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‘Supernatural’ 7.20, 7.21 Recaps: ‘The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo,’ ‘Reading Is Fundamental’

Two back-to-back episodes of Supernatural throw unsuspecting civilians into the middle of the Winchester’s horrible little world as the the boys finally start to gather some ammunition against Leviathan.

The last couple of weeks have offered two pretty solid episodes of Supernatural, nudging the overarching Leviathan plot forward more than just the mere increments we’ve been getting for the bulk of the season, while also giving us an update on the status of heaven and hell. Things aren’t going so well in the former and the latter will be a problem for Sam and Dean soon enough.

In “The Girl With the Dungeons & Dragons Tattoo,” Felicia Day guest stars as Charlie, a programmer in Dick Roman’s giant corporate empire, who gets on our villain’s radar after he acquires Sam and Dean’s recently-deceased hacker dude Frank’s hard drive. Roman thinks there might be some information on there which could provide him a lead to Sam and Dean, and after the drive sends the boys a remote alert that someone’s attempting to hack it, well, they’ve got to get it back, don’t they?

The big revelation this episode: Roman’s after a mysterious Macguffin that might just be the Winchesters’ key to defeating the Purgatory-spawned villain. The other big revelation: that the Dick Roman character has been languishing on the sidelines and in the background all season—James Patrick Stuart is fantastic in the role, a monster in the body of a corporate sociopath. His scenes with Day where he credits her and other humans for their uniqueness and capability is funny in an American Psycho kind of way, and as we get near the end of this season, it’s a shame to realize at this late stage that we could have been getting this kind of glorious weirdness all year long.

Next up is “Reading is Fundamental,” where poor high school student Kevin Tran (Osric Chau) becomes an unwilling prophet thanks to an ancient tablet. A large part of this episode is devoted to getting back to Castiel and Meg (Mischa Collins, Rachel Miner) after the former’s mental crises kind of sort of reaches a workable resolution. The upside of things: Castiel won’t be joining the boys in their fight against Leviathan, and he’s not going back to heaven. And that’s a good thing, because in the cosmic powers game apparently Leviathan beats angel as we learn this episode.

Another strong episode here, even if it was a surprise to see Sam and Dean wreak havoc on some innocent civilian’s lives two weeks in a row. Ultimately, the way in which both stories are resolved, the way in which the Winchester’s horrible whirlwind of Biblical chaos can totally upend a person’s life, at best, putting them on the run, and at worst… well, poor Kevin Tran. Ultimately, though, both episodes serve to show the series at its strongest, juggling multiple story threads—Meg and Bobby are two particularly problematic characters in Sam and Dean’s lives right now who aren’t made of black goo—and as we head into the last two episodes of the season, here’s hoping the writers can keep it up.

Supernatural airs Fridays at 9 PM on the CW.

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