Supernatural, S9 Ep05 – Dog Dean Afternoon

Supernatural, s9 ep05--Dean and the Colonel hanging out of the car window while Sam drives

Supernatural has never shied away from ridiculous plots. Some of the best episodes have been pretty crazy—“Changing Channels” comes to mind—but they can usually pull it off. As for this episode…well, they tried. It was not as bad as it could have been. I cringed when I first heard that this was going to happen, so I wasn’t looking forward to this one. It managed to not be my worst nightmare, but it didn’t quite reach my highest dreams either.

Supernatural, s9 ep05--Game of Thrones plaque

This is the second Game of Thrones reference in two episodes. Is this an obscure way to foreshadow something or are they just fans?

The setup is surprisingly logical. The writers have a gift for making the most absurd things seem reasonable. Something weird was killing people and one dog had been at both crimes. The dog reacted strongly to a particular hat, as if he were afraid, so jumping to the idea that the dog might be able to recognize the killer actually made sense. And since Sam and Dean have done all kinds of crazy things to solve a case before—dream walking, getting arrested, etc.—it’s not completely ridiculous to think that they would try to speak with a dog for information. But the follow through wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

There were plenty of funny moments, but things could have been better. It was setup as a comedy episode, but really it was just a light episode with comedic moments. It could have been funnier. Also, the animal voices didn’t quite fit. But oddly Dean’s doggishness was more subtle than expected, and Jensen was able to pull it off well. He stuck his head out the car window and gave the how-you-doin’ look to a poodle, but he didn’t run around on all fours or go around sniffing butts (that we saw), so it wasn’t painful to watch. But the plot was a standard monster of the week and there were moments when the jokes fell flat. For instance, it was kind of funny when Dean lost his ability just as the Colonel was going to tell him the “real” reason dogs have been put here, but the idea that there’s a secret reason for dogs’ existence went a little too far into absurdity. Sort of like the reality of Oz in the last episode. It just didn’t seem to fit with this universe that they’ve built.

Supernatural, s9 ep05--Dean talking to a Yorkie through cage bars

And here’s another Yorkie that crosses Dean’s path…

The pacing was also uneven. It takes a while for the setup to pay off—Dean doesn’t mind meld with the dog until about halfway through. And then the ending felt almost divorced from the rest of it. Dean gaining “dog powers” didn’t really help him very much and the face-off with Chef Leo felt like it almost belonged to a different episode. On the other hand, it was worth it to see Dean arguing with a dog over Styx and for Dean to give that little puppy whine when he realized what he was doing.

On the other other hand, the whole thing with Zeke is starting to get on my nerves. This is the third time Zeke has saved Sam’s life in five episodes, and it’s the third time in three that Dean has stared down at someone he cares about, holding on to their face and pleading that they’ll be okay. But that moment at the very end when Dean talked about what Chef Leo had become, how he was possessed by something that he couldn’t control, that was an obvious reference to what’s going on with Sam, and Dean seemed to come to some sort of realization there, like he finally noticed that Sam is possessed. Sam doesn’t know there’s an angel in there, he’s not in control of it, and sooner or later it might take over. And we still don’t know Ezekiel’s endgame here. Is he using Dean’s trust to get back to full strength and then possess Sam fully, or is he sincere in his desire to help? And when the hell is Sam going to get a clue? He’s magically healed from being clawed on the neck and he’s not freaking out about it? I don’t buy it. There was no development there, just more of the same. In fact, I think the biggest step in character development this episode was Dean finally letting a dog in the car. His relationship with the Colonel was cute, but it couldn’t carry the episode.

Next week, back to the myth arc! Castiel is working at a convenience store as probably the most inept employee ever…

Supernatural, s9 ep06--Castiel and Dean in convenience store