Supernatural goes wild, wild west this week, sort of, and I’m not sure how I feel. Last week was much better, and apologies are in order for missing it. Here’s some quick thoughts from “Advanced Thanatology”:
- Pretty standard ghost story, until it’s suddenly not. I liked this switched because the ghost story wasn’t all that interesting, and it brought back Billie the reaper, who has been promoted to the role of Death.
- The place with all the files where Billie rules from, I guess, is pretty great, production value wise. It added some depth to these other worldly realms that was needed. Plus, the filing system is a neat idea. Billie said all the files contain every way a person’s life and death could play out. Considering we’re also dealing with an alternate world/dimension this season, the multiverse theory could play a part in the seasonal arc.
- I know Supernatural steers clear of psychological issues, but Dean killing himself and then being okay with the prospect of not coming back seems like a red flag. Not to mention, we’ve seen this exact scene play out numerous times. Back in season six, Dean visited a black market doctor to send him under so he could talk Death into helping him restore Sam’s soul. In season eleven, Dean purposefully overdosed at the hospital in the episode “Red Meat” so he could talk Billie into bringing Sam back to life. All of these instances seem spur of the moment decisions, but they’ve happened far too often for me to think it’s just Dean doing whatever he can to save the day. I bring this up because I don’t trust Supernatural to bring it up.
- Cas’ return isn’t stretched out at all, as the boys reunite with him at the end of the episode. Which brings us to….
Dodge City, Kansas. Jack is getting in the hunting and research game, and believes zombies are killing in Dodge City. Before that, Jack officially meets Cas for the first time, so they can be fishes-out-of-water together and have it still be funny. Dean’s excited about Dodge City because Cas is back and also he gets to pretend to be a cowboy, while Sam is just happy that Dean is happier. It’s kind of a weird emotional shift for Dean, since the past two episodes had Dean admit to not being okay and not having any more faith after losing Cas and his mom. Sam and Dean just kind of roll with it and it’s almost like the depression Dean has been suffering never happened. There’s also zero mention of Mary. Since death never seems to stick in this universe, and with the latest evidence standing right in front him, seems a bit odd for Dean to keep writing Mary off as dead dead.
It’s nice to see Dean in a better mood, but it just doesn’t ring entirely true to me. It doesn’t help that most of this episode feels really off, like the narrative is out of sync with the intention. The monster-of-the-week this week is a ghoul who takes on the form of a cowboy from the 1800s, but his whole story, along with his girlfriend Athena, falls a little flat. The episode starts with an odd in medias res that felt unnecessary once it came back full circle. These monster-of-the-week cases have not been great this season, and “Tombstone” continues that trend.
Jack is growing in his control of his abilities. So it seems at first when he manages to levitate the pencil Sam was trying to get him to do awhile back. He’s excited about his progress, and his eagerness has him jumping into this case wholeheartedly. But Jack is still just a kid, and his lack of patience and understanding of his powers gets an innocent bystander killed. Jack ultimately decides he’s not safe to be around the Winchesters, so he runs off at the end of the episode. The other shoe had to drop, but I’m underwhelmed with how it did. Jack’s departure feels hasty and it can only spell major trouble down the line.
The return of Billie last week felt like a good momentum push for the season. It’s something a little different that also expanded Supernatural’s already vast mythology a little more. But “Tombstone” doesn’t capitalize on it.
This Week’s Wayward Thoughts
- “The one with the guns and tuberculosis. ‘I’m your huckleberry.'”
- “I don’t sleep much.” “I don’t sleep at all.”
- “Kilmer. My name’s Val Kilmer.”
- Despite the awkward pacing of the episode, it did put a country spin on the music this week and it worked pretty well.
- Athena’s first scene made it seem like she would have a larger role to play. Her defensive demeaner and back-and-forth with Sam made her feel like a real character. But she just ended up being the distressed girlfriend. At least she probably gets to move to LA and go to design school now that her ghoul boyfriend is dead.
Comment in the comment section if you want to discuss the show.
Supernatural airs Thursday at 8/7 c on The CW.