There’s a certain amount of trepidation I feel when going into a “Supernatural” episode that I know is intended to be filler, especially when it’s a lead-in episode to a big one. There are three ways these episodes usually go. They can royally suck, underwhelm, or turn out to be pleasant surprises. Luckily, the latter outcome happened this week. This “Supernatural” fan is smiling.
I really enjoyed “Out With The Old.” For one, the story finally reminded us there is a menace known as the Leviathans lurking underneath the shadows. Or in this case, Portland storefronts. They weren’t relegated to the usual boogeyman status, only to be mentioned through Dean’s one sided wacky phone calls with Frank Deveraux. Speaking of which, how nice was it to actually see Frank? He was becoming every bit of an enigma as the big mouths.
This season has been all about the callback. There’s something in these MOTW (monster of the week) cases that’s familiar with something they’ve experienced before. I love how they went back to cursed objects, a la “Bad Day at Black Rock.” Ballet shoes and Dean Winchester, even if only for a few minutes, was as priceless as Sam’s run in with the rabbit’s foot. As suspenseful as the kid trying to kill his mother over a gramophone was (and Sam’s cranky ass rescue), weren’t you curious how Dean’s experience with the vintage porno magazine played out? Ah well, another uncomfortable moment that stays with Dean.
This story also revisited the one plot point that worked in “Swap Meat,” the accidental run in with the foe they’ve been trying to avoid. The fact that the real estate agents, Joyce and George, were Leviathan is hardly shocking. What worked is just like people, not all Leviathan are the same. There are Leviathan who are hot headed bitches (Joyce) and those like George that follow the opportunist route, a la Crowley. I like seeing a Leviathan shown as something other than a vicious savage. It’s what this show does best, blurring those lines between good and evil.
I’m sure we’ll see George again. He’s a Leviathan type I hope we see more of, the one who doesn’t care who he gets help from, just as long as he gets ahead. If that means helping Sam and Dean, so be it. Plus, he got to eat the bitch that made his life miserable. Win for everybody! If anything, George shows that even though the Leviathan are organized, there are issues with their chain of command system. If they’re itching to eat each other like that to be self serving, there’s a chance for weakness in their ranks. I like that. This isn’t the Borg after all.
On the other side is poor, poor Sammy. I wasn’t sure what to expect with him this week. There are many different ways his story could have gone, but keeping it simple with fatigue from sleep deprivation worked very well. He’s so tired, growing so disoriented, putting himself in danger and we know he cannot hold out like this much longer. Yet he keeps going, keeps trying, even though he knows what he’s experiencing is extreme torture. I have to admit, out of the many times we’ve seen Sam in trouble through this series, this one worries me. It feels real, and that’s quite a testament to what Jared Padalecki is bringing to this arc. I feel really tired along with Sam! It’s a good transition into next week.
It’s interesting the precipice Sam and Dean are on right now. Dean is having trouble understanding why Sam can’t sleep. He’s hoping the normal tricks will work, like playing the soft rock station in the car. He’s trying to be supportive, but Dean really can’t address more than that right now. There’s a job at hand and big mouths are in town. Plus he knows Sam can fend for himself. Sam is having trouble functioning enough to admit that if he doesn’t sleep, things are going to get very, very bad. He should find a way, but he can’t deal with that now. They have a world to save and Dean needs him. It goes to show how much these guys are in reactionary mode, living from day to day, hour to hour. There isn’t a luxury to think worst case scenario, but then again, they are never facing normal situations. They can only hope for the best and deal with situations when they reach their worst. Which is why I can’t freaking wait until next Friday.
There is one big footnote to come out of this episode, and that’s George’s reveal that the Leviathans are there to help. They needed all that real estate to build a research center. They’re going to cure cancer. I’m not thinking for one minute that Sam and Dean are buying into that crap, but you have to wonder, why would the Leviathan want to cure cancer? Make humans disease free? We are tastier that way. More to come on that I’m sure, but it’s another thing we’ll be marking with a push pin.
One more push pin item (and there are a lot this season), what happened to Frank? The bloody scene in the trailer didn’t surprise me all that much, considering that’s been happening to Sam and Dean routinely for years now. Those that help them usually end up dead. If Frank isn’t dead, then he’s faked his demise to go underground and chances are we won’t be seeing him anytime soon. No matter what happened, Sam and Dean have lost another person on their side. The only one left I believe.
Overall grade on “Out With The Old,” a B+. A very solid effort for Jenny Klein’s first time script (with help from Robert Singer).