In the whimsical atmosphere of imaginary friends, Sam and Dean investigate a series of brutal murders involving a race of Zannah (Xannah, Zana?) who act as imaginary friends to children who are lost. Along the way, Sam reconnects with his imaginary friend from childhood while dealing with the harsh reality that he may have to face Lucifer once again, even against Dean’s wishes.
There’s an interesting dynamic that this show can work with when it decides to merge goofy and lighthearted with violent stabbings and accidental death. It often reminds me of the bi-polar nature of anime and how things rocket from hilarious to serious in the blink of an eye. In another fashionable example, the series has hit home that Sam has been moved by other forces to give up and/or never get into the lifestyle of hunting. It never works out and in the end Sam’s decisions helped save the world, a lot. This storyline is an interesting side-tale that didn’t necessarily need that kind of distinguishing, but it does allow for Sam to capitalize on some much needed screen time apart from Dean’s sarcastic and cynical nature. There’s enough plot questions to go around, but the message itself was plain as day. The one plot element that I wanted to know more about is the one that felt the most innapropriate for this kind of episode. I mean, what sane person talks to their imaginary friend about Lucifer?
After a fake tea-party, a child’s imaginary friend, Sparkle is murdered with a knife. At HQ, Sam wakes early to find his old imaginary friend, Sully who explains that his friend, Sparkle was killed. Sam begins to remember him and Dean is flabbergasted by the concept of Sully’s race. Together, they travel to Wisconsin and investigate while Sam recounts his time with Sully when he was alone at age 9. Meanwhile, another imaginary friend, Nicky Mermaid is killed a swimming pool by the same killer. The brothers find the body and bury it as Sully, through is grief brings up Nicky’s boyfriend, Weems who always seemed clingy to her. That night Weems is seen airing some laundry and is stabbed by the killer. He survives and is found by the brothers. Weems explains a woman stabbed him and Dean leaves to track her down. Sam later apologizes to Sully after remembering what he said to him. When he was younger, Sam decided to run away with Sully until his father called and agreed to begin having him hunt as a family. Sam told Sully off and left on his own. Sam and Sully are then lured to empty building where the woman, Reese reveals that Sully was responsible for her twin sister’s accidental death by a car. Sully laments that he wasn’t the same after he left Sam and when Reese’s sister died he stopped helping kids leaving Reese to deal with her grief alone. Reese grew up hating Sully and found the means to find his race and kill them with a special knife she acquired from a witch, presumably Rowena. Sully takes accountability for her loss but convinces Reese to spare him. Later, while driving, Sam tells Dean that he can’t use any excuses and needs to return to the cage. Dean disagrees but can’t offer any alternatives due to their situation with The Darkness.
This was a bit reminiscent of Dean’s time as a young teen going through the same tribulations of becoming a hunter so young and wanting his father’s approval, among other things. While Sam’s story wasn’t as heartfelt as Dean’s at that time in his life, there’s more balance here in knowing that Sam went through trials of his own and dealing with a lonesome life had its effects. Without knowing who he hurt or remembering, he reconciled something in his life and helped push forward his problem with facing Lucifer’s cage. I wasn’t expecting the connection there, but if it moves forward that relevant plot, I’m all for it.
Without knowing the intricate details with how these imaginary friends handle their cases, we’re left with a rather bland form of storytelling when dealing with a race we’ve never seen before. A quick overview with how and why this species interacts with lost children might have given them more substance, but all they really had to go on was their cartoony and off-shoot parodies of retro and sub-culture. I know people who dress up as mermaids, it’s a thing. They’re clearly not just a group of four, but considering the amount of people there are in the world, they’re sticking with rural American surburbs? Unless there’s one imaginary friend for every lost kid, then that would mean millions and millions of their kind.
It’s morbid, but they filmed it. The part where the mom unknowingly interacts in the bloody room and gets sparkly blood all over her face. Not often, but sometimes, Supernatural and pull dark-humor like this and feel organic with the delivery. It was funny, I enjoyed it.
If anyone other than Dean can help Sam along his journey, they deserve recognition. Sully is simplistic and wondrous with the same curiosity and intellect as those he protects and interacts with. Yet, even when discussing The Darkness and Sam’s struggle with Lucifer’s cage, he still finds a way to guide Sam much as he tried to do in the past. He’s the closest thing to another guardian angel Sam is going to get, and he needs support if he’s going to face the fallen angel again.
Weems got so many notes wrong during his solo. First he’s playing too high, then on frets that weren’t even there. Bill and Ted may give an A for effort, but I saw every mistake he made with that progression. I’m kidding, it was funny, especially playing with bloody hands.
I know killing Sully’s friends isn’t quite the same as killing normal people, but I’d say Reese got away with killing two entities and injuring another. I honestly wasn’t surprised Dean didn’t have her at least committed considering how he usually handles cases like these.
I wonder if this will be referenced when Rowena eventually crosses paths with Sam and Dean again. Not that they don’t need extra reasons to dislike the witch for who she is, but at least she’s mentioned so we know she won’t be too far behind.
Now that Dean is more or less stumped with how to talk Sam out of returning to Lucifer’s cage, does this mean Castiel or Crowley will be the instruments in which he gets back there? Does this mean some returning actors will come back, or will evil just take another form? And what of Michael? Isn’t he still in there too?
7 out of 10. While not as touching or as down to earth as Dean’s flashbacks as a teenager, tonight’s episode of Supernatural told a complete story we didn’t know was something in Sam’s younger life. Sully’s people were campy and hardly represented the extensions of the psyche of the kids they hung around, but they did entertain for their short on-screen time. Dean, appropriately questioned everything regardless of the experiences he’s faced and made the most out of his supporting role. While the tone shifted often it remained resolute in the idea that Sam always has choices and even in the presence of fear he can still make them having the support he does. Facing Lucifer is a huge step and not just getting an apparition out of his head kind of step. We’ll get one more episode before the winter break, so we’ll see you next week. Thanks for reading.
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