In the wake of Bobby's death, Dean gets to take care of a sassy teen and play dress up in the 40's with Krycek.
So after a nice holiday break, it looks like Supernatural plans to coast for a little while on the monster of the week format if these two episodes and the next are any indication. Which is kind of worrying, because at this point, the Leviathan storyline needs a bit more heat behind it and the Limbo-spawned villains need a bit more definition beyond what we've seen so far. Sure, both episodes call out the overarching main storyline once or twice, but it still feels way too underdeveloped to be at the halfway point of the season.
Both episodes here are fairly Dean-centric as the show tries to slowly turn Jensen Ackles' characters away from the grim disposition that the last couple years' worth of plots have locked him in. While the wisecracking, Untouchables-quoting Dean in "Time After Time" might have been straining it a little, getting back to a lighter take on the character is a welcome transition. It also helps that Ackles is a very funny actor, and does goofy bemusement and unexpected fanboyishness very well.
"Adventures In Babysitting" presents the aftermath of Bobby's shooting and Sam and Dean try to decipher the meaning of the string of numbers Jim Beaver's character passed along before he died. This means Dean spending more one on one time with Lone Gunmen-type Frank (Kevin McNally) who determines that the numbers are actually coordinates leading to a heavily-secured, seemingly empty field in the middle of nowhere. So now that they have a "what" it's only a matter of figuring out a "why" behind Leviathan's protection of some random patch of land.
However, that's just the B-story, as the main plot focuses on Sam's (and then later Dean's) attempt to protect the teen daughter of another hunter who's gone missing. I like the setup here, involving the boys reluctantly trudging through some of Bobby's unfinished business and being forced to tell his extended network of friends that he's passed on, but outside of Dean having a couple of light moments with the kid, the thematic purpose of this episode is kind of lost on me. The big moral at the end was that her father shouldn't be hunting? Or something? It just feels like there's a hole where some kind of meaning or link to what Dean's going through should be, given that most of the episode is occupied with him being obsessed and maybe a lot messed up.
This week's episode continues in the MotW vein as the boys hunt down a man in a fedora who's draining the life out of unsuspecting people. It turns out there's on the trail of Chronos, the god of time, and after Dean takes a flying tackle at him, he ends up in 1943 where he teams up with a monster hunting Elliott Ness (Nicholas Lea) who does not care much for Dean's anachronisms and weepy emotions. And I say with no exaggeration that the CW's failure to immediately greenlight a weekly series where Elliott Ness shoots demons with a Thompson machinegun is a travesty—a travesty, I say!
It's good that the interplay between a starstruck Dean and Ness is so effective because Chronos isn't a particularly interesting villain, and points to the over reliance in recent episodes on the current season's monsters to either be people with slightly bumpy makeup or no makeup at all. Also, it's the second time this season that Sam and Dean have faced a god and it's ended with a fairly mundane kill (actually, I think in both cases it involved stabbing the bad guy with a stick). Again, thank goodness for the chemistry between Ackles and Lea, otherwise the episode might be a wash.
Before closing this recap out, notice something: it almost seems like I forgot about Sam, didn't it? Well, based on how little he has to do in the last two episodes, I'd almost suspect the same of the Supernatural writers. His "being tormented by the devil" storyline is either resolved/on a break—it's not wholly clear—but he most provides support to Dean's plots and with next episode apparently involving Dean impregnating some kind of monster or cultist lady, it looks like the trend is set to continue for a bit.
Next week, Dean goes through the Supernatural version of Knocked Up:
Supernatural airs Friday nights at 9 on the CW.