Supernatural Watch: Season 9, Episode 15 - Thinman

Can you believe it’s been six seasons since we last saw the Ghostfacers? When I looked that up on the always reliable Supernatural Wiki I was stunned. It feels like just a couple seasons ago when we last saw Harry and Ed messing things up for Sam and Dean with their ineptitude and internet-speak. The web’s foremost supernaturalists (at least in their minds) returned in “Thinman” after a girl was murdered inside her locked bedroom. The cold openings on this show can be hit or miss but this one delivered on the creep factor and the scares. Seeing Thinman lurking in the shadows of Casey’s selfie was chilling and the closet scene was pretty gruesome. After nine seasons it’s amazing the show can still find new ways to spill blood. After some passive aggressive bickering, Sam and Dean travel to Springdale, Washington to investigate, only to discover that the Ghostfacers have beaten them to the punch. Turns out Harry and Ed are experts on Thinman (“Amazon me, bitches!”) and have journeyed to Washington to finally catch their elusive boogeyman.

My mind jumped to tulpa once the internet fandom of Thinman (based on the Slender Man legend) was mentioned, which is funny since the first appearance of the Ghostfacers involved a tulpa. The writers did their homework in adopting the Slender Man for this episode and I was reminded of the vibe Season 1 had when it rolled out original and exciting urban legends each week. The mystery didn’t quite pay off when it was revealed the deputy and the busboy at the diner were behind the murders, but I enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on up until the big reveal. The only silver lining in the lame payoff was it reiterated the point Dean has made since Season 1’s “The Benders” that people are sick. Seeing Dean slowly stab the busboy in the heart was jarring only because it’s been a while since we’ve seen the Winchesters murder something other than a monster. Some kind of remorse or regret from Dean would have been a nice reminder that killing humans is tough, but after nine seasons, I understand the lack of empathy on Dean’s part. At least Harry showed some regret at having to kill the deputy to save Ed.

That doesn’t mean I like how the Ghostfacers were handled in this episode. Transitioning a character from comic relief to dramatic acting can sometimes backfire. In their first two appearances Ed and Harry were caricatures of the ridiculous paranormal investigators who enjoy far too much success on cable TV these days. They were doofuses who brought some lighthearted fun to the proceedings and their antagonistic relationship with Sam and Dean spawned some of the show’s funniest moments. This episode was no exception up until it was revealed that Ed created the Thinman legend in order to keep Harry from leaving the Ghostfacers for his girlfriend. This betrayal and the fallout drew such a forced parallel with Sam and Dean’s situation that it took me out of the episode. Supernatural has used that trope so much in the past it now has to be handled with grace and poise so as not to induce eye rolling. There was no subtlety in how the writers approached this situation. What’s worse, they likely ruined what made the Ghostfacers such a fun part of the Supernatural mythos. Harry and Ed were never meant to carry a serious storyline. The drama and baggage that will accompany their next appearance has me hoping it doesn’t happen anytime soon (if at all).

The other takeaway from this episode was that Sam and Dean’s relationship is still mending. My guess (and Lord knows I’ve whiffed this season on predictions) is that Dean’s grand sacrifice with the First Blade in the season finale will be enough to melt the ice encasing Sam’s heart. The drama in the tenth season premiere will be that Dean – who’s now on death’s doorstep – isn’t sure he wants to come back after what Sam has said to him this season. He eventually will come back (of course) and the brothers will reconcile for one final season. While the feud has felt sophomoric at times this season, I’m glad the writers are taking several episodes to let Sam and Dean suffer. They’ve messed up so many times that contentment can and should elude them for a while. They’ll hug and make up before the season is over. Knowing this show, it’s just a matter of when the wall comes tumbling down.

Lines of the week

“That does kinda look like whatever was behind Casey Miles, right?” – Sam

“Or Garth if somebody shaved his face off. Big whoop.” – Dean

“What we have here looks like a formation of sticks in the shape of a pile.” – Harry

“I just got punched right in the feels.” – Harry

Next week on Supernatural.

Can Castiel accompany the Winchesters on their Crowley intervention?