So, clearly, this episode isn't about tablets, not at all. Which..hey...Sam has made his decision to stay on the road for now, and it's all in Kevin's hands unless Castiel circles back around with his piece of stone. So, in the meanwhile, let's to the family business? Spoilers after the jump.
Supernatural does a decent job of accommodating the fact that not all 22 (or 23) episodes can be dedicated to fulfilling the larger season arc. Sometimes I wonder if the premise of the Big Bad (why do I feel it's Joss's fault? Perhaps because so much is...) is harmful to viewers' demands of each episode — demands whose effects we probably wouldn't even enjoy if they were met. In fact, that's a discussion I'd love to have with y'all...But if you can't have steps towards toppling the nemesis, character development or emotional links to their goals I think is a worthy goal. When achieved. All else fails, let's have fun!
Our opening teaser is barely teasing at all—the teenaged couple with the scared girl is only convincing as long as you didn't watch the previously on, because they don't hide that this is Krissy Chambers, the hunter's daughter they worked with last season in Adventures In Babysitting, and whom Dean pleaded with to get out of the game, while choices were still that...choosable. And they had said they would. So, what's this?
Sam and Dean go to Kansas on reports of these attacks, but it's very soon revealed that whatever the supernatural threat is, something weirder is up here when Dean recognises Krissy (who pauses post-felony and makes love to the camera) and cuts the cops off from pursuing this any further. Which is remarkably effective. Go lack of paperwork!
Sam tries to get an emotional response out of Dean about being beaten up by Cas which is kind of interesting—when have they ever shared their feelings about something like that? Especially a something with no scars? But, seriously—when was the last time you thought about the Cowboy Junkies? Are they emo? I don't even remember...
We get to see Gen Y's take on hunting, as Team Free Period don headsets and goes charging into a vamp hunt, but Sam and Dean are close on their heels and interrupt the kill strike, perplexed. Although the kids finally lop the vampire's head off, there's enough odd about the scenario to set off their Winchester senses—there was a blue van that disappeared in the time it took them to run from the motel outside (I'm guessing vamps don't have super speed) and the vamp is a spluttering pathetic mess, not an unrepentant monster (or a vegan, like Lenore). This isn't what they expect the killer of Josephine's family to act like, not this scared and unsure.
They follow the kids home and find out that A GUY WITH A PERFECTLY PREVIOUSLY USED NAME (Seriously—what's up with season eight and recycling? We're on our third Amy, and now our second Victor?) has been finding kids orphaned by monsters, and showing them that there's a balance between schoolwork and hunting—basically a Winchester compromise wet dream. Honour roll and packing heat? Sam would have nothing to rebel against, and Dean might have graduated. Ah, the possibilities...but the episode is fairly on the nose with Dean's contradictory (which in itself is characteristic) position that although he's an alien on the fringes of society, the way his life went (failure...) is the only way these things can turn out—you can't hunt and do anything else—you can't hunt and be happy—you can't hunt and STOP for anything other than dying (I can't lie—I like Dean better when he's enjoying the job. Which he does, sometimes. Those are great eyes to see lit up). One check for explicit ties to ongoing emotional arc.
As Victor praises his 'balanced approach" to hunting, he also takes a moment to slam Garth, a result of which I find defensive feelings I didn't know I had. But then he derisively mentions Bobby's drinking, and...well, what's the point? We know he's evil, if for some reason we hadn't been able to predict how this was going to turn out. But the good guys don't talk trash about Singer.
Even though this balanced approach is intended to let kids do both book reports and hunt reports (it's clear that Krissy is the Dean of the operation, but with hunting *homework*) Victor pulls them out of class in the middle of the day for another revenge run. Knives still wet from avenging Josephine's family, now he's tracked down the vampire that killed Lee, Krissy's father, thereby ending her retirement from the life—he'd made good on his promise to Dean, and they'd had the good life, before his past caught up with him (I imagine here that Dean wonders every now and again if wiping Lisa's memory was the right way to protect her, but then again, people forgetting him is probably one of his life missions) and a monster dragged her back into the business. She sees her father's necklace on the surveillance picture, and she's out the door with Josephine and Aidan to put this sucker to bed.
Dean follows the blue van trail as far as a hoodied guy, and finds the name of a lodge he's heading out to, after telling Sam about the van.
Sam spots the blue van across the street from Victor's (George is a perfectly fine name, isn't it?) house for wayward orphans, and with the info from Dean, he goes with Victor (or, like, Paul) to see what they can find.
In the biggest surprise of the episode, he finds a concussion, at the hands of Victor (okay, Ringo kinda sticks out, maybe Albert?).
In the meanwhile, Dean has found a freshly minted vamp, not even fed yet, and when the Apple Dumpling Gang charge in, works out that Victor (Geoffrey?) must be working with a vamp to turn people and frame them for the murders of these kids' families, and using their tragedy to hone them into hunting machines. Despite being held at dartgunpoint by the three of them, he convinces Krissy (cut off the head and the rest will follow) and they run back to the house.
Where Sam is showing off his awesome talent at being tied up (this is definitely not a showpiece ep for him in any regard, poor noodle). I wonder if Jared's parents knew he'd be so good at this...still, it's a good thing he does for us. I will always be grateful. Right, where was I? The vampire henchman folds like a cheap suit, and reveals Victor's (Peter's?) master plan to create a better badder hunter (he does about quote the Six Million Dollar Man intro to Sam in his Evil Overlord tirade) from the next generation (are we still on Y?).
Between the three of them, they stun the vampire (they need him to rewind the girl who was framed for Lee Chambers' murder—since she hadn't fed yet, she could be saved the way Dean was in "Live Free or Twi-Hard"—it's weird—in Season 1, Dead Man's Blood, it seemed no one really knew much about vampires—it's fair, I feel, to consider the boys representative of hunter knowledge in general, but they didn't think vamps existed until Dad told them, but nowadays they're relatively everywhere—killing loved ones and creating babby hunters all over) and Krissy pulls a bad ass dry-fire number at Victor (Peter?) and consigns him to a life of misery (it's not quite "to the pain" but although Dean is clearly relieved she heeds him and doesn't kill a human, he seems a bit appalled at how cold she is, but it is also badassed).
Sometimes we get tidy endings—Victor (Steven?) gets his hand on a loaded gun and kills himself, and Krissy, Aidan, and Josephine decide to hang out in the (rent free?) house and just live...the premise peters out here pretty hard, but at least Dean leaves the kinda pushy Aidan with a but of fear-of-Krissy, upon whom he's been hitting all episode.
To close the loop by the car, as is the show's wont, Dean reiterates that one of the reasons he wants hell closed is to save people like them from having to be hunters. What that would have to to with, say, vampires isn't clear. Remember, again, that demons were largely a foreign country to the Winchesters in season one, despite being the goal for which they'd been searching all this time. Clearly locking them away will stop a lot of evil, but they had 20 years of hunting before they exorcised their first one. Krissy and gang will still have their hands full should they choose to go out on the road, rather than stay put and defend their ground like they promised. Sam mutters a closing statement to the effect that it's not just "them" that need to be spared that life. BUT YOU GUYS CAN'T STOP EVER.
Okay, so, we're back on the arc next ep, right? I'm probably better with non-big-bad episodes than most people, but I do still feel twitchy.