Supernatural Episode 7.12 Review: Going Back in Time Never Looked So Good
There was so much awesomeness in this week's Supernatural that it's hard to know where to begin. First off, I will say that Nicholas Lea was an absolute delight as Ness. He played off Jensen Ackles well and brought a smart, tough-guy persona to the role. I couldn't help but giggle every single time there was a "decade disconnect" between Dean's speech and Ness's. And poor Dean kept getting so disappointed when the things he learned in The Untouchables kept bouncing off Ness. But he looked mighty fine in that 1940s suit. Dean's like a kid in a candy store when it comes to time travel sometimes.
There were numerous Bobby references in this episode. The impact of Bobby's death doesn't feel as real as that of John's - in that there's not this cloud of grief that seems to hang over the episodes - but this episode struck the right tone. There were little Bobby mentions here and there. Jodi knew about the death, which felt important, since she was a character we've seen interact with him before. It was a nice touch when Ezra - who was pretty similar to Bobby - said 'idjit' and Dean could smile over it, telling her she reminded him of someone.
The moment between Jodi and Sam about Bobby's bottle of booze - which he won from Rufus - was poignant and touching. You know, Jodi said it best when she pointed out that they were really trying to put the pieces of Bobby's life together. It occurs to me how little we really knew about Bobby. He was like a fully formed character when he first appeared in the season 1 finale. We've gotten to know Sam and Dean so well over the years, but Bobby remained a mystery. It actually wasn't until his final episode that we truly got insight into his past. But even after seeing "Death's Door", there's still so much we don't know about him. That just makes me miss him even more.
I got a little frustrated in my review for last week's Supernatural because I wasn't happy about Frank telling Dean why he should do the job. I laid out my reasons about why "getting on with the job and being professional" isn't enough of a reason for people like Sam and Dean who have lost so much. The writers haven't forgotten about Dean's search for a meaning and addressed it in this week's episode in a manner that struck me as more believable and important. Dean asked Ness who died in his life to turn him into a hunter. Ness' response? "Nobody died, you morbid sonofabitch. I started doing this because vampires were turning folks in Cleveland."
This may be the first time in recent memory that we met a hunter who didn't get into the life because of loss or revenge. That's the kind of life that Sam and Dean have always known. That's why Dean is pursuing Dick Roman. But not Ness. Ness is just trying to make a difference. "Everybody loses everybody, and then one day, boom! Your number's up. But at least you're making a difference". For Ness, it's not about vengeance or victimhood, it's about being a stand-up guy. It might not seem obvious, but this is different from John's reasons for hunting, or Bobby's, or Frank's. This is about doing some good because there's a lot of crap out there and you want to help fix it.
The truth is, this season of Supernatural is about Dean finding his reason again after so much loss. Now, personally, I don't think there's any one reason that will prompt Dean to keep on fighting. I stand by what I said last week - that Sam and Dean have really fought because of the people in their lives and not just because it's a duty. But if you put together their love for each other with Ness' reason of "doing some good", then I think the Winchesters have a reason to keep going. Ness' advice seemed more impactful because he was a guy who really seemed to recognize Dean as a kindred spirit and just gave it to him straight. Not out of anger or grief, but in a more matter-of-fact way.
Everything about this week's Supernatural just worked. From the good-cop/bad-cop routine that Dean and Ness played with the snitch to Sam's interaction with Jodi (who was awesome, by the way!). I know people have said that they're stripping away all of the Winchesters' resources so that the boys have only themselves to rely on again. Yes, they had helpers during this episode, but they also got by on their own ingenuity and a little luck. Now we only have to deal with the horrible black goo-filled future that Chronos warned us about.....
Supernatural is on hiatus for a few weeks, but don't fret, because it will return on February 3. Watch a trailer for that episode here.
Don't miss our Supernatural slide-show for this week. In honor of Dean traveling back to 1944, we put together a look at Dean Winchester's Most Memorable Scenes.