So I was watching an episode of Supernatural Season 7 this weekend and an episode of Supernatural Season 3 broke out! Then an episode of Dexter broke out! Then it ended! And all the while, I was thinking, “Hey, this is pretty good!” That is, when I wasn’t thinking, “Hey, why did that just happen?”
“Repo Men” was one of King Ben Edlund’s babies, so going into it, you know it’s at least going to be decent with a fair chance of mind-blowingly awesome. In fact, hurricane-force winds did their best on my brain with the opening flashback to four years ago, back to the good old days when Sam and Dean were demon-hunting brothers. Sam and Dean had a demo with a knack for cutting up women in grisly ways tied to a chair, and were holy-water-boarding it to get some details on Lilith (miss her terribly). It smelled of Supernatural at its peak, and gosh darnit, it smelled good.
The meatsuit the demon was parking in belonged to Jeffrey, a good guy, according to Dean, who allowed Sam and Dean to go to town on his body when the Winchesters told him the deal: we can get some intel that we need if you let us torture the heck out of the demon that’s currently inside you. Jeffrey gave them the thumbs up, the torture was a success (isn’t it always?), and when they were done Dean dropped Jeffrey off at the hospital. He told Jeffrey to stay mum on the whole demon thing, and I hope gave him enough change for a vending-machine candy bar as a thank you.
Flash-forward to present day, and bodies of women murdered in the same disgusting ways began turning up again. The investigation led Sam and Dean to track down Jeffrey, because some demons like to visit their old stomping grounds. Life was not treating Jeffrey well; he lost his job, had a limp from the demon torture, started sucking on the bottle, and was undergoing treatment for mental disorders. It’s not totally Sam and Dean’s fault, I mean let’s put the blame where it belongs: on the demon that possessed him in the first place. But in exorcising these hellspawn from healthy human beings, Sam and Dean occasionally leave some remnants on the cutting room floor and are at least partly to blame for the mess that remains.
This is the kind of thing that Supernatural glosses over too often, but is so ripe for story it’s a wonder they don’t tackle it more frequently. What happens to these victims of possession after the black smoke is banished back to Hell? Do Sam and Dean realize that the collateral damage in their war against demons affects real human beings in big ways? There must be a bazillion stories to tell of those left behind in the Winchesters’ wake, and Jeffrey’s was one of them.
Unfortunately, the twist in the story didn’t delve deeper into showing Sam and Dean the wreckage their demon fighting leaves behind. Instead, in true Ben Edlund fashion, things weren’t going to stay normal for long. It turned out that Jeffrey wasn’t the good guy Dean pegged him for, was murdering the women on his own, and wanted to invite his old friend back for another round of demonic possession. Jeffrey was originally possessed as an audition for the sweetest spots in Hell because this demon was essentially a talent scout looking to bring out the truly bad in people who just couldn’t muster up the energy to bring it out of themselves. Jeffrey had always had these murderous intentions inside him, they were just kept down by things like laws and morality. But with the demon inside him, Jeffrey felt like he was reaching his potential as a disgusting murderer of women. Way to go Jeffrey!
That theme of the devil on your shoulder continued in the B story. The duct tape on the barrier keeping the crazies out of Sam’s mind was falling off, and Satan (Mark Pellegrino yay!) followed Sam around like a sarcastic puppy dog begging to be played with. Eventually, Sam’s trick of digging his fingers into the old wound on his hand to make Satan flicker out wore off, and Sam had little choice but to listen to Satan bark advice about the virtues of being bad. And it worked. But here’s the thing: listening to the Devil actually helped Sam crack the case. Uh oh.
Just as Jeffrey felt he was at his most powerful when working with (or being worked over by) the demon, could Sam eventually feel the same about taking advice from Mr. Beelzebub? It’s a cool scenario to think about, and as far as storylines driving the remainder of the season, one I would consider looking forward to. Admittedly it’s not much different from the unfortunate demon-blood addiction Sam went through before, but at least this one has more Mark Pellegrino, who is always welcome on my television screen.
But two plot holes left me scratching my head. If Jeffrey was so into the demon, why did he give the go ahead for the Winchesters to torture his body to get the info they needed and get the demon out? And how did the demon prison sigil that eventually trapped the demon get on the roof of Jeffrey’s secret hideout? I’m assuming Captain Convenience put it there.
I’m pretty divided on “Repo Man.” The two stories paralleled each other nicely, which is a sign of maturity in the writing. And as always, Edlund threw in cool little details that spiced up the story (the Cone of Shame on the doggy, an ear in a box). But Jeffrey’s badness was a little too obvious too soon (though Supernatural being predictable is nothing new), and the episode became less about demons and all the supernatural stuff we love and more about a normal guy who is just a creep. Still, “Repo Man” showed some promise for the future of the season and featured people in the library banging their heads against desks ’til they were bloodied, so a semi-enthusiastic thumbs up from me.
– Seriously, why does watching people bang their own foreheads into tables make me so giddy?
– I thought that the cute little puppy would play a part in the episode, but I didn’t think it was as a piece of the demon-summoning spell recipe. Was that its heart? Isn’t it bizarre how killing people is okay, but once you kill a rescue dog, you’ve crossed the line?
– Was Sam’s face at the end when he was “letting the Devil in” a secret smirk of joy? Or was that Jared Padalecki’s constipation face?
Supernatural Season 7 Power Rankings
“Repo Man” was a solid episode of Supernatural, and given that we’re right in the middle of Season 7 and fresh ideas probably ran out a long time ago, I have to applaud the effort and throwback to the Supernatural of old. Top half of Season 7.
1. “Plucky Pennywhistle’s Magical Menagerie” (Episode 14)
Sam and Dean investigated mysterious deaths around a kid’s pizza-and-games party house. Unicorns farting rainbows, ball pit sharks spraying blood, and octo-vamps giving fatal hickeys made this a fun episode.
2. “Shut Up, Dr. Phil” (Episode 5)
A pair of witches needed some couples counseling in a gory fun-fest that guest-starred Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters.
3. “Death’s Door” (Episode 10)
Bobby fought for his life and delved into his past as he tried to deliver a message to Sam and Dean from beyond the plane of the living.
4. “The Mentalists” (Episode 7)
More standalone fun as the brothers investigated murders in a town full of psychics.
5. “Meet the New Boss” (Episode 1)
Castiel got all righteous on those who didn’t respect The Good Word, and it was great.
6. “Repo Man” (Episode 15)
The brothers visit a man they saved from a murderous demon four years ago, and Lucifer blabs Sam’s ear off.
7. “Adventures in Babysitting” (Episode 11)
Sam and Dean coped with Bobby’s death and met a fellow hunter’s young daughter.
8. “Slash Fiction” (Episode 6)
Two Leviathans disguised themselves as Sam and Dean and took off on a cross-country shootin’ spree!
9. “The Slice Girls” (Episode 13)
Dean had a one-night stand with an Amazonian lady, and Sam took Dean’s Daddy card away.
10. “Hello, Cruel World” (Episode 2)
The Leviathans set up a buffet at a hospital after spreading into the water supply.
11. “Time After Time” (Episode 12)
Dean traveled back to 1944 and battled the God of Time with Eliot Ness.
12. “How To Win Friends And Influence Monsters” (Episode 9)
Hyperadrenalized cannibals and stoner sandwiches! Dick Roman’s plan was sort of unveiled! And Bobby got shot!
13. “The Girl Next Door” (Episode 3)
Via flashback, we saw Sam’s first kiss… with a monster! Then Dean killed her.
14. “Defending Your Life” (Episode 4)
Dean went on trial before Osiris because of the guilt he carries. Jo came back to blow him up!
15. “Season 7, Time for a Wedding” (Episode 8)
Too. Much. Becky. Larson.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom