Watch out, ladies! In order to investigate what initially appears to be a dragon infestation, Sam and Dean Winchester are rocking shiny new V-cards, and, in case you’re wondering, I don’t mean Valentines. When the good Sheriff Jody Mills calls the boys in to investigate some odd disappearances, they go undercover by joining a church and taking a purity pledge. Of course, for Dean, it can’t last. Remember his thoughts from season four on being re-hymenated? “The dude will not abide!” Fortunately, his chastity counselor is a retired Casa Erotica honey, and she is more than willing to show him what a bad boy he can really be.
Here are my ten favorite things about “Rock and a Hard Place”.
1. Sleepy Sam
So, okay, this doesn’t really figure much into the plot initially. But can I just tell you how adorable I thought sleepy Sammy was? I just wanted to get him a blanket and take him…I mean put him…to bed. Alas, there was not the shaggy bed head of Season 8, but he still looked so cute I couldn’t stand it, and Dean’s protective worry was as endearing as always. Unfortunately, it got a whole lot less cute when it became clear that Sam knows: something is wrong with him. And it’s just a matter of time before he finds out what that is.
2. Sheriff Jody FREAKIN’ Mills!
I adore Kim Rhodes, and Sheriff Mills remains one of my favorite of the recurring characters. She is a badass. When Dean asks her about re-entering the fray after her unfortunate blind date with the devil (well…the king of hell, anyway) she earns his respect by staying calm and saying, “This whack-a-doo stuff keeps comin’. The more I know? The better armed I’ll be.” You want a TV character role model for girls? Forget the Pretty Little Liars. I’ll take Jody any day. S doesn’t just stand for Sheriff. It also stands for strong, saucy, smart, sexy and sweet.
3. Sam and Dean Join the APU
After a sit down with Bonnie, the churchiest of all the church ladies, the boys find out that all of the vics belonged to the Abstinence Purifies Us chastity group. So what do they do? They decide to become card carriers! Bonnie beams as she thinks of the boys honoring their virginity in this way…until she learns that that ship has sailed. And, in Sam’s case, sunk. She tells the boys that by joining the group they can recommit to their purity and they sign their way into a clean slate. Interesting Twitter fact from Jared Padalecki, aka @jarpad? This is the first time the boys have signed their full names on camera. (I wonder about that, though. Didn’t Sam sign his annulment papers when he disengaged from Becky Rosen? Sounds like someone needs a season seven re-watch, stat!)
4. Let’s Talk About Sex (in the backseat of Dean’s) Baby
Suzy, the APU chastity counselor, encourages the boys to talk about what drove them back to abstinence. And talk they do! Sam confesses that whenever he has “had relations” with a woman, it hasn’t ended well. “He ain’t lyin’,” Dean says, cheerfully, no doubt recalling how many of them ended up taking a post-coital dirtnap. Dean shares too–he really, really, shares. His in-depth answer to “What’s the big deal about sex?” made everyone squirm. And by everyone? I mean me. Sam was unamused at his oversharing. The rest of us wanted him to go on and on and on. All night long, if possible.
5. Sam and Jody
I love the interplay between Sam and Jody Mills. They have such a sweet rapport, built on their past partnerships. Don’t forget: Sam had the unfortunate job of dispatching Jody’s son when he went walking dead, and Jody assisted Sam in finding Dean when he was lost in the 1940’s, fighting with Elliott Ness. Sharing those kinds of things makes people close. I have no doubt there is fanfic out there that put those two in compromising positions, but me? I’m grateful Sam has something of a mom figure in his life and Jody has somewhere to put all her maternal love and care. Also? Sam teaches Jody about the huge amount of weird in their world. “I’m sor..dragons? Those are a thing?” Jody asks. “Yeah,” replies Sam. “Too many things are things.”
6. Dean and Suzy…I mean…Dean and Carmelita
Suzy invites Dean to “borrow some books.” No. Really! Of course, Dean wants to take something else. At first, it seems that all Suzy wants to do on the couch is pray. That is, before Dean discovers Suzy’s past as a Casa Erotica superstar. He calls her on it, delighted, telling her how much he loved her taco scene in “Tequila Bun Rise” and what starts off semi-sleazy becomes kind of adorable as he turns her shame around. “That girl was…horrible,” Suzy mumbles. “Listen, Suzy,” Dean replies with his most charming grin, “I’ve seen a lot of awful things. Stuff of nightmares, okay? But you? You’re the good dreams.” You gotta love that Dean loves people for who they are. The beaming joy on his face as he sings her…praises? That would inspire any girl to tear up their chastity pledge on the spot. Ole, indeed!
7. “Maybe we’ll give him you.”
Sam knows the score, literally. If Dean and Suzy were alone together for an hour? They broke their chastity pledge, and that means they have been taken by whatever is nabbing V-wannabes. After being held captive without food or water for a long time, the vics are understandably anxious, and one offers up another as a meal for their captor. Dean? He. Ain’t. Having. It. He remains a defender of the weak, and he won’t allow anyone to be left behind..or eaten. Sure, Spanish speaking, porn star kissing, sexcapades talking Dean is totally hot. But it’s protective Dean that makes me go rrrraaaoooowwwrrr.
8. Bonnie and the Vestal “Virgins”
Turns out the squeaky clean Bonnie is actually the Roman goddess Vesta, who demands the sacrifice of virgins to keep her hearth lit. In this day and age, those are hard to come by, so she has had to improvise. Lindy Booth, Jared Padalecki’s former co-star in the film “Cry Wolf”, played both roles impeccably, equally able to channel syrupy sweet and intolerant savagery with one lovely face. I’m sad this was a one off. I would love to see Vesta and Abaddon pair up and show the world the new meaning of beauty queens.
9. Jody Makes a Virgin Bleed
To kill Vesta, Sam and Jody need an oak weapon stained with virgin blood. Sam offers himself, but Jody thinks they need something a little more authentic. They go to the church to approach the most disdainful of the chastity group members, who not only refuses to give them her blood, but calls them devil worshippers. She threatens to call the cops, and Jody belts her right in the schnoz. “I am the cops,” she says, deadpan, taking out a handkerchief and sopping the blood into it while Sam holds up a useless syringe in the background, surprised. “What the FUDGE, lady?” the virgin cries. “Wipe your nose, dear,” Jody replies, handing her a travel pack of tissues and cementing her place in my heart forever.
10. Ezekiel Gets Possessive
Despite taking a goddess grade weapon to the chest, Jody Mills saves the day, piercing Vesta’s vessel and sending her back to wherever reject goddesses go. But not before Vesta tries to eat Sam’s liver (the only purifying organ he has left in his body) and finds she can’t–he’s too broken. “You’re all duct tape and safety pins inside,” she snarls, confused. “How are you alive?” Later, after Jody heads back to Sioux Falls, Sam asks Dean what he thought Vesta meant. If he really is so very broken. Dean decides enough is enough, and decides to play true confession again. He’s going to tell Sam the truth–until Ezekiel makes it clear that that is a very bad idea. The look on Samzekiel’s face as he says, “I wouldn’t do that, Dean,” is quietly menacing. Zeke promises it won’t be much longer, but Dean’s face tells a story too. He isn’t so sure. And neither are we.
The mid-season finale is nigh upon us, bitches! We’re about to get our last new episode of this year, and we’ll see what happens when the angel war on earth truly begins. See you next time when we discuss the edge-of-your-seat worthy “Holy Terror”.