Reviewed: by Tyler Olson
***The review below contains minor spoilers.***
With the forces of heaven slowly taking over the world, and hell under new ownership, the brothers already had enough on their plate, so having them picking up a normal case was completely unexpected, and unnecessary, especially one that tied into their childhood.
If this was one of the earlier seasons, a case like this would have been very welcome, and likely enjoyable, especially with what we learnt about Dean's past, but after eight seasons we know the two brothers more than well enough that we don't need more history, especially one that didn't really reveal anything new about Dean's character. The fact that he is there to look out for Sam has been worked over far too many ways already.
I had hoped that their adventures, and Dean's reunion with Robin, was going to at least introduce a new character to be part of this series. When they were running from the forces of hell, and living out of their car and cheap motel rooms, I completely understood the no girls allowed policy that Dean seems to have, but isn't it time for them to open up a bit and let someone into their lives? Previous Hunters and Men of Letters have had families, so why can't they? Just looking at everything that Dean went through this week, it is easy to see that he is ready. Who knows, maybe they could even be bad-ass slayers of evil, too.
The case itself was pretty mediocre, too. Sure, it's been a while since we've seen those vengeful spirits again, but, even with the tie to how angels can be push out a latched spirit just by asking (which still seems very different from what Sam is going through, but they tried force the link anyway), it didn't feel special in any way. Maybe it was the cookie-cutter religious nagging elderly woman, the dumb bullies who never were told that putting their hands in lawnmower blades is a no-no, or the ex-con running a boy's home, that watered it down, but mainly it was that I was able to correctly guess the cause of the deaths within the first fifteen minutes of the episode. Much of the fun is lost when the heroes take longer to figure out what is going on that the viewer.
I know that episodes like Bad Boys used to be the bread and butter of Supernatural, but there's a reason that very few people actually just eat bread and butter any more – their boring (and quite unhealthy, if you believe in the hype). Next time the writers need a stand-alone episode, hopefully they decide to look out of the box again and give the boys some mythical creature or god to deal with. Hey, how about set them against Norse gods and introduce Thor! (Not the comic book or Stargate version.)