Last week's stunner of an episode set the bar to meteoric heights, and this week, it was time to brace for the inevitable fall. Despite the intriguing premise of a Professor Xavier-esque school for gifted and orphaned hunters, “Freaks and Geeks” was a convoluted clunker that left the cast to do most of the heavy-lifting.
Grab your school books and your machete, and let's dive in, shall we?
In their FBI best, Sam and Dean head to the local police station to investigate the exsanguinations of young women found at a popular make-out point in Kansas only to discover a damning surveillance video of three teenagers killing the vamp "Hunger Games" style with their old friend, Krissy (Madison McLaughlin) playing the part of Katniss Everdeen last seen in season 7’s “Adventures in Babysitting.”
Dean, always the protective motherhen to children with tragic childhoods, uses his FBI cred and a few naked threats to shut the investigation down. Instead of going on a hunt for fanged freaks, the brothers are on the scent of a trio of armed adolescent geeks. Krissy's tributes hunt like a well-oiled tactical team, equipped with nifty tech like tranq guns loaded with darts of dead man's blood and fiber optic cameras. It's hilarious to watch a group of children school hunters with fifty-plus years of hunting experience between them, but Krissy, Josephine and Aidan's operation runs circles around Sam and Dean's ragtag offensive. They rescue the girl, kill the confused and pleading vamp, and pack up his body (tossing the head into the trunk like Lebron goin' for a jumper) in less time than it takes Dean to sort through the Impala's trunk armory for favorite machete.
Sam and Dean are rightfully disturbed to find children hunting monsters, no matter how efficient they may be, so they head out to investigate their home, their guardian named Victor, and to ship her off to her aunt in Ohio. Krissy, still reeling from her father's death after their "amazing" new and decidedly normal life, is a little sharper and angrier and older than she used to be. She's still styled like a child, but it's very clear that what was left of her innocence died the second her father did. It seems a little odd that Krissy, Josephine and Aidan's families were all killed by vampires, but there's nothing about this scenario that is normal.
Krissy leads a persistent Sam and Dean back to their home, which is not the compound they were expecting. It's more like a house an 11-year-old Sammy imagined growing up in during long, lonely drives in the Impala: picturesque, impeccably decorated, and full of people. Their guardian is an old hunter, apparently retired from an hunt gone bad that left him with a bad limp. It's clear he loves the kids as he chastises them about their homework and chores. He's earned their respect and love, and with that, he can mold them into whatever he wants.
In "Supernatural," there are only two classifications of hunters who aren't in the Winchesters' inner circle: the soon-to-be dead ones and the batcrap crazy ones. Annie from "Of Grave Importance" was the former; Martin from "Torn and Frayed" and Victor is apparently the latter. Over drinks, Victor explains that the next generation of hunters needs to be better than the current, and cites the "barely functional alcoholic" that was the late Bobby as an impetus for this endeavor. Judging by the look on Dean's face when he utters those words, he'll probably be both crazy and dead by episode's end. But it’s a bit of a letdown when Dean or Sam launch the bastard into a wall for besmirching Bobby.
Everything is Stepford levels of perfect and it begins to unravel faster than Dean wrangle a phone number out of a local waitress.
Dean thinks it would be better to finish the kid's "revenge" hunts for them, and kill the nest the nest of vampires for them. With Dean taking point, Sam wasn't left with much to do for this episode. Jared Padalecki looks as bored in this episode as I felt watching it, especially when he's on the receiving end of yet another double-cross and pistol whip to the head. If it's Wednesday, you know Sammy's going to be lashed to a chair while the weekly big bad monologues about whatever crazy is on deck. Victor, desperate to create the perfect hunter who can quote Shakespeare and behead vampes, admits that he did the "hard thing" of working with a vampire to kill Krissy, Josphine and Aidan's families. He'd scouted them and decided they were the best and brightest but they only needed the proper motivation. The kids thought they were killing the members of the nest who offed their families, but really Victor was sending them out to hunt down freshly turned vamps, and easy kills.
It's a grisly idea that's unfortunately poorly staged because he prattles on in a room full of lethal hunters, who simply stand there. Krissy apparently goes as sick of the rambling as Sam is and neutralizes the vamp with two poisoned darts to the eyes and corners Victor intent to kill him and avenge her father. Unfortunately, hunters don't kill humans. It’s chilling when she fires the empty revolver four times, offering Victor, who was twisted with grief from his own family's murders, four bullets for his horrific transgressions. At Dean's urging, she sentences him a life of solitude and regret, something Victor can't handle as he grabs his gun and finishes the job himself.
I’m sure the kids will have his brains scrubbed off the wall in a matter of minutes.
Ultimately, the group decide to stick together as the most twisted version of "The Brady Bunch" ever. Dean agrees because Josephine's nearly 18, and they have decided not to hunt unless a monster breaks down their doors. They leave, but not before Sam gifts Krissy with her father's necklace, and Dean warns Aidan not to hurt Krissy. It's cute that Dean makes the gesture, and it's awesome that he's smart enough to know that Krissy can protect herself.
The State Of The Brotherhood
Sam and Dean reached an frustrating stalemate. I'm grateful that we're not seeing Sam huddled in corners discreetly hacking up blood this week, but I'm surprised that Dean doesn't have more questions or Sam isn't trying to convince him he's okay or confess that he's scared since Cas revealed that he's damaged goods. When asked if he wants to "take a knee" on this hunt, Sam plays his brother like a fiddle deflecting the question about Dean's emotional state because "Cas dinged him pretty good." Hellhounds might not scare Dean, but messy emotions do, thus they forge ahead with the case, neither of them offering anything. By episode's end, Dean was more determined than ever to shut the gates of hell for good, if only to ensure that the world won't need the next generation of hunters.
While I loved the idea of the episode and would totally watch a spin-off, it is missing the action, snark and finesse that all of the 2013 episodes have had thus far. After last week’s epic showdown between Dean and Cas, "Freaks and Geeks" was a bit too Dean-centric. From A to F, “Born Under A Bad Sign” to “Bugs,” this episode is a ho-hum C-.
If you thought this episode was a little Sammy-light, don’t miss next week’s episode because it’s time for Trial No. 2, and it looks like a hell of a challenge!