Supernatural: Like a Virgin [Advance Review]

Dragons. When I heard this word associated with Supernatural, I was worried. But now that I got to preview this Friday’s all new episode, I can tell you it’s all going to work out fine. Well, as fine as things ever work out for the Winchester Brothers. “Like a Virgin” is emotional, funny, and action-packed. Best of all it’s full of old school boys’ banter (“Being easy is all upside.”) with so many pop culture references it’s like a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit.

Adam Glass gets points for his well-balanced script and director Phil Scriggia keeps it moving with some unusual camera angles and fabulous crane shots. (Hey, there’s a dragon, remember?) Make note to pay special attention to the Impala driving scene.  There’s something soft and compelling about the way he shot this one. Shots of the boys from the backseat and though I couldn’t place the song that plays under it, it’s a fabulous tune that took me back to earlier seasons.

There are several excellent music cues in this episode, including a piece that could have come right out of any magical, Medieval movie. There’s also a nearly two-minute musical montage at the start which is a testament to someone’s editing skills. Still not the overwhelming impact of the “Carry on My Wayward Son” montage, but it’s certainly up there.

If you’ve seen the promos for the episode, you know that Sam is back on his feet in time to help slay the virgin-stealing dragon. Jared Padalecki turns in a subtly nuanced performance that is a nice change from the Robo-Sam we’ve been seeing all season. Jensen Ackles gets to do the two things he does best, comedy and emotional drama. Okay, those are two very big ideas, but if you’re a regular viewer, you know the kind of stuff I mean. Jim Beaver and Misha Collins both get in a pivotal scene or two and we’re also introduced to something bad. . . very bad.

I’d really like to give a shout out to Kim Johnston Ulrich. (Thanks to TVOvermind for the name.) She plays the professor who is an expert on all things dragon and she has a history with one of the characters in the show. I know Supernatural often has trouble making recurring females work, but I like this one, a lot and I’d be happy to see them use her again. We’ll talk more about that and my slightly unhappy response to Dean’s “worthiness test” after everyone’s had a chance to see the episode.

As mid-season premieres go, “Like a Virgin” packs a wallop. Questions are answered and new ones are asked, evil plans are set into motion and the boys. . . well, they’ve still got issues but it feels so much more like the Supernatural I fell in love with. Plus, forty minutes of Dean Winchester’s running commentary on virginity, seriously, you don’t want to miss that.

Supernatural returns Friday, February 4 at 9:00 on The CW.

“Like a Virgin” – Jared Padalecki as Sam, Jim Beaver as Bobby, Jensen Ackles as Dean in SUPERNATURAL on The CW. Photo: Michael Courtney/The CW ©2010 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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