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The Time:
Thursdays, 9:00 PM, The CW

The Show:

and Dean Winchester are two brothers who roam the back roads of America
in a 1967 Chevy Impala hunting evil.  At first they fought all
of the usual: vampires, ghosts, werewolves and the like, but in recent
yeas they’ve found themselves more and more dealing with the literal
forces of Hell as a demon war has been brewing for decades, with their
family caught in the middle.  Sam has been pre-ordained from
birth by a past foe, the yellow-eyed demon, Azazel, to be a pivotal
figure in the war…on the demon side.  Meanwhile, Dean has
recently been resurrected from Hell by angels because they have the Lord’s work
for him to do.

The Stars:

•  Jared Padalecki – Sam Winchester
•  Jensen Ackles – Dean Winchester

The Episode: “After School Special”

Sam and Dean are on the hunt for possibly a demon or a ghost who has possessed several students at a school in Indiana, causing them to kill one student and maim another.  The issue is is that this is a school that Sam and Dean attended for a month 10 years ago when Pops Winchester was off on a hunt.  Via flashbacks, we get to see what high school was like for the young Winchester boys.

The Lowdown:

What can I say?  Another solid episode.  Even more so than usual because we get to see some of the events that helped shape both Sam and Dean and get a further insight as to what life was like for them growing up: always on the road and a new school every few weeks or months.  The kids playing the young Winchesters, especially the young Dean, did spot on jobs, and high school for them is pretty much as you would expect, knowing how Sam and Dean are now.  Also funny to note that since Dean is four years older, how much taller he was than young Sam back then as compared to now.  Sam also had the nickname of “The Midget” from a bully back in the day.  The ghost doing the haunting this episode even made the comment about how much Sam had grown.

The villain this go-round is indeed a ghost, and one that Sam knew back when he attended the school.  Sam of course had issues with wanting to be normal, while Dean reveled in being a free spirit, moving from town to town and school to school.  He was the cool kid and Sam was the geek.  Dean made with the fresh talk to the teachers and was active in the broom closet make out with the local girls.  Meanwhile Sam had several run ins with the local bully, Dirk.

The absolute highlight of the show is of course the undercover roles the Winchesters take when investigating the school.  Sam masquerades as a janitor and Dean becomes the substitute gym teacher, shorts and high-ankle tube socks and all.  He institutes a game of dodge ball and tells a kid to take a lap.  Great stuff.  As for the ghost, there’s  the typical misdirection with whom it is, but when Sam and Dean find out the real identity, and the fact that it’s inhabiting geeks, Sam gets a wave of regret because he had an incident with the ghost as a kid.

If there’s any drawbacks to the episode, it’s the ease with which Dean and Sam are able to just waltz in and assume their roles at the school, explaining away the gym teacher running off to get married.  Seemed a little too convenient, but considering how Dean took to the role, it gets a slide.  The realization of how this particular high school actually was for the boys, and how their roles got reversed was poignant, and the ending scene with Sam and his old teacher left a big question hanging for Sam: Is he happy doing what he’s doing?

This week saw the passing of executive producer and director Kim Manners, who had done some excellent work, both on this show and X-Files, as well as having worked on many shows such as Charlie’s Angels, Automan, Simon & Simon, Star Trek: The Next Generation, 21 Jump Street and The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr.  He’s directed some of the best episodes of Supernatural, including “Family Remains” and “Mystery Spot.”  His work is what helped to make this show what it is and he will be sorely missed.

8.1 out of 10

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