I remember when The CW switched “Jus In Bello” and “Mystery Spot” in season three. Even though “Jus in Bello” was filmed first, the switch was done because the show was going on hiatus due to the writers' strike and the network thought that “Jus In Bello” would be a stronger finale, especially since many feared it would end up being the season finale. Eric Kripke called the switch a “happy accident” because “Jus In Bello” was better after “Mystery Spot.” Sam was withdrawn and dire the entire time, which fit after his long ordeal with The Trickster.
This time, the network switched the airings of “My Bloody Valentine” and “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” The show was supposed to come back from winter hiatus on January 14, but the network pushed it back a week to January 21. That left the dilemma of them having a Valentine’s Day episode that wouldn’t air during the week of Valentine’s Day so the change was necessary.
Sadly, there were no happy accidents this time. “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid” feels really off airing out of order. “My Bloody Valentine” had such an explosive and shocking ending so it was silly not to see at least a minor amount of fallout from Sam’s detox and Dean’s meltdown. The brothers carrying on from that unscathed and back in normal mode didn’t seem right.
Lack of episode continuity aside, when judged on its own this one is a big winner. It is rare when a secondary character is given the chance to shine on this show and the opportunity for Jim Beaver is long overdue. Yes, his struggles were well portrayed in “The Curious Case of Dean Winchester,” but in this episode the stakes are higher and he is given a lot more to work with.
This week’s theme is zombies, but it isn’t your average zombie story by a long shot. This is Supernatural after all. The show often excels with this concept of taking a plot device that’s existed for years in horror and twists it to serve not only the unique story line but to add a believable human element.
As we know about humanity and small towns, there are quirks. So, when a dead person rises from the grave and kills the person that killed him, it’s interesting how we as viewers don’t find the idea absurd, how Sam and Dean Winchester don’t find it absurd (except for the zombie getting away with the murder), and how many of these townsfolk don’t either. Digger Wells is the best example, finding the idea of this type of payback amusing and sharing the story like it's town gossip. I’m very sure this didn’t happen in Dawn of The Dead.
Stereotypes are king in this small town of Sioux Falls, where Bobby Singer has a label as the town drunk. I imagine any hunter taking up residence in any town would get that label. When the dead start rising though, all of a sudden Bobby isn’t so crazy anymore. That doesn’t change how bittersweet it is to see Bobby in this loving domestic situation. He is clean and groomed, the house is clean, and he has the love of his life taking care of him again. Why not overlook the fact she’s a zombie? Her pies are delicious and her bad humming is endearing. The bible after all doesn’t specify that the rising of the dead is bad. The entire situation shows how much this man has lost throughout the years and that glimpse of having it all back, even for a few days, makes it all that much harder for it to disappear.
Carrie Ann Fleming makes a wonderful Mrs. Singer, for even in undead form she remembers her primary job; making her husband happy. She, like the other zombies, doesn’t want to question why she is back. Her frank talk with Dean is one of the strongest scenes in this episode because it demonstrates how protective both of them are of Bobby. Even when things turns very bad, she makes the right decision, but again has to put Bobby through the tough task of killing her. I can’t recall a more heartbreaking line in a while than Bobby’s cracking voice at the burning funeral pyre. “She was the love of my life. How many times I gotta kill her?”
Bobby’s reveal of Death’s plan as told to him by Karen isn’t all that shocking but it really affects us anyway. Death chose Sioux Falls to get at Bobby, to stop him from interfering in Sam saying yes to Lucifer. So, did Death succeed in breaking Bobby’s spirit? His inner strength is certainly in question at the end of this episode and Sam’s worried expression reflects our concerns. Bobby isn’t alright now but will he be able to bounce back?