Supernatural returned from its umpteenth hiatus this season with one of its stronger hours in a while. “The Things They Carried” (great short story) brought former Dean-stalker Cole back into the picture for a hunt involving soldiers harboring an evil worm. The same type of evil worm, in fact, that was last featured in the episode where Samuel Campbell received a bullet in the head and the most unceremonious exit in this show’s history. Some of these filler episodes really make you earn the conclusion you know is coming if you’ve watched Supernatural long enough. That’s what makes them somewhat memorable. Tonight’s episode slowly and methodically laid out its mystery and literally made the viewer sweat out the struggle with these killer worms.

There were also some stylistic choices that added a unique flourish to “The Things They Carried.” I noticed a cool “wheel cam” at one point and the makeup tonight was solid. The effects used for the dried out skin were both gross and impressive. The scenes where the worms were puked from the victims’ mouths were revolting and effective. As someone who’s squeamish about throats being slashed, I never love when an episode of Supernatural falls in love with this form of death. I flinched more than usual tonight, but this method of death made the worms seem that much more violent.

I’m not sure what to make of the show’s plans for Cole yet. The easy answer seems to be that he’s a hunter in training, someone who can take up the mantle if and when the Winchesters stop hunting or die (and inevitably come back). I’m not sure that’s the appropriate path given what we saw tonight. I liked Cole as the voice of reason for Sam and Dean. He shifted their focus back to saving people if possible and killing them only as a last resort. Sam was shaken up after having to kill Kit, a war hero who lost his battle to the evil inside him. That’s understandable. But where is this sense of remorse when the Winchesters are slicing up the humans unfortunate enough to be meat suits for demons? Saving those people – rather than killing them immediately – is no longer a priority.

On the season-long story arc front, we got a little movement. Sam is still searching for a cure behind Dean’s back because, you know, secrets always work out so well for the Winchesters. Dean wants to accept the new status quo and continue fighting the good fight until his final breath. We’re basically right back where we started before the dramatic-but-flawed pre-hiatus midseason finale. But since that episode inverted the acceptance Dean had come to just one episode prior, I guess his change of heart back to his original level of acceptance technically counts as movement. Either way, I hope we get some other story angles cooking between now and the finale. Castiel and Crowley are in dire need of some juicy material to bring them back into the fold in an exciting way.

Line of the week

“Erotica, whatever. Zip it up and check this out.” - Dean

Next week on Supernatural

Nun of that preview made any sense. (Nun puns are fun!)

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