Been a few days, but here's some new stuff! Thanks for the welcome, Dorian
1x13 Route 666
Sam and Dean head South (though not as South as I expected) to deal with a phantom truck that's involved in a string of racially-motivated murders after Dean's first love calls for help from the brothers. As it turns out the truck is the spirit of a racist named Cyrus who used to kill African-Americans in the 60s but whose girlfriend left him to be with a black man, who overcame and killed Cyrus when attacked.
I'm guessing this is the one people think is generally poor? There's elements of this episode that worked - I liked Dean's girl, I liked how it shed some light on why he was adamant that Jess couldn't be told. It's not a simple matter of Dean doesn't want other people involved, it's that he doesn't want his brother to have to go through the heartache he went through. And the idea of a phantom truck going around killing people is a pretty solid monster. And the family secret was interesting enough.
That said, there's also some serious problems. Primarily, I'm a bit confused about the truck's motivation. It seems like it wasn't so much a series of racially motivated killings as it was
the spirit getting revenge on the people that (justifiably as it was) killed him, and their family. Maybe that's not actually a serious problem, but I was a bit confused if he was doing it because he's such a racist bastard or because he was killed. Did Cyrus go after Dean becuase the brothers were disturbing his watery tomb, or because Dean was in a racially mixed (albeit brief) relationship?
Also, the resolution was rather abrupt and vague too. Ok, I get what happened, but as with the truck's motivation, I'm a bit unsure as to the why. I thought at first when Dean stopped in the crossroads that being a crossroads would have something to do with things (one of the later-season episodes I've seen involves one of the brothers at a crossroads summoning a demon) but it turns out to be the church Cyrus burned down. My question is: would any hallowed ground have worked, or was it that particular church? If so, that church could've used I think a bit more development than just the half-scene mention I recall. Finally, and maybe this is unfair of me because it does need to be said more often in society, the constand reminders of how racist the town used to be seemed kinda... repetitive. Is that unfair? Anyway, I still enjoyed it, but overall meh.
Sam's precognitive dreams return, though this time not about Jess but instead about a random man in Saginaw, who is murdered in a way that looks like a suicide. After investigation and the mysterious (and pre-seen but unavoidable) death of the man's brother, Sam and Dean discover that the man's son Max is telekinetic and is striking out against a brutally abusive family - and his stepmother's next. When Sam's attempts to talk Max down fail, Max turns
a gun on himself to end the pain.
Ahh, a good return to form. We get a little more information about the bigger picture, since apparently Mary Winchester wasn't the only victim of whatever demon John is hunting, and whatever the demon is is somehow connected to the strange gifts Sam and Max are exhibiting. Sam continues to be the very empathetic one, and I like how his first reaction was to try and talk Max down - though I wonder if it was partly so he could figure out what was happening to him. I expected the minimal telekenis, but it was still fun to see it happen. And more fun to see Dean's reaction when Sam told him about it. You get the idea Dean's starting to wonder about what exactly his brother is, but the love between them is strong as ever. The guy who played Max did a really good job being a mix of threatening, a little pathetic, but also clearly sympathetic in his brokenness (if not his murderousness). I appreciated the point Sam made that despite how messed up their home life might've been, things could've gone much, much worse considering what happened to Mary Winchester. Very good episode.
1x15 The Benders
"Supernatural meets Wrong Turn" - the brothers go to Hibbing, Minnesota to investigate some disappearances, and Sam gets himself disappeared as well. Dean impersonates an officer as per usual, teams up with local Deputy Kathleen Hudak, and goes looking. Despite being found out, Dean is allowed to remain on the case, but is handcuffed to Kathleen's car while she investigates (and gets herself captured). Turns out the monsters making people disappear are in fact a local hick family that like to hunt and kill humans for sport. Dean breaks in and gets subdued, but is enough of a distraction that Sam and Kathleen escape; Kathleen shoots the father in revenge for her brother's death and lies to Sam and Dean that he tried to escape.
Then again, maybe this was the one people were talking about as really not very good. Or maybe it's just me. There's nothing really *wrong* with this episode, and the Deputy who lost her brother is a good guest star. But the villain, aside from being boring and stereotypical, just angered me, in the sense that they're not worth being villains. Yeah, I know the point of "sometimes the worst enemy is humans" but they just annoyed me. Plus, if they were snatching people off the street, why'd they have so many cars? There were some nice character moments - it's always good to see Dean worried sick about little Sammy, and I enjoyed him kicking the shit
out of the misplaced hillbillies before he got snuck up on, but overall this episode left me fairly cold. Well, I guess except for the ending when Kathleen shoots the bastard - he deserved it, and it was good to see him done away with.
Next up, 1x16 Shadow
and 1x17 Hell House