When Sam teams up with a familiar face, Dean is forced to team up with a laid-back hunter, Garth, and ends up working at cross purposes to his brother.
Supernatural airs Fridays at 9:00 on the CW.
This episode is the second this season written by the team of Andrew Dabb and Daniel Loflin and is the Supernatural directorial debut of Tim Andrew, and while "The Girl Next Door" was a pretty good episode (as were the writers' earlier efforts), there seems to be a disconnect between the creative team on this one. I've been a fan of every "meta" episode so far, but, as has been pointed out other places on the Internet already, these episodes usually poke fun at the fanbase, but aren't overtly hostile.
That's not really the case this time.
I'm usually pretty quick to defend the show from charges of misogyny regarding the treatment and ultimate fates of the female characters. As far as I'm concerned, Supernatural is an equal opportunity abuser of characters. Nobody gets out of this show alive, and the female characters are almost always portrayed in the same sort of light as the men.
The casual use of "bitch" as an insult for both men and women is a little disconcerting at times, but that's usually coming from Dean (Jensen Ackles) and his character is a sexist asshole, so technically that's not on the show itself, but the character.
And to be honest, both Emily Perkins as superfan Becky Rosen and DJ Qualls as the scrawny hunter, Guy, get treated pretty shabbily. But Guy isn't representing the fans. He's just a comic relief hunter. Becky is treated like an ugly pariah, using a magical love potion to force Sam (Jared Padalecki) into marrying her. Maybe I'm wrong for reading that as a veiled insult about how some rabid fans feel an entitled sense of ownership to the property.
Maybe I'm not.
It's justifiable, I think, given how vocal and hostile some segments of the Supernatural fanbase have become since Kripke stepped down from his active involvement in the show. But still, it makes for an ugly, unfunny adventure that trades on insulting a woman's looks as a running joke as well as making her seem about as pathetic as pathetic can get.
Sure, she redeems herself somewhat in the end, but that's only after being put through the wringer. It doesn't stop the ugly jokes, though, which are just mean-spirited. Especially given that Perkins is actually pretty cute.
The only real redeeming value that the episode has is that Crowley (Mark Sheppard) shows up in the end, finally, to clear some of the air and explain why we've had no real demonic action so far this season. It turns out Crowley has called off the hounds in the hopes that the boys will take care of the Leviathan problem for him.
He also provides the only entertaining line in the episode (if you don't think calling girls ugly is funny) with, "This isn't Wall Street. This is Hell. We have a little something called integrity!" in response to a demon who's utilizing a loophole to claim souls before their standard ten year agreement is up.
So yeah. There's that.
All in all, it was a pretty bad one. One of the worst I've seen, really.
Next week doesn't look that much better, but at least Ben Edlund is on-board as writer.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot. His first novel,The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now for Kindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook, or can be sampled and/or purchased at Smashwords. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.