Episode 09×05 AKA the Episode When Dean Barked at a Mailman
This episode saw the return of the classic SPN “Monster of the Week” formula. The Winchesters were back on the case, armed with fake badges and that same snarky sense of humor. “Dog Dean Afternoon” lights up on a taxidermist working late into the night, his faithful canine companion at his side. In walks a Cowboy Joe (played by Steve Valentine, aka Nigel from “Crossing Jordan”), who is more than a little bit snakey (snakes, why’d it have to be snakes?) as he flicks a forked tongue and constricts the taxidermist to death.
Sounds like a case for the Winchesters, right?
Well, Sam seems to think so. Dean, on the other hand, is a little reluctant to let his brother out of the bunker, which brings us to another moment of we-know-everything-Sam-doesn’t-know. Dean knows that Sam is still healing; Sam thinks everything is hunky-dory. Their conversation went a little something like this:
Sam: Well, gosh golly gee whiz, this looks like a case!
Dean: I think maybe we should lay low…
Okay, well maybe not exactly like that. But close enough. Anyway, the Winchesters return to a set-up we’re all familiar with–researching the bad guys while sitting in a crappy motel room. It’s nice to see the Winchesters back where they started out, though we know that Sam is possessed by an angel and Dean is burying himself alive in lies. But I digress.
The investigation of the taxidermist’s death leads them back to a vegan bakery, which to Dean, is probably worse than being strung up by Alistair in hell.
Sam: Are those bleeding heart witches or just hippies?
Dean: What’s the difference?
The investigation of the bakery leads them nowhere–just reemphasizes that the bad guy is very snakey, since he spat venom in the bakers-by-day/animal-rights-activists-by-night’ faces. We see same snakey-bad-guy go to the local animal shelter and swallow some poor kitties. Whole. I’m no cat lover, but…poor kitties. And then Snake Guy murders the only witness to his cat-devouring crime.
At this point in the episode, I have no idea what the monster is about. He’s got no real reason to kill the taxidermist or swallow cats whole, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. It’s just another monster for the Winchesters to hunt.
Dean and Sam run into a dead-end in their investigating, until they realize that someone has been witness to the two murders: the taxidermist’s dog, Colonel. In what is either a stroke of genius or just the writers’ attempts and comedic relief, the Winchesters decide to mind-meld with the dog. Because that’s so much simpler than doing the standard shtick of interviewing everyone in the whole town.
So Dean mind-melds with a dog. No, that’s not the beginning of a fanfic (maybe it would have worked better in fanfiction). The dog, Colonel, is a crotchety old man who hates Styx. The Winchesters quickly realize that Dean will be adopting some canine habits until the spell wears off. Such as eyeing up a French poodle (REALLY?) and barking at a mailman. Yes, barking at a mailman, to which I tweeted:
Dean’s mind-meld provides him with the ability to speak with all animals, Dr. Doolittle style, which leads to Dean whoring his brother out for belly rubs in exchange for information (can I have a belly rub too, J-Pad?). They’re led to a French restaurant where the head chef cooks himself up animal organs with a side of magic in order to make himself invincible. (My inner dialogue: WTF and ewwwwww).
The brothers are separated as they search the restaurant. Sam stumbles upon Snake Guy first, and when Snake Guy goes Dracula on Sam, Zeke takes over for a split second to heal Sam, a 3-second scene that Jared Padalecki deserves a standing ovation for.
Dean stumbles onto the scene to find Sam unconscious and Snake Guy ready to eat Sam’s innards, because anything that can heal like Sam does is worth eating for power, right? (When did this become an episode of Hannibal.) Using his canine sniffer, Dean can smell that Snake Guy actually has stage-4 cancer, and originally began eating the organs as a way to heal himself, but along the way has become a power-hungry megalomaniac.
Dean destroys the monster–no surprises there–and Sam and Dean drive away in the Impala. A successful ending to another Monster-of-the-Week episode. Or is it?
What This Episode Reveals About the Winchesters
This episode was fun. Lots of fluff, lots of humor, but there were a few very telling moments.
Telling Moment #1: Dean didn’t want to go on the hunt. Sam did. For someone who has been all about the family business, Dean really drug his feet on this one. Sam looks, acts, and feels fine, but only Dean (and by proxy, us) knows how broken Sam really is. But is Sam really as broken as Ezekiel wants us to believe? He can raise Cas and Charlie from the dead, but he can’t heal Sam as quickly?
Telling Moment #2: Sam knows he shouldn’t have been healed. Sammy isn’t stupid; he is beginning to put together the pieces of the puzzle. The question is now: will he confront Dean about it? And at some point, he’s gotta notice those blackouts. My money is on the mid-season finale.
Telling Moment #3: Dean’s realization at the end of the episode. As the brothers discuss Snake Guy, Dean’s face shows a moment of realization. I think he’s beginning to realize that although Ezekiel claims to be one of the good guys, he may have ulterior motives. (My thought: Zeke is in league with Metatron and is hiding from the other angels)
The Big Picture
I don’t think we’ll be seeing Snake Guy or animal mind-melds again anytime in the near future (once was enough for me). The Winchesters are back to doing the family business, distancing us from the traumatic season 8 finale and season 9 premiere, but we know that Ezekiel is there, looming in the background. And eventually, King of the Assbutts Bartholomew will return. Whose side is Zeke really on, anyway?
This episode isn’t one of my favorites. It’s filler. No big plot moments, no character reveals. Just the Winchesters killing monsters and kicking ass. But you know what? That’s why I watch this show: to enjoy the Winchesters. Fuck the rest.
Until next week, then, my fellow Hunters, when we will see CASTIEL WORKING IN A CONVENIENCE STORE.
Disclaimer: I own none of the images or film clips used in this post. But I think Dean Winchester may make a good pet.
- The “Supernatural” Soundtrack to Dean Winchester’s Life (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Recap: “Slumber Party” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)
- Supernatural Recap: “I’m No Angel” (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)