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Lackluster filler episode does little to push Supernatural Season 6 plot forward

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Following a lead from their new boss Crowley, the Winchester brothers attempt to hunt down and capture the werewolf alpha. They come nowhere close to finding it, instead stumbling on a pack of skin-walkers, a monster more appropriate to a show like True Blood. Is that what Supernatural is shooting for now? Hope not…

The brothers bicker and Crowley bicker over what they should do next. Crowley quickly reminds Dean that he “owns” Sam, and that he could even stuff Robo-Sam (Sam’s body sans soul) back in the pit. That shuts Dean’s protests down, and he complies with the episode’s mission. Sam and Dean go to a small town somewhere to find werewolves. What sleepless Robo-Sam finds instead is evidence of a skin-walkers, a “distant cousin” of the werewolf according to lore, Sam says.

Not be confused with shape-shifters (which were in fact introduced as “skin walkers” in the episode “Skin,” S01E06), “skin-walkers” are men who turn into dogs after being bitten by other skin-walkers. Like werewolves these new monsters do die when shot with a silver bullet, and Sam traps an overly vicious one, tying him up with silver-lined rope. He quickly spills the beans about the local skin-walkers’ master plan of hiding as house dogs, ready to infect their family on the skin-walker pack leader’s command. If this plan sounds familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much the same as the vamp’s idea to perpetually create more and more vampires. Except, the skin-walker they captured didn’t make it clear that an alpha skin-walker or werewolf was handing these orders down.

The brothers get the skin-walker to set up a meeting with the skin-walker pack leader, which ends in a bloodbath when Dean snipes half of them and Robo-Sam blasts his way into the meeting place to save the single-mother family that got dragged into it to be converted. After the massacre, the woman pretty much shuns the skin-walker guy when she finds out that her lovable dog was actually a naked dude, and instead of killing him, Sam decides to let the skin-walker get away.

The episode closes with a rehashed diatribe from Sam about not being able to feel human. But a glimmer hope arises when Sam starts to use his purely logical brain to reason his way into doing the right thing, even if he doesn’t feel any emotions or care about other people yet.

With the latest “Crowley is the boss” reveal, it appears we’re back to the monster-of-the week model that the show uses to fill the gaps between the more plot-driven chapters in its 22-episode seasons. Supernatural may have had some success making fun of the Twilight phenomenon in this season’s vampire episode, but once again the show has displayed a lack of depth with werewolves (werewolf cousins in this case, I guess). So far the only episode where werewolves appear is the boring one “Heart,” S02E17, also the first time we ever see Sam killing someone who is still in human form. Of course, there’s some parallel here: For once, soulless Sam doesn’t kill the monster even though his logical brain thinks it’s the best plan.

Even this slightly interesting comparison stays in the shadows in “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” however, as the episode’s weak storyline gets pushed to the forefront: a worthless-feeling man finds a happy home as a family dog and loves them so much that he sociopathically kills any perceived threat to them. Hard premise to buy since WE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT THIS DUDE’S LIFE other than the fact that he was treated like crap by everyone else he’s known, and he has never thought much of himself, which also too neatly explains how he decided to become a skin-walker in the first place.

The epilogue’s opening thought that any old house dog could be a skin-walker in disguise was a laughable attempt at Goosebumps-like horror, which still doesn’t make me laugh quite as much as the episode’s cute title.

Hope next week’s episode “Clap Your Hands If You Believe” — where Dean gets terrorized by a fairy only he can see — will be a silly one through and through. I for one like filler episodes more when they don’t take themselves too seriously.

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