Our show began this week rather like something from National Geographic or Animal Planet, as we were given a brief glimpse into the curious behaviors of Domestic Dean, a heretofore unknown creature of some guile and amusement whom it appears is quite adept at interior design and the culinary arts. We watch as he prepares his nest with great care and deliberation, and reacts with indignation to another creature’s attempt to violate his territory. Unfortunately, we are not able to witness this amazing creature’s mating rituals as he has more serious survival business on his mind, like closing the gates of Hell.
As Domestic Dean whips up burgers and plays house, our young friend Kevin appears to have been burning the midnight oil…for several repeated nights…in an effort to decipher the demon tablet which holds instructions on how to close the gates of Hell, and he has been somewhat successful. The bad news: a modern-day Perseus must complete three tasks to prove his worth. Why are there always silly yet dangerous hoops to jump through with all this mythology malarkey? I personally think it would be fine if the guys were to find instructions like this: to close the gates of Hell, firmly connect the latch mechanism and turn the key counter-clockwise until you hear a distinct click. The boys would look at each other, shrug, and we could spend the rest of the episode watching them party. I’m okay with that. But since television and most other story-telling devices don’t work that way, we find out that trial #1 is bathing in a hell hound’s blood. Not a problem. Dean knows those things personally.
Using the transitive property of demon contracts (unexplained material success = demon deal, demon deal = hell hound attack, therefore unexplained material success = future hell hound attack), Sam and Dean locate a family in Idaho with a little too much of a good thing. In fact, this family is up to their collective necks in demon deals, but the boys don’t know this yet. They obtain jobs at the family farm doing “crap work” as the manager Ellie describes. I know that kind of work. For years in middle and high school I did the same thing (as did my brother) on our horse farm. In fact, I am pretty sure he responded the same way Dean did. Anyway, when the owner’s husband dies via HH activity, it looks like the gig is up, until a conversation with her provides Sam with some revealing information, Carl sold his soul for Alice, so the family’s fortune was attained via someone else’s soul contract. At a lovely family dinner following Carl’s death, Sam overhears the name of the “traveling salesman” who visited them so many years ago: Crowley.
Yet another family member (this time little sister) gets it when the hounds come calling. In one last attempt to catch the demon dogs, Sam and Dean lock down the remaining family members in the house so they can keep an eye on everyone. At this point in the show, the background music changed and a feeling of dread began to wash over me as Sam and Dean had the “baby brother I am going to sacrifice myself for your future” sentimental crap moment. I am sorry. I am sure there are some who enjoy those tender moments between them, and there was a time when I didn’t mind so much, like prior to the non-Apocalypse. But since I am not an overly sentimental person anyway, I just feel like we should be past this by now. They aren’t teenagers any more. If this show lasts for fifty years will they be driving around in their wheelchairs with Dean still telling Sam he’s a baby who needs taking care of? I hope not. We know Dean wants Sam to have a normal life, and we know Sam wants Dean to have a normal life, but we also know neither of them will ever have it because that means no more show. So let’s move on! Seriously though, as the characters mature the writers are going to have to start looking for fresh ways of maintaining that emotional connection/conflict between the two of them without rehashing the same old schemes.
With some helpful information obtained from Kevin earlier, Dean heads off to scout while Sammy watches the Waltons. I have to say, the x-ray vision Clark Kent glasses Dean wore to see the hell hounds made me giggle repeatedly. I like a man in glasses but they made his eyes look enormous! He’s so pretty. Anyway, as he walks around he hears music coming from Ellie’s quarters. Now, Ellie had made a pass..okay it was an outright offer, to him earlier, but getting caught by a hell hound with your pants down is not a good idea, so he tried to politely refuse. Back to the music coming from her room. Knowing that she was a bit hot-to-trot earlier, I was very apprehensive when Dean opened the door. I was expecting him to find …well, not a completely dressed Ellie for one. What he does find is victim #3 as Ellie tells him of the deal she made with Crowley to heal her mother of Parkinson’s. The morphing of Dean’s face when the hound approached was all kinds of cool, it even freaked me out. But when the big moment came to nail the hound, Dean lost his grip on the blade and Sammy had to finish it. Once again, it was up to Sam to be the hero and now he must complete all the trials to close the gates. The manifestation of whatever power he obtained by completing the first task and repeating the mantra was interesting indeed as his hands and arms began to glow from the inside out, showing all of his veins and arteries. It was neat! It also makes me wonder what the nature of this angel-like energy is and if the writers will somehow connect it to Sammy’s demon-blood days. I guess only time, and future episodes, will tell.