Dean’s daddy issues collapse in on him this week as he realizes John had a point to his Major Dad ways that he doesn’t want to repeat with Ben. The episode opens with a signature scare-your-pants-off scene of a screaming, bloody mother clutching a baby while desperately seeking a place to hide from someone stalking her in her home. She scooches under the bed to find her husband’s bloodied corpse beside her on the floor. As she finally calms down and the baby coos, she’s dragged by her feet from underneath the bed and we’re locked on to a rather nonplussed baby while her mother screams and screams out of frame.
On the Winchester domesticity front, Dean, Lisa, and Ben have moved house and Dean has turned into a jittery dictator, keeping the family on lockdown “just in case.” Out in the garage, he unpacks his short rifle and leaves it on the bumper of the Impala, under the tarp, so of course Ben later finds it, and has the trunk open on the whole arsenal, about which Dean promptly loses his shit. Ben tells Dean he can be like him and he wants to learn and Dean shuts him down. In what I took to be a very prophetic warning of an exact opposite plot point to come, Dean yells at Ben that he will “never, ever shoot a gun.” Let’s revisit that in May, shall we? Lisa comes in later and asks why Ben locked himself in his room. She asks what Ben did and Dean says, “Nothing,” so she asks, “What did you do?” (smart lady) and Dean says Ben was in his tools and he lost his temper (but he isn’t truthful about finding Ben holding a gun). She tells him that this has to stop, they lives to get back to, and they can’t be housebound.
Separately, Sam is investigating the baby snatching and parent murders and Samuel theorizes baby stew via supernatural or bent human means, and Sam realizes the security company is the common thread for all victims. He goes to the house of the family he believes will be the next target, and finds the couple already dead. He runs smack into the killer, cuts him, and then the killer flees. Sam searches the house and finds something that surprises him, which we don’t see. Cut to him calling Dean in a panic and threatening to arrive on his doorstep if Dan doesn’t come meet him. So Dean goes and Sam says, “It’s strapped down in the backseat.” Dean peeks in, and looks at Sam, who tells him, “Welcome to the party, Guttenberg.” The package in the backseat is a baby. [Sidebar: if the promos hadn’t used the baby, this reveal would’ve been very clever. They screwed the writer. Just saying.]
So Dean goes home and packs his gear. Lisa bids him bon voyage (I’d imagine pretty happy to get Type A out of the house for a few days). Dean makes her show him she can load a handgun and then kisses her goodbye. We then get a few scenes of Dean and Sam being sort of clueless. Dean less so, he says, because of Ben, and Lisa’s new niece/nephew, but I also think because he raised Sam, although that doesn’t really come up. They encounter a woman at the grocery checkout who offers to hold the baby. In a telling moment when she asks his name, Dean says “Bobby” at the same time Sam says “John” (each naming their figural dads) and then Dean settles on “Bobby John.”
He looks over his shoulder at the security camera and sees that the kindly woman’s eyes are white on camera, so he tells her to hand over the kid before he stabs her and Sam’s horrified until Dean shoots him a look to check out the camera. They chase her through the store, and in the process of grabbing at her, Dean pulls some of her skin loose, revealing that our MOTW is a shifter. Sam gets to the car with the baby and Dean is interrupted by store security before he can kill her. He escapes to the car and the shifter runs outside to catch the license plate.
Back at the motel, Dean is changing a diaper (which he terms an IED with poop) and successfully putting Bobby John down for a nap (loved him asking him, “Are you gonna be a man about it?”) as he talks to Sam about his life. Sam sort of not-so-gently tells Dean he’s repeating John’s mistakes by imposing the hunter’s life and the constant fear onto Lisa and Ben, and that that’s not a life. He doesn’t, however, apologize for setting that in motion by showing up last week.
Separately we see the shifter has now changed into a cop and is calling in an APB on Sam’s car. Samuel calls Sam with a tip that one of the victim’s husbands wasn’t home during the murder and kidnapping so Sam goes to interview him and Dean stays with Bobby John. He’s sipping a scotch, and when the baby starts to cry, her runs his finger around the glass and then puts some of the scotch on Bobby Johns lips and he stops crying (Texas baby raising – hee!).
During his interview, Sam discovers that the victim’s husband hadn’t been sleeping with her, so the baby wasn’t his, even though the wife swore it was. He pieces together that the shifter was working for the security company and impregnating women while he appeared to them as their husbands, and then returning nine months later to fetch his kids. (Sort of like the X-Files episode “Small Potatoes” but without the bloody murder).
Back at the motel, Dean is enjoying his first Magic Fingers in a year when he hears a pop and the baby starts crying. He looks up and there’s skin and mucous all over the wall. He eases up to the crib to find that Bobby John has shifted from a white baby boy to a black baby boy. About this time, there’s a knock on the door and then the master key is used and the cop strides in demanding the baby. He says a child should be with his father and gets the upper hand on Dean until Sam arrives in time to shoot him.
They take off to Samuel’s hunter farm (Dean can’t suggest anything better) and the reunion is pretty uncomfortable as Samuel says they can raise the baby to be a hunter and Dean vehemently tells them how much of a bad idea he thinks that is. The situation seems settled with Samuel handing the baby to Parker Lewis and then the shifter breaks in and starts kicking ass as Samuel and then Sam and then Dean. He leaves with Bobby John and the denouement of the scene is that the shifter was the first of its kind, an Alpha. Samuel provides enough details that Dean thinks the whole thing was a setup and Bobby John was used as bait. That’s never really confirmed or denied, and Sam genuinely responds in a way that makes me think he didn’t know. Samuel is definitely up to something, though, because later on he’s telling someone on the phone that he didn’t catch it. So I’m guessing he’s a trophy hunter? Would Sam really work with him a year and not know it?
Dean goes home to Lisa and they have a long chat about where his allegiance lies and he’s absolutely torn about whether to stay or go. Because Lisa is the most understanding girlfriend ever, she makes the decision for him and tells him to go but doesn’t kick him out, essentially telling him they will do things their own way. He’ll hunt and she and Ben will be there when he can come home, just come home in one piece. I find it really interesting and sweet that they came together under the guise that she had told absolutely everybody he was the best sex ever (and he thought Ben could be his son), but it turns out she’s the only woman (we’ve seen) who truly gets him, so there’s definitely a bond there that goes beyond the bedroom. The episode ends with Dean taking the tarp off the Impala while “Smoke on the Water” plays (which he was singing to Bobby John earlier, and is the ringtone on his phone).
I didn’t see how the events of this episode made Dean absolutely have to hunt again, but I’m guessing that in some way, Samuel and the Campbells will be sort of the big bad this season because they don’t hunt “right.” I can see Dean coming back in because they don’t honor the code, but I feel like the audience had to put those pieces together, that it wasn’t actually in the episode as written.
I still think we’re dealing with a bit of a SamBot who’s idling emotionally. He’s dammed himself up so completely after Hell that when that wall comes down, it’s going to be much more violent and ugly than Dean’s comedown. Sam is anomaly because he was demon-infused, if you will, at the time, so he’s got the guilt about that, the PTSD about going to Hell, and then the search for who he is now going forward. I would like to know how he and the Campbells found each other.
I hope the Lisa and Ben thing works and doesn’t turn into Dean racing home because they’re the constant pawn to get to him. I dug the episode, and the balance of fun and scary, but I felt like we needed ten more minutes of exposition to fill in some of the gaps. I like that we’re being rewarded for longtime viewing with repeats of previous MOTWs (the shifter was used in the first season episode, “Skin,” a.k.a. the first episode where we got a shirtless Dean). I really like the move to Friday. I’m a kid of 80s TV, when Friday nights were actually programmed, so it’s a treat to have the boys close out my week. One nitpick – I totally expected “Back in Black” to greet the untarping. Maybe next week.
Photo Courtesy of The CW