Saturday, October 8, 2011

Supernatural Season 7 Episode 3: The Girl Next Door

Last week's episode left the Winchester brothers in an ambulance headed into trouble. At the beginning of “The Girl Next Door”, several problems are solved at once as Bobby Singer shows up to rescue Sam and Dean. They get away, much to the frustration of Dr. Monsterface (not to be confused with Dr. Sexy.). With Bobby's place in ruins, they hole up in a hunting cabin in Whitefish, Montana. Three weeks later, Dean is almost ready to get out of his cast (?!?), and Sam's hallucinations appear to at least be manageable. Sam heads into town for a routine grocery run, and his credit card activity tips off the Leviathans to his location. (See? You KNEW credit card companies were evil.)

More importantly, Sam comes across a monster MO he's seen before. Several local criminals have been killed with ice picks to the head, and found with chunks of gray matter missing. Sam scarpers off alone, leaving a note, and gets a motel room in town. Dean is alarmed but not Bobby.

In flashbacks, we see Sam in his early teens, helping Dean and their dad track a similar monster—a Kitsune. which can be killed by being stabbed through the heart. In the course of this hunt, he makes a connection with Amy, a girl his age. She takes him home to patch up his minor injuries after he saves her from some toughs, and they end up sharing Sam's first kiss. They learn that they both had to relocate a lot and have often felt like freaks. Sam hides in a closet when Amy's mom comes home, and it quickly becomes clear that she's not only a crappy parent, but also the sweetbread-gobbling monster that the Winchesters have been hunting. Sam is caught trying to sneak away, and Amy kills her own mother to save him. Amy begs him to run off and start a new life with her, but he explains that he can't, telling her to skip town and promising to take care of the body.

In present-day Whitefish, it doesn't take Sam long to find Amy. He keeps her from attacking another lowlife, only to get knocked out and wake up in her home. Amy explains that she has a normal life now, complete with a mortgage, and even became a mortician to satisfy her, er, dietary requirements. She shows him her son sleeping in another room, and explains that the only reason she killed was because he had recently gotten very sick and needed the fresh stuff. When she promises not to kill again, Sam leaves her unharmed.

Dean is waiting for Sam when he returns to his hotel room, and is none to happy, especially since Sam took the Impala. Sam tells Dean everything, and Dean maintains that Amy will kill again. Eventually Sam seems to have persuaded Dean to trust
him, even if he doesn't trust Amy. On the way out of town, however, Dean tracks down Amy and kills her. He tells her son to go find someplace to go and never to hurt anyone unless he wants the same fate. As the episode ends, we see that the Leviathans have arrived in Whitefish. (On a related note, I may never eat nachos with cheese again.)

The first thing I want to remark on is Jewel Staite's guest turn as Amy. As a devout Joss Whedon fan, it was great to see her. She is, if possible, even prettier now than she was as the fresh-faced, sex-positive, terminally cheerful mechanic Kaylee in
Firefly. This role was very, very different, though, and gave her a chance to demonstrate her range. I'll confess, when I learned she would play an old friend of Sam's, I was hoping for a “Screw this! I'm gonna live!” moment. (Whedonites will understand.) Alas, none of that was to be. I was sorry to see the episode end the way it did, and less than thrilled with Dean.

A friend of mine suggested that there may be more to Amy's story than just what was shown in “The Girl Next Door”, because it wasn't like Dean to knowingly leave a young child without a mother. I'm less convinced that Dean didn't mean to do what he did, but once again, my mind swirls with speculation. What if Dean missed Amy's heart, and she's not dead? What if the lore is wrong, and neither she nor her mother are dead? What if her mother committed the killings, and Amy was only trying to cover for her? (We never actually saw her killing anyone, just following.) The writers on Supernatural tend to bring back anyone they want to.

We all know that the death of female characters is a cliché' on
Supernatural by now. Sure, almost anyone is fair game, but even Misha Collins jokes about the poor odds for the ladies. I was disappointed that this time was no exception. However, I still have to acknowledge the strange respect that Dean showed Amy, as seen in the way he caught her as she died rather than letting her fall. When interacting with her and her son, he was clearly agonized and conflicted about what he was doing. He's also clearly lost faith in Sam's judgment as a hunter, which I think will matter later on.

Not long ago, Clarissa at TV Over Mind blogged about the things she wanted to see in Season 7. I'm totally with her...well, on #1 most of all, but also on the idea of
fewer character deaths and more recurring characters. The three hunters have been effectively on their own for a while. With Castiel seemingly gone for good, the show could us new folks to act as ballast. I hope we either see Amy again or that her death becomes an issue between Sam and Dean. Either way, Whedon fans have gust appearances by Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters (both of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel) to look forward to.

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