This Supernatural one-shot brought all the bells, whistles, and hex bags needed to successfully pull through a delightful and campy tale brought to you with an appropriate soundtrack to bring back some nostalgic points. While Sam plays his role with expected familiarity, it is teen Dean who stole the show and went all out with all forms of Dean mannerisms that fit the bill. Was it over the top? A bit, but rather that than an below par actor who doesn’t quite grasp a character who has been on the small screen for a decade.
In the course of this hour long ride, we find that even though the witch from the Hansel and Gretel story was sent by the grand coven to uncover and/or stop Rowena’s meddling, she still requires her only form of food, a.k.a, children/teens. She kept Hansel with her over the years and has him abduct down and out adults and turns them into their younger selves and she consumes them in an effort to stay off the grid. Dean is captured and is reverted to his younger self and hilarity ensues when he escapes and interacts with a confused and humorous Sam.
The tone and pace of “About a boy” was unexpectedly well done. The opening was a crisp and solid intro into Dean’s on-going dilemma mixed with an engaging track. Like many one-shots, there’s an evil force that exists and is performing acts the audience doesn’t quite understand and has to be fed little bits of plot to keep it active and interesting. The Hansel and witch twist was at first a little off but realizing the witch ties back to the grand coven that expelled Rowena, it looped back into the main arc quite nicely. This paints the coven in a bad light though regardless of how devious Rowena really is. If there’s a foot soldier like the witch from Hansel and Gretel, there’s bound to be worse entities driving the entire coven. It does get me interested to see if there’s more familiar faces in our lore or if we’ll be introduced to just new characters from now on.
Onto young Dean. Again, I speak of mannerisms and inflections that he really nailed down along with Sam’s priceless reactions that followed accordingly. This could have lasted another episode if they felt it was needed. With Dean really pondering whether or not to return to adulthood so he could escape the mark of Cain, I could see this turning into a mini arc and realizing it was just too tough to handle the hunting at his youthful age. As it stands, we got that all in the span of about twenty minutes.
Tina was also a surprising well balanced character both pleasantly played by two versions. She seemed very down to Earth and managed to have a sensible conversation with Dean that didn’t result is him being a typical schmooze. It’s not often characters in that world get a second chance, but when supporting characters of one-shots make it out and have a chance to grow (literally) it’s a good sign of a well thought out episode. I can only see the body count doubling in next week’s ep because of it.
Hansel was a bit of a let down, but I understand the complexity of being a subservient henchmen who was somehow convinced to eat the heart of his own sister. Without any context into that reasoning, the guy unfortunately fell short of a strange but interesting premise. Why Sam and Dean fell for his subterfuge I’ll never understand, but I can definitely recognize that in modern culture it’s easy to type cast characters within a fable who were designated to be good and automatically assume that alignment stuck over the centuries. In this case, it did not.
There were a few gems in this one, but one that stood out the most for me was when young Dean and Sam were driving in the car and had their conversation about his experience and the possibility of not reverting back to adulthood. When the brothers have honest conversations in the Impala, it makes for good scenes, and the humor of it was seeing Sam interact with an over achiever. They’re simple moments, but well acted and scripted in my book.
To no surprise, young Dean managed to easily steal the show. He brought the usual Dean flare but also made it funny to watch and experience. There was never any doubt this was a one time gig, but at least there was consideration that maybe Dean could survive without the mark and relive his years all over again. And Sam rightfully jabbed at Dean when it was needed as well. Good interactions and equally humorous.
LONG TERM THOUGHTS
Will Rowena eventually convince Crowley to side with her against the coven, or will he be forced to stop her for the good of hell? Can’t believe I wrote that last bit.
Did the witch have to be surrounded by such an old layout? You’d think in the present regardless of centuries lived that she would have been more modernized.
Have we had an episode where Sam and Dean switched bodies? Or is that really too cliché of an idea? It has to have at least been talked about.
I also wouldn’t mind if a future episode brought back an alumni character. First thought is Bobby, sure, but there’s a decade worth of characters and I for one would be rooting for good ol Death to make one more appearance.
Since ghosts tend to be featured prominently on this show, I wonder if we’ll see some apparition of Abel, considering he could be regarded as the first ghost just as Cain is the first demon knight of hell. Could be some significance there if they choose to pursue it.
The cake was a lie.
There was a lot to enjoy in tonight’s episode and putting Dean in a position to choose his fate like this was a good mechanism to give him more internal strength to deal with the mark. There was a positive message that one can turn their life around if they take that chance. 8 out 10. Good job on the story and characters all around, some cliché bits but nothing too overtly distracting. Until next time.
No more words