The latest Supernatural episode was a return to form with “Bad Boys.” It would normally be called a filler episode, a term usually used with annoyance to label an episode that doesn’t advance the overall plot of the series. The “previously on” clips mixed scenes from recent episodes and a lot of flashbacks from older ones. We were reminded of the deal Dean made with Ezekiel to save Sam’s life. There were also a slew of clips showing the Winchesters when they were younger, and how Dean vowed to always look after Sam. He’d do anything for his brother, and that makes his deal with Ezekiel come more into focus.
It was super appropriate that the intro showed clips from earlier episodes not only because we’d have a flashback to when Dean was a kid, but also because the episode hearkened to the Supernatural of old, pre-angels and apocalypses. There are several moments that feel like classic Supernatural, such as the first scene with the farmer gruesomely impaled on the tines of a tractor. There’s also the age-old “Don’t put your hand in there” scenario with a lawnmower (take that any way you like). Those gory shock fests were prevalent in Supernatural‘s early days. Remember the repair man’s hand in the drain in the “Home” episode? You can’t forget that.
Probably the highlight of this episode was Dean’s backstory. The place being haunted is a boys home, ironically a place where Dean had spent a couple months as a teenager. For once, the guy has happy memories of his childhood. There’s a sweet interaction between him and another girl who he asks to a school dance. This was much needed character development for Dean that touched the heart. Tragically, just as he’s preparing to go to the dance, Papa Winchester returns to pick him up.
Dean remembers the highlights from his time in the home with tenderness. It’s a side of the character we don’t see often, and rounded him out nicely. Usually we see the wisecracking or gruff, tough guy. Having his character not backing away from “chick flick moments” was a breath of fresh air.
Then, we have the baddie for the episode. This very easily could have been a normal haunting, but it became more complicated. The haunting is connected to a young boy, Timmy, who currently resides in the home after his mother was killed in a brutal car accident. The Winchesters learn near the end that the spirit of his mother is not just bound in this place by an object like they first expected, but by her son. This is met with a second of horror, as usually hunters destroy whatever attaches a spirit to earth by burning it.
Instead, Dean has a great moment (as the life is being choked out of him by the spirit, of course) where he reminds the kid how to get people to respect him. An earlier scene showed Dean teaching Timmy to do a proper handshake. Timmy recalls this, and uses it to be more assertive. He orders his mother to move on. We get a sense of a torch being passed here, as Timmy gets his first lesson on being an adult and not relying on his mother. Timmy parallels Sam and Dean’s lifestyle. The child of a hunter needs to learn to grow up quickly and take charge. Timmy meets his coming of age moment when he saves the rest of the household from his mother’s wrathful spirit.
Well done, Supernatural. You managed to give us a filler episode that we didn’t mind a bit. We had gruesome murders, chick flick moments (ahem “character development”), and a tricky ghost to defeat. Plus you made us think that little boy was possessed. Because kids are creepy in this show.