“Live Free or Twi-hard” was an exercise in ADHD – the first third, bitingly funny and the next two-thirds, devastating (if we hadn’t just been there, done that a couple of times) about just how off Sam is right now. The episode opens as a full on spoof of the Bella/Edward love story but with extremely earnest doppelgangers named Kristen and Robert. Kristen is all moony and swoony and soon she’s lunchmeat for Robert and his actual vampire cohorts before the credits even crackle.
Dean and Sam catch the case as Dean is calling Lisa to tell her he can be home by morning and she’s happy to have him whenever he can get there. The boys head to Kristen’s house and find her single dad very worried. He sends them upstairs to her room, which is a shrine to a Twilight-esque series with pillows and sheets and posters and figurines. Sam cracks her computer with Pattinson as the password and they discover that Kristen had been IMing with Robert and he had lured her to a bar (and then her demise). The boys chat a bit about the current success of douchebag wannabe vampires and put together that maybe actual vampires are piggybacking the phenomenon to prey on young women. They find out there have been a handful of missing girls who all fit the profile so they go to the bar where Kristen met Robert and divide and conquer when they spot two guys they think are the real deal.
Sam’s guy actually is, so Sam takes his head. Dean’s guy is a wannabe and Dean berates him for the makeup and the glitter and the guy says it’s all a ruse to get laid and Dean is duly impressed when the guy says that it actually works to that effect. He sends the guy packing and isn’t alone in the alley more than a minute before he’s jumped for real, and force-fed vamp blood. The camera pans back a bit and we see that Sam is standing there admiringly and not doing a damn thing to get the guy off Dean and then a switch flips and he realizes that maybe he should get his ass in there and help his brother. Thus begins the darker section of the story.
Dean starts to turn, and panic, and panic some more, and they call Grandpa (instead of Bobby?). Dean heads to Lisa in the middle of the night to tell her pretty much that he’s going to die and then accidentally manhandles Ben before fleeing. When he gets back to the hotel, Grandpa arrives and tells Dean he can be cured as long as he hasn’t fed, and he sends him into the fray to conquer the vampires and regain his humanity. In a sidebar, Grandpa comes down on Sam for letting Dean think he couldn’t be saved (Grandpa has a heart!) and accuses Sam of using Dean as bait to get the alpha vampire (again with the alphas, I sense a theme).
Dean takes stock of the vampire lair and the now-enslaved sort-of vampire Kristen in an awesome abandoned bank that I’m pretty sure was the same one in “Nightshifter” (which is on TNT on 11/8) and when he attempts to take down the head resident vampire who tried to sire him, he fails and a piercing tone fells all the vampires. When they come to, Dean is their target, so he starts annihilating all of them single handedly. Thankfully the camera, for the most part, stays at elbow’s length on Dean so we don’t see all the gore directly. We’re to assume Kristen perishes because we don’t see her again. As Dean devamps, he realizes that Sam saw him turned and did nothing and the episode ends with him faux calling Sam out that he will always protect him and Sam agrees, but we know better.
So we’re back on that train again and I could do without it. I thought we would get the brothers together again this season and maybe we will, but we’re retreading angst that was a chore the first time, two seasons ago. I also wondered if the Sam arc was sort of foisted on this episode, which would have rocked if it had stayed a straight send up. Oh well. I’m not complaining that it was Jensen-heavy, but the boy needs some rest. Next week, angsty brotherly finger-pointing!
Photo Courtesy of The CW