During a search for missing campers, Sam and Dean tackle with a group of werewolves and Sam is wounded by a gun shot to the stomach. Making their way to an empty cabin with two survivors, Dean attempts to gather branches to make a bed for Sam. The male survivor, fearing for his significant other’s safety, and believing Sam will slow them down, suffocates Sam forcing Dean to believe his brother is dead. Swearing to return, Dean and the others avoid more werewolves and are taken in by a local office in the morning. Dean attempts to return, grows angry and is tasered by the officer. In the hospital, Dean convinces Michelle, the survivor to watch over him while he commits suicide in an effort to convince the reaper, Billie to return Sam to him. Unbenknownst to Dean, Sam recovers and makes his way back to the hospital. While nearly dead after ingesting many pills, Billie arrives but is unwilling to help Dean in any way. As she tells him that Sam isn’t dead, Dean revives and is held in custody. Corbin however, having been affected by the werewolves earlier, changes into one and kills the officer in the hospital and hunts after Dean. Sam arrives to kill him and is later treated for his wound. The two leave with Dean omitting that he summoned the reaper by nearly dying.
While this wasn’t a train wreck, there were many missed opportunities that could have catapulted this episode into another glorious one-shot. Something was blatantly absent in this episode and I think it’s centered around a lack of outcome based on the character depictions we’ve been introduced to here. What appeared as a run of the mill adventure for the Winchesters turned out to be a run of the mill adventure that tried to be something more, but couldn’t quite reach the height for it. I’m in no way satisfied by Dean’s interaction with Billie the reaper and even less thrilled that Sam’s “mostly dead” state was simply a miscue on Dean’s behalf. The flashback segments held nothing either and were more distracting to the explosive opening than anything else. Very poor episode through my lens, but it did start with a heck of a try.
The opening act showed promise. Everything detailing the fight and the low-light slow-mo shot of Sam getting a bullet in the gut had the right formula to propel the episode into a nail-biting arc with Dean struggling to save his brother in the middle of the wilderness. And for the next few moments it delivered on mostly that concept. Unfortunately that’s about as far as I can take what I thought worked out well tonight.
I go back to the payoff aspect of this theme. We were told many episodes ago that the next time Billie ran into any dead Winchester, she’d reap them without question. What was completely glossed over is that Dean was never actually dead, so why did Billie show up at all? Maybe in the past, reapers arrived pre-death, but it made no sense in the context with what Dean was trying to do. It was just an illusion of struggle, painted in desperation, which we’ve seen plenty of Dean in the past in trying to save his brother. But nothing worked, not only was Billie unconvinced, she was incredibly unhelpful too, selling the impression that Dean is on his own against The Darkness. Maybe that’s what we needed to see, but I would have though something more significant would have happened except what actually did happen.
There’s nothing new or interesting detailing the werewolves here tonight. Usually with ghosts or new monsters, there’s a lure of new ideas, or an attempt to make the old pattern new with some fresh concept, but there’s realistically nothing new to learn from werewolves on this show, and there was no attempt to infuse the formula with new ingredients. Essentially the werewolves were nothing more than the product of getting Sam injured so that Dean could have a pointless discussion with Billie and make no headway on the big struggle against the Darkness.
It’s not very medically accurate considering the wound and subsequent act of being comatose after being suffocated, but I’ll give Sam credit, he was very resilient in this week’s episode and given how weak he was, he still managed to make it all the way back to the hospital and kill Corbin to save Dean. I suppose if the bullet can be removed by some tweezers, it can’t be all that bad.
Sam. Again, it was a trek for him to go through what he did from top to bottom. Dean will always do what he has to save his brother or beat the evil, so him committing suicide isn’t anything terribly new or inventive. But Sam pushing through that kind of pain isn’t normal for him, and he was a trooper through and through.
Billie needs to go. She’s a very uninteresting character who has no redeeming qualities and maintains this passive obsession with pulling the Winchesters to the other side. She represents lazy opposition and resembles the living embodiment of the human shrug.
I would have suggested that the bulk of the episode be about Dean countering Billie to save Sam, who actually died from the gunshot wound. There are so many scenarios that could have come from this, but none of them were realized in the slightest. Shame. We could have learned so much more about the reapers that maybe we hadn’t learned yet.
At this point, the brothers should be able to tell each other anything that happened to them. Dean should have told him that he tried to kill himself and Sam should have done the worried face but laughed it off as crazy, believing him anyway. They’ve both been dead before, this isn’t something so grandiose that Dean would have to keep it from Sam. Sure, maybe he’s embarrassed, but it’s still a token of passion and plight that makes these two work so well together in their hardships.
5 out of 10. This felt like the weakest episode of the season by far. The storytelling had a hook, but took a very bland direction and didn’t give us any new insight into the arc of the Darkness, the reaper beings, or the werewolves as a whole. There was too strong a sense in Dean’s momentum to save Sam that every other idea that could have been utilized was cast aside to show how serious Dean can get when his brother’s life is at stake. Maybe the goal was to show the brothers truly are alone against a higher power, but we didn’t need a full episode to downplay it. And all the kudos to Sam for surviving a hellish experience, but realistically, he should have died, twice. Here’s hoping next week picks back up. Thanks for reading.
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