Written by The Resident and Dr. Improbable on Wednesday, November 06 2013 and posted in Features
Army of Barkness, y'all.
Last night's episode, wonderfully titled “Dog Dean Afternoon”, answered our fangirl cries for a return to the monster-of-the-week episode, and campy sense of humor, that made Supernatural a fan favorite. It all began with a recap of almost everything funny from the last nine seasons: Chuck (#NeverForget), “Changing Channels”, Dean's fear sickness, all the goodies. Res definitely has the urge to watch her old favorites on Netflix now. With an opening like that, you know the rest has to be good.
The writers' infatuation with Game of Thrones continues in the opening – a taxidermist is making a full family of Westerosian stuffed chipmunks while his German Shepherd, the Colonel, looks on judgmentally. (And that isn't even the weird part.) He's attacked by a guy with a cowboy hat and a snake tongue. (Also not the weirdest part.) When the boys show up (in suits, God how we've missed the suits) to investigate, they learn that all the entrails leftover from the stuffed animals have gone missing. (The weirdest part was definitely the rather distinctive-looking fellow they obtained this information from.)
Back at the old hotel set (another thing we've all missed, for sure), the boys wonder what could be attacking people. They rule out some nearby vegan-coffee-shop-owning, wearing-sunglasses-indoors-like-douchebags hippies. However, the douche sunglasses are actually covering up a mace attack, which Sam the supergenius (but only when it’s convenient for the plot) realizes is actually more like the result of a weird poisonous snake attack. Yet neither this nor anything at the crime scene point to a distinct supernatural creature they would have heard of. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for any cat-lovers out there, another crime is afoot (apaw?). The snake-tongued perp from the opening bribes his way into an animal shelter after hours... where he eats kitties. That’s not what we mean by adopting, pal.
As luck would have it, there is one witness to both crimes: the Colonel. After consulting with the out-of-sight but not out-of-mind (or our hearts!) Kevin, the boys decide to try an Inuit spell that will let one of them communicate directly with the Colonel. Because casting magic spells never backfires. Dean volunteers, worried that the spell will awaken Zeke, and hilarity ensues. The hoodoo works all too well. Jensen Ackles FINALLY gets to be funny again as he plays fetch with Sam's trash, barks at the mailman, and worries about whether chocolate is poisonous for him now.
Dean discovers that not only can he commune with the Colonel; he can also talk to the pigeon pooping on his car because all animals speak a universal language (like Esperanto, only useful). Holy shit, maybe they should keep this spell on because that could be incredibly handy. They decide to take advantage of Dean's skills and interrogate the other animals at the shelter. (A reminder to adopt animals if you can! So many need homes. And no one wants to hear that Sarah McLachlan song anymore.) They manage to get a full story from a Yorkie who will only talk if Sam (“the big one”) rubs his belly – he gives them some clues to go on, but it isn't much.
Dean gets all Braveheart and sets the animals at the shelter free. I could not be more in love with this episode if I tried. It's like the writing gods heard my hopeful prayers, and after the cleansing, purifying torture that was last week's Felicia Day extravaganza, they have returned Supernatural to its rightful state. Yea, for the writing gods are merciful but cruel.
The boys figure out that their perp works at a restaurant, and head over to check it out. This is where everything goes pear-shaped. The villain of the ep is a deranged chef using shaman rituals to imbue himself with the powers of animals by eating their organs, as one is occasionally wont to do. He eats a chameleon heart and boom, can blend in with the awful wallpaper. He eats something from a snake and, abracadabra, snake tongue. He attacks Sam, slashing his neck and resulting in a ton of blood loss. Zeke's telltale blue light flares in Sam's eyes for a minute, heals his jugular, and disappears again. The villainous chef decides that eating Sam might be a great idea – it would cure the cancer Dean sniffed out, probably. (Scientist and cancer researcher here: can confirm. -Doc)
He knocks out Dean too, and big brother Winchester pleads with the guy to see reason. You know how the Winchesters do – they don't like to gank humans if they don't have to. Unfortunately, the villain decides that his path is the best, rather just eating a goddamned mouse (which would make sense, considering that researchers cure mice of cancer every fifteen minutes). Cancer chef eats a wolf heart just as Dean breaks free of his bonds, and chases Dean outside. There, he is attacked and eaten by the pack of dogs Dean freed from the pound. Army of Barkness, y'all.
For a heart-wrenching moment it seems like Sam might be gone for good, but he wakes up just fine. The spell on Dean fades as he gives the Colonel to the pair of good-natured hippies (and just as the Colonel is about to reveal who man's best friend really is – ten bucks says one of the writers is a Douglas Adams fan and was going to go with mice). We're left with a suspicious Sam and Dean caught in a web of lies spun from desperation. Is it a web anymore? A web is too two-dimensional and small for this next-level shit Dean’s pulling. Maybe it’s like an oversized onesie of lies. Lighthearted fun all around!
Next week: Convenient store Cas is best Cas. And some douchebag that Res vaguely recognizes as a douchebag from another show arrives to make everyone’s life hell.