“Welcome to the party, Guttenburg.” And with that Supernatural is back. Yes, it’s the second episode of the new season, but last week didn’t really count. That was off — this was darn close to what Supernatural should be. It was faster paced, wittier, spookier and full of brotherly angst. It also ended with what might be the best moment of the whole season, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
The episode began with one of the longest recaps in show history. I get why they have to do them, but the downside is that the recaps spoil the plot. You showed us shapeshifter, so we knew we were getting shapeshifters. The first victim sequence was straight out of my worst nightmare. Someone has broken in and I have to protect my baby. Horrendous and it was filmed brilliantly. The episode was directed by John Showalter who also did “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” He stuck to the story most of the time, fitting in only a few artsy shots, but you have to give him mad props for dealing with a baby and several scenes with duplicates.
I imagine that when Jensen opened up this script and saw that once again he had to play his own double, he likely threatened to quit. This is now, what? The fourth time he’s had to do that? This time Jared and recurring guest Mitch Pileggi all had to do double duty and the split screen edits were amazing. Particularly the shot of shapeshifter Dean slamming human Dean into the wall. Check out the pictures of Jensen and Jared facing off with their stunt doubles in rehearsal.
I’ve always liked the shapeshifter concept, and I’m glad they don’t stray away from repeating the monsters of the week. After all, there’s more than one vampire in the world, right? So now we have a whole family of shapeshifters. This “alpha” shifter has been a naughty boy, masquerading as a variety of husbands in order to knock up the wives. Or was it the “alpha’s” children who did that? I wasn’t quite sure. Either way, the babies are born as shapeshifters and it’s time for the host mommy and her confused husband to die a gruesome death. Here’s what I don’t get. Why did the baby shift? And why did it change race? Shifters don’t change because they have to, they change because they want to. Also, they have to take on the form of someone they see. The baby didn’t see anyone but Dean. Can you imagine if he shifted and took Dean’s face. It would have been like a Zanti Mistfit. (ETA: Ah! It saw the baby on the diaper box!) And why did the alpha want to look like Samuel, then Sam, then Dean? It was cool visually, but plotwise, it didn’t really make sense.
The other thing that didn’t make sense to me was Sam marveling at Dean’s daddy skills. We know that Dean pretty much raised Sam since he was a baby. Granted four year old Dean wasn’t out buying diapers, but I’ll bet he changed a few. I’m sure he also worked a bottle and rocked Sam when he cried. But here, Dean says his knowledge came from helping with Lisa’s niece. For the nuisances, I’ll buy it, but I really wanted him to acknowledge the fact that he was more of a dad to Sam than Dad was.
Now, what to do with baby Bobby-John? (What’s the psychology behind Sam saying John and Dean saying Bobby?) Take him to the Campbells of course. Hmm. . . this is another sticking point for me. It feels like the show is trying to buy Jensen and Jared a few extra hours sleep by stocking up on regular characters. Including one that barely speaks a word. Samuel and Christian would have been plenty. Why do we need the other two? I’m with Dean when it comes to trusting this bunch. The scene where he refuses to give up the baby to any of them, even Sam for a moment, really exemplified how much Dean has changed. But at the same time, he’s always been about protecting the innocent and even though the baby is technically a monster, he would never think of killing it.
So shapeshifter shows up, mayhem ensues and daddy runs off with the baby which was the only possible solution. They couldn’t kill the child and they couldn’t keep it. That was the moment when I looked at the clock and realized that this story wasn’t going to have an ending. They weren’t going to catch the shifter and that was an interesting change of pace.
Back at the new homestead, Dean gulps down a wave of fear when he finds out that Ben has gone to check out the new neighborhood and that’s when it all comes crashing down. Dean’s becoming his father and man, that’s a moment we all face when we become parents. All those things we promised we wouldn’t do to our kids . . . we do to our kids. Dean is truly torn between staying to protect Ben and Lisa or leaving to protect Ben and Lisa. She tells him to go, but not forever. He’s a hunter but he’ll always have a home to come back to. And with that, Lisa becomes the first regular female character the fans can get behind. She’s a tough cookie and we love her for loving Dean.
The final moments of the episode were the best I’ve seen in a long time. Time to take off the tarp and put baby back on the road. Director Showalter did a masterful job showing the joy and reverence as Dean prepares to climb behind the wheel of the Impala for the first time in a long time. (I like to think he had her towed to the new house because he couldn’t bear driving her.) With “Smoke on the Water” twanging in the background, Dean Winchester is back in game.
What did you think of this episode of Supernatural? A keeper or not?
Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW ©2010 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.