Supernatural: The Girl Next Door (Review)

Supernatural: The Girl Next Door

Do people change? It’s an oft asked question with no clear answer. In reality, the truth lies in the beholder and, he or she becomes judge of whether or not change can be/has been accomplished. It’s also a question the Winchesters have asked at one time or another about each and themselves. And it’s a question an increasingly depressed and pessimistic Dean (Jensen Ackles) answers with a decision that can’t help but have repercussions throughout the remainder of the season.

The story picks up from the end of last episode with the Winchesters being admitted to Sioux Falls General, the last place they want to be as the Leviathans have made the hospital their headquarters and all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s not long before, with the help of Bobby (Jim Beaver), the brothers escape just ahead of the Leviathans giving chase. It was a bit of a surprise how quickly the boys were in and out of the jam (though later in the episode we find the Leviathans are much more cunning than any other foe, using technology as a way to track the Winchesters), but keeping them in the hospital offered no story advancement.

Fast forward a few weeks; the brothers are holed up in a cabin. Dean’s still on the mend from the broken leg while Sam (Jared Padelecki) has yet to shake the cobwebs of hell coming down around his ears. I’m not sure about others, but I’m a fan of skips in time during a show like Supernatural. Too often things seem to happen too quickly to be plausible (in the context of the show). With Dean’s leg cracked open, the writers had an opportunity to skip forward and give the boys some down time. That comes with a price as the Leviathans are starting to spread themselves across various avenues in the country.

It brings up the question of just what are the Leviathans? Bobby states that they are shape shifters—juiced up on the good stuff if you ask me. While dull and bland in a way, they also remind me of the creature from The Thing (the remake is in theatres Friday, 10/14…you’re welcome, Universal); an alien being capable of mimicking anything it touches. While this is the ultimate predatory ability, I’ve always pictured the Leviathan as an unstoppable force of epic proportions, super big and super bad. Truth be told though, my vision of their appearance probably wouldn’t make sense from either a budgetary or storytelling aspect.

A young Sam doing a bit of monster hunting on his own.

Still trying to figure out the things going on in his noggin, Sam comes across an article on killings resembling those he’d trailed more than a decade past. Amy (played by Firefly’s Jewel Staite) is a kitsune he befriended as a teen; her species feeds on the pituitary gland in the brain to survive. Throughout the episode we get flashbacks of a young Sam (played spectacularly by Colin Ford) tracking down the kitsune solo while receiving direction from Dean by phone. When he meets Amy (Emma Grabinsky), he is smitten. Turns out though, her mother’s(Leslie Hopps) the monster he’s been trailing. Amy saves him, killing her mother. It’s something he remembers. Though never killing as a teen, special circumstances has caused her to cross the line. When Sam learns of her reasons—a sick child—he takes mercy on her, believing Amy when she says she won’t kill again.

Everyone doesn’t feel as Sam does and Dean taking matters into his own hands…while I can’t say I disagree with his logic, I do have to wonder (and it’s something I’ve always thought with Buffy, too) is when do you offer a second chance to someone? Amy, though she is a monster of sorts, is much more human than, say, a serial killer or pedophile. Why give the latter a pass? Because they have a soul? If Amy were a baser creature, ruled solely by her instinct, I understand. But she’s more human than anything and her human ability to think and reason had her targeting lowlifes, people whose existence hurts or destroys others. It’s a mindset I could never follow on Buffy and now here with Dean. I wonder if his desire to make things so black and white have to do more with his current mindset versus his true beliefs. At first glance, I side on the former though, based on his dad’s teaching, there is a bit of the latter sprinkled in as well.

Dean has always been the soldier, the grunt so to speak; he can go to the dark place where ruthlessness is the only way to survive. Sam, for the better part of the series has been Dean’s conscience; the one thing preventing the elder Winchester from falling into an abyss of violent antipathy. But how much longer will Sam, dealing with his own fractured psyche, be able to play that role? And with him going through his own pessimistic depression, how much longer will Dean be able to remain Sam’s tether to sanity?

Sera Gamble, I’m waiting for your answer.

Rating: B

The Good:
  • Colin Ford has always done such a wonderful job playing a young Sam. He’s every bit as good in “The Girl Next Door”, deftly mimicking Jared’s demeanor. It’s one of the reasons Supernatural contains some of my favorite flashbacks.
  • Did you know that even creatures created in the primordial ooze that predate angels like their food better with cheese?
The Bad:
  • Dean just made another enemy. While it goes with the territory, it was an unnecessary action (in my opinion). Not just because I’m a fan of Jewel Staite, but because his need to make things so black and white is going to cause him to miss those blurry edges.
  • Still no Castiel…
  • I’m still not that sold on the Leviathans makeup. Again, it does make sense, but seems to be a rehash previous creature incantations
The Supernatural:
  • What are the Leviathans driving purpose? It was originally said they just wanted to have some fun, but all this talk about the “boss” has me thinking there’s a greater plan they are following. Does it have anything to do with destroying the world? Hmmm…

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– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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