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Let’s go ahead and get it out there: this episode was lackluster. If not for the peek into Dean’s time at Sonny’s House for Boys, “Bad Boys” would have been one of the most forgettable episodes ever. Thankfully the flashbacks were the focus of this episode and they were really strong. Of the things that Supernatural does well, expanding the history of the Winchester clan is near the top of the list (Samuel Campbell notwithstanding). The actor playing young Dean captured Jensen’s mannerisms and speech patterns in such a convincing fashion I forgot I was watching the fourth (I think) different actor playing young Dean. His teenage romance with Robin was cute (DEAN & ROBIN 4EVA) and the parallels of their lives were beautifully tragic. Both grew up and assumed careers they thought they’d never want. Yet they’re both happy and fulfilled, and that reminder was good for Dean and Robin to see. Sometimes life doesn’t take us where we’d thought we’d go, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Dean’s life always brought him back to his brother, and as the episode closed, we knew Sam appreciated that Dean always had his back.
The other strong element of this episode was Sonny, the former con who took Dean in after Dean tried to steal bread and peanut butter for him and Sam. Dean was right – Sonny really is good people. In his limited screen time, the actor playing Sonny (Blake Gibbons) showed us genuine compassion for the boys in his care. We’ll always love anyone who Dean adores, but with Sonny it didn’t feel forced. I’m glad he survived this episode and I hope we see him again down the road. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Krissy and her friends end up at Sonny’s home?
Sonny calls Dean after strange things start happening at the home, culminating with the death of some dude who was too stupid to step five feet to his right to avoid a slow-moving tractor. RIP you idiotic cannon fodder. Sam and Dean haphazardly salt and burn the bones of Harold, the home’s former owner who killed his wife because he thought she was messing around with tractor roadkill guy. We know what happens when Sam and Dean assume things – PEOPLE DIE. This time it’s poor Ruth, who should have foreseen her death the minute she got in the tub. Sam and Dean return after learning the *tragic* news and discover that a boy named Timmy is behind the accidents. He’s being protected by the ghost of his mother, who died in a car fire. How did Sam discover this fact, you ask? Because Timmy drew it on the barn wall, of course! This contrived discovery was the lamest moment of the episode, narrowly edging out Dean “just guessing” that Timmy’s mom would let go if Timmy asked her nicely. Give me a break. I know it’s Season 9, but why even bother with crap like that? I’d rather the writers take a big swing with something outrageous and miss than play it safe with something rote and boring.
I commend the makeup team for trying something different with Timmy’s mother, but I don’t think the application worked as well as they’d hoped it would. The grey, charred skin looked silly in broad daylight. Speaking of which, why did the burns covering her body disappear when Timmy asked his mom to leave? Did it take him stepping up for her to look like his mom rather than a disfigured monster? I can buy that, I guess. I still would have asked my ghost mom to not look like a corpse that’s been exhumed from the bottom of a lake.
I know the creative team has to crank out 23 episodes of Supernatural per season and statistically there’s bound to be some stinkers. I shouldn’t complain, especially after nine seasons. I think you have to be critical of episodes like this one, though. The minute you become OK with installments that are this bland is the minute you stop caring about the show. I want Supernatural to be great, and after 175+ episodes, I think that means taking a lot more risks. You’ve got to keep things fresh.
Quote of the week
“D-Dog?” – Sam
Next week on Supernatural
Sam and Dean somehow convince someone that they’re virgins. And hey Sheriff Jodie!