Supernatural serves up an old school episode this week as Sam and Dean load up on salt and iron to track down a ghost. The case has two catches: 1) The boys have to find the ghost in a town packed with psychics, and 2) they have to speak to each other to solve the case. Writers Ben Blacker and Ben Acker put the Leviathan arc on the back burner in order to focus on Sam and Dean’s evolving relationship while busting a ghost.
The writers this season are hitting a good balance of Big Bad arc, Winchester angst and straight up monster chasing. Other seasons have leaned heavily one way or the other and I think it’s a good move to mix it up. Fans watch the show for a variety of reasons. I loved last week’s “Slash Fiction” with a passion and thought “The Mentalists” was a solid episode. My husband had the opposite reaction. He has been really missing the scary but fun Monster of the Week stories.
The drawback to weaving together different focuses in the storytelling is that all the stories take longer to tell. The audience has to be patient and patience is not exactly the hallmark of modern media consumers. The net has had a huge effect on our expectations of entertainment: hook me NOW or the next site is just a click away. While those expectations drive a lot of innovation in today’s world, I’m not sure they drive great story telling.
Why am I musing on pacing? I think it’s because I am really enjoying the slow reveal of the issues surrounding Dean’s decision to kill Amy. I like that we are looking at the problem from different angles and that this episode, the boys finally decided to quit drinking or running away and talk. I like that there is no bad guy in this scenario. I like that Sam and Dean’s different reactions are grounded in their personalities and their past. Patience pays off with this series.
We left Sam last week walking angrily away from Dean, telling him he couldn’t be around him right then. The build up we had of Sam trying so hard to be the good brother and get Dean to talk made it all the more poignant that when he found out the issue, he couldn’t process it. Sam’s default when he’s upset is to walk away and that’s just what he does.