If anything is going to snap Supernatural out of its recent funk, it’s going to be a time travel episode. Sending Sam and Dean into different time periods is something the show does exceptionally well. Many of you will remember last season’s “Frontierland” and with good reason – it was one of the season’s highlights (along with the masterful “The French Mistake). This week we have Dean transported into 1944, a time period he’s not too excited about until he gets a chance to work with none other than fellow hunter Eliot Ness. I have to commend the show’s casting department for finding Nicholas Lea, who was simply phenomenal as Ness. Lea effortlessly captured the cool charisma and air of authority that made Ness such a badass. While the casting of Chronos (AKA the god of time) was less successful, that has more to do with the show’s pesky trend of humanizing its gods, demons and angels than it does with the performance of Jason Dohring, who did a serviceable job with the material.
It’s the little things that count.
You really have to love the attention to minute continuity on Supernatural. The little things like Dean’s affection for anime porn and the brothers always deciding things with paper/rock/scissors remind you of the show’s rich history and make the brothers feel more human. We got a few moments like that and a surprise return from Sheriff Jody Mills, who served as a nice reminder that while the brothers are more alone than ever, they haven’t totally been abandoned. Sherriff Mills gets the brothers hunting Chronos, and before you know it, Dean tackles the god of time and gets teleported back to 1944. This led to the beginning of some great interaction between Dean and Ness as the two jumped on the case right away.
Watching Dean once again be enamored with a slice of history as he fell all over himself praising Ness was hilarious. Dean might call Sam a nerd but the elder Winchester has had his share of geeky moments in the show’s history. I loved the pairing of Dean and Ness right away and thought the interrogation scene was particularly effective for showcasing Dean’s ability to adapt to any situation (“Is that a German name?!”). It was also a nice reversal to see Dean in a non-leadership role, especially when you consider how much we were reminded in this episode that Sam still submits to Dean’s leadership. You also have to love the constant ribbing Dean took in 1944 for his modern clothes and word choice. Dean: “Talk to me.” Ness: “I am talking to you.” That’s great writing.
Glowing neck veins – that’s new!
For being the god of time, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by how Chronos was written. As I mentioned earlier, Supernatural has a (likely unavoidable) bad habit of humanizing its mythical beings like demons, gods and angels. It’s hard to buy Chronos as an exciting villain when he looks like a normal guy with a red light he shoots through people. I also wasn’t crazy about his love interest. It felt tacked on and although the woman’s information was vital for Sam and Sherriff Mills, the romance amounted to nothing in the end. Call me cold-hearted but I just don’t buy a god settling down with a mortal in 1944 when he has the ability to travel anywhere in time. I know Chronos said he was tired of living a life in constant motion. I just didn’t know gods could be so whiny.
Speaking of whiny, Ness provided some great insight and clarity for Dean during their talk in the car. After losing Castiel and Bobby, Dean has understandably been questioning why he continues hunting when “the life” has claimed everyone he loves. Ness tells Dean to suck it up – what hunters do might be dangerous and oftentimes thankless, but they’re making a true difference in the world and Dean should never take that for granted. Here’s to hoping a pep talk from one of his idols is enough to energize Dean the rest of the season and kick start the sagging Leviathan storyline.
Because while they got some play at the beginning (as Dean browsed stories about Dick Roman), the Leviathans returned to the forefront of the action in this episode’s final seconds. With the stake in his heart and his glowing neck veins pumping, Chronos issued an ominous warning that he’d seen Sam and Dean’s future and it was covered in black goo. “Enjoy oblivion” Chronos utters with his last breath. Aside from having a cooler death than most baddies, the god of time gave the Winchesters another destiny they’ll have to alter in order to save the world. I’m still not sold on the Leviathan storyline but it appears to be picking up steam as we enter the home stretch of the seventh season. I need to see some more nefarious behavior from Dick Roman and I need the show to avoid dropping a convenient method of killing the Leviathans into Sam and Dean’s laps. If those two things can happen, Season 7 might turn out to be one of the best for Supernatural.
Line of the week
Sam: “You gonna look at more anime or you strictly into Dick now?”
Next week on Supernatural...
There’s some baby daddy drama going on with Dean!