Unlucky number thirteen marks this season’s lowest point in the plot development of Sam and Dean’s falling out. Amidst a truly forgettable plot, Sam figuratively punches Dean with a dose of truth leaving him, as usual, speechless.
There are smart filler episodes (Bad Boys 9×07) that contain a single arc with a sense of meaning and clever work, and then there’s the boring monster of the week that’s laden with poor shots and over acted stereotypes. “The Purge” is an example of the single-episode mystery that gives no fresh payoff and even struggles to make Dean not seem like an insensitive child. The bumper scenes at the beginning and end are the only saving throws, but neither one encapsulated the plot to make a difference. This could have been a five minute webisode and would have fared better.
A man in Minnesota is murdered after a hotdog eating contest leading Sam and Dean to investigate. All his fat was sucked from his body. They find evidence pointing to a gypsy being involved, but they are debunked when she admits her plan was to run away with the victim during her affair. After a second murder at a local gym, Dean and Sam discover similar suction marks on both bodies and again on the gym manager who describes a spa she went to.
Sam and Dean work undercover at the spa and find a trio of Peruvian fatsuckers working the establishment. Two of them have tried to hide normally, only eating the fat from those at the spa, giving them thinner bodies, but the third, Alonso, who was brought from Peru, couldn’t contain his hunger and began feeding and killing others.
Alonso is confronted by Larry, one of the other creatures but Alonso kills him. Sam and Dean subdue the third, Marisa, and the two convince her to tell them how to kill her kind.
They search the basement of the spa as Alonso attacks Sam and tries to puncture him with his tongue, but Dean is able to slice Alonso’s tongue off, killing him.
Afterward, Dean intends to kill Marisa because she’s a creature, but Sam convinces him not to and takes her away to return to Peru.
Back at HQ, Sam and Dean confront each other over Sam’s position on their status as brothers. Dean reminds him with how many times he’s saved his life, but Sam asks Dean to be honest about why he’s saved him and that it’s because Dean can’t stand being alone. Dean says Sam would do the same if their situations were reversed at the church, but Sam says he wouldn’t and leaves Dean, who is speechless.
This isn’t the kind of episode that had any impressionable moments. Sheriff Hanson was the resident supporting character, and though she had one gleaming moment to reflect on her past, she didn’t seem to fit with the culture of the episode. I watched Fargo once back in 1996 and I understand the Minnesota connection here, but I think the character was a little too out of its element. Maybe if there was snow, a lot of snow.
Giving Sam and Dean something new to face, creature-wise, is a fine and dandy concept and can spark all sorts of new reactions from the brothers. What I think failed this time around is, by now Sam and Dean have to compare everything new with everything old, turning the first twenty minutes into a clichéd red herring on find the villain. They even got the gypsy’s putsi bag wrong, although in all fairness, it could have been a hex bag. After nine seasons, is a hex bag going to cut it for anyone?
The Peruvian fatsuckers weren’t very interesting at all. Alonso was a very stale one-off bad guy that I couldn’t wait for Dean to dispatch. What worked well against Dean was how Sam defends Marisa, not wanting his brother to kill her too. More and more we’re seeing the Winchesters let creatures walk. Dean hasn’t truly accepted the concept yet, but Sam easily sees more gray in the world and won’t stand for Dean’s attitude, as sour as it’s getting. This is turning into a good development for Sam, leading to the last scene.
It was a little stone-cold, but Dean got the point. He chose very poorly with how he tried to make his little brother see his side of things and Sam, point-blank let him know he’s wrong. Dean’s resentment will begin to grow faster because of this, and I hope it leads into an unpredictable outcome. Not only is Dean living in the past, with his music, his look, and his attitude, but now he’s fundamentally living in the past of his own ego. All he wants to do is keep his brother safe and fight the good fight, day in and day out. He’ll eat any pain he has to to keep that aspect flowing, and Sam is beginning to see it for what it is.
Without the camaraderie, the show is empty, there’s no other way to put it. Each season the line between brothers tightens and thins, but this time, maybe Sam will discover that having a brother doesn’t mean he is a brother. Dean’s earn the spot plenty of times, but every season his ego finds a new, thicker shell and Sam doesn’t feel like cracking it open anymore, or at least for now.
Overall, the episode is forgettable. The final scene is what mattered and for the hope of developing plots, the angels and demons better get back to their posts soon. Crowley should have found that knife by now.
No more words