It’s been a big week for “Supernatural” fans. The little show that could won two People’s Choice Awards (Favorite Network Drama and Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Show). Suck it, “Vampire Diaries!” TVLine.com also reported that—SPOILER ALERT— “Supernatural” staple Jim Beaver will eventually return, and my favorite guest star, Mark Pellegrino will be reprising his fabulously evil turn as Lucifer in the episode 15. So this week's episode felt like icing on a very awesome pop cult cake.
“Time After Time” was artfully pieced together in a non-linear manner, but I’m going to do my best to break it down chronologically. The case began with an exhausted Sam fielding a call from the late Bobby’s crush, Sheriff Jodi Mills (Kim Rhodes), about a peculiar body discovered in Canton, Ohio that the authorities and the media were trying to bury. “When it went missing, it was a perfectly normal grad student named Charles Durbin. When it turned up, the thing was mummified minus the wrapping. This is actually the second body found like this in the last couple weeks.”
Jodi had been inspired to keep tabs on the strange and paranormal cases, thanks to her previous adventures with Sam and Dean and because of her connection to Bobby. It was heartbreaking to hear her voice crack at the mere mention of almost-BF. As she held back her tears, I was reminded of all that I wanted for the sheriff and the surly hunter, and how it’ll never happen.
Sam hoped that Dean was watching “cartoon smut” on the laptop instead of obsessing over Dick Roman as “self-punishment.” Busted, Dean closed the computer and muttered, “it’s called anime and it’s an art form.”
The brothers actually stuck with the advice that Frank gave them to duck the authorities by switching up the cars and abandoning the rock aliases for the too-common Smith surname. I actually did a double-take when I saw Dean and all eleven-feet of Sam Winchester wedged into a modern sedan, complete with douchey spoiler on the back. It’s bad enough we lost Bobby, but they have to drive a compact car?! It’s “Supernatural” blasphemy.
It was adorable watch the boys scope out an abandoned house to squat in Canton. It had great character in its “semi-functioning bathroom and one un-rancid bedroom.” As always Sam beat Dean in rock-paper-scissors and won the bedroom and some privacy.
The guys questioned the witness of the Durbin murder who’d been deemed "unreliable" because of joy of smoking weed and his laughable story that a man wearing a “snappy shoes, suit, and one of those Justin Timberlake hats” used red light to “age” poor Durbin. After some research, they discovered that the Canton news archives are filled with such reports that have been spun wildly in the press. Sammy found clusters of three deaths in 1928, 1974 and 1957. The deaths were explained away as “spontaneous combustion,” “leathery decay” and “severe dehydration,” in the reports. One of the deaths in ’57 actually made the papers. When Dean commandeered the computer, Sam huffed, “are you going to look at more anime or are you strictly into Dick now?” I literally heard the fangirls screaming. In last week’s episode, there was palpable, raw tension between the Sam and Dean, who were reeling from the freshness of Bobby’s death. It’s a relief to see them bickering like brothers again, even if the grief is just below the surface.
Dean cyber-slapped the smirk off Sam’s face by utilizing some mad hacking skills that Frank taught him to tap into the local security camera feeds around the time of the murder. He located the man in the fedora. Sam quickly realized that the man in the footage from a few days ago was also in the picture taken in 1957. The images of the smartly dressed man reminded me of the mysterious Watchers in “Fringe.”
After a quick interview with girl in the ’57 photo, who was now a grandmotherly physician, they found the house of the monster who was raisin-ing folks. Sam and Dean charged into action. Dean, who’s always stupidly reckless when he’s hurting, found him using that tell-tale red energy on another victim, and tackled him only to be sucked into a hurricane of crimson and wind. Technically, he followed the hasty plan of “don’t die.” Did you notice the sepia tones that washed out the colors as soon as Dean was transported back in time? I did and I loved it.
The villain used Dean’s disorientation to escape. The hunter stumbled out of the alley, gun at the ready, and was immediately arrested. After being interrogated by a belligerent cop who handled Dean’s blackberry with paranoid bewilderment, another officer entered the room. He intimidated the cop, who bumbled and cowered under his command, but Dean Winchester had stared the devil in the face and wasn’t impressed. He actually told the truth, and the man stepped out of the shadows and into the light, intrigued. Since the camaraderie, Dean pressed on, “Demons, ghosts, shifters. I’ve killed ‘em all, and you’re the same. Just 68 years before me.” The agent’s face twitched and he shook Dean’s hand and introduced himself as “Ness, Eliot Ness.” The man who took down Al Capone was a hunter! Awesome.
Ironically, Dean has lived a very sheltered life. He has trouble differentiating real life from the movies (and porn). When he learned that he and Ness were working the case in different decades, Dean fanboyed about “The Untouchables,” and his legendary reputation, not realizing that Ness (played with impeccable old-school cool by Nicholas Lea) had no idea how legendary he would become, at least not in 1944. To his credit, Ness seemed dazzled that he'd met with a hunter in the future, and was fanboying a bit himself.
In the hunting world, all hunters have a point-person like Bobby. Ness’ Bobby is Ezra, a pistol with matching red hair and lips, who owned a suit shop. She dressed Dean in a fierce three-piece suit and even styled his hair in that handsome slicked down way that men never do anymore, but so should. Dean entertained them with tidbits about the future. My favorite: “The President? He’s a black guy.” Shout-outs to Obama and Timberlake in the same episode? I’m tickled.
Meanwhile, Sammy wasn’t left with anything exciting to do. Thankfully, Jodi felt responsible for handing off the case to the boys and wanted to help, so he at least had someone to talk to. She arrived with a truck full of boxes: “I think Bobby may have had a slight hoarding issue. I could barely get the door open in that storage locker. Oh and I think something’s alive in at least three of those boxes.”
In a beautifully executed scene, Sam and Jodi and Dean and Eliot worked the case, piecing it together and making progress. The monster-of-the-week was Chronos, the god of time. “[Gods] got all their mojo from people worshipping them, but they make up for lack of power with being twice as pissed and a lot more hands-on,” Sam explained. When Jodi asked why he killed people, Ezra answered 68 years earlier, “for his time-juice.” Sam decided to find a spell to summon the god. Dean and Ness decided to kill it.
In 2012, Sam and Jodi were making some strides too. Jodi found the spell that would summon Chronos, just as Sam learned that Dean had to be touching Chronos to be brought back, and they also needed to know the exact time and place or he’ll be lost forever. Discouraged, Jodi found a bottle of bottle of whiskey in Bobby’s things and tacked to it was a colorful note from Rufus. The mood darkened when she said, “It’s like their life’s a big puzzle. I keep finding pieces of it scattered all over the place.” I’m fine with Jodi ruminating on Bobby’s death. She had to have loved him to put up with severed heads and zombies, but I have a huge problem with a minor character riffing on her grief when Sam has yet to say anything about his. I understand that he might be putting on a brave face for his brother, who was downward-spiraling before Bobby died, but Dean was gone, and it was the perfect time for Sam to unload.
I found perverse pleasure in Ness telling Dean to “cry me a river, ya Nancy” when Dean confessed that “I used to do it because my family did. But they seem to keep dying. I don’t know why I’m doing much of anything anymore.” I don’t begrudge Dean for anything he's feeling, but I’m tired of how one-sided this show can be. Dean’s mental state has been an open book, and yet I know nothing about Sam’s. I love both brothers equally (although I’ll always relate to Sammy more) and I miss the balance between them. Ness offered him a frank pep-talk, “Everybody loses everybody and one day your number’s up. At least you’re making a difference. Hunting’s the only clarity you’re going to find in this life.”
When Chronos left the diner in pursuit of a leggy dame named Lila Taylor, they raided the arsenal in the trunk. Unfortunately, Dean didn’t get to fire his Tommy gun as Chronos was dating the girl. So, Ness staked out the house. Dean checked in with Ezra, who gave Dean the centuries’ old olive branch dipped in blood from an unspeakable source. I wondered how she got it so fast without the internetz or UPS, but I let it drop because Ezra was a badass. She proved it when she blindsided Dean with a whooper of a kiss “for luck.” I love her.
Ness wasn’t as lucky as Dean. He was jumped by Chronos who’d been expecting him since he plucked Dean from custody. He proved to be very god-like by kicking Ness’ ass the way Al Capone would have and sent him crashing through a shed door. He only escaped because Lila conveniently distracted Chronos.
Taking a page out of “Back To The Future III," Dean headed back to the condemned house where Sam was squatting, and posed as an agent from the “Department of Homeland Termite Invasion” to gain entry into the now beautiful house in an attempt to communicate with Sam. It was adorable seeing Dean slip into his brother’s mindset and camp out on the floor just as Sam did 68 years and a few minutes later when Jodi sent the exhausted giant upstairs with her best mom voice. He collapsed on the longest bedroll I’d ever seen and almost immediately found “SAM” carved into the wooden baseboard. Behind it was a note from a seemingly gleeful Dean. It gave him the exact date, Nov. 5, of when he was confronting Chronos and pointed him to Lila Taylor (In a delightful twist of pop culture references, Nov. 5 was the date Doc Brown invented the Flux Capacitor in “Back To The Future” and coincidentally, it’s also the date fedora-loving Timberlake’s first solo album came out).
The two interviewed a very senile, 88-year-old Lila Taylor. She definitely didn't know what date was now, but she remembered every second of what happened on the last night she saw her lover, because it was “the night the clocks stopped” at 11:34pm and when he “choked the life out of that poor man” aka Dean Winchester. Needless to say, Sam finally began to panic.
The final climax of the episode was a gorgeous testament to why “Supernatural” deserves all the awards. While Sam and Jodi rushed to Lila’s old house to speedily conduct the ritual to summon the god, Dean and Chronos fought. And it was tied together in a bow of suspense with a heart-pounding score and the ticking of Lila’s grandfather clock. Ness held Lila hostage to gain the upper hand. Cue evil villain monologue! When Chronos lost his worshippers, he was left in a maddening existence of bouncing aimlessly through time, taking three “sacrifices” was the only way he could momentarily control it. Once he fell in love, he only killed to return to her. Chronos was played by “Ringer’s,” Jason Dohring, who excelled with the physical performance and died really, really well, but like a some of “Supernatural” guest stars, (most recently DJ Qualls in "Season 7, Time For A Wedding") he struggled to make his conflicted villain's pathos realistic.
Lila’s striking blue eyes telegraphed that Dean was about to attack and Chronos reacted, cracking Dean’s wrist to make him drop the olive twig and throttling him with his godlike strength just as Sam completed the spell. Dean and the god tumbled through time and fell to the floor of the same house in 2012. Sam wasted no time impaling his brothers’ kidnapper. I loved the effect of the veins that glowed white in time with Chronos’s failing heart beat. He predicted the Winchesters’ future as the summoning spell compelled: “It’s covered in thick, black ooze. It’s everywhere. They’re everywhere. Enjoy oblivion.” With a few chilling words, this enjoyable filler episode became so much more.
I actually hate when shows do theme episodes, but for “Supernatural,” it’s always done with care, flare and ton of heart. I also adore the colors Jodi brings to the show. She's cool, brave and a much-needed maternal figure for Sam and Dean, and I hope we see more of her soon. The only complaint I had with this episode is that I wish Sam had been able to join Dean in the past or at least opened up more. I think that Sam will have some compelling storylines in the future but only time will tell.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Did Dean look smokin’ hot in his vest and holster? Did you want to see Sam rocking a fedora with his brother? What do you think of Jodi Mills? Sound off in the comments section.
“Supernatural” will be back on Feb. 3 where Dean quickly discovers the consequences of not using condoms. Check out the promo embedded below: