To the best of my knowledge, I've never met anyone who went to a psychic or called a psychic hotline back when that was a whole thing. Well, in this week's episode of Supernatural, Sam and Dean investigate a series of murders in a small town that just full of sham psychics and clairvoyants.
This season of Supernatural is weird with picking up interesting thematic threads and then promptly dropping them. Case in point: "Defending Your Life" had, to my mind, a stellar setup that had some room to look back at the impact the last six seasons have had on the boys' lives while also tackling the weird guilt that seems to come with their jobs (which essentially amounts to be roaming killers). But by about the two-thirds point, Sam found some kind of hoodoo to get rid of an Egyptian god and the plot had, more or less, moved on.
It hasn't resulted in bad episodes, per se, it just feels like the writers feel trapped in the monster of the week formula and can't make room for other types of stories for Sam and Dean. And it results in episodes like this weeks, where the big idea is that Sam and Dean, who deal with the unknown and paranormal every week, have to help out a bunch of scam artists and fakers claiming to be psychics. A spirit tied to the town's past is giving the fake psychics real visions of their deaths and then they die in horrible ways just a few days later. The resolution to the mystery involves a jealous, hateful ghost and a fakeout you can see a mile away, but the episode features some pretty harrowing attacks on the victims.
It's episodes like this where I'm interested in what, exactly, Sam and Dean as characters believe in. Like, is there any kind of case that they would get a lead on and think, "Nope, calling shenanigans, because _________ doesn't exist." Or I suppose, on the flip side, presenting them with something that they have absolute faith in knowledge in, and pulling the rug out from under them. Some of these big ideas cropped up in seasons four and five as the conflict between Heaven and Hell was in full swing. This also gave the series some kind of thematic or ideological backbone--something that's still not quite there in season seven (we're a third of the way in and still don't really know or understand the villain or the stakes).
I will say that I'm happy that the "Dean killed Amy, is sad" storyline reaches some kind of resolution here. Not that the idea behind the story was bad or even that it dragged on especially long (three episodes), but I think these kind of trust storylines between Sam and Dean tend to get less mileage as time wears on. After a certain point, these are guys who've simply got one another's backs and it's weird ginning up some kind of plot that calls that into questions.
And this is something that hadn't hit my radar until this weekend: Supernatural episodes are now streaming on Hulu+, and not just a week after air date (as it's currently streamed on the CW site). So you now have one more option to watch Sam and Dean's continually spiraling life go wildly out of control with monsters, demons, and still-unexplained creatures from Purgatory.
Next week, the boys have a big fat, Supernatural wedding:
Supernatural airs Friday nights at 9 on the CW.