange and blue go so nicely with his forehead bruise. Sam is true to his nature as a caring brother. Both Sam and I ( and viewers) are gladdened to see that Dean can accept losing the big clue but staying in the fight for the next time. Doing the right thing in the end.
I enjoyed the episode for its ability to stand alone and yet be a part of the bigger picture. The artistry of production is outstanding. Yes, some part made me recoil in a “there not going there are they=over the top?” but over all it makes for an enjoyable hour of Winchsester watching. Nice to have an episode like this prior to mid-season when things hit the fan for the characters. Can’t believe next episode is mid season finale.
And Danneel Ackles has been hired as a series regular starting with episode 13. Talk about family! Zepplin and Arrow celebrate 1st birthday! Time for Momma to go back to work.