Supernatural already did what few shows have managed: end all its storylines in a logical, even beautiful, fashion. So the idea of a tacked-on extra season made us nervous, but Friday's episode helped prove this show deserves to go on.
"Live Free Or Twihard" pulls the same trick as some other Supernatural episodes, but along the way, it also shows that this show still has lots of things left to say, both about its characters and about life in general. At first blush, it's just a brilliantly clever mockery of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight as well as shows like The Vampire Diaries — I really wish this episode had aired right after a TVD episode — but then it takes a weird, psychotic turn at some point and gets a lot darker and more fascinating.
Not that the spoof isn't terrific in its own right — the long opening sequence, which is such a painfully spot-on riff on the Twilight series, pulls the rug out perfectly when the vampire turns out to be like all vamps in the Supernatural universe. And the later scene where Sam and Dean go to the girl's bedroom and witness the crapitude is just hilarious and will be quoted until the end of time, or until the Twi-craze dies out, whichever comes first.
But the scene above, where a newly vamped-out Dean goes to visit Lisa, manages to be heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time. It's a note-for-note copy of all the stuff Dean and Sam were mocking about Twilight earlier, including the guy watching the woman sleep and the guy being a drama queen who can't be with his love, but also it's incredibly tragic, especially as you begin to realize that Dean is destroying the last vestiges of the one healthy relationship he's ever had, and it's not his fault. And then later, when you see the sensitive teenage poet girl from the start of the episode being forced to churn out poetry that her vampire "lover" can use to seduce other girls, it's just insane.
Last year, when Dean was struggling against being the vessel of the Archangel Michael, he was like the one great defender of free will — but also of humanity, with all its flaws and fuckups. He was determined to remain human in spite of everything — and Dean's determination to stay human got its most intense test last night. The scenes where he's trying not to feed on humans, and trying not to take the human blood he keeps being offered at the vamp nest, made my skin crawl. You can feel him clinging to his grip on humanity with his fingertips, even as it slips away. And I have to say, I may have rewatched the scenes where Dean takes out an entire vamp nest armed with just one knife and one syringe, oh, a few times.
More importantly, we now have confirmation that out of Sam and Dean, Dean is the pretty one.
And speaking of Sam — I was just rewatching one of the season three episodes where Dean is wondering if the Sam who came back from the dead at season two is really 100 percent pure Sam, or something else. (This was right at the beginning of the "Sam snacking on demon blood" storyline, I guess.) And yet, after this latest round of Sam coming back from the great beyond, the question of whether Sam has come back in his right frame of mind feels totally different, and it actually doesn't feel like the show is re-treading old territory over again. Because the thing that's scary about this new Sam is his lack of doubts or anxieties, which were the defining characteristics of the old Sam. He's cold-blooded and ruthless, and he's even willing to watch his bro get vamped if it'll help with the mission.
Rewatch the part where Dean gets un-vamped again, and he's rewinding everything that happened when he was a vampire, and then the last image is of Sam smiling as he watches Dean get turned — the camera lingers a bit on that image, and then you're back in Dean's horrified, agonized eye.
Oh, and speaking of Dean's visions, what do you think was up with the psychedelic movie he watched when he and the other vamps passed out? I spotted two girls holding hands and a lot of other random imagery. Did you get anything out of it?
Bottom line: after a couple of rocky episodes, this season is really taking off, and it's making me excited to be along for the ride again. What do you think?