Last night's Supernatural episode, "The Girl Next Door," give us a little fan service in two ways. One, we got a delicious flashback into Sam's past; and two, guest star Jewel Staite (Firefly's Kaylee) played a monster trying to go straight using the alias Amy Pond (the Doctor's companion on last season's Doctor Who). So yeah, that's a lot. But despite the gimmicks, it was a solid monster of the week episode — and a turning point in Sam and Dean's relationship.
If you recall, last episode ended on a cliffhanger, with the boys in Leviathan Hospital. Before any organs get chomped, however, a very spiff-looking Bobby comes to their rescue. Dean crutches out of the place all hopped up on morphine while Bobby wheels Sam out into a waiting ambulance. They zoom off just as Dr. Sexy and his henchmonsters are almost upon them. The result is that the Winchesters and Bobby are now the Leviathans' number one enemies.
While the boys are hiding out and healing in a rural cabin watching telenovelas, Sam reads a newspaper headline that sends him on a solo monster hunt. He takes off while Dean is sleeping, leaving only a note and sending Dean into a tizzy over Sam's mental health. But Sam has seen something in the newspaper stories about a serial killer who eats brains that reminds him of his first kiss. By the way, one of the reasons I love supernatural is that I can write sentences like that.
Love among the brain-eaters
So he sets off to find the killer — whom he suspects, and later confirms, is the first girl he ever kissed. Of course, she's a monster — Sam's been a monster chaser since he was a kid, apparently. Humans just don't do it for him. In a series of flashbacks, we learn that the young Sam tracked a similar kind of brain-eating monster. When he was researching that monster in the library, he meets a girl his own age who befriends him after he beats the crap out of some bullies who are messing with her.
When the girl takes Sam home, they bond over having weird parents who are always on the road. Neither admits the reason why, even though we've already figured out that "Amy" is with the monsters that the Winchesters are tracking. Both kids talk about how they don't want to be like their parents, and Amy even says that she thinks her mom may be evil. That's right around the time when they kiss, and Sam tells Amy, touchingly, that he's seen evil and he knows she's not it.
But it turns out that Amy's mom really is evil. Mom gets home and turns out to be more than a brain-eater — she's also an abusive mother who calls Amy stupid and screams at her for no reason. Amy hides Sam in the closet, but to no avail. The Winchesters arrive in their Chevy, and Sam connects the dot: Amy is a monster, and he has to kill her. This is the moment when Sam has his first realization that not all monsters should be killed. He looks into Amy's eyes, and just can't jam the knife into her heart.
Mom, however, has no such qualms. She find Sam and is about to kill him when - gasp - Amy knifes her own mother to save Sam!
Oh yeah give me some of that hot, wet fan service
So you can understand why, meeting Amy years later, Sam is willing to listen to her when she says that she's not the kind of person who would go on a brain-eating, serial killing spree unless she had a damn good reason.
We see that justification in this scene, where Amy reveals that she's been totally straight edge until now, when her son's illness required her to get some fresh pituitary gland to save his life. So, despite the the killing, Sam lets Amy go.
This is pretty typical Sam — he's spared the lives of monsters before, including some vampires who were trying to go mainstream in a very non-True Blood way. So this backstory helps us understand why Sam has always been soft on monsters, and willing to cut them some slack. It also shows us a side of young Sam we haven't seen before. This teenage Sam is tough and capable, unlike the little kid we've seen in previous flashbacks relying on his older brother for protection.
What the hell, Dean?
And the encounter with Amy also reignites a conflict that Sam and Dean have had before too, which is whether they should rethink their "kill all monsters" credo given Sam's status as a semi-monster and (in this episode) self-declared freak. In this scene, we see Sam explaining to Dean that they shouldn't kill Amy because she's dealing with her problems in the best way she can, just like Sam is dealing with his schizophrenia and tendency to see Satan at inopportune moments. We think that Dean has bought Sam's line, as he did before with the vamps, but no such luck.
As soon as Sam is looking the other way, Dean sneaks off to knife Amy in the heart. Not only does this seem cruelly unnecessary, but it's also a direct betrayal of Sam. With his actions, Dean seems to be saying that all monsters deserve killing, no matter what the circumstances. As always in these situations, Dean is a complete hypocrite: his own brother is a partial monster with demon blood in his veins whom Dean has spared a billion times; and Dean himself has been Satan's henchman. So why does Dean think he can judge another monster for killing to save her son's life? Because he's Dean. And this is the side of Dean it's really hard for anybody to like.
You know who really doesn't like it? Amy's son, who walks in on Dean while he's still holding the knife. Dean decides not to kill the kid because he knows the kid has never killed any humans, but warns him that he'll be back to get him if he hears about any brain-eating. With a seriously creepy look on his face, the kid replies, "The only person I'm going to kill is you."
By the way, Bobby (and most of his books) survived the Leviathan attack on the junkyard. So that happened.
We also found out that the Leviathans have got some kind of surveillance network set up to keep an eye on where the Winchesters are. Mostly they're doing this by tracking the boys' credit cards. Here's a hint, guys: Don't use the name of a Motorhead band members at a tiny store in Montana. Kind of a giveaway.
The episode ends with the Leviathans on the brothers' tail. Bobby's already told them that there are reports of Leviathan-like killings spreading rapidly across the midwest, so the Winchesters aren't the only targets. Just the biggest ones.
The Leviathan tracker has already gotten to the convenience store where Sam first saw news of Amy's killings in the papers. Lucky for the Leviathan, the store also has a big supply of superheated cheese that he pours on the head of the cashier to create what is undeniably a tasty monster snack. Who wouldn't want to eat brains covered in gooey, orange nacho cheese? Best use of cheese ever.
Now is the time when we process our feelings
Dean, like the honey badger, doesn't give a shit about what he's done to Amy. He tells the kid he can come back and try to kill him when he grows up, if Dean even lives that long. I don't get the feeling that this kid is going to be part of an arc, or will ever show up again. He's just another creature in a long line of creatures who hate Dean's guts. Plus, Dean just made an orphan out of an innocent kid. What the hell, Dean?
But an even bigger "what the hell Dean" moment was just the overall betrayal of Sam, and his unwillingness to believe that Sam's mind could be on the mend just the way Dean's leg is. Why has Dean gone from believing in Sam's ability to heal — in an incredibly moving scene last week — to being a total douche about it? Some of the stuff he says to Bobby about Sam being broken forever sounds a lot like what Lucifer Dean said when Sam was hallucinating. I think we've come full circle back to the relationship the brothers had when Sam was drinking demon blood with Ruby and Dean was freaking the hell out.
I'm really not looking forward to what happens when Sam finds out Dean is sneaking around behind his back.