Episode 818 “Freaks and Geeks”
Before I review this episode, let’s talk a little about how writing a TV show works. A group of writers gathers in the writer’s room, and one of them is the “head writer” for that episode. This means he or she is the one who gets the writing credit on screen and in IMDb, but he or she is not the only one who actually came up with all the ideas and the entire script. The head writer is responsible for making the final dish out of the ingredients provided by the writing staff, studio notes, executive producers, and so on.
This is why Adam Glass has the on-screen writing credit on one of my favorite episodes of the season, “As Time Goes By,” as well as on this week’s less than spectacular effort. Spoilers follow.
Last week’s preview looked so interesting. A school for young hunters? It reminded me of the X-Men, and in fact they even threw in a line about that, acknowledging the similarity. Three teens who have lost their families to vampires are taken in by Victor, a hunter that Sam and Dean know from way back when. It sounds too good to be true for these kids who need a parent figure, and who are only too eager for revenge.
Note that phrase: Too eager.
The idea of training a new generation of hunters in an organized, coherent manner, is very appealing. Where the series seems to be going (unless I’m in my own fantasy here) is that Sam will begin where the “men of letters” left off and train more like himself, while Dean will do the same with hunters, the two groups making an unstoppable team against the dark things that threaten humanity.
This jagged false start, however, was not it. I can see Dean revisiting these three in the future, if the series does go that direction, as the nucleus of his hunter team. Now is not that time.
This particular episode featured a convoluted situation with a flimsy motive: Victor partners with a vampire to kill the families of these teens on purpose, so that he can sweep in and be their savior and help them enact “revenge” on the vamps that did it. The problem is that new-made vamps are being set up to take the fall as easy kills, gaining the kids confidence in the art of hunting, which makes Victor happy.
Sorry, but I’m just not buying it. The rushed “killer speaks” monologue at the very end was so confusing that I needed to ask my friend in Ohio what was going on, and my husband questioned why a vampire would help a hunter (ignoring the special circumstances of Dean and Benny). The best explanation we can come up with is that Victor not only allowed the vamp to live, but let him have free reign to do whatever he wanted, including make more vamps.
So Victor gets a nest of vampires to kill the families of three teenagers, and allows other random innocent people to be turned into vampires so that these teens can then brutally behead them, in order to become ultra-hunters and fight evil monsters. Because none of that was evil, apparently. In a show that requires constant suspension of disbelief because of things like angels, vampires, golems and the King of Hell, Victor’s entire pretzel logic premise goes too far even for Supernatural.
At the end, the teens seem more than a little nonplussed to have killed at least one innocent person, and by the fact that their father figure blows his brains out right in front of them. One wonders who is going to be cleaning up the splattered wall that they all seem to be ignoring at the end of the show, especially after Sam and Dean just take off and leave them all there with the promise of Garth showing up at some point to check on them. Is the body of Victor still there someplace as well? Do they just bury him in the back yard? What became of the vampire that they bubble-wrapped and threw in the truck of their car?
Other than the Winchesters, the best part of this episode was young actress Madison McLaughlin, who has appeared previously as Krissy Chambers. Love or hate her character, her acting skills are fantastic, and she has a very bright future ahead.
According to next week’s preview, we get back to the three trials. In this one, an innocent soul has to be rescued from hell, which involves quite a bit of Crowley screen time, and the return of Benny the vampire as Dean tries to get him to help out. I hope the next episode is better than this one was.