Supernatural Official Site 

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: “Death Takes A Holiday”

Sam and Dean discover that the denizens of a small Wyoming town don’t seem to be dying much…or at all actually, including a guy who got shot in a mugging.  When they get there, Sam correctly posits that there are no reapers – the collectors of the dead – to shepherd souls to the other side anywhere around, meaning some foul play must be afoot.  This does indeed turn out to be the case and the reason is Alastair has returned and is planning to kill a reaper on the solstice moon in order to break another seal.  And the only way for Sam and Dean to stop him is to become what they usually hunt.

The Lowdown:

It’s getting really old saying how good this show is.  But damn, it’s good.  This was another mythology episode with some new ground explored by Sam and Dean, who have to become spirits in order to stop the breaking of this seal by Alastair.  They also have to enlist the help of a couple of old friends – of the hot variety – in order for their plan to work.  Along the way, both of these old friends can see beyond the bullshit that the boys are feeding themselves and each other, and there are ominous portents involved.

The show starts out with a guy (Mike Dopud), who gets shot in a mugging but doesn’t die.  He’s one of several people who have miraculously cheated death in a Wyoming town due to the fact that the neighborhood reaper isn’t around.  This is Sam’s theory when they Winchesters roll into town, and they decide that in order to get some answers, they have to seek out the last person to die in the town, who turns out to be 10-year-old Cole Griffits (Alexander Gould).  When trying to communicate with Cole at his gravesite, they run into Alastair (Christopher Heyerdahl).  But due to Sam’s heightened demonic training (of which we still don’t know the particulars), he’s more than a match for Alastair now and the demon is forced to flee before being exorcised by Sam.

Eventually Sam and Dean realize that the answers do indeed lie with Cole, but in order to communicate with him and find the reaper, who is visible only to spirits, they have to become spirits themselves.  So they bring in blinded psychic Pamela Barnes (Tracy Dinwiddie) to help them astral project.  As spirits, they manage to contact Cole and get the skinny on what’s happening.  Cole died and he saw the resident reaper, who was then abducted by the local demons to be used in a ritual to break one of the 66 seals holding Lucifer imprisoned.  This left Cole stuck in his house, tormenting his mother, who can still feel his presence.  Cole pulls a Vincent Schiavelli and teaches them the ways of being a ghost, like affecting the physical world around them and teleporting, which Dean and Sam admit is cool.

Finally, a reaper comes to gather up Cole and it’s none other than Tessa (Lindsey McKeon), the smoking hot soul collector from the Season 2 premiere, “In My Time of Dying,” when Dean was at death’s door and their father made the deal with Azazel to save Dean in exchange for his soul.  Tessa reacquaints herself with Dean before she too is taken by the demons, who also need her, in addition with the other reaper, to break the seal.  Dean and Sam go through the crash course of ghost powers from Cole and go to stop Alastair from breaking the seal and getting one step closer to freeing Lucifer.

Some really great stuff going on in this episode, both on the lighter side and the really ominous side.  Of the lighter stuff, there’s Dean sticking his hand through Sam and Sam’s, “Get out of me.”  Also, the kid punching Spirit Sam and Spirit Dean at will harkens back to the wishing well episode where Dean got his ass handed to him by the little kid.  Also, Dean commenting that they should head for a Victoria’s Secret dressing room.  Of the dark stuff, there are the dual warnings – from Tessa to Dean, and Pamela to Sam – about not lying to themselves and each other.  Sam thinks that the road he’s taking in order to be able to fight the demons is best, but Pamela knows what he’s been doing and that the road is taking him only to darkness.  And Tessa tells Dean that he shouldn’t believe the lies he tells and the ones he hears.  She warns him to be wary of the angels telling him he has a special purpose and that there are “no miracles.”  The biggest lie is when Sam has to sit down with the kid and promise that Tessa won’t come for him in order to enlist his help, knowing it’s a flat out lie.

Sam and Dean still haven’t quite moved past the revelations they told each other while under the control of the siren in the preceding “Sex and Violence,” and that issue isn’t dead yet.  Also, a damn shame about Pamela.  Especially considering that she pretty much knew the whole “you’re going to a better place” shtick was comfort talk and had no illusions about it.  One thing I’ve always loved – and continue to love – about the show, is that most of the evil and supernatural chicks – demons, vampires, reapers – on the show are just insanely hot.  It’s like Victoria’s Secret has a pipeline to the hereafter.  Nice.

This was just another excellent episode and very poignant, as this one dedicated the entire season to director and showrunner Kim Manners, who died in January from lung cancer.  He did some excellent work on the show and will be missed.  But Supernatural is still going strong in his absence and I think that’s a testament to his work on the show and the respect they had for him.

8.6 out of 10