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Supernatural 8.18 "Freaks and Geeks" Review: You've Got to Kill a Monster or Two

     This week’s Supernatural, “Freaks and Geeks,” was written by Adam Glass and directed by John Showalter, who between them have twenty episodes to their credit. The episode sees Glass reprise the character of Krissy Chambers (Madison McLaughlin) who he created in “Adventures in Babysitting” last season. McLaughlin continues to impress as a young actor to watch. This episode, however, did not impress. It was a standalone, filler episode, and it feels like we may have had one too many of these in the latter half of the season. Overall, the plot was very thin and also did nothing to move the mytharc along.
      The episode itself was pleasant enough, and it was well acted. Adam DiMarco as Aiden and Megan Danso as Josephine joined McLaughlin in creating a believable group of friends brought together under the dubious tutelage of the shady Victor, played by Adrian Hough – who, incidentally also played Dr Hydecker in season one’s episode “Something Wicked.” However, it was clear from the beginning that something wasn’t right, so the reveal that Victor had actually been the one to arrange for the kids’ families to be killed wasn’t a surprise. Why a vampire was working for Victor was never explained.
    The opening scene with the kids makes no sense. Aiden and Krissy act like they don’t know what’s outside the car and as if they are afraid. They might be keyed up for their first hunt, but that’s not the way it’s played. Supernatural is not at its best when it feels it has to “trick” the audience.
    The first scene in the Impala, between Dean and Sam, is possibly the best scene in the episode. It ran completely true for two guys, especially Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki). They are both concerned about each other, but a conversation about their feelings? At least as far as Dean is concerned, hell no!
    There were a number of problems with the plot that jumped right out at me. Why did only Dean recognize Krissy on the tape? It was pretty heavy-handed plot exposition to have Dean have to jog Sam’s memory. After all, we’d already had the “Then” montage. The vampire begging for his life was so out of character for a vampire that it raised a red flag immediately. Sam and Dean also notice that something is wrong, so why don’t they stop Josephine from killing him?
    I did, however, really like that they brought back the vampire cure from “Live Free and Twihard.” Victor as a sort of Fagin for hunter’s kids is an intriguing idea. Like Sam, I was impressed by how competent the kids were – doing triage on the one victim to stabilize her before the paramedics could arrive, the surveillance, and the dead man’s blood darts, for example.
    I do like the more mature vision of “the life” that Dean has – that it’s not all about killing and revenge. He also walks the walk when he saves the girl Victor sets up as Krissy’s father’s killer. For Dean, it’s always been about saving people, and he shows the kids that when he won’t let them kill an innocent girl. He’s seen firsthand what revenge can do to a family: his own. I did love Krissy insisting that they weren’t the X-Men. Krissy doesn’t think that she needs Dean to save her, but she clearly does, and not just from the police and Victor. She is reckless, and Dean knows that saving people, protecting them, includes keeping them in the dark from the things that go bump in the night.
    Sam is impressed by the “balanced” life that Victor provides for the kids, but Dean is adamant that kids shouldn’t hunt. It’s curious given how much Sam hated how he grew up that he would support Victor at all.
    I loved Krissy’s dart shot to the vamp’s eye – awesome VFX in the episode. I did like the irony of the qualities that Victor chose the kids for being his undoing – Josephine being super smart and Krissy being a natural leader – taking over from Victor in the end. It was a nice touch seeing them use their skills in first aid to help the girl who is almost turned into a vamp at the end.
    The ending, of course, is ridiculously implausible. We never find out if Aiden and Josephine have any other family. Dean is right that they are all minors, but more importantly, what are they going to do for money? Who is going to pay the taxes/rent/utilities on the house?
    Even though Krissy says they won’t go looking for hunts, Dean knows it’s not that easy. Both Dean and Sam hope that shutting the gates of Hell will make a “real” life, a normal life, possible. Dean only wants it for the kids, but Sam is still hoping to get out of the life himself, or at least keep himself and his brother alive.
    Not the worst episode ever, but not the best episode either. While it’s great to see them weave in plot points and lore from previous episodes, I think the writers also need to make sure that questions raised in the episode are adequately answered and that the motivations and actions are clearly connected. Were you happy to see Krissy back? I have to say that I think they’ve exhausted the usefulness of the character, so I won’t be looking for her again. I was disappointed that they killed her father, played by Ian Tracey, who is one of my favorite Canadian actors – I had really hoped to see him again. It looks like next week will see us back on track with the second trial and the run to the end of the season. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Let me know in the comments below.

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