I do believe that nostalgia hit it’s mark this evening with a solid throwback to how Supernatural used to tell their one-off stories. I’m happily reminded with how Dean grew to support his brother and even glimpsed a new moment detailing Dean’s upbringing when he was a teenager. It wasn’t all hardships and rough traveling for him which is good to see and learn. I tip my hat off to the crew for producing an episode that didn’t try to spin their ghost story into something obnoxious. It had a solid tale that uncovered some of Dean’s youthful aspirations and even introduced a new character that we may never see again, but wouldn’t mind some further appearances.
After a farm hand, Jack, is murdered by a tractor, Sam and Dean investigate a farm house in New York where Dean once stayed for a few months after being caught stealing when he was sixteen. During that time he befriends the owner, Sonny, who helps teach him a few values. He also built a connection with a young teen, Robin, who is infatuated with young Dean.
In the present, Sam and Dean discover, after a second murder, that one of the orphaned children, Timmy, is connected to a ghost. The ghost is his mother who saved him from a car accident before dying in the vehicle’s fire. Her spirit finds Timmy and stays with him and harms anyone who may be a threat to him.
When Sam and Dean encounter the violent ghost, Dean convinces Timmy to let his mother go and promises he’ll be okay on his own. She is finally freed and Dean, later, reflects to Robin why he left the farm house when he was younger. As they depart, Sam thanks Dean for always being there for him and that it must never be easy. Dean jokingly tells him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about as they drive away.
Supernatural took another Angel break to revitalize some of the simpler storytelling elements that made this long-lasting show what it is today. I don’t mind these moments. I think I once wrote that I thought the ghost stories were tired in this show but there’s still a bit of life left when the right ingredients are added. Once again we’re given a Dean-centric plot that further develops how he spent some of his time and that he was responsive to those who genuinely care for him. In the end he chose to stick with his brother and father and burden the weight of responsibility placed on him even with the promise of young love. And of course the most important lesson of all, a woman will remember you standing her up, forever.
No Zeke appearance tonight which was strange considering the recap detailed the angelic possession as if to announce Zeke’s eventual involvement in the episode. There was a quick reference before Dean and Sam left for New York but that was it. Not a big deal. They’re saving Zeke for the arc and ghosts are probably a bit under his pay grade.
One resonant line came from Dean when he told Timmy, “Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you, even if its going to hurt the ones you love,” when trying to convince him to let his mother go. Will this statement further explain Dean’s action in future episodes with Sam and his situation with Zeke? It exemplifies Dean’s nature in that his decisions, as much as he professes his brotherly love and care, are very self-absorbed. He cares deeply for Sam and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep him alive including lie to him point-blank. He’s freely admitted his thoughts on the matter and time and time again he shoulders that responsibility to no end. Sometimes the Winchesters need to remind each other why they do what they do and thank the other for their support. We got that tonight, and even if it’s for the hundredth time, it’s still works.
Robin’s short relationship with Dean was a little bittersweet. The younger actor played Dean’s role sufficiently that I could certainly believe the two were the same person. Dean mentions to her how fixing a car is like a puzzle. I thought this was very interesting because Dean never strikes me as a “puzzle solver” and that’s more Sam’s role. Dean hits things and shoots them and hopes it did the job. But maybe there’s more to Dean’s interior than we knew. When he’s passionate about something, he figures it out while still retaining his tough-guy approach. He holds onto his crushes and with Robin, you get a decent sense of longing with what could have been. Robin’s dreams of being a photographer and traveling the world were also fitting considering the aspirations of youth, but it’s nice to know she was comfortable with her family business, much as Dean is with the same.
Overall, I enjoyed the episode. “Bad Boys” was the ninth season reminder that Supernatural can take a moment to reexamine a page of a Winchester’s early life. These are kids who grew up fast but had slivers of time when things were almost normal. They fight good fights and look out for each other, that’s always what this show drives home every season. Now it’s time to buckle up and start getting some serious Angel vs. Demon business at hand. I’m anxious to know when Zeke’s secret is finally unveiled.
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