Simon Said (205)
Aw, look. It’s everyone’s favorite slacker, Andy Gallagher; played by the adorable Gabriel Tigerman. For a character who appeared in only two episodes, Andy left an indelible mark on the Supernatural landscape. One of the psychic kids the yellow-eyed demon had plans for, Andy’s special gift of mind control was so much cooler than Sam’s lame-o death premonitions. Fortunately, Andy used his gift to live a life free of bills and debt collectors, and wasn’t interested in world domination. That was left to Andy’s recently discovered twin brother. (“I have an evil twin,” Andy says in shock.)
The episode is full of classic scenes and Star Wars references that live on in the annals of fandom. The Winchesters break into Andy’s home-on-wheels van to discover classic philosophers, a disco ball, and Moby Dick’s bong. When Andy confronts the brothers and orders them to “Tell the truth,” Dean begins rattling off about the family business, the yellow-eyed demon, and confesses he’s beginning to worry that Sam might turn evil.
It’s a terrific scene. Dean helplessly spews out “confidential” information while looking aghast. Sam tells him to shut up; Dean utters “I can’t,” without breaking stride. When Sam finally breaks the spell, Dean collapses and moans in exasperation. It’s an ideal mix of witting writing and perfectly-timed performance.
Andy saves the day, but he doesn’t get the girl or his happy ending. He’s left with nothing but Sam’s phone number and the threat to “be good,” lest the Winchesters return to deal with him.
Born Under a Bad Sign (214)
It’s one of Supernatural‘s all-time best episodes. After the ill-fated attempt to bring in a girlfriend for Dean in season 2, Alona Tal returned as Jo Harvelle, finally looking older than 18, and given some substantial material. Jim Beaver also returned after receiving fan approval for his brief appearance in “In My Time of Dying.” The rest, as they say, is history.
But the star of the episode, without question, is Jared Padalecki. Playing a possessed Sam pretending to be regular Sam after a week of amnesia, he created a character who appeared to be confused and worried, all the while playing Dean (and the rest of us) as he took us on a tour of the mayhem and destruction he’d caused. Let’s revisit:
Sam goes missing, Dean goes crazy. Sam reappears, but with a week of his memory gone. As Dean helps him retrace his steps, evidence mounts to suggest an out-of-control character who smokes, drinks malt liquor, and assaults gas station attendants. It culminates with seemingly incontrovertible proof that he murdered a hunter. Sam then knocks Dean unconscious and escapes again.
Sam meets up with Jo Harvelle, who’s working a dockside bar in Duluth, MN. Sam taunts Jo about her feelings for Dean. When she realizes something’s off, he knocks her unconscious, too. Sam is so menacing, I get a queasy feeling he’s going to rape her. (Thankfully he doesn’t.) When Jo regains consciousness, Sam continues to taunt her, this time with the story of how her father died at the hands of John Winchester.
When Dean comes to the rescue, we discover Sam is possessed by a demon. Sam shoots Dean, leaving him for dead (Jo saves him, yay!), and heads off to kill the nearest hunter. That would be the beloved Bobby Singer in South Dakota. But, as Bobby says, you can’t con a con man. He subdues Sam with holy water.
We learn that Sam is actually possessed by Meg, who escaped from hell after her exorcism in “Devil’s Trap.” Along the way, she learned a few tricks, such as how to bind herself to Sam’s body, thus preventing another exorcism. With a little ingenuity though, Bobby is able to break the lock, release the demon, and return Sam to his angst-ridden self—complete with the realization that he’s killed another human being.
A Little Slice of Keven (807)
I still can’t seem to give “A Little Slice of Kevin” 5 stars. All the elements are there: witty dialog; the return of Castiel, contrite yet awesome, even at half-power; Kevin and Mrs. Tran proactively making demon bombs; classic Dean Winchester, full of guilt and self-hate (for no reason); a new, key character (played by a beloved actress); and the tablets front and center, propelling the season 8 story arc forward. There’s even mention of Chuck and Metatron.
But that visceral feeling of delight is missing. Crowley is no longer charmingly smarmy. He’s downright evil, providing us with an overabundance of gore. It’s unsettling—as it’s meant to be—but it also slightly detracts from the episode’s perfection.
– Written by Eugenie Ross-Leming and Brad Buckner; directed by Charles Robert Carner
– TV Fanatic fan rating 4.8 (out of 5); IMDB rating 8.3; TV.com rating 8.6