Column: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Supernatural 8.18: Freaks and Geeks

 

[spoilers ahoy for several seasons]

Tagline: The brothers encounter a man who is raising orphaned Hunters’ kids to go to school by day and fight vampires by night. Because nothing about that scenario could possibly go wrong.

Recap: Longish recap of vampires, and of Krissy and her father Lee from “Adventures in Babysitting.”

Cut to Now in Conway Springs, Kansas near a dam, where a boy and a girl are necking in a car while a blue van pulls up nearby. The whole scene is scored to “I’ll Surely Die” by a group called “The Rubens,” a song far too new and lacking in personality to really support the action. Also, the kissing is that cringy kind you see a lot of in PDA-heavy teen comedies, where you wonder what’s so sexy about inexperienced slobbering all over each other’s faces and chewing on each other’s lips. And the boy gives off total teen creeper vibes.

The girl pulls back and we see it’s Krissy. Somebody runs past the car very fast. Then something jumps onto the hood and roof, while the boy can’t start the car. The boy exits the vehicle with a stake to check it out, Krissy warning him not to do it. While she waits, all panicked (The subtext is very off in this scene) a vampire breaks the passenger side window and tries to drag her out. At this point, the boy comes up behind the vamp and beheads him, while an African-American girl runs up with a gun. Completely changing their tone, the three of them snark at each other about the vampire they just killed. The boy appears to find this kill especially personal; he’s crying when he identifies the vampire. “One down, two to go,” says Krissy as they stare down at the headless body.

Cue title cards.

Cut to daylight and the brothers, in suits, pulling up to a local cop shop in the Impala (which is lookin’ mighty fine). They are there to investigate two vampire-related deaths of women near the railroad tracks. Dean asks Sam if maybe he should sit this one out, being all Traviata’d and such from the Trials. Sam deflects by asking how Dean feels after being nearly beaten to death by Castiel. Dean deflects right back by suggesting they get some herbal tea and discuss their feelings: “Good talk!” Dean gets downright sarcastic when Sam exits the car in disgust. Apparently, Dean is no longer willing to let Sam’s deflections slide.

Inside, the brothers meet with an excited sheriff who believes he’s got a big break on the “Ladykiller Murders” (as he calls them). The police had stuck a CCTV camera out at a local makeout spot to see if they could get any new leads and guess what they caught? Krissy and her fellow morons beheading the vampire, right on tape. Fortunately, Dean recognizes Krissy and strongarms the sheriff (poor guy, he was so enthused, too) into giving up the tape, using the authority of the FBI as a threat. Sam doesn’t remember Krissy, so Dean has to bring him up to speed (I guess Sam didn’t see the Then recap). Sam figures Lee must know what’s going on and is helping her hunt. Dean says they need to find out – and why Lee would let his daughter get caught on Candid Camera.

Rolling on to Krissy at a cheap hotel, talking her way in the door and into getting a room with an inane smirk, forty bucks and an obviously fake ID. The desk clerk lets her in, but I’m guessing anybody who wants to bribe him to track her just has to give him an extra twenty.

Upstairs, she’s setting up a laptop while her “date” from the other night is pulling out a duffel bag of weapons. When he gets handsy, she tells him she has a boyfriend. Because he is an asshole who doesn’t understand the word ‘no,’ he quizzes her on her obviously nonexistent paramour, holding onto her cell phone to make her ‘fess up and claiming she was all hot for him in the car. Krissy, a word of advice – you owe this creep not a single explanation and a swift kick to the balls will have much more permanent results than the Fake Boyfriend Trick. And there’s really nothing stopping you doing that if you two have already progressed to killing vampires together.

When the other girl comes in, they get down to business. Krissy brings up some footage of their latest mark, another vampire, and the boy puts on a headset while sheathing a bolo. When Krissy asks if he’s ready, he kisses his microphone and she rolls her eyes. Jesus, dude, really? Put your damned hormones in Park. This character is even more obnoxious on second watch.

The boy suggests they start a tradition of kissing before the hunt. The other girl sensibly suggests she “punch you in the throat, instead.” Yeah, I’m with her suggestion. They leave the room together while Krissy hangs back with the laptop. Oh, and by the way, if these nimrods are so tech literate, why didn’t they notice the damned CCTV camera watching their every move the other night?

While the boy and the other girl stroll down the hall as if they’re going to a party instead of on a hunt, the girl points out that the boy is trying way too hard with Krissy. He scoffs at this. Then they spot blood drops and decide to break into one of the rooms with a lockpick.

But it’s the brothers who come through the door and it’s into the room where Krissy is. She puts a gun on Dean (having a pretty short memory about what he did to her the last time she tried that). Dean cuts her down to size a bit by pointing out that there were only two possible hotels to look for and the clerk was as easily bribed by them as he was by her. She curses out the clerk, even though she should have been canny enough to realize that corruptible people can be corrupted more than one way.

She orders the brothers to leave, saying, “We got this.” My God, she’s stupid. They are both much bigger than her and far more experienced. She’d lose.

Cut to the two other kids breaking into the hotel room, where they find a young woman tied to a bed. The girl declares the place clear while Krissy is explaining to Sam and Dean they’re hunting vampires. Well, the other girl is wrong. A male vamp enters the room and starts beating on the kids when the brothers kick the door in. He goes out the window and Dean pursues, spotting the blue van on the corner. Then Krissy shouts she’s got the vampire and goes in pursuit. Furious at her recklessness, Dean chases after her. Meanwhile, the other girl says the woman tied to the bed is going into shock. Why would she be going into shock? She’s just tied to a bed. She’s not bleeding anywhere. She’s not having an allergic reaction. She doesn’t have a major head or spinal injury. Gee, writers, don’t strain yourselves and try to research first aid, like…ever.

Krissy chases the vamp down and shoots him with a dart of dead man’s blood, which she brags about when Dean catches up and asks her about it (Um…hello? The brothers did the same strategy in “Dead Man’s Blood.” It’s not even close to an innovation).

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Dean asks about the blue van, saying the vamp was running to it, and Krissy has no clue what he’s talking about because Krissy is remarkably unobservant. She’s also really starting to piss me off. Whichever TV writer first came up with the idea that obnoxious teens were cute should have been shot before he/she could share it with the rest of Hollywood.

When Dean pulls out his knife to finish off the vampire (who is begging for his unlife), Krissy snottily informs him that it is not his “kill.” The other two kids run up and the black girl proceeds to declaim that three months previously, the vampire killed her entire family. The vampire insists it wasn’t him, but she kills him, anyway – right out there on the street where anybody could be watching. The brothers look very skeptical. And oh, my, is it a close contest what is worse in that girl’s speech – the writing or the delivery. It doesn’t help that I’m thinking the whole time that I don’t know this girl and have never met her family. So, why would I care?

It is now extremely obvious at this point that these kids are barking up the wrong tree and that this vampire could even be innocent. Which permanently loses any sympathy I might have for them.

Afterward, the other girl cries and Krissy comforts her and I still fail to care. I mean, I don’t even know any of their names but Krissy’s at this point. Looking grim, Dean draws Krissy aside for a private chat. Idiot would-be boyfriend asks if she knows Dean and she says, “We have a past.” No, sweetie, not so much, but you sure wish you did.

Krissy tells Dean that her dad Lee did retire, but was killed a few months ago. She woke up one morning to find him with his throat ripped out. She finally gives names to the other two kids: ‘Josephine’ and ‘Aidan.’ She says they lost their families, too. We see wheels turning in Dean’s head as he realizes that sounds hinky. Krissy does not appear to spot the obvious pattern. She just assumes all three families were killed by the same vampire nest.

Dean tells her she’s too young to be hunting. She snaps back that you’re never too young to hunt the supernatural (You are if you’re still stupid about it, missy). Dean, who began his hunting career far earlier than Krissy or her friends ever did, and has now been at it over thirty years topside, tells her there’s more to hunting than just killing things. It’s also about saving people. He changes the subject to whether she has any relatives. She reluctantly admits that she has an aunt. When Dean says she’s packing and the brothers are taking her to said aunt, she says that “Victor” might have something to say about that. She proceeds to get mouthy when Dean tries to find out more about this Victor, who supposedly took her and the others in, and is helping them get revenge.

First Rule of Hunting, kid: Any adult who is eager to help you get revenge on monsters does not have your best interests at heart.

Krissy is not too thrilled to have Dean point out that they’d have been arrested if he hadn’t grabbed their footage, so they aren’t quite as slick as they think. She blurts out that maybe the world should know about the supernatural, which is hilarious. What does she think would happen? The script has Dean vaguely talk about the “mayhem” it would cause, but previous episodes have made it clear that she and the other two would end up in prison, probably for life – or in a high-security mental hospital for a long time, if they were lucky. Either way, they wouldn’t enjoy the results of getting caught and the world still would know bupkis about the supernatural.

Over and above this, she insists that she doesn’t need Dean to rescue her and she can take care of herself, which is obviously not true. I’m not sure if it’s just the writing or the actress’ rather monotone and bitchy delivery, but I’m not feelin’ Krissy at all, either in this episode or her last one. The actors playing the other two kids aren’t terribly good, either, though yays to the one playing Josephine having more than one expression and not having to play a sex object or a dog.

As Krissy goes back to help the other two wrap the dead vampire in plastic wrap to transfer it to their car (Keep in mind that this is on the street, right outside a motel), Dean consults with Sam about Victor. Sam says they hunted once with a guy by that name in Spokane, Washington. Maybe it’s the same one? Dean says maybe, but they also have the problem of the teens, who are all kinds of out of control. His statement is emphasized by the casual way the teens toss the dead body and the head into their trunk. Sam suggests they follow along and talk to Victor. Good plan, Sam.

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At the house, Dean is surprised at how large it is and how normal-looking inside. This makes Krissy bitchy, because pretty much everything Dean says makes Krissy bitchy. Victor comes downstairs in a pedophilic sweater ensemble that makes him look like one of those guys who become ice cream van drivers for nefarious purposes. Yick.

Victor vaguely remembers the brothers when Sam brings up their previous hunt of a rougarou. Um…what? These are the Winchesters. Even Hunter kids would know about them, no?

Victor gives the other girl (whom we now know is named ‘Josephine’ after nearly a third into the episode) a big hug and asks if she feels better now, as if she just stubbed her toe and got a bandaid, not avenged her family, complete with revenge-themed aria. Never mind that she just killed a monster who looked like a human being and was begging for his life. That’s all kinds of wrong, especially when Victor and the girl reiterate the motto he taught them: “Move on…but never forget.”

Then he tells her to go study for her trigonometry test. When Aidan comes in, he tells him to go clean his room. He tells Krissy to do a report on the hunt by morning. After the kids go upstairs, he turns to the brothers with a fatherly smile and I cringe. He offers them a drink and Dean agrees. After the brothers sit down, Sam asks Victor how this all works and Dean is skeptical. Victor lays out his grand plan to raise orphan Hunter kids as the next generation of Hunters – smarter, faster, stronger, and all that – once they get their revenge for their families. Dean is still skeptical. Not a surprise, since these kids are none of those things. They are, in fact, pretty dim, even by teenage standards. I’m sure both Winchesters, from what we’ve seen of them in those years, were far better Hunters at that age. For that matter, so was Mary.

Victor says that the previous generation, like Bobby and Martin, were messed up. Yes, well, there’s a reason for that, Victor. Hunting messes you up. “His” kids won’t be like that, he says. Never mind that they’re already turning into little sociopaths and make Dexter look well-adjusted. But maybe that’s just me being judgemental. He then goes on to brag that Josephine is “an All-State athlete and National Merit scholar,” Aidan a skilled pickpocket, and Krissy a “natural born leader.” We’ve seen none of these skills this episode so far and (spoiler alert) we won’t, either.

The creeper vibe off Victor is getting stronger. I’m reminded of the proverb that “old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill.” And it’s not even as though these kids really have much in the way of skills.

Outside, the brothers debate the merits of Victor’s plan because, I guess, writer Adam Glass can’t think of any other way to shoehorn in the expositional debate over the episode’s central idea than to make Sam look like an idiot – even though he wasn’t being an idiot in the house – by having him think Victor might have a point. Dean fumes that children shouldn’t be hunting. When Sam points out that the brothers started hunting when they were children, Dean retorts that they are both poster children for why that shouldn’t occur.

His idea is to take out the nest Krissy mentioned. No nest, no hunt left to endanger the kids. Sam agrees and Dean sends him back into the house before driving off to talk to the rescued victim at the hotel. As Sam goes inside, we see the same blue van Dean saw before pull up outside the house. Inside is a sketchy-looking guy with a hoodie and dark hair. Ruh-roh.

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The next morning, Sam comes down to a whirlwind of activity as Victor sends the kids off to school. They’re making pancakes for Krissy because, Krissy says in a monotone, that’s all her dad used to make. I am very sad that Ian Tracey is not in this episode. He’d have made it so much better.

After the kids leave, Victor asks Sam if he has kids. Sam says no and isn’t sure if he wants them or not. Considering Sam’s near-total lack of interaction with kids over the years, I’m leaning toward not.

Victor shows Sam a photo of his wife and kids, who were slaughtered by a Wendigo. Sam asks if that’s why Victor is taking in Krissy and the gang. Victor says yes, but I don’t think Sam notices that the kids are a boy and two girls, just like the three he’s got now. Victor goes off on another rhapsody about how they don’t have to live like he, Sam and other Hunters did, always on the road and miserably alone. I think this guy sounds like a motivational speaker high on cocaine.

Dean, looking mighty hot in a blue suit, interviews the woman the kids “rescued” the night before. Gee, she’s looking awfully healthy for having been in shock less than 24 hours ago. Anyhoo, she says the dead guy’s name was ‘Jimmy’ (and she doesn’t know he’s dead, of course). He was a local war vet who had just come back from Afghanistan. She doesn’t know if he kidnapped her or not. She just remembers a blue van pulling up beside her in the parking lot and then blacking out after a guy in a hoodie asked her for directions. She woke up tied to the bed in the hotel, with Jimmy weeping and apologizing nearby. She says he looked “scared.” Dean reacts to her mention of the blue van.

Back at the house, Sam is looking at photos of the kids with Victor when they come back home from school early. Victor pulled them out for a hunt (Sure, because that’s totally helping them have a normal life). He says he located the vampire that killed Krissy’s father, showing Sam CCTV footage of a woman in a gas station parking lot and a police sketch of her. The woman is wearing a silver shark-tooth necklace Lee once wore. When Sam questions whether it’s really a CCTV photo (because, he later tells Dean, it has no time stamp on it), Krissy gets angry. Though it’s rather hard to tell, since the actress is stone-faced through the whole scene.

Sam gets a call from Dean. He fills Dean in about the photo and Dean says Jimmy was freshly turned, months after Josephine’s family died. So, he can’t be the vamp who killed them (I like the shooting angle on Dean’s end of filming with his face in the side mirror of the Impala). Dean asks if he should come back to the house (and where was he all night?). Sam says no. He can investigate on his own. Dean says okay, then he’s going to talk to the hotel clerk.

Yeah, this episode isn’t predictable at all.

After he gets off the phone, Sam spots the blue van Dean had seen before parked outside on the street. As he heads back to the dining room, he finds Victor alone. Victor (who has a limp indoors but not outdoors) has already sent the kids out on their hunt. Sam then fails to dodge a particularly nasty plot anvil and proceeds to warn Victor about the blue van, even though he and Dean just finished discussing their suspicions about Victor’s involvement. They go to check it out, but the van is empty when Sam looks into it. He investigates further in a nearby park, while Hoodie Guy lurks behind a tree, and then gets clobbered from behind by Victor. Oh, I am so very shocked. But I don’t quite understand why they didn’t just clobber him in the house, because that’s where he wakes up, tied to a chair. Their hauling him back there in broad daylight makes about as much sense as the Apple Dumpling Gang (the working title of this episode) beheading a local war vet on the street and making off with his body, with no one the wiser.

At the hotel, Dean pays off the clerk some more. The clerk remembers that Hoodie Guy checked into the room where the woman and Jimmy were, and that he also took a brochure about a local lodge a few miles away, Conway Springs. It’s closed for the season, but I have a feeling it’s currently in use.

Armed with a machete, Dean drives up to the lodge in the rain (yet it’s sunny in the park where Sam gets ambushed). To the sound effect of thunder (which methinks the show is overusing a tad this season), he enters the back, wielding a flashlight. Inside, he finds the woman the kids are hunting and she’s very confused. She’s downright shocked when vampire fangs come out of her mouth. When Dean interrogates her, she talks about the guy in the blue van abducting her.

The kids show up and there’s a confrontation, Krissy yelling at Dean in a monotone and with more stone-face. After trying to talk the kids down by pointing out the vampire is brand-new and can be cured, while standing between them and her, Dean finally loses his temper. He snatches Aidan’s gun out of his hand, emptying it of bullets. The two girls finally lower their weapons. Really, show, you’d think Krissy would have remembered Dean doing the same thing to her. Though Josephine does kind of look as if she’s wondering how things would have gone down if Dean really wanted to kill them. My money would all be on the “old man” who spent a year in Purgatory.

Dean brings the kids back to the house, where Victor is Evil Overlord Monologuing to Sam about his grand plan, while Hoodie Vamp stands nearby, smirking. It seems Victor is a few fries short of a Happy Meal (shocker, I know) and has been since his children died (He never even mentions his wife). The “Leviathan fiasco last year” didn’t help (though, last I checked, the brothers saved the world from the Leviathans, so you’d think some thanks would be in order). I see we’re just ignoring the missing year between seasons again.

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Anyhoo, Victor has allied with the vampire in order to train up a new generation of Hunters. Sam does ask what the vamp gets out of it, but that question is never really answered. Victor calmly starts turning over furniture as he stages a scene for the kids when they get back home. He doesn’t consider what Sam’s “self-righteous ass of a brother” might do about Sam’s murder, but he should. Dean and the kids arrive soon after.

Victor levels his gun at Dean and claims that he and Sam “are not to be trusted.” However, the kids are not buying it, anymore. Victor insists the situation is “complicated,” but Dean begs to differ. Victor’s cause is not aided by the vampire (for who knows what reason, since he doesn’t make much sense as a character) bragging about killing their families. Adding to the creepy, Victor brightly talks about how he stalked them and their families before having the vampire kill them. It’s all part of his grand plan to raise them into Superhunters. His rants remind me of a 70s film called “Goldengirl” about a nasty old ex-Nazi doctor who tries to turn his adopted daughter into an Olympic champion by using her as a guinea pig since childhood. [spoiler alert] What he manages to do in the end is give her diabetes, instead.[end spoiler alert]

Before the kids can build up a good head of outrage steam, the vampire grabs Aidan and Victor says they’re leaving, even though Dean now has his gun out (and can certainly take out the vamp, hostage or no hostage). Josephine attacks Victor and gets tossed aside, but it’s a feint for Krissy to shoot the vampire in the eye with her crossbow. She puts a bolt through his chest for good measure. Then she pulls out her pistol and aims it at Victor.

Dean warns her that “we don’t kill people.” Krissy insists Victor isn’t a person; he’s a monster. Sam tries to warn her, too, but she’s determined. She pulls the trigger, but the gun is empty. She left out the bullets (What would she have done if Victor had attacked her?). She pulls the trigger several times on a weeping Victor for each of the kids and their families, and then gives a little speech about how Victor is nothing now (Umm…but he can replace you, dear, and start all over again). When she turns her back on him, Victor, devastated (or something), pulls a gun out of his sock and shoots himself in the head. How plot convenient.

At the very end, the brothers give the kids the cure for the new vampire and then have a little chat with Krissy. She’s a bitch for no reason to Dean, thanks Sam for getting her father’s necklace back, and refuses to go with them to her aunt’s house. She wants to stay with the others and live normally – because I’m sure Child Services will be just fine with that setup. Methinks Krissy has a lot of “Would you like fries with that?” in her near-future. Dean tells her he’ll be having Garth stop by to check up on them and she kisses him on the cheek. Which is not the reaction I’d have to the news that Garth would be responsible for my welfare from now.

Sadly, Aidan survives the episode. I think Morticia Addams said it best: “Oh, no. He lives.” Dean has a little chat with him about Krissy (An intimidated Aidan locks the door after Dean leaves). Then Dean and Sam have a carside chat about how closing the Gates of Hell might slow down the monsters enough for everybody to retire for real. Which is illogical, but there you go.

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Review: This wasn’t quite as bad as I was anticipating, but I was keeping my expectations low to avoid disappointment. That said, neither was it brilliant (and is a rather excruciating rewatch). Nor does it have me thrilled that Adam Glass is still writing for this show. That’s even ignoring the plotholes you could drive a John Deere tractor through. The twist was painfully obvious from the moment we heard about Victor (or even that the MOTW was vampires), the kids were annoying as hell, and Sam was written as if, somewhere, a village were desperately missing its Abominable Snow Idiot.

Plus, the motif of the brothers being treated either as nobodies or a bad smell in the Hunter community, after all the high-profile stuff they’ve done, is getting almost as stupid as their waltzing around playing FBI agents to a law enforcement community that had their faces plastered on wanted posters just two seasons ago. Good God, show, at least cobble up some excuse like “Our hex bags include amnesia spells about us for everyone we interview or work with.” One or two lines would take care of so much plot-stupid.

On the plus side, we got Smart Dean all through “Freaks and Geeks” and the kids weren’t nearly as “super” as the promo made them out to be, which meant they got comeuppance throughout the episode instead of making us wait until the 45-minute mark (Thank Azathoth for small favors). Plus, yay for continuity in remembering the vampire cure from “Live Free or Twihard” (Now, can we please also remember that Dean used to be a vampire?). But overall, if I had to come up with a one-word summary of this episode, it would be “unnecessary.” If that makes me a cynical old goat, well, I’m comfortable with that.

I really, really, really, really wish the show would hurry up and make up its mind what it thinks about hunting. The yo-yoing between “Oh, it’s so heroic!” and “But it sucks!” is growing tiresome and it’s giving me a migraine. Come on, show. It’s season eight. Make a decision. Commit.

I get that Hunting is not for children (and certainly not for children as stupid as Krissy and her posse), but Sam and Dean are adults who are twice their age. That crap doesn’t apply to them, anymore. Their childhoods are long gone (even though Sam keeps clinging desperately to his or entering his second one, or I don’t know what).

It also bothers me quite a bit how we’re seeing every Garth, Charlie and Krissy out there hunting, or at least engaging the supernatural in tooth and claw, and not dying. This diminishes the peril built upon the bones of seven seasons of beloved dead guest characters for me. If incompetents like Garth, Charlie and this lot can survive in hunting, then why did the profession kill off the likes of Bobby, Rufus and John? And if expanding the SPNverse and having more strong female characters is so important, why did we kill Meg off last week, only to bring back Krissy, who wasn’t all that compelling even in her first episode?

I am not the least bit happy that they killed off Ian Tracey’s savvy lone Hunter offscreen, yet brought back Lee’s very annoying teenage daughter. It’s as if the writers went on vacation and returned with an article of clothing that said, “I went to Paris and all I got you fans was this lousy t-shirt.”

I am on the fence about Victor. On the one hand, I didn’t like him and found him annoying. On the other hand, one big fix (aside from just not doing this episode in the first place) would have been to give him more depth. A photo waved in front of the camera for two seconds and an off-hand, flatly delivered comment about one’s entire family having been killed by a Wendigo don’t generate a whole lot of emotion in the audience. Who has the time to connect to a character we already can see is probably going to end up bad?

His idea of raising children in the Life, regardless of how he chooses to do it, is so antithetical to how the brothers feel on the subject (thanks to John) that he is bound to come into conflict with them and, therefore, become an antagonist. Even Sam, whom the story has become a moron for plot purposes due to his ever-present selfish desire to live a normal life, no matter what the cost to anyone he meets, has a history of being Very Upset with his father over having raised them in the Life. And it’s not as though the Campbell clan or Henry were doing much better in keeping their families from harm. So, it’s a given from the start that Victor will be the bad guy, since the brothers won’t be. Exit suspense about this, especially if the show can’t be bothered to give him any background that lasts longer than two seconds.

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I also was bothered by the here-and-gone mention that the brothers had once hunted with Victor (who apparently made more of an impression on Sam than on Dean), which seemed inserted as an afterthought only to bolster Sam being a Village Idiot about him. Never mind that we could have learned something important about how Sam hunted with other people besides Dean – territory only lightly trod by Sambot and Grandpa Shady in “Unforgiven.” Remember Richie from “Sin City“? Victor could have been Sam’s Richie, but he wasn’t. Instead, we got heavy retreads of old territory like Sam Wants to Retire, Sam Wants to Retire and – oh, guess what? Sam Wants to Retire. No! Ya don’t say!

Similarly, the kids were one-note and interchangeable, which included Krissy, whom we’d already met. Aside from their incompetence, there were dumb little things like Krissy not knowing better than to hold a gun on Dean – as if three kids holding guns on him would make any more difference than one. He’d already disarmed her in “Adventures in Babysitting” quite easily, so she should have foreseen his disarming Aidan with equal ease in this one, not to mention refrained from putting a gun on him during their first encounter. Nor did I buy in the least the attraction between Krissy and Aidan, who seemed more like a creeper who couldn’t keep his hands to himself than a boy you’d like to date. Even ignoring Krissy’s obvious crush and Daddy-fixation replacement on “old man” Dean.

Further, I am absolutely astonished that it never occurred to Krissy to wonder how her savvy dad got taken down so easily by a monster that then didn’t finish her off in her sleep. Or that she was then approached by a Hunter who just happened to have taken in two other Hunters’ kids who lost their families in similar ways. I mean, that’s just dirt dumb.

In addition, once they started killing innocents (which these newly turned vamps essentially were), I couldn’t sympathize with them. Really, all three of these kids deserved to die, but the show a.) didn’t want to do that because it wanted us to sympathize with them and b.) probably couldn’t due to TV standards, anyway. But either way, can you imagine being that poor woman vamp after the brothers left her alone with these dimwitted little murderers? Yeesh.

In light of that, I can see why Dean talked Krissy down from killing Victor. All three kids were already borderline serial killers. The very last thing they needed to be taught was that killing humans – ever – was okay. Victor killing himself was lame and convenient. I fanoned to myself that Dean’s original intent was to circle back and off Victor himself. It would not be the first time (or even the third) that Dean had killed a human.

But the kids? Yeah, society needed to be protected from them and boundaries needed to be drawn. They were too stupid to be given the idea that they could run around, killing anyone who looked remotely supernatural in nature or who just pissed them off. They were little better than wild animals at that point and I confess it made me uneasy the way the brothers left them at the house like that. Not that they even would have ended up with Victor in real life, seeing the way things go with Child Services, and how he had them in school and otherwise on the grid.

I also saw very little parent-child chemistry between the kids and Victor, and the small exchange about homework early on didn’t really cut it in explaining why they were so dependent on him and willing to listen to him. Nor did any of the kids ever question why some strange Hunter would rent/buy a really nice house for them to live in and take them in, even though at least Krissy is supposed to be streetwise and suspicious of strangers. What was in it for him? The kids never asked – to their eternal regret. Show, if you’re going to introduce an “important” new situation like this, why not develop it properly? If you don’t care, why should we?

Glass has said that he based Krissy on his niece, but the character never rises above the cliche of the Little Sister tomboy so popular in 70s and 80s TV, and Fanfiction.net fics. I’m reminded of a recent brief documentary I saw on HBO about a writer doing a workshop with college students in, I think, Venice. In it, one young man reads a story about an annoying tourist couple. The writer asks his student if the husband a real person that he met or a stereotype of an annoying tourist. The young man admits it’s the latter. The writer says he can see that. While the story is funny and clever, the characters don’t feel real. He has no sense, for example, of basic questions like why the husband came to Venice. The character is just a pawn for the writer and lacks his own motivation.

This is how Krissy feels to me. She doesn’t feel like a Real Girl and neither do the other two kids or even Victor (unless you call the smackworthy creeper drooling Aidan does over the two girls “motivation”). Krissy feels like a plot device, a soap box, not a human being with any motivations or depth. I had little interest in seeing her again without her father last time and I have even less interest in seeing either her or her friends ever again now. Which means it’s a dead cert they’ll be back down the road. Hopefully, it won’t be this season.

You know what might have been interesting? What if part of Lee’s retirement plan had been taking in other orphans and he was getting them into hunting – but without the crap about killing their families or even turning vamps? Maybe, for example, Lee could have had the kids hunt the monsterized victims of a local vamp without trying to take out the vamp himself, the better to give them relatively “young” and easy-to-kill monsters to work their way up.

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This way, we’d still have the central moral dilemma of whether or not to get teens into hunting monsters (and how young was too young), as well as the twist that innocents were being turned into monsters to be hunted by baby Hunters. This would be especially disturbing because, if the reverse were true (MOTWs getting human children into the Life to make them easy training prey for their own offspring), the brothers would be dropping everything to take that monster parent right out. Look at what they thought of Eve and her grand plan to monsterize half the planet just to get back at the King of Hell – or how Dean reacted to Amy killing people to get fresh brains for her son.

Instead, we got Paint-by-Numbers Psycho Baddie straight out of a live 70s Disney flick snookering Really Stupid Teenage Stereotypes. Candleshoe this sure as hell wasn’t.

I did like that Dean was portrayed as so smart, but I wonder how the show intends to continue the brothers’ storylines. Sam can go on and on and on a lot more about wanting to retire, but he can’t ever do that without leaving the show. So, it seems pointless to bang away at something that can’t happen for the next few seasons, or even show progress, unless Jared Padalecki actually leaves. Which seems unlikely. The writers shouldn’t tease on what they can’t deliver and the show can’t deliver on a Sam retirement plot.

I had thought the show would ease Sam into the role of the next Bobby as a compromise between retirement and hunting, but then the show reintroduced Garth as a would-be NuBobby, heavily emphasized how much Sam had let people like Kevin down while Dean was gone, and now is showing Dean connecting with all sorts of people in the Hunting community. Dean is taking on a leadership role with them, using Garth as a backup person to take care of them while the brothers are on the road. Is the show making Dean the new version of Bobby? If so, where are they going with it and what do they have planned for Sam besides a pretty lame Trials plot and constantly having his foot out the door of the hunting life?

Fun lines:

Krissy [looking at a dead vampire]: One down, two to go.

Dean: Okay, I tell you what – why don’t I go get some herbal tea and you can find some Cowboy Junkies on the dial…
Sam: Eat me, Dean.
Dean: …and you know what? We’ll just talk it out – good talk! Great talk! Very healthy!

Sam: What happened?
Dean: Teenagers, that’s what.

Sam: So, these kids are…
Dean: …dangerous and off their meds? Yeah, no kidding.

Victor: The next generation needs to be better.
Sam: Better than what?
Victor: Better than us. Come on, guys. I know your friends. I mean, Martin was insane. And somebody obviously dropped Garth on his head when he was a baby. And I know you two loved that Bobby guy, but he was a barely functional alcoholic.
Dean: Watch it.
Victor: No disrespect meant.

Dean: Never trust a guy who wears a sweater.

Dean: Vampires don’t beg for their lives. They attack!

Victor: I’m sorry, Sam. I can’t have anyone poisoning my kids’ minds.
Sam: Other than yourself, you mean.

Next Week: Sam goes to Hell to harrow it for an innocent soul as part of his second Trial. But things don’t go according to plan.

You can watch (or download) this episode, in standard or HD definition, on Amazon.com.

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About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesColumn: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Supernatural 8.18: Freaks and Geeks