On last night's episode of Supernatural, "Adventures in Babysitting," the show seemed to plunge into full X-Files mode. Mostly this was because Bobby's "fatherly advice" role was taken over by Frank, the paranoid, Lone Gunman-esque guy who helped the brothers get spy-proof laptops in a previous episode. But it was also because we're starting to realize that the Leviathans are basically Reptoids, secretly controlling us from the highest seats of government and corporate power.
Do I want Supernatural to become X-Files with monsters instead of aliens? I'm not totally against it. Spoilers ahead!
Supernatural shares a common ancestor with X-Files - the late Kim Manners, who was a producer and director for both shows. So there's always been some crossover between the two shows, both in terms of their creative teams, and many of the themes they explore. Still there was always a kind of natural wall between the shows, since Supernatural is all about believing everything, while X-Files incorporated a skeptical voice in the form of Agent Scully (though it became gradually more muted). Also, X-Files was more like Fringe in that it was weird science fiction that only dabbled in the spiritual. Supernatural is, well, supernatural.
Let's Visit Frank
The episode began with the boys struggling for weeks to come to grips with Bobby's death, and to figure out the numbers he wrote on Sam's hand in his last moments. When a young woman named Krissy calls Bobby's phone, claiming her father told her to call in an emergency, Sam is suddenly inspired. Why not help this kid, who is obviously the daughter of a Hunter? It's better than sitting around doing nothing.
Dean, on the other hand, wants to go visit Frank. Apparently they paid Frank $15,000 to help them research Bobby's numbers and he's basically fallen off the map since that time. So the brothers split up on their separate missions.
Frank's character is clearly some kind of mashup of Fringe's Walter, the Lone Gunmen from X-Files, and (inexplicably) Patton Oswalt. I've gotta say that I still don't quite understand why he's in this show. I guess he's supposed to be the kind of person who exists on the boundary between technology and magic, but he seems more like a conspiracy theorist who just wants to take Dean's money and then repeatedly advise him to "just quit."
At any rate, Frank turns out to have some uses. After a bunch of Oswalt-style bitching about being bipolar, he reveals that Bobby's numbers led him to some geographic coordinates - and those coordinates happen to be in the middle of a giant, empty field owned by Dick Roman, head of the Leviathans. (Shades of the X-Files cornfield?) So he and Dean rumble off in Frank's surveillance RV to check it out. There's a scene of the two trying to put up surveillance cameras that's basically an excuse to put Dean in a cute phone lineman outfit, and then they wind up hacking into Dick's already-existing surveillance system. Turns out a bunch of scientists are scouting the area - but for what?
Hey, who drank Dean's beer?
There's a weird moment before Dean takes off for Frank's house when he notices that his full bottle of beer is empty. Uncharacteristically, Sam tells him that it's probably nothing - "You probably drank it without realizing," he says - and shrugs it off. Um, hello? Wouldn't they at least consider the possibility of Ghost Bobby or some kind of beer-drinking ghoul?
Let's visit the kickass mini-Hunter Krissy
While Dean is wearing his cute hard hat and Frank is calling him things like "candy bottom" or whatever, Sam is having Deep Meaningful I've Been There bonding with Krissy. Like the Winchesters, she's a tough kid who was born into the life and doesn't know anything else. It turns out her dad has been snatched by a couple of sexy female monsters who like to drink blood. Unfortunately, when Sam goes to find them, he gets snatched too. So now both Sam and Krissy's dad are in the monster lair.
Around that time Dean realizes something's up - Sam is MIA - so he shows up at Krissy's house too. She refuses to let him leave without her, holding him at gunpoint until he agrees to bring her along on the rescue mission. Score one for Krissy, whose only failing is that she's always whining about "being treated like a girl." Actually she's being treated like a kid, not a girl. If Dean were treating her like a girl, he'd be hitting on her.
Once they arrive at the monster den, Dean handcuffs Krissy to the steering wheel to keep her out of trouble. Luckily, she manages to break out because Dean's gotten captured too. Krissy runs in, pretending to freak out and cry over her dad, and lets one of the monsters grab her - then, when the monster isn't paying attention, she whips out a knife and ganks the bitch. Nicely played, Krissy. She saved the day! I don't even care if she's the token tough chick in a show that's mostly about dudes - I still loved her for being awesome.
And now it's time to process our feelings
The brothers drop Krissy and her dad off, and discuss how good it feels to actually help somebody who might have a chance to make a good life for herself. They've got a long road ahead of them in their quest to kill Dick, but still take a moment to savor a job well done. Then Sam snuggles up to sleep, and Dean gives him the most soppy, sentimental look I have ever seen. There's a really long shot of Dean smiling, his eyes shining with what seem to be tears, as he contemplates his sleeping brother. Awwww, Dean is feeling love for his little brother, whom he still thinks of as a boy in need of protection. Dean, we wuv you too.
Also, this scene is so ship-tastic that it basically screams "Wincest." But, you know, in a sweet, gentle romantic way. And that's what counts.
UPDATE: As people have pointed out repeatedly in comments, this scene should probably be interpreted as Dean trying to take Frank's advice to keep smiling and be professional. But there was also something genuine to that smile too - I didn't feel the fakery. It really looked like Dean having an "I love my bro" moment.
Next week there will be more silly outfits.