A lot of people compare the sillier side of Supernatural to Scooby Doo. This week? They’d have the right. A pseudo-shaman with a penchant for animal entrails has decided murder is man’s best friend, and the only witness is a German Shepherd named the Colonel. Our boys decide the best way to solve the case is to go Shaggy on this dog’s ass and talk to the animals. Fortunately? Kevin’s in the HuntCave. And he’s got a spell for that.
1. The opener
Sure, the opener did it’s job–reminding us of Samzekiel and his resuscitative powers , showing us the road of season nine so far. Then it did so much more. Us long time SPNers got a real treat as it went on to remind us of some of our favorite funny moments from seasons past. Dean fighting fairies. The suicidal teddy bear. The prophet Chuck and the Gospel According to Winchester. Doctor Sexy and “NUTCRACKER!” and the guy who thought he was Dracula. Cartoon revolvers, “I’m Batman!”, and scary kittens who hide in lockers. And my favorite? A pouty, baby-faced Sam saying the line we all love so much, “I lost my shoe.” We even got to hear the show’s motto. It was such a joy to watch and be reminded: Supernatural is indeed a “family business.”
2. Our boys hit the road
I loves me the HuntCave. I really do. Both for the story and the amazing set. But there’s just something wonderful about seeing our boys in a crappy motel room. It feels so right. I’m grateful to the writers and crew for remembering that a crucial part of Sam and Dean Winchester’s life is traveling the country to save us all from the things that go gank in the night. As cool as the bunker is, sometimes we need to see them in their real home: the Impala. The details in the room were also amazing–the motel is called the Diamond Tim’s Motor Inn and there were diamonds everywhere in the decor. The bedspreads, the curtains, the wallpaper, the room divider. The set designers at SPN are nothing if not creative and thorough.
3. Sam’s GoT…mouse? Rat? Something?
The taxidermy shop, which, according to Jared Padalecki’s live tweeting was an actual family business, had just enough creep factor. Dean loves a dead creature, don’t get him wrong, but apparently not when it’s a stuffed rodent wearing formal dress and carrying a tiny sword, ala Joffrey on “Game of Thrones”. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki made the perfect faces for this moment, reminding us how well they can act without saying a word. (Side note: if you want to follow Jared on twitter, you can find him at @jarpad–he’s a delight and gives a lot of inside info on every episode. And he’s dreamy and gorgeous and perfect. Wait. What was I saying?)
4. Dean’s worst nightmare
Dean’s been to hell and back, and now he’s found his hell on earth: a vegan bakery. Once again, Ackles is note perfect as he regards a restaurant without a burger in sight. The boys investigate SNART, an animal rights group who operate out of the animal loving sweet shop, trying to find the answer to this episode’s big bad. Turns out? They are just random taggers and they got nothin’ except eyes poisoned by what Dean calls a “freaky-ass mega snake monster”. (Insider note: according to the writer’s live tweeting of the show, the group was originally supposed to be called SHART, but it didn’t make it through legal. I’m not obsessed: I follow these things just for you, people. You’re welcome. Also? According to @jarpad, the female vegan baker was in season two as one of Azazel’s children. Episode flashbacks abound!)
5. Dean’s a real dawg. I mean, Dean’s a dog. Really!
After another murder witnessed by the taxidermist’s dog, Sam and Dean rescue him from the pound where it happened and decide to try to communicate with him via an Inuit spell. Dean drinks a gross looking concoction (“Doesn’t look too bad,” he says. He swallows and looks ill. “I was wrong,” he croaks.) and, after a while, the senior Mr. Winchester is Dr. Deanlittle. This leads to one of the funniest scenes in SPN history. Dean unconsciously fetches things Sam attempts to throw away. He barks at the mailman (Ackles was GENIUS here), he scratches behind his ear just like the Colonel, and rides with his head out the window, delighted. He even argues with the Colonel about Styx, reminding me of the Season Two episode “Night Shifter”, when they used “Renegade” as one of the best television musical cues ever. When Sam calls him out on his behavior, grinning with amusement, Dean whines and says the only thing he can: “Ruh-roh.”
6. “Hey, dick move, PIGEON!”
This is my new favorite catchphrase from SPN. Apparently Dean can speak to all animals in their universal, non-Esperanto language. He proceeds to get into a verbal spat with a douchebag pigeon who had the nerve to splatter his baby right on her windshield, embarrassing the hell out of Sam. Hilariously, and to Sam’s alarm (and the panic of strangers in the parking lot) Dean pulls out his pistol and threatens to shoot him right out of the sky. I may have rewound this once or twice. And by that I mean eleven thousand times. Funniest. Scene. Ever.
7. Sammy gives a belly rub.
Gotta admit, other than the pigeon and the Colonel, most of the animal voices left me (and Padalecki, according to his tweets) cold. That said, I have to agree with the animal shelter yorkie: I wanna lay in Sam’s arms and have him massage me. Until his hands cramp. Enough said.
8. Ezekiel saves the day. Again.
Sam and Dean figure out that the murderer is a shaman chef, combining animal parts and spells into a snack that gives him their best features (think talons, camouflage, and venomous spit.) While they search for him at his restaurant, he corners Sam and slashes his throat. Fortunately, Zeke emerges to heal the wounds, leaving a staggering Sam dumbfounded and impressing the chef enough to end up next on the menu. I say it every week: Padalecki’s transformations between Sam and Ezekiel are incredible. This was the best yet. Sam’s panic, Zeke’s quiet concentration, Sam’s surprise and confusion. Masterful. Someone get this guy an Emmy.
9. Dean revives his beloved brother
Dean runs to an unconscious Sam, and, as always, he is panicked and desperate at the thought of Sammy being hurt, or, God forbid, dead. He calls for Zeke to no avail. He even warns that he will lick Sam’s face until finally Sam comes to. One of the things I love so much about this show is the physical interaction between these two men and those they love. They hug, they touch each other’s faces, they hold each other up. It’s warm and wonderful and totally unapologetic. In the grander scheme of things, it’s necessary. Sam and Dean show that physical affection from men isn’t only expressed sexually. It’s how you show someone you love them like family.
10. Dean keeps the secret of Zeke
There were little moments throughout the whole episode that it looked like Sammy was catching on that he was touched by an angel. Or, at least, that something was off. Dean is getting worried, and Sam is getting suspicious. At the end of the ep, Dean shows he is starting to think about where Sam ends and Zeke begins, and he’s concerned the line is blurring. It’s going to be interesting to see how Sam reacts when he finally realizes he is on angel life support.
The tension is mounting, folks! When will Sam find out Dean’s holy little secret? What will he say when he does? And where, for the love of God, is Cas? We’ll get the answers to one of those questions, at least, when we watch next week’s episode, “Heaven Can’t Wait”. See you there!