Supernatural: Two and a Half Men (Review)

The normal life Dean has lived for a year is no more as Sam(back from the dead)  rescues his older brother from Djinn poison. The Campbell family, headed by the boys’ grandfather, Samuel (who is Supernatural Two and a Half Menalso back from the dead) are introduced, hunters in their own right. They work to take down the Djinn though there are secrets the Campbells are hiding (capturing one of the creatures alive unbeknownst to the brothers). In a fitting surprise to Sam, Dean rejects his brother’s offer to join in the hunt, opting to stay with Lisa and Ben…

Uprooting his family in the hope of keeping them safe, Dean (Jensen Ackles), Lisa (Cindy Sampson), and Ben (Nicholas Elia) are unpacking from the recent move. Dean tries his best to act as if things are normal but neither Lisa or Ben are buying his act. It doesn’t last long either, before Sam (Jared Padalecki) calls, asking for help. Dean rejects Sam’s plea until he hears just what it is his brother needs help protecting.

Enter the baby.

Granted, we’re only two episodes into this season but the season premiere lacked the humor we’ve all come to expect from the Winchesters (Dean most especially). The brothers’ time with the baby, however, is the perfect catalyst for several laugh-out-loud moments. But there are more than just laughs in this episode as we truly start to get an idea of this season’s story arch.

The baby in question is the only one found after several others had been kidnapped and their families murdered. It doesn’t take long for the boys (along with the Campbells) to discover that shape shifters are behind the attacks. After an attempt by a shifter taking the baby from the duo at a supermarket fails, Sam and Dean hole up in a motel to regroup. As Sam watches Dean with the baby, admits that his older brother does have some parenting skills. Despite that, he also sees just how Dean is turning into their father; putting Lisa and Ben on lockdown, even if it’s in their best interest.

As Dean ponders this, Sam speaks with the only surviving parent of the kidnapping/murders. It is here where he theorizes that the baby is, in fact a shifter; a fact that Dean in on hand for when the baby shifts ethnicities and an explosion of skin. Soon after, a second shifter attempts to take the baby in the motel; it overpowers Dean but Sam comes to the rescue before it is able to take the baby.

Knowing that the shifters will still be on their trail, Sam suggests that they take the baby to the Campbell’s. Though Dean is not crazy about the idea, he relents. Reaching the compound, Dean’s unease and distrust around his extended family becomes more evident as the hunters discuss just what to do with Baby Shifter. Dean is extremely argumentative, scoffing at Samuel’s (Mitch Pileggi) idea of raising the baby as one of their own. Before he is able to reclaim the baby though, something big and bad comes ‘a knockin and that something is The Big Daddy.

Though the Djinn in last week’s episode were deadly in their own right, I never felt the sense of urgency or dread about them as adversaries as one would a demon or angel. Big Bad Daddy offers that kind of malevolent danger the Winchesters are used to facing. It walks through the Campbell’s defenses, taking half a dozen elephant tranquilizers, rips a metal panic room-type door from the hinges and dispatches the brothers without so much as a by your leave.

Gathering their bearings in the aftermath, Samuel lets slip that it was what they though, a legendary Alpha, with this particular alpha being the first shifter. Dean is livid about this revelation, again realizing that he’s being kept in the dark. He even asks Sam if he knew what was going on. Sam, of course, denies it, but there is something about the denial and, more to the point, Sam’s entire demeanor, seems off. It had been brought up that the brothers have switched roles from the series premiere with Dean now being the responsible one with a life outside of hunting. I agree that there is a very poignant analogy in that I also see that there is something else going on with Sam. Is it related in any way to the call Samuel Campbell takes about delivering the Alpha to a third party alive? There is a part of Sam missing, the humanistic part (something that even Samuel comments on during the early parts of the show. Where has that part of Sam gone and will he ever get it back?

The episode ends with Dean finding himself at a crossroads in what to do. Does he leave to fulfill his legacy as a hunter or does he stay where he has finally found a home? Why not do both is Lisa’s suggestion, one that Dean had never really thought could work. Conversation out of the way, and to the tune of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, Dean uncovers The Car…yes, that’s right, the Impala is coming out to play and Dean Winchester is back in the saddle. What’s it all mean? It’s quite simple.

Supernatural is officially back!

The Good:
As mentioned, the comedic moments were written seamlessly into the episode. We are starting to get hints that something big is going on, orchestrated by someone (or thing) in the shadows. Dean’s realization that in trying to protect Lisa and Ben, he was becoming his father, despite his best efforts to become his own man.  Lisa steps up to the plate big time, and it really looks like Dean has that family that neither brother have truly been able to have with their lives as hunters.

The Bad:
I don’t know if I’m just hypersensitive right now but it seems that the show’s mood-setting soundtrack has gone a bit cheesy. The subtlety that I remember from past seasons just doesn’t seem to be there. Some wacky camera work as there was in the first episode. This time it works a bit better (though that may be due to the angles captured were that of our favorite car).

The Supernatural:
In one of his interviews, Eric Kripke mentioned that there are all these creatures but never an explanation of just where they came from. The introduction of the Alpha concept looks as if it will be the driving force behind this season. Just who was on the other end of the phone with Samuel?

Rating: B+

– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)