Supernatural: The Girl Next Door

Sam: "Nothing in our lives is simple."

This episode was like a classic novel about the nature of tragedy, but a lot shorter and without the dense prose.

There are hunters and monsters, and the gray area in between. Who was the real monster in this episode, Amy or Dean? Amy kept her word to Sam. She was only killing to save the life of her child, and she was even targeting bad guys. That's not a murderous rampage, that's killing to survive. Do monsters deserve to live? Like Lenore the vampire? Like Jack the rugaru? The conversation Dean had with the boy at the end was so simple and upsetting. Dean couldn't kill the boy, even though that boy will almost certainly grow up to be the monster that Amy was not, and even though he'll be coming after Dean or another hunter some day.

This episode was also about the line that divides the Winchester brothers. Sam let Amy go, not once, but twice – and Dean just couldn't. What bothered me the most was that Dean lied to Sam about something so important, because it showed a lack of respect for Sam's judgment. Dean always knows best, doesn't he? He second-guesses and overturns Sam's decisions. Of course, it's also true that Dean has always been less inclined to see any good whatsoever in the monsters they hunt, even when they look like Tricia Helfer.

At least we got Colin Ford as young Sam again. He's pretty much growing up on this show, isn't he? He carried the Winchester interactions all alone on the phone ("No, don't put Dad on... Hi, Dad") and he's old enough now to pull off a supernatural Romeo and Juliet. I also liked the reminder of "After School Special" that Sam as a kid was much tougher than he looked.


So, anyway. This was either a really good episode, or a really bad one. I haven't decided yet. It was certainly disturbing and sad. It told us, as if we didn't know already, that the Winchester story is not a happy one. And it won't end well. Even if everything really does go better with cheese.

Bits and pieces:

— The kitsune monsters looked human, which also blurred the line. Except that Leviathans look human, too.

— Thank you for giving us an invalid Dean hooked on soaps. That was fun.

— Amy was played by Jewel Staite from Firefly. That, and the fact that her alias was "Amy Pond" was a nice tribute to other sci-fi/fantasy shows that we love. The "Ice Pick Killer Strikes Again" made me think of the Ice Truck Killer in the first season of Dexter.

— However, I must take away points for the Lancaster Public Library. I hate librarian stereotypes, and they gave us a shushing librarian with her hair in a bun stamping books. She even had an ugly, witch-like mole on her face. Give me a break.

— A triple red eye? Clearly, caffeine did not stunt Sam's growth.

— Sam's credit card was under the name "Lemmy Kilmister." Let me kill mister? The Winchesters wouldn't leave so much of an electronic trail if they took out money with their stolen credit cards and used cash on the road.

— We still don't know who the boss Leviathan is. The build-up makes me think it'll have to be Misha Collins. He was the first to be possessed, after all. And I want Misha back in the show.

— This week: flashbacks to... was it 1998? How old would that make Sam, sixteen? Sioux Falls General Hospital; Whitefish, Bozeman, and Lancaster, Montana; and Spokane, with an ending at the Spokane Swan Motel. Rufus had a cabin in Montana. Nice place to hole up and heal.

— This episode was directed by series star Jensen Ackles, who again did an excellent job. I also liked the girl who played young Amy. Not an easy part to play at that age.

Quotes:

Bobby: "I gotta go round up my old library."
Sam: "I thought you said most of those books were one of a kind."
Bobby: "Yeah. That's why I stashed copies all over the place."
Scan them and put them on the internet, Bobby. The world needs an internet archive for hunters.

Television announcer: "... a three-D ride to Hell! My Bloodiest Valentine in Hell-a-vision 3-D!"

Young Amy: "All the coolest people are freaks."

Amy: "How did you find me?"
Sam: "You dropped this. Amy Pond. Cute name."

Dean: "Eventually, the other shoe will drop. It always does."

I'm going to let you guys rate this episode. How many shades of gray out of four?

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

27 comments:

CPLane said...

I couldn't help but be reminded of Kill Bill when Dean spoke with the kid. Very similar to what Beatrix said to Vernicia's kid, and you also have the fact that they both took a knife in the chest. Maybe coincidental, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Id like to point out that if you look at the caller ID name on Sams phone when Dean was calling him, the name was "Lars Ulrich" the drummer for Metallica.

Anonymous said...

I was rather upset with Dean killing Amy in the end, especially his whole speech about how people can't change. I immediately thought of how Sam was hooked on demon blood, or how Cas went on his power trip, or how Dean himself was a pretty good torturer in Hell. So his whole people can't change speech made me a little irritated. Although, if he really does believe that, then it'll go a long way to start explaining why Dean doesn't trust Sam's judgement.

Other then that, I was very happy with the episode. I think Jensen did a wonderful job directing. And I always love to see Colin Ford on the show. Plus, I wasn't staring at my TV when it ended thinking, "What the hell just happened and where is Cas?" Bobby gave me the wiggins though. Where was he if he wasn't at the house? I almost feel like he's a plant.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about this episode. I know "Dean knows best," but him killing Amy just seemed so out of character especially when he knew she had a child and was killing to save her child. I can't help but be suspicious and wonder if there's something else going on with Dean. So often in this show, people are not who they appear to be. On another note, I LOVE how so far this season each episode picks up at the exact moment the previous one left off. Will be fun to rewatch on DVD.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember if Dean has used Lemmy as an alias before, but he's the bass player for Iron Maiden.

Anonymous said...

Lemmy = Motorhead not Iron Maiden

Zacky said...

Hey Billie, not sure if you knew this or not but the actress who played Aamy (Pond now that name is a good choice) was not Tricia Helfer but Jewel Staite from Stargate Atlantis. Just thought I would point this out.

Anonymous said...

I got the willies about Bobby too. Something about the way he touched Dean's face in the hospital struck me as very not-Bobby. This wore off as the episode wore on, BUT remember the levis have the knowledge bank of whoever they are occupying. I don't know...weird. - Jen

Billie Doux said...

Zacky, yes, I know it was Jewel Staite. I mentioned that in my bits and pieces section. My mention of Tricia Helfer was to the character of Molly she played in the season two episode, "Roadkill." Of all the "monsters" they've gone after in the series, Molly was probably the most sympathetic, and Dean kept his distance from her.

Rachel said...

I wondered about Bobby too, but why would the Leviathans be tracking the Winchesters if they already have an inside man?

Awesome review as always. Your reviews are what got me watching Supernatural again after giving up mid first season, and I always love reading them. I agree that all signs point to Cas coming back as our big bad, and I might have done some delighted squealing when Jewel Staite appeared on screen.

There was less in the way of delighted squealing when Dean decided to go with the non-trusting Sam. :(

JK said...

I am decidedly miffed about Dean's actions at the end of the episode. Admittedly, I may have internalized Firefly a bit too much, but I tend to take it very personally when anyone hurts Jewel Staite.

(Alright, there's no "may" about it. But even so. :P)

Jess Lynde said...

Not a good episode for me. I was bored through most of it, and then completely put off by Dean's actions at the end. I feel like Dean has more than come to recognize shades of grey in the last several years, and it struck me as very out of character for him to kill Amy. Especially knowing that she had a kid. But, I guess we'll see where it goes from here.

Anonymous said...

I was sorry to see Dean kill Amy but I really don't think it was that out of character for him. If you look at all the failed attempts to change that he has seen (Sam returning to demon blood, Lenore killing again, Dean himself going back to hunting...) I can easily believe that those shades of gray could start separating into black and white. Dean is one who believes what he sees and he hasn't seen a lot of change attempts work out.

Clearly Dean doesn't trust Sam's judgement and he's statements to Amy seem to indicate he doesn't think Sam will be able to manage himself or recover either. That actually makes me more sad. I don't want this to be a season long development. It was so refreshing to have Sam tell Dean what was going on last week. Please let them deal with this in the next couple of episodes.

Overall I give this ep an 8.5. I really enjoyed the hospital escape and the humor at the cabin. Loved Colin Ford, the two Amy's were good guest stars and the boys were great. Bobby was a little off and there were a couple of draggy parts in the middle but still a good one. No duds so far this season for me.

RoseCompose

Zacky said...

Sorry about that. I guess that's the danger of skimming. Other than what I missed, great review! Thanks!

Logan Cox said...

Excellent review, as always. And another great episode.

There were a few things that stood out to me. One is how this episode is predominantly a well told Sam story, but Dean ends up owning in the end (a testament to how awesome of a show this is).

Though a good episode, it feels kind of out of place so early into the major Leviathan plot.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but I don't think Bobby is Bobby. His showing up to save the day with no real explanation how he escaped death was a little too convenient. Also his lack of worrying about Sam going off on his own with Lucifer in his mind and Leviathans hunting them. Maybe Cas is possessing him.

But what struck me most was the fact that Dean just became that kid's yellow eyed demon. The thing he dedicated his life trying to destroy. Very sad story indeed.

Jay said...

I was going to write a comment and then I scrolled down to Logan's response and he pretty much summed up all I had to say. I agree that Bobby seemed off, way too casual about Sam.

And I agree with Anonymous that it was not out of Dean's character to kill Amy. Great review, Billie.

Annie said...

Hi Billie,

Really good review. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to put your (very entertaining) thoughts and feelings into cyberspace.

I've been reading some of the comments on Dean's murder of Amy at the end of the episode. I would have to agree with Anonymous and Jay as well, and say that I don't think it was out of character at all. Dean has been fairly consistent with the way in which he deals with threats (shoot first and ask questions later). What I did find slightly jarring was his decision NOT to kill the boy. If he believed that Amy had to be eliminated because she was a monster who had/would/could hurt people, then by definition, his logic should be the same about the boy. He should have applied the same principle - but evidently couldn't because stabbing a child would've been too hard for him, monster or not. Something about this double standard irked me... I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it kinda made his comments to Sam about the black-and-white nature of evil sound hollow - because clearly, Dean's moral color wheel has its own shades of gray. A very interesting conundum for the older Winchester, once again perfectly portrayed by the talented Mr Ackles. Looking forward to next week!

Anonymous said...

Tricky, very tricky. I know that Amy was just killing to survive but Dean also has a point, she doesn´t know for sure if she will stop killing. This is a very grey world with no easy answers and it leaves me torn.

Anonymous said...

Great review for a fantastic episode! I understood both Dean's and Sam's viewpoints here, but it was so tragic that Jacob was left alone. What if there was no one for him to go to? Would Dean have killed him? Or taken him along? Poor Sam--Montague vs. Capulet, and even his first kiss came from a monster-to-be! Check out my full reviews at WWW.moogi.com and Winchester Family Business.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to have nothing but sympathy for these "monsters." Lenore had to eat. The Phoenix wasn't malicious or evil, hell, he had a human wife and was perfectly justified in killing the man who killed her and the people who falsely convicted him and hung him for her murder. Amy did what she had to do to help her son, and frankly, even Eve wasn't so bad. (No, really.) She was fine with the arrangement of hunters and "monsters," it wasn't until Cas and Crowley wanted to take possession of purgatory that she went wild.

Dean was a torturer in hell, so about people never changing. . .

Also--very creepy that he waited for Amy in her motel room. He was, as Logan so aptly put it, acting like the Yellow Eyed demon. Ugh.

Jess Lynde said...

You all have made some very interesting arguments about why this was perfectly in character for Dean. I think the one that finally sold me was the last Anon's comment about Dean's view that people don't change.

I think his actions felt out of character to me, because I want to believe that Dean has changed and grown beyond "a monster is a monster is a monster." But if he really is in a "people don't change" mode right now, then it makes perfect sense that he'd kill her, because that's who he was for a long time. He's reverting to form. Or he's just being who he is, and I can't get past my own conception of who I want him to be.

I guess the biggest sticking point for me is what Annie said: he should have killed the boy, too. With his mom, he had a shot at not becoming a murderous monster, but without her ...

Dean really did just pull a YED move on the kid. He should have just killed him to spare the kid and his future victims the suffering.

Great discussion this week, guys.

Patryk said...

Indeed it was very tough to look at what Dean did, because we want him to see it differently and becasue it was Jewel Staite. I wonder where will it go from here.

ChrisB said...

Logan's comment: But what struck me most was the fact that Dean just became that kid's yellow eyed demon. The thing he dedicated his life trying to destroy. Very sad story indeed.

I hadn't thought of it until I read it, but it rings true to me and is, indeed, very sad. It is obvious that this series is not going to be rainbows and bunnies at the end, but the foreshadowing is becoming too clear. Dean's saying to Amy's son, "if I live that long" is the second time this season he has made a comment like that.

I was shocked when Dean killed Amy. I understand why he felt he had to do it and I agree with the comments above that it was not out of character; however, it felt very cold to me. And his conversation with the son gave me shivers. Where is our Dean with the big heart?

Anonymous said...

I have been very bothered by Dean this season. First off, I was incredibly annoyed that he was angry with Sam because Sam was saying he was fine in the first 2 episodes of the season. How about some compassion? Even Bobby told him to back off.

I didn't like him lying to Sam about trust and then going behind Sam's back in this episode.

I'm upset by Dean's self-righteousness. He is not a likable character for me right now, and it makes me want to skip a bunch episodes until we get a better Dean back. Even Sam without a soul was tolerable than this Dean (for me).

I did enjoy the flashbacks, though.

Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Billie Doux said...

Thomas, I'm sorry, but I have to delete your comment because it has a spoiler for a future episode in it. Please feel free to repost your comment without the spoiler.

magritte said...

This episode was one of several that really soured me on Supernatural in seasons 7-9. I found Dean very self-righteous and hypocritical in that era.